WEL­COME TO THE 2.0 EVO­LU­TION

SMITH & WES­SON TAKES A GI­ANT STEP FOR­WARD WITH THE M&P PLAT­FORM IN THE NEW M2.0 SE­RIES.

Gun World - - Contents - By Garrett Lu­cas

Smith and Wes­son’s M&P has been a pop­u­lar pis­tol for the last two years, but it had a few short­com­ings. The M&P 2.0 is a gi­ant step for­ward.

An old ex­pres­sion says, “There’s noth­ing new un­der the sun.” If you look at the prod­ucts com­ing out of Hol­ly­wood these past few years, you’d be hard pressed to dis­agree.

But, this ain’t Hol­ly­wood. Gun man­u­fac­tur­ers are con­stantly try­ing to cre­ate new prod­ucts, and in this case—with Smith & Wes­son—im­prov­ing upon old ones.

Around 10 years ago, Smith & Wes­son in­tro­duced its M&P line of poly­mer-framed, striker-fired pis­tols. In part, this was a bid to re-cap­ture some of the law en­force­ment mar­ket that was lost to Glock over the past cou­ple of decades. Smith & Wes­son used to hold the lion’s share of the law en­force­ment mar­ket with its re­volvers and semi­au­to­matic pis­tols, and it wasn’t will­ing to sit idly by and let the world go past. Thus, the M&P was born, and it was well re­ceived by shoot­ers, both am­a­teur and ex­pert, alike. It was the first poly­mer-framed, striker-fired pis­tol that pre­sented sig­nif­i­cant com­pe­ti­tion to Glock in the mar­ket­place for that type of pis­tol.

As much as peo­ple liked the M&P—and for good rea­son— there were still a few quirks or idio­syn­cra­sies that needed some fine-tuning. Af­ter lis­ten­ing to feed­back from cus­tomers and dif­fer­ent agen­cies, Smith & Wes­son made some sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments to the M&P line and an­nounced the M2.0 se­ries early this year.

WHAT’S NEW?

Some folks might be new to the M&P pis­tols, but don’t worry; we’ll talk about what the ba­sic pis­tol is, in­clud­ing its specs, along the way. The big at­trac­tion of the new M2.0 se­ries is the im­prove­ments that have been made over the orig­i­nal lineup. That’s what’s draw­ing the crowds, so we’ll ad­dress those first—es­pe­cially be­cause those im­prove­ments, them­selves, could take up an en­tire ar­ti­cle.

Some of the changes that were made to the M&P M2.0 were sub­tle, but oth­ers were much more ap­par­ent af­ter I re­ceived my sam­ple. The most ob­vi­ous im­prove­ment was the trig­ger pull. De­spite its pop­u­lar­ity, the orig­i­nal M&P was of­ten crit­i­cized for its trig­ger pull. It had a very “spongy” feel to it, and the en­tire process pro­vided the user with lit­tle feed­back as to the trig­ger’s con­di­tion and po­si­tion.

That’s not the case any­more, now that the M2.0 is head­lin­ing the gig. All as­pects of the trig­ger pull are greatly im­proved.

While there’s a good bit of pre-travel, the trig­ger breaks crisply. The fac­tory lists the trig­ger pull at 6 pounds, but my sam­ple broke right at 5.25 pounds. It isn’t a best-of-breed trig­ger pull, but it’s pretty close to the top.

The trig­ger does pro­vide an au­di­ble and tac­tile in­di­ca­tion when it re­sets, which was lack­ing in the first gen­er­a­tion. I think those as­pects might be over-hyped a bit, be­cause most of us aren’t re­ally pay­ing at­ten­tion to those indi­ca­tors un­der stress fire. We just get a feel for how a pis­tol shoots and go from there. But those indi­ca­tors do pro­vide a pos­i­tive re­sponse to the dis­tinct po­si­tions of the trig­ger, giv­ing a crisper feel to the en­tire trig­ger-pull se­quence.

An­other sig­nif­i­cant change, at least in my opin­ion, is the am­bidex­trous slide stop, which in­cludes a de­tent mech­a­nism. This de­tent mech­a­nism keeps the slide stop locked up or down.

OF­FER­ING BET­TER CON­TROLS AND A MORE RO­BUST BUILD WITH AN EYE TO­WARD RE­LI­A­BIL­ITY AND DURA­BIL­ITY, THE SMITH & WES­SON M2.0 IS MOST DEF­I­NITELY A WIN­NER.

On the orig­i­nal M&Ps, the slide stop was a lit­tle sen­si­tive, and it would of­ten re­lease the slide with just the force of a mag­a­zine be­ing in­serted. That’s not al­ways what the user wants.

