Smith & Wesson M&P FPC 12575 9mm Luger


Pistol Caliber Carbines are the latest rage for action shooting sports and self-defense classes —and why not? They can weigh less, recoil less, and cost less to shoot than their centerfire rifle brethren. But as current as the concept seems, it is not exactly a new idea. History tells us that Colt Firearms finally agreed to chamber is Single Action Army pistols in 44 WCF (also known as the 44-40) in 1877. This was a major step for the company since they had refused to offer their pistols in anything except 45 Colt to that point. That concession allowed Colt’s customers (about half the cowboys in the American West) to carry a single cartridge that would fit their pistol and their 1873 Winchester rifle. This meant they could carry one type of ammo that could be used in their revolver for close-range work and the same round in a short-barreled rifle, bringing them more capacity, greater range, and better accuracy.

In today’s marketplace, when 223 Remington and 308 Winchester rounds are more available than a couple of years ago but are still expensive, the 9mm Luger appears to be the cartridge de jure. Having seemingly won the pistol caliber wars over the 45 ACP, the 9mm is the most popular centerfire cartridge in America today by a substantial margin and still growing. Our search for less-expensive training and competition options led us to three 9mm Pistol Caliber Carbines, each of which filled a slightly different niche.

The Smith & Wesson FPC comes neatly packed in a great case.

Our first test piece is the new FPC (Folding Pistol Carbine) from Smith & Wesson. It is a lightweight break-action that we are seeing sell for under $600. The next is the brand-new Saint Victor Carbine from Springfield Armory. Based on a simplified straight-blowback action, we’ve found this PCC for a little over a grand. Our last sample is the MPX from SIG Sauer in a variant built to be competitive right out of the box for USPSA PCC division. Cost for all those bells and whistles is around $2000.

The United States Practical Shooting Association (USPSA) has been one of the primary driving forces in action pistol competition for well over 40 years now. Once almost exclusively the purview of shooters using large-caliber single-stack semi-autos, USPSA has diversified. Growing from two recognized divisions with specialized equipment allowed, there are currently eight certified divisions and a ninth provisional category being tested. The last two formally accepted divisions (Carry Optics and Pistol Caliber Carbine) are hot right now, and both offer some of the same advantages: lighter-recoiling chamberings (almost always 9mm), larger magazine capacities, and optical sights. All that means is that the pistols and PCCs are relatively easy to shoot, comfortable to shoot, and forgiving to those with less than eagle eyes.

Competition is a demanding taskmaster. What doesn’t work is changed or forgotten quickly and SIG Sauer has been in the forefront of these two divisions. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they have Max Michel and Lena Miculek shooting for them and telling them what works. The SIG P320X and Legion series pistols have been a huge success for SIG in both the Production and Carry Optics Division. Likewise, the MPX pistol-caliber carbine has done the same for the PCC Division. So we were interested in seeing how the more-mature MPX platform set the tone for new pistol-caliber carbines from S&W and Springfield Armory.

To help us get the best out of the carbines, we attached a Holosun AEMS (Advanced Enclosed Micro Sight), which runs about $400 from Because this test group lives in a mostly green world, we chose the red-dot option over the green. This version provides a 32-minute-of-angle (moa) circle around a 2-moa dot. Not only does the AEMS come with an expected battery life of up to 50,000 hours, the battery compartment opens from the side for easy power replacement, and the sight has a solar back up. Add in the aluminum housing along with the flip-down lens cover, and we found this to be a very sturdy sight. Here’s how the rifles performed.

Smith & Wesson M&P FPC 12575 9mm Luger




Well balanced, fast and accurate, we would like the slide release to be a little easier to activate and the trigger a bit lighter.

