Since the early 90s-2000s every compact has had one primary goal; dethrone the Glock 19. Smith & Wesson’s answer early on was the new and improved polymer M&P line; eventually they came out with an improved 2.0 version. Fast forward a couple years and we have available the gun I have here for review; the Smith & Wesson M&P Compact 2.0 Optics Ready /inhale/ what a mouth full. Before we get into the review for this S&W I do want to address something now.
I absolutely hate pushing a review out without having a minimum of 1,000 rounds through the firearm and substantial amounts of time carrying and practicing with it. After talking through the goals I have for JustPews with a handful of close friends, it’s been decided that it would be better if I went ahead, sold the M&P, and invested that money into products that would further the goals I have. With that said, I have a little below a fifth of the amount of rounds I’d like to have through this pistol, and they were split up between two range sessions. Before you think abandon this review though there’s some interesting stuff I was able to note during my time with it so stick around!
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In the cardboard box of the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact Optics Ready you’re going to find yourself a handful of plastic mounting plates for your preferred optic of choice, two magazines, two grip sleeves for 17rd magazines (magazines not included), the firearm itself, as well as the obligatory gun lock & paperwork. You’re also going to find yourself 3 additional back grip panels, of the sizes you will get S, M, ML, and L. These grip panels are extremely easy to change out and requires no tools.
Small: As thin of a profile as you’re going to get
Medium: Backstrap is a little thicker, sides are still as thin as possible
Medium-Large: Backstrap is thicker, beaver tail is thickened, sides gain slight bolstering
Large: Thiccc side bolstering, backstrap, and beavertail (the three c’s is intentional)
The pistol ships from the factory with suppressor height 3-dot sights that co-witnessed properly with my Holosun 507c. It’s also ambidextrous in the proper way; everything is ambi, except for the magazine release which you can swap if you so choose. To swap the magazine release over, all you need is the tool that keeps the grip panels in.
Side Note: It does appear to be chance on which type of box you’re going to get. Some of them are shipping in plastic boxes, others are shipping in cardboard boxes.
Frame Material: Polymer
Size Category: Compact
Magazine Type: Double Stack
Flush Capacity: 15 rounds
Overall Length: 7.3 inches
Barrel Length: 4 inches
Width: 1.3 inches
Height: 5 inches
Weight: 27 ounces
Trigger Weight: ~5lbs
In the quest of having hands-on experience with every major defensive pistol option on the market, the Smith & Wesson M&P line was one of the only pistol lines I had never had the pleasure of owning; mostly because I absolutely abhorred the 1.0s which debuted in 2005. Fast forward to 2020, the 2.0 has been out for a hot minute and Smith & Wesson has finally released an optics ready compact model.
As you can tell by the dimensions of the 2.0 Compact you saw above, Smith & Wesson definitely aimed this pistol to tackle the industries most successful defensive pistol; the Glock G19.
With reliability being the shortest and also non-conclusive section of this review it’s best to get it out of the way first. Within 200 rounds I’ve not had any issues. 100 of those rounds was used during the first range trip. 50 rounds of 124gr Geco was used to zero and to confirm zero after the optic was mounted/zeroed on the Walther PPQ M2 5″, 15 rounds of 124gr Federal HST was used to confirm the zero with my carry ammunition. The remaining 15 rounds were evenly divided into 3 different magazines to practice some magazine changes from concealment.
The following range trip was fortunately dry, so the remaining 100 rounds were pushed through the pistol as fast as humanly possible with three magazines being used.
While not being able to tell you definitively through personal experience that it’s perfectly reliable, it fed 124gr 9mm ammunition without an issue.
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The ergonomics of the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact are quite honestly fantastic. The fish scale serrations on the slide have quickly become my all time favorite factory serrations. They offer the most aggressive traction out of all the OEM slide serrations I’ve played with for doing press checks, chambering a round, and clearing malfunctions.
This aggressiveness is replicated well onto the Spalding Basketball inspired frame. With nearly 360° coverage of texturing, the M&P 2.0’s new and improved grip texturing leaves nothing to be desired. It’s clings to your hand like a lava rock and no amount of liquid on your hands is going to jeopardize this grip. To test this claim I dunked my hands in water and a again in hand soap, using the hands of someone else to jerk the gun around, they had a fairly difficult time getting my hands to lose it’s grip on the pistol.
