M&P Pistols Shotgunning Ammo

Chris Costa posted this on his Facebook page.

The past few handgun classes I’ve taught I’ve seen a quality issue with Smith an Wesson M&P handguns. This is the 3rd gun in 9mm I’ve seen shotgun the target at 7 yards. Barrels are breaking apart at the crown an numerous malfunctions. No mods were done to the weapons an all 3 were newer weapons with less than 500 through them, so keep a watchful eye.

Ammo was a combination of Fed, CCI, and PMC.

No pictures of the actual guns but here is the target that it shot at.

Chris costa M&P 2 Chris costa M&P



This is obviously not an epidemic but something to look out for. I am sure S&W will fix the problem. Have any of our readers had these issues?

Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


  • S&W is just expanding the Governor lineup

  • Menger40

    I’m not sure I understand what I’m seeing. Is he saying that the rectangular holes in the paper are from bits of barrel flying out of the gun?

    • WasThere

      Its a feature, not a bug. 🙂

      • Menger40

        G2 Research is going to be so freakin’ mad when they see that S&W incorporated RIP trocars into their barrels 😛

    • Wetcoaster

      I think they might be from bullets keyholing

      • JumpIf NotZero

        I don’t think you know what keyholing mans.

        • schizuki

          I imagine Wetcoaster thinks keyholing means the same thing that I think it does: insufficiently-stabilized bullets tumbling in flight and sometimes impacting the target sideways. Are we mistaken?

          • RocketScientist

            Nope, thats what keyholing means. I THINK what Jump…Zero is trying to point out is that the rectangular holes present in the pictures are not nearly large enough to be from a single intact bullet impacting at any orientation. We can determine the diameter of the bullets being fired based on the on-center circular holes. Since the vast majority of bullets are AT LEAST as long as their diameter (typically more so) a keyholing intact bullet would leave a hole with its smallest dimension at least as big as normal non-keyholed hole. The fact that the rectangular holes pictured are considerably smaller than the circular ‘normal’ holes suggests they were made by a small fragment of debris… whether from a disintegrated projectile, or a piece of the gun/barrell, or some other explanation isn’t clear. But due to their size, keyholing, as it is typically used, is likely not the issue.

          • JumpIf NotZero

            This. And I had thought that was obvious 🙂

        • Zachary marrs

          What does “keyholing mans” mean then?

    • That would be the rounds flying apart.

      • Pete Sheppard

        Is that what ‘shotgunning’ in this article means? I’ve never seen the word applied like this before.

      • Andrew Hobby

        Can you explain this a little more? I’m confused. Is the bullet breaking apart in the barrel due to some defect in the barrel?

        I.E. the rifling is messed up or something along those lines?

  • Christian Hedegaard-Schou

    Anecdotes without pictures do not make a story.

    • Vitsause

      But, but, Saint Costa said it! Needs to be added to the bible now.

      • Andrew Hobby

        Bro, do you EVEN Costa?

        • Matthew Brennan

          No, I do not.

          • Alan Hodges


    • Ethan

      QUIET!! The beard can hear us…

  • Zachary marrs

    Model numbers? There is more than 1 type of m&p 9mm

  • ComeAndTakeIt

    Some lot numbers, serial numbers, or something would be nice. Any info on what to look for would be much appreciated.

    • When we get that information we will of course pass it along to the readers. Since S&W hasn’t issued an official recall a good deal of information is lacking. I would advise owners call S&W for details. We’ll do the same.

      • ComeAndTakeIt

        Thank you Phil W.

      • Tom Currie

        I’d love to hear a recording of that conversation: Hello, Smith & Wesson Customer Service, I heard a rumor that three of some model of your M&P line might have had some problems over the past three months — could you tell me when you are going to recall all your M&P guns for free replacement??

  • Will P.

    Without more information it is hard to believe this is not a hoax of some kind. Did they check and make sure they weren’t shooting 9mm shot shells. Lol

  • It could be he just likes the M&P as I do. It needs work to be the best. I replaced the Internals and put a flat trigger in from APEX. Best trigger I’ve used in a long while. Add to that a Wilson Combat match barrel and you have a tack driver.

    • Barrel + Trigger + Internals replacement seems like quite a bit of work to improve the pistol. At that point its just a plastic grip, slide, and set of sights. Compared to a PPQ, VP9, CZ P09 etc that are pretty much perfect out of the box for the same price point, it’s hard to see the appeal there.

      • Dracon1201

        This man knows what he is talking about. If I need to work on a pistol out of the box and change nearly everything important on it to make it what I want, and it isn’t an imported rifle, then why? Walther CZ, Springfield Armory, and otherwise make pistols I would much rather have.

        • It really wasn’t a situation where I had to change anything. I just prefer APEX parts after trying them in a friends gun. Besides this M&P Pro was built at an armorers course where each person builds their own pistol.

          • Dracon1201

            That’s fun. I sure wish the public could access these special events. Some of us would love to do that.

          • Actually you probably could. A lot of gun shop owners go to these courses and they are allowed to invite one other person. It’s a pretty neat class.

      • It is and the cost is $169 but I wanted to do the work because I like the ergonomics of the pistol.

      • n0truscotsman

        Very true. That is what is irritating.

        Same with Glock. If I have to buy a apex extractor because glock decided to reinvent the wheel to a less reliable, less effective “improvement”, then that is unsatisfactory in my opinion. Even though I haven’t had issues with a 19 that I bought 2 years ago, many did.

