Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 39

New Apex Grade barrel alongside
the Smith & Wesson
factory barrel.

S

mith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic
pistols are popular for competitive
shooting because of their superior
ergonomics and reliability. They are sufficiently
accurate for most tasks, but this does not
mean that accuracy can't be improved. A gun
that shoots 3- to 5-inch groups at 25 yards is
fine for self-defense, but competitive shooting
demands a bit more precision.
Several companies offer aftermarket barrels
for those who want to improve the accuracy
of their M&P. Apex Tactical Specialties offers
match-grade barrels in the Apex Grade line
for M&Ps as well as other components, such
as trigger kits.
Apex Grade barrels offer better tolerances
and improved timing-allowing a longer
lockup (dwell) time than factory barrels.
Keeping the barrel stable for a longer period
should enhance mechanical accuracy.
The barrels are stainless steel and offered in
9mm only for 4.25-inch and 5-inch pistols, and
fit M&P pistols including the new 2.0. They also
list a 4-inch barrel for M&P compact 2.0 pistols.
Brand

Velocity
(Fps)

Bullet

They sport a 1:10-inch
twist and accuracy tests have shown
they can produce 5-shot groups at 25 yards
under 1 inch with common bullet weights like
115-, 124- and 147-grain.
I wanted to try an Apex Grade barrel in my
4.25-inch M&P9 2.0 to improve accuracy. The
original Smith & Wesson barrel had a very small
amount of side-to-side and front to back movement in the slide and a small amount of slop at
the muzzle. It wasn't much movement, but this
is the stuff that degrades accuracy because the
barrel could be in a slightly different position for
each shot which would increase group size.
Apex barrels come in two configurations. First
is a gunsmith-fit barrel, with oversize tolerances
at the front of the barrel, the hood and the
bottom lock-up surface. Next, a semi drop-in
barrel also has oversize dimensions, but in most
Shots In
Group

S&W

Apex

Group Size (In)
S&W
Apex

Apex Accuracy
Improvement

PPU

115 JHP

1,153

1,145

25

2.73

1.90

30%

SIG

115 FMJ

1,189

1,179

25

7.88

4.43

44%

Winchester

115 FMJ

1,191

1,192

50

5.30

4.40

17%

Handload

115 JHP

N/A

N/A

50

3.62*

2.90

20%

Federal

124 FMJ

1,089

1,085

25

5.24

3.90

26%

Federal

147 FMJ

N/A

N/A

50

3.83

2.19

43%

Speer Lawman 147 TMJ

1,028

1,047

25

6.50

2.74

58%

The handload was 115-grain Hornady XTP with 1.060-inch OAL in Starline brass, plus six grains of Power Pistol
and CCI 500 Primers. Velocity is the average of 10 shots recorded with a Shooting Chrony chronograph from
8 feet. Some velocities did not register due to the changing sun position during shooting. * 49 shots.

SSUSA.ORG | JANUARY 2020

39


http://www.SSUSA.ORG

Shooting Sports USA - January 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Shooting Sports USA - January 2020

Contents
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover1
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover2
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 3
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 4
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 5
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Contents
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 7
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 8
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 9
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 10
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 11
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 12
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 13
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 14
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 15
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 16
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 17
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 18
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 19
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 20
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 21
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 22
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 23
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 24
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 25
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 26
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 27
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 28
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 29
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 30
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 31
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 32
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 33
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 34
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 35
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 36
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 37
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 38
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 39
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 40
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 41
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - 42
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover3
Shooting Sports USA - January 2020 - Cover4
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