Rust on My Smith & Wesson M&P Magazines

Smith and Wesson MP9 Magazines - Rust - 1

During Episode 20 of Shooting The Breeze, I talked about having difficulties with the magazines for my Smith & Wesson M&P. When most people thing about having issues with magazines, the first thing that comes to mind is a bad spring or perhaps a broken follower.

My issue had nothing to do with the internals of the magazines. As you can see from the photo above, my woe comes in the form of surface rust. The photo makes it look a little worse than it is but, trust me, it is getting bad.

I first noticed the surface rust a couple of months ago after shooting a USPSA Match. At the time I blamed myself and chalked it up as user error. It isn’t uncommon to drop magazines in the middle of a stage. I just assumed they got a little wet or dirty and I did a poor job of wiping them off before putting them away.

In an attempt to remedy the situation, I spent extra time with my magazines while cleaning my guns. I brought out a plastic bristle brush, which was fairly rigid, and scrubbed the surface rust down with some Hoppe’s No 9 solvent. Once clean and dry, I applied some gun oil directly to the magazines and wiped it down with a rag.

The cleaning and oiling seemed to slow the rust down but not stop it. I wanted to simply sand out the rust but was concerned that I would be left with bare metal that would require some sort of re-finishing. I set the idea aside and planned to revisit it once the USPSA season was completed.

A few matches went by and the problem was slowly but surely getting worse. After each range session I would wipe down the magazines and apply a little oil to protect the metal. When the USPSA season ended, I began doing more dry fire practice to keep in shape for next season. Each practice session put a rusty magazine in my hand and I felt myself growing more annoyed.

The final straw was attending an informal shoot this past weekend. After the shoot, I handed my M&P and a loaded magazine to a friend to try. He took one look at the magazine and said something to the effect of “wow, I can’t believe you have this much rust on here”.

That comment was pretty much the breaking point and got me worked up enough to take action. I was unable to call Smith & Wesson the following day (Monday, a business day) and recording the gun podcast allowed me to stew on it even longer.

On Tuesday I picked up the phone and made the call to Smith & Wesson Customer Service. I wasn’t sure what I wanted exactly. I didn’t really expect them to replace the magazines but I at least wanted them to tell me what to re-finish the magazines with after I sanded out the surface rust.

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When my daughter went down for a nap and my house was otherwise quiet, I picked up the phone and called Smith & Wesson Customer Service. I got the usual automated answering service prompting me to key in a number to re-direct my call. Since warranty or support services weren’t an option, I stayed on the line for assistance (the the automated message prompted me to do this). A woman answered the phone and asked the nature of the call. Before I could complete my sentence, I was transferred and put on hold.

While I can appreciate the efficiency of getting my call directed to the appropriate department, I thought it was rather rude. I was on hold for roughly fifteen minutes before it was my turn in the customer queue. A man named Joe answered the phone (According to my personal customer service logs, I spoke with Joe about my previous M&P problem). Joe seemed like he was in a rush to get me off the phone and move on to the next customer, but at no point was he rude about it.

To my surprise, Joe told me to send in the magazines one at a time (he assumed this was my only pistol and wanted to make sure I had at least one magazine to keep the gun operable). When I told him that I could be without magazines for a while, he said that sending in all three problematic magazines would not be a problem and they would simply replace them.

I got off the phone and used the Smith & Wesson Website to request a Warranty Return. I have yet to receive that pre-paid shipping label and I don’t plan on waiting for it much longer. Worse case scenario it will cost me $6.00 to send magazines via USPSA Priority Mail.

At this point, the story is pretty much over until I get the magazines back. When the replacements arrive, I’ll be sure to post a follow up.

You may be wondering, though, what caused the rust in the first place? To be honest, I really have no idea. My Smith & Wesson M&P is stored in the same manner as my other guns and they do not have a speck of rust anywhere on them.

Making an educated guess, I would imaging that the back of the magazine was wearing inside the polymer frame. If you look closely at the photos, you can see what looks like a worn brushed finish, running from top to bottom. My best guess is that plenty of reloads during dry-fire and USPSA Matches wore through the finish and rust began to develop.

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5 comments On Rust on My Smith & Wesson M&P Magazines

  • Walt plastic and stainless don’t rust , you know like in a glock mag:) Like I told you at the range I had a m+p .45 and it was okay didn’t have it for a very long time and was not that sad or feel the need to replace a m+p in my collection. You can call me a glock fan boy because I am and not because I’m drinking the kool aid but because that firearm never failed me. Glocks were meant to be abused and do the kind of shooting you and I like. You can go through the trouble and cost of coating and refinishing or have a gun that is good out of the box. I shot your smith and it shot great but if you are anything like me there is alot of love lost with it. I was an early adopter of the m+p and when it took 5 months for my two mags to arrive and I called them and asked smith what the hold up was and they told me it was because at lot of police departments switched to the m+p and they took priority which is why I like glock yes they have alot of police dempartments as customers but they care about them equally as the guy buying one gun from them. Glock prides themselves with good customers service and that’s why they don’t say it a hundred times through out ads or “lifetime warrenties”. The life span of a glock isn’t really set in stone because there are ones still going from the 80’s most likely with new barrels:) Nothing flashy and people knock it looks but it looks that way for a reason so it’s a snag free design the only snag point is the sights. The model I let you shoot had the extended controls and they are much more subdued on the the rest of the models.

    • Scott,
      I have so much time and money (not big bucks but the gun and accessories aren’t exactly cheap) invested in the M&P that I don’t just want to dump it. Not to mention that I really do love the gun, it is just aggravating me at the moment. I’m almost convinced that I want a Glock 17 as a backup USPSA Gun. I’ll shoot a few matches and re-evaluate things from there.

      I’d like to give your G17 a try before I make the leap. The purchase will probably be a few months out. I need to put some funds aside and start looking at what is available, used.

      Thanks for the comment.

  • Use seal1 CLP on your M&P and Mags (paste stuff) and forget about rust!

  • I have the same problem iwant to have them replated in a different finish do you have a suggestion for a different finish?

    • Thomas,
      Since I wrote this post I’ve made the transition over to Glock. I still have my M&P and I think I’m past the rust issues now. I sent all of the magazines back to Smith & Wesson for replacements and I haven’t had any trouble.

      Actually, S&W has been great to work with in regards to customer service (I wish I wouldn’t have had to use customer service but it is what it is, I suppose). Give them a call and explain your situation. My guess is they will provide you with a shipping label and have you send in the parts for replacement.

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