Action Type Semi-auto, blowback
Overall Length 30.6 in., 16.5 in. folded
Barrel Length/Twist 16.25 in., 1:10 in.
Overall Height w/o Scope Mount 5.4 in.
Weight Unloaded 5.0 lbs.
Weight Loaded 5.9 lbs.
Sight Radius NA
Action Finish Matte-black oxide
Barrel Finish Matte-black oxide
Magazine Capacity 17 or 23 rounds
Magazine Type S&W M&P pattern
Stock Black aluminum and polymer
Stock Drop at Comb 0.5 in. below top of receiver
Stock Drop at Heel 0.5 in. below top of receiver
Stock Bedding NA
Stock Buttplate Polymer
Stock Length of Pull 14.5 in.
Receiver Scope-Base Pattern Picatinny rail
Trigger Pull Weight 4.6 lbs.
Safety Crossbolt
Warranty Lifetime service policy
Telephone (800) 331-0852
Made In U.S.

Earlier this year, Smith & Wesson threw their hat in the pistol-caliber-carbine ring with the introduction of the FPC (Folding Pistol Carbine) model. In a package that includes many of the better options present on competing PCCs, S&W added a couple of tricks of their own.

At just a hair more than 5 pounds, the FPC is easy to carry. Then S&W built it to fold in half at the junction of the bolt carrier and the chamber, putting a hinge on the left side of the receiver. The barrel latch is held securely closed by a locking tab and a serious spring just above and in front of the trigger. Even after testing was complete, we couldn’t detect any play at the joint. Everything stayed rock solid. 

Folded, the whole carbine is only 16.5 inches long. When folded, the pieces are held in place by the charging handle. The fore end, as a unit, pivots to the left. The thick-walled breech block also sports a small feed ramp and leads directly into the slender 16.25-inch-long barrel. The muzzle is threaded ½x28 and includes a small thread protector. The octagonal fore end is molded from polymer. It provides almost a foot of M-Lok slots along seven of the eight flats and a full-length Picatinny rail along the remaining side.

This is not an Armalite-style carbine. It isn’t built like one, and it doesn’t disassemble like one. Because the FPC uses a blowback action, the bolt carrier group needs to have some weight. In this case, what we might think of as a buffer is built directly onto the tail of the BCG. The bolt is slip fit onto the front of the carrier. Assembled, the whole unit weighs more than 1.5 of the 5 total pounds for the carbine.

This Smith Carbine’s bolt uses a pivoting extractor, a spring-loaded firing pin, and an ejector blade that is fixed inside the receiver. This design provides a great deal of the weight sitting directly on top of the pistol grip, leaving the unit well balanced even when held by only the shooting hand. The ejection port is on the right side as expected. Slide-release tabs are located on both sides. Fairly easy to operate with the carbine empty, we found them to be very stiff when a magazine was present. The simple solution is to plan on using the charging handle to release the bolt carrier back into battery. 

The magazine catch is reversible and comes from the factory located on the right side and is intended for operation by the strong-side index finger. The safety is a crossbolt piece mounted above and at the forward end of the trigger guard. Operated by thumbs or index fingers, push it to the left for Fire and right for Safe. The grip itself is well textured and even includes interchangeable Smith & Wesson palm swells. The trigger was the type we would expect out of an M&P, but a bit heavier than we are used to.

We strongly recommend you read the manual when first disassembling this carbine. While not difficult at all, we are not going to describe the process as intuitive. In a nutshell, make sure it is empty, remove the buttstock, recoil spring and two pins. With everything lined up, the bolt carrier group can drop right out. Reassemble in reverse order. To load, insert one of the three included magazines (one 17-rounder and two 23-rounders). Pull back on the charging handle and let it go. The handle moves (it does not reciprocate) along what looks like a buffer tube, but function is very different.

These are standard S&W M&P mags, so if you have extra for your M&P pistols, you are ready to go with spares. Also, if your state requires them, S&W makes 10-round magazines.

The buttstock brings a couple more tricks. It only has one position, so length of pull cannot be changed. It is easy to remove via a button at the bottom rear. That same button also serves as latch for the two spare mags that can be carried basepad forward in the buttstock. This made it very easy to carry extra ammo but changed the gun’s balance, so we left those bays empty. We also understood we were not backpacking through Montana where we needed all the help we could get.

