Review: WE M&P GBB (Dark Earth)

May I present to you my newest Airsoft GBB sidearm – the WE M&P in dark earth.

IMG_8015

The S&W M&P is a somewhat-recently-released gun in the real steel world. The M&P line has become quite popular, as its a polymer-framed, safe and ergonomic gun at a decent price. WE replicated the real S&W M&P 9mm with the 4.25″ barrel in Dark Earth Brown into an Airsoft GBB pistol form, and (in my opinion) did so quite well for the price.

IMG_7945

I haven’t shot this at range yet, nor will I be likely to do so until I’ve had a chance to drop some upgrade parts in there. I don’t have technical specs or testing results, rather this article is a qualitative review of the WE M&P.

Alright, here we go – review and more pictures coming at you after the break.

Metal slide and outer barrel look and feel great. The finish that WE has been doing on their metals has come quite a ways from their early Hi-Capa’s and 1911’s. I’m actually rather impressed with the fit and finish on the external metal parts. I was particularly impressed with the clean job on the slide serrations, as seen below.

IMG_7942

The outer barrel appears to have the internally threaded design that is common throughout all the current WE pistol models I’ve seen. Note the hexagon-shaped end of the spring guide – looks cool, but the S&W M&P doesn’t have this from what I can recall. The front sight post is actually not just moulded onto the slide, rather it is actually fitted into the dovetail.

IMG_7902

Note that the brass inner barrel does protrude a bit further than most TM-spec models. I recall reading the inner barrel length as advertised on the WE M&P previously – it is in fact a few millimeters longer than the G17/G18C inner barrel. I’m intending to drop-in a Tanio Koba Hop-Twist Barrel for TM G17 I’ve found in my parts bin, the shorter length and black colour should make the inner barrel slightly less noticeable from the outside of the gun.

IMG_7899

The entire WE M&P is barren of any markings – save for WE stamps on either side of the grip, a WE logo on the bottom of the magazine baseplate, a serial number plate with a number that I have not yet confirmed if it is unique or not, and a 9mm stamp on the top of the chamber. Pictured here is the 9mm marking, and the non-functional witness hole nestled on the edge of the ejection port. The finish on the top of the chamber has begun to wore off, as in typical WE fashion, the outer barrel is not finished with the best of processes for a high wear part.

IMG_7904

The rear sight is also fitted onto the slide with a dovetail. It secures a bolt that goes through the blowback unit (inside the rear of the slide) and is thus held in place on the slide. Note the interesting texture on the rear of the slide – I’m impressed that WE went and replicated this from the real deal. In my previous experiences with some of the earlier WE models I’ve owned, they generally miss details like this.

IMG_7909

The front and rear sights on the WE M&P are in your 3-dot configuration. They are painted green, in perhaps not the most cleanest of dot-painting jobs. However, I suspect that they are a glow-in-the-dark paint, as they do very faintly glow in pitch black lighting conditions, after prolonged exposure to indoor lighting. At the very least, the front and rear sights are not crooked and the edges are very crisp – I may eventually redo the dots myself.

IMG_7911

The outer barrel is slightly flared near the muzzle, it seems to fit relatively decently with the slide as a result of this (as compared to most other out-of-the-box GBB pistols). Note that this is not a barrel with a taper like your bull barrels found on 1911 and 2011 or “Hi-Capa” pattern pistols, but there is actually a very smooth and very small step in the outer diameter of the barrel. I did have to double check that the S&W M&P does have this – in fact, I believe it does.

IMG_7928

With the following picture, I would like to point out two specific points: (1) the ejector is actually not just a part of the slide, rather it is a separate part of the slide that has a different colour. (2) The barrel tilts (as it should). When the gun is in battery, the barrel does actually lock up pretty good against the slide. However, with my past experiences with anything WE, I’m fairly certain that this solidity will start to erode with the wear and tear of continued use of metal against metal.

IMG_7933

I would like to focus on the frame next. There is a very noticeable seam all the way down the centre of the lower – this is actually a little disappointing to me, considering the quality of the fit and finish on the slide. There is some pretty decent texture on the front strap and backstrap of the WE M&P grip – this feels and looks almost identical to the real S&W M&P texturing from what I can recall.

