Introduced in 2005, the M&P pistol was, in many ways, a better firearm than a GLOCK. For one thing, the M&P’s grip angle (18 degrees off square) points more naturally than Gaston’s gat (22 degrees off square). The M&P is also a far more stylish firearm. Which is as obvious as saying a Ferrari is sexier than a Toyota, but there you go.

 

And there went a large slice of GLOCK’s market share. Now, with the launch of the double stack M&P M2.0, Smith & Wesson’s got their steely knives out again, positioning themselves for another run at the polymer pistol market leader. The most important difference between M&P One and M&P 2.0? Smith’s finally addressed their premier product’s Achilles heel: its trigger.

The previous M&P’s trigger was so gritty, sloppy and nebulous (a good name for a bad law firm) Apex Tactical Specialities built an empire on its replacement. The new trigger has some grit. A tad more than an Austin metrosexual but a lot less than the previous M&P. Better yet, the trigger has a relatively clean breaking point, a tactile, audible, close-in reset, and a lighter trigger pull (down a pound to around five).

Unlike cold brewed iced coffee (a.k.a., coffee crack), the M&P M2.0’s new trigger won’t keep Apex execs up at night. But it completely eliminates “M&P grimace” (the face dry-firing customers made before not buying a M&P handgun). All of which makes me wonder why Smith made their M&P trigger look like the letter C.

A trigger is simply a lever. The further down towards the bottom of the lever you press, the easier it is to actuate. The radical curve in the M2.0’s hinged trigger gives you zero options in that regard. And so some shooters have a tendency to pull the M&P trigger downwards as they press, sending shots low to the target. Also lamentable: the trigger’s rounded edges can make it difficult to know exactly how much finger you’ve inserted ahead of the gun’s go-pedal.

Just as GLOCK owners adapt to their pistol’s inhuman grip angle and awful trigger, a practiced M2.0 owner can train themselves to use the M&P’s C-shaped trigger to great effect. It’s a major improvement on its polymer predecessor’s press process. But Smith’s in a multi-million dollar fight for “perfection.” As good as the new trigger is, this ain’t it.

Bottom line (you knew I’d get there eventually): I’d still retrofit an M2.0 with an Apex trigger. But it’s now more of a luxury than a necessity. Note to Smith weenies: relax. The M&P’s other changes are asterik-free; they all work to make the M2.0 one flat-shooting son of gun.

Smith claims the pistol’s extended stainless-steel chassis — visible through frame cut-outs — reduces the previous gen M&P’s torque and flex. Leaning back in my chair, watching the video of Dan’s dalliance with Smith’s 17+1 shooter (below), I’m inclined to agree. And I’m fully on board with Smith & Wesson’s decision to reconfigure the M2.0’s frame.

The new design creates a significantly higher grip than the previous pistol; increasing the gun’s grip-to-barrel bore axis ratio. Or, if you prefer, lowering the M2.0’s bore axis [Click here for Foghorn’s not entirely boring explanation of the term.] It’s nowhere near as how-low-can-you-go as the Arsenal Strike One or the really late Caracal F, but it’s no SIG SAUER double-decker bus either.

Taken as a whole, the M&P’s changes reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil, increasing the speed of target reacquisition. Equally welcome: Smith’s ‘smiths downsized the M&P’s big-ass beavertail and gave the pistol’s handle a far more aggressive texture. Not to go all Trumpety Trump Trump, the new surface is a yuge win and I’m never going to get tired of it.

A rock solid grip on a handgun is key to consistent accuracy. Many shooters firing newfangled handguns festooned with plastic Chicklets (e.g., Springfield Armory’s XD series and the new FN 509) find themselves adjusting their grip after each bullet leaves the barrel, even when shooting 9mm in dry conditions.

The M2.0’s sandpaper-like grip texture is MMA aggressive. Combined with the gun’s big honking handle and soft-shooting nature, the embedded “grip tape”-like surface eliminates the [subconscious] temptation to re-position your hands between rounds. And improves control. To wit: I shoot the M2.0 more accurately than the FN 509, despite the FN’s superior trigger.

