Firearms

Range Report: How Good Is the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC 9mm Folding Carbine?

Smith and Wesson M&P FPC atop two 100-yard bullseye targets

Among the criteria new shooters seem to have adopted is that the gun should be fun to shoot. I agree on principle. A firearm should not have sharp edges. It should not be difficult to make ready. There should be good safety features. I would also like to see the firearm have good reliability and present a formidable response to armed intruders.

The Smith and Wesson Military & Police FPC 9mm carbine neatly checks every box. There is nothing lacking and the FPC is fun to shoot. So much so, I seriously depleted my 9mm Luger ammunition reserves. I had plenty of help from interested shooters.

Smith and Wesson M&P FPC with the stock folded behind the barrel
The FPC is a neat little carbine that is quick to deploy and easy to operate.

Folding Pistol Carbine

The FPC is intended for home defense and area defense. It may serve as a firearm easily deployed for defense of spots often targeted by robbery gangs. These include pawn shops, jewelry stores, and pharmacies. The carrying bag supplied with the FPC would allow a business owner to carry the FPC to and from home or work with little attention.

I like the FPC. If properly understood and deployed, it is a great all around defensive tool. The FPC solves a lot of problems, it is affordable, and fun to shoot.

Let’s look at the FPC’s weight and overall length. The FPC weighs but five pounds. It is 30.3 inches long. Folded, the piece comes in at 16.3 inches. This allows the FPC to be easily stored.

The storage bag is among the best factory supplied designs I have encountered. There are compartments for accessories and magazines, including spare grip inserts. The FPC’s blowback operation works fine in this size firearm. The FPC 9mm is delivered with a 17-round flush fit and two 23-round extended magazines. These are compatible with Smith and Wesson 9mm M&P handguns.

Ammunition is widely available and increasingly affordable. The Folding Pistol Caliber 9mm features the obligatory 1/2x28mm threaded barrel. The 16.3-inch barrel is covered by an M-Lok handguard. A 1913 rail on the upper receiver allows easy mounting an optic. You will want a red dot for this carbine.

Smith and Wesson M&P FPCf olded laying on top of the range bag
A handy range and carry bag is provided with the FPC.

A set of AR sights is fine, whether you opt for plastic to Troy battle sights. The red dot offers superior speed and combat accuracy. The receiver is hinged at the front, allowing the operator to press a robust latch to rotate the handguard and barrel to the left side of the carbine.

The rifle folds horizontally rather than vertically. This prevents the optic from taking a bump. While I hope we are smarter than this, things happen. The FPC cannot be folded with a chambered cartridge.

A generous ejection port is on the right side of the receiver. While a carbine is a carbine and a pistol is a pistol, I enjoyed using the M&P pistol-type grip. I am not lazy on testing firearms, but I did not change out the backstrap with the supplied optional inserts.

grip insert removed from the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
Grip inserts are provided.

A carbine is much easier to handle well than a pistol and the supplied grip feels fine. Perhaps later, I will fine tune the grip to fit my hand. I do not use a two-handed pistol grip but keep the forward hand on the handguard. This also affects how the grip feels to the hand.

This grip correlates to the Military & Police compact grip frame. This allows the full range of magazines from 15 to 23-round capacity to be used. If you have a compact size 9mm S&W M&P, your magazines fit.

The FPC features ambidextrous bolt releases, a reversible magazine release, and cross bolt safety. The safety is positive in operation. After cleaning away the packing grease and a few dry fire operations, the FPC trigger broke at 5.1 pounds.

two magazines in the stock of the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
The FPC carries two magazines in the stock.

The racking, cocking, or charging handle is behind the receiver. This handle reciprocates as the weapon is fired. Be certain to keep your cheek and chin out of the way of the cocking handle while firing. It will brush your cheek if you do not maintain a cheek weld on the proper buttock area.

While well suited to recreation, the FPC is a serious personal defense firearm. As such it fills a real need. The FPC is much easier to shoot well than a handgun — any handgun. The 9mm Luger gains some velocity over a handgun in a 16-inch carbine barrel. This makes for improved expansion potential and greater accuracy.

I am not enthusiastic concerning any pistol cartridge at 100 yards, but the energy boost from a longer barrel allows the FPC to shoot flatter. An 8-inch plate will be rung every time at 100 yards, but this is kind of a trick or stunt and not very practical. At 50 yards, the FPC outshoots any pistol in most hands. The bottom line is that the FPC allows a shooter with a minimum of training and marksmanship skills to put a lot of hits into a threat very quickly.

