Just Another Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Review (FDE, 5″ Barrel).

          My conclusion of the Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 echoes the conclusion of many other people both on YouTube and in other parts of the internet. My M&P9 M2.0 is definitely good to go for what I use it for and I like it a lot with few reasons to complain. It’s a dependable handgun. Is anyone surprised?


          So, in the summer of 2018 Smith & Wesson had a $50 rebate for M&P M2.0 pistols and that was good enough for me. I bought the 5-inch barreled “long slide” variant. I actually bought mine for approximately $420 after the transfer fee. $420 is a slammin’ deal for a full sized, combat-reliable handgun and the $50 rebate was pure icing on the cake. M&P9 M2.0’s can still be had for about $400 dollars shipped which I find to be a great price considering the kind of handgun you are getting. 9mm M2.0’s come in a variety of configurations with barrels lengths at 3.6″, 4.0″, 4.25″ and 5″ with magazine capacities of either 15 rounds and 17 rounds.

Here is how mine came configured from the factory. The manual thumb safety is obnoxious in size and begs to be removed.

Here is a list of specifications for the M&P9 M2.0 (SKU: 11537)

  • Chambering: 9x19mm
  • Semi-Automatic, Recoil Operated
  • Striker Fired
  • Barrel Length: 5.0″
  • Barrel Twist: 1:10″
  • Overall Length: 8.3”
  • Overall Height: 5.5”
  • Slide Width: 1.10”
  • Max Frame Width: 1.5 ”
  • Empty Weight: 29.8 oz.
  • Loaded Weight: 36.9 oz. (17 rounds, 115 gr.)
  • Sighting Arrangement:
    • Windage adjustable, white FRONT dot
    • Windage adjustable, white REAR dot pair
  • Manufactured in Springfield, Massachusetts

Some additional features include…

  • Right-Handed Magazine Release, Ambidextrous Slide Stops and Manual Thumb Safety
  • Rear Slide Serrations and Minimalist Front Slide Serrations
  • Improved Trigger Over Original M&P (I disagree)
  • Loaded Chamber Indicator
  • 3-Slot Picatinny Rail on Frame
  • Aggressive Grip Texture
  • Comes with…
    • Two, 17-Round Magazines (LRBHO)
    • A Universal Gun Lock
    • A Cardboard Pistol Box
    • 4 Total Grip Inserts
      • Small, Medium, Medium-Large, Large

Reliability

          My M&P9 M2.0 has fired a total of 2,120 rounds with 5 total malfunctions. Of the 5 malfunctions, 4 were induced by steel cased, 115 gr. FMJ-RN Maxxtech 9x19mm. The lot of Maxxtech I used through this M2.0 seemed to be of particularly low quality. At any rate, here is a break down of the 5 malfunctions.

That lot of Maxxtech was more like Drecktech.
  • 4 were ammunition induced failures with the previously mentioned Maxxtech 9x19mm
    • 2 failures to fully eject spent cases
    • 1 stuck case
    • 1 failure to go into battery (case in question was 20 mm in overall length)
  • 1 malfunction was gun induced
    • 1 failure to fully eject a spent case of, normally reliable, Freedom Munitions 124 gr. FMJ-RN, remanufactured 9x19mm
Freedom Munitions is normally quite reliable, even in remanufactured form, at least for me. Unless that case contained less powder/slower burning powder, I’d say the gun choked.

          Of the 2,120 rounds fired, 1,280 were brass cased and 840 were some form of steel cased ammo. Also, of the 2,120 rounds fired, 1,102 were 124 gr. or heavier and the remaining 1,018 rounds were 115 gr. Last but not least, of the 2,120 rounds fired, 1,022 were remanufactured and the remaining 1,098 rounds fired were newly manufactured. Most of the ammunition fired was produced by Freedom Munitions. The other brands used were Wolf Polyformance, Shooter’s Ammunition Polymaxx, Maxxtech, Ammo Inc. Streak, Remington Mil/LE, and HSM Remanufactured. The most common bullet profile used was RN (round nose). However, some “target-style” hollow points were used. Only 18 rounds fired were with a bullet with a conventional, defensively-minded hollow point. All things considered, my M&P9 M2.0 has been very reliable with a malfunction rate of 0.0472% (excluding the 4 certainly defective rounds of Maxxtech).