In fact, I’m thinking Smith & Wesson’s engineers have the word “ergonomics” tattooed on their shoulders (in tiny font). Why else would the M&P M2.0 ship with not two, not three but four back straps? The plastic fantastic selection guarantees a comfortable handhold for men and women equipped with anything but miniature or monstrous mitts, ensuring the proper amount of trigger reach.

Our T&E gun was coated in super-matte (i.e. non-reflective) Flat Dark Earth Cerakote, applied over the standard corrosion-resistant nitride Armornite finish. I’m no fan of FDE (black is so slimming). Nor am I entirely comfortable with the Armornites’ religious beliefs. But the M2.0’s desert-fighter monochromatic look accentuates the firearm’s fish-scaled beauty. With a few added striations for the racking-challenged.

Out on the range, our M&P M2.0’s accuracy was aided and abetted by its gripperific full-size frame and weighty snout. The longer-than-War-and-Peace muzzle made short work of the M2.0’s white, three-dot sights. Which, like all handguns sold for personal protection, ought to glow in the dark and be brick-shaped (at the front of the rear sight) to facilitate shoe and belt racking. Which, like most handguns sold for personal protection, the M2.0’s sights don’t and aren’t.

In terms of accuracy, our best group size was two inches, shooting 115gr. Remington HTP hollow-points at 25 yards. The average across a range of ammo was 2.5″. Our results reveal the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 prefers lighter weight ammo.

That ain’t bad for a striker-fired pistol. And other than a zigazigah, what you really, really want is a self-defense handgun that can quickly dump a bunch of rounds into the bad guy’s center mass while he/you/the gun are moving. The M&P M2.0 is all that and a bag of chips.

[NB: Our tester came equipped with a frame-mounted safety. It snicked well and provided a welcome ledge for strong hand thumb placement. The M&P M2.0 can also be purchased sans safety.]

The M&P ate everything I fed it without complaint. But not everything Ms. Meisner fed it. Our Colgate-educated TTAG tester induced two failures to eject and a double-feed. I’m putting it down to limp wristing, although none of us men among men doing manly things could replicate the issue. FWIW, also notice that Dan short-stroked the M2.0’s trigger in the video above. Shorter reset. You have been warned . . .

The new, improved M&P M2.0 widens the gap between Smith & Wesson’s money maker and its Austrian/Smyrnanian rival. The M2.0’s a rugged, reliable, fine-looking, flat-shooting firearm at a competitive price.

Specifications: Smith & Wesson M2.0 9mm

Model: M&P9 M2.0
Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 17+1
Barrel Length: 5″ / 12.7 cm
Overall Length: 8.3″
Front Sight: Steel – White Dot
Rear Sight: Steel – White Two Dot
Action: Striker Fire
Grip: Polymer
Weight: 26.9 oz / 762.6g
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
Slide Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
Frame Material: Polymer
MSRP: $599

 

Ratings (out of five stars):

Ergonomics (Carry): * * *
A full-size pistol with a big honking handle. The grip’s aggressive texture make it a bit grating for inside-the-waistband carry.

Ergonomics (Firing): * * * * 
The M&P’s M2.0’s gas pedal isn’t best-in-class, and the C shape is form vs. function, but trigger snobs can put away their pitchforks. The extended chassis, aggressive grip texture and lower bore axis make up for any deficiencies. It’s one flat-shooting firearm.

Accuracy * * * * *
Two-inch group at 25 yards. That’ll do pig. That’ll do.

Reliability: * * * *
One shooter experienced two failures to eject and a double feed (limp wristing?). Everyone else had zero problems over 1000 rounds.

Customization: * * * * * 
Backwards compatible with previous gen M&P handguns, holsters, lights, sights, etc.

Overall Rating: * * * * 1/2
Trigger travails and some isolated reliability issues prevent perfection. But a much appreciated and well-judged update on a terrific firearm.

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41 Responses to Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M2.0 9mm Full-Size Polymer Handgun

  1. Looks good, and seems to address the complaints I have with the original line. Wonder if theyll come out with a shield 2.0?

    ps It’s a double stack, isn’t it? You said single up above.

