Estimated reading time: 13 minutes
New from Smith & Wesson is their optics-ready M&P® FPC™. This carbine utilizes a unique folding design to keep a small overall profile. Compatible with M&P® full-size and compact pistol double-stack magazines, the folding pistol caliber carbine or FPC™ comes with one 17-round and two 23-round magazines. This carbine utilizes a direct blowback system, and the stock has a built-in double magazine carrier. The 16.25″ threaded barrel avoids all the pitfalls of dealing with NFA items, while the folding mechanism allows for small and secure storage during transport. To support this, Smith & Wesson is also including a low-profile carrying bag.
Table of contents
- Smith & Wesson M+P FPC Specifications:
- Out of the Box
- FPC Carrying Bag
- Folding Mechanism
- READ MORE: Smith & Wesson Releases a Folding Pistol Carbine: Introducing the FPC
- Charging Handle
- Properly Using the Charging Handle
- FPC Frame
- Familiar Trigger For The FPC
- FPC Performance
Smith & Wesson M+P FPC Specifications:
- WIDTH: 2.5 in
- LENGTH: 30.4 in
- HEIGHT: 8 in
- WEIGHT: 80.42 oz
- CALIBER: 9MM
- SIZE: RIFLE
- CAPACITY: 17,23
- ACTION: BLOWBACK
- BARREL LENGTH: 16.25″
- GRIP: POLYMER
- SIGHTS: NONE
- OPTIC READY: YES
- SAFETY: THUMB SAFETY
- COLOR/FINISH: BLACK
- STATE COMPLIANCE: OR
- THREADED BARREL: YES
- BARREL MATERIAL: 4140 CM
- FRAME: ALUMINUM
- NUMBER OF MAGAZINES: 3
- STOCK: FPC
Out of the Box
From the factory, the FPC comes with a slick carrying case, three extra backstrap replacements, a gun lock, a manual, and then a 17-round and two 23-round magazines. While there are no sights that come with the FPC, it features a top Picatinny rail to mount any sort of sighting system you desire.
FPC Carrying Bag
One of the coolest things about the FPC is that it comes with a usable carrying case. It is the perfect size for carrying the folding 9mm carbine. The FPC can be strapped in place if desired to keep it from sliding around on the inside of the bag. Also, the other side comes with three velcro pouches which can easily store supplemental gear. The long pouches can each fit two 23-round mags for a total of four magazines that are not on the FPC. When folded, this rifle has an overall length of 16.375″ and can easily fit in the supplied carrying bag.
During this review, my buddy and I ran some drills to see how fast we could get the FPC up and running. Starting with the rifle in the carrying bag, we could unzip it, unfold the rifle, chamber a round, and get the first shot off right around the 5-second mark. The bag is made for both right and left-handed shooters and provides a great way to transport the FPC.
The most unique aspect of the FPC is its ability to fold. This allows for fitting this gun in half the size bag as a non-folding counterpart. Utilizing a two-pin design, this system is simple yet effective. The handguard pivots around a single steel hinge and then is locked in place by a spring-loaded hook and latch system. Utilizing a polymer latch, I was somewhat concerned about reliability. However, the FPC locks up tight. Pushing the handguard I can’t feel any wobble between the barrel assembly and the receiver. During testing, I was rough with quickly unfolding the system and through it all the lockup still feels tight.
To unfold the FPC, simply press forward on the lever on the right-hand side of the gun near the ejection port. This polymer lever is textured and provides enough surface area to easily activate when needed. One thing to note is that this cannot be folded with a round in the chamber. While having a fully loaded mag inserted doesn’t hinder folding or unfolding the FPC, any rounds in the chamber must be fired or ejected before folding this carbine.
Designed with a purpose, the charging handle for the FPC serves dual roles. Firstly as everyone could have guessed, it works as a charging handle. It features dual ears for ambidextrous use and resembles a distant relative to the well-known AR15 charging handle. It is wide enough to quickly grab with either hand to operate the FPC.
The second purpose of this charging handle is a locking mechanism for the folded handguard. Since the FPC swings easily when it is not locked in place, Smith & Wesson had to come up with a way to lock the FPC into the folded position. Utilizing an indented groove, the charging handle slides inside an M-LOK slot of the handguard to lock it in place. In the owner’s manual, it states to pull the charging handle back to allow the tab to slide into place and then to release it to use the buffer spring to lock it in place. When needed, quickly pull the two halves away from each other to open up the FPC and lock it into the firing position.
Properly Using the Charging Handle
However, when folding the carbine back up after shooting, I would recommend doing so gently. Without pulling back on the charging handle, I slammed the FPC into the folded position all-day. By the time I was done, I noticed the polymer charging handle had started to crack around the locking tab. This was due to me not being careful when folding the FPC and smashing it together thinking everything would be alright. While this crack never caused a failure, take this review and the advice of the owner’s manual to pull back on the charging handle when folding this carbine.
Smith & Wesson incorporates M-LOK slots on the handguard along with a continuous top Picatinny rail, spanning its entire length. The handguard also utilizes a double-sided C-clamp near the end that holds onto the barrel. While this means it is not a free-floated system, this drastically increases the rigidity of the polymer handguard. While I have some concerns about a long-term zero due to a polymer clamp holding onto a hot metal barrel, my optic stayed true for the hundreds of rounds I shot during this review. There is plenty of rail space to mount anything from a simple red dot to a 6-36 scope (yes I mounted a Vortex Razor 6-36 to the FPC for testing accuracy).
