Custom pistols aren’t new. Factory custom pistols, while newer, are not either. Think about the number of 1911s out there that came from nationally known or local gunsmiths – one at a time. Add to that all the pistols built and shipped by the factory’s custom shops as well as places like Wilson Combat and Nighthawk.

Factory Custom

What is much rarer are customized versions of Smith & Wesson’s M&P pistols, never mind a factory custom. And that’s what we are talking about here – Ed Brown’s Fueled line of M&P pistols.


For those not familiar with the “factory custom” phrase, think of a Ford Raptor or Toyota TRD Pro compared to a stock F150 or Tundra. They ship from the factory with most, if not all, of the things you would do to customize it.

Holosun’s 507 Competition optic mounts directly to the slide without issue. I was zeroing with a Ransom Rest. There’s a shell casing in flight above the sights but below the berm.

Last summer, Dave Biggers with Ed Brown Products reached out and asked if I would be interested in looking at one of their Fueled M&Ps. Of course, yes, who wouldn’t want to?


I’m a fan of the M&P line. I carried the early full and Commander-size versions of the M&P45 on and off-duty for a year. For twelve of the last 15 years, I have carried first and second-generation versions of the 9mm M&P on and off-duty, as well as now in retirement. They are also my teaching and competition pistols. However, until the Fueled model arrived, I had no hands-on time with any of the metal-framed models.


When I got my hands on the pistol, it came in a larger, padded nylon case with the Ed Brown logo. Aside from the pistol itself, there were two 17-round magazines with their base pads on them. It had the obligatory cable lock and tube of lube.

Rob Leahy of Simply Rugged Holsters built a holster for the Fueled M&P, and it handled the AmeriGlo sights without issue.

What about the pistol? Immediately obvious as being different were the slide, barrel, and trigger, but that was not all. Let’s look.


While you can fit existing parts when doing a custom build, realistically, gunsmiths are going to end up using after-market parts that give them what they have decided is needed. As an example, when I took Larry Vickers’ Build a 1911 class years ago, the only original parts that made it to the completed pistol were the frame and slide. Just those two, not any of the internals.

Final drill of that range session with the metal framed Fueled M&P. Failure drills from 3 yards back to 15 yards. Yes, I dropped that last headshot.


What about the Fueled line of pistols?

The slide is completely their design and manufacture. Machined from 17-4 stainless steel, it comes cut for the Trijicon RMR footprint with larger serrations for manipulations. Along with de-horning the slide, they designed it to take Glock pattern sights.

Speaking of sights, the pistol ships with AmeriGlo’s Pro-Glo model; the rear is plain black, and the front has a tritium insert.

Notice the difference in the M&P locking blocks. The Ed Brown version is on your right, and the factory version in my old duty pistol is on your left. Multiple differences.

It comes with a threaded, extended barrel of their design. It has a 1/10 twist rate and an 11-degree crown for improved accuracy. They coated the 416 stainless steel barrel with black nitride. For those interested in suppressing or compensating it, the threads are ½ x 28 and it ships with a thread protector.

With some of the early 9mm M&Ps, there were concerns about the extractors; the crew at Brown has “re-designed and re-engineered” the extractor.

The Frame

They’ve replaced the locking block with one of their design. Oversized, it is hand-fit to improve the barrel-to-block and frame-to-slide fit.

These come with a re-designed fire control group – the trigger and everything attached to it.

A 15-yard, 5-shot group with Federal’s 147-grain HST duty load.

A 360-degree magazine well has been added to the metal frame. While that prevents the use of factory base pads, the pistol comes with two magazines that have compatible base pads on them.     All of these are machined aluminum and hard anodized.

And, since details matter, they are making their own frame pins and slide plate covers.

Details can matter. Brown is making their own slide plate cover. They have developed an extractor in-house as well.

Disassembling the pistol, I noticed they were using their guide rod – which is user-maintainable – with their flat wire spring. I’ve bought these for my other M&P pistols.

The trigger press is clean and light. The trigger itself comes with a Glock-like centerpiece, which is the safety. As a replacement for the curved and hinged S&W design, it is quite viable.


I am not a fan of DNA collecting slide serrations or any other machine work that is solely for appearances. Each side of the slide is slightly recessed from the breach face forward. The cocking serrations, five on each side of the slide at the back with eight on the front, are deep and wide enough to grip – regardless of whether you are wearing gloves or not.

The slide has some machine work done to it. It’s functional. not gratuitous.

An optic-specific observation, given the potential for issues, when overhand gripping the optic – as a left-hander – the presence of the forward serrations does give the user options for surer manipulation than they would have without them.


The metal frame itself is not textured, neither checkered nor stippled. The front strap has what looks to be an identically colored and textured plastic insert embedded in it. It does retain the replaceable backstrap and grip insert of the plastic frame guns. You’ll need the OEM grip inserts as it does not ship with them. To replace them, you would remove the pin holding the magazine well on. Once the pin is gone, it is the same process as before.

Optics Mounting

Attached to the top of the slide, behind the ejection port, was a plate that matched the slide. It was there to protect the optic’s mounting cut. Once removed, it showed the slide had been milled for a Trijicon RMR mini-red-dot sight; that means it will accept any optic with the same footprint.

Since I didn’t have a spare RMR available, I mounted one of Holosun’s 507 Competition optics on the pistol.

Final Thought

Well, that’s the front end of this review on the Fueled M&P. Come back in a few weeks for part 2 – how it worked in the wild, I mean, on the range.


Ed Brown Products


Simply Rugged Holsters