Smith & Wesson® Introduces 2nd Generation M&P® 15 SPORT™ Rifle

Market Leading MSR Delivers Expanded Features, Added Value

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (January 11, 2016) — Smith & Wesson Corp. today announced that it has expanded its popular M&P family of Modern Sporting Rifles (MSRs) with the introduction of the M&P15 SPORT II — a 2nd generation M&P15 SPORT rifle. Backed by the company’s reputation for high quality components and consistent, proven reliability, the new M&P15 SPORT II offers enhanced upgrades to the original, industry leading M&P15 SPORT rifle. Delivering a ready-to-go package with the additional features of a forward bolt assist and dust cover, the M&P15 SPORT II provides added value to this already time-tested platform.

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Dependable, accurate and engineered for a wide variety of recreational, sport shooting and professional applications, the M&P15 SPORT II provides the best combination of price and function. Manufactured on a forged upper and lower receiver constructed of 7075 T6 aluminum, the new M&P15 SPORT II is as rugged as it is capable. Chambered in 5.56 NATO, the new rifle has been fitted with a 16-inch barrel comprised of 4140 steel with a 1 in 9-inch twist. For added longevity, the rifle features a durable corrosion resistant Armornite® finish along with a chrome-lined bolt carrier, gas key and firing pin.

The M&P15 SPORT II comes with an adjustable, folding Magpul® MBUS® rear sight and an adjustable A2-post front sight. The standard rifle has been furnished with a six-position telescopic butt stock and a 30-round PMAG®. The MSR measures 35 inches with the stock fully extended and 32 inches collapsed. The M&P15 SPORT II has an unloaded weight of 6.5 pounds and is standard with an A2-style flash suppressor and a forged, integral trigger guard.

The M&P15 SPORT II will also be available in state compliant models.

For more information on Smith & Wesson’s M&P family of products, including the complete line of M&P15 SPORT rifles, please visit www.smith-wesson.com.

About Smith & Wesson
Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ Global Select: SWHC) is a U.S.-based leader in firearm manufacturing and design, delivering a broad portfolio of quality firearms, related products, and training to the global military, law enforcement, and consumer markets. The company’s firearm division brands include Smith & Wesson®, M&P®, and Thompson/Center Arms™. As an industry leading manufacturer of shooting, reloading, gunsmithing and gun cleaning supplies, the company’s accessories division produces innovative, top quality products under Battenfeld Technologies, Inc., including Caldwell® Shooting Supplies, Wheeler® Engineering, Tipton® Gun Cleaning Supplies, Frankford Arsenal® Reloading Tools, Lockdown® Vault Accessories, and Hooyman™ Premium Tree Saws. Smith & Wesson facilities are located in Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and Missouri. For more information on Smith & Wesson, call (800) 331-0852 or log on to www.smith-wesson.com.

Still soldiering on: The California Highway Patrol’s S&W 4006

A million years ago, while the earth was still cooling, the California Highway Patrol made the decision to switch away from their .357 Magnum caliber revolvers to a modern semi-automatic pistol. In mid-1990, CHP officially selected the 4006 from Smith & Wesson as their duty, and 25 years later it’s still soldiering on in the holsters of over 7,500 sworn personnel.

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As recently as 2009, CHP authorized officers to switch over to the 4006 TSW variant, which incorporates a rail under the frame of the gun to mount a weapon-light. All of the 4006s feature fixed Novak night sights, a DA/SA trigger, and an 11+1 capacity. Smith & Wesson still manufactured new 4006s until as recently as 2011, presumably to support the CHP’s need for pistols. The last time I spoke with Smith about the CHP contract, back in 2012 they indicated that they also still produced small runs of parts to support CHP’s guns.

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There are quite a few factors that have contributed to the 4006’s long service life with the California Highway Patrol. For me, I find the 4006 is one of very few pistols chambered in .40 S&W that I actually enjoy shooting. The all metal construction goes a long way towards mitigating the annoying recoil impulse associated with .40s in polymer pistols, and as a fan of the DA/SA system, I find that the triggers tend to “shoot in” very well. They are one of the most shootable .40s on the market, which is part of why I think CHP has stayed with them over the years.

