Gun Review | Smith & Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 Metal

posted on May 30, 2024
Smith & Wesson M&P 9 M2.0 Metal
Photos: Peter Fountain

The introduction of modern polymer revolutionized the firearms industry, making guns far lighter than their metal predecessors. And that was a good thing—but a lighter gun also means more felt recoil. To find a suitable compromise, some have turned to aluminum-framed guns.

The Smith & Wesson M&P line has several variations. This M&P 9 2.0 is essentially the same gun as the popular M&P 2.0, but with a frame made from 7075-T6 aluminum alloy. So, you get all the most-recognizable features of the popular M&P line in a more-rigid frame, with only about an ounce of extra heft.

I nearly couldn’t believe that, so I requested one for review. When it arrived, I wondered if somebody had sent the wrong gun—it was light, and I couldn’t even tell it was all metal. Did they send me a gray Cerakoted M&P 9 M2.0? Nope, that slick-looking Tungsten Grey finish is precisely how they come from the factory.

S&W M&P 9 M2.0 Metal features
The S&W M&P 9 M2.0 Metal has all the classic features from the popular series, plus some nice additions; it has excellent ergonomics, a flat trigger with very little creep, scalloped slide serrations, drift-adjustable three-white-dot sights, an optics cut, an accessory rail and easy ambidextrous operation, all in an aluminum frame.

I was glad to be reunited with those telltale scalloped slide serrations I’ve grown to love. These are cut into both the front and rear of the slide to accommodate multiple manipulation styles. At the 12 o’clock position sits an optics-cut cover that can be removed to mount a variety of red-dots. S&W was even generous enough to include adapter plates and screws to accommodate the most-popular models on the market. For those who haven’t yet drunk the red Kool-Aid, a set of three-dot sights also comes standard, and yes, they are metal. There is also a generous chamber-indicator cut so you can check your gun’s condition without having to pull back the slide.

S&W M&P 9 M2.0 Metal specsMoving down to the frame, it was obvious that S&W wanted this gun to be comfortable for as many shooters as possible. Unlike many metal-framed pistols, the M&P 9 M2.0 Metal comes with interchangeable backstraps, with four included in the box. This allows the owner to tailor the gun to his or her hand for a grip that best accommodates a complete purchase and proper trigger reach. S&W also carried over the reversible magazine catch and ambidextrous slide stop to ensure southpaws like myself—and any righties who need to shoot from their non-dominant side—can easily work the action. The only active safety that exists is on the trigger bow, so we can call that feature ambidextrous as well. (I’ve been stressing the importance of guns like this to my students for over a decade, as you must consider what happens if your primary hand is occupied before or immediately after an altercation starts.) You’ll also note a slightly undercut trigger guard, a Picatinny rail and a nice thumb ledge or groove to aid in recoil control.

I decided to keep my test fodder limited to hollow-point designs, as that be what I’d keep in it on a daily basis. Hollow-point ammo is also the hardest to feed, so that would provide an acid test of sorts. In the assortment, I had Federal’s newer Syntech Defense rounds, Hornady’s Custom XTP ammo and Doug Koenig’s own 110-grain defensive load.

On the range, I set up a sea of steel targets at distances from 12 to 50 yards and began by getting a feel for recovery and transition speed. As I pressed each shot, I took note of the redesign the trigger underwent a few years back; I dug the flat, straight nature that S&W decided to switch over to. My first shot broke cleanly with next-to-no creep, and the gun recovered to essentially the same spot on the target. With that, I ran a ‘round-the-world routine on my steel targets.

Firing the metal version of the M&P 9 M2.0 is undoubtedly different, as it has a more solid feel to it during recoil and as it returns to the target. As each round fired and cycled without issue, I decided to conduct an accuracy test on all (after quickly swabbing the bore, of course). The outcome proved that any of these rounds would do the job for defensive work, and I have tested each on ballistic gel in the past to confirm that statement; however, if you are looking for one that is also a tack driver in this gun, the nod has to go to Koenig.

S&W M&P 9 M2.0 Metal shooting results

Wrapping things up, I decided that this gun represented a noticeable improvement over the polymer version. Where steel could only meet this rigidity by adding weight, properly cut aluminum can be nearly as light as plastic.

S&W M&P 9 M2.0 Metal


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