The magazine catch is nice and pronounced, not too much that it will drop mags prematurely when bumped, but the height is ample enough that I won’t have to be scrambling to reach it as with the stock Glock one. The face of the magazine catch is textured in a semi-similar pattern to the front strap of the grip. It appears to be reversible for left handed shooters, though this will involve removal of the spring behind it – I haven’t tried to do this yet as it isn’t applicable to me. The magazine catch itself is plastic; I’m hoping that it won’t wear out nearly as fast as the KSC Glock-series mag catches do.

IMG_7896

The functional trigger safety is replicated on the WE M&P. S&W designed the M&P with a jointed trigger safety. It does feel a little weird to me on the WE model, as compared to my experience shooting the real deal, but it does act as a trigger safety should. There is quite a bit of mush as the trigger safety disengages, and quite a bit of slack thereafter. The trigger pull is very light, and I find the break to be very predictable. However, there is a significant amount of overtravel after the gun goes off – even despite the moulded trigger stop near the magazine catch, in the trigger guard. It’s not the best trigger out there in the Airsoft GBB world, but I would have to admit that I’ve seen much worse.

IMG_7920

There is a Picatinny rail integrated into the plastic frame, in front of the trigger guard. There are 3 slots, as per the real S&W M&P. Nothing to write home about here – I’m likely not even going to use this feature.

IMG_7898

As with the S&W M&P design, the WE M&P features a high beavertail. This feels great… I mean, its mind-blowing. I’m probably going to acquire a S&W M&P in 9mm after handling this WE replica, just because of how good it feels in my hand. The customizable backstrap has a rubberized finish on it. You can see the ambidextrous slide stop faintly, it does protrude more than enough to access when releasing the slide. There is one pin that is seen only on the left hand side of the lower, I’m not entirely sure what it does, though I suspect it may have something to do with the optional safety lever that exists as an option for S&W M&P’s.

IMG_7916

Note the functional ambidextrous slide stop. Very cool – works like a charm. I found myself learning to lock the slide with my right trigger finger pushing up on the right hand side of the slide stop, while I release the slide with my right thumb or by power stroking the slide. Do note that rapid insertion of a loaded magazine on a specific angle will release the slide – this is reminiscent of the real S&W M&P as well, as is demonstrated by various M&P shooters in various video clips.

The magazine catch hole in the frame is the same on both sides of the lower, so this is one of the reasons why I figure that the WE Airsoft adaptation of the M&P also features a reversible mag catch.

IMG_7936

Note the WE logo on the grip. You can also faintly see it on the magazine baseplate, as well as the serial number plate near the slide. Mine reads “WET05662” – if someone else with a WE M&P could comment on what theirs is, perhaps we could figure out if this is a unique serial number or not?

IMG_7938

Field stripping the WE M&P is very similar to the real deal. Location of the take-down lever is the same as is found on the M9 or P226. First, remove the magazine and (for safety’s sake) ensure that the gun is unloaded. Like the P226, rack the gun and align the semi-circle notch on the slide with the top of the take-down lever. Rotate the take-down lever clockwise 90 degrees.

IMG_7954

Here we have the slide assembly separated from the frame. Note the large bore of the loading nozzle – this equals harder kick. Yup… may I repeat myself in saying that the WE M&P is a ton of joy to shoot. It does suffer a small bit of cool down in room temperature after 15-20 shots fired in rapid succession, but with the magazine capacity being near this, it is almost unnoticeable.

Note that the hop up chamber is just okay. Out of the box, the hop up adjustment wheel doesn’t want to budge. The reason being that the hop up adjustment arm is slightly too long on one end and it locks into the wheel when everything is assembled and tightened. For reference on how to fix this, I suggest you check out this YouTube clip on the modification required (shown to me by a different YouTuber “Driftinsti” – he’s a local player who goes by a few different usernames on different forums).

Recoil spring is nice and snappy – cyclic rate is just right for firing on green gas with the parts that are on this gun. Not too heavy, but definitely not too light. Once again, it just feels great to shoot this WE M&P, IMO.

IMG_7957

The following two pictures are pictures of the inside of the lower with the slide removed. First picture is of the metal block with front slide rails, located closer to the muzzle end of the gun. It houses the take-down lever, trigger (with attached trigger bar), and slide stop.

IMG_7960

Second picture is of the hammer/firing group, housed in between the rear slide rails. The hammer looks somewhat similar to a Tokyo Marui Glock or Five-SeveN on first glance, however I suspect that these are probably all proprietary parts. The internals of the WE M&P look like pot-metal; I’m hoping that some retailer will start to sell replacement or upgrade parts, sometime soon.

