I heart the Smith & Wesson M&P .45. That said, if you buy the handgun in the Bay State it’s hamstrung by the dreaded Massachusetts trigger—an action so heavy the Granby Charter Days Tractor and Truck Pull uses the M&P for competitions. No worries: Apex that and you’re good to stow. Unfortunately (or not), cops have to keep their Smiths factory. Never mind. Even in Mass spec. the S&W M&P .45 is a terrific firearm. The Taunton [MA] po-po recently sang the handgun’s praises to tauntongazette.com, explaining their decision to equip all their officers with the large-caliber Smith. Some of their reasons for choosing the S&W M&P45 are a little, uh, suspect . . .
[Taunton Police Chief Edward ] Walsh said that some of the older model semi-automatics, including an outmoded S&W .40-caliber, had certain design imperfections.
Among those was a weight imbalance, causing the barrel to tilt downward whenever an officer extended an arm straight out at a target.
Walsh says he also had to deal with what he calls personal “biases” of some veteran cops, who went into the field tests convinced the new .45-caliber would be tough to handle.
“It was almost like culture shock; they thought a 45 would knock them over,” he said.
Instead, Walsh said, they were pleasantly surprised to find out the gun had a very negligible recoil, or kick, when fired.
He says he went so far as to blindfold some officers who swore they could tell they were firing a .45-caliber model.
“They couldn’t tell,” Walsh said, adding that in the end the M&P45 beat out the competition.
Needless to say, stopping power was also an important consideration. Or . . . not.
[Certified firearms instructor Lt. Eric ] Nichols, an adherent of the “commonality in training” philosophy, says despite the .45-caliber’s obvious size advantage over a .40-caliber bullet, the M&P45 was not chosen based on its potential to kill a person.
“Lethality is not our concern, like (it is) in the military,” Nichols said, noting that more critical consideration is given to a weapon’s “kinetic energy” and ability to stop an aggressor.
“We put heavy emphasis on accuracy,” he said, adding that “a slow hit beats a fast miss,” coining a phrase often employed by TPD Lt. Mike Costa.
A 9mm gun might carry more rounds in its magazine than the M&P45, but it is also inherently less accurate, said Walsh, who said that the old military adage “spray and pray” is not compatible with current police gun technique.
Methinks Mr. Walsh needs to practice his Google-Fu a bit. Try “police hit ratio.” And shooting. Walsh and his men should practice shooting. A lot. Soon.