We really liked the balance of the FPC when we fired the single-shot drills (one round at a 10-inch plate 30 yards downrange). It sat in our strong hand well and seemed to just float up for the first shot. The FPC managed second in the one-shot drills, losing the top spot by a little more than one-hundredth of a second. When we went to the Dueling Tree (six 4-inch plates arranged vertically at 9 yards), the lighter weight of the carbine made it a bit harder for us to bring it down out of recoil for the following shots. Still, it was less than half a second total behind the winner for six hits. The FPC preferred the Speer 147-grain Gold Dot for the accuracy drills, compiling a 0.92-inch group average for three groups of five rounds at 30 yards, but then everything liked the Speer rounds. Function was perfect over more than 200 rounds.

Our Team Said: There’s a lot to like about M&P FPC. It’s well balanced and accurate. We dinged it for the sticky slide release and the heavier trigger.

Reloads 147-grain FMJ Smith & Wesson FPC Springfield Saint VictorSIG Sauer MPX
Average Velocity 1062 fps 1060 fps 1044 fps
Muzzle Energy 368 ft.-lbs. 367 ft.-lbs. 356 ft.-lbs.
Best Group 2.39 in. 2.17 in. 3.61 in.
Average Group 2.91 in. 2.35 in. 3.97 in.
Remington 115-grain FMJSmith & Wesson FPC Springfield Saint Victor SIG Sauer MPX
Average Velocity 1308 fps 1335 fps 1342 fps
Muzzle Energy 437 ft.-lbs. 455 ft.-lbs. 460 ft.-lbs.
Best Group 1.08 in. 0.68 in. 1.34 in.
Average Group 1.15 in. 0.93 in. 1.47 in.
Winchester 124-grain FMJ Smith & Wesson FPC
Springfield Saint Victor
Average Velocity 1278 fps 1293 fps 1283 fps
Muzzle Energy 450 ft.-lbs. 461 ft.-lbs. 453 ft.-lbs.
Average Group 1.37 in. 0.95 in. 1.83 in.
Best Group 1.18 in. 0.79 in. 1.49 in.
Speer 147-grain Gold Dot
Smith & Wesson FPC
Springfield Saint Victor
Average Velocity 1134 fps 1167 fps 1134 fps
Muzzle Energy 420 ft.-lbs. 444 ft.-lbs. 420 ft.-lbs.
Best Group 0.91 in. 0.83 in.1.02 in.

All shooting was done at American Shooting Centers in west Houston, where we fired multiple five-shot groups at 30 yards. Averages were for three groups. Additional speed drills were run at 9 and 30 yards on steel plates. 

We tested using 115-grain FMJ Range ammo from Remington along with Winchester 124-grain “Clean” Ammo and Speer 147-grain Gold Dot. We tested with some handloaded ammo we’ve used for years, consisting of 147-grain FMJs from RMR loaded with CCI small pistol primers and Titegroup powder. These have served us well in pistol competition. The results from this test show we need to do more work to develop a proper PCC load. 

All rifles were well-sandbagged in a Caldwell TackDriver Pro rest ( 100-027-023, $49), further supported by a large rear bag from Tab Gear (, $34). Velocities were measured by a LabRadar chronograph (, $559).


DRILL Data (1x10x30)
Carbine Total Time
SIG Sauer MPX 1.3180000000000001
Smith & Wesson FPC1.2350000000000001
Springfield Saint Victor 1.2230000000000001

Process: Fire one shot from low ready at a 10-inch circle placed at 30 yards. Numbers are 

averages for four repetitions.


Carbine Total Time
SIG Sauer MPX3.7970000000000002
Smith & Wesson 4.3769999999999998
Springfield Saint Victor 3.4969999999999999

Process: Fire six shots from low ready at 4-inch plates at 9 yards. Numbers are averages for two repetitions.

Written and photographed by Joe Woolley, using evaluations from Gun Tests Team members. GT


  1. On your review of S&W FPC 9mm in November of 2023 ; if you would have read your owners manual, you would have known that the FPC does not have a slide release. It is a bolt hold open only, not meant to be used as a slide release. It is not the only semi-auto designed that way. Thought I’d let you know. Damian G.


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