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Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 Review: Best Full-Size Striker-Fired 9mm?

Smith & Wesson's M&P M2.0 is an impressive gun, both accurate and reliable. But what's so great about it? Come get our thoughts in this hands-on review!

Throughout my law enforcement career, I never tried Smith & Wesson autos, though I’ve always loved their revolvers.

Recently, that changed when I reviewed three different versions of their semi-auto lineup. 

M&P 9 M2.0 glamour
M&P 9 M2.0

I’ll warn you upfront, my initial reaction to the M&P M2.0 was not a good one.

But after I spent some time with it, I was really impressed. Performance doesn’t lie and first impressions aren’t always accurate.

I’m going to show you how that was the case in this review, and give you some great examples of how wrong I was.

So read on!

Table of Contents

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Good ergonomics

Cons

  • No front slide serrations

The Bottom Line

The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 is a full-size, striker-fired, steel and polymer gun with a 17+1 capacity. During testing, I found it to be reliable and extremely accurate.

M&P 9 M2.0 left side
The trigger ended up feeling amazing

The ergonomics are very well done on this gun with four backstrap options. That, good control placement, and aggressive grip texture all combine to make this gun a great shooter.

Specs & Features

 Specs

  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Width: 1.3″
  • Length: 7.4″
  • Barrel Length: 4.25″
  • Height: 5.5″
  • Weight: 24.7 oz.
  • Capacity: 17+1

Features

  • Low bore axis
  • 18-degree grip angle
  • Aggressive grip texture

Source: Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0

Runner-Up (Beginners, Home Defense)
569
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Background

The 2.0 carries on a great tradition of Smith & Wesson for the M&P line. Several changes have been implemented in order to increase accuracy and overall ergonomics.

OG M&P
Courtesy Smith & Wesson

Worth noting, the 2.0 should still fit in M&P holsters and the magazines are also interchangeable between the two versions.

Who Is It For?

M&P started out as Military & Police over a century ago! And while the brand still has features applicable to those doughty professions, it became clear they would be useful to a much wider audience.

M&P 9 M2.0 angle
Surprising range day

The M&P M2.0 is for just about anyone who wants a full-sized semi-auto.

Fit & Feel

The M2.0 felt great in my hand. With the adjustable backstrap pieces, I was able to find one that enabled a secure grip.

The rough texture on the grip itself was marvelous and helped me hold steady through recoil but it would be tough to wear next to the skin while concealed.

M&P 9 M2.0 texture
Aggressive grip texture to say the least

While the beaver tail was not large, it adequately kept my 2X hand from being bitten by the slide.

The M2.0 trigger is a source of some embarrassment for me because my first impression was so wrong. When I first tried it, I pulled back for what felt like a lot of soft travel before hitting a wall.

Then, there was a clean break. I really didn’t like all that distance and the soft feel. It felt squishy.

I was wrong
Man I had this trigger all wrong

But then I shot the gun testing accuracy, and I had an epiphany. The trigger is similar in many respects to a 2-stage rifle trigger.

I then realized this was intentional and I was impressed. The accuracy I experienced with this gun was outstanding!

M&P 9 M2.0 accuracy
All touching

The trigger averaged around 4.5 pounds on my Lyman digital gauge. Reset occurred after a couple of millimeters of release and was both audible and tactile.

The sights were a standard, white, 3-dot setup on the gun I used and they were adequate. Its sight radius surely helped with the overall accuracy.

Magazines were solid, entered the magwell, and dropped cleanly every time.

M&P 9 M2.0 accuracy 2
And again

The slide serrations have a curved scale effect to them and they really hook up well but are only located on the rear. There are some small ones on the bottom of the front of the slide, but they are almost ineffectual.

How Does It Shoot?

As mentioned above, the accuracy of this gun is impressive! Once I got beyond my initial impression of the trigger, I saw the M2.0 was really capable of performing.

M&P 9 M2.0 kneeling

The recoil is very manageable because of the grip texture and mass of the gun. Bore axis was very low and assisted with recoil management and getting quicker sight picture for follow-up shots.

Once I learned the trigger, the performance was easily repeated.

What Sets it Apart?

Without a doubt, this is a crowded market since military and police purchases are lucrative prospects. Anything from the Glock 17 to the Sig Sauer M18 would serve as contemporaries in this field.

M&P 9 M2.0 side
The more I shot, the more I liked

However, this question is easily answered with the trigger in the M2.0. It is likely one of the best striker-fired triggers I’ve tested in a while.