    • The Shield 45 is kind of a “M1.5″

      As for the M2.0, I bought the 4.25” BBL version a little over two months ago and have been able to take it out twice since with about 500 through it and I love it.

      I had a “1.0” version and literally all of my complaints have been addressed. My biggest gripes have been the trigger actuation (like everyone), grip and beaver tail. All around the aesthetics and ergonomics are better, trigger is definitely better over stock but not an Apex, although Robert hits the nail on the head in that it’s more a luxury than a necessity at this point.

    • Lovin my M&P 2.0. I’m runnin it this season IDPA. The trigger is much improved, don’t have that soggy grip feelin that the originals had.

  2. Now when Canik makes a 45acp. Then I might maybe buy me a plaztic gun. Till then none of these plaztic non fantastic guns do a thing for me.

    • Really? A Canik in 45AARP is FINALLY going to draw you over to the polymer side?

      I’m not one to jump to conclusions and call people fudds, but I’m pretty sure I just found one.

      • I like my Canik TPS9 as my house gun. It is the only plastic gun I own. The others are all 1911s in different calibers and configurations. It doesn’t have to be a 45 altho that will always be my preference.
        Plastic just doesn’t work for me.
        A FUDD??
        Me hell no!!!!!!
        If plastic does it for you all the more to you.
        Ill take all steel and a good gun belt over a plastic gun any day.

  3. 18 degree grip angle points more naturally than the Glock?
    Is this fake science?
    Would someone please tell me what the grip angle on a Glock is?
    And apparently, the grip angle on every single autoloading handgun is identical except for the Glock. Because no one mentions grip angle unless Glock is in the discussion.

    • Glock is 22 degrees, which means every other gun ever made points more naturally than a Glock. Of course that is also because the Glock grip is also not designed for a normal human hand.

      • Designed in an era where we were all expecting to be post nuclear exchange mutants. Of course our mutant hands would be different.

        #mutanthandlivesmatter

        • > I say 4 degrees makes no difference

          Wow, really? Have you ever shot a Glock? Or, maybe, have you ever shot OTHER than a Glock? It’s a Trumpian huuuuge difference, but for sure, it’s a personal thing based on however our genes wound up blended back in the original mixer.

        • It may make no difference to you, but it makes a big difference to me. When I press forward with a Glock, I’m pointing low. When I press forward with many other guns, but especially a 1911, I’m right on target. I always feel like I’m fighting the gun with a Glock. Part of that is the trigger, but much of that is the grip angle. I can train myself to get used to it, and I go weeks with only shooting a G19, but the second I press forward with my 92FS or a 1911, I’m on target faster. The Glock just doesn’t point well for me.
          I know other people, some of which are outstanding shooters, that have the exact opposite experience.

        • Well I admit, I don’t know shooting as much as I know geometry, and a wider angle would cause higher pointing. Not lower.
          Where are all the Front Sight desciples on this? It’s all about the front sight, not the grip angle. Right?

        • Glocks point high for me. The gun that feels best in my hand is a hi-power. 1911 a close second and CZ coming in at 3rd place. The CZ is my favorite overall however because I prefer da/sa.

    • I’ve read that there’s a natural reaction in fight-or-flight stress situations to crouch and bear downward with arms and shoulders — in which case the tendency of Glocks to point higher might lead to more accurate shooting when it matters most.

      Dunno if there’s any evidence out there to prove it, but it seems plausible to me.

    • I don’t know if it “points more naturally” at 18 vs 22 but isn’t the Luger, a grip wildly loved by many as one of the best ergonomic pistols EVVA! something like 55 degrees off square?

      • Yep!
        That’s why I am convinced that there is no validity to the claim that the Glock grip angle is responsible for poor shooting.
        It is nothing more than a meme. When someone shoot a Sig p229 poorly, no one blames the gun. When someone shoots a Glock poorly, all you have to do is Google “Glock” and a dozen excuses blaming the tool are at your disposal. Take your pick.