The FPC has good features. The stock carries two spare magazines in a secure carrier. They are not particularly easy to detach and that is good — they will not be lost. The paddle-type release works well when the stock is oriented upside down. Some practice is needed to operate the magazine holder release.

I see the carriers as more of a convenience than something you will really need in a gunfight. Just the same, if awakened at night or in any type of forced deployment, you have spare loads in the gun stock and ready. The stock is not adjustable but fits most of us well. It is really just a cheek rest.

right side bolt release under the ejection port on the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
The right side bolt release is uncomfortably close to the ejection port. We did not use it.

The KelTec Sub 2000, a similar carbine, folds end-over-end while the FPC folds sideways. This means that you will be able to mount an optic on the FPC and still fold the piece. This is important. The wear and tear on a folding mechanism is minimal… if you don’t play with the FPC every day. Plastic wears slowly and gives a little. Try a one hand slap and you may not convince the latch to catch either by too little force or too much force causing bounce back. Handle the FPC with the same respect you give any firearm.

I chose the SIG Romeo 7 red dot sight for the S&W M&P FPC 9mm. What’s not to like about over 60,000 hours of battery life? I mounted the SIG red dot easily enough and proceeded to sight in the FPC. I initially chose 10 yards, a reasonable distance for home defense engagement. I lubricated the bolt (about the only maintenance the FPC will need) and began firing.

Smith and Wesson M&P FPC atop a five bullseye target
Offhand accuracy at 25 yards really depended on how quickly the author fired.

Firing impressions were good. The Smith and Wesson M&P FPC carbine, like all 9mm carbines, has some momentum but recoil is light. I don’t consider the .223 AR a kicker, but the 9mm is more pleasant to fire as there is less muzzle blast. It wasn’t difficult to keep all the rounds in the X-ring, obliterating the X with the first magazine at 10 yards.

The trigger features a sharp reset. Accuracy is good to very good. I fired the first 120 rounds of ammunition in fast paced combat drills at 7, 10, 15, and 25 yards. There was little difference in my ability to cut the X away at any of these ranges. The little gun will shoot.

Velocity Testing

Load

Glock 19X fps

S&W FPC fps

Fiocchi 115-grain XTP1,1701,260
Hornady 124-grain XTP1,2221,320
Hornady 124-grain FlexLock +P1,1661,280
Federal 147-grain HST9901,080

Most of the original firing was done with a variety of FMJ loads. At the second outing, I added a good mix of jacketed hollow point loads and chronographed these loads. Performance was good to excellent without a stoppage.

At the 25-yard line, it wasn’t difficult to plow a furrow in the center of the target and keep off the holes in line. I fired the FPC from a benchrest for accuracy at 25 yards. The smallest group was 1.2 inch. I would guess, if you can hold off a solid rest you will be able to get a 5-inch group at 100 yards, or perhaps a little larger.

Specifications: Smith and Wesson M&P FPC

  • Type: Blowback-operated, semiautomatic
  • Caliber: 9x19mm
  • Capacity: 17- and 23-round S&W M&P pistol magazines
  • Barrel: 16.3 inches
  • Overall Length: 16.3 in. (folded), 30.3 in. (fixed)
  • Weight: 5 pounds 
  • Stock: Tubular steel with 13.2-inch length of pull
  • Finish: Blue
  • Trigger: 5.5 pounds 
  • Sights: None, MIL STD 1913 Picatinny rail
  • MSRP: $659

This is a defense carbine for home and area defense. Just the same, you would not be helpless at extended range. I like this carbine a lot. It is friendly to use and has advantages over the handgun, shotgun, or rifle in many situations.

I recommend the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC 9mm carbine for anyone needing a measure of authority that they may not find in another type of firearm. As for the bag gun concept, the Smith and Wesson is so good and handles so well, that the concept just went from my ‘maybe aisle’ to the front row.