They’re also incredibly durable and reliable. One of the reasons 3rd Gen S&W pistols are popular among a certain set of enthusiasts is because they’re built like friggin’ tanks. You can beat on these guns for days and they’ll just keep running along. In my experience with the 3rd Generation Smiths, they just work. That’s an excellent reason to stick with a duty gun, especially one that’s going to be exposed to climates that can vary as widely as California. One officer could have his gun exposed to salt spray from the ocean, another to mud and rocks in the mountains.

Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention cost. California really doesn’t like to spend money at the state level on LE, and switching 7,500 cops over from one platform to another would involve an enormous expense, which would likely only be driven up by California’s noxious professional bureaucracy. Since that isn’t an expense they’re going to want to incur, it’s probably a good thing that the 4006 is an excellent pistol.

25 years of service with one agency is an impressive record, but the Smith & Wesson 4006 is an impressive pistol that has proven its worth time and again in the service of the nation’s largest state police agency. With it’s reliability and durability well established, we can expect to see the 4006 riding in CHP holsters for some time to come.

Smith & Wesson releases statement on cease & desist letter

Yesterday afternoon, the internet exploded when a custom gunsmith posted a cease and desist letter he received from Smith & Wesson’s outside counsel to instagram. Here are screencaps of the entire letter (more below the jump):

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Needless to say, the response from the internet was fast and savage. S&W’s social media feeds were bombarded with comments from end-users; and there was also a considerable amount of confusion regarding the issue. To help clear that up, here’s a bit of legal analysis from an actual lawyer, Annette Evans:

So we have here Apex, who at their own cost (from what I understand) offered gunsmithing services to keep competitors’ S&W M&P guns running at the S&W title match – IDPA Indoor Nationals – when S&W wouldn’t or couldn’t. Brownells, who really needs no introduction. Some other fine companies making modifications that make people want to buy more M&Ps, and they hire someone from an expensive outside law firm, whose representative list of client industries doesn’t include firearms or manufacturing, to write this flaming pile of [censored], sent out three days before Christmas and imposing a deadline that will be close to impossible to meet (not to mention ruinously expensive) given the holidays? And that’s giving them the benefit of the doubt on the typo for the response deadline.

I take the point that the “Dream M&P” was announced just on Friday (and I’m willing to bet at least a few associates’ weekends were ruined over this), but it’s not like most of these companies don’t have a history of providing a large and popular line of aftermarket accessories and modifications….and in fact, the overreaching demands go far beyond the “Dream M&P” that apparently brought S&W’s hammer down, to products that S&W can’t possibly argue that they weren’t aware of in the past and indeed, they have acknowledged Apex’s work in particular in their own marketing materials (see http://www.smith-wesson.com/…/BallisticIssue001_SW_58…)

AND this C&D is essentially to argue trademark confusion? Against companies that have arguably raised the perception of the brand (unless you want to count the fact that Apex has made any factory trigger S&W put on the M&P a joke) and who S&W has had ample opportunity to partner with? From companies whose general audiences are tinkerers, i.e., people who buy something and put flair on it?

AND if S&W wants to be consistent about this, where are their C&Ds against ATEI? SAI? Saying you have to act to preserve your rights in your marks (a la Kleenex or Thermos’s failure to do so and subsequent genericization) is weak.

First salvo out from outside counsel is ridiculous. This should have been handled by a phone call by senior executives requesting that it be made clear S&W was not a sponsor/supporter and/or a letter from in-house counsel. And long before this, S&W should have been working on partnering with Apex in any case.

See also: Streisand effect.

Annette Evans is an attorney in the Philadelphia area who has been practicing as in-house commercial counsel for over six years, and was previously in private practice doing transactional work. She is currently the lead attorney for a global specialty research services company.

This morning, S&W and Brownells have released a statement on the issue:

James Debney, President and CEO of Smith & Wesson, said, “I would like to clarify that we fully support the Brownells Dream Guns® Project and we appreciate that it showcases the many ways in which our customers – loyal fans of our M&P brand – can choose to customize their M&P firearms. Our decision to contact the companies that worked on the project was intended to protect the trademarks that support the M&P brand. When a product bears the Smith & Wesson and M&P trademarks and is purchased new with our lifetime service policy, we want to be sure that the consumer knows it has passed our demanding quality standards. In our efforts to protect that promise and to preserve the brand that we and our customers cherish, we did not fully understand the intent of the Dream Guns® Project and we overlooked the opportunity to convey our enthusiasm for the creativity and innovation that Brownells and all of the companies involved have demonstrated. We look forward to seeing the firearm on display at the upcoming SHOT Show in January and at the NRA in May.”

