Ed Brown isn’t magic; it just looks that way.
At almost 53 years old and still family-owned, Ed Brown’s unrelenting standards and good old-fashioned engineering allow their gunsmiths to take a pistol like the S&W M&P and recreate it in such a way that it deserves the name Fueled by Ed Brown. For the last month I have had the opportunity to carry, test and use my second Ed Brown Fueled by M&P 2.0 Pistol.
This version, the MP-F4, is fourth in the Fueled series. The newest in Ed Brown’s lineup, it came topped off with a Holosun 507C green dot optic. (In the near future, customers will have Holosun as an option for electronic sights in addition to Trijicon from the factory on Ed Brown pistols.) Like the other pistols in this series, it is a serious tool that does the part in style. The folks over at Ed Brown went through the M&P pistols adding some sugar and spice and everything nice. It practically has every upgrade an M&P pistol can get. It is a multifunction platform that’s a Jack-of-all-trades excelling at duty use or CCW—all the way to being just shy of a competition gun.
I have owned many M&P pistols in the past, even ones with great trigger kits and varying degrees of customization. So what makes a Fueled by Ed Brown M&P different? In my opinion is that it’s the fact that Ed Brown is not just making a custom pistol for the goal of just making a custom expensive pistol. That’s easy. Instead, they meticulously broke the M&P platform down piece by piece, re-engineering parts to seamlessly work together as a system.
Although my “custom” M&P pistols are good, they still cannot recreate the fine fit and finish of an Ed Brown pistol. A custom Fueled by Ed Brown M&P pistol cannot be recreated by just assembling parts (no matter what the various Internet commenters may say). You need the experience and the hand fitting by the Ed Brown Gunsmiths to not only get the “wow” experience, but perfect functionality. The heart of these pistols—and where almost everything is built upon—is the Accuracy Rail (locking block). The factory MIM locking block is discarded and a new oversized Accuracy Rail is hand fitted and matched to a new Ed Brown Slide and match grade barrel.
On a normal M&P, the fit between the frame and slide has enough slop that you can shake the slide by simply wiggling the gun. You will not find this on an Ed Brown M&P. My gun has a rock-solid lockup between the frame, slide, and barrel that you simply just do not find on polymer pistols. Even though the slide-to-frame fit is fantastic, that does not mean that the pistol is finicky with ammo. I can actually load my carry hollowpoints in the magazine and slowly ride the slide forward enough that the bullet tip can run into the feed ramp. Even though the round is now touching the barrel, I can let the slide go and it will still feed even riding the slide into battery.
Everything builds off the Accuracy Rail, and the trigger is no different. A byproduct of tight slide-to-frame fit is that you also minimize most of the tolerance stacking found in production guns. You virtually eliminate trigger slop and the extra movements from the slide moving as the trigger is pulled in a production gun. To see what I am talking about, take a production polymer pistol and hold the frame. Use your other hand to move the slide. That movement is transferred into the trigger pull. While unloaded, rack the slide and now slowly and carefully pull your trigger. You will see your slide move from the pressure of the trigger.
Another test is to just shake your pistol out. It will have quite a bit of wobble.
Ed Brown partnered with Apex Tactical to use their M&P pistol triggers. Featuring a flat-faced trigger, the total movement is around a 1/4 of an inch with almost no perceptible overtravel. The trigger pull is smooth and breaks like a glass rod snapping. Talk about a nice combat “match grade” trigger!
Moving on to the slide. Ed Brown machines their own stainless steel slides, which are then Nitride treated to tolerate the harshest conditions over a lifetime of use. Each Fueled by M&P slide comes standard as optic ready using the RMR footprint. This means that RMR footprint optics mount directly to the slide without the need for silly adapters or plates raising them away from the center line.
An aggressively textured and contoured slide not only looks good, but is functional and allows the user to easily manipulate the slide even when slippery. Topped off with a set of suppressor Ameriglo high visibility sights the MP-F4 and Holosun 507C are perfectly co-witnessed.
Peeking out from the witness ports is an Ed Brown custom match-grade stainless barrel that is the first in the Fueled series to come with TiN (Titanium Nitride) coating. This gold-colored coating is not just flashy, but serves to reduce friction between the barrel and slide. Less friction means less oil and increased reliability. Remember when I talked earlier about riding the slide into battery….the pistol still just worked. Oh yeah..don’t forget another important factor with TiN coated parts—the COOOLnesss factor. Gold coated parts let everyone know it’s custom and ultra tacticool.
So we talked about the technicalities of the pistol, but what is it like to use and carry? To live with it every day? Well, it is an M&P pistol that will fit in half of the M&P holsters. Remember the Suppressor sights? Suppressor sights mean your holster will need to have a generous sight channel. If you have trouble finding one, no problem. Ed Brown has holsters available for their pistols.
How about a nice classic exotic leather holster to pair with your Gucci Gun? The good thing is that we live in a time where there are countless holster makers that offer holsters for pistols with all the bells and whistles attached. One of my Favorites is the PHLster Floodlight, a universal adaptable holster that will work with suppressor sights, optical sights, and works with my weapon light—the holy trifecta! Available in both IWB or OWB, the Floodlight is the ultimate “custom” holster to go along with the ultimate Ed Brown pistol.
You need a good base platform to efficiently distribute the load, especially when loaded down with the extended magazine. With 20 total rounds, my Surefire 300, and a Holosun optic the pistol does have some heft. But (duh!) you are lugging around a full-sized duty weapon, so what did you expect. A good holster and belt make the chore manageable and I felt comfortable with it after a couple days experimenting with my carry set up.
My only regret with the MP-F4 is that like Marla in Fight Club, this pistol met me at a very strange time in my life. Pandemics suck and pandemics suck even more for ammo availability and cost. But lean times call for lean and focused shooting. It also means that being picky gets thrown out the door. Whatever 9mm I could find is what this hungry gun ate. (Even that time I found a sketchy random extra round on the ground at the range, my baby ate it…Five-Second Rule, am I right?)
The HE507C-Green that came on the pistol was my first experience with a Holosun product. It was also my first experience with a green dot. So first I loved that basically because of the shake awake feature, the optic was always on as soon as I picked it up. The body of the sight is some thick chunky aluminum that is built pretty tough. I found myself racking the slide with the optic as my preferred method, and since it is mounted directly to the slide there was zero movement of the optic or the dot once sighted in.
The Internet is a vast expansive place where anyone can complain, and believe me they do. The number one complaint of the Fueled By series M&Ps is that they are expensive and that the gun mechanic down the street who works in his garage can make a custom M&P for half the price blah blah blah. So here’s the thing: Yes you can buy a very economical Ford Taurus and it will get you to work. But on the flip side thank goodness the car makers also make fast, loud, exotic cars with the smell of rich succulent leathers. THAT is what the Fueled By series is all about. It’s a Ford Cobra that just oozes performance and good looks. Intersecting art, functionality and performance, I would trust this gun with my life and that’s priceless.
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