I shot the new Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 at the 2017 SHOT Show Industry Day at the Range, and afterwards I sat down with S&W representatives for a detailed examination of the pistol. Here are 12 things cops need to know about this exciting new design:
1. Grip texture and size
The grip texture is more aggressive, which makes for a secure grip when it’s wet, or when the shooter is wearing gloves. The coarse texture is appropriate on a service pistol, but probably won’t be comfortable against the skin in concealed carry.
The grip frame measures the same, front-to-back, but there’s a new Medium-Large palmswell option, giving you four choices of backstraps.
The same magazines from the original M&P will work in the 2.0.
3. Slide lock
A spring loaded detent has been added to the slide lock, to prevent it from bouncing and dropping the slide after the frame is jarred (such as during an aggressive reload).
4. Frame changes
The frame’s dustcover has new windows, through which the serial number and QR code can be seen on the starboard side. The beavertail on the 2.0 is slightly shorter (to comply with overall length requirements in the U.S. Army Modular Handgun System–MHS—trials) but still protects the hand and aids in recoil control.
The 5 inch barrel version of the gun has a thumb safety (a legacy from the MHS trials), while the 4.25 inch barrel version does not. Neither has a magazine disconnect. S&W will certainly mix and match these gun safety features later as the line matures, or as requested by agency orders.
6. Internal chassis
The stainless steel chassis has been extended to the far end of the dust cover. This will decrease frame flex and torque, reducing the possibility of malfunctions caused by frame-slide binding when heavier items are added to the equipment rail. It will also help to prevent damage to the dustcover area on guns that are handled roughly with the slide locked to the rear–an issue reported by some agencies that required officers to draw weapons from an armory on each shift.
The 2.0 trigger is crisper and lighter in weight. The reset on the 2.0 trigger is unmistakable, and can be heard and felt by the shooter. In the new gun, a reshaped trigger bar acts on a rotating cam, which then trips the sear. There’s some takeup at first, but it transitions smoothly into a crisp engagement and release. Factory specifications call for a six pound (plus or minus one pound) trigger pull, but the trigger feels lighter. This is the trigger we wanted from S&W years ago.
The magazine button is now stainless steel, instead of polymer. Some roll pins and other internal pieces are also now made of stainless.
The slide profile has changed, and it’s slimmer at the top. A small set of forward grasping grooves have been added at the base of the slide. The 4.25 inch barrel versions use the traditional inspection hole as a loaded chamber indicator, but the longer 5 inch barrel model uses a pivoting lever for tactile verification in dark conditions.
The unlocking of the barrel has been retimed so that it occurs later in the firing cycle. This, along with tighter production tolerances, and extended forward frame rails, enhances accuracy. The MHS standards call for a 4 inch Ransom Rest group at 50 yards, and the M&P 2.0 shoots to that specification. The facilities and format at Industry Day didn’t allow me to validate this, but I was able to hit 4 inch plates without difficulty at 15 yards.
Both matte black (4.25 inch barrel) and flat dark earth (5 inch barrel) variations were on hand at SHOT 2017 Industry Day, and I suspect that these color options will be available in all formats–if not initially, then relatively soon as the product line matures.
The 9mm and .40 S&W versions of the new pistol will fit in holsters designed for the older version of the gun, but the M&P 2.0 frame in .45 ACP is slightly larger in some dimensions, and may not work in some older holsters. It’s important to note that the ejection port dimensions on the 2.0 have changed, so Safariland ALS holsters designed for the older gun may not retain the new gun properly.
[View the story “Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 at SHOT Show” on Storify]
Safariland testing on the 9mm version of the 2.0 indicates that while the new pistol will fit in the holster, and the ALS will lock and unlock as before, the ALS lever has less purchase on the new ejection port. As a result, the holster won’t pass a standard Level I retention test–the gun can be pulled out without releasing the ALS lock first.
Officers who wish to pair the new M&P 2.0 with an older Safariland ALS holster will want to upgrade it with updated ALS parts that are specifically made for the new gun (currently under development), or purchase new holsters designed for the 2.0, to ensure the retention features work properly.
My shooting experience with the pistol was brief, and I look forward to wringing it out in a more thorough test. At first blush, however, the M&P 2.0 looks like a real winner. I expect to see this pistol riding in a lot of police duty holsters in the near future.
Be safe out there.