Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Threaded

Send to Kindle
The Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Threaded Kit (threaded barrel installed, standard barrel shown below)

The Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Threaded Kit (threaded barrel installed, standard barrel shown below)

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=m%26p%20.45%20threaded

As the “kit” part of the name implies, the Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Threaded Kit comes with some extra parts, mainly a second barrel. This model includes the standard M&P 45 barrel but also includes an extended threaded barrel for suppressor attachment.

Two 10-round magazines are included in the box along with two additional palm swell inserts, so you have a choice of configuring the grip to small, medium, or large diameter.

M&P 45 Threaded left side.

M&P 45 Threaded left side.

You’ll also find two magazines, each offering 10-round capacity, so if you carry one in the chamber, that’s 11 rounds of 45 ACP plus ten more in a spare magazine.

All of this comes in a Smith & Wesson blue plastic carrying case. The case has two latches and two holes for padlocks, so it’s TSA air travel compliant as checked baggage. Although the box itself can be locked, I would always put the whole thing inside another bag as it’s not intended to be theft resistant. That and the fact that it has a big Smith & Wesson logo imprinted on the side.

The Quick Tour

Like others in the M&P family, this one is a striker-fired model. It’s ambidextrous – there are slide lock / release levers on both sides. The magazine release operates on one side at a time but is reversible. The takedown lever is on the left side only. Of course, there’s no compelling reason for that to be ambidextrous as it’s not something you need to operate while shooting.

The M&P 45 ate everything I fed it, including a healthy diet of lotsa these lead hand loads.

The M&P 45 ate everything I fed it, including a healthy diet of lotsa these lead hand loads.

The threaded barrel is exactly 1/2-inch longer than the standard and comes with a thread protector.

The threaded barrel is exactly 1/2-inch longer than the standard and comes with a thread protector.

As of now, there’s not an option for a manual safety as with other M&P models. Perhaps Smith will offer that option down the road if the threaded barrel models become popular. Or, you can just pick up a threaded barrel for one already configured that way.

The pistol is also currently available in all black – no flat dark earth combinations are in the catalog yet. The frame is the full-size variant, and there’s no word yet on whether Smith & Wesson will offer a threaded kit on the compact model platform. The full-size footprint is fine with me as you’re gonna end up with a huge pistol anyway when you mount a .45 caliber suppressor on it. One more thing to note. We’re covering the .45ACP model here, but Smith & Wesson also offers the M&P 9mm Threaded Kit. It’s virtually identical to the .45 big brother we’ll discuss here except it’s a tad less expensive and has ¼-inch shorter barrels.

The controls are simple - takedown lever, slide lock and magazine release. The magazine release can be flipped to the other side if you like.

The controls are simple – takedown lever, slide lock and magazine release. The magazine release can be flipped to the other side if you like.

There's a slide lock lever on the right side too.

There’s a slide lock lever on the right side too.

Like the other members of the M&P family, the frame is polymer while the slide and barrel are constructed from stainless steel. Both slide and barrel are treated with a black corrosion-resistant finish. The slide has the characteristic M&P scallop-pattern slide serrations at the rear and a smaller set forward for press checks. The left side of the slide is fairly clean, having only an engraved Smith & Wesson and M&P45 logos. The right side also has an engraved Smith & Wesson mark. Fouling up the otherwise very attractive slide is a caution warning in small white letters. “Caution: Capable of firing with magazine removed.” Because lawyers. Uggh. Along the top, you’ll note a visual cue that this is a .45 as the caliber is engraved in the top of the barrel chamber. A small hole above the breech face allows a visual check to see if anything is in the chamber.

This gun is meant to be configured like this. Shown here with a SilencerCo Osprey 45 suppressor.

This gun is meant to be configured like this. Shown here with a SilencerCo Osprey 45 suppressor.