With the new slide-stop de­tent in place, it holds the slide open, even with hard im­pacts from a mag­a­zine be­ing in­serted. With enough force, the user could smack the bot­tom of the grip and get the slide to re­lease, but it’s nowhere near as easy as the first-gen­er­a­tion pis­tols. This is def­i­nitely a nice im­prove­ment

to en­sure the user has con­trol over all as­pects of han­dling and charg­ing the weapon.

Like the im­proved trig­ger pull, the tex­tur­ing and the con­tour­ing of the back straps and grip are also sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments over the orig­i­nal line. I cur­rently have an M&P Shield in .45 ACP, and the tex­tur­ing is some­what sim­i­lar, although I find that the tex­tur­ing on the new M&P pis­tols feels more ag­gres­sive. That could just have to do with the size of the dif­fer­ent pis­tols and how they feel in the hand.

That said, the new tex­tur­ing is just about a per­fect bal­ance be­tween be­ing slick and feel­ing like a cheese grater. Af­ter shoot­ing the new M&P M2.0, I re­ally liked how my hand was locked in on the pis­tol as a re­sult of the con­tour­ing and tex­tur­ing. The er­gonomics of the next de­sign are fan­tas­tic, and with­out shoot­ing the pis­tol a good amount, it’s easy to miss the dif­fer­ence be­tween the fir­stand sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion mod­els.

Along those lines, Smith & Wes­son stepped up its game to help en­sure a great fit for all users by in­creas­ing the num­ber of in­ter­change­able back straps from three to four. The sizes now in­clude small, medium, medium-large and large, mak­ing the M&P M2.0 a more ap­peal­ing op­tion to shoot­ers with hard-to-fit hand sizes.

Some changes that were made are a bit sub­tler, but if you take the time to look, they are no­tice­able. One of these is the wider feed ramp on the M2.0 se­ries. There were a few com­plaints about ammo sen­si­tiv­ity with the first-gen pis­tols, so Smith & Wes­son in­cor­po­rated that feed­back into the new de­sign by widen­ing the ramp to os­ten­si­bly im­prove re­li­a­bil­ity.

The mag­a­zine re­lease is made of steel and is re­versible for left-handed shoot­ers. Also, the slide rails are much beefier to pro­vide extra stiff­ness for re­duced muz­zle flip … and, I would as­sume, to in­crease dura­bil­ity.

To add to the pis­tol’s stiff­ness, the fac­tory also ex­tended the steel chas­sis out to the dust cover. This aids against the frame flex­ing, and it pro­vides a more rigid plat­form for the at­tach­ment of ac­ces­sories to the Pi­catinny rail.

BACK TO THE BA­SICS

Cur­rently, the M2.0 line con­sists of the carry model in black with the 4.25-inch bar­rel with no ex­ter­nal safety and the longslide ver­sion in flat dark earth with a 5-inch bar­rel and an ex­ter­nal safety. I’m sure that as time goes on, dif­fer­ent col­ors and safety op­tions will be avail­able with both mod­els, as well as an in­crease in dif­fer­ently sized mod­els.

I re­ceived the black model with the 4.25-inch bar­rel. It comes with two 17-round magazines. From all in­di­ca­tions, the magazines from the first-gen­er­a­tion pis­tols will work just fine in the new lineup. Both the bar­rel and slide are stain­less steel and are fin­ished in black Amor­nite. The sights are made of steel and are a stan­dard three-dot va­ri­ety. As men­tioned, the frame is poly­mer and comes with four in­ter­change­able back straps. The M&P M2.0 carry ver­sion weighs in at 24.7 ounces and has an over­all length of 7.4 inches.

TO THE PROV­ING GROUNDS

All the pieces came to­gether on the range. Ev­ery­thing from the trig­ger pull to the im­proved grip tex­tur­ing fused to­gether to make the M&P M2.0 an ex­cel­lent shooter. Although the trig­ger is still made of poly­mer and still has the deep curve to it, it is still re­mark­ably bet­ter than ear­lier it­er­a­tions.

For test­ing both re­li­a­bil­ity and ac­cu­racy, I used four types of am­mu­ni­tion, in­clud­ing SIG Sauer’s 115-grain V-Crown, Speer’s 124-grain +P Gold Dot, Fed­eral’s 147-grain +P HST and Winch­ester’s 115-grain Sil­ver­tip hol­low­points. I fired ap­prox­i­mately 100 rounds of each load through the M&P M2.0, and there was not one sin­gle mal­func­tion. That’s ex­actly what should be ex­pected from a pis­tol of this cal­iber.

The 18-de­gree grip an­gle made the pis­tol point nat­u­rally and op­ti­mized the user’s pur­chase on the pis­tol to mit­i­gate re­coil. In fact, the M2.0 is one of the soft­est-shoot­ing striker-fired pis­tols I’ve tried in re­cent years.

