It’s a small percentage of career fields that require someone to carry a gun every day for work. That being said, there are roughly 700,000 law enforcement officers in the United States, and their surplus firearms occasionally come up for sale.
Sometimes it's because the agency is moving to a new caliber, updating to a newer model, standardizing their firearms with other departments, or they just decided they want something different. The great news is that when these trade-ins hit the market, they make for a pretty good deal, and you have a chance to score something that may carry a bit of history.
Massachusetts State Police S&W Pistols
Recently, I was able to take out a pristine sample of a Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 chambered in .45 ACP that was traded in by the Massachusetts State Police. Some pistols that come in from LEO trade-in programs have significant wear to the finish on the slides and gouges in the frames. This pistol looks and feels brand new. It appears to have been hardly used, which could mean this was a commemorative piece, further increasing the cool factor.
Opening the box, it was a wonderful sight to see three stainless steel magazines, where many guns these days only ship with one or two. The case also contains three additional backstrap sizes that can replace the installed medium one. This is very helpful considering the gun is a full-size pistol and a department would want as many officers as possible to get a solid grip on their service pistol.
Speaking of grip, one of the M&P M2.0 improvements over first-generation M&P pistols is the aggressive grip texture. This stippling is ideal if you’re in a wet, slippery environment. However, I do worry about the long-term wear this would put on shirts and skin if you were to conceal carry it.
Features and Why It Was Chosen
The M&P line of pistols is a main competitor with Glocks for LEO use. If you don’t like the Glock trigger with its blade-style safety, the M&P offers a hinged trigger shoe that still prevents the striker from being released accidentally. I found the trigger to be rather gritty and a very long travel, but the 5.5-pound pull weight felt great for a duty gun.
For sights, you get the standard three-dot style, which again compares to the Glock. But the M&P sights come out on top since its three-dot system is easier to line up and are metal instead of the normal Glock plastic ones. These don’t do much for you at night, but they can easily be swapped out for a tritium or fiber-optic replacement.
One of the inherent disadvantages of .45 ACP is that the size of the round limits the capacity of the magazines. This M&P example isn’t any exception. It’s got three metal 10-round magazines in the case. In most full-size pistols, you’re going to find a capacity of 10-13 rounds, with one exception being the FN FNX Tactical bringing a whopping 15 rounds to the party.
Big Wins for This Pistol
The M&P does a great job of softening the recoil impulse of the big 230-grain Remington ammunition I was shooting. The grip I mentioned earlier also really helps keep that pistol locked in your grip. The recoil from a .45 ACP has always struck me as more of a straight backwards push when compared to another commonly used police caliber, the .40 S&W, which has a snappier recoil that tends to cause more muzzle flip.
The pistol is equipped with three Picatinny rail slots on the underside of the frame, allowing for plenty of space to mount lights and lasers of almost any size. I took the opportunity to mount up some lights I had on hand, and I was really pleased with the overall package size of the M&P with the Surefire X300 U bolted up. One downside to note is that through the course of a couple hundred rounds, the M&P did tend to get notably dirtier than some of its 9mm counterparts, so if you do mount a light, make sure you’re keeping it clean after training.
Overall, I was really impressed by the M&P 45 M2.0 and can understand why the Massachusetts State Police opted to field this pistol. The few complaints I had can be easily remedied by companies like Apex Tactical for the trigger and Springer Precision for the extended magazines. If you want a gun with a bit of history, or maybe you’re just looking to save a few dollars, make sure to consider looking for a police trade-in firearm.