I went to Cabela’s yesterday and spent plenty of time at the gun counter. I found it interesting that the counter rep hardly paid me any notice as I was inspecting the first firearm, a Walther P99 QA. As I asked for the next pistol, a Smith & Wesson 99, and began comparing the two pistols, I found that there was no difference between them, other than the grip aesthetic. The trigger pull was heavy and long. Since both pistols are polymer framed, pre-cocked striker fired, pistols, I found no reason to go any further with my investigation.
Please don’t misunderstand, I have nothing against polymer framed pistols. I love my XD, almost too much, but I found that neither the Walther P99 QA nor the S&W 99 were floating my boat.
Once I had proven that I knew a something of what I was talking about, the counter rep was very, very helpful. As I continued down the counter I came to an interesting case. The top shelf was filled with my beloved XD’s. The second shelf contained Smith & Wesson’s M&P. The M&P is Smith & Wesson’s latest foray into the world of polymer framed pistols.
After their first flop, the Sigma (some claimed to be a Glock knock off), and the second, a some-what successful venture, the S&W 99 (from a joint partnership with Walther), Smith & Wesson decided to go back to the drawing board before releasing their latest, and first solo, polymer product. Now, I’m not going to give you a run down of the pistol. You can read those here (also here and here) and here (probably the best article). And the home page here, which, unfortunately, isn’t very helpful.The M&P felt great in my hand. It was comfortable and felt like an extension of my arm. The trigger felt OK, not great, but OK. I later found that the trigger wasn’t great because it uses a pre-cocked striker like the Sigma and the 99.
At this point in my life I am NOT a fan of the pre-cocked striker. I understand that it acts as a passive safety, since there are no manual safeties on the gun to speak of (the .45 does have a thumb safety but I found it to be obtrusive as I tried to manually lock open the slide), but I’m not a total fan of the DAO. True, the pre-cocked striker is not a true DAO but it’s the closest comparison that you can come to with current terminology. I think I’ll create some new terminology, PCS and FCS. If you can’t figure it out, I don’t want to explain.
I love the FCS on my XD. There is a long draw, which moves all of the internal safeties but then, a crisp, clean break for the kaboom! If I could beg Smith & Wesson to change anything about the M&P it would be changing the striker from and PCS to an FCS because I really, really, really want to like it! In fact, I really did like it until I discovered the PCS. Some range testing will be needed to see if I can really like it once again.
What I was really looking for yesterday was some direction in finding a carry pistol. I’m sorry to say to all of you stingy 1911’ers that I will not be getting a Kimber Pro Carry II or anything of the sort. 1) I don’t have the funds. 2) I already own a .40 and for ammunition ease would like to keep my pistols the same caliber. 3) I am always willing to look outside of what other say is the “best” thing. You may think that the 1911 platform is the “best” that there is, but something else may have come along using a modified 1911 platform that might be “better” for me.
I couldn’t find anything that I liked in a polymer striker pistol. Springfield XD doesn’t have a compact model chambered in .40 S&W. Glock, gag me. Sigma, the counter rep called it a good truck gun. Simple to operate and effective when you need to let some lead fly. I was liking the M&P but now I’m not so sure because of the PCS. S&W 99, out. Walther P99 QA, out.
So I’m down to this either I look heavily into a P99 AS or I move away from striker fired pistols and stay with the traditional hammer fired pistols. Nothing wrong with a hammer. Heck, if I wanted to stay with a polymer frame I could purchase a Sig Sauer SP2022. Compact, chambered in .40 S&W, traditional SA/DA, 10 or 12 round mags. That would work very nicely. My brother has a Sig 220 Compact, if I’m not mistaken, in .45 ACP and it shoots very nicely.
But again, maybe I’m getting too caught up in this. The important thing with a carry piece is not who makes it but how you shoot it! I have a cousin who carries a Smith & Wesson similar to this (right) and he absolutely loves it. Just more proof that it’s not what you shoot but how you shoot it. If looks count though, I’m leaning toward the CZ.
It seems as if I have rambled off topic slightly. Well, in the end it was a successful day at Cabela’s. I got some answers to some questions that I had and of course, enjoyed a Buffalo Burger. Cabela’s is just one of those stores that I can spend hours in. So much to see, so little time. I learned not to tell my wife when I’d be home because, well, when that didn’t happen I got in trouble but that’s another story.