After mounting the Trijicon RMR on the slide of the CORE, it was time to hit the range. The RMR mounted on the CORE slide was only about .050″ higher above the boreline than my ATEi setup, so presentation was the same. The longer, heavier top end of the CORE, with the additional combined weight of its 5″ barrel and long slide made for an extremely soft shooting gun. In comparison, my 4.25″ barreled M&P seemed sharp in recoil.
Unfortunately for the CORE, that was the biggest tick in the the “plus” side of the scoresheet, and I had a bunch on the “minus” side. The factory trigger had a lot of grit in the take-up, as is typical with most new M&Ps. The trigger bar, a stamped part, bears many small marks from the manufacturing process. Each of these marks can be felt during the trigger movement. By comparison, the Performance Center sear broke crisply and cleanly once you worked through the takeup. The trigger reset was above average, and the newer M&Ps have been coming through with modified trigger bars which improve the sensation of reset. We’ll talk more about those mods in a future article.
A quick trip to the workbench to clean up the trigger bar and check the surfaces on the sear yielded a very clean 6 lb 4 oz trigger pull. For a gun without a manual safety, and potentially evaluated as a service weapon, I consider this a very acceptable pull weight. In conjunction with the take-up in this trigger, it is something that you could comfortably and safely shoot with gloves on. Once the take-up was cleaned up, shooting was much more pleasurable.
The accuracy of the CORE, another sore spot with the M&P, was nothing to write home about. M&Ps tend to be both unpredictable in their out of the box accuracy, and extremely ammunition sensitive due to issues with twist rate and dwell time in their barrels. I have gotten most of my guns to shoot well by figuring out what bullet weight worked best with the particular barrel setup. However, as my collection of M&Ps has grown, my patience for this has diminished. The CORE has yet to shoot much below 4″ at 25 yards with any of my preferred 147gr and 115gr loads, though it did shoot a 2″ cluster with some 124gr NATO ball which I can’t get to group in any other gun. Just to make sure it wasn’t me, I was able to rattle off a 3″ 10rd standing offhand group at 25 yards with my 4.25″ RMR M&P. I’ll get the CORE out for a few more sessions, and then it’ll likely get a new barrel.
With only about 500 rounds downrange on the CORE, it is too early to make any determinations about the viability of its mounting system. I’ll be getting it out to some matches over the holidays, and will put it into the rotation for 2013 to see how it holds up. Stay tuned for more updates.