Buying a new gun is a bit like getting a tattoo. Even if it’s not your first, you need to spend some quality time thinking about both, before you make the dollar or needle plunge. Read the new gun reviews on blogs like this one, scan the magazines, and watch all the YouTube videos you can find on the gun you’re considering. Talk to people you know with the same model and see if you can test fire theirs or ones at the range. You know you’ve bought the wrong gun when you don’t want to carry it or fire it, which is a problem. No such issue for me here with this new Smith. The Smith & Wesson M&P (Military and Police) M2.0 is an upgrade from the original version from 2005.
Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 9mm
There is a lot to like about this pistol, which improves upon several features from the first model. I’ll discuss some of the overview features here and you can find the rest of the gun specs here.
This model comes in six different varieties in black stainless steel, with and without the ambidextrous thumb safety, in .45 cal, 9mm, .40 cal, and two in .40 cal and 9mm, both with the ambidextrous thumb safeties, in my new favorite color, the brown or Flat Dark Earth (FDE) frame and slide, which I think looks awesome and sets the pistol part from the others in my gun safe. The new highly textured grip in all models feels great in your hand (although it won’t feel good against your bare skin, so get a new holster). Smith also provides four different-sized, interchangeable “palmswell” backstrap inserts to customize your grip based on your hand size.
It retails for around $599, putting it in the same price category as similar caliber polymer pistols. It holds 17+1 9mm rounds. If your state has magazine limitations, like 15 here in Colorado, your gun dealer will provide you with legal magazines. If you buy the FDE model, S&W kindly includes two magazine end plates in FDE, so you can keep the color of the gun uniform throughout. I’m told all the mags and most 9mm and .40 cal holsters from the original S&W M&P models will work for these new guns as well. (The .45 ACP model is a bit bigger and may not fit older M&P holsters.)
For those who have owned the original M&P, the stiff trigger pull was a frequent complaint. The new version features what Smith calls a “crisp trigger with a lighter (six-pound) trigger pull and a tactile and audible trigger reset.” It’s true you can feel and hear the trigger reset, in what seems to be about the same reset distance as a typical factory Glock.
Not being able to compare the previous model’s trigger, it felt reasonable and passed my “Goldilocks Test,” not too hard and not too soft. The slide release button is as recessed as you see on all new guns these days (and it’s one of the first changes I made to all my Glocks, to add an extended button), making it stiff. The gun has no magazine disconnect and will fire a round without a mag in the chamber. The magazine release button is stainless steel, not polymer, and has a good serrate across it. The mags drop with no sticking.
This gun has a new spring-loaded detent on the slide lock, to prevent the slide from dropping until you’re ready, as might happen during a hard and fast mag change. Few things drive me crazier with other guns than when you hammer in a fresh mag and the slide drops before I’m ready for it. This jarring movement distracts me from a quality mag change and this new pistol eliminates the issue. The rear of the slide has a set of seven grooves cut into the base, making it easy to grab and pull back, even with gloves or slick hands.
After putting 100 rounds through my new gun, the initial review is positive. I fired 115 grain 9mm factory rounds, at distances of 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards. I was able to put my shots where I wanted to, after the first mag change (because I shot a bit low, trying to look over the barrel to see where the rounds were going). The 9mm has a five-inch barrel, giving the gun eight inches in total gun length. The metal white dot sites are perfectly fine and easy to line up.
I have a few small complaints, but nothing that should preclude you from trying this gun or buying it for yourself. This pistol is much heavier than I expected, 38 ounces fully loaded, 27 ounces empty. It’s definitely a large-frame gun, meaning your OWB concealed carry will take more baggy clothing coverage to keep it hidden.
Since the safety sits just under the slide, you can accidentally activate it if your grip is too high up on the gun or you push your gun hand up against it with your support hand. Coming from a lot of Glock handling, I’m hopeful I will train myself out of doing this. The recoil was more than I expected from a heavy gun with a five-inch barrel. The Smith & Wesson specs suggest the steel version may have less torque than the polymers, which makes sense.
This gun has a safety feature S&W calls a “tactile loaded chamber indicator,” where a small red lever bar rises up from the top of the slide to show that you have a round in the chamber. While you can clearly see the difference between loaded and unloaded in daylight and you can certainly hand-feel the rise at the top of the slide, the red bar looks like it’s 1/16” in height, so small as to be tiny and unless you’re looking specifically for it, you won’t see it easily. I’ve seen some online reviews where people have said this is a “good low-light safety feature,” which I simply could not spot unless I was in full daylight.
I like this big beast of a Smith. It shoots well and feels good in my hand. Give the M&P M2.0 a try in your favorite caliber.
Contact Steve at DrSteveAlbrecht.com