Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB Pistol Test Review
Testers: Doug Wall, Stephen Archer
Caliber: .177 BB
Model Number: 2255053
Test Date: 26 January, 2017
Serial Numbers: 16G01174
Source of Supply: Supplied by UmarexUSA
Great blowback realism.
We Don't Like
BB loading very difficult.
Low shot count.
- Value for Money 100%
- Comparison to Makers Claims:100%
- Consistency 100%
- Appearance and Finish 100%
- Buying and Owning 30%
- Realism, Look & Feel 100%
- Realism, Trigger Action 100%
- Accuracy & Point of Aim 40%
- Shot Count 40%
- Muzzle Velocity 70%
HARD AIR MAGAZINE TEST CONCLUSIONS
The Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol tested by HAM was a mixture of outstanding realism, combined with frustration in use. It earns a HAM Silver Award.
Looks, handling, operation – even field-stripping – are first class. The great blowback of the metal slide makes you feel you are shooting the firearm. The BB-firing M&P 40 even comes complete complete with interchangeable grip backstraps, just like the firearm it copies.
But the gun shoots low. That may not matter for practice, but it will disappoint the plinker who wants to at least hit a soda can consistently.
More frustrating is the difficulty of loading BBs. Sure, you could buy a speedloader, but you shouldn’t need to. If you can’t easily load BBs, it’s very easy to loose the fun and enjoyment of any BB pistol. This is a real downer for the M&P 40 in the HAM Team’s opinion.
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price of $90.00, the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol is positioned on the “good side” of $100. At that price, it’s outstanding value for the realism, appearance and consistency it offers. It’s also way cheaper than the firearm, which typically sells for $500 – $600.
|HAM Test Rating
|Value For Money
|At $90 you get great realism.
|Firearm it Copies
|Smith & Wesson M&P 40
|Best BB Tested
|Avanti Ground Shot
|Street Price at Time of Test
|.177 caliber steel BBs.
|1 x 12 Gram CO2 cartridge.
|Useful Shots per Fill
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REALISM – LOOKS AND FEEL
The Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol is an outstanding replica of the firearm original!
As HAM Tester Doug Wall wrote in his testing notes: “This is a wonderful replica gun. It’s virtually identical to the firearm, right down to the replaceable back grips.”
Size, weight, balance and functionality are all just about perfect. The magazine of the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol is heavier than that of many other BB pistols. This helps to make the gun “grip heavy”, just like the firearm original with a full load of ammo. You really feel the difference when the magazine release is depressed and the mag drops free.
The CO2 cartridge-piercing screw is very well concealed in the bottom of the pistol grip. And – in what I’m sure is a first for a replica BB pistol – three back replaceable backstraps are included with the M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol. These are, grippy, synthetic backstraps are supplied for small, medium and – you guessed it – large sizes. They certainly allow the pistol to be customized for comfortable grip whatever your hand size. Just like the firearm original.
The backstraps are interchanged by pulling out a retaining pin, removing the grip, replacing with the new grip and re-inserting the pin. Medium grips are fitted by the factory and they worked fine for the HAM testers.
Weight of the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol tested by HAM was 27 ounces (including CO2 cartridge). This is almost exactly the same as the weight of the M&P 40 firearm original.
ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT
The Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol tested by HAM gave typical accuracy for a BB pistol.
No-one expects “target level” accuracy from replica BB pistols. “Minute of soda can” accuracy is quite acceptable and the M&P 40 delivers that at 6 yards. The 10-yard target showed a much larger spread – as you would expect – yet 8 out of 10 BBs hit within a soda can size.
But. And there’s a big but…
The M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol tested by HAM shot low. Very low. The point of impact of the gun tested by HAM shot about 2-inches low at 6 yards and about 5-inches low at 10 yards. This means that, although the M&P 40 tested by HAM does shoot soda can-sized groups, they may actually not hit the can as the gun shoots too low. You can see this in the test targets, below.