How would a folding carbine such as the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC 9mm fit in your defensive plan? Do you think the 9mm chambering in a carbine is enough? What caliber would your prefer? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • three upset 9mm bullets
  • button to remove the butt plate on the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
  • top down view of the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC in the folded position
  • right side bolt release under the ejection port on the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
  • Smith and Wesson M&P FPC atop two 100-yard bullseye targets
  • Smith and Wesson M&P FPCf olded laying on top of the range bag
  • SIG Romeo 7 mounted on a Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
  • Bob Campbell shooting the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC offhand at an indoor range
  • Bob Campbell shooting the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC at an indoor range
  • Bob Campbell shooting the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC from a benchrest
  • bob carrying the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC in a range bag
  • two magazines in the stock of the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
  • grip insert removed from the Smith and Wesson M&P FPC
  • Smith and Wesson M&P FPC with the stock folded behind the barrel
  • Smith and Wesson M&P FPC with the barrel folded behind the stock
  • Red and white bullseye target with five bullet holes in the 10 ring
  • Smith and Wesson M&P FPC atop a five bullseye target

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.


Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Handloader
Rifle Magazine
Handguns
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns



Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (33)

  1. @Mike: “I’m in my 70’s , and I had A very hard time loading the magazines . Any suggestions?”

    1: Maglula for one. Can find on line or pretty much any gun store.

    2: Also The Bullet Loader Tray (BLT) from Gun Nutz, which can be used one-handed, also sold by Ruger.

    Not sure which one? I am sure there are u-tube videos showing how each works, so you can make an informed decision.

  2. In the PC class of firearms, folding, takedown, or even straight stock, I recently learned that mounting a red dot out on the barrel, past the folding/take-down section, pretty far from the eye, eliminates any “play” variation, and not only improves accuracy, but also opens your field of view. Think about that for a moment. A red dot mounted close to the eye, even slight movement translates exponentially at the tip of the barrel, however when mounting a red dot closer to the end of the barrel, counteracts the former and greatly improves accuracy. Makes one wonder about those AR’s that have a picitinny rail under the Stoner front sight, and even those with long forearms with a picatinny rail on top, almost to the end of the barrel, to mount a red dot out there? Could be a fun experiment, as in my recent learning, 50 rounds at 25 yards, 9 mm put all 50 in a hole about the size of a quarter. What was surprising is there wasn’t even a single “flyer”.

  3. I loved the 9mm , with one exception,
    I’m in my 70’s , and I had A very hard time loading the magazines . Any suggestions?

  4. I am confused. I just shot my s&w fpc today for the first time and I expected to see the charging handle fly past my nose. But lo and behold it did not move as so many say it does. What’s up with that? I got several 2 1/2 in groups at 42 yards. I think it can do better. Did S&W change the operation of the charging handle or what. Also if you read the manual it’s a bolt catch not a bolt release so just slingshot it and life is good. First time out. 50 rounds and no problem. Cool little gun. I’m sure it’s gonna be on the same list as pistol grips as soon as some nut job uses it for the wrong reason.

  5. I am confused. I just shot my s&w fpc today for the first time and I expected to see the charging handle fly past my nose. But lo and behold it did not move as so many say it does. What’s up with that? I got several 2 1/2 in groups at 42 yards. I think it can do better. Did S&W change the operation of the charging handle or what. Also if you read the manual it’s a bolt catch not a bolt release so just slingshot it and life is good. First time out. 50 rounds and no problem. Cool little gun. I’m sure it’s gonna be on the same list as pistol grips as soon as some nut job uses it for the wrong reason.

  6. Rather than an Optic, I’d prefer a Green Laser such as the Crimson Trace Grip/Trigger Guard Laser for the S&W M&P / Shield. This gives me a tactical edge with speed of target acquisition as well as instant sighting. I have contracted Crimson Trace, whose lasers I own in abundance, but no response yet on using their product under the trigger guard.

  7. Just got mine and took it to the range. Other than some of the comments already made, the one thing I noticed that was somewhat annoying was the “ping” created by the buffer tube/spring when firing, even with hearing protection. I would be interested to hear about any solutions to dampen or remove this “ping” when firing.

  8. Do the mag holders in the buttstock hold mags smaller than 23 rounds? I might wanna store 17 rounders to save weight and space between the pistol grip and ends of the magazines.

  9. Mine is in transit as we speak. Guess I’ll find out! Own one S&W so now it’ll have a baby brother.

  10. Lazy C

    I dont think you want to fire a carbine with no barrel! When folded a round would not be chambered, it would explode in shards.
    Folding is only for storage. But yes if stored at the ready, folded, there is a speed penalty. We are doing a feature on bag guns that will address this issue.
    A handgun is of course instantly ready to use
    Food for thought.

