The Glock G45 and Smith & Wesson M&P 9 2.0 Compact are two of the most popular handguns on the market today. There's a reason for this. They’re both fantastic guns. But is one better than the other? Technically, no ... but personally, yes. Let's find out why.
BOTH COME HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Both of these handguns come highly recommended by two people that I respect: Former colleague, Ben Brown, carries a G45 as his EDC. In his review he says that the G45 is the Glock that no one asked for. In reality, it's been sought after and has become a staple of the Glock lineup. When it hit the market in 2018, it came as a surprise to a lot of people. Essentially, it combines the best of both worlds -- the barrel and slide of the G19 with the grip of the G17. Ironically, it's now considered by many possibly be the best Glock ever made.
The M&P 9 comes highly recommended by another friend of mine named Rod Ryan. He is former LEO and trains both law enforcement and military. He carries an M&P as his EDC. I filmed with him extensively in 2017, and he raved about his M&P.
It's been around since 2005, and was originally designed for the military and police, hence the name, M&P. It has since become a favorite amongst those who love capable, reliable and accurate handguns.
Both 9mm handguns are very similar in terms of MSRP, specifications and 17+1 round capacity. The M&P is two ounces heavier than the G45 at 26.7 ounces unloaded. The barrel on the M&P is a quarter of inch longer at 4.25 inches. But both guns are almost exactly the same overall length at 7.4. inches. Width and height of both firearms are almost identical at 1.3 inches and 5.5 inches respectively.
One thing I will note that as a result of getting my two test guns from the Certified Used Gunssection on the Guns.com website, the G45 came with a set of Trijicon Bright & Tough sights installed on it by the previous owner. These sights are stunning and may have affected the result of this review slightly. The M&P came with stock sights, which are decent right out of the box. Other than this, both of these guns are stock.
Being that they're so similar on paper, both guns felt very similar in the hand. The biggest difference right away is the grip texture on the M&P. It's much more aggressive and I really like it. I felt as though the Glock could benefit from a lot more grip texture.
Controls are very similarly placed and I found them to be well located. The slide release is ambidextrous on both. The magazine release is reversible on both. Both have loaded chamber indicators, but in slightly different places. Both have front serrations which I like. I did find the Glock’s recoil spring to be stiffer than the S&W’s, making press checks and racking the slide slightly more difficult.
ON THE RANGE
After putting 250 rounds of Federal 115 grain 9mm ammo through each gun, they both functioned flawlessly. But here is where personal preferences begin.
At 15 yards, I shot slightly better with the Glock. I’m not sure why -- I just did. Perhaps it was the upgraded sights, but I don't think so. It simply felt a bit better in my hands. Perhaps that’s a result of the shape and size of my hands.
TRIGGERS BOTH HAVE SOMETHING TO BE DESIRED
I will say that I'm not a fan of the triggers on either gun. They have a lot to be desired. They were long and squishy. If I was able to slow down my shooting and take up the trigger slack to the wall and then follow through with my shot, my accuracy was very acceptable. However, firing quickly from a draw or from the ready, the long trigger pull affected my accuracy.
This is where a lot of practice would come in handy. Ben Brown shoots very accurately with his G45 with a stock trigger. Rod Ryan however, upgraded his M&P to an Apex trigger.
What's nice about both the G45 and M&P is that there are tons of aftermarket parts available. I personally don't like to buy a gun that I immediately have to dump money into to improve, but it is nice to be able to 'perfect' them.
That being said, both of these guns can certainly benefit from some mods. As I mentioned, Rod Ryan upgraded his M&P trigger. Ben Brown runs an RMR to his G45. I would probably make both of these mods myself to both guns. And if I chose the Glock, I would add a lot more grip texture.
Keep in mind that if you want to add an RMR to ether of these guns, make sure you buy the latest optics ready model.
I can't say that one gun is better than the other. They’re both fantastic options, and I believe you will be happy with either or both. But for my own personal preference, the Glock came out slightly on top. That being said, I highly recommend trying a gun before buying it. Find a friend with the model you're looking at, or you can just rent it at your local range.