The first S&W M&Ps (Military and Police) were introduced in the summer of 2005. The M&Ps were a hybrid combination of the Smith & Wesson Sigma and the SW99. Back in the day, I had the opportunity to shoot an early Sigma, and I was not impressed. The trigger was poor, the gun felt ‘plasticy’, and it just did not seem to shoot very well, at least for me.
Fast forward to SHOT Show 2017 and the introduction of the S&W M&P M2.0. The M&P line has undergone a lot of changes, enhancements, and improvements since 2005, and I must say the 2.0 line is pretty darn nice.
You have to understand that when you walk into your local gun shop and ask to take a look at an M&P 2.0, the nice person behind the counter is going to ask, “Which one”? That’s because there are 73 variations currently available! The 2.0 comes in black, FDE, threaded barrels, optics ready, adjustable target sights, various barrel lengths, and more. So while your dealer may not have all 73 models on the shelf, there will most likely be several to consider.
Today we’ll be reviewing the M&P M2.0 with a 4.25” barrel.
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 9mm Review
- Model: M&P®9 M2.0™
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Magazine Capacity: 17+1
- Color: Black
- Safety: No Thumb Safety
- Overall Length: 7.4”
- Front Sight: Steel White Dot
- Rear Sight: Steel White Two Dot
- Action: Striker Fire
- Grip: Polymer
- Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
- Slide Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
- Frame Material: Polymer
- Barrel Lenght: 4.25″ (10.8 cm)
- Weight: 24.7oz.
This standard model M2.0 does not have a manual safety lever. There are many models available with a standard thumb safety, and they can be had with ambidextrous safeties as well.
I prefer not to have a manual safety on my personal striker-fire carry guns, so this model of M&P 2.0 fits my style perfectly. The S&W striker-fire mechanisms are proven and safe. The gun will only fire once the trigger is pressed all the way to the rear. For me, good trigger discipline, meaning keeping your finger off the trigger until your sights are aligned on your intended target, is the external safety I like to rely on.
Since we are talking about the trigger, let’s take a deeper dive into the M2.0 trigger design and mechanism.
The trigger itself is curved and has a ‘hinged’ pin about halfway between the tip of the trigger and the top of the trigger. The trigger must be pulled in such a way as to cause the bottom half of the trigger to move to the rear and ‘release’ the trigger so it can be pressed all the way to the rear. As the trigger moves to the rear, the striker is actually being cocked the remaining 2% and then released to fire the round.
When the round is fired and the action cycles, the striker is prepped to a condition that is 98% cocked. So technically, the M2.0 design is a double-action striker-fired gun since the trigger is actually cocking the gun.
As mentioned earlier, there are a lot of iterations of M&P handguns out there. Earlier models did not have what I feel were very good triggers. This new model is much improved! The initial take-up is smooth and feels good. There is a definite wall and a very smooth break when the gun fires. My Lyman Digital Trigger Scale showed an average 4 pound, 9 ounce pull for 10 trigger pulls. The reset is both audible and tactile, allowing a shooter to run the trigger just to the reset point when shooting fast strings.
The grip on the M2.0 is great. I like fairly aggressive stippling or checkering on grips and the M2.0 is very comfortable in my hands. The texture is aggressive enough to provide a solid, not-slip grip, but not so rough as to chew up your hands. The fact the texture is applied all the way around the grip provides for a very secure feel.
The M2.0 comes standard with four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts, so shooters can customize the feel of their M2.0 and optimize the length of pull for their hands.
Many shooters tend to agree that the Colt’s 1911 model has the most user-friendly grip angle in the handgun world. Smith & Wesson took a long, hard look at the Colt and decided to design a very Colt-like angle into this newest polymer gun. As a result, the gun will point naturally for the vast majority of shooters and provide that classic Colt feel in an affordable polymer-frame carry gun.
The grip does not have much of an undercut on the trigger guard, but I had no issues establishing and maintaining a high grip on the gun.
Finally, the magazine release comes standard on the left side of the gun, just behind the trigger guard. For left-handed shooters, the magazine release can be changed to the right side of the gun quite simply. The instructions to change the magazine release are included in the owner’s manual.
The S&W M&P 2.0 comes equipped with steel 3-dot sights that are dovetailed into the stainless steel slide.
The rear sight is serrated on the rear surface to help eliminate glare and really makes the white dots pop out.
The front sight is bright white in a square sight post that makes picking up the sight very easy when shooting fast.
Though my older eyes don’t see iron sights as clearly as they did a few years ago, I had no problem shooting great groups or picking up the sights when shooting faster.
I think S&W would do well to offer the 2.0 with night sights as a standard feature.
S&W ships the 2.0 with two 17-round magazines. This gives the gun a nice 17-round capacity with a round loaded in the chamber. Although the witness holes in the magazine show 16 rounds, the magazines will hold 17 rounds in 9mm.
I have found most S&W magazines have pretty tight magazine springs. Getting the first round started can be a little challenging for newer shooters. Likewise, as you top off the magazine, it gets pretty difficult to load the final few rounds. My recommendation is to grab yourself an Uplula Magazine Loader to aid in magazine loading while at the range.
The M2.0 slide is stainless steel coated with S&W’s Armornite finish. The flat black finish looks good and protects against corrosion and rust.
The rear of the slide has aggressive serrations cut in a wave-like pattern and provides a great grip on the rear of the slide for loading and clearing malfunctions.
The front of the slide has serrations cut right along the bottom of the slide to facilitate being able to press check the handgun with your hand below the pistol.
Just about in line with the front of the grip, the M2.0 comes standard with ambidextrous slide stops to make locking the gun open or running the slide forward very easy regardless if you are right or left-handed.
The ejection port on the right side of the slide is flared back, and the slide actually has an additional scallop where the extractor is located to further enhance positive ejection of spent cases.
