Smith & Wesson M&P®9 Performance Center® Ported Pistol Review
Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
June 6, 2015

Over the past few years, I've had my eye on the Smith & Wesson M&P handguns with a specific interest in the Pro Series and Pro Series C.O.R.E. (Competition Optics Ready Equipment) models.  My primary interests have been to get what I would consider a target or competition model pistol.  In reality, I don't plan to enter any competitions, but I do love steel target shooting and I have learned that firearms specifically intended for target shooting typically do better (at least in my hands) than those intended for other shooting situations. 

Honestly, I have been flipping back and forth between the S&W Pro Series and Glock 34 for over a year, but I keep going back to the fact that I know first hand that I like the feel of the M&P handguns and have really enjoyed the M&P22 pistol that I reviewed back in 2012.  I have also shot my friends M&P centerfire pistols enough over the past years to confirm that a S&W M&P centerfire pistol must be added to my collection.  This year, S&W released their new M&P Performance Center Ported models with features such as ported barrel & slide, adjustable trigger stop, newly-enhanced interchangeable grips, C.O.R.E competition optics ready, enhanced trigger and a Performance Center sear.  These new features were more than enough to send me over the edge and I couldn't take the temptation any longer, so I had to get a M&P9 Performance Center Ported Pistol for review.

 

The next decision I had to make was which model of pistol to get.  The M&P Performance Center Ported Pistols currently come in 9mm and .40 S&W (M&P9 and M&P40), and also in barrel lengths of 4.25" and 5".  Since I was wanting a target pistol, I wanted one with the lowest recoil so I went with the 9mm caliber.  I struggled a little on which barrel length to get.  Since I planned on using an optic on the pistol, sight radius wasn't a major concern, but since there was a chance that I might do some shooting with the sight removed, I decided to go with the longest barrel length (5"). The added barrel length only added 0.7 ounces and the weight located at the muzzle could help with reducing muzzle flip.  Thus, I got the M&P9 Performance Center Ported Pistol with a 5" barrel. Both barrel length versions of this M&P9 pistol are shown below.

Figure 1 - 4.25" Barrel                                                Figure 2 - 5" Barrel         
 

MSRP on the M&P Performance Center (PC) Ported pistol is $812.  This is only $43 dollars greater than the Pro Series C.O.R.E model and considering this added cost buys you the ported barrel & slide and adjustable trigger stop, this increase seems fair.  While doing a quick search online, I found the M&P9 PC Ported Pistols to be in a range from about $720 to $760 which seems like a fair price for this handgun considering its features.

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturer's claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Smith & Wesson website on 5/2/15 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the S&W M&P9 Performance Center Ported pistol.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.

Key Features

  • Ported Barrel & Slide - To Reduce Muzzle Flip
  • Adjustable Trigger Stop - To Stop Trigger Over Travel
  • 3-Interchangeable, Newly-Enhanced, Textured Palm-swell Grip Sizes - For Better Control and Fit
  • C.O.R.E. – Competition Optics Ready - Includes Optics Mounting Kit Slide Cut to Accept the Following Optics: Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, Jpoint, Doctor, C-More STS, Insight MRDS
  • Enhanced Trigger and Performance Center Sear

Specifications

  • SKU: 10098
  • Model: M&P®9 PERFORMANCE CENTER® PORTED
  • Frame Size: Full Size
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Action: Striker Fire (Double Action)
  • Capacity: 17+1 Rounds
  • Barrel Length: 5” (12.7 cm)
  • Front Sight: White Dot Dovetail
  • Rear Sight: Fixed 2-Dot Drift adjustable for windage
  • Overall Length: 8.5” (21.2 cm) review pistol measured just shy of 8.4"
  • Grip: Polymer
  • Weight: 24.1 oz. (683.2 g) review pistol weighed in at 24.4 ounce without magazine and 27.4 with magazine
  • Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Finish: Black, Durable, Corrosion-Resistant
  • MSRP: $812 ~$750-ish street price
  • Width: 1.3"
  • Height: 5.75"

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • 5.4 pound crisp trigger pull on this pistol.
  • Trigger reset only required about 0.07" of forward motion after I adjusted my overtravel stop.
  • Great craftsmanship and quality.
  • Basic disassembly for cleaning is extremely easy and only takes about 15 seconds.  Reassembly is also easy and only takes about 30 seconds. 
  • The stainless steel chassis system is a clever design which ensures metal to metal connections between the locking block and sear housing block.
  • The Smith & Wesson M&P9 Performance Center Ported pistol is a great shooting pistol just like you would expect from the S&W and the Performance Center Shop.
  • The pistol proved to have great bench accuracy with both premium and value ammunition.
  • Shooting the pistol and sight combination at the steel targets was great fun and the red dot sight configuration along with the ported barrel were clearly noticeable benefits when making fast follow-up shots.
  • 100% reliable with about 500 rounds through it so far.

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • The trigger pull was great, but I did notice that the way the trigger safety pushes up on the side of my finger seemed more noticeable than I would have thought.  I believe this was because I tend to prefer a low finger perch on the trigger and someone else might not notice this.
  • An observation I made during range testing was that if the slide was locked open and I inserted a new loaded magazine into the pistol firmly, this action alone would drop the slide automatically loading a round into the chamber.

Cons:

  • When I checked the pull weight out of the box, it came in at about 7 pounds.  I didn't hesitate and immediately called S&W and sent the pistol back to them to correct the issue.  After about 5 weeks, the pistol was returned to me and S&W replaced the sear (according to the paperwork) and the pull weight now comes in at about 5.4 pounds.  The trigger pull was still not the 4.5 pounds I was hoping, but this new pull weight was within spec and is still a great feeling trigger and the reset was very short.

 

Bottom Line:

The S&W M&P9 Performance Center Ported Pistol has now become my favorite range pistol.  The combination of the light crisp short trigger pull, reduced muzzle flip from the ported barrel and quick target acquisition you get from a red dot sight makes this one of the most accurate and fast pistol I own.  My range tests proved it to be accurate and reliable and in my opinion, the $750-ish you may pay for this pistol is well worth the investment for its performance and features.  I did have to send the pistol back to S&W because the trigger pull weight was out of specification, but S&W took care of that issue at no cost to me.  If you are in the market for a competition pistol, then the S&W M&P Performance Center Ported Pistols need to be on your list for consideration.


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