by David Crane
Speaking of NDIA Small Arms Symposium 2007, DefenseReview also got to test-fire two of the latest "tactical plastic" (i.e. polymer) .45 ACP pistols, the Glock 21SF (G21SF) and the Smith & Wesson M&P45. Both weapons were very comfortable to handle and shoot, but we had some trouple hitting steel pepper poppers initially with the Glock 21 SF (G21 SF) at approx. 25 yards before we got used to the weapon’s trigger. We don’t know whether it was the the trigger’s weight or the way it broke. We didn’t really have time to analyze it. What we do know is that we had to practice a little bit with the pistol before we started to knock down the pepper poppers with regularity. What we did like on the G21SF was the reduced-sized a.k.a. reduced-profile gripframe vs. the standard Glock 21 (G21), which felt comfortable in the hand.
The S&W M&P45 we tested shot well and was outfitted with a…
frame-mounted, sweep-down manual thumb safety a la 1911 pistol. DefenseReview prefers this type of manual safety vs. slide-mounted sweep-up manual thumb safety or rear grip safety. The only manual safety we like as much or better is the front-grip "squeeze-cock" safety utilized by the HK P7-series pistols, including the HK P7M13 double-stack and P7M8 single-stack pistols.
Defense Review also got to handle the S&W M&P Compact pistol models at the show, but we didn’t have time to fire them at the Blackwater shoot.
It’s our understanding that a S&W M&P45 Compact pistol model is on the way (unconfirmed/unverified), but we haven’t handled or fired one yet.
DefenseReview has attempted to get in touch with several Smith & Wesson corporate representatives, including Joe Bergeron. However, so far, we’ve been unsuccessful. While Mr. Bergeron seems particularly inept at responding to inquiries, i.e. attempts to contact him, the truth is that DefenseReview has found Smith & Wesson management very hard to reach, in general. Historically, Smith & Wesson has been, hands down, the most unresponsive firearms company for us, regarding requests for interview, etc. We hope that Smith and Wesson’s unresponsive management is not indicative or reflective of its customer service. In other words, if its customer service is as bad as its management’s responsiveness (or lack thereof), Defense Review would be hesitant to purchase an M&P pistol. So, we sincerely hope that our experience so far with S&W management is an anomaly, and thus not indicative of their customer service.
Photos of the M&P45 and G21 SF are on the way.
Addendum/Update 11/05/07: We were contacted very quickly via email by Smith & Wesson’s Director of Military Sales, Ernest Langdon, after publishing this story. In his message, Mr. Langdon stated that we are welcome to contact him if we have any questions about S&W’s military products. We appreciate his quick and professional response. DefenseReview met and spoke with Mr. Langdon in May at NDIA Small Arms Symposium 2007, and Mr. Langdon was the one who supervised our brief test-fire session with the S&W M&P45 pistol at Blackwater USA. We found Mr. Langdon to be both personable and professional. Smith & Wesson would appear to be in good hands with him.