M&P 9mm Law Enforcement Trade in Makeover

Smith and Wesson 9mm

M&P LE trade-ins Can provide Great Value and Opportunity

Police shooting range

M&P 9mm Law Enforcement Trade in Makeover, the journey begins. A few months back, I ran across a site with law enforcement Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm pistols that were trade-ins. I was initially skeptical, given the price and my perception that someone in law enforcement would likely have put a lot of rounds through their firearm. That coupled with my suspicion of the price that seemed too good to be true. Nevertheless, the price was $299, almost $400 less than a new one, and typically over $200 below a used 9MM M&P.

I had never owned an M&P but was familiar with them (who isn’t, after all)—known as a well-built handgun that is supposed to be as durable as it is comfortable. Built on a polymer frame with a rigid stainless-steel chassis, Armornite finish on the slide, an ambidextrous slide stop, and Picatinny-style rail below the barrel. At the bottom of the description, read, “These Law Enforcement Trade-Ins may have finished their service career, but they still have a lifetime of work left. So grab one of these excellent pistols at a price that can’t be ignored, and you won’t be sorry.”

After leaving the website, I found the last part of the description stuck in my head and thought, “What the hell at that price? Can I go wrong”? So, I went back and bought one. A week or so later, I picked it up from my local FFL with a decent amount of skepticism.

My, New to Me, LE M&P 9mm Arrives

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fire
Capacity: 17 (Comes w/ 1 Mag)
Safety: No Thumb Safety, No Magazine Safety
Frame Material: Polymer
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Slide Finish: Armornite
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Barrel Length: 4.25″
Overall Length: 7.6″
Weight: 27.5 oz.
Condition: Good to Very Good
Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm

Picking it up as I opened it, I was shocked at my first impression. First, the website listed it as coming in a box, but it appeared in a blue Smith and Wesson hard case. Upon opening the box, it could have passed for a new gun at a glance. I got it to my car and proceeded to inspect it. I broke it down, started looking at the parts, and was shocked by its condition.

Full SIZE m&p 9mm disassembled

On further inspection, the gun had next to no visible wear. Spring looked brand new, the inside of the slide showed no fade or wear, and even the barrel looked fresh with no visible fade on the finish or light spots. I was really starting to feel like this was a great buy. Whoever owned this gun before had taken meticulous care of it or had just not been shot often.

The line in the description, “They may finish their service career, but they still have a lifetime of work left,” seemed like a strong probability. I couldn’t get to the shooting range quickly enough to put it to the actual test.

Bringing my LE Trade in M&P 9 To the Shooting Range

Having already been handling it and running it through my “Quantum Pack Dry Fire Laser Target” (those are great, and a review for another day), I knew I liked the feel, and the weight, although I was honestly not loving the trigger pull. The trigger has some travel and is not as light as I like or am used to. Because often, I will replace triggers, I’m not happy with. I put the trigger on my meter, which came in a bit on the heavy side. Nonetheless, I was headed to the range feeling overall optimistic.

M&P9 Range Results

The pistol performed like I’d hoped it would at the shooting range. The first set of targets were good groups at 15 yards. The weight with a loaded magazine comes in at 2.1 pounds, and I opted for an IWB (Inside waistband) “We the People” holster, which fits great.

I wear a left-handed holster because I wear it on my back, and that way, the grip faces my right hand and makes for an easy draw. After putting about 350 rounds through the LE M&P 9mm trade-in, I was sold. I tried different ammo and rapid fire. No jams or miss-feeds; it is handled excellently and is a great feeling gun. As I wrapped up my day at the range, my thought was lingering: if this gun had a little cleaner trigger, it would be one of my favorites.

Takeaways From the Range: Change the M&P Trigger

Having installed the Apex trigger on other handguns, it was my first thought, but the fact that it had been a while, I decided to do some research.

