Review: All Metal Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0

Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol on a bullseye target with a Winchester ammunition box

Somewhere within the halls of Smith and Wesson, I’m sure there’s a vault in which is stored an example of each and every M&P variation ever made. I don’t have to go to Springfield, Massachusetts, to view such a collection because I’m pretty close to having such a collection in my gun safe. My appreciation for the M&P began when I was attending my first NRA pistol instructor course.

I was just learning about pistols at the time and soaking up all the information I could. There was a couple attending the class together, and the wife was shooting an M&P during all the exercises. I asked her why she had picked that gun. She said it was because it had less felt recoil than the other 9mm pistols she had tried. I filed that away as good information — especially when anticipating that I would be helping other shooters find the gun that was just right for them.

Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol, left profile
The Metal M&P 2.0 has a very attractive Cerakote finish they call Tungsten Gray accented with black trimmings and etchings.

At the time, Glock had a considerable portion of the law enforcement handgun market. Close on its heels was Smith and Wesson with its M&P. I came across a police trade-in from Colorado Springs that was a 9mm M&P. The price was attractive, so I bought it. Then I bought an M&P .22 so I would have something economical to practice with.

Not long after those acquisitions, I bought a Viking Tactical version of the M&P in 9mm thinking it would be my carry gun. However, I’ve done several mods to that gun including replacing the trigger and the barrel, so carrying it for self-defense is probably not a good idea. A prosecuting attorney could make those mods the basis of a case against me in the event I was forced to use the pistol for self-defense. That’s a discussion that needs to take place elsewhere — perhaps in the comments.

When police departments across the land started trading in their .40 caliber pistols for 9mms, I picked up a few of those trade-ins with stampings on the slides identifying them as being from Atlanta, Detroit, Vermont, and West Palm Beach. These are the guns that live in our truck consoles and bedside tables. Somewhere along the way, I bought a compact version of the M&P in .22.

A writing project netted me a Performance Center Ported C.O.R.E. 2.0. Are you getting the picture that I’m a fan? I knew Smith and Wesson’s latest M&P had a metal frame, flat-face trigger, and that it was optics-ready with a capacity of 17+1. What I didn’t expect was to open the box and immediately have a new favorite pistol because of how darn good-looking it is.

M&P 2.0 Metal Features

The specs call it two-tone. It’s actually a shiny gray color it calls Tungsten Gray accented with black trimmings and etchings. It came in a box with two magazines and a total of four interchangeable palm swell inserts. The grip inserts are black with a fairly aggressive texture that is matched on the frontstrap.

Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto handgun with extra grip inserts and optic mounting footplates
The Metal M&P came in a box with two magazines and a total of four interchangeable palm swell inserts that are black with a fairly aggressive texture that is matched on the frontstrap. Also included are adapters that should handle practically any red dot sight on the market.

The M&P is a striker-fired pistol that (in this model) weighs 30 ounces. It is 7.4 inches long and 5.5 inches high. The barrel measures 4.25 inches. That barrel is constructed from stainless steel with an Armornite finish. It has a right-hand 1 in 10-inch twist. Armornite is a hardened nitride finish that provides enhanced corrosion resistance, greatly improved wear resistance, decreased surface roughness, reduced light reflection, and increased surface lubricity.

The frame is made from 7075-T6 aluminum, and the slide is made from stainless steel. Both are treated with a Tungsten Gray Cerakote finish that, as I mentioned before, is extremely attractive. There is no thumb safety, and I don’t believe S&W is offering a model with one at this time. The sights are steel with white dots — one in front and two in the rear. The slide is cut for optics, and the gun ships with adapters that should practically handle any red dot sight on the market. A loaded-chamber indicator exists in the form of a small window at the back of the ejection port.

The M&P has several features that contribute to its low-impact recoil. First, it has the familiar 18-degree grip angle that facilitates a natural point of aim. The textured front strap and palm swell help the shooter maintain a secure grip in a variety of conditions. A low bore axis reduces muzzle rise allowing for faster aim recovery. The M2.0 flat-face trigger is designed for consistent finger placement that allows for more accurate and repetitive shooting. The trigger has the now almost universal blade safety. The trigger on my gun breaks crisp and easy at 6 pounds after a .5-inch take-up. Reset is about .25 inch.

5 boxes of ammunition with a Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol
The author tried a variety of both range and personal defense ammo in the Metal M&P and didn’t find anything the gun didn’t like.

