Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol
The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Semi-Auto Full-Size Pistol is the successor to the M&P striker-fired, polymer pistol platform used by countless law enforcement agencies and civilians alike for personal-defense sidearms. The polymer frame of the M&P M2.0 utilizes a rigid, extended stainless steel chassis, embedded to frame, to reduce flex and torque when firing. The pistol comes with 4 interchangeable grip inserts to find the perfect palmswell fit and trigger-to-backstrap length for each individual shooter’s hand. A new aggressive texture keeps hand in place, and the original M&P 18° grip angle points instinctively on target. The M2.0 trigger has a light crisp pull and a tactile and audible reset; and a sear deactivation lever allows the weapon to be disassembled without pulling the trigger first. A high grip-to-barrel bore axis reduces muzzle flip to sustain accurate shot placement during rapid fire. The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Semi–Auto Pistol has a stainless steel slide and barrel, finished with non-reflective, corrosion-resistant Armornite®. An integral Picatinny rail provides for the attachment of aftermarket tactical accessories. The M&P M2.0 comes with 2 magazines.
- Striker-fired, modular polymer platform
- Extended stainless steel chassis
- 4 interchangeable grip inserts
- Optimal 18° grip angle
- Comes with 2 magazines
REVIEW: Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0
Emilia Kush from gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
It’s been just about three years since Smith & Wesson brought out the second generation of its M&P pistols. These pistols sport improvements—inside and out—over the original M&Ps, but until now there was one thing missing from the second-generation lineup: a subcompact.
The new Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact is offered in 9mm and .40 S&W and with and without a thumb safety. The 9mm and .40 versions are identical but for caliber and capacity. There is also a .45, but that gun is larger in every dimension. The .45 has a longer four-inch barrel, 8+1 capacity and weighs 2.4 ounces more. Every version of the Subcompact, no matter the caliber, is the same price.
I obtained a sample of the 9mm version with no thumb safety for testing because it is likely to be the most popular version. The Subcompact sports a 3.675-inch barrel and a 12-round capacity in 9mm (10 rounds in .40).
Other than its abbreviated size, it offers all the same features found on the Compact and full-size M&P pistols. These are polymer-frame, striker-fired pistols built for rigorous use. Both the slide and barrel are stainless steel and given an Armornite corrosion–resistant finish, and the pistol is rated for +P ammunition.
Factory standard sights are steel with three dots, and the Subcompact has the same dovetails as the larger M&Ps so all of the aftermarket sight options like fiber optics and tritium will fit this pistol as well. The M&P has an 18-degree grip angle, which in layman’s terms means it’s much closer to a 1911 than, say, a Glock. It arrives with four interchangeable backstraps.
With many striker-fired pistols you’ll see a safety lever on the trigger. With the M&P the trigger itself is the pivoting safety lever. There is an internal striker safety as well. As I mentioned, you can also buy the Subcompact with a manual safety. That lever is ambidextrous and is located at the top rear of the frame, similar in position to where you’ll find the thumb safety on a 1911.
This pistol comes with two 12-round magazines. One has a flush base pad, the other an extended base pad. With the extended base pad magazine in place, I can get my whole hand on the gun, but when using the flush base pad, my pinkie is left hanging. However, the flush base pad is half an inch shorter, making the gun slightly easier to conceal. I say “slightly” because it is usually the butt of the pistol that prints under clothing.
Before we dive deeper into the details of the pistol, let’s look at the changes and improvements between the first- and second-generation M&Ps. The two biggest have to deal with the trigger pull and the grip.
By far, the two most common types of customization done to first-generation M&P pistols have been trigger jobs and increasing the texturing of the grip area, usually through stippling.
First-generation M&Ps have an advertised 6.5-pound pull, which seems to be the standard trigger pull weight for pistols designed to be “service weapons,” as the M&P was. Heavy trigger pulls on duty guns are often meant to be an additional safety. The only problem with this is most people buying M&Ps aren’t cops, and the American consumer is getting awfully picky when it comes to trigger pulls. Heavy trigger pulls make it harder to shoot accurately, much less quickly, and who wants that?
