I don't have any experience with the M&P9L.
However, I do own an M&P 40, a 40C, and a 45C.
I carry the 40C for personal protection.
The M&P models I own are very reliable and accurate.
I can't imagine the 9L being any less reliable or accurate especially with the 5 inch barrel.
With the changeable backstrap sizes and the various levels of safeties available (or NO safeties) these weapons are also versatile.
IMHO you couldn't go wrong with any Smith and Wesson M&P.
I carry a S&W M&P 45 almost all the time. I bought a M&P 9 for summer carry. My daughter who also carries went to the range with me for practice and promptly asked if I would give her the M&P 9 and sell her G27. She was truly impressed with the M&P 9, in her words "I hit exactly where I aim", latter she said with the G27 she hit about where she aimed. Took awhile but I found a buyer for the G27 and my daughter has a firearm she will carry and is able to hit center mass at 90%. I highly recoment the M&P
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