Having got my primaries into a state I was happy with, I figured I ought to turn my attention to sidearms, an area I’ve typically paid little thought to over the years outside of having a pistol as a last ditch back up rather than something to be used more offensively.
Having decided to get myself a new pistol, I ended up buying two, a WE F226 (P226) and a TM M&P9 ‘V Custom’.
The V Custom version of the M&P9 was released on 25 December 2014, at the same time as the HK417, and as such it’s the newest in TMs pistol line up (at time of posting). The pistol is an all plastic affair, as usual for any TM pistol, but rather than the previously shiny plastic, the finish and colour is much improved, duller finish. It is modelled upon the Smith & Wesson M&P9 VTAC (Viking Tactics).
Unloaded, the pistol is very light weight (400 grams) although once a mag is inserted the weight comes up to 620 grams. For some the lack of weight in the hand might be a turn off, but the trade off is excellent gas effeciency and cold weather performance (coupled with other improvements noted later) that you’re unlikely to see from pistols with metal slides.
Compared to the original M&P9, there is one main differences, outside of the obvious tan colour. The sights are different, providing faux fibre dot sights for ‘day shooting’ and the traditional three white dot for ‘night shooting’ whereas the original only has the white dots. Both sets of sights seem to be easy to pick up although having not handled the original I can’t comment whether they are any better, although reports from those who have seen to prefer the V custom ones.
The magazine is 26+1 double stack affair, and comes with a tan base plate to match the pistol. You also receive a spare in the box so you can have matching base plates on spare mags if that takes your fancy. The magazines are also a one piece a design, which reduces the opportunities for leaks and is a welcomed change over mags for guns like the 226. Due to their size you can expect at least two mags per fill before you experience signifant performance issues.
One much improved feature over many pistols (including many of TMs own), is that the hop adjustment is accessible without dissembly through the ejection port. To access, you just need to lock the slide back, make your adjustment and send the slide home. This makes fine tuning hassle free and quicker compared to having to pop the slide off each time.
All of the controls are, or can be made to be, ambidextrous (safety and slide lock are, and the mag release can be flipped over). Rather interestingly the slide lock does not engage on the externals of the slide, rather it engages internally which saves the slide being worn out by the metal catch (the catch is still operated by the user in the normal way).
As well as having a physical thumb safety, the M&P9 also incorporates a Glock style trigger safety. The downside of this system is that the trigger does feel slightly spongey and has a fairly long pull although if speed triggers are your thing, you can either mod the mechanism or after market parts are available.
Performance wise, it was bought at AI500 half way through the Saturday, grip changed out and gassed up and run for the rest of the weekend without anything else being down. It twice found itself barrel down in the Anzio mud (having made a bid for freedom from a pouch, as there were no holsters available on site). Over the remaining Saturday and Sunday it ran without fault, in fairly mild conditions (ambient temperature probably between 5-10 degrees). The FPS clocked in around 250 on 0.25g Blaster BBs using WE Premium Green Gas (a freebie from AI), which equates roughly to 280FPS with a 0.2g, which I find to be perfectly acceptable. This pistol, like many of TM’s newer offerings, also sports a 15mm cylinder, which gives it a heftier kick and will also deal with cooler weather better than others without. The downside being that in summer temperatures, you’ll probably want to step down a gas from propane/green gas, but it does mean that if you fit a metal slide, it should cope happily with it.
In terms of range and accuracy, it mostly got used for close up CQB work, with distances normally no greater than 20 metres, and it was hitting pretty much whatever I pointed at. There were a couple of engagements out to around 30 metres that it handled its own in, especially as I left the hop untouched from its factory setting (laziness on my part to get back and grab lunch before the afternoon resumed).
When it comes down to it, I’m very happy with this purchase, and whilst it is fairly expensive for something that might spend a lot of time on your hip at £150, however if you can find a few more excuses to unholster it, you won’t be let down and makes for a solid purchase.