Cocking serrations on the slide (front and rear), are in a pattern unique to Smith and Wesson and provide a secure thumb-and-forefinger grip for manipulating the slide. All the controls on the gun are black as part of the two-tone color scheme. The controls are designed to enhance the shooter’s experience by being easy to manipulate. The slide-stop is ambidextrous and wedge-shaped, making it easy for your thumb to operate. The mag release has the same texture as the grip and is reversible.

The trigger guard is undercut to allow the shooter to position their hand as high on the grip as possible. A three-slot Picatinny rail in front of the trigger guard will accommodate your choice of light, laser, or a combo. M&P’s takedown lever and sear deactivation system allow for disassembly without pulling the trigger.

To fieldstrip the gun, there is a frame tool that serves a dual purpose inserted from the bottom in the back part of the grip. With the magazine removed, the frame tool can be removed by turning it 90 degrees and pulling it out. Since it serves to hold the removable back panel in place, the panel can be removed, if desired, for cleaning. With the slide locked back, the tool is used to push down a lever that is directly beneath the ejector. This will allow the slide to be removed without pulling the trigger.

6 semi-auto 9mm pistols
Welcome to the family! As a fan of M&P pistols, the author felt this new addition fit right in. Top row: .22 Compact and the 9mm Metal M&P 2.0. Bottom Row: .45 ACP M&P with threaded barrel, 9mm VTAC M&P, .40 Caliber Vermont State Police trade-in, and .22 M&P with threaded barrel.

How Does It Shoot?

Since I anticipate using the Metal M&P as a carry gun, I put together a mix of both range and defense ammo to put the gun through its paces. I enjoyed loading five rounds at a time of the different types of ammo and shooting at targets 7–10 yards out. Next, I loaded full magazines of each of the various types of ammo in my bag and just had fun putting as many rounds as I could within the 6-inch circles on my hanging target.

All my shooting was seated with elbows on the bench but no other bracing. In this position, I found it very easy to keep the highly visible sights aligned while pressing the trigger. During a couple hundred rounds of shooting, I had one failure-to-feed and that was it. That was probably due to limp wristing, as I was trying different amounts of pressure on the grip to see what worked best for me with the gun.

I determined early on that no matter which type of ammo I was using, if I kept my sights aligned and managed a smooth trigger pull, the gun did its part. It is very accurate. The semi-rough texture of the grip panels became uncomfortable after about an hour of shooting. For normal use that would not be an issue, but if I was to shoot the gun over an extended period, I would don a pair of shooting gloves.

I had all three popular grains of 9mm ammo — 115, 124, and 147-grain in my mix, and there wasn’t any one of those weights in which the gun performed better than the others. However, there was a weight that resulted in very tight groups each time it was deployed, and it’s an unusual weight for a 9mm cartridge. Federal American Eagle 70-Grain Flat Nose Lead-Free was the ammo the gun liked best. I liked that one best, too, due to the reduced recoil. Too bad it’s not a defensive ammo or that would be the ammo I’d carry in the gun all the time.

Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol in a Galco KingTuk holster
This Galco KingTuk holster on a good gun belt makes carrying the 30-ounce Metal M&P an easy task.

Speaking of carry, Galco’s KingTuk IWB Holster Model KT472B is ideal for carrying the M&P inside the waistband. With a quality gun belt, the 30-ounce gun is hardly noticeable — especially when you know you’re carrying such a capable firearm.

Final Thoughts

Will the metal outlast the polymer? Who knows. I figure a good gun made using either one of these materials is going to outlast me and probably all my heirs. As a bonus, you might want to get you one because it will make you the coolest guy/gal at the BBQ, as well as a well-equipped defender should the occasion arise.

In a world of polymer guns, Smith and Wesson went old school with a metal gun… How does the Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 Metal stack up in your book? Share your answers in the comment section.

  • Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol on a bullseye target with a Federal ammunition box
  • 5 boxes of ammunition with a Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol
  • Fieldstripped Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol
  • Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol, right profile
  • Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol on a bullseye target with a Winchester ammunition box
  • Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto handgun with extra grip inserts and optic mounting footplates
  • Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol in a Galco KingTuk holster
  • Smith and Wesson Metal 2.0 9mm semi-auto pistol, left profile
  • 6 semi-auto 9mm pistols

About the Author:

David Freeman

David is an NRA Instructor in pistol, rifle and shotgun, a Chief Range Safety Officer and is certified by the State of Texas to teach the Texas License to Carry Course and the Hunter Education Course. He has also owned and operated a gun store. David's passion is to pass along knowledge and information to help shooters of all ages and experience levels enjoy shooting sports and have the confidence to protect their homes and persons. He flew medevac helicopters in Vietnam and worked for many years as a corporate pilot before becoming actively involved in the firearm industry.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (9)

  1. I have the metal edition and definitely noticed the difference at the range. With the cleaner break and less flex. It was more accurate then my 5 inch performance center. I had to put the performance center in the shop due to the optic screws sheared in the slide which was the reason I purchased the metal edition for my edc. I probably won’t put an optic on the metal edition since the steel standard sites are very accurate. I was shooting 2 inch groups at 50 yards with the metal edition using 124 grain. Good enough for my edc.