“I have spoken with James Debney, President of Smith & Wesson, who called me regarding the M&P® Brownells/Apex Dream Gun™,” said Matt Buckingham, Brownells President. “It was a simple misunderstanding about the intention of the project. He made it clear that Smith & Wesson is excited to have their product featured in this fun and unique way. For our part, we are honored to include it in our Dream Gun lineup. Smith & Wesson is a legendary brand in this industry and we continue to be proud partners with them.”

Before S&W released this statement, rumors had begun to circulate that the C&D letter was sent due to a misunderstanding of the nature of the Dream Gun project, and it appears that was actually the case.

I am glad to see S&W releasing a statement clearing this mess up, as the potential fallout from this would have been considerable. Can you imagine the can of worms it would have opened up if suddenly major manufacturers were threatening every custom gunsmith that worked on their pistols with legal action? Glock vs. Lone Wolf, Colt vs. 1911 smiths, it would be utter chaos.

Again, I’m pleased to see Smith & Wesson stepping out and clearing this mess up.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 – 10-8 Performance Function Test

After getting some feedback from viewers/readers on the PT1911 going through the 10-8 Function Test, I wanted to show how a modern service pistol performs on the same evaluation. So I ran my carry gun through the same evaluation, which is passed with flying colors.

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NDZ Performance Base Pad for the Shield

IMG_4770The Smith and Wesson Shield.  By all accounts it is a home run and one of the best guns you can buy in that size range.  In my household we have two of them; but in spite of my love for the gun, I was less than impressed with the 7 round magazine’s base pad.  I really dislike wrapping my pinky finger back under the gun; I briefly entertained the thought of holding that finger straight out, but I didn’t want to look like a Duchess when I fired the gun.  Ultimately it became a background issue since I seldom carried with the 7 round mag inserted.

I will stop right here and quell the calls for the Pearce Grip Extension.  I had a Pearce Mag Extension. ONCE!  It was a +2 on a Glock 17 mag and it failed with the gun in the holster, barfing the contents onto the ground behind me.  Luckily I was just burning powder at a square range and not at a competition, or worse, in a self-defense situation.  Since then, Pearce anything is a no-go for me.

As I tell me kids, “you get what you get, and you don’t throw a fit”, so I just dealt with the factory base pad and got on with life; then I saw the NDZ Performance Extension.  It had a location for my pinky and it was solid billet aluminum goodness so I immediately bought one.  Now having carried and shot the gun with it; I thought I would share my experiences, both good and bad.

First, this thing is built like a tank!  As I mentioned before it is machined from a billet of aluminum and even includes reliefs to help with mag extraction which work rather well, considering the size restrictions they had to work around.  It has a rather nice finish and the overall quality was superb.  There was only one thing that bothered me.

The rear of the base pad isn’t machined to match the contour of the grip.  That lack of contour causes a protrusion that digs into your strong hand, which is only exacerbated by recoil and becomes rather annoying after 100 rounds.  Of course this base pad was designed (and purchased) for carry, so this isn’t as much of a serious issue as an area for product improvement. I am seriously considering performing surgery to mine once I determine the best (read: cheapest) way to refinish it.

IMG_4774Here you can see the offending protrusion

In all fairness NDZ Performance makes a model with an extended rear portion that might mitigate this issue, but I haven’t tried it and I can’t find the will to purchase it, at least not until I murder the one I own.

If you are in the market for a mag extension for your Shield’s 7 round magazine, you should give the NDZ Performance Extension a look.

Training again and it sucks

After taking (now) 8 months off from any sort of shooting sports training, over the holiday weekend I finally sacked up, loaded up some guns and ammo and went to the new Badlands Gun Range here in Sioux Falls. A quick note on the range itself, which I’m going to talk about later on, it is by far one of the nicest facilities I’ve ever had the pleasure to shoot at. Right up there with the NRA HQ range or West Coast Armory in Bellevue. But anyway, back to training.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 in PHLster Skeleton

I took two guns, my M&P9 with RMR that I’ve been using as an EDC, and an M&P9L Pro. I had a couple of specific training goals: check the zero on my RMR, and then use the Pro to work on draws to a low percentage target and reloads. Zero on the RMR gun is fine, and it functioned well with a magazine of carry ammo, so it basically got loaded up and sent back into its holster for the duration of the session. The reason I had the Pro out is because it’s the only gun I currently own that’s legal for IDPA SSP and ESP both; and we also have a CORE version of it if I wanted to get silly and play Production Optics (I want to get silly and play Production optics).

