Smith & Wesson’s M&P .40 Compact

The Missus and I were out shooting reactive targets the other day; me with the 45 single action and her with her S&W 637. One of the targets is a ‘tin man’ of sorts with a 7×24 pipe body and a 4×6 pipe head, all painted yellow..


She noticed the beating it was taking from the 45, while her 38 was just going ‘ding’ and and decorating him with gray polka dots. She took a turn with the Vaquero and decided she wanted a carry gun with more authority. She looked at the S&W Shield and decided its grip was too long and thin for her hands; but she liked the M&P40 Compact. Summitgunbroker had a few a police trade-ins and I found one with good night sights and the large grip insert.


The M&P40c has a 3 1/2″ barrel, weighs 22 oz. empty and carries a payload of 11 rounds of 40 S&W. With the short magazine in place, it’a not a lot bigger than a snubnose. I could carry it in my pocket if I had a mind to. 

Photo Credit: 

But where this little pistol really shines is on the range. This is the softest-shooting small .4o I’ve ever fired, way easier to handle than a Glock 27, even with hot loads like the 165 HST. Its trigger has a smooth take-up and a crisp breaking point, making it easy to shoot well. The trigger gauges at six pounds but I checked it several times, because it feels so much lighter. While it printed a little high for me, I could easily stay on the head of a B27 at 25 yards. My unsupported 5-shot groups at that distance were 3-4 inches.

I read a bunch of web-based user reports on the M&P 40 Compact and a common complaint is feed stoppages with cheap steel-cased 40 ammo. We had one such malfunction with Tula 180 grain FMJ on the first outing, so when I cleaned the pistol I broke out the micrometers. The chambers are right at SAAMI specs; much tighter than Glocks and and with far better chamber support. I polished the barrel ramp, the chamber and the ramp-to-chamber breakover point. That is ‘ze magic’ for 1911 barrels and it sure cured this one. I have a Heinz 57 bag of .40 odds and ends I accumulated over the past ten years, including steel-case ammo, aluminm case ammo, various JHP and even some 650 fps SWC garden pest loads. The little MP digested six magazines of it, with the light loads barely working the action and an audible delay between the ‘pop’ and ‘ding’, 15 yards distant. 

Yesterday I decided to see how it shot at 50 yards. Range conditions were just about perfect. 😆 It’d been raining all night and I tried sneak out between downpours. Today, the standard 7″ picnic bowl aiming point would have to suffice. 

To eliminate moving a table and other paraphernalia in rice-paddy conditions, I elected to simply shoot from a canvas chair with my legs crossed and my hands rested over my knee. The shooting chair, 5o yards distant.


Of course when I started shooting, it started raining and three times during the 1o shot string, rain splashing off the top of the slide interfered with the sight picture. So I counted the best 7 and got a 7″ group for my trouble. The best five went into just over four inches, right above the rear sight in the photo. It shot about a foot high, for me, with Federal 165 grain HST.

I think the little gun is capable of better, but it’s certainly combat accurate even under lousy conditions. These are excellent little autos, chambered for a serious service pistol cartridge.


2 Responses to Smith & Wesson’s M&P .40 Compact

  1. Rob Leahy says:

    I enjoy the way you write! Good article, useful information…what a concept!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *