Previously I had written about my “first impressions” of the new Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0. Those impressions were from bringing the gun home and doing some dry fire work with it, along with some other general exploration (e.g. equipment compatibility).
What people really want to know is: how does it shoot?
At this point I’ve put about 1000 rounds through the gun across 3 range sessions. Mostly Freedom Munitions 9mm 124 grain RN New and Reman, but also some Speer Gold Dot 9mm 124 grain +P.
My goals were to put a lot of rounds through the gun, to break it in and just see if it runs without problems. To assess how it shot, how it felt, accuracy, reloads (especially the whole auto-forward issue), etc.. Just see if it really addressed my gripes with the 1.0 or not.
The first thing I noticed was less felt recoil. I was surprised at first, so I switched back to my 1.0. Did some back and forth between the two guns, and no question: there’s less felt recoil. It’s not some huge difference, but I noticed it.
It also appeared to be less muzzle flippy. Is this because of the steel frame inserts? Or maybe because of the aggressive grip texturing? Probably both. Bottom line is I found myself back on target faster.
Functioned just fine. There was one failure to fire, but it was the ammo and not the gun. Things went bang. Extraction and ejection was fine. I did clean and oil the gun when I first got it, haven’t cleaned it since then. I don’t plan on cleaning it for a while (tho I may add a little oil now and again).
I don’t find the factory sights great, but as far as factory sights go they’re not the worst I’ve seen. For sure I’ll be switching to some Dawson Precision (0.100″ red fiber front, 0.125″ serrated Charger rear).
Again, the trigger is serviceable. It’s not too bad for a factory trigger. Main place I noticed was doing 25 yard group shooting, and there I did feel the pull weight. But even tho it was a little heavy, it was workable. Yes, I’ll be switching to a Apex trigger, because it will be better.
To that, I’ve said before and I’ll say again that I wish I had this gun during the Rangemaster Advanced Instructor course some months back. My first range session with this gun was actually my first live-fire in some time due to the holidays and such. I know I had to shake a little rust off. That said, if I had shot 25 yard groups like this during the Instructor class, I’d have been thrilled (all shots inside the 9-ring @ 25 yards, consistently – and again, with the factory sights and trigger and FM’s reman ammo). I did some further accuracy (group) shooting from 5, 7, 10, 15, 25 yards. Just drilled things. I know how I shoot. I know how my groups normally look. There’s no question the hardware simply improved things. Is that tho a statement of how well the 2.0 shoots? Or how horrible my 1.0 shoots? Probably a little of both.
Grip texture really got in my way during my drawstroke. Clothing snagging, hand dragging. I’m sure I can adjust, but I just normally don’t shoot with a heavily textured grip. That said, the more I use it, the more I like it – from a shooting standpoint. From a concealed carry against my skin standpoint, not so much.
The auto-forward. This is the curious part. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it to auto-forward. I put the mag in the gun, locked the slide back, and HAMMERED the gun on the bench repeatedly with a great deal more force than one would normally use to seat a magazine. The slide never dropped out of battery. Great! And for the most part, every (re)load I would do, never a drop. But, there were a couple times where it did! That was curious, and a little bothersome. I’m trying to figure out why it happened. My current hypothesis? The slide stop wasn’t fully engaged to begin with. The new design requires explicit force to engage and disengage (vs. just spring tension and pushing). It may be that the stop wasn’t over the little metal “hump”, so it’s easy to slide back down. But that’s just a guess, and of course the next question would be: why isn’t the stop then going fully over the hump? Again, this is all a guess right now, as this is something that’s difficult to catch and notice before it happens so you can know to pay attention to why it happened. But at this point I don’t consider it a showstopping problem. I mean, when I can smack my 1.0 and have no problems getting it to autoforward, but I can beat on this and autoforwarding is rare. I’m going to keep my eye on this, but so far I’m not going to sweat it too much.
What troubles me more is that it revealed I do have a training scar from contending with the auto-forward issue for so long. I stutter on my reloads because I’m diagnosing the issue. Well there isn’t any more issue, but still I stutter. Just means lots of dry practice on reloads to overcome this. Just how it goes.
Where to next?
At this point, I’m pretty happy with the gun. Happy enough to go ahead and press it into service.
I’m going to order an Apex trigger kit, Dawson sights, and work on the grip texturing a bit. I know it’s a hot topic about having to change the sights and trigger, like it should just be awesome right out of the box no changes needed. I can see that, and again I think for many people the gun will be just fine out of the box. On just about any gun I would buy, I would be changing the sights and trigger because it’s rare the factory trigger and sights will be awesome (and I’m talking mass-produced guns, not hand-crafted custom pieces or really high-end like Wilson Combat or Nighthawk Custom).
Once I get those in and installed, I’ll be making this gun my primary.
We’ll see how things go over time. It may continue to live up to expectations, or it may fall from grace.
Time will tell.