The sights are the standard M&P three-dot models and aren’t suppressor height. I mounted three different silencers on this pistol during testing, a SilencerCo Osprey 45, an SWR Octane 45, and an Advanced Armament Corporation TiRant 45 Modular. With all three, the sights were obscured by the suppressor bodies and I had to “shoot through” the suppressor. This isn’t really as big a deal as it may sound. When you shoot with both eyes open, your brain will transpose the sights and target anyway, but I would prefer to have suppressor-height sights come standard on this model. If you want to add suppressor sights, you can check with Dawson Precision. The only other option, until sight makers catch up, is to have your slide milled for Glock sight dovetails. Some companies already have suppressor sight options for that cut.

The small hole is a chamber status indicator. You can see, but not feel, if there is a cartridge in there.

The small hole is a chamber status indicator. You can see, but not feel, if there is a cartridge in there.

The slide serrations are the distinctive M&P scallop pattern.

The slide serrations are the distinctive M&P scallop pattern.

The Trigger

The trigger has about ⅜ of an inch of three-pound takeup before the break pressure begins. About half way through the takeup is a “shelf” or click. It doesn’t add any pressure or appreciably change the trigger stroke, but it’s there and noticeable. The break stage feels like increasing pressure until a slightly mushy break at right about seven pounds of pressure according to my Timney Triggers gauge. While perfectly serviceable, I will say that it’s not my favorite polymer gun trigger. I will say that the rounded trigger face makes the weight feel less than it measures.

The rounded face of the trigger makes the pull weight feel lighter than it measures on the scale.

The rounded face of the trigger makes the pull weight feel lighter than it measures on the scale.

The M&P 45 Threaded Kit ships with two 10-round magazines.

The M&P 45 Threaded Kit ships with two 10-round magazines.

If you want to jazz up your M&P trigger action, check out Apex Tactical. While they offer a variety of enhancement options for carry and competition, their Action Enhancement Kit is a good start to get the M&P trigger into tip top shape.

Backstrap Panels

The Smith & Wesson M&P 45 Threaded Kit comes with three backstrap inserts. Unlike Glocks, where the “small size” is the frame itself and you add panels to make it larger, the Smith frame requires that one of the inserts is in place – the pistol has a missing chunk out of the backstrap until a panel is installed. This is neither good nor bad; I’m just pointing out the difference in approach to changing grip size.

You change the backstrap panels by removing this pin from the base of the magazine well. This tool doubles as a sear release for takedown.

You change the backstrap panels by removing this pin from the base of the magazine well. This tool doubles as a sear release for takedown.

The M&P 45 Threaded Kit ships with three different backstrap inserts for small, medium and large grip size adjustments.

The M&P 45 Threaded Kit ships with three different backstrap inserts for small, medium and large grip size adjustments.

Changing them is easy. When you drop the magazine (and fully unload the gun!), you’ll see a protrusion on the back of the magazine well that looks almost like a partial magazine well. Rotate this 90 degrees in either direction and it will pull completely out of the grip in the same direction that the magazine drops. As a side note, this tool can also be used to disengage the sear when you take down the pistol for cleaning, so you don’t have to pull the trigger. You might need to apply a bit of force to remove the pin tool – my sample gun had a tight fit. Once this pin is removed, you can rock the existing backstrap insert out. This gun came with the small insert in place. It’s easy to tell which is which as the interiors are clearly labeled “small,” “medium,” and “large.”

I got out a cloth tape measure to take some measurements of grip circumference of each at the center.

Small: 5 ⅝ inches
Medium: 5 ¾ inches
Large: 6 inches

The backstrap removal pin shown in its normal position. To remove, turn 90 degrees and pull it out.

The backstrap removal pin shown in its normal position. To remove, turn 90 degrees and pull it out.

A Picatinny rail up front allows attachment of lights and lasers.

A Picatinny rail up front allows attachment of lights and lasers.

