S&W M&P 9mm 2.0 Review [2021]: Solid Choice at a Good Value

by Justin Fields

January 10, 2021

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Smith & Wesson’s crop of all-metal, DA/SA pistols was quickly – and entirely – replaced by the polymer-framed M&P. The M&P line has expanded and evolved into one of the best plastic, striker-fired pistols on the market today.

Today we will take a look at the M&P9 2.0.

S&W M&P9 M2.0 Specs

  • Capacity 17+1
  • Caliber 9mm
  • Sights Three Dot Sights
  • Action Striker Fired
  • Length  7.4″
  • Barrel Length 4.25″
  • Weight 24.7 oz

S&W M&P9 M2.0 Background

The Smith & Wesson M&P9 is a polymer-framed, striker-fired, 17-round, 9mm pistol.

It was introduced in 2005 and lived, for several years, in the shadow of the Glock.

So much so that it’s really hard to talk about the M&P without mentioning the older plastic pistol.

Though one led to the other, the M&P has secured its reputation and now stands fully on its own.

The biggest market differentiator when the M&P was introduced was the interchangeable backstrap system. The user wasn’t stuck with a single, love-it-or-leave-it grip size.

He or she now had the ability to slim the grip down, or up, to match hand size. This made a lot of people really happy.

In 2017 the M&P line was refreshed with the release of the “M&P 2.0”. Some notable improvements were made including an extended steel liner in the polymer frame, an improved magazine release, a (supposedly) improved the trigger, more aggressive grip texturing, and a few cosmetic changes.

This is when I really dove into the M&P line. Though I have yet to carry one (other than the Shield), they are my preferred striker-fired pistols.

Today I am going to examine the full-sized version of the M&P9 2.0. It features a 4.25” barrel and a grip frame that accommodates a 17-round magazine. I will also briefly discuss the Compact, 3.5”, 15-round version.

S&W M&P9 M2.0 Features

SW-MP-9-2.0-Features
1 Interchangeable Backstraps

Adjust your grip just as you like it.

2 Steel Three Dot Sights

Although I prefer to change them out, the sights aren’t terrible by any means.

3 Reversible Mag Release

Great for left or right-handed shooters.

4 Accessories Rail

This allows for a whole bunch of sweet add-ons such as a quality pistol light.

S&W M&P9 M2.0 – Our Take

Now the real reason you’re here…The meat and potatoes of the review. Let’s dig in and see how this M&P fares.

Reliability

The M&P line is about as reliable as a gun gets. I have two M&Ps, one full-sized, one Compact, both 2.0 variants. After shooting a combined 1,000 rounds I have yet to have a malfunction, and I don’t think my experience is atypical. The M&P lives up to our modern expectations of reliability.

Accuracy

The M&P line has been plagued with supposed accuracy problems since the very beginning, and I often see this blamed on barrel quality. A cottage industry sprang up offering replacements for the factory tubes. Much of this is probably overblown; most shooters probably aren’t coming close to the mechanical accuracy of the gun. Though a new barrel is not a listed feature of the 2.0 model these complaints seem to have died down somewhat.

I have no problem at all with the accuracy of the M&P…with one expectation. The trigger doesn’t make it easy to be extremely accurate. Though some people like it I really don’t. I wish the trigger could be like that found on the M&P Shield – short, crisp, and with a defined wall. The larger, double-stack M&P triggers are mushy and seem to break at some nebulous point. I will be much more interested in shooting my M&Ps when I have replaced the bang switches with aftermarket Apex parts.

The M&P’s factory sights aren’t bad at all. They are all steel with three dots. I’ll be honest – I could care less about the dots, but these are still quality sights. Though I replace most of my sights with Heinie Straight-8s (including my M&Ps) I’m still glad S&W deigned to put metal in the sight dovetails.