For those who love the M&P 2.0 pistols, this frame is going to look very familiar. The FPC features the same replaceable backstraps, contour of the grip, magazine release, and trigger as their M&P 2.0 pistol lineup. As a fan of those pistols, I remain a fan of the FPC. The frame feels just as good in carbine form as it does in pistol form. The main difference is of course everything that is going on above the grip, and then the location of the safety.
Above the grip is the unique polymer housing that contains the components of a typical pistol slide, the aluminum buffer tube, and the locking mechanism. While this looks quite different than most firearms, it does everything it needs to.
As I stated earlier, the controls on the FPC are quite similar to those of the S&W M&P pistol lineup. However, the FPC features a safety near the folding mechanism. This works just as it should, and has an aggressively textured surface that feels great on my index finger.
My one big issue throughout this review however comes from trying to use the “slide release” or bolt catch. While the ambidextrous lever can be used for locking the bolt to the rear, it is nearly impossible to get it to release and chamber a round. The lefthand side is especially tough and hard to even grab since it sits flush with the side of the housing. The righthand side is also very stiff, but to activate it I have to stick my finger in the chamber and worry about getting “FPC Thumb” (modern-day Garand thumb). Throughout this review, I stuck to just using the charging handle to chamber rounds which worked just fine.
The FPC utilizes a polymer stock set at a fixed 14.5″ length of pull. It feels good on my shoulder, and the contour is comfortable on my cheek. Featuring a double magazine carrier, this stock allows consumers to keep the two extra included 23-round magazines on the carbine at all times. While the weight with fully loaded mags makes the FPC slightly back heavy, it wasn’t a big deal and didn’t noticeably hinder my performance.
Each magazine is locked in place by a pivoting steel locking mechanism. This quick-release latch simply needs to be pressed on the side opposite of the magazine desired to get it to release. Due to the positioning and the lever releasing the magazine opposite of the side pressed, I found speed reloads to not be that speedy. However, keeping extra magazines stored on the carbine is a win in my mind, and for those who want to compete with the FPC just use your standard belt setup for storing extra mags.
Familiar Trigger For The FPC
Smith & Wesson uses a familiar trigger with the FPC. It features a flat face on the front curved surface, as well as a trigger safety. When running the trigger, the slack is smooth and consistent. Once I pull through to the wall of the trigger, there is consistent creep or “squish” before the trigger actually breaks. I measured the pull weight to be consistently between 4.5-5.0 pounds. After the shot, the reset is tactile and audible which places my finger right back on the wall ready for the next shot.
Featuring a 16″ threaded barrel, the FPC is much easier to shoot accurately than 9mm pistols. Aiming to see what this platform was capable of, I swapped out my Eotech EXPS3-0 for my Vortex Razor 6-36 and shot groups from 50 yards. While a 6-36 scope is sort of ridiculous for a PCC setup, this allowed me to be as precise as possible. Using a variety of Hornady defensive ammunition and some 115gr Blazer, I got between 1.7-3.3″ 5-round groups from 50 yards. For a 9mm platform, I find this to be quite reasonable. The FPC seemed to really like the Hornady 147gr XTP, as I was able to get a 1.7″ group, but excluding one flyer it was 0.79″.
|5-Round Group Size in Inches
|Hornady 147gr XTP
|Hornady 115gr XTP
|Hornady 100gr FTX
|Hornady 124gr XTP +P
|Blazer 115gr FMJ
One of the biggest perks of the folding pistol carbine is the controllability that comes with it. While pistols have a decent amount of sway when held with only two hands, utilizing the stock of the FPC provides a sturdy third point of contact. This allows users to really stretch out the capabilities of a 9mm platform. I had no trouble taking shots from a distance, or quickly burning through mags and staying on target at mid-range. Throughout my review, I never had a single issue when shooting. Not one jam, malfunction, or stoppage. From the hundreds of rounds of 115gr Blazer FMJ to an assortment of defensive ammunition from Hornady, everything ran great.
In addition to shooting groups for accuracy, I spent a lot of time working on various drills on a VTAC board. This allowed me to try shooting the FPC from lots of different angles and get a good feel for the handling of the platform. While it worked great for most normal shooting positions, I found out the hard way that shooting prone will cause the charging handle to recoil right into your mouth. After my first shot shooting prone, I adjusted to have a higher check rest instead of having my face sit so low on the buffer tube.
Other than this one instance, the FPC ran great and felt good for everything else I threw at it. It shoots flat, and I had no problem keeping it on target as I mag dumped on a Ta Targets C-zone silhouette from 20 yards. For those who want to see the FPC in action, you can watch the video I posted to my Instagram account below:
While I have seen a lot of mixed opinions regarding the FPC mainly from people who have never spent time with one, I had nothing but good times testing it out. Utilizing a folding mechanism, this folding pistol carbine provides twice the gun in half the space of its non-folding counterparts. The included bag works great for transport and provides quick access. I was able to get good groups with a variety of ammunition, and never had a single malfunction throughout the hundreds of rounds I put through it for this review. The Smith & Wesson FPC has an MSRP of $659 and can be found for less than that here at GunsAmerica.