Smith & Wesson engineers took a long look at what was being done to the first-generation M&Ps to improve the trigger pulls, and so for the M&P M2.0 they reduced the trigger pull weight mostly through improved geometry in the sear and striker. The targeted spec for the M2.0’s trigger pull is 5.5 pounds, and that’s just what I got with my test gun. I’ve actually put a lot of rounds downrange through various sizes of M&P M2.0 pistols, and every trigger pull has been within a quarter-pound of that 5.5-pound spec.
More than the trigger-pull weight, what a lot of people didn’t like about the trigger pull on the original M&P was the lack of a discernible reset. Reset shouldn’t matter in a defensive pistol. In any self-defense scenario, nobody will be worried about the reset on their trigger; they’ll just be pulling it as fast as possible until the problem is solved. Still, S&W engineers addressed the problem, and the triggers on the M&P M2.0s have very positive reset; you can both hear and feel it.
Many people thought the factory texturing on the grip of the original M&P was too slick. As a result, hand–stippling was a common sight. Thanks to modern injection-molding techniques, stippling your M&P M2.0 is no longer necessary. The factory texturing on the frame and backstraps of the M&P M2.0 is as aggressive as stippling, and that is no exaggeration.
I’ve always carried the gun I shot in USPSA competition and vice versa, and for years I avoided stippled grips because I thought the stippling would chew through my shirt. Finally, about 10 years ago I got my first stippled grip, and I will never go back.
I bring this up because, as I said, the Smith & Wesson frame texturing is as aggressive as hand-stippling, but just like stippling, you will not have to worry about it wearing through your covering garment. However, I would recommend having some layer of fabric (a thin T-shirt is all that’s necessary) between your skin and the frame of the pistol, or you will suffer what medical professionals term a skin abrasion.
The first-generation M&Ps came with three sizes of interchangeable backstraps: small, medium and large. According to the folks at Smith & Wesson, 80 percent of users prefer the medium backstrap.
M&Ps have never been my first choice for a carry gun simply because the pistol never fit my hand properly. The medium backstrap was just a little too small for me, and the large backstrap adds a little bit of meat on the back, but is mostly just fatter than the medium, which I didn’t want. The closer a pistol grip is to round, the less naturally it points.
Apparently, I wasn’t the only person who had this issue. The M&P 2.0 in all sizes comes supplied with not three but four backstraps: small, medium, medium-large and large.
The big news here is the medium-large backstrap, which has the same girth as the medium but adds a curve at the top to provide more material under the web of the shooter’s hand to increase reach to the trigger. On both the full-size and Compact M&P M2.0, I love-love-love the medium-large backstrap, but I was surprised to discover that on the Subcompact the medium backstrap is a better fit for me.
That’s the great thing about having four sizes of backstraps. They allow you to fit the pistol to your hand as much as possible. Swapping out backstraps takes all of 10 seconds.
Here is my only complaint about this specific pistol. The M&P M2.0 uses the same proven magazines as the original M&P. I’m guessing Smith & Wesson has a lot of extended base pads left over from the first-generation S&W M&P Subcompact, because the one provided with this pistol does not have that aggressive M2.0 texturing. The extended base pad felt a little slick under my pinkie.
One complaint I’ve heard about M&Ps for a while is the ambidextrous slide stop. You’ll notice S&W doesn’t term it a “slide release,” because if you’re a southpaw and try to release the slide by pushing down on the right-side lever, fuhgeddaboutit. You’ll discover it takes about four times as much force as pushing down on the left-side lever. You’re much better off just working the slide by hand.
You might notice the lack of a beavertail on the frame of the second-generation M&Ps. Smith & Wesson has eliminated the beavertail, so now the rear of the frame doesn’t really stick out any farther than the rear of the slide. On the full-size gun this makes less of a difference than on this subcompact pistol destined for a concealed-carry role.
The scalloped serrations at the rear of the slide haven’t changed, but with the M2.0 you’ll see S&W has added some minimal serrations at the front of the slide near the bottom where it meets the frame. I wish S&W had been willing to move some of the slide markings to fully serrate the front of the slide, but at least the rear serrations are aggressive.
