Gun test: Umarex Smith and Wesson M&P40
- Credit: Archant
James Thornber brings us his view on the Umarex M&P40
When I sit and write reviews, I always start by getting to know the product and taking it out before even thinking about flashing up the laptop. When I’m reviewing a pistol, I try to research the real steel version, so that I can establish its heritage, and find out for whom it was actually intended. I have to say that I’m really pleased I did this for the Umarex Smith and Wesson M&P40, because after only a few minutes of research, a rather large elephant walked into the room.
The M&P is often referred to as Smith and Wesson’s attempt to create a ‘Glock killer’, and over the years it’s been marketed at everyone from the military and police forces (M&P) to your everyday shooter. It’s available in a variety of calibres, and frame configurations, that all follow a similar trend of a polymer lower, metal slide, and easy-to-use controls. I can certainly see the appeal to anyone looking for an alternative to something like a Glock 23, for example.
When I picked up the M&P40 for the first time, out of the box, I was pleasantly surprised. Umarex have been running various M&P pistols over the years, and until they released this blow-back model, they just hadn’t caught my eye enough to go out and buy one, but after a quick visit to the Sportsman’s Gun Centre, in Exeter. I walked out with one because after handling, it I was sold. Compared to their previous attempts, this really is worlds apart.
It seems to fit me like a glove straight out the box, but for those of you with slightly manlier hands than mine, there is a selection of replaceable backstraps included, so that you can swap out the stock ones for something a bit more profiled, without the use of any tools. Along with some free steel BBs to get you started, this is a nice addition and something that seems to be lacking with some of the other manufacturers out there.
The controls are all exactly where you’d expect to find them on a pistol such as the M&P; the magazine-release catch can be found on the left-hand side, along with the slide release and take-down lever, all functioning exactly as they should.
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It’s also worth noting that the slide-release catch can also be found on the right-hand side of the frame. The sights on this pistol are just your average painted dots, which are easy to pick up and get on target, but are nothing too out of the ordinary, but they have included some neat features that are found on the real steel M&P, such as the chamber indicator. Essentially, it’s just small cut-outs on the slide and breech block, so you don’t have to pull the slide as far back when doing chamber checks.
Going back to that elephant; some of you might have noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned the safety catch, which for the record, is ambidextrous and really easy to use, with a positive engagement in both ‘safe’ and ‘fire’ positions. I haven’t mentioned the fact that the M&P40 is a fully-licensed gun with all the trademarks you would expect to find on an M&P40, either – and there’s the problem.
The Smith and Wesson M&P40 shouldn’t have a safety catch such as the one found on this Umarex replica. The M&P22 should, which coincidentally was made in Germany by Walther, rather than S&W in the States. So, Umarex have used and produced the design of the .22, and wrapped it up as a 40, which isn’t really an issue, but if you are a diehard collector after a 100% accurate reproduction of the M&P40, this might be something that you’d want to take into consideration – it’s an M&P, yes, but not a true 40.
What’s it like?
With the geeky bit to one side, though, what’s the M&P like to shoot? ‘Absolutely spot on’, is the answer! The strong recoil gives the user a really satisfying kick, and the snappy recoil return springs send the slide forward just as quickly as it recoiled, resulting in one fast-firing pistol. The low bore axis makes the strong blow-back action very controllable, though, resulting in reasonable plinking accuracy. I cannot get over how quickly it seems to empty its 15-round, full-size, drop-out magazine.
It’s no surprise that with the amount of rapid firing you’ll find yourself doing, you will need to replace the CO2 fairly often, and using the fairly standard Allen key/retaining bolt in the bottom of the magazine, it’s a really simple task to complete in a very short amount of time. Handily, Umarex are also selling spare magazines so it might be an idea to pick up a spare or two, so that you can rest the CO2 between magazines, and this should help to stretch the life of the capsules a bit.
Overall, I have to say that the Smith and Wesson M&P40 is a solid replica and a worthy addition to anyone’s collection. It’s a shame that companies such as Glock won’t entertain the airgun market, but for those that do, such as Smith and Wesson, the results are often impressive and pistols such as this one are proving themselves at clubs and in back gardens across the country. I would say that this is one of the best BB pistols Umarex have put to market for a while, and it’s nice to see something fresh and new, rather than another rebranded 1911.
Depending on where you pick this pistol up from, the prices seem to vary from £128-£170 and although we have the black version, there is also a flat, dark-earth option. As I said earlier, I’ve never really been a fan of M&Ps, but this one has me sold. If your local RFD has one in stock and you’re after something different, be sure to go and have a look – it will surprise you!
Type: BB air pistol
Model: Smith & Wesson M&P40
Materials: Metal and polymer build
Weight: 1.61 pounds (730 grams)
Barrel: 3.5 inches brass, non-rifled
Propulsion: C02 x1
Action: Blow-back, double-action only
Pellet type: 4.5mm steel BBs
Pellet capacity: 15 rounds
Velocity: 310 fps
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