December 03, 2018
By Jake Edmonson
Last year S&W revamped its M&P semiautomatic pistols, renaming the line the M&P M2.0, and new this year is the M&P M2.0 Compact version. The most notable features of this new pistol are its shorter barrel and shorter grip. (The standard M&P M2.0 has 5.0-inch and 4.25-inch barrels, whereas the Compact has 3.6- and 4.0-inch barrels. Mine is the 4.0-inch version.)
Like the other M&P M2.0 series pistols, the new Compact comes with four interchangeable backstraps—in small, medium, medium-large, and large sizes. That range of backstrap sizes allows more shooters to get a better fit for their hands. Obviously, the pistol has a polymer frame, and the Compact’s frame has an integral three-slot accessory rail. The M2.0 pistols also have front and rear slide cocking grooves, ambidextrous slide stops, optional ambidextrous manual thumb safeties, reversible magazine releases, the improved M2.0 trigger mechanisms, and extended internal stainless-steel frame chassis. Unlike other brands of striker-fired pistols, the M&P M2.0 trigger does not have to be squeezed in order to remove the slide from the frame during disassembly.
The M2.0 Compact is chambered for 9mm and .40 S&W. My pistol is the 9mm model. The Compact’s barrel and slide are stainless steel, and they are finished in matte black Armornite.
The sights are steel, and both the front and the rear are dovetailed into the slide. The rear sight has two white dots, and the front has a single white dot. Sight radius is 6.38 inches.
The 9mm M&P M2.0 Compact comes with two 15-round magazines; .40 S&W magazines hold 13 rounds. The metal magazines have removable polymer baseplates and followers. Smith & Wesson includes two grip extenders, so you can use the longer, higher-capacity magazines that are supplied as standard issue with the full-size M&P M2.0 pistols.
Like every M&P M2.0, the Compact has a built-in trigger safety and an internal firing pin block. It does not have a magazine disconnect safety, meaning it will fire with the magazine removed.
The first thing I noticed about shooting the M&P M2.0 Compact was its good trigger. Take-up was firm, consistent, and short. Letoff was crisp and clean. According to my RCBS trigger pull scale, my sample M2.0 Compact’s trigger pull averages 5.5 pounds. Everybody knows a good trigger helps achieve optimal accuracy, and as I just said, the M&P M2.0 Compact’s trigger is good.
Speaking of accuracy, the accompanying chart shows the averages for five, five-shot groups fired with five 9mm factory loads with 115-, 124-, and 147-grain bullets from a sandbag benchrest at 25 yards. The overall average was 2.82 inches. The most accurate factory load in my pistol was the HSM 115-grain XTP ammunition. It averaged 2.40 inches for five, five-shot groups.
For anyone who doesn’t already know it, HSM is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. Bill and Catherine Campbell started manufacturing ammunition in Stevensville, Montana, in 1968. Initial sales were to law enforcement, and by word of mouth alone, the company’s reputation grew. Eventually commercial sales came.
As the decades passed, more calibers were added, and HSM expanded into the full realm of the shooting sports. Partnerships were formed with renowned components manufacturers, such as Hornady, Sierra, and Berger, and recent years have seen exciting and innovative new loads come from HSM. I’ve been shooting HSM ammunition for several years, and it’s proven to be reliable, consistent, and accurate.
I also put the new pistol to work shooting at my swinging steel targets and Birchwood Casey Hex Ball and Jack bouncing targets. Engaging the reactive targets at various distances from 15 feet to 10 yards from several different angles and while on the move was easy, which also made it a lot of fun. Undoubtedly, the pistol’s high grip to bore axis ratio contributes to its comfortable shootability and the ability to get back on target quickly. I don’t particularly like three-dot sights, but I was able to shoot the M&P M2.0 Compact well regardless. However, I would prefer a different style of sights.
The M2.0 series of M&P pistols now includes 5.0-, 4.25-, 4.0-, and 3.6-inch barrel lengths. I’ve shot most of them and have found them to point instinctively and hit where I point them. I like these pistols a lot because they are so comfortable to shoot and very easy to shoot well.