Although it doesn’t seem that long ago, Smith & Wesson introduced the M&P pistol line over ten years ago. The line-up includes full size, compact and the popular Shield pistols.
Many agencies issue the S&W M&P. One such agency is the Maricopa County, Arizona, Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
The fifth largest county in the United States—encompassing 9.226 square miles—it is actually larger than four states and is the third largest sheriff’s office in the country. MCSO employees’ 3,300 people (sworn, detention and civilian). With a budget of $353.4 million, they have the resources to choose what pistol they feel is best for their needs and they chose the M&P as for their issue pistol. Incidentally, the Shield is the only officially authorized off-duty gun.
In January of 2017 S&W introduced another pistol to the M&P line—the M&P® M2.0™ pistol.
Though based on the previous M&P pistols, the MP 2.0 is an entirely new platform with innovative features in nearly every aspect including the trigger, grip, frame, and finish. The pistols have an extended, rigid embedded stainless steel chassis to reduce flex and torque when firing.
There are a total of eight different versions in three calibers. These include a full-size .45 ACP with no external safety or ambidextrous thumb safeties; full-size 9mm with no safety or ambidextrous thumb safeties; full-size .40 S&W with no safety or ambidextrous thumb safeties. The above all have a 4.35-inch barrel and an Armornite® Finish (a hardened nitride, corrosion resistant finish).
The last two versions—a 9mm and a .40 S&W—have a five-inch barrel and a larger overall length of .90 inches longer than the other six pistols. The last two are available only with ambidextrous thumb safeties. These versions have the Armornite Finish on the barrels and slides. The slide has a Cerakote® Flat Dark Earth finish over the Armornite on Flat Dark Earth M2.0 slides.
All models have ambidextrous slide stops and a reversible magazine release. The pistol tested here was the five-inch 9mm model (SKU: 11537).
The M2.0 has a more aggressive, textured grip than previous M&Ps for enhanced control. While several manufacturers offer three interchangeable palm swell grips, the MP 2.0 has four—S, M, ML, and L—to offer better fit for a wider range of shooters.
The M2.0 has low-profile cocking serrations, placed at the bottom of the slide vice across the entire slide, help the M2.0 maintain a sleek look. The dust cover has a rail for attaching a light or laser. Sights are of the three white dot type.
The pistol has an overall length of 8.3 inches and weighs 26.9 ounces empty. It can be disassembled without pulling the trigger.
It arrives in a hard side, fitted case, two 17-round magazines, included manual and cable lock. Magazines are compatible with previous M&P mags—a good call on Smith & Wesson’s part.
I tested the M2.0 with an Off The Grid Concepts Nocturnal Sidewinder Holster and Adaptive Speed Pouch.
My older M&P clicked securely into place and retained the pistol even while shaking it up and down.
Although the longer slide of the test pistol did not allow it to be fully holster, the precise molding allowed it to hang onto the SureFire X400-GN and withstood the same shake test.
You can’t shoot what you can’t identify and when it comes to weapon mounted lights my first choice is SureFire.
The SureFire X400 Ultra is the latest pistol weapon light from the esteemed company. The X400-GN produces 600 lumens of dazzling white light and has a built in green laser (a version with a red laser is also available.)
In my opinion a green laser is vastly superior to red for two major reasons. First, green is the color most easily seen by the human eye. Second, and possibly more important, not all encounters occur in the low light environment where a red laser can be seen. Green can be seen outdoors on all but the brightest day.
I changed the floor plates on my personal M&P mags to the Vickers Tactical Magazine Floor Plates from TangoDown. These floor plates are flared slightly at the bottom with non-slip grooves making extraction of a stubborn magazine effortless. They can also work well with one-handed reload of a stuck mag by placing the flair under your belt and pulling upwards.
Dimples in the floor plates allowed them to be marked/numbered. Pleased with how these floor plates have worked for me in the past, I installed them on the magazines of the test pistol.
On the Range
I begin each evaluation by pulling a Otis Ripcord down the bore remove any particles or oil that may have been left behind during manufacturing and lubricate the firearm.
Firearms are a lot like people when it comes to liking what they’re fed. Shotguns are the pickiest, but handguns and rifles can be as well.
Compounding the situations is that all brands of ammunition may not be available in any given area—if any ammo can be found at all at the present time.
With that in mind I arrived at the range with 28 factory loads and one handload. Loads ranged from 80-grain screamers to 147-grain subsonic loads.
I began by firing 20-round strings of each load over the screens of my PACT Professional Chronograph to establish average velocity of each load.
Next, two five-rounds strings of each load were fired from a rest at 15 yards and averaged for accuracy results, which can be found are in the accompanying table.
At this point in the evaluation the M2.0 had digested 840 rounds with nary a problem. This took the better part of a day. And, while I enjoy shooting, the above part of the evaluation is always tedious and methodical.
Obviously I had not run the M2.0 very hard yet, with the shooting being slow-fire, aimed shots. On a second trip to my range it was time to get in meaningful practice—and some fun.
Starting at 25 yards I did some shooting on the move, firing two-three rounds, pausing and starting again every five yards. By the time I reached the ten-yard line I was firing hammers, and closing from five to near point of contact I shot NSRs (non-standard response) of 4-6 rounds.
Movement drills continued with stepping of the line of attack while moving laterally, and backwards while engaging the target from the holster.
For headshots, I put several “no shoot” targets to the sides and behind the target to be engaged simulating a crowded area. While still moving, this forced me apply Rule 4 (be aware of your target and what’s behind it).
In this drill I also placed a small balloon on the “shoot” targets head because while a headshot on a static piece of paper is pretty easy, one that bobs and weaves is harder and more realistic.
The M2.0 allows a high, close to bore axis grip allowing faster shot-to-shot times. Trigger reset is positive and can be heard and felt.
I shoot and carry my 1911s and Hi-Power a lot and since the M&P has the same approximate 18-degree grip angle it came up on target and pointed naturally for me. By contrast, the grip angle of the Glock is about 22 degrees, and for me they always point high. While subjective, I personally think Browning (and Smith & Wesson) got it right.
SMITH & WESSON