I knew of Timney, who has an excellent reputation and did have a trigger for the M&P (not the Shield, it is a different trigger.);

Timney Alpha Competition Series for Smith and Wesson M&P

Specifications come in;

M&P 9mm Trigger Kit
  • Three-pound pull weight​* (slightly higher pull weight for original M&P Gen 1 models)
  • Crisp trigger break
  • Teflon nickel (NP3) – sear and safety plunger (this process virtually eliminates friction, allowing for an extremely smooth feel)
  • Straight aluminum trigger – jointed with internal pivoting finger safety
  • Uses all stock parts and springs
  • Compatible with: Smith & Wesson M&P Gen 1 and 2.0

Priced at $158.99, it’s a good deal (if anyone has installed a Timney on any of their handguns, please reply in the comments below, I’d be interested to hear how you like it)

Other M&P9 Trigger Options

I also found a couple of options that offer triggers for M&P Shields and 2.0 but not M&P.

  • Overwatch Precision, METAL 2.0 TAC Trigger System $179.99
  • Hyve Technologies Monarch Trigger System for the M&P Shield $74.99

Having had a great experience with the Apex, I opted to go that route. Apex has a couple of options for the M&P 9mm;

Flat-Faced Forward Set Sear & Trigger Kit for M&P
– Reduce trigger pull weight to approx. 3 to 4 lbs.

– Reduce overall trigger travel by approximately 40%

– Reduce trigger pre-travel, over-travel, and reset distance

Curved Forward Set Sear & Trigger Kit for M&P
– Reduce trigger pull weight to approx. 4 to 5 lbs.

– Reduce overall trigger travel by approximately 40%

– Reduce trigger pre-travel, over-travel, and reset distance

Action Enhancement Trigger Kit for M&P
– Reduce trigger pull weight by approx. 1 lb. to 5.0-5.5 lbs. range

– Reduce pre-travel and over-travel by approx. 20%

All trigger kits maintain factory safety values with center-mounted pivoting safety, deliver smooth uptake and reset with crisp trigger break, and direct drop-in replacement parts, with no fitting required.

They all come in around $170 to $195 retail after you pick a finish for the trigger

Apex was the trigger

Having installed them before, I opted for the “Curved Forward Set Sear & Trigger Kit” It takes a striker-fired trigger pull and elevates it to a trigger as close to that in a single-action 1911 as you can get it. The pull is smooth and consistent with shorter over-travel and shorter reset. It combines the Apex springs, factory sear, and trigger return springs, allowing you to set the trigger and adjust the pull weight within a wide range.

Where the Rubber Meets the Range

Once installed, I was amazed at how minor the travel was, how clean the break was, and how short the reset was, but most of all, the trigger weight felt light. I put it on the gauge, which came in light (below). I like light triggers but don’t have any that come in this light. Again, I was eager to get it to the range and test it.

Shooting the M&P with the new Apex trigger was a blast. As I mentioned earlier, I already liked so many things about this gun. With the new trigger, it handled awesomely; it felt natural. Again, I put between 300 and 400 hundred rounds through that day. Initially, I was focused on how tight a pattern I could get at 15 yards. Then moved on to double taps and, ultimately, quick point shooting from 10 yards. It was easy to see why this was a favorite for many Law Enforcement Departments.

I couldn’t have been happier purchasing my Smith and Wesson Law Enforcement 9mm for $299. Even after paying another $180 for the trigger package, it was a fantastic deal.

The LE Smith and Wesson M&P 9mm Makeover Begins

On the way home from the shooting range, I was reveling in my “win” on what had felt like a gamble. Buying the trade-in turned into a great decision. I wondered how I could accessorize the LE M&P 9mm trade-in that had quickly climbed the ranks of my striker-fired favorites list. As many of you know, you often start thinking about one thing you can do to your firearm, and it gets the wheels turning even more.

M-P 9mm parts

As many of you know, you often start thinking about one thing you can do to your firearm, and it gets the wheels turning even more. In my case, it started with the trigger, and now I was thinking about the many other areas I could improve. After all, I felt I had saved so much by going the “Law Enforcement Trade-in” route. I could easily rationalize spending more on a perfect gun. So, I did. Although, if you went down this road, you could have more self-control than I did.