While it does take some getting used to because of its comparatively long approach, the accuracy absolutely speaks for itself.

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

With a test of just over 500 rounds during two range trips, I experienced zero malfunctions with the M2.0.

 

Ergonomics: 5/5

The grip angle is really good and the swell on the backstrap fits the palm nicely. Considering the backstraps are adjustable, you can use the right one to fit your hand and make sure you’re able to reach all the controls.

Accuracy: 5/5

Standing at 7 yards, I shot several 3-shot groups. When a couple of my groups were all touching, I finally understood the trigger.

Customization: 5/5

The M&P series has robust aftermarket support. There are tons of options ranging from extended magazines, back plates, recoil springs, etc.

Value: 4/5

With an MSRP of $629, the M2.0 is competitively priced. I saw average retail hovering around $500 with some prices even lower.

Overall: 5/5

Runner-Up (Beginners, Home Defense)
569
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Upgrades for M&P M2.0

Because this gun is at least partially intended for professional use, there are few limits on the amount of upgrades available.

Shooters who prefer the M2.0 will find anything from upgraded sights, weapon lights, holsters and more to kit it out.

Field Strip & Reassembly

It’s pretty straightforward except for one little lever that you have to hit…so we made a quick video:

Final Verdict

I’m happy my shooting career finally steered me on the path of Smith & Wesson’s semi-auto pistols. While my initial impression of the trigger was not favorable, that was based on everything I’d shot previously.

M&P 9 M2.0 top
Absolute winner

My final take is that Smith has made an impressive gun that is both very accurate and reliable. The M2.0 would serve well in military and police roles, but it would also make a great carry gun for just about anyone.

What has your experience with the M&P line been like? Let us know in the comments below. Want more M&P goodness? Check out our full review of the M&P 9 Shield!

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21 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Mw

    I have a pc 11820 and it is an absolute pleasure to shoot. The fiber optic sights help along with sight aquasition.

    October 23, 2022 12:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    J Randazzo

    Excellent review. I have the same gun, only with the thumb safety. I agree with the reviewer's comments. I switched out the sights for night sights. I find accuracy is actually outstanding. From a rest at 25 yards, I got 1 1/2" 5-shot groups. The only negative I can find is that the safety is somewhat mushy. I would like it to be slightly stiffer. It is perfectly placed, however, and fast into action. The bottom line for me is that here is a full-sized pistol, with 5" barrel, 17 round capacity, that weighs less than 25 ounces, very light recoil, and is totally reliable. Works for me. By the way, I test-fired three basic bullet weights, 115, 124, and 147-grain. For accuracy, my pistol likes the 147-grain best, and especially the Federal HST +P.

    October 17, 2022 9:36 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Rural hick

    Gotta agree with the author and many of the posts here.
    The 5" m&p 2.0 is a really nice pistol.
    I got the 5" pro model and was immediately going to drop in a apex trigger & barrel once it was broken-in, but that'll be unnecessary. For IDPA and plate shooting, it's great right out of the box. May very will replace the Glock 17 gen 5 for carry too.
    Have about 700 rounds threw it, about 3 months old, and zero malfunctions of any kind using 115 gr. Tula, 124gr. Belom, 124gr. HST+p, and some 124gr. reloads.
    Highly recommend pistol if you're starting fresh or wanting to move away from the Glock platform.

    August 12, 2022 7:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Will

    Bought one of these as my very first gun for home defense back during the riots. Can confirm it's easy for a beginner to handle. The magazines resisted having all 17 rounds inserted at first, but that's gotten better over time. I've yet to have a failure of any kind.

    June 11, 2022 2:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Quast

    I've shot that exact pistol in USPSA competitions for the last few years. Thousands of rounds down range without a hiccup. Once you are used to the trigger you can pull it back to the hard stop, right before it breaks, and know that it will break immediately when you pull slightly more. The CZs and 2011s dominate competitions, but I would trust the M&P 2.0 with my life if needed.

    June 10, 2022 4:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Strick

    LASD issues the S&W, M&P 2.0, in 9mm with a Surefire weapon light and Surefire DG switch. After carrying a 92FS for 30 years I was very hesitant to change. I finally got the M&P (I found I could still carry my Beretta if I didn't like the M&P) and I was very, very pleased. I love the ergonomics and how it feels in my hand. The gun is very accurate. It did take a lot of practice to get comfortable with the light & DG switch. I now have the identical weapon at home next to my bed. I really like this firearm.

