Looking to upgrade your M&P with a suppressor-ready or precision standard barrel? Rival Arms has the easy solution
by the Shoot-On Staff
In the polymer pistol world, GLOCK owners seem to have the bulk of the aftermarket goodies. Arguably the most popular of the breed, you can find everything you need to build a GLOCK pistol up from a bare factory receiver. And if you don’t have a receiver, no problem. There are polymer 80-percent receivers out there that you can finish with all GLOCK parts.
When Rival Arms hit the scene early this year, the company launched with a near-full compliment of GLOCK upgrade parts—from slides and barrels to slide completion kits, frame pins, sights, and mag wells. All this has somewhat overshadowed the fact that Rival Arms also offers replacement upgrade barrels for the 9mm Smith & Wesson M&P and Shield models.
Well, now you know.
If you’re an M&P owner and haven’t paid much attention to Rival Arms’ offerings, you’ll be interested to learn that their S&W replacement barrels feature the same material construction and general design as those they make for the GLOCK pistols. These are match-grade components that start life as 416R stainless-steel billet before being CNC-machined to exacting tolerances and with a distinctive spiral fluting and a target crown. Inside, the barrels receive 6-groove rifling with a 1:10 twist rate. The bore is also treated with BORESLICK Boron Nitride DCD, which is intended to increase the barrel’s heat resistance while minimizing carbon buildup.
While the fluted barrel’s aesthetics may be lost inside the slide, the acknowledged benefits include a scant weight reduction and increased surface area for cooling efficiency. Aesthetics do come through on barrels threaded for a suppressor (Rival Arms offer their barrels in standard or threaded form) or other muzzle device, as the included thread protector is both distinctive and color-matched to the barrel finish.
Speaking finishes, you can choose between Black, Graphite, and Bronze. We chose Bronze for our M&P because, well…why not? Whichever color you choose, the low-temperature vacuum PVD coating not only looks good but also provides a tough finish to battle wear and harsh environmental conditions.
Swapping your factory barrel for the Rival Arms upgrade is no more complicated than your standard takedown and cleaning procedure. If you’ve never done that (you have cleaned your M&P, haven’t you?), we’ll run through the swap process to show you how easy it is.
Rival Arms threaded barrels come with a color-matching thread protector and 1/2-28 threads. Remove the thread protector from the barrel prior to installation.
Before disassembling the pistol, remove the magazine, pull back on the slide, and inspect the chamber and mag well to ensure there are no cartridges (live rounds) in the firearm. Refer to your S&W owner’s manual for the correct procedure for removing the slide assembly from the receiver for your specific M&P model.
Push against the back of the guide rod/recoil spring assembly and lift to remove the assembly from the barrel and slide.
Remove the barrel from the slide.
Rival Arms machines their upgrade barrels to close tolerances to ensure a precise factory or better-than-factory fit.
Insert the new barrel into the receiver in the same orientation as the original (barrel lug facing away from the ejection port). Be sure to lubricate the top of the barrel just behind the muzzle and the area in front of the ejection port engagement.
Reinstall the guide rod/recoil spring assembly by inserting the rod end (protruding end) into the slide guide housing below the muzzle and compressing the spring assembly. Place the barrel lug end of the guide rod into its seat onto the barrel lug and ensure the assembly is correctly aligned with the barrel. The guide rod/spring assembly should be parallel with the barrel and slide when properly installed.
If you are not installing a suppressor or other muzzle device, install the thread protector onto the muzzle.
Follow the procedures in your owner’s manual for reinstalling the slide assembly onto the receiver.
Any time you change a barrel and/or receiver, it is recommended that you check the chamber length with the correct GO and NO-GO gauges to ensure the combination provides the proper headspace dimensions. Here’s our video on how this is done. Also, perform a function check with dummy rounds or Snap Caps to ensure the pistol is fully operation. The pistol should:
- strip a dummy round from the magazine when the slide is pulled back and released
- go into battery
- not release the firing pin or allow the trigger to be pulled back with the safety device(s) engaged
- release the firing pin when the trigger is pulled back and the safety device(s) disengaged
- eject the dummy round when the slide is pulled back
- reset the trigger after the slide is released and the trigger is allowed to move forward
For more information on all Rival Arms’ precision-made components, visit rival-arms.com.