          Through the 2,120 rounds fired, this M2.0 has been cleaned on 3 times and lubricated 4 times. I feel as though I could have gotten away with less cleaning, though, one cleaning was done so to remove the massive lead fouling left behind by Shooter’s Ammunition Polymaxx 125gr remanufactured 9x19mm. My M2.0 rarely served in a preparatory defensive role and was primarily used in USPSA matches and self guided general marksmanship/handling training. I used my typical cleaning method which consists of scrubbing the bore and other carbon bearing parts with Gunzilla CLP. Next, most metal-on-metal contact areas would get lubricated with Slip2000 EWL but the slide rails would get greased with Slip2000 EWG.

          So far, my M2.0 has shown no signs of excessive surface wear or premature parts failure. There are still minor signs of surface wear on the muzzle end of the barrel, the barrel hood, the peaks on the slide serrations, the area on the slide where spent brass bounces off, the area under the slide where the slide stop rubs on, and in small areas where its holster contacts the slide. In other words, this gun seems totally competent in it’s construction but is still low-wear item, not a no-wear item. 

Accuracy

          I would say my ability to produce accurate gun fire with any handgun is mediocre when compared to the average, non-professional USPSA participant. Almost needless to say, most modern handguns are capable of accuracy greater than their user. I did replace the factory sights with night sights (for low light shooting) but the factory sights are A-Okay. A nice little standard I have set for myself to try measure for consistent accuracy is my use of the T.REX ARMS Cadence Circle Target. The T.REX ARMS Cadence Circle Target consists of 6 uniformly spaced apart, 3-inch diameter circles. As far my version of a consistent accuracy test goes, I use these targets as such:

At your own pace, fire 5 rounds into each circle from 5 yards standing. The whole drill will take 30 rounds; reloads are obviously acceptable. Any misses constitute a failure.

Of the 3 or 4 times I have attempted to successfully complete this drill, this is the closest I have come to passing it with my M&P9 M2.0 “long slide”.

          I shall dub this test of basic handgun marksmanship as the CACCS (Consistent Accuracy Cadence Circle Standard). Alright, I am now officially a YouTube firearms instructor, please give free stuff. Another test you can do with these versatile printable targets is to just try keep all of your rounds in one circle. As it is with most printable targets, the world is your oyster so don’t feel compelled to only do one shooting exercise with them. For best results, try establish a repeatable standard of accuracy for yourself so you can have a more accurate understanding of your… accuracy.  

This picture shows the results of a 17-round group shot at 7 yards at somewhat brisk pace. Sadly, because I am my own worst enemy when it comes to accuracy, I threw one shot outside of the circle.

Ergonomics

          I think the M&P9 M2.0 is very ergonomic. Despite what some girly-men across the internet have to say, the enhanced texturing on the grip of this handgun is great thing and provides increased grip over the original S&W M&P9 grip texturing. This enhanced texturing makes use with certain gloves more practical and lessens the friction-reducing effects that water or oils have on your hands when using this gun. I think that the magazine release is pretty much without issue and so is the slide stop. A quick note on the slide stop: even though Smith & Wesson improved the slide stop with a spring and detent to reduce the “auto-slide release” phenomenon, I am almost totally certain that it happened at least twice with me but I am not sure if it could ever cause a malfunction. The ambidextrous thumb safety is unnecessarily large and I promptly removed it and filled in the spaces with factory frame plugs. The front slide serrations are far too short and may as well not exist at all but the gun can still be readily press checked if you were so inclined to be tactical and not trust the loaded chamber indicator.

Here is the M2.0 with the “Medium-Large” grip insert.

          The grip inserts are nice for ergonomics sake if your hands are smaller or larger than the average adult male’s hands. I wear size large gloves I tried all of them but I truly cannot figure out which one is “best” for me so I just use the size medium insert which is the one originally in the gun from the factory. 

Observations and Final Thoughts

          Special considerations not withstanding, I haven’t any reason to suggest that this handgun isn’t a viable and appropriate option to anybody who is in the market for a full sized 9mm handgun. Its durability and reliability seem sufficient, the grip inserts could accommodate most shooter’s hands, the accuracy seems normal, and these can be had for under $500 out the door if you are sales savvy. So help me federal and state imposed taxes, I will buy more M&P9 M2.0’s! That is for sure.


          Thanks for reading my carefully and honestly composed article. I put much effort into making it into something that isn’t totally useless. Sometimes I do, whether on purpose or not, leave out minute details that certain readers may want to know. If you do have a particular question in mind, or a particular criticism for that matter, please let me know in the comment section and I will move faster than an ATF Form Processor to supply you with a logical response.