So let’s look at the actual training. 8 months off is a long time, so I needed to set some baselines first to see where I was at. First drill was straightforward, shoot Dot Torture at 5 yards. 49/50, and the only reason I dropped a point was because the first shot out of the holster I wasn’t quite aware of the gun’s POA/POI, so the first round went low. Everything after that was where I wanted it to be. Not bad.

Smith & Wesson M&P9L Pro

Up next was 2 shots to a 3×5 card at 7 yards. I set the par time to a generous 3.00 seconds to start with, which I was able to beat pretty easily. I’ve always like the way the 9mm M&P Pros return in recoil, which makes running this drill a bit simpler. I dropped the par to 2.5, then 2.25, and finally 2.00, all working from an open top holster without concealment. I struggled a bit around 2.00, which isn’t too surprising, given how much time I’ve taken off. But honestly, I was feeling pretty good. I was getting my hits, my draw was nice and smooth, everything felt awesome.

Then I started working on reloads. Oh my dear giddy aunt, I suck so bad. Sure, I can reload the gun smoothly…but quickly? Nope. My shot to shot reloads were all over 2.00 seconds, and try as I might I couldn’t get there. I was actually starting to get really frustrated with myself, because my reloads sucked pretty hard. I know how to fix it though…lots and lots of dry fire. In fact, dry fire is the best place to fix reloads, because you can remove a lot of the distractions and focus entirely on the fundamentals.

My first training session coming back from months off definitely showed me a lot. My accuracy, the fundamental of my marksmanship hasn’t degraded. I can still shoot itty-bitty groups really slow, which is nice I guess. I can still run the gun itself pretty quick, I turned in a 1.88 bill drill as my last exercise of the day. But I can’t reload the gun worth two bags of dog crap, and that’s a big problem. If you’re shooting Production or IDPA, reloads are important. You’ve only got 10 rounds in the gun, which means almost every IDPA stage will involve a reload, and most USPSA stages will have an average of 3 per stage.

Guess that means I’ll be doing some dry fire today. The point of the story? Downtime was good for me, it really was. I needed it, but if I want to get back to where I was and even get better, I’m going to need to hit the dry fire pretty hard.

Gun Nuts Review: Smith & Wesson 638 .38 Special

Smith & Wesson 638 two page right side

2014 was the last year that the humble j-frame was a legitimate contender at the IDPA BUG Nationals. In early 2015, the rules were changed in order to make Back Up Gun a full on division, and to do that meant making it a mandatory six shot division. The justification for this was that classifying with a five shooter would have been a nightmare, and while that’s true, it’s sad that IDPA killed the only place where the old-school king of carry guns could play. With the rise of the 9mm pocket gun, what is to become of the humble Airweight?

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Gun Nuts Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 ultimate tactical edition

M&P9 with Crimson Trace and RMR

There is no doubt that pistols equipped with red dot sights are here to stay. That’s the future of handgun shooting, and while the technology isn’t quite 100% yet, for many shooters it’s an excellent solution. I’ve done a bit of work with dot equipped pistols in the past, but thought it was high time to commit some of that work to paper. Our initial test platform is a Smith & Wesson M&P9 with thumb safety that has had the slide milled to accept a Trijicon RMR and equipped with a Crimson Trace Railmaster Pro green laser/light.

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Gun Nuts Reviews: Smith & Wesson 325PD

Smith & Wesson 325PD Right side

In the early to mid-2000s, everyone was screaming for lighter carry guns. For a number of reasons, Smith & Wesson decided it would be awesome to offer some of their very popular L-frame and N-frame models with scandium frames and titanium cylinders, resulting in wrist destroying magnums like the 329PD, chambered in .44 Magnum. Of course, the Smith N-frame lineup also includes the legendary 625, the .45 ACP moonclip revolver. It was only natural to make a scandium framed, titanium cylindered version of that, resulting in the gun you see today, the Smith & Wesson 325PD.

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