  2. @ Owen McCullen. There are several things you have stated on which I wish to comment. You state that 9 mm is illegal in your state for deer sized animals. It is not in many states. Just because Oregon does not allow it for deer does not diminish that caliber’s efficacy as a self-defense round. There are many rounds that are not allowed in some states for reasons that defy comprehension by many hunters and those of us who have been shooting for decades. Most likely it was because most people who shoot deer are at distances beyond the effective range of many pistols. You cannot expect a .45 ACP or 9 mm to drop a deer at 100 yards, but there have probably been those who would try it were there not a stipulation against it. In Oklahoma, both calibers are legal for deer as long as the barrel of the gun is 4 inches or longer.

    There are probably other things that are illegal in Oregon that people in other states would observe and ask what the **** were those people thinking when they passed that law. This is one of those laws that should have no bearing in what one decides to carry for personal carry, and is not a good reason to eschew that caliber. This is from a man who carried a 1911A1 as my issued sidearm some 50 years ago when I was overseas doing Recon and SAR out in the boonies. I am not a fan of 9 mm, but that is just me. After I got out of the Army, I spent 30 plus years in busy metro ERs, seeing lots people shot with just about every caliber imaginable.

    Back to the 9 mm, you state that you placed the muzzle “immediately against the back of the dog’s head and fired directly into his brain.” Unless there was qualified vivisection on the animal to verify you were indeed where you thought you were, it is doubtful you struck the areas you thought you did. I am speaking as a retired ER nurse and former Army medic. If it took 5 rounds and you did not kill the animal, you were not hitting where you thought you were when you fired those rounds. I have seen many people head shot who were not killed. Not all head shots enter the brain, or destroy enough brain matter to cause death. Differences in bony anatomy in varied animals’ heads can lead one to think they are in position for a good hit when in fact, they are not. I can only surmise that is what happened in your case. A good hit with a 9 mm, PROPERLY placed against the skull, should have enough damage from the muzzle blast to effect a kill. Even a lesser caliber placed against the skull, again with proper placement should effect a kill. This is from someone who has taken part in the treatment of hundreds of GSWs.

    One more point, actually shooting at a person is an extreme anxiety producing event. I have had opportunity to draw my weapon on other people. It is not like TV or the movies. Your world changes in that moment and you are not the same when it is over, whether you fire a shot or not. The sympathetic nervous system takes over and one goes through what is commonly known as “fight or flight.” A good way to describe it is Buck Fever, multiplied by at least a dozen. The only people I know who can enter into this kind of situation without going through “fight or flight” are those who have been there before, multiple times. And they almost always have to deal with the aftermath. The dreams are the worst part. Look it up online to get an idea of what I am talking about.

    About 20 years ago, maybe more, several cop friends of mine were involved in a shooting with a murder suspect. They were all on the police pistol team, meaning they were competitive shooters and practiced more than most shooters I know. All the officers emptied their high cap magazines, but fewer than half the rounds fired even struck the suspect, at a distance of less than 10 feet, and fewer than a third of the rounds that struck the suspect proved to be mortal wounds. They all confessed that they had little memory of the event until several days later and they were able to start processing it, just part of what happens when the sympathetic nervous system gets activated. It is harder than most people think.

  3. Big fan of the m&p line of pistols. Very impressed with this new addition. Built exactly like its polymer predecessors with replaceable steel locking block/frame rail front and steel seer/frame rail rear. Built for durability rigidity and longevity. Bravo Smith and Wesson.

  4. Wow, an all metal S&W semi auto pistol. I wonder what they’ll dream up next, a 45 caliber pistol, a handgun with a revolving cylinder to hold the ammo so no magazine is needed?
    Actually, you should see sarcasm dripping off the page as I’m pleased to see Smith undo one of their mistakes (IMHO). Now if they go back to some of their other good ideas, it would be nice. I wonder whether an all steel receiver is even being considered.