  11. If you can’t shoot it while it’s folded, then it’s worthless. Someone can get off a couple of rounds before you can unfold it and aim it down range. But, it can change my mind if it came in 10mm and 40 cal., no promises though.

  12. Exactly what I’ve been looking for. Will buy one immediately, when they come out with it in .40 or 10 mm

  13. This is the exact rifle I have been waiting on for a number of reasons, BUT please make it in either .40 or 10mm as soon as possible

  14. As a right-handed person, try picking up a Key-tec 2000 in your left hand, and you will IMMEDIATELY know why it will not work for a correct-handed person. The sad thing is; Kel-tec is smarter than this, as all they had to do was make the magazine release reversible, like so many other firearms are designed to do. Maybe they are listening?

  15. I absolutely love this carbine! But . . .

    Evidently there is a problem with some of the early shipments. (Mine was one of the first two to arrive here.) With less than 100 rounds through it, the carbine stopped firing. Neither switching magazines nor switching ammunition made a difference. Examination of the rounds showed evidence of it being a light primer strick problem.

    Searching the Internet uncovered a forum with comments from several who were having the same problem. It appears that the roll pin being used as a retainer for the firing pin is the culprit, somehow causing drag on the firing pin, limiting the force of the impact with the primer. S&W is replacing the roll-type retainer pin with a machined pin.

    When called, S&W simply asked for the serial number and my shipping address. A new bolt was shipped out and I’m expected to return the original by email.

    I trust S&W to resolve this problem quickly and permanently. I only have one concern: I’ve got a permit for Concealed Handgun Carry, but I can’t find the law regarding Concealed Rifle Carry.

  16. I got my FPC 2 weeks ago. It was everything I read about. I have a 9mm suppressor and the FPC has a threaded barrel, nothing better. It shoots standard 147gr very well, and Quietly. The 124gr subsonic rounds are even better. I’ve used several different brands and weight bullet and the gun feeds very well. no jams or misfeeds after almost 500 rounds. overall it’s a great gun at a good price.

  17. I’m glad the above comments are mainly positive. I agree with Colonel K about the adjustable stock. It wouldn’t take much of an upgrade on S&W’s part to do that. I’m guessing in the future that will happen. I have an M&P9, so this carbine will fit nicely with it.

    Now for the crappy part of my own experience. Me and two friends went out to shoot various guns, this one being new and unfired. None of us could get it to fire. We tried all three magazines, and even one magazine from the M&P9. No reaction. I talked to my gunsmith, and he said to immediately send it back, so currently, it is on its way to the S&W factory. I am anxious to see what was wrong with it, and also am anxious to get it back in working order.

    Even though I seemed to have drawn a lemon, I like the premise of the carbine and still believe it will have a place in my arsenal.

  18. I like it! I have the KelTec Sub 2000 in 40 S&W to fit my Beretta 96 Magazines! I do not shoot the Keltec for fun. I shoot it to be proficient! It to me; is not a fun gun to shoot! I love what it does for my capabilities and for the reason I acquired it. It was a thought out decision; of which I have zero regrets! A pistol ammo carbine where the magazines interchange from primary to secondary weapons? Brilliant idea! As I now own more of what S&W has to offer; I may look at adding this to my arsenal as well!

  19. Sure

    roller lock 9mm carbine is fine.
    Price starts at 1600 dollars

    They dont fold. The SW is much easier to shoot well than most.
    Bob
    As for left or right hand not that big a deal when you keep it safety off and chamber empty in the home- but just the same that is interesting that so many complained. I think that a reversible safety would be good. Also, while the SW comes with three magazines – Glock magazines are plentiful. Good comments

  20. I totally support these 9mm PCC’s. I am a Glock person and went with the Kel Tec 2000. That said the folding PCC with a red dot, interchangeable magazines and 16” barrel easily improves your hit accuracy inside 100 yards. Almost too easy, but lots of fun!