The List of Possibilities

I started my mental inventory list.

  • Barrel- I had seen a great threaded barrel on Facebook. Mental note to look into it further.
  • Grips- I’ll look into this last
  • Lights- I have handguns with lights, and I like them. But having 1 or 2 handguns with lights seems fine to me. Moved past this one.
  • Red Dot- I do have an FN509 with a Red Dot. Keeping it real, I am not a big fan of Red Dots on handguns. However, I do like them on rifles and AR-style pistols. Finding holsters can be a pain, and I feel like I shoot better with good iron sights.
  • Slide- I had also seen a slide I really liked. Mental note to look into it further.
  • Sights- The sites on the M&P were good but I really like night sights. So, this was one I would be doing for sure. Mental note to look into it further.
  • Trigger- Done

I felt like I had looked at my inventory of options and had the direction, I was headed down.

Swapping out the Barrel and Slide on the M&P 9mm

When researching triggers, I was on Facebook and ran across a post by Faxon Firearms. I ended up on their website and admiring some of their barrels and slides. They have a slide and barrel that fit the M&P 9mm. At the time, I didn’t see the logic in putting the money they wanted for their slides or barrels in a $299 unproven trade-in I bought. Having close to 1000 rounds through the M&P and a genuine appreciation for it, I started to reconsider.

m&p factory slide vs Faxon hellfire slide
M&P 9mm Full Factory slide top and Faxon Hellfire slide bottom

Faxon M&P9 Slides

The products I was looking at by Faxon were the “Hellfire Slide for M&P Full Size w/ Multi Optic Cut- Assembled, Suppressor-Height Sights” and the “Faxon M&P Full Size Flame Fluted Barrel, Threaded, Chameleon PVD.” The dilemma was $235.00. That being the case. I started researching to see if there were other manufacturer options in that quality and appearance but not as pricey. It seems the handgun gods were smiling down on me. Two days into my research, I was looking forward to a long Labor Day weekend to wrap up my research when “WHAM” Faxon’s Labor Day promotion hit my email. I had to deduce the stars had truly aligned, and I was destined to marry this duo to my M&P.

Comparing Faxon and m&p slide and barrel
Factory slide, barrel, and spring top. Faxon slide, barrel, and spring bottom

The fit of the Faxon parts on the M&P feels rock solid. I was happy before the upgrade but even more so now. The gun looked and felt amazing. It was time to move on to the sites.

Adding the New Sights to my M&P LE Trade-in

The sites would be easy; as I said before, I like night sites. I have been happy with Trijicon, Meprolight, and Truglos, so I went straight to those. The new Hellfire slide I’d put on fits most full-size Glock sights, so I had plenty to choose from. After some back and forth, I went in green with Truglo TFX Tritium and Fiber-Optic Xtreme sights. I was happy with how they turned out.

Wrapping up (literally) with Grips

I was thrilled with the M&P grips, so I wasn’t motivated to change them. But then, my son texted me a link to some grips online (Handleit Grips) that stick over your existing grips. As you can likely see the pattern, my first reaction to new things is typically skepticism and doubt. However, the grip covers looked sharp and were very reasonably priced. That coupled with the fact that luck had been on my side on this one so far. So, I picked up a pair, and some magazine covers for my AR magazines.

The LE M&P Trade in Makeover Photos and Conclusion

Fast forward many trips to the range later, and I couldn’t be happier with how this experience went. Try out some new ideas that surfaced during this project. Photos of the final transformation are below, and I welcome comments, feedback, and advice.

Makeover transition:


  • Michael Hodgdon

    A firearm, shooting, outdoor, and hunting enthusiast for over 35 years. Thank you all for the suggestions on topics you would like to see; we'll keep posting as you keep sending them in. Please comment; we will try to answer all comments quickly.

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