Ac­cu­racy was on par with ex­pec­ta­tions. With­out the aid of an op­tic, my eyes will have more of an ef­fect on the groups than the pis­tol, it­self. Shoot­ing from a stand­ing rest, the best group of the range ses­sions was 2.19 inches at 25 yards with SIG Sauer’s 115-grain V-Crown am­mu­ni­tion. SIG’s 115-grain load also took the best av­er­age group size: 2.43 inches.

If the shooter does his part, the pis­tol will take care of the rest.

Fir­ing off hand at an av­er­age rate of 1.06 shots per sec­ond at 15 yards yielded 17 shots in the 9-ring or bet­ter. The pis­tol was easy to con­trol, and its ag­gres­sive tex­tur­ing al­lowed me to re­ally lock down on the pis­tol’s grip while shoot­ing. The three-dot sight sys­tem was fairly easy to pick up, but I’m get­ting used to high-vis­i­bil­ity sights for quicker ac­qui­si­tion.

UP­GRADE TO THE M2.0?

There’s no ques­tion that I would en­dorse the M2.0. It’s an ap­peal­ing pack­age that ticks all the right boxes, and it comes

in at an equally at­trac­tive price: The MSRP of the T&E sam­ple I re­viewed is $599, which in­di­cates a lower street price prob­a­bly in the low $500s.

For those users who al­ready own the first-gen­er­a­tion model, would I rec­om­mend the up­grade? That’s hard to an­swer. As a pho­tog­ra­pher, I con­stantly see new cam­era mod­els come out that of­fer two more megapix­els or shoot at 12 frames per sec­ond in­stead of 11. The ques­tion is whether or not the buyer gets a re­turn on their in­vest­ment: Par­tic­u­larly, is there some­thing about the M2.0 that you just can’t do with the M1.0, or will the sum of the in­di­vid­ual im­prove­ments of­fer a coun­ter­bal­ance to stay­ing pat with the first-gen mod­els?

That’s a per­sonal choice, and I can only of­fer my own opin­ion. If I were faced with that de­ci­sion—par­tic­u­larly con­sid­er­ing it’s a de­fen­sive weapon—I would up­grade to the M2.0. Whether you trade the old one in or just get a sec­ond pis­tol, the jump is well worth it. All the im­prove­ments af­fect re­li­a­bil­ity, re­coil mit­i­ga­tion and user con­trol—all-im­por­tant cri­te­ria for a fight­ing pis­tol.

In a de­fen­sive sit­u­a­tion dur­ing which I might have to pro­tect my life, I’d want the very best I could have, and the M2.0 is a def­i­nite step up from the orig­i­nal line of M&P pis­tols.

Of­fer­ing bet­ter con­trols and a more ro­bust build with an eye to­ward re­li­a­bil­ity and dura­bil­ity, the Smith & Wes­son M2.0 is most def­i­nitely a win­ner. GW

THE PIS­TOL WAS EASY TO CON­TROL, AND ITS AG­GRES­SIVE

TEX­TUR­ING AL­LOWED ME

TO RE­ALLY LOCK DOWN ON THE PIS­TOL’S GRIP WHILE SHOOT­ING.

In­ter­nal changes in the M2.0 in­clude beefier slide rails and

an ex­ten­sion of the chas­sis out to the dust

cover. The M2.0 comes with an am­bidex­trous slide stop and a re­versible mag­a­zine re­lease for left-handed shoot­ers.

The M2.0 also sports a wider feed ramp to en­hance re­li­a­bil­ity with dif­fer­ent types of loads.

The sights on the M2.0 are a three-dot de­sign that is fairly quick and easy to pick up.

An­other in­ter­nal im­prove­ment of the M2.0 is larger slide rails to help mit­i­gate

re­coil and add ad­di­tional rigid­ity to

the frame.

A nice im­prove­ment on

the M2.0 is the slide stop de­tent that keeps the stop locked up or down—which, in turn, keeps the slide from clos­ing pre­ma­turely

when it is jos­tled.

The con­tour­ing on the grip, in com­bi­na­tion with the ag­gres­sive tex­tur­ing, pro­vides a rock-solid pur­chase on the pis­tol and helps fa­cil­i­tate bet­ter con­trol.

At a rate of slightly more than one shot per sec­ond, the M2.0 proved to be very ac­cu­rate and easy to con­trol dur­ing fire. All 17 shots went into the 9-ring or bet­ter at 15 yards.

The Smith & Wes­son M&P M2.0 is a morer­o­bust plat­form than its pre­de­ces­sor, and it in­cor­po­rates ex­cel­lent er­gonomics to pro­vide the user with se­cure and com­fort­able pur­chase on the

firearm.

The best group at 25 yards was ob­tained with SIG Sauer’s 115-grain V-Crown load, com­ing in at just 2.19 inches.

The new Smith & Wes­son M2.0 hosts sev­eral changes to the orig­i­nal de­sign to im­prove er­gonomics, re­li­a­bil­ity and func­tion­al­ity.

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