The following is our review of the Smith and Wesson M&P 9L after customer trigger work was done on it from Bowie Tactical Concepts.  Please click the READ MORE below to read the article.

S&W M&P 9L

 (with Bowie Tactical Modifications)

By Jessie Indracusin


For those of you who have watched our episode of the range shoot we did a few weeks back on the M&P 9L as it came from the factory, will remember that we referenced that our firearm was being sent off to Bowie Tactical for custom work. Now that the gun is back and we spent some time shooting a few hundred rounds through it, we wanted to do a follow up review on gun as a before and after.


Bowie Tactical Concepts ( is a custom gun smith who specializes in the S&W M&P Series, Glock and Springfield XD series of guns. I have encountered his firearms in the past at various shooting courses and have been extremely pleased with the performance encountered every time. To say the gun is like night and day is actually an understatement. Bowie Tactical Concepts is owned by a long time firearms instructor with a law enforcement background who has been doing custom work for years. Pretty much all of the work is done by him personally (if not all of it). He takes meticulous steps to ensure the gun is solid. The M&P 9L has a bit of a sloppy trigger. You don’t even need to take my word for it, this is a common response by many who have used this gun. The trigger comes with a very difficult to use trigger. It is not a smooth trigger and has issues with how to find the dead zone and trigger break points with it. For most of you who already know, one of the most important areas of accurate shooting is proper trigger control. Any gun that hampers your trigger control gives you undesired results. This was definitely the case with the M&P 9L from the factory.

So looking at what was done to the gun, we had a few enhancements done. The first being what Bowie Tactical Concepts refers to as an LX trigger setup. This reduces the trigger pull to a smooth 4 pound trigger pull and has the gun break perfectly (and more important, predictably) every time you work the action. This trigger pull has been described as similar to a 1911 design. The next thing that was done was the replacement of the factory sights with Trijicon sights. This provides night time illumination for the sighting and gives us a much better front sight picture. These sights, parts and installed, was about $100 dollars. The LX Trigger system was also about $100.

The other component we had done was a reliability job. The feed ramp in the barrel is polished to a mirror finish and provides a perfectly smooth movement of the bullet into the back of the barrel. You can actually see your reflection in the feed ramp with how polished down it becomes. This can become more useful if you like to shoot cheap, dirty ammunition like Monarch or Wolf ammo through your hand guns. Since this reliability job costs only about $25, we added it to the order.

After you add shipping charges, your total cost is around $300 in work. Since the M&P 9L pistol can be purchased for a little over $600 street cost (MSRP is in the low $700 range), you are looking at a $900 when all is said and done. So was it worth it?


The results speak for themselves. Without this work, I would really not rate this gun that high. It was only after shooting a basic S&W M&P9 series that had the work done, did this come gun to light for me. Many of you know myself and my site for our speciality of Heckler and Koch firearms and Glock Firearms. The original option we were starting with was the Glock 34. So with that, other guns you are best to compare this one to is the Glock 34 and the H&K P30L handgun. The shot groups were increased dramatically. When we took the gun to the range the second time, if didn’t even feel like the same gun. The current price of the S&W M&P Series of pistols are a bit overpriced for what you get from the manufacturer. To think when these guns first came out, the street price of a standard M&P 9 was around $400 (after an initial $50 rebate they were offering) the gun was a steal. However, at the current costs, the gun has tougher competition.

If you have no interest in sending the gun off to get any work done, you may want to consider a S&W M&P 9 Pro series. The Pro Series has a much better trigger system then a standard S&W and improved sights. The Pro series still does not match the work done by Bowie Tactical, but for those who are looking for a cheap option, getting a S&W Pro series might be a good option. You get the extended barrel like the S&W M&P9L and a better trigger than the normal factory trigger. The adjustable back straps on the guns are excellent and I really think this should be a standard option on all handguns (something Glock needs to really think about doing).

Pretty much my only complaint with the gun is the slide release/slide catch. It is still very stiff and hard to manipulate. I will say, after about 500 rounds it has started to get better. This is similar to Glocks which is why I have extended slide releases on nearly all my Glock handguns. All in all, I now have the 9mm handgun I was trying to achieve. I was trying to put together a long slide 9mm handgun to use in shooting courses (the needs here being using a cheaper 9mm round that allows both a cost savings in ammunition and a reduction in recoil for rapid fire shooting courses on a timer).

Keep in mind, my conceal carry guns and home defense guns are still all 45 caliber, but this gun did fit a specific need I was looking for in my collection. As a reminder, those looking at the M&P 9L pistol, trying shooting this gun along with the Glock 34 and H&K P30L before making a final purchasing decision.

Bowie Tactical Concepts

2118 Wisconsin Avenue

PO Box 173

New Holstein, WI 53061



(Please note: Gun is being rated below with BTC work)









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Last Updated (Sunday, 18 April 2010 17:52)