Barrel Squared

Two different barrels come with the M&P45 Threaded Kit, which is probably why this gun is referred to as a “kit” in the first place. In the box is a 4.5-inch standard .45 caliber barrel which features a 1:16-inch twist rate. Installed on the gun is a second barrel which is five inches in length. As you might guess, this one is threaded. It also features a 1:16-inch twist rate. The threading is .578×28 TPI and a mildly checkered thread protector cap is included.

The standard sights weren't tall enough to clear any of the three suppressors I used.

The standard sights weren’t tall enough to clear any of the three suppressors I used.

The rear sight is a ramped two dot variety. Both front and rear are installed via dovetail cuts and can be changed.

The rear sight is a ramped two dot variety. Both front and rear are installed via dovetail cuts and can be changed.

Field Stripping

A lot of folks get pretty worked up about being able to field strip a pistol without pulling the trigger. Personally, this has never been a big deal to me, but if you care, the Smith & Wesson M&P can be field stripped without a trigger press.

Field stripping is easy - just rotate the takedown lever to remove the slide assembly.

Field stripping is easy – just rotate the takedown lever to remove the slide assembly.

You can field strip the M&P 45 without pulling the trigger by flipping this sear disengagement lever.

You can field strip the M&P 45 without pulling the trigger by flipping this sear disengagement lever.

When you lock the slide open, you’ll see a sear deactivation lever just below the breech face. Using a small screwdriver, pen, or the grip panel attachment pin, just flip this lever down, and the sear is released without having to press the trigger. What this means is that you can rotate the takedown lever and remove the slide assembly without a trigger press. You can also achieve the same result by pressing the trigger after you rotate the takedown lever.

Once all this is done, you’ve separated the M&P into the major components of slide, barrel, recoil spring, and frame.

Velocity Testing

I did all the velocity testing with an AAC TiRant 45 Modular suppressor installed because… fun. Here’s what I measured using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph placed 15 feet down range. I calculated averages for each ammo type based on multiple shot strings.

AmmunitionVelocity (feet per second)
Sig Sauer V-Crown868.1
Federal Range and Target 230-grain826.0
American Eagle Suppressor 230-grain841.3
Barnes TAC-XPD +P 185-grain977.4
Remington HTP 185-grain1,072.7
Sig Sauer Elite Performance FMJ 230-grain863.9
Winchester PDX1 Defender 230-grain946.9

Just for kicks, I tested velocity of the American Eagle Suppressor Ammo both with and without the suppressor installed, just to see how much difference, if any, the suppressor made. As it turns out, there was a fairly significant impact. As the chart above shows, the average velocity with the TiRant installed was 841.3 feet per second. When I removed the silencer, the average velocity dropped to 792.4 feet per second. While not entirely unexpected, it was more of an effect than I would have guessed considering I used the threaded five-inch barrel for both suppressed and unsuppressed shooting.

This was a great opportunity to check out American Eagle's new Suppressor 45 ammo. Obviously it's subsonic, but more importantly, it uses low flash and cleaner powder for less suppressor fouling.

This was a great opportunity to check out American Eagle’s new Suppressor 45 ammo. Obviously it’s subsonic, but more importantly, it uses low flash and cleaner powder for less suppressor fouling.

This AAC TiRant 45 Modular suppressor was a great pairing in both the long and short silencer configurations.

This AAC TiRant 45 Modular suppressor was a great pairing in both the long and short silencer configurations.

Shooting and Accuracy Testing

While the M&P 45 Threaded Kit comes with two barrels, one standard and one threaded, I did all the accuracy testing using the threaded barrel. Why? Mainly because it’s a lot more fun to shoot with a suppressor!

I’ve always like the way the M&P handles. I tend to prefer the more rounded grip profile of an M&P as compared to a Glock. For me, it just fits the hand better and, as a result, is easier to control. The 18-degree grip angle also points naturally for me. If I close my eyes and raise the gun, I find the front and rear sight already in the same plane and generally close to on target. So, again, for me, the M&P is consistent with my natural point of aim. Again, for me, guns like the Glock, with it’s more aggressive grip angle, tend to point high when I thrust the gun forward without thinking about it. Of course, this is an individual “fit” thing, so your mileage may, and probably will, vary. I kept repeating “for me” because there is no right or wrong grip angle – that’s something you have to try for yourself with a few different guns.

A movie prop from Mad Max? Nah, I mounted this Bushnell Elite handgun scope using a UM Tactical Rail Mount  just for fun.

A movie prop from Mad Max? Nah, I mounted this Bushnell Elite handgun scope using a UM Tactical Rail Mount just for fun.

As I expected, I didn’t have any trouble with function – the M&P 45 ate everything I fed it with no malfunctions. Over a few outings, I also shot several hundred of my 185-grain lead semi-wadcutter hand loads. The M&P 45 didn’t have any trouble feeding those either.

I did my accuracy testing at an outdoor range late one afternoon, so with the onset of twilight conditions I figured it was the perfect time to test this out with a laser. Also, as the factory sights are obstructed by the suppressor, the laser allowed me to get an accurate sight picture 25 yards down range. Most Lasergrips and rail-mounted lasers will clear the suppressor body and provide a pretty good alternate sighting method. I used the Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro, which actually houses both a red laser and 100-lumen light. Since the operation mode is configurable, I disabled the light and used the laser only mode for sighting purposes. This rail mounted laser had no trouble clearing the body of a SilencerCo Osprey 45 suppressor, even though its oblong shape places more of the silencer body below the bore line.

So i could get an unobstructed sight picture, I mounted this Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro for accuracy testing.

So i could get an unobstructed sight picture, I mounted this Crimson Trace Rail Master Pro for accuracy testing.

Other than this "helpful" warning printed on the slide, the M&P is a very attractive handgun. Uggh. Lawyers.

Other than this “helpful” warning printed on the slide, the M&P is a very attractive handgun. Uggh. Lawyers.

I set up targets at 25 yards and fired multiple five-shot groups of each ammo type to get an average group size center to center. Here’s what I found.

AmmunitionAverage group size, five shots at 25 yards (inches)
American Eagle Suppressor 230-grain3.79”
Barnes TAC-XPD +P 185-grain2.62”
Remington HTP 185-grain3.56”
Sig Sauer Elite Performance FMJ 230-grain4.1”
Sig Sauer V-Crown JHP 230-grain2.83”
Speer Gold Dot 230-grain2.75”

As you can see, accuracy was perfectly acceptable for a service gun like this. Based on how it felt shooting groups, I probably could have improved the groups a bit with a trigger upgrade. Even shooting from sandbags, I had to pay attention to overcome that seven-pound trigger weight without movement. In a perfect world, I would love to see this trigger smoothed out and weighing in around five pounds.

Shooting Suppressed

I tested this gun with three different .45 caliber suppressors: the SilencerCo Osprey 45, the SilencerCo / SWR Octane 45, and the Advanced Armament TiRant 45 Modular.

Besides being more fun than carrying concealed into a Wild Wings or Panera Bread store with no one the wiser, there was no difference in function or reliability. Of course, with any suppressor installed, you’re going to get more filth in your gun. The chamber area and top of the magazine tend to collect grime a lot faster so you should plan on more frequent cleaning to keep things running.

I shot the M&P 45 Threaded with a broad assortment of .45 ACP ammo ranging from 185-grain to 230-grain loads.

I shot the M&P 45 Threaded with a broad assortment of .45 ACP ammo ranging from 185-grain to 230-grain loads.

The M&P 45 Threaded shown here with a SilencerCo Osprey 45. The flat-sided suppressor paired well with the M&P, adding nothing to the width of the whole package.

The M&P 45 Threaded shown here with a SilencerCo Osprey 45. The flat-sided suppressor paired well with the M&P, adding nothing to the width of the whole package.