Ergonomics

The ergonomics of the M&P are what drove me to it. I am all about the idea of “dance with the one that brung ya” (as my dad would say) when it comes to shooting the guns you are issued. Whether you’re issued a Beretta 92, a custom 1911, or a Glock 17 (I have been issued all of the above) you overlook your objections and get as good as you possibly can with it. If your guns aren’t issued, though, get what objectively works the best for you.

I can shoot a Glock reasonably well but it feels like a 2×4 in my hand. And it’s not just about my feels, it’s also about the fact that I have a very hard time preventing the gun from shifting during recoil. The M&P fixes that. The grip is more aggressive, it’s curved to accommodate an actual human hand, and equally important, it’s small enough for me. I can’t say enough good things about the ergonomics of the M&P 2.0.

And that doesn’t just go for the grip. The reversible magazine release is well designed, being large and prominent enough to hit reliably. The 2.0 version of the M&P has an ambidextrous slide stop/release lever, and the general feel of the thing. It’s a well-engineered pistol.

Other Variations

The M&P line includes numerous other variations, including the full-size, 4.25” barrel shown here, a Compact, 4” barrel model (also pictured here) and a long-slide, 5” model. M&Ps are available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. The longer, full-sized magazines can be shared with the Compact M&Ps of like caliber. An OEM grip sleeve, similar to the one on the 8-round Shield magazines is available to extend the Compact’s grip surface when using the longer mags.

The double-stack M&P pistols are available with or without a thumb safety. Though I have opted not to go with the safety on my M&Ps, the safety is well executed and not unlike a 1911 thumb safety.

If you don’t like something about your M&P there’s a lot you can do about it. As one of the most popular pistols on the market, just about every option under the sun is available to you. Nearly everyone makes holsters for the M&P. The accessory rail supports all manner of lights and lasers. Sights of all stripe including night sights, fiber optics, plain black sights are available all day long. Upgraded internal parts – most notably from Apex Tactical Specialities – can fix just about any problem, real or perceived – that you might have with your M&P.

Closing Thoughts

My only complaint? Why didn’t they give this thing an easier name – is it M&P 2.0 9mm, or M&P9 2.0? And if you just say M&P nowadays is it clear that you’re talking about the 2.0 model? That’s probably only a problem that writers worry about, so I’ll let it slide, I suppose, but it does follow S&W’s tradition of really, really complex naming conventions.

The M&P is about as good as a pistol gets these days. Available in a broad array of sizes and with a number of options, it is a reliable, accurate, and good-looking pistol. Though I still don’t like the trigger, I really like everything else about the M&P9 2.0, and wouldn’t hesitate to carry one.

S&W M&P9 M2.0 Pros and Cons

  • Extremely Reliable
  • Very Customizable
  • Shootable, Ergonomic Grip
  • Well-Designed Controls
  • Really Crappy OEM Trigger

Report Card

Reliability

Outstanding – as good as anything on the market today.

A+
Accuracy

Though decently shootable the M&P is a long, spongy trigger that makes a Glock feel like a custom 1911.

B
Shootability

One of the nicest full-sized guns to shoot. The only thing really docking points here is that dang trigger.

A-
Ergonomics

One of the best feeling, most comfortable pistols out there.

A+
Value

An average price for an above average pistol.

A
SW-MP9-M2-Final-Grade

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Justin Fields

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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S&W M&P9 M2.0 Starter Pack

If you’ve decided that this M&P9 is the right gun for you, we don’t blame you. In fact, it’s a pretty sound choice. But that quality thinking can easily be overshadowed if you don’t have the proper basic essentials to go along with it.

S&W M&P9 M2.0 Gun Deals

In today’s world, it can be a bit tough to find a good deal for a gun–especially one with real ability and dependability such as the M&P9 2.0. But don’t worry, we’ve tracked down some killer deals that you can start searching for right away.

Disclaimer: These are the prices at the time of writing. Prices and availability are subject to change.

Upgrades and Accessories for the S&W M&P9 M2.0

Honestly, this one of the more customizable pistols on the market today. There’s a bunch of different options that you can take advantage of to fit your M&P9 just the way you like it. Here’s what I recommend swapping in for adding on to yours.