Shooting The S&W M&P M2.0
I must confess that I went into the shooting portion of this review a bit biased from shooting the previous version of S&W striker-fired handguns. Having experienced guns that did not have great triggers and didn’t feel that great in my hands, the M2.0 was a pleasant surprise.
My first rounds downrange were at 5 yards, just to get a feel for the gun. My first 5-round groups printed nicely at about 1 ½” right on my point of aim.
At 7 yards my 5-round groups opened up just a bit to about 2” on average, but nicely centered up and just below my point of aim.
My biggest surprise came at 10 yards. Those first four rounds cut one jagged hole, and the fifth landed just a little right!
Running the target out to 25 yards I found my group opened up quite a bit, but still centered on the target and 2” below point of aim. I also noticed some horizontal stringing which indicates I was probably not being consistent on the trigger.
I ran the target back to 5 yards and ran two, 5-round groups at a fairly rapid pace. All 10 rounds landed in about a 4” group and centered up on my point of aim.
Rounding out my range time I ran the Mozambique drill (2 rounds to the A-zone, 1 round to the head box) 5 times from the high ready on an IPSC silhouette target. All the drills were run between 2 and 2 ½ seconds. All shots were A-zone hits.
For me, this gun shot pretty well. I think with a little more time getting used to the feel of the trigger and the reset, my groups would tighten up, and my speeds would increase.
The gun functioned perfectly with no failures to feed, fire, or eject. I did tend to run my strong-hand thumb on the slide stop, and a few times the slide did not lock open on an empty magazine. That’s a function of my grip, not the function of the gun.
S&W M&P M2.0 Pros & Cons
- Lots of variations to suit any shooter
- Sturdy steel sights
- Four interchangeable grip modules
- Great grip texture
- Previous M&P 2.0 version magazines, holsters, and sights will fit the new M2.0 versions
- Standard Picatinny Rail
- No night sights
- Ships with only two magazines
With so many versions of the M2.0 to choose from, you may not need a lot of accessorizing to make your new M2.0 fit your style.
That said, let’s take a look at a few things that will make the model reviewed a little better, in my humble opinion.
As mentioned above, this model of M2.0 comes with standard 3-dot sights, so upgrading the sights might be a good improvement.
I have these sights on an old, Gen 1 Springfield XD I have had for many years. The sights are easy to pick up in daylight and really show up in the dark. A great upgrade for any gun that will be used defensively.
For those looking for a great range solution, Trijicon offers one of the best. A serrated rear, target-style sight with a bright fiber optic front sight. This classic combination can help drive fast, accurate shots on target.
With a standard section of Picatinny rail, the M2.0 can easily handle the weapon-mounted light or laser of your choice.
Surefire X300U-B Weaponlight
Surefire continues to be the leader in LED lighting technology. This light puts out 1000 lumens to light your way when things go bump in the night. The mount will easily fit universal and Picatinny rails.
Streamlight has also been a trusted weapons light provider for many years. TLR-7 models offer 500 lumens and momentary, strobe, or constant on for your carry gun.
You need a way to carry your new M2.0. The more comfortable the holster, the more likely you will grab your gun and carry it when you are getting ready to leave the house.
Crossbreed Supertuck IWB
This one is a classic. With Crossbreed’s hybrid leather backer and sweat guard and the custom molded Kydex holster, you will love the way this conceals your M2.0 and makes daily carry easy and enjoyable.
Bladetech Signature Series
Bladetech offers an affordable and secure way to carry outside the waistband with the Signature series holsters. Available with a standard Tek-Lok attachment, the Bladetech offers a lot of holster for the money.
KT Mech offers custom-made holsters for IWB/OWB carry and for guns sporting weapon lights. Check out the Gunfighter and Defender models for your M2.0
Alternatives to the S&W M&P M2.0
As good as the M2.0 is, maybe it’s not your cup of tea. Fortunately, there are a lot of great guns that you can choose from that are roughly the same size and capacity of the S&W offering.
Glock 19 Gen 5
The standard Glock 19 is arguably the most common striker-fired handgun in the US, if not the world. The Glock isn’t a fancy gun, but it is reliable, accurate, and has a whole host of accessories and custom parts available to make it into the gun you think you need.
The P320 series from Sig Sauer is great choice for many folks. Boasting models that are optics-ready, Sig X-Ray 3 Night Sights, and legendary Sig accuracy and reliability, you would be hard-pressed to find a better option for defensive use.
While not as common as the Glock or the Sig, the CZ P-10C is worth looking at. These guns are very accurate, have great triggers, and are very cost competitive. If you’re looking for something just a little different but still very good, check out CZ’s polymer-frame guns.
The S&W M&P M2.0 offers the armed citizen a great option for concealed carry or home defense without breaking the bank. My short time on the range with the gun certainly changed my opinion of the gun. I found it to be very accurate, easily shootable and reliable.
The gun I was shooting is one of the many S&W M&P models in the rental fleet at The Range LLC, so it has many thousands of rounds through it. To take the punishment a rental gun experiences and still function flawlessly says a lot about the quality of the M2.0.
Do yourself a favor and check out the S&W M&P line. With 73 SKUs to choose from, you’re bound to find just the gun that works for you!
Randy Bauman is a firearm, shooting, hunting, and outdoor enthusiast. Randy has been an NRA Certified Rifle and Shotgun Instructor since 1992 and for 7 years was the lead instructor for the BSA's Western Region National Camping Schools Shooting Sports Section. He is now a USCCA Handgun Instructor at The Range LLC in Yakima and focuses on those who are new to shooting. When not out on the range or in the classroom Randy can be found enticing local trout with a fly rod, hiking, camping, or chasing big game in Washington state.
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