When you make an upgrade or change a handgun to a new model, you must be careful to preserve all of its good features while offering genuine improvement. Smith & Wesson has done that with the new Smith & Wesson Military & Police 2.0 polymer-frame striker-fired pistols.
I liked the M&P from the start. However, there was room for improvement. The pistol is usually compared to its direct competitor, the Glock 17 and Glock 19. The Glock is a baseline. It is reliable above all else. If you pay less than the Glock, chances are corners have been cut. If you pay more, be certain you get your money’s worth.
With the M&P, you get your money’s worth, and the price is right. A feature of the Smith & Wesson, that matters more to some than others, is the grip. The Glock has a more severe grip angle — designed to offer a solid platform for recoil control and is part of the pistol’s reliability design.
The grip angle offers a steady grip for the slide to recoil against. The Smith & Wesson angle is more pleasing and doesn’t seem to give up anything in reliability. The pistol is easy to use well, and maintenance and disassembly are simple enough.
Some of the improvements in the 2.0 series are not obvious. The frame rails have been improved and are more rigid. The slide lock is ambidextrous. The grip texture is changed to an extent. The sights are the same, but the slide design is more attractive.
The grip is nicely shaped. There are four grip inserts. The array of options allows good hand fit for a wide range of shooters. I really like the palm swells. My hands are medium-sized, and the palm swells make for an excellent fit.
The frame is a stainless-steel chassis and there are subtle differences in the design and the way the frame fits and feels. The polymer-frame striker-fired pistol must have a balance. Sure, the frame gives a little in recoil and that may be an advantage in recoil control. However, the more rigid frame makes for greater accuracy potential.
As for striker-fired triggers, you either love or hate them. Some just view them as a mechanical device to be mastered. That is the superior attitude. The Glock trigger may be used well. However, the original M&P was spongier. The 2.0 version still has a bit of free take up, but the actual break is crisp at 5.0 pounds in one of my examples and 5.5 pounds in the other.
The first pistol is a long-slide version, the other a compact. The wide trigger and a lack of a safety lever — the trigger itself is hinged — makes for greater control. The pistol has a higher grip than some. This results in a lower bore axis than most polymer-frame handguns.
M&P 2.0 Long Slide
I had on hand two pistols, one a Pro Series with a five-inch barrel and fiber optic sights, and a four-inch barrel compact. The Pro Series bridges the gap between standard guns and the Performance Center pistols. This handgun features a five-inch barrel. While it may be a long slide pistol the Pro Series isn’t any longer than a Government Model 1911 and it’s much lighter.
M&P 2.0 Compact
The 4-inch barrel compact version is a neat, light, easy-to-handle pistol. I enjoyed firing each. I began with the Pro Series. The magazines were loaded with Remington UMC 9mm ball. I dry-fired the pistol extensively before testing the piece. I drew from a Galco belt slide. This is a useful holster that is adjustable for several frame sizes.
Accuracy and Handling
Drawing the five-inch pistol quickly wasn’t that difficult. Shoot the elbow to the rear, scoop the pistol out of the holster, and get on target. The Pro Series pistol has a propensity to eat the target up. I fired the pistol at 7, 10, and 15 yards, slow fire, one- and two-handed grip, and rapid-fire. I also fired with my weak hand — a true weakness for this shooter.
I gave the pistol a good workout, and the pistol responded by exhibiting excellent performance. During testing, I fired the pistol from a solid bench rest, using the MTM K-Zone rest. Firing the Remington UMC loading, I put five shots into 2.5 inches. This is good to excellent performance. I also fired five rounds of a handload using the Nosler 115-grain JHP and enough Titegroup powder for 1,190 fps. This load went into 2.0 inches.
Moving to the lighter compact pistol, handling was a little different. The grip was shorter, but I was able to achieve a full firing grip. The shorter barrel was faster from leather. Drawing from the same Galco belt slide, I addressed targets at 5, 7 and 10 yards. The pistol was brilliantly fast on target.
Results in combat shooting were good. Despite the lighter weight and shorter sight radius, results were very similar to the longer barrel pistol.
Firing for accuracy at 25 yards was a revelation. The pistol put five Remington 115-grain FMJ loads into 2.6 inches — very similar to the larger pistol. With the Federal 124-grain HST — an excellent carry load — the compact 9mm put five bullets into 2.25 inches.
While there is a velocity increase with the larger pistol, and it is easier to handle in rapid-fire, there is little real advantage in attempting to conceal the larger pistol. This isn’t true very often.
|Smith and Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 Pro Series||Compact|
|Caliber||9mm Luger||9mm Luger|
|Action||Striker-fired, locked breech, tilting barrel||Striker-fired, locked breech, tilting barrel|
|Barrel||5 inches||4 inches|
|Overall Length||8.3 inches||7.5 inches|
|Grip||Textured polymer, modular, four inserts||Textured polymer, modular, four inserts|
|Weight||26.9 ounces||24 ounces|
I most often carry the M&P Compact in a Galco Summer Companion holster. This is custom-grade leather at a fair price. The holster is available with both open top and thumb break. I chose the greater security of the thumb break as I bike and hike during the winter months. This holster offers a degree of peace of mind. The thumb break is nicely reinforced. Be certain to practice the draw!
Conclusion: S&W M&P 2.0
The Smith & Wesson Military & Police pistols are excellent choices for home defense, concealed carry, and even some types of competition. I am enjoying firing and using them and find each well suited to many chores.