There are small cutouts at the bottom of the frame on each side to give you a little better grip on the floorplate of the magazine should you have to strip one out by hand.
The internal steel chassis inside the polymer frame is much longer on the M2.0 than on the original M&P. S&W calls it an “embedded rigid stainless steel chassis,” and it also has an Armornite coating. In the first-generation M&P the chassis didn’t extend much past the front of the trigger guard, but on the new model the steel in the frame goes most of the way out to the end of the frame.
The internal stainless steel chassis extends almost all the way to the front of the dust cover, making it stiffer and therefore even more reliable.
On the original M&P the serial number in the steel chassis could be seen through a window cut into the polymer at the rear of the frame. In the M2.0 the serial number in the steel chassis is located above the tactical rail, visual proof the chassis extends much farther.
This longer, stiffer frame makes more of a difference on the full-size M&P, ensuring there won’t be any flex if you hang a big weapon light on the frame’s tactical rail. But even with the Subcompact, less frame flex equals greater reliability.
The “loaded-chamber indicator” is simply a hole through the rear of the barrel hood. It is nearly useless in anything other than direct sunlight, but it allows the M&P to be sold in states that mandate certain safety features on guns.
I was lucky enough to enjoy some serious trigger time with the M2.0 at the S&W Academy when the gun was first introduced. At the time, the editor of a major gun magazine remarked he thought the new gun should be called the “M&P 1.1” because in his opinion there weren’t many changes to it.
But I’ll counter that’s because not many things needed to be done to the M&P. Did I mention any changes S&W made to the design to improve reliability, which is the most important aspect of any defensive firearm? No. They didn’t make any because none needed to be made. That says a lot.
Range time with the Subcompact brought no surprises. It fired everything I fed it and was nicely accurate for a subcompact.
Notes: Accuracy results are the averages of four five-shot groups at 25 yards from a sandbag rest. Velocities are averages of 10 shots measured with an Oehler Model 35P 12 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: FMJ, full metal jacket; JHP, jacketed hollowpoint
The M&P Subcompact is much smaller than the full-size M&P, but it is not a pocket gun, and you will need a holster. That said, it will fit into any holster made for the first-generation M&P Subcompact and conceal under just about any garment.
A good review of this pistol wouldn’t be complete without a comparison to its closest competitor: the M&P Shield. A lot of people think one of the reasons why Smith & Wesson was so slow to introduce a subcompact version of the M&P M2.0 is because of the success of the subcompact Shield. They might be right, but these are far from identical guns.
The M&P Subcompact is the same height as the Shield, but it is roughly a half-inch longer, weighs a few ounces more, and is noticeably thicker. The Subcompact looks and feels like a chunk of a gun compared to the very flat Shield. However, that thickness doesn’t just offer a nice personality; it gives you substantially more capacity than the Shield.
These pistols are the same height only if the Shield is wearing its flush seven-round magazine. Meanwhile, the Subcompact offers a 12-round capacity. Plus, you can reload the Subcompact with those big sticks meant for the Compact and/or full-size M&P M2.0, which ups your capacity to 15 or 17 rounds. Last, the Subcompact has the four interchangeable backstraps, which the Shield does not.
If this sounds like I’m ganging up on the Shield, I don’t mean to. The Shield is definitely easier to conceal and carry than the Subcompact, but that doesn’t come without a price. The great thing about the Subcompact is that if you’re a fan of the M&P design and wanted a small, concealable pistol, you now have one more option.
American consumers have had access to compact 9mm pistols for decades. I owned a Smith & Wesson 3913 back in the late ’90s, and the pistols of today are far superior to those guns of yesteryear.
The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Subcompact is a perfect example. They have better ergonomics, vastly improved reliability, better texturing on the grips, better sights, better everything. And once you adjust for inflation, you’ll see that thanks to advances in manufacturing, they cost less, too.
REVIEW: Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0
CATHY TIMS from gunsdiscreetsupplies.com
When the polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol revolution began, most companies were caught flat-footed. Smith &Wesson held a dominant position in the law enforcement market with its broad line of dependable revolvers. But at the start of the “wondernine” craze in the 1980s, an unknown Austrian company arrived in America with a plastic gun called the Glock 17.
