The highway patrol claims that these guns are susceptible to extractor issues and have had problems with failures to eject. The problem can lead to stoppages in a firefight, and though the officers are trained to clear their guns manually, a stovepipe is never welcome.
“It has not posted a safety risk for the troopers,” said 1st Sgt. Jeff Gordon to WSOCTV Eyewitness News. “One of the things we teach our troopers to do when we go through annual firearms training is that we use the ‘Tap, Rack, Ready’ method. This allows troopers to safely and quickly clear their weapons so another bullet can be fed into the chamber.”
All in all, the highway patrol will be looking to replace 1,649 M&P pistols, but only those in .357 SIG. The department uses M&P pistols in .40 S&W and 9mm as well, without issue there.
They are working with Smith & Wesson to come up with a solution, whether they will replace or repair the pistols has yet to be determined. At the same time, the department is looking into replacing them with guns from another manufacturer.
The M&P pistols by Smith & Wesson are quickly becoming some of the most popular law enforcement duty guns in America, in part because Smith & Wesson works closely with departments to ensure that they have all the parts and support they need, often at little or no cost to the departments.
That being said, .357 SIG is an unusual cartridge in most law enforcement circles. Developed in the mid-’90s, .357 SIG was developed by SIG Sauer and Federal to produce a semi-automatic cartridge with similar ballistics to the .357 Magnum.
The cartridge uses .40 S&W cases necked-down to accept 9mm bullets, and while powerful, it tends to cost more and has less industry support in general. Why these M&P pistols are having problems with this specific cartridge is unknown.
If the highway patrol does opt to replace these guns with new M&P pistols, Smith & Wesson will replace them at no cost. Should they select a different manufacturer they will have to find money in their budget to replace them, and will turn to civil asset forfeiture to fund the purchase.