Best Accessories for the S&W M&P9 M2.0

AccessoryDetailsCheck Price
Streamlight TLR-1 HL
  • 1000 Lumens and 20000 Candela
  • Ambidextrous ON/OFF Switch
  • 1.5 Hour Runtime
Check Price
Heinie Sights
Heinie S&W M&P Slantpro Tritium Night Sights
  • Low Profile Night Sights
  • Snag-free Draw
  • Rear Sight Allows for Easier One-Hand Slide Operation
Check Price
Apex Tactical Trigger
Apex Trigger 
  • Vastly Superior to Factory
  • Reduces Trigger Travel by 40%
  • Lowers Trigger Weight by approx. 2lbs
Check Price

Holsters

If you plan on carrying this weapon, don’t be a dope and just shove it down your pants. Get a quality holster. But there’s so many holsters out there, it can be really difficult to find the right one for you. If I had to choose a holster, these three would right at the top of my list.

Best Holsters for the S&W M&P9 M2.0

HolsterDetailsCheck Price
DeSantis Slim-Tuk
  • Kydex
  • Ambidextrous
  • Minimal IWB Holster
Check Price
Galco Leather Holster
  • Leather- 2 Colors Available: Black or Tan
  • Open Top Design
  • Fits Belt Up to 1 3/4"
Check Price
Floodlight Holster
PHLster Floodlight
  • Accommodates Variety of Pistol Lights 
  • Fully Adjustable
  • Durable IWB Design
Check Price

Best Ammo for Your S&W M&P9 M2.0

Breaking in and getting to know your firearm is one of the most important parts of owning one. What’s the point if you don’t know how to shoot. However, if you start taking your working rounds out to the range, you’ll find bigger holes in your wallet than your target. Be sure to set aside some quality range and working ammunition in order to best balance your shooting.

Range Rounds

MagTech-9mm-Ammo

MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Brownells $0.23
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Working Ammunition

Barnes-9mm-Ammo

Barnes 9mm 115 GR Ammo

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Palmetto State Armory $0.92
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $1.15

Other Full Sized Pistols of Its Class to Consider

If you’re still on the fence about the S&W M&P9 or there’s no way you want to suffer through that limp noodle of a trigger , there are still some other great full-sized selections out there. 

#1 Beretta 92FS

Beretta-92FS-Compared-to-Glock-23

Check Latest Price

  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A
  • Shootability C
  • Ergonomics C
  • Value A-

Our Grade

B+

Reviewed by Justin Fields

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

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The Beretta FS92 may actually be pretty near and dear to any of you servicemen and women out there. It’s essentially the civilian version of the Beretta M9 sidearm. And if you’re comfy with it, here’s a few things you should know… READ MORE

#2 Canik TP9SF

Check Latest Price

  • Reliability A+
  • Accuracy A-
  • Customization A
  • Ergonmics B+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A

Reviewed by Justin Fields

Reader’s Grade

TBD

Based on 0 Reviews

Your Grade

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If you’ve read through some of our other articles, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen us mention the Canik before. It’s a nice weapon at an even sweeter price. Those of you on a tight budget may want to learn more… READ MORE 

How to Care for Your S&W M&P9 M2.0

If you’ve never taken down a M&P9 or any other M&P double-stack version, you might want to check out this video from Greg over at Shoot Point Blank Range and Gunshop. It’s one of the most informative videos you’ll find on the subject.

Important Links and Manuals for Your S&W M&P9 M2.0

Want more info on this pistol? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Check out the following links for more info, resources, and videos featuring safe operation and upgrade of the S&W M&P9 2.0.

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About Justin Fields

Justin is a former MARSOC Marine, former government contractor, former special operations instructor, current student of paramedicine, author of digital security books, and blogger at SwiftSilentDeadly.com. Justin prides himself on being a generalist with a heavy emphasis in firearms and their employment.

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