Storm-Lake Drop-In 9mm Conversion Barrel (MSRP $165.00)
A friend recently purchased a S&W M&P 40 caliber compact. He came to me with excitement in his eyes exclaiming he had heard he could get a 9mm barrel and have two guns in one. I told him, while I know this is the case, the only conversion kits I’ve used are 22LR kits for 1911 45s. It seemed to me the best this to do would be find a quality manufacturer and test out a conversion barrel. After some research I settled on Storm-Lake and made contact. In setting up the order process we found there were several choices available in Storm-Lake barrels. Storm-Lake offers black and stainless finish options, porting options, barrel threading and drop-in or oversized options for gunsmith fitting. In our case we were looking for a 9mm drop-in conversion barrel with no need for further bells or whistles. Since the stock 40 caliber barrel was black we went with a stainless finish for quick and easy identification. When the barrel arrived, my first impression was one of quality. Emblazoned on the box was “Made In The USA” and it’s apparent at a glance. The barrel is precisely machined, smoothed and de-burred. While the break down process for the M&P is somewhat clumsy, the Storm-Lake drop-in barrel did just that; it dropped right in. Inside, the barrel has crisp bright rifling. In a side-by-side comparison between the stock and Storm-Lake barrels after use, the wear marks on each match nicely. This tells me the drop-in barrel has proper fit and function. When shooting, I actually fired the 9mm barrel first and switched to the 40 caliber barrel for the same round count at the same range. My hits in each target were roughly the same when scored. When firing at long range I did see a slight edge to the stock barrel. At 25 yards the stock 40 caliber did provide a slightly better grouping. This was not a big surprise. A drop-in barrel by definition is not fitted to the particular gun and thus usually doesn’t produce the accuracy found in a fitted barrel or even from a stock barrel from a quality manufacturer. That being said the Storm-Lake barrel did quite well, better than expected. Personally, I feel if there was a short fall it was in the poor M&P trigger and the trigger finger fatigue that comes with trying to fire that weapon with precision before the gun is even broken in. My overall opinion of the barrel we received is quite positive. I felt we got a good choice for practice in a second caliber within the normal range for this weapon. Further, I felt it provided a sensible alternative CCW caliber. If you are looking for a conversion barrel, a ported barrel, a threaded option or a gunsmith fitted upgrade I think Storm-Lake provides a product of which they can be proud.