IMG_7963

The magazine is advertised to hold 21 rounds (21+1 capacity of the WE M&P). It looks strikingly similar to a PX4 magazine to me, though I haven’t yet had a chance to test if this is true or not. Update: WE PX4 magazine is not compatible.

IMG_8007

The base plate is very likely a WE M&P-specific design, though.

IMG_7913

The magazine has notches on both sides for catching on the mag catch – this once again leads me to believe that the magazine catch on the WE M&P is indeed reversible. Note that near the bottom of the slot for the follower, there is a flared portion into which you may more easily load BB’s into the magazine. This is something that comes from your typical TM GBB design, and is something that WE appears to have included in their own design of the M&P (TM has yet to release their M&P GBB, so I suspect that the WE is a WE-specific design rather than a clone).

IMG_8013

One of the really neat features of the S&W M&P that WE has reproduced is the interchangeable backstrap system. I like this quite a bit, as this allows the shooter to customize the size and shape of the grip to conform better to his or her hand. In my case, I’m using the medium size backstrap. In the box, WE includes 3 sizes of backstraps (small, medium, and large) and 2 colours (in the case of the DE version – DE and Pink). Note that the included colour choices of backstraps in the Black, Blue and Purple M&P models are either Black or Pink; WE does not include the matching colour of the frame in the Blue or Purple models.

IMG_7982

I took a few photos to demonstrate how to change backstraps on the WE M&P – the process is very easy and has been one of the selling points of this WE model demonstrated in many video clips on YouTube about this gun.

Step 1 – find and rotate the part on the butt of the grip 90 degrees counterclockwise. This part is now unlocked and can be pulled free from the frame. This grip plug is located on the bottom of the grip, towards the rear of the magazine well. On the DE, Blue and Purple models I’ve held thus far, this is easier to find as it is a Black part, as versus the matching colour of the frame.

IMG_7971

Step 2 – with the pin of the grip plug removed from the frame, wiggle the bottom the rubberized backstrap off of the frame.

IMG_7975

Step 3 – pull the backstrap down and rearward from the frame. Note that if you don’t pull this away at an angle from the frame, the tap located at the top of the backstrap will still be locked into a hole in the frame, preventing removal of the backstrap.

As you can see in the picture below, I’m currently using the medium size DE backstrap (I really like the width and depth of this one in my hand). I’m actually undecided if the medium or large fits my hand better, as the large takes up a small gap present on the web of my hand between my thumb and pointer finger when I’m gripping the gun with the medium backstrap installed.

IMG_7980

The following are comparison photographs of the small, medium and large interchangeable backstraps when installed on the WE M&P.

The small backstrap is smaller in width and depth.

IMG_7999

IMG_7997

The medium-sized backstrap appears as follows:

IMG_8000

IMG_7992

The large one (pictured below) is installed out of the factory. This one flares up closer to the tip of the beavertail than the smaller sizes.

IMG_8001

IMG_7990

I may not do a more technical review in the future, as you can find this information elsewhere with relative ease. Instead, I will be more likely to put as many aftermarket parts as I can find that will fit into the WE M&P into the WE M&P – expect to see some sort of compatibility report on parts from me here on Overhoppers sometime in the near future.

All in all, I’m very satisified with my purchase – even before shooting it at anything further than 20 ft. I’m honestly not the biggest fan of most WE products, but I do know that they have been getting much better with the more recent releases. This M&P has my hopes up for what the future may bring from WE – at the very least, it’ll serve as a great upgrade platform once I am able to source aftermarket and/or replacement parts for the hammer/trigger mech; such is the way with my WE M4 GBBR. I’m looking forward to showing off this M&P after picking up a few mags, installing a few upgrades and doing some minor modifications. It has already turned many a head while I was showing off my new toy yesterday, I’m sure it’ll be getting the same result for a number of weeks on the field.

IMG_8019

Cheers, WE. You’ve come quite a ways from that crappy old 1911 I owned. I’m actually impressed with this M&P!

-juicy

Part 1 – Review (currently here)

Part 2 – Update

Part 3 – Fix

Part 4 – Full-Auto Fix Video

Part 5 – Work-In-Progress Hop Up Fix (not the most current info I have)

Part 6 – Working M&P Compact Hop Up!

Part 7 – WE M&P Hop Up Fix Part 2 (this is the most up-to-date fix I know of)


7 responses to “Review: WE M&P GBB (Dark Earth)

Tell me your thoughts

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: