Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 9x19mm Pistol
To say the M&P line from Smith & Wesson is popular would be an understatement. In fact, according to Gunbroker, the best-selling handgun of 2016 was the M&P Shield.
The S&W M&P9 has been around since about 2005 and this version 2.0 is promised to be a major update. It lists for $599 (April 2017), but the typical discount retail price is naturally less, something like $485.
It features a high grip to barrel bore axis, which makes the pistol more comfortable to shoot by reducing muzzle rise and allowing for faster aim recovery. The 18-degree angle grip is really grippy, using a stippled treatment on polymer, with no less then four different grip inserts. The barrel and slide receive S&W's Armornite corrosion resistant matte black finish. (A "flat dark earth" finish is optionally available.) There is an accessory rail molded into the plastic frame below the barrel. The M&P9 2.0 comes in a plastic case with two 17 round magazines.
Take-down of the M&P9 2.0 is easy, with one quirk. You need to push the "sear deactivation lever" into the magazine with the included frame tool, as shown in the owners manual. Other than that, just rotate the take-down lever and you can remove the slide. You do not have to pull the trigger when using this method. After reassembly, insertion of the magazine pushes the sear deactivation lever back to the proper spot, so there is no further fussing with it. If this sounds like a lot of nonsense for nothing, it is.
Although this is the take-down procedure described in the owner's manual, it is totally unnecessary. Pulling the trigger gets the sear activation lever out of the way and then the take-down procedure is effortless.
I think we can all guess why this sear deactivation lever feature was added. Somebody, somewhere, was incapable of removing the magazine and making sure no round was chambered before attempting to field strip a pistol. Guns do not go bang without a round in the chamber, none of them do, but someone pulled the trigger on a loaded Glock while pointing it at their foot.
Therefore, we have the nonsensical myth that a trigger pull in order to take the slide off of a pistol is dangerous. It never was and it still isn't, but sometimes we have solutions to non-existent problems, due to vacancy of the cranium. Add in some frivolous, but costly, litigation and this is the result.
Sometimes, I wonder why magazines are not stamped: "Warning: Do not attempt to eat, do not feed to pets or other animals. Do not step on with bare feet. Do not attempt to load while climbing a ladder or while driving."
The M&P9 M2.0 is reasonably lightweight at 24.7 ounces. It is about four ounces heavier than a Glock 19 and five ounces lighter than the Ruger American.
It has an extremely long initial take-up on the trigger. The trigger breaks at a reasonably crisp, but heavy, six pounds. It does not have a Glock type center blade; instead, the lower half of the trigger is pivoted to achieve the same purpose.
Other features, like the different, longer, embedded stainless steel chassis in the frame are not as readily noticeable. Anyone who liked the original M&P9 will appreciate the 2.0 model more. It comes with a one year warranty and a lifetime service policy that begins after the one year written warranty has expired.
Although this model has been called a whole new platform, it is a stretch at this late date to call any polymer-framed, tilt-barrel, striker-fired 9mm pistol completely new, regardless of who offers it. Nuances are not completely new platforms, no matter how useful or appreciated they may be. At the same time, that is one of the perks of being a manufacturing company: you can designate your products however you like.
The S&W M&P9 M2.0 proved to be a dream to shoot. It reliably feeds and ejects every type of 9mm ammo I tried, including the Hornady 100 grain Critical Defense loads that have jammed many pistols.
The stippled grip on this gun is outstanding. With four included back-straps, it may not fit everyone, but it is going to fit almost everyone.
I like the pistol's balance, trigger and looks. It is more accurate than I am, grouping into two inches at a bit over 12 yards (37 feet), without the benefit of any pistol rest. (Unfortunately, shooting offhand tells us nothing about the inherent accuracy of the pistol. It only tells us something about the shooter on that particular day. -Editor)
My history with 9mm pistols goes back a long way, from Walther P-38's and Browning Hi-Powers to Glocks and numerous Glock-esque polymer frame, striker-fired pistols. This is the best S&W pistol I have reviewed. Little things mean a lot and it all comes together here as a great-handling, reliable piece that I found very satisfying.
Copyright 2017 by Randy Wakeman. All rights reserved.