Now for the elephant in the room; the manual safety. I avoid manual safeties as a general rule… but I can be persuaded if the price is right. While the price was in fact right, the manual safety on the M&P 2.0 Compact has been my favorite manual safety to date. It’s slender, it doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb, and it’s extremely tactile. You can both hear and feel when it’s been engaged or disengaged.
For those that favor brevity in reviews, the slide serrations are the best out of the box serrations I’ve found on the market. The grip texturing is recessed, not raised like most textures on the market, and it’s extremely grippy. The grip angle? It feels like it changes mildly between grip inserts, with the small & medium insert it feels almost exactly like a 1911 in the hand. Lastly, the manual safety is about as good as it’s going to get on a sub-$600 pistol (I picked mine up for ~$565). If you’re someone that absolutely cannot stand manual safeties, it’s important to mention that the manual safety can be removed.
How It Shoots
While it’s been noted that I haven’t shot it a lot, I got a good idea of how it shoots. Despite having a single spring/single guide rod recoil assembly, the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact shoots exceptionally well. It’s low bore axis paired with it’s lava rock texturing makes for a very stable and very controllable shooter. Felt recoil felt to be less than a Sig P320 Compact and on par with a Glock 19.
The only major detriment to how it shoots is the hinged trigger. While many people don’t have an issue with a hinged trigger, it’s something that I really don’t care for. The pull weight is ~5-6lbs which isn’t difficult at all. There’s just something about a hinging trigger that can mess me up at ranges beyond 15 yards if I’m not careful.
The last thing worth mentioning here is the loaded chamber indicator (final picture in the gallery above). The indicator does throw carbon onto the front of your optic and while it isn’t noticeable from the user end early on, it does become visible on the front as early as 10 rounds. Using Cat Crap is heavily advised.
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According to my spreadsheet I have approximately 65 hours of carry time with the Smith & Wesson M&P Compact 2.0 Optics Ready; 50 of those hours was regular carry use, 15 hours of it was carrying while driving. Out of the 65 hours there was two days where I carried the M&P for 10 or more hours, each of these days consisted of 4 hours of driving.
Take out the two ten hour days (visiting family) and I’ve got a couple dozen hours carrying this firearm at work, as well as just being out & about.
The holster used was the KSG Halcyon (review coming soon) with a Discreet Carry Concepts Monoblock Clip & Dark Star Gear Dark Wing.
The only major complaint that I can voice about how the M&P carries is one of it’s best features; the grip texture. This lava rock like texture is abrasive against my stomach, making it a requirement to wear an undershirt while carrying it. Aside from that there aren’t any complaints.
Even with the optic mounted, the M&P Compact 2.0 was easier to carry concealed than my USP Compact which had a smaller form factor. It’s easy to get a good firing grip, and aside from having a lava rock rubbing my belly there were no hot spots.
This is an abbreviated review, obviously, but I’ve gotten a good feeling for the Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact Optics Ready. It shoots well, it conceals well, and it’s ergonomics are phenomenal. This pistol is ideal for someone that absolutely loves the feel of a nice 1911, but wants to update their carry gun to something modern and lighter. There are two significant downsides to this pistol… well, the entire M&P line-up.
- Magazines for the M&P are around $40; this isn’t unusual for anything that isn’t a 9mm Glock, the Beretta 92, or a CZ 75. While this is a downside in and of itself for some, the magazines seemingly don’t exist. The M&P 2.0 Compact magazines, at the very least, have been perpetually out of stock online since I purchased the gun.
While ETS does make cheaper training magazines, the difficulty of finding OEM magazines is something worth noting.
- On top of OEM magazines being hard to come by, OEM parts seem to be non-existent on the market. While 3rd party companies have created their own replacement parts, you will have a challenging time finding OEM replacement parts were you to have something break.
While the pistol isn’t going to be dethroning the Glock 19 any time soon (if ever), it’s definitely a solid option for those that can’t get used to the grip angle Glock produces, while offering the same concealability, and arguably the same reliability.