Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0: The Best Handgun for Home Defense?

 In Defense

Smith & Wesson recent­ly released a new ver­sion of their very pop­u­lar M&P9 hand­gun: The  M&P9 M2.0.

It has made sig­nif­i­cant improve­ments to the design, han­dling, and ergonom­ics. It comes with a stain­less steel barrel with an Armornite finish and includes a lim­it­ed life­time war­ran­ty and a life­time ser­vice policy.

But the ques­tion remains: Is it worth upgrad­ing to the 2.0? Keep read­ing to find out…

Accuracy 

Mid-sized pis­tols are noto­ri­ous for their short sight radius, which can make it dif­fi­cult to fire them accu­rate­ly. However, the M2.0 does a pretty decent job despite this! I’ve found it to be pretty accu­rate among a range of loads, and I’ve reg­u­lar­ly shot groups less than 2” wide at fif­teen yards. From twenty-five yards, my groups have all been under 3”. This is pretty good per­for­mance for a firearm of this size, thanks in part to the inter­nal stain­less steel chas­sis. They’ve extend­ed it to nearly the front of the frame, which increas­es the rigid­i­ty to improve accu­ra­cy. Overall, I’m sat­is­fied with the accu­ra­cy of this hand­gun.

Reliability 

The M2.0 is undoubt­ed­ly reli­able. I’ve shot over 500 rounds with a wide range of ammo, and zero mal­func­tions, zero fail­ures to feed. It func­tions flaw­less­ly. If you’re look­ing for a 100 per­cent reli­able hand­gun, this is the one for you.

Handling 

The 2.0 is quite a step up from the orig­i­nal M&P! The most notable change is the improved appear­ance and grip. There’s aggres­sive tex­tur­ing on the entire grip, which is rough, but not too rough. This new grip is ideal for pre­vent­ing slip­ping, and gives you sig­nif­i­cant­ly more con­trol when firing. What’s more: the 2.0 also comes with four dif­fer­ent grip inserts (small, medium, medium-large, and large) to make this pistol easy to con­trol for any shoot­er. The extend­ed chas­sis reduces the muzzle rise and allows for faster aim recov­ery. It points nat­u­ral­ly and gives good, con­sis­tent per­for­mance. The one down­side here is that it is a bit dif­fi­cult to com­plete­ly dis­as­sem­ble. There are a few pins you may have to pound out to get a good clean­ing.

Trigger 

The trig­ger is prob­a­bly the biggest improve­ment from the orig­i­nal M&P. It’s a strik­er-fired, double-action trig­ger that breaks around 5 lbs even right out of the box! It’s crisp, light, and con­sis­tent, with a trig­ger reset you can both feel and hear — a huge improve­ment over the orig­i­nal. There’s still a sig­nif­i­cant amount of take-up, but I’m con­fi­dent most people will like the new trig­ger. If safety is a pri­or­i­ty for you, you can opt for the option­al ambidex­trous thumb safety, which is easy to manip­u­late with your shoot­ing hand.

Magazine & Reloading 

The M&P M2.0 has a capac­i­ty of 17+1 and comes in the box with two well-made, single stack mag­a­zines. There’s a slide lock lever on both sides of the mag­a­zine release, so it works for left and right-handed shoot­ers alike. As a bonus, the 2.0 is com­plete­ly com­pat­i­ble with old M&P mag­a­zines, so feel free to use any you have laying around!

Length & Weight 

This hand­gun weighs 24.7 oz, has a barrel length of 4.25”, and an over­all length of 7.4”. It’s a bit large to be ideal for concealed carry, but it can still be done if you don’t mind the extra weight. The addi­tion­al weight does help con­trol move­ment, how­ev­er, which is good for accuracy and recoil man­age­ment.

Recoil Management 

The recoil is mild, sim­i­lar to the orig­i­nal pistol. Some of the upgrad­ed fea­tures, includ­ing the extend­ed chas­sis and grip tex­ture, help with reduc­ing recoil because of the increased con­trol they offer. You should have no prob­lem con­trol­ling the pistol when shoot­ing mul­ti­ple shots in suc­ces­sion.

Price 

The M&P 2.0 MSRPs for $599, but you may be able to find a used option for a lower price. It’s a rel­a­tive­ly mid-priced hand­gun, and worth it for a tried and true, high-qual­i­ty firearm. A lot of comparable pistols sell for $1,000 or more, so you’re get­ting a real bang for your buck here.

My Verdict? 

The 2.0 offers a sig­nif­i­cant upgrade from the orig­i­nal M&P, and if you’re still using the orig­i­nal, you may want to con­sid­er trad­ing up. Here are some of the improve­ments that make the upgrade worth it:

  • New grip tex­ture increas­es con­trol and accu­ra­cy 

  • The trig­ger is a clear and sig­nif­i­cant upgrade over the old ver­sion 

  • Accuracy is the best you’ll get in a mid-sized hand­gun 

If you’re look­ing for the best handgun for home or personal defense, or if you’re look­ing to upgrade your old M&P, this could be the per­fect choice for you.

Richard Douglas is a firearms expert and edu­ca­tor. His work has appeared in large pub­li­ca­tions like The Armory Life, Daily Caller, American Shooting Journal, and more. In his free time, he reviews optics on his Scopes Field blog.  

Image: Smith & Wesson / Julie Golob

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