Though the gun lacked the aesthetic appeal of traditional firearms, the upstart offered simple operation, great durability and extreme reliability. Police departments and the public took notice, and every gun manufacturer scrambled to adjust to a rapidly changing market.
Although the original M&P was not the company’s first stab at a striker-fired polymer gun, it was Smith & Wesson’s most successful design. Looking at the gun, it’s easy to see why it became popular. It featured an adjustable-size grip, a stainless-steel chassis and very good ergonomics. Plus, the gun looked sleek and modern. As it began to ride in the holsters of lawmen across the country, it looked right at home.
But, as with any first-generation product, the M&P series wasn’t perfect. Smith & Wesson took the feedback it received and started designing a new pistol that would upgrade the platform to ensure it retained its position as one of the top combat handguns in the world. The result? The M&P M2.0.
At its most basic, the M&P9 M2.0 that I tested is a striker-fired pistol with a polymer grip frame. It is a duty-sized gun with a 4.25-inch barrel and a 17+1 capacity. Of course, the company also offers .40 S&W and .45 ACP variants as well as compact models, including a new line of Shields. Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol
When using version numbers, moving from a 1.0 to a 2.0 suggests significant changes and new features. As an owner of the original M&P9, I looked forward to comparing it to the new M&P9 M2.0, and after reviewing the differences, I’d say there are plenty of changes to warrant the M2.0 moniker.
One of the most striking aspects of the M2.0 is its appearance. The M2.0 looks and feels more like a professional combat weapon than the original M&P did. To me, first-generation guns looked like a rookie cop showing up to roll call. His shoes are shined and uniform pressed, but he still looks a little too new. The M2.0 looks like the veteran cop with 10 years of patrol work under his belt. The uniform is still squared away, but there is something in his demeanor that says he’s not to be trifled with.
Part of the improved appearance is also a significant performance upgrade: the grip texturing. Older guns had light stippling on the forward edge of the grip and on the palm swells. The M2.0 takes things to the next level with an aggressive texturing on the entire circumference of the grip. You’ll also notice that the circular S&W logo has been replaced with the M&P logo.
The new texture is similar in feel to skateboard tape, something that has been used for years to provide better traction. Smith & Wesson’s new grip texture is rough but not so rough as to be uncomfortable to hold. I like the feel of it in my hand a lot. However, rubbing against my body while riding in an inside-the-waistband (IWB) holster is far less pleasing. Wear an undershirt if you decide to carry the M2.0 concealed.Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol
Doing some basic testing, I gripped my first-generation M&P9 and had a partner try to wrest it from my hand. I offered no resistance beyond a firm grip. The gun was easy to twist out of my hand. Repeating the experiment with the M2.0, the gun was much more difficult to dislodge. From a weapon-retention standpoint, this is a definite improvement. I suspected the texture would help control the pistol during recoil, and subsequent trips to the range confirmed that.
Along with the new texture, Smith & Wesson deleted the extended beavertail. Although I understand the theory behind the beavertail, I never saw it as being needed on the original M&P. With my hand as high as possible on the grip of the M2.0, the slide does not come even close to hitting me. During my range time with the gun, I had zero problems with it.
Smith & Wesson always offered interchangeable palm-swell grip inserts for the frame. These inserts let the shooter better fit the size of the grip to his or her hand. New M&P pistols expand the size possibilities from three to four. The new sizes are listed as small, medium, medium-large and large. Presumably, feedback suggested the fourth size, between the typical medium and large sizes, was needed. I have relatively short fingers, so the small insert lets my finger properly address the trigger. Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol
Of course, like a sports car, looks and comfy seats only get you so far. Often, the real indicators of performance are under the hood. The new gun has an extended internal chassis made of stainless steel. Embedded in the polymer frame, this chassis is designed to reduce flex and torque when firing. Some guns have shown a tendency to flex too much and malfunction when certain combinations of ammunition and mounted lights are used. This chassis helps reduce this possibility.
Another change in the new gun is that the front slide rails are roughly twice as long as before. A careful eye will also notice that Smith & Wesson switched from roll pins to solid pins for the M2.0.
