After decades of consumers having exactly one option in a 5.7×28 pistol, the available choices have mushroomed in recent years. Now, in addition to the tried, tested, and proven OG FN FiveseveN MRD Mk3, gun buyers can also choose from pistols from KelTec, Ruger, Palmetto State Armory and, as of earlier this year, Smith & Wesson. And while the M&P 5.7 has a lot of the same features as its competitors, it has some notable differences, too.
First among those is its operating system. Unlike traditional Browning tilt-barrel actions of the rest of Smith’s line of M&P pistols, the M&P 5.7 has what Smith & Wesson is calling their Tempo barrel system featuring a gas-operated rotating five-inch barrel inside an outer sleeve.
The M&P 5.7 has an ambidextrous slide stop, a reversible magazine catch and, as you can see from the space in the slide, this initial model doesn’t have a frame-mounted thumb safety.
But given Smith & Wesson’s past practices with the M&P line, it’s a good bet that a model with a thumb safety will be offered down the road.
The magazine well has a slight bevel to it to aid in mag loading.
As for that barrel . . .
Take the gun down (no trigger pull required…you don’t even have to remove the thread protector) and check it out.
As you can see above, the 5-inch barrel has a bottom lug. Rotate it slightly and slide it back to remove it from the sleeve.
The sights are the usual standard height three-dot arrangement, drift-adjustable front and rear.
And as pretty much every pistol should these days, the M&P 5.7 comes optic-ready, cut for an RMSc mount red dot.
With railage, there’s almost nothing you can’t attach to the pistol.
The M&P 5.7 is ready for however you want to trick it out.
Again, you don’t need to remove the thread protector to remove the slide.
Note the design of the M&P 5.7 leaves a slight gap between the frame and the slide on the front third of the pistol.
In a handgun with lightening cuts in the slide, that shouldn’t make any practical difference in the amount of dust and dirt it collects, but it’s…unusual.
For those of us with small hands, pistols chambered in 5.7×28 can be a challenge. The 5.7 cartridge is almost half an inch longer than a 9mm round. That means a bigger grip front to back and a longer reach to the trigger.
I’ve shot the Five-seveN (all three versions) the Ruger and now the Smith. The Smith feels like the length of pull is slightly longer than the other two. That said, I didn’t have trouble shooting it accurately. And if you have medium or large hands, you won’t have a problem at all. Just know that with anything smaller than large hands, you’ll likely have to shift your grip to reach the magazine release button.
The Smith ate up every round I fed it and begged for more. It’s just plain fun to shoot 5.7×28 pistols and if you haven’t done it, I’d recommend renting one, even if you don’t plan to buy one.
As for accuracy well…
I couldn’t tell much of a difference. both of those are 5-round groups shot free-hand at seven yards. I got supported hand-held patterns under three inches at 25 yards. The M&P 5.7 is more than accurate enough for whatever you’ll be shooting at.
The M&P 5.7 is also incredibly slim, noticeably more so than the other 5.7 pistols. That makes it a viable carry option should you choose to pack a full-size pistol.
There are now four good options for those who appreciate (and can afford to shoot) the 5.7×28 cartridge for what it is and what it can do (the KelTec is cool, but kind of its own animal). The 5.7 round’s high speed, flat trajectory and low recoil make it about as much fun to shoot as any semi-automatic handgun out there.
The M&P 5.7 is a very impressive offering for everything it is and all that it gives you at its price point. It’s notable that Smith’s entry into the 5.7 market packs two more standard capacity rounds than the Ruger at a slightly lower price. Oh, and the Ruger doesn’t have an optic cut (it’s drilled and tapped for a mounting plate). The Smith’s trigger, which is crisp and breaks at just under 3.5 pounds, is better and it’s about a tenth of an inch narrower. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but it’s noticeable.
As for comparing it to the FN Mk3, well, the Belgian gun is still the king of the 5.7 hill in overall design, build quality, and shootability. That said, the Five-seveN costs right at twice the street price of the M&P 5.7. That alone will sway a lot of people who want to get into 5.7×28 shooting and the Smith gun is no slouch. This is a very good, full-featured pistol and an attractive price.
Specifications: Smith & Wesson M&P 5.7
Ratings (out of five stars):
Style: * * *
It’s a polymer handguns. There’s nothing really to write home about here. That said, it’s consistent with the venerable M&P family of pistols with a few slight deviations like the lightening cuts in the slide those straight serrations, as opposed to the usual wavy gravy M&P motif.
Ergonomics: * * *
It’s as good as 5.7×28 can get. The M&P 5.7 is extremely slim and feels like it in the hand. Because of the length of the cartridge — more than a quarter inch longer than your typical .45 round — it has a long length of pull. For those of us with smaller hands, that usually means shifting your hands to get to the magazine release, but that’s part of the buy-in shooting a handgun chambered in 5.7.
Accuracy: * * * * *
You just gotta love the caliber. It may not be cheap, but it’s fast, flat-shooting and recoils like rimfire. That means you’ll hit exactly what you’re aiming at and greater distances than you’d get with your garden variety parabellum carry or home defense gun.
Overall: * * * * ½
Smith & Wesson’s really done something here. The M&P 5.7 is probably the best challenger to the king of the 5.7×28 hill, the FN FiveseveN MRD Mk3 and priced to attract most buyers wanting their first 5.7 caliber pistol.