  5. This was my first S&W and I purchased it for its looks and added weight. The fun looks and shoots great. I agree the grips are a bit aggressive in their texture, but if you are sweaty-palmed like me, it’s an advantage. I have a custom Sig P320 and like to switch between these at the range.

  6. “The semi-rough texture of the grip panels became uncomfortable after about an hour of shooting.” For me, with my old dry hands, it happens the instant I pick one up. That is unfortunate, because of it, I simply do not buy S&W. S&W makes some very beautiful products, unfortunately for me, I just do not like their grips, either due to the ridiculously aggressive texture, or in the case of their revolvers, either a gigantic size grip like on a masterpiece, or the other extreme like on a model 10, more like picking up a broom. Not possible so much with their revolvers, but in their semi auto market, with grip inserts, why not offer different textures. For me I really like the tacky texture of Hogue grips.

  7. I purchased one of the M & P 2.0 models early on and it was a polymer lower with the stainless steel upper and a manual safety. I have now shot the pistol extensively and it is, beyond doubt, my favorite EDC just now.
    Not only that, but I recently read an NRA review in American Rifleman and it was my opinion that the review was fair and extensive enough. My only dispute with the article was my particular pistol is generally significantly more accurate than the reviewer’s range report. I have shot the pistol from bench rest off shooting bags, freehand while standing and from a machine rest.
    Of course, the machine rest was the most accurate test and is one I do with all potential pistols or revolvers on which I may bet my life or that of my loved ones. I think that the NRA reviewer either had a less accurate pistol than mine or may have been put off by the 10 mm caliber.
    My particular gun is also a 10 mm, as that is the caliber I choose to carry. I recognize all the arguments in favor of less potent cartridges and, since it is a free country, to each his own (where that is allowed by state or federal law).
    For me, I choose not to bet my life on 9 mm for two reasons.
    First, it is illegal to hunt with in my home state of Oregon on deer sized animals. There is no such restriction on 10 mm. I am informed now that in Alaska, the 10 mm is frequently carried by guides as a back-up gun to deal with the errant, angry brown bear. If the 9 mm is illegal to use on deer sized creatures, it doesn’t create in me a high confidence level in defending my life against even larger man-sized creatures. In Oregon, our black tail deer species is rather diminutive, generally speaking for deer, and is usually much smaller than a large, angry or drug effused male attacker would be.
    I note that with my hard cast 200 grn lead flat nose bullets loaded to the top allowable safe loads, each of my pistol round is more than the equivalent of a double tap from a great many 9 mm loads. My energy levels exceed 700 ft #’s by a significant margin.
    Second, once some time back, I had to shoot a 70 pound plus mixed breed Shepard dog owned by a neighbor who had been completely run over by a car. My neighbor, knowing that I had firearms, asked me to end his dog’s suffering. I confidently undertook that with a 9 mm full size 1911 Llama pistol. At point-blank range, it took 5 shots to dispatch the dog. All shots were contact shots, with the muzzle of the pistol placed immediately against the back of the dog’s head and fired directly into his brain.
    If it took 5 shots to kill a very severely injured large dog, I am not willing to bet my life on the 9 mm as protecting me in a violent encounter. I may not have the luxury of a completely prone, disabled opponent, as I had with the large neighbor’s dog.
    I have not shot any large dogs with the 10 mm yet, but if Alaska guides are confident it is an adequate back-up on brown bear, then I think it will be adequate for defending my life against an enraged male attacker.
    Do as you wish. I do. If you are completely confident in your experience and ability with a 9 mm pistol and your level of training is such that you invariably hit where you wish on moving man-sized targets, and you carry super whiz bang bullets, good for you. I am not that confident in my shooting ability that I am fairly sure of two hits in the manner of the double tap as practiced by special military operators and police swat units. I am good, just not that good. But, I think I can make one hit in a vital area on such an offensive target, and so I rely on my 10 mm to be my defense gun.
    By the way, I replaced my factory sights with an excellent pair of night sights from Dawson Precision. Easily the best pistol sights I have ever used. I couple them in the .095 height with a Meprolight removable red dot sight. That way, if the battery ever fails in the red dot, a simple throw of the level allows me instant access to my back-up iron sights. The combination works for me, as my shooting buddies will attest, and as a number of targets on display in my shop document.

  8. Definitely an improvement over their polymer pistols; if I want polymer, I’ll buy a Glock.

    Acme “Crook Killer” cartridges might give a prosecutor sonethibg to work with, but an aftermarket trigger or barrel? Nah, a good shooting is a good shooting.

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