Smith & Wesson released a press release this morning saying the company entered a contract with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department to provide the agency with M&P 9 pistols for the next five years. These will replace non-Smith & Wesson handguns, which I believe are the Beretta 92 FS pistols.
A member of the Smith & Wesson Forum (not affiliated with the company) posted in January 2012 that the agency was converting to the M&P 9. According to the author, this is the “first major handgun conversion for the department since the adoption of the Beretta in 1989.”
LASD approved the M&P 9 as an optional handgun for officers in 2008, but reversed policy in April 2009 when they experienced a number of failures with the handguns. The LASD training bureau sent out an explanation, that in part read:
SINCE FIRST APPROVAL AS AN OPTIONAL PISTOL ON DECEMBER 10, 2008, THE FULL-SIZED AND/OR COMPACT VERSIONS OF THE 9MM SMITH & WESSON M&P PISTOL HAVE BEEN DEPLOYED BY 49 SWORN PERSONNEL ON AND OFF DUTY. ONE OF THESE PISTOLS WAS DELIVERED NEW WITH AN IMPROPERLY MACHINED BARREL THAT WOULD NOT EJECT SPENT CARTRIDGE CASINGS. ANOTHER OF THESE PISTOLS EXPERIENCED A BARREL FAILURE IN MID-APRIL OF THIS YEAR. AFTER FIRING LESS THAN 10,000 ROUNDS OF TRAINING AMMUNITION. THIS PISTOL BARREL BROKE INTO TWO PIECES JUST AHEAD OF THE FIRING CHAMBER.
ADDITIONALLY, A SIGNIFICANT NUMBER OF DEPUTY ACADEMY CLASS #XXX RECRUITS WITH ISSUED NEW SMITH & WESSON 9MM M&P FULL-SIZE PISTOLS HAVE EXPERIENCED PHASE-2 PISTOL MALFUNCTIONS, CAUSED BY SPENT CASINGS FAILING TO EXTRACT FROM BARREL CHAMBERS, DURING THE PAST TWO WEEKS OF TRAINING. CLASS #XXX RECRUITS WILL BE ISSUED BERETTA 92FS PISTOLS ON WEDNESDAY APRIL 29, 2009, AND THEIR M&P PISTOLS REMOVED FROM SERVICE.
By 2010, the handguns were once again approved by the agency.