  4. My sons friend received one of these as a high school graduation gift
    We took it to the range and broke it in
    We fired 250 rounds between the three of us
    I found this to be an excellent full size pistol, accurate and soft shooting.
    The only problem I had was that the texture on the grip was too rough
    If it were my pistol I would take a little sandpaper to the grip and smooth it out
    The new graduate was of course thrilled with it
    My son is jealous because he did not get a new pistol as a graduation gift!

  5. If a Glock is your first handgun, like it was for me, grip angle isn’t an issue at all. I had no idea my Glock pointed in an odd direction because I had no frame of reference. It’s weird to me why it’s such a big deal to others, even now that I have many different handguns.

  6. Bought a M&P Pro, though not the Gen2 like this one and I just couldn’t shoot it well due to the trigger. Squishy, spongy mess. replacement trigger was lighter, but still spongy feeling and reset was still not as tactile as a glock’s. I wanted to love this gun due to the comfort and low bore axis (and looks) and just plain point-ability. But the trigger continues to make me shoot it worse than my G23, an ugly ass gun by comparison, but with a MUCH better trigger and reset. If MP had a comparable trigger to a Glock, they would clean their clocks….but, alas, no. Not a Glock lover by any means, always hated them, but seem to shoot them better than anything other than my 1911 and PPQ(best stock trigger ever outside a 1911). Seems they still can’t get it right even with this version.

    • I have the C.O.R.E. Pro and find the trigger PULL to be fine, but the feel of the actual trigger itself is still shite. The stupid hinge causes pinching.

      I have an Apex sitting on my desk at home, just waiting for me to have time to install it.

  7. I own one and love it, it’s much better than earlier M&Ps; more accurate, great trigger, and milder in recoil. The 2.0 in 45 is a different story. Although it’s a good shooter, the recoil is harsh enough and the sandpaper grips wear on the hands. The Sig P320 in 45 felt milder and was as accurate so I bought that instead.

  8. I still don’t like the trigger, but it is no longer horrible.
    As for the rest of the gun, it is vastly improved.

  9. First gen m&ps were inaccurate sacks of shit with squirt gun triggers. this new gen may be improved but it comes too late to the table as there are a plethora of better choices to be had in the polymer pistol field, including the current generation of glocks.

  10. Accuracy seems to be an issue with the first gen M&Ps, especially in .40, where, shall we say rather generous slide lockup tolerances did not contribute to repeatability. M&Ps were consistently far less accurate than other pistols I tested, such as Glocks, Sigs, and Berettas. Good enough for Minute-of-Badguy? Sure. good enough to easily qualify your ammunition for a major government bid? Not so much.

    I have to wonder how much this is improved in the 2.0, if at all.

  11. “Introduced in 2005, the M&P pistol was, in many ways, a better firearm than a GLOCK. For one thing, the M&P’s grip angle (18 degrees off square) points more naturally than Gaston’s gat (22 degrees off square).”

    The M1911 fanboi club is calling. Time to stop writing about modern pistols, come home, and wash up for dinner.

  12. I agree that M&Ps are a step up from glocks, however they are probably the ugliest polymer guns ive ever seen. They make glocks look good when you sit them next to each other.

    • “I agree that M&Ps are a step up from glocks, however glocks are probably the ugliest polymer guns ive ever seen. They make M&Ps look good when you sit them next to each other.”

      FIFY

        • Oh, I’d certainly never let the aesthetics of a pistol determine it’s usefulness – as long as it’s good and reliable, that’s what matters – hence my ownership/carry of them.

          However I still have eyes, and they can’t help but detect ugliness regardless of the efficacy of a particular design!

  13. Wonder if they fixed the rattling mags in the .40 4.25″. Had a Gen 1 with maracas for magazines; drove me nuts so I finally ended up selling it. Heard later this was a known issue with the 15-rd .40 mags that S&W didn’t want to own up to. Really like my 40c though. If I knew they fixed the mags, I’d go for a 2.0 4.25. $449 at the LGS here this month.

  14. In your accuracy testing, did you use a machine rest, a sandbag rest, or some other method?

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