  21. Nice to see other correct-handed people out there pointing out the things that would make our crowd happier with any new items coming out. I am to the point that anything new coming out that doesn’t at least have 100% ambidextrous capability, isn’t worth finishing reading the article. That is especially true in the AR arena for the latest wiz-bang America’s black rifle that still comes out with right hand ONLY controls, AND that worst ever Stoner pistol grip, looks just like all the other ARs in the last 60 years, and just screams I AM NOT INTERESTED!!!!!! What is ironic is the new kid on the block, introducing their first ever semi-auto rifle, in PCC, also makes it not only 100% ambidextrous controls, but also a Glock magazine option! Also, per any liberal definition of a scary rifle, it is not. Yes, I am talking about the Henry Homesteader. Now I kind of wonder what a Henry AR would be like, considering the correct-handed crowd. AND in the PCC world, where in the world is Glock? The Glock people need to wake up! I still think Glock should introduce a PCC that looks like a Thompson, using Glock mags of course. :-). Think about that last one.

  22. Received my S&W FPC this week. Took it to the range with grandson and we almost sawed a target in half with 100 rounds. Great shooting weapon and fun to shoot. I added a cheap red/green dot from Amazon. I didn’t expect much from it but it was great to work with.

  23. Nice that everyone is now building 9mm semi auto PCCs. However, they are using a simple “blow-back” type of operation. There are better options as to the mode of operation. Think that the newer batch of Lever action 9mm PCCS, (or if someone would bring back a “pump” action version PCC), they would be able to use the “take-down/removeable barrel” feature that was popular early in the last century. Back then, the idea was to break down a rifle for train travel. RUGER does a version of their 9mm PCC with a removeable barrel, but it still uses a heavy weight type blow- back operation. Biggest drawback of the current crop of blow-back 9mm PCCs is that they are really not suitable for use of a Sound Suppressor. Worse, to jump up to a higher power round like 10mm, blow-back actions require heavier weights and/or springs. Ever wonder why the Roller Lock 9mm PCCs are preferred by most militaries???

  24. Pretty much always been a Smith guy. They are what I carried on and off duty and still carry in civilian life. The FPC might very well be my next purchase. Never have been much of a 9mm fan, have much more of a preference for the .40 and hope that Smith introduces the FPC chambered for it.

  25. While somewhat ambidextrous, I would really like an opinion on how it shoots by a lefty. The Kel-Tec Sub2000 had way too much gas and unburned powder for me to shoot comfortably, and that was without a suppressor. I hope the case deflector also operates as a gas shield as well, but I would want someone else to be the guinea pig before I picked one of these up.

  26. The carbine has a lot well thought out features, but there are three aspects of it that could be improved. Despite its ambidextrous charging handle, ambidextrous slide release, reversible magazine release, and brass deflector, the cross-bolt safety is right-hand only. This is an inexcusable oversight by S&W designers and should be corrected. Th easiest option is to make the safety reversible or replaceable with a left hand safety. While this particular safety is well positioned, cross bolt safeties are not very intuitive. If possible, the safety should be relocated above the grip and operate like an AR style ambidextrous selector. My second observation is the lack of an adjustable length of pull. The whole idea of a shoulder arm is having a stock that fits you well. Perhaps some clever aftermarket company will come up with a solution so the carbine will fit every shooter comfortably instead of the mythical average man. My third issue addresses the disassembly and reassembly of the carbine. Field stripping is a bit involved and requires the removal of two small pins that could easily be misplaced or lost in the woods. Reassembly requires the use of a dowel rod or similar tool to force the bolt back into position. For these reasons I would be hesitant to take this carbine apart except at home or on the range. There is one last feature of the carbine I find intriguing. The serial number is engraved on the buffer tube rather than the frame, making the tube the registered part. I’m curious to know how difficult it is to remove the buffer tube. If it’s easy I can imagine a host of aftermarket kits being made available, along with 80% tubes for the do-it-yourself types. Quite a cottage industry could spring up, just as happened with Ruger 22s and Glocks. The FPC certainly has a lot of potential. I wonder if there will be a 357 Sig, 40S&W, or 10mm version down the road. Quick-change barrels anyone?

  27. I think carbines chambered in pistol calibers are a very good idea. Carbines with shoulder stock extended provide a more stable platform than handheld, and coupled with handguns in the same caliber provide “up close to up to 50 yard solutions” without worrying about switching ammo, something worth considering should the SHTF. I own a Marlin 1894 in .38/.357 which pairs nicely with Smith and Wesson revolvers I own, and plan to acquire one of these soon to go with my 9mm pistols.

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