Perhaps the most anticipated under-the-hood change is the trigger. One of the continuing complaints about the original M&P pistol was the trigger. Many people believe it felt mushy and without a clear reset. I’d agree. Though I had no problems shooting my M&P9, the trigger feel was clearly a weak point in the system. With the M2.0, Smith & Wesson promises a new “crisp trigger” with a lighter pull and a more pronounced reset. Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol
How It Shoots
So, the gun looks tough and comes from a line of proven performers. But does it shoot? Yes, it does. I took it to the range several times and was impressed by its performance. On my second range trip, I took along my classic M&P9 for a direct head-to-head comparison.
Many of you might wonder how the new trigger performed. It depends on your perspective. The pull of the original gun has a substantial amount of take-up with a relatively short travel. I suspect the take-up is what a lot of people find objectionable, as the actual pull and break on my first-generation gun is short and fairly crisp.
The M2.0 still has a significant amount of take-up and a relatively short pull. However, the pull feels a touch longer—though I admit this is purely a subjective perception. The break is much harder and feels more like the break on my S&W SD40 pistol. Checking both triggers with a Lyman digital trigger pull gauge, a five-pull average showed a 5.34-pound pull on my first-generation M&P9. The M2.0 registered an average of 6.09 pounds. Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol
The new trigger system has no over travel that I could see or feel. This appears to be precluded by the trigger stop molded into the frame as much as anything. I know others will disagree, but for slow precision shooting, I like the trigger pull on the original pistol a little bit better than that of the M2.0. I seem to be slightly more accurate with it.
The reset is much more obvious now. Your finger will immediately feel when the trigger resets. I like this a great deal more than the less-perceptible reset on my first-generation gun. Overall, I believe many shooters will like the new trigger.
The M2.0’s recoil seemed to be about the same as the original pistol’s. Some people said the new gun might have less felt recoil because of the extended chassis. However, I felt no difference. With standard-pressure and +P loads, the recoil in both guns felt about the same: pretty darn mild.
Something that obviously felt different was the grip texturing. Shooting the guns side by side, the newer texture was much better at preventing the gun from slipping in my hand. In fact, after shooting several magazines with the new M2.0, the original gun felt so slick that it might suddenly spring from my hands. Even though I have owned my M&P9 for years, I was suddenly concerned that the grip texture wasn’t adequate for serious work. On reflection, the older texture is fine for self-defense and duty use, but it simply isn’t as good as the new texture.
One thing I specifically checked was whether the new palm-swell grip inserts will work with the older gun. I discovered they do, and I plan to track down one of the small M2.0 inserts for my original M&P9 to improve the feel of that gun.
I put a little more than 500 rounds through the M2.0 without a malfunction. Although I’ve come to expect this from modern striker-fired pistols, it isn’t always the case. Fortunately, S&W continues its tradition of building reliable firearms.
The accuracy was also good. Firing off-hand at 7 yards with defensive ammunition, I regularly shot groups less than 2 inches wide. Sig Sauer’s 147-grain V-Crown JHPs provided the best five-shot group at less than 1.4 inches. The Federal HST and Winchester PDX1 loads also shot very well, with their best groups around 1.5 inches.
One of the questions I had about the new gun related to its compatibility with existing M&P9 magazines. My existing mags looked similar to the M2.0 mags, but they had different followers. So, I decided to test them out. I fired 100 rounds of 115-grain FMJ ammo through the M2.0 using my original M&P mags without a problem. I then ran another 100 rounds of the same load through the original gun with the M2.0 mags. Again, everything worked perfectly. If I planned to use old magazines for duty or self- defense use, I would want to test them with my carry load. However, for range time, I have no qualms about using them.
Only $30 More
Based on my initial testing of the M&P9 M2.0, I’m pleased with its performance. It was accurate with a wide range of loads and did not malfunction at any point.
Currently, S&W is manufacturing both generations of M&P9 pistols. I don’t know if the company plans to do so indefinitely.
For me, the new grip texturing is worth trading up to the new gun. Figuring in the additional features might make it even more appealing, especially when you consider the price difference between the two guns is only $30.
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Full-Size Pistol