HAM Tester Doug Wall commented, “A low point of impact is problematic in that, to correct the aim, you have to aim high and can’t see your target.”
The M&P 40 does have windage (side-to-side) adjustable front and rear sights. But there is no elevation adjustment. In fact a 0.056-inch higher rear sight (or lower front sight) is required to make the gun shoot close to the point of aim.
Note, to adjust the windage, loosen the front sight with a 0.050-inch Allen key (hex wrench), slide the sight across a little and clamp the setscrew back down. It’s easy to do, but you’ll probably need a couple of tries to get it right as adjustment is “by eye” only.
The rear sight looks as if it’s adjustable for windage in the same way. However, loosening – even removing – the setscrew would not allow movement of the rear sight. We tried it so that you don’t need to…
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Avanti Precision Ground Shot .177 Cal, 5.1 Grains, Steel BBs, 1050ct
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COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Umarex claims a muzzle velocity of 300 FPS for the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol. At least that’s what’s in the Umarex USA catalog. On the box it says 310 FPS.
At any event, this is not a high muzzle velocity – again the blowback may have an impact here. But it’s clear from HAM testing that the M&P 40 does meet, or even exceed, this claim, even in our cool, 60 degree F, test range.
At higher ambient temperatures, we would expect the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol to significantly exceed the manufacturer’s claims, 300 FPS or 310 FPS…
The HAM team was amazed at the consistency of the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol we tested.
Standard Deviation – the shot-to-shot variation between muzzle velocities in the string – was incredibly low for a BB pistol. The Standard Deviations we recorded were between 5 and 6 FPS for each string. This is by far the best we have recorded from any replica BB pistol and matches the results we would expect from a high end $1,000 + air rifle. Wow!
The practical result of this is that muzzle velocity – and therefore – point of impact – did not fall very much throughout the string. This would have been a considerable aid to accuracy, if only the point of impact matched the point of aim…
Trigger pull was also very consistent at between 3 Lbs 6 Oz to 3 Lbs 13 Ozs.
REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION
Another great score for realism here!
The Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol tested by HAM had a trigger pull weight of a little over 3.5 Lbs – pretty close to what would be expected on the pro “competition” model. The trigger itself feels crisp and a pleasure to operate.
The blowback action itself is quite substantial. The slide has a full travel back along the frame when the gun fires. So you really get the feeling that you’re shooting a firearm when you fire the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol.
The safety is very positive, yet not difficult to engage and disengage. The gun fires single-action, as does the original, of course.
As we have come to expect from Umarex replica BB pistols, all of the minor controls are fully-functional too. The ambidextrous safety really does operate from both sides, the slide release works, as does the takedown lever. The magazine release works, of course,
Of course, you never get something for nothing and the great blowback action of the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol is gained at the expense of a poor shot count.
In HAM testing, we achieved only 48 shots from a full 12 Gram CO2 cartridge, under steady firing conditions. The M&P 40 stopped shooting at shot 48, with the muzzle velocity down to 198 FPS, in our admittedly cool, 60 degree F, test range.
This shot count is the second-lowest recorded by HAM. The Umarex Legends P08 blowback pistol achieved just 46 shots from a 12 gram cartridge. And the Legends M712 only just beat it to 55 shots.
What all these BB pistols have in common is a very strong, ultra-realistic blowback action. Given the limited amount of CO2 in a 12 Gram cartridge, it’s clear that – in most cases – you need to make a choice between ultra-realistic action or lots of shots per cartridge.
The HAM team will take realism every time. But if a shot count of 100 or more per CO2 cartridge is more important to you, most manufacturers offer non-blowback versions of the same gun at a lower cost. If you want a high shot count M&P 40 BB pistol, Umarex offers a non-blowback model…
Muzzle velocity is well down the list of requirements for any firearms-replica BB pistol.
The Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol tested by HAM is clearly on the slow side, when compared to many other BB pistols. However, this is probably not a big deal for most users. The consistent 300 FPS is plenty enough for punching holes in paper targets and perforating a soda can.
|Average Muzzle Velocity
|Average Muzzle Energy
|Crosman Copperhead 5.13 Grain
|Umarex Steel 5.29 Grain
|ASG Blaster 5.32 Grain
|Hornady Black Diamond 5.36 Grain
|Daisy Avanti 5.44 Grain
|Excellent. Best Tested.
Many people will buy the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol as a plinker. But, we suspect, a significant number of sales will be made to owners of the M&P 40 firearm for use as a training tool. For training, in particular, the muzzle velocity is perfectly adequate and the blowback a much more important feature.
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
The appearance and finish of the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol tested by HAM were simply outstanding!
The molded plastic parts all have excellent texture and finish. There’s a minimal seam between the two halves of the frame and the “military – S&W – Police” logo on the grips is faultlessly-molded, for example. The metal slide is also very well cast.
While there is some printing of information on the pistol, as with any firearms replica BB pistol, there’s also some engraving on the slide. This makes a HUGE difference to the appearance of the gun. The M&P 40 logo, manufacturer’s name and “S&W” logo are all engraved into the slide and these give a beautifully crisp, clear finish that just shouts quality and realism.
What’s more, the pistol’s serial number is both printed onto the slide AND stamped into the frame. This is yet another way in which the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol really looks “just right”.
It’s this sort of attention to detail that really makes a difference in a market where the general level of appearance and finish is already very high.
BUYING AND OWNING
The Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol is available online from all the usual vendors such as Pyramyd Air and Airgun Depot. It may also be available in local big box sporting goods stores.So, it’s pretty easy to buy.
It is provided with an excellent user’s manual – as is the case with most Umarex replica air pistols. This manual is in English, French and Spanish. It clearly covers the information users will need to safely and successfully use this air pistol.
Warranty is the usual Umarex 90-day limited coverage. Although this is greater than the warranty period provided by some other manufacturers (ASG gives just 60 days), Crosman provides 12 months warranty on its BB replica pistols and Gletcher gives a class-leading 18 months.
As with other BB pistols, the M&P 40 is not designed to be repaired – certainly not by the customer. However, as the valve is contained in the magazine, it can be easily replaced if defective, simply by replacing the magazine.
You definitely will want to buy several additional magazines for the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol. Particularly for training, having multiple magazines pre-loaded with CO2s and BBs is the best way to ensure a long, enjoyable shooting session with the M&P 40.
A separate Allen (hex) wrench is required for installing CO2 cartridges. Of course, one is supplied with the M&P 40. But if you loose it, you may like to know that the size is 6mm metric, this is a pretty standard size for many replica air pistols.
But here is where the HAM team found the greatest difficulty with the Smith & Wesson M&P 40 Blowback BB pistol we tested. You see, we found the BB magazine very difficult to load!
The M&P 40’s Magazine does accept 15 rounds, as claimed. But the follower spring is very strong and the follower itself very small and near to impossible to grip unless you have thumbnails of steel! There’s no follower catch to lock it in place either – as is the case with many BB pistols.This means you have to keep the follower pulled down against that spring all the time you’re loading BBs.
This makes loading the M&P 40 a real trial and definitely takes the shine of of this otherwise attractive BB pistol.
See how over-compressed the BB follower spring is in the photograph below. The mag is loaded with 15 BBs.
We spoke to Umarex USA about this issue and they recommended using the Umarex Universal Steel BB Speedloader for easier loading. But the HAM Team didn’t have one and so our comments are based on the basic M&P 40 as we found it.
SAFETY FIRST. As with all BB-firing airguns, it’s necessary to wear shooting glasses when firing this airgun. Also do not shoot at hard surfaces or water. BBs tend to bounce off these surfaces and may hit you, or something other than what you intended. If in doubt, don’t pull the trigger! Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm.
6-YARD TEST TARGETS
10-YARD TEST TARGET
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