        I do like the PPQs though for some reason. Walther did well.

  • tazman66gt

    I agree with most of the comments, where’s the pics if the barrels? And the pics of the targets doesn’t really show much. Need a lot more info before we go off blaming anyone or anything.

    • Many times we don’t have access to photos. We just have to go with what’s available to us.

      • Martin Grønsdal

        Then maybe you shouldn’t go?

        • I expected that reply but that’s not my call. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t have ok’d it.

          • Martin Grønsdal

            You would have ok’d an article that provides hearsay only, no evidence and is basically spreading rumors?

            I think the firearmblog would be better off adhering to journalistic standards, than this.

      • Tom Currie

        I have to agree with several others who have suggested that TFB should not have published this accusation without at least some sort of information to back it up. Whoever Chris Costa is, he should have been able to back up his claims with specific gun models and photos of the barrels that were supposedly breaking apart. No one is saying that this couldn’t have happened or that TFB shouldn’t be publishing it if it was verifiable — but publishing vague accusations with no factual information and no supporting photos or documents is blatantly irresponsible.

        • Grindstone50k

          “Whoever Chris Costa is”

          This line made my night.

          • Nicks87

            Yep me too, I got a pretty good laugh out of that one.

          • valorius

            99% of America has never heard of him.

          • Nicks87

            He was questioning Costa’s credibility without doing some research first. Of course we dont expect everyone to know who Chris Costsa is but before you say he’s full of sh*t maybe you should do a quick google search first.

          • valorius

            Fair enough.

        • Phillip Cooper

          Prepare for the pile-on of Costa fanboys who mock you for not knowing every single figure in the firearms world…

          • Tom Currie

            Yawn. I stopped worrying about idiots long ago. The point was that Costa may even be THE expert on the M&P (he’s certainly its biggest fanboy), but just because he says that three unspecified 9mm M&Ps had possibly similar failures in three months under extreme usage hardly constitutes a valid reason to condemn the company or its products. If anyone SHOULD have provided more detailed information, Costa certainly would head the list of people who OUGHT TO be able to identify specific models and OUGHT TO know that documentation is essential.

          • Nicks87

            “he’s certainly its biggest fanboy”
            You just said you didnt know who he was, so how do you know he’s an M&P fanboy or that he OUGHT TO do anything? Idiots hmm?

          • Tom Currie

            Doh! Guess what Nicks, there is this new website online called Google – you should try it some time.

          • valorius

            I’ve been shooting for 40 yrs, I’ve never heard of him either.

          • Tom Currie

            I’ve got about 9 years on you — and like you, I don’t really pay attention to all the new kids that come and go with their fads.

  • Grindstone50k

    About 500rds into the wife’s M&P9, haven’t noticed anything close to this.

    • Zachary marrs

      I have around 700 through mine, not a single hiccup

      • Grindstone50k

        Also used a range rental M&P9 a couple months ago that had god knows how many thousands of rounds through it. It was very well broken in, including a very worn-out slide stop.

  • Mark Hillard

    S&W has been going down hill for years.

  • limasierra1813

    Just when S&W announces they are trying to replace the Beretta m9 as the official sidearm of the U.S. military (and possibly NATO), we get this. Smells fishy to me…

  • El Duderino

    Enhanced Hit Probability!

    • Zachary marrs

      The guy who created project salvo just wet his pants

  • me ohmy

    thanks….I’ll stay with CZ.. S&W and automatic…never a good combo IMHO

    • Blake

      My Dad’s 5904 runs like a top & is plenty accurate. The only jams we’ve ever had were with dirty surplus/econo ammo, or cheap mags (which were subsequently discarded). Factory mags & Mec-Gar mags work great.

      However, build quality from 20 years ago doesn’t indicate what they’re up to now…

  • J.T.

    “Unless Costa has seen multiple pistols doing the same thing I don’t see how he could say there is a decline in quality, or is that what he is saying?”

    He said he has seen 3 do it recently and all were relatively new production. Possibly just a bad batch of barrels or something.

  • STW

    Iv’e seen and heard of similar pattering being caused by cheaper plated bullets. I’d suspect this case is more an ammo issue than an M&P issue.

  • Not a clue—– That;s the only person I’ve heard it from.

  • Look him up he’s well known in the industry.

  • valorius

    Without pix of failed barrels I will make no judgements.

  • valorius

    I’m not tacticool, so I’ve never heard of him.

  • n0truscotsman

    I think many were attracted to them because Glock refuses to admit their Gen 4 is anything but perfect and they were a good alternative at the time, although the PPQ and VP9 seems to be a more attractive option for striker fire these days IMO. I have also heard the FNS and the CZ P09 but I dont have the experience with this guns to form an opinion of them.

    I have a shield and the M&P 9. Although I haven’t had any issues with keyholing, the trigger alone on the M&P 9 is contemptable. It seems Smith didn’t copy Glock’s trigger well enough unfortunately.

  • john huscio

    Belgian federal police sent 6,000 m&p9s back to s&w because of “jamming problems”……. Not really a glowing endorsement of the platform……

  • Because that’s all we had to post. Many time we get these stories and post without as much visual information as we would like. If the original poster doesn’t show them we can’t post them.

  • How about we show each other some respect and keep it civil.

  • Kivaari

    Not relevant but the cannon on the M4 Sherman was known to break off chunks of the “lands” if fired fast and furious. When soldiers in the field requested new tubes, the REMF-types couldn’t understand why. Until they watched how fast the guns were being fired. The tankers got new tubes.