The second generation Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 takes the classic S&W pistol to the next level with ergonomic and performance upgrades.
There are two ways you can look at the new S&W M&P M2.0. One way is the philosophy of “Why fix what isn’t broken?” The M&P9 M1.0 worked fine; so, leave it alone, right? The second way is, “Test them like you use them.” Forward-thinking manufacturers know life is not static, nor does it occur in a vacuum. Needs evolve and change, and S&W delivers on change. S&W chooses to learn, listen, test, adapt and evolve, and that is what it did with the M&P9 M2.0.
I like the M&P series and found that these pistols perform. I’ve witnessed M&P pistols endure excessive round counts. As fast as magazines were loaded, the pistols constantly chattered, churning up the dirt backstop so much that the pistols became hot to the touch. The high round count did not faze the M&P, and it did not cave under the torture. In reality, no one will ever shoot 1,000+ rounds as fast as possible through their pistols, unless you happen to be like me and try to find a gun’s weak spot. I couldn’t break the old M&P9 M1.0.
There are other things I like about the old M&P, which I hoped S&W would leave well enough alone, and that was the grip. The 18-degree grip angle of the M&P is similar to a 1911 and comfortable to shoot. A Glock in comparison is about 22 degrees. S&W wisely chose to keep the angle at 18 degrees.
The slide release is the same as on the M1.0 except on the M2.0 it is ambidextrous. Also the magazine release is reversible, and the button is made of steel.
Some of the M2.0 design changes are obvious. Others are not so obvious. The first thing that I noticed when I pulled the M&P9 M2.0 out of the case was the aggressively textured grips. It reminded me of medium grit sandpaper but with none of the abrasion. Think the Glock RTF2 texture but not as spiny. The M2.0 texture offers good adhesion without feeling like my palm is being worn down one layer of skin at a time. The M2.0 comes with four grip inserts for petite to large hands. The palm swell grip inserts are actually sized small, medium, medium-large and large.
The next features that caught my eye were the new muzzle-end slide serrations in the trademark S&W scallops. When I compared it to my personal M&P9 C.O.R.E. Pro Series pistol, I could see the stainless steel slide was profiled a bit different. Relieved of metal to make it lighter.
What was odd and new were cutouts in the polymer frame. These cutouts reveal one of the major renovations to the M&P series, an extended stainless-steel chassis embedded in the polymer receiver. The chassis makes the pistol more rigid to reduce flex and torque when firing. I fired my M&P9 Pro Series next to the full-size M2.0 and felt the difference in recoil. The M2.0 had less felt recoil.
My test sample was equipped with a 5-inch stainless steel barrel, but it is also available in a 4.25-inch model. Previous 5-inch M&Ps were only available from the Performance Center. The finish was a nicely executed Cerakote FDE.
The other attractive feature of the M2.0 is a price point of $599. The S&W M&P M2.0 has evolved an already excellent pistol platform into a pistol that is easier and more comfortable to shoot. Expect .40 S&W and .45 ACP variants, too. There is a lot to like about the M2.0. Change is good.
Action: Striker-fired, locked breech, tilting barrel
Barrel: 5 in.
Overall Length: 8.3 in.
Grip: Textured polymer, modular, four inserts
Weight: 26.9 oz.
Finish: Cerakote FDE (Flat Dark Earth)
Editor's Note: This article is an excerpt from the March 2017 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.