M&P 9mm Law Enforcement Trade in Makeover

Smith and Wesson 9mm

M&P LE Trade-in’s Can provide Great Value and Opportunity

Police shooting range
Police training in shooting gallery with short weapon.

A couple months back I ran across a site that had law enforcement Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm pistols that we’re 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. The price was $299 which is 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 and sporting an ambidextrous slide stop, and picatinny-style rail below the barrel. On the bottom of the description, it read “These Law Enforcement Trade-Ins may have finished their service career, but they still have a lifetime of work left. 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 really 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.

Specification on the gun were:

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

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

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

Full SIZE m&p 9mm disassembled

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

At this point, to me, the line on the description “they may finish their service career, but they still have a lifetime of work left“, seemed to be looking like a strong probability. I couldn’t get to the shooting range quick enough to put it to the real test.

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

Having already been handling it and even running it through my “Quantum Pack Dry Fire Laser Target” (those are great, and a review for another day), I knew I really liked the feel, 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 really happy with. I put the trigger on my meter, and it did come in a bit on the heavy side. Nonetheless I was headed to the range feeling overall optimistic.

At the shooting range the pistol performed like I’d hoped it would. First set of targets we’re respectable groups at 15 yards. The weight with a loaded magazines comes in at 2.1 pounds and I opted for a IWB (Inside waist band) “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. In a setup like this, the M&P 9mm makes a great carry concealed handgun. 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, no miss-feeds, it handled excellent and is a great feeling gun. As I wrapped up my day at the range, my thought was lingering on the fact that, if this gun had a little cleaner trigger, it would be one of my favorites.

Take-aways 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 have a great 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 comments below, I’d be interested to hear how you like it)

I also found a couple 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

All things considered and having had a great experience with the Apex, I opted to go that route. Apex has a couple 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, no fitting required.

They all come in around $170 to $195 retail after you pick a finish for 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 uses a combination of the Apex springs and factory sear and trigger return springs allows you to set the trigger and adjust pull weight within a wide 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 really light. I put it on the gauge, and it came in really light (below). I like light triggers but, don’t have any that come in this light. That all being said, again, I was eager to get it to the range and test it out again.

Shooting the M&P with the new Apex trigger was a blast. As I mentioned earlier there were already so many things about this gun I liked, and with the new trigger it handled awesome, it felt really natural. Again, that day, I put between 300 and 400 hundred rounds through it. Initially starting out, 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 Enforcment Departments.

I couldn’t have been happier on the purchase of my Smith and Wesson Law Enforcment 9mm for $299, even after paying another $180 for the trigger package it was an awesome deal.

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

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

M-P 9mm parts

As a lot of you know, many times you 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 like I had saved so much on going the “Law Enforcement Trade-in” route. I could easily rationalize spending more on a perfectly good gun. So, I did, although if you went down this road, you could have a bit more self-control then I did and take your chips off the table.

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 1 handgun with a Red Dot and to keep it real, I am not a big fan of Red Dots on handguns (although I do like them on rifles, and AR style pistols). Finding holsters can be a pain and I really 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 was admiring some of their barrels and slides. They have a slide and barrel that fit the M&P 9mm but at the time I really didn’t see the logic in putting the money they wanted for their slides or barrels in a $299 unproven trade-in I bought. Now, having close to 1000 rounds through the M&P and a real 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

The products that 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 the slide cost $598.98 and the barrel was $235.00. That being the case, I started researching to see if there were some 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 onto the sites.

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

The sites were going to be easy, as I said before, I like night sites and 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 a little back and forth, I went with Truglo TFX Tritium and Fiber-Optic Xtreme sights in green. I was happy how they turned out but realized if I ever bought a compensator or silencer for the gun, I would have to find a new home for the Truglos, which wouldn’t give me a sight picture over the attachment.

Wrapping up (literally) with Grips

I was very happy with the M&P grips, so I wasn’t really motivated to change them, but my son had texted me a link to some to some grips online (Handleit Grips), that actually just stick over your existing grips. As you can likely see the pattern, my first reaction to new things is typically skepticism and doubt. The grip covers looked sharp and are very reasonably priced. That coupled with the fact that, luck had really 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 whole experience went. Matter of fact I was so happy I bought a 2nd Smith and Wesson 9mm Law Enforcment trade in that I think I am going to try out some new ideas that surfaced during this project. Photos of the final transformation are below, and I welcome comments feedback and advise.

Slide the slider below left to right to see the makeover transition/

The M&P Make over results Facing Left
The M&P Make over results Facing Right
The M&P Make over results Side Profile


  • Michael Hodgdon

    A firearm, shooting, outdoor and hunting enthusiast on and off a better part of my life. Writing about something I enjoy so much just sounded like a good idea. That being said, I am most definitely not a good writer, so feel free to point out my typo's, grammar mistakes and misspellings:) Two came up in spellcheck when I typed this bio.

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