    June 9, 2022 9:41 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    kcyankeefan

    Ive had the M&P M9 2.0 for 3 years and my wife and I love it for our home defense gun. The grip angle, stippling and ergonomics make it comfortable to shoot and very accurate. A lot of people dont like the trigger but Ive never had a problem with it and my friends who have shot mine are surprised they like it after hearing reviews railing on the trigger. This review is spot on with my experience of 3 years and thousands of rounds fired. This is a solid handgun that is think gets overlooked with some many new 9mm polymers hitting the market.

    June 9, 2022 10:39 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      I really didn't like the trigger when I first tried it and I had to stop and think about why that was. I realized it was just so different from what I was used to. Once I got over that mental hurdle, and saw how accurate the trigger helped me shoot, I admitted I was wr.. wro... wrong, and gave it an appropriately great rating. Thanks for the read!

      June 9, 2022 11:02 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Splinter

    I’ve had the 2.0 Compact for a couple of years and prefer it to the Glock 23 that I was issued before my 1997 retirement. I’ll used it for LEOSA qualification last year, scored 94%, and will shoot it again this coming Saturday to get my LEOSA certification.

    June 8, 2022 4:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Yeah I was really impressed with this gun. Thanks for your service Splinter! My first LEOSA qual is coming up...

      June 9, 2022 9:34 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jessie Williston

    I bought the m&p 2.0 compact and it was the first pistol I purchased of which I fell in love almost immediately! I'm a small female and the interchangeable grips meet this pistol perfect for me as I have small hands. With the grip able to fit my hands perfectly and the roughness keeping a nice tight grip accuracy and follow-up shots are amazing. I highly recommend this gun for anyone it's a great carry gun it's great for all shooters Men, woman, and if you want to take your kids shooting the interchangeable grips are super easy and can be done being less than a minute. The compact holds a 15+1 and is extremely reliable! I've had the best accuracy using 124 grain 9 mm rounds as I did seem to shoot a few inches high with 115 grain. Other than that this gun is my go to carry and extremely fun of the range! 10/10

    June 8, 2022 4:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Jessie, thanks for your input, we really appreciate it! In fact, stay tuned because we're doing something pretty big that will need this kind of feedback. I'm glad you were able to find something that worked for you. Small hands is the opposite of my problem, but it's still something we have to contend with as shooters.

      June 9, 2022 9:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve Sherridon

    Sean- all you have to do now is install the Apex Tactical forward flat faced trigger kit (with the Apex sear and springs etc) and you will realise you are holding the finest, most accurate 9mm handgun ever made......really....I promise you -you will shoot this better than any handgun you have ever shot.....
    Looking forward to your article after installing it.......

    June 8, 2022 12:19 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Thanks Steve, happy to admit (in this case) when I'm wrong, and you aren't the first person to mention Apex to me for the Smith and other applications. I'll have to check one out and circle back to this.

      June 8, 2022 12:32 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Steve Sherridon

        You're not 'wrong' here at all Sean.... just, when you try it out with the Apex kit it'll be even better!

        June 8, 2022 3:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tho.as Rumsey

    I

    June 8, 2022 11:14 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Thomas, thanks for stopping by, love to hear what you had to add.

      June 8, 2022 12:33 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    James Rumann

    I own the the 1st gen M&P9 and I was stoked for the 2.0 but I have to say at least for me if it was gun you would never have to draw often it would be fine. I find the the grip a bit too aggressive, it is like holding 60 grits sand paper was wrapped around the grip. For bedside gun it would be fine but if you train from a draw you might need gloves I could see it causing some rawness until you get used to it. From the 2.0s I have handled the trigger is better than the 1st gen but still needs to be upgraded with Apex Tactical parts.

    June 8, 2022 9:59 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Thanks James! +3 now on Apex, will check that out for sure.

      On grip texture, it's a fine balance to be sure. I recently attended a Handgun Mastery Course with Tactical Performance Center and we focused heavily on grip. The class was amazing and by the end of the 3rd day my skin was on my Staccato P and the aggressive grip texture was embedded in my hand. I think strong grip texture goes a long way to aiding with muzzle flip so I wholly support it.

      June 8, 2022 12:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Doug Carlton

    Canik Rival is the best striker fired 9mm pistol. Crisp 2lb trigger. 1/16 inch reset. Check the reviews out there. Punches the X-ring out easily.

    June 8, 2022 6:52 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Sean Curtis

      Great tip Doug, thanks! We've checked out a couple Caniks around here but I haven't tried the Rival. I know just who to reach out to though...

      June 8, 2022 12:41 pm
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