Not long ago, fans of Smith & Wesson M&P-series pistols who craved the enhanced precision of a reflex-style red-dot optic paired with the pistol were faced with either purchasing a Smith & Wesson M&P Pro Series 9 C.O.R.E. from its Performance Center or paying a gunsmith to modify an OEM slide from a stock pistol to accommodate an optic of choice. Thanks to a new line of accessories from Faxon Firearms, consumers now have a third option.
The company’s recent launch of production M&P Hellfire and Patriot slides offer consumers loads of ergonomic and practical enhancements over OEM slide, the most noticeable of which is a milled cut designed to accept an assortment of today’s reflex-style red-dot sights. But one look at these slides is enough to tell they are far from typical M&P products.
Curt Staubach, director of marketing, partially sums it up saying, “Manufacturing slides completely in-house from bar stock gives us the ability to create new profiles and optics mounting solutions that many other companies simply can’t achieve.”
Each slide is machined from 17-4 stainless steel and the addition of an ultra-tough DLC finish resists corrosion and wear while adding a welcome aesthetic touch that nicely complements the muted hue of an M&P’s OEM frame. Typical aggressive serrations adorn the rear of the slide, others of a more-angular orientation, span portions of the sides and even the top of the Hellfire and Patriot. Regardless of which serrations a shooter prefers, each provides ample purchase whenever manipulation is required.
Just behind the breechface and ejection port is an optics-ready cut that consumers specify at the time of their order. Choices include the Trijicon RMR reflex optic or a multi-optics system that can accept a Vortex Venom, Vortex Viper or Burris FastFire red-dot sight. Each milled cut sports machined posts that facilitate hassle-free mounting while simultaneously helping to mitigate the negative effects of recoil. (Cover plates and mounting hardware are included.) Of course, cuts for traditional iron sights are also present fore and aft. Note that Faxon opted to use Glock sights due to their widespread aftermarket support. Faxon also offers a variety of threaded and non-threaded barrels in various finishes on its website.
So what differences stand out between the two types of slides? The forward portion of the Hellfire model boasts milled/skeletonized cutouts on the top and sides. Such elongated holes offer a slight reduction in weight, making for a faster-moving slide, as well as enhanced barrel-cooling properties. Such elongated ports are absent on the Patriot, the latter features more-prominent serrations along the top and sides, providing greater purchase when cycling the slide.
MSRP for the Patriot is $499, while the Hellfire is priced at $525.