Like many of you, I’m getting old and with old age I’m having problems seeing the front sight of my handgun.
There are a number of options to help with this. LASIK is one, special prescription glasses or an optic on your handgun. I elected to go with an optic on my handgun, I stated out looking at replacing the slide on my competition Glock 22 or having it milled to accept an optic. While doing the research on slide options I came across the Smith & Wesson M&P PRO C.O.R.E.
Smith & Wesson M&P PRO C.O.R.E.
The Smith & Wesson M&P PRO C.O.R.E. (Competition Optics Ready Equipment) is a factory handgun that comes equipped with the slide milled as well as drilled and tapped for an optic, it is also equipped with taller “suppressor” sights that are co-located with the dot projected by the optic such as the Trijicon RMR, Leupold Delta Point, Jpoint, Doctor, C-More STS, Insight MRDS.
The pistol comes with adaptor plates for these optics as well as a cover for the milled section of the slide. Like all M&Ps it comes with 3-Interchangeable Palmswell Grip Sizes, I found that the one installed at the factory works well for me. It also comes with 2 15 round magazines (17 for the 9mm) and extra magazines are available but they are not cheap.
The C.O.R.E comes in either .40 S&W as our test gun is or 9mm, both list for about $770 but street price is typically under $700. I found that the 9mm version is impossible to find in stock but the .40 S&W is plentiful. I wanted to test the 9mm as I was worried about the recoil of the .40S&W, but I getting one to test and shooting the M&P I found that recoil is surprising light that may have something to do with the weight of the gun which is 26 oz and that is without the optic. On a side note I found that Stormlake makes a .40 to 9mm conversion barrel so all you need to convert is the 9mm magazines.
For an optic I elected to go with Trijicon’s RMR ($485.00) this particular model does not have a battery, it gathers and stores energy from ambient light to project an amber dot. This actually works better than I expected thought the dot is very hard to see in the dark. I’ve never shot with an optic on a pistol and I’ve found a very difficult to master. I instinctually try and align the sights with the projected dot; it’s taken a lot of trigger time to learn that wherever the dot is on the target is where the round is going.
As previously mentioned the recoil on this full size pistol is not nearly as bad as I expected and fit and finish is what you’d expect from Smith & Wesson, The trigger though is terrible, lots of slop or slack in the trigger and very heavy, there is also a gritty feel to it. I found lots of reports of this gritty feel on the Web and it was attributed to burs on the plunger, so after a few minutes of disassembly and sure enough there were small burs on it. A little polishing and the problem is fixed. For the rest of the trigger group, Apex Tactical makes upgrade kits for the M&P. I purchased the M&P Competition Spring Kit and only installed one spring that this point and the trigger is much improved.
Out of the box the M&P PRO C.O.R.E. is a good shooter but it could use some work in the trigger group to make it better. With a lighter than expected recoil and Smith & Wesson’s long history of reliability the M&P will make an excellent competition, home defense gun, with the optic it’s to larger to carry concealed but a worthy addition to anyone’s collection.