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
Barrel Length: 5″ / 12.7 cm
Overall Length: 8.3″
Front Sight: Steel – White Dot
Rear Sight: Steel – White Two Dot
Action: Striker Fire
Weight: 26.9 oz / 762.6g
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
Slide Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
Frame Material: Polymer
MSRP: $599 (about $479 and up via Brownells)
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.