If I decide to send a check rather than return this loaner gun, I’ll almost certainly get a set of suppressor height sights for it. While you can achieve “plenty good enough” practical accuracy by “shooting through the suppressor” with the existing sights, I’d want the option of more precise sighting. I would also want at least the taller front sight to be Tritium powered. The M&P 45 Threaded would make a great nightstand gun and keeping a suppressor on it is not a bad idea. If you ever do need to shoot it indoors, you’ll probably appreciate the lack of muzzle flash and not having a deafening blast amplified by interior walls.

Closing Thoughts

I enjoyed shooting this gun, partly because I’ve always been partial to M&Ps, but also because I like the balance of size, handling, and capacity. By keeping the double stack .45 ACP magazine capacity to 10, Smith & Wesson was able to keep the overall size of this gun within manageable range. You can absolutely carry it. With the smallest grip panel installed, those with hands smaller than KoKo the gorilla can handle it with ease. I wear medium to large gloves depending, so my hands aren’t huge. I can easily reach my index finger far enough to engage the trigger with the first joint if I want, so a “middle of the pad” reach is possible with any of the three grip panels installed.

The two barrel approach might come in handy if you choose to carry this one and use it suppressed. While you can certainly carry the gun with the threaded barrel installed, that configuration adds a ½ inch to overall length, and you have to worry about making sure the thread protector stays put. Certainly it’s easy enough just to swap out the barrel, and you’re good to go.

Factory Specs

SKU: 150923
Model: M&P®45 Threaded Barrel Kit
Frame Size: Full Size
Caliber: .45 ACP
Action: Striker Fire Action
Capacity: 10+1 Rounds
Barrel Length: 4.5” (11.4 cm)
Front Sight: White Dot
Rear Sight: Low Profile Carry
Overall Length: 8.05” (20.4 cm)
Overall Height: 5.5” (14.0 cm)
Overall Width: 1.2” (3.0 cm)
Grip: 3 Polymer, Palmswell Grip Sizes
Weight: 29.6 oz. (839.2 g)
Empty Mag Weight: 3.2 oz (90.7 g)
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Frame Material: Polymer
Finish: Black – Corrosion Resistant Finish
Special Feature: Extra Threaded Barrel – .578 – 28 – 2A

MSRP: $719.00

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Carl April 1, 2016, 4:18 pm

    I liked the details in the article, but some stuff should be better proofread. ” Stainless slide with a black corrosion resistant coating.” Isn’t this kinda redundant since , it’s stainless steel? And the “checkered finish” on the thread protector is called “knurled.” It’s a machine process.
    Which suppressor worked better with this system?

  • Halvy March 28, 2016, 12:57 pm

    S&W has the M&P Pro Series C.O.R.E. with a threaded barrel. SKU 10268. This gun has the ability with the CORE system to have RMR style optics on the slide. The standard sights look high enough to co-witness with the optic or function with some supressors. It has the rail under the barrel. It looks like this model will do it all without further modifications.

  • Tom Horn March 23, 2016, 4:48 pm

    Oops! They forgot to put suppressor ready sights on a threaded barrel handgun? What did they think you were going to screw it onto, a wall mount. Love that UM tac rail set up. Now on my wish list.

    I’ve had an M&P45 for years, and am very satisfied. Issues: trigger less than ideal, mushy is what I call it. Sights. I replaced mine with Trijicon night sights, should make them factory option. If your hands don’t fit the finger grooves of a Glock, S&W M&P’s are the way to go. Reliable as hell. I’d trust my life on them.

    • Tom McHale March 23, 2016, 8:18 pm

      I’ve shot the heck out of that UM Tactical rail mount and it’s worked like a champ on a dozen or so different pistols. I shoot five shots or so right after mounting to setting it into position, then re-tighten, and it seems to hold same zero just fine after that.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend