Full Pistol Review ft. Optic Ready Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact

Optic Ready Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact topped with a Holosun 507C and equipped with the Streamlight TLR-10G

Not too long ago, Smith & Wesson announced their optic-ready M&P pistol dubbed the M&P9 M2.0 Compact. Available with and without ambidextrous manual thumb safeties with either 4.0″ or 4.25″ barrels, these optic-ready variants deliver everything the modern concealed carrier demands. I am a firm believer in utilizing red dots on pistols as they help the user squeeze more accurate shots out of the platform while allowing a true “target focus.” Not only is this pistol optic ready, but it comes with seven different mounting plates that will fit nearly all slide-mounted optics on the market, and iron sights that sit tall enough to use in conjunction with that optic. Between these features, a standard 15-round magazine capacity, great ergonomics, and a solid reputation for reliability, the Optic Ready S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact pistol is a great contender to be your new everyday carry.

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The M&P9 M2.0 has a lot going for it right from the factory, with one of the biggest perks being the fact that it is optic-ready and includes 7 different mounting plates. These accommodate most pistol optics available and help save the consumer from having to buy adapter plates or go and get the slide milled for a specific optic. It is good to see companies start to include optic-ready options in their existing lineups, and I hope to see this become not only the norm but the standard. It is 2022, and red dots provide real-world advantages so I would advise taking advantage of them.

Tall factory iron sights sitting behind removable optic cut cover
Optic plates included with the owner manual stating which plate and fastener combination should be used for most popular optics


  • Model M&P®9 M2.0™ 4 Inch Optics Ready No Thumb Safety Compact Series
  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Capacity 15+1
  • Optics Yes
  • Safety No Thumb Safety
  • Length 7.25
  • Front Sight White Dot – Tall
  • Rear Sight White Two Dot – Tall
  • Action Striker Fire
  • Grip Polymer
  • Barrel Material Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
  • Slide Material Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
  • Frame Material Polymer
  • Frame Finish Matte Black
  • Barrel Length 4″ (10.2 cm)
  • Weight 25.8 oz.

While grip design is tricky due to people having such a wide range of hand sizes, this pistol fits my hands well. I always recommend finding one in person to feel for yourself first, but I am a fan of the frame Smith & Wesson uses for the M2.0. This pistol also comes with four interchangeable palmswell grip inserts to best fit your hands. Not only do the contour and ergonomics fit my hand well, but the stippling is more aggressive than other similar pistols. I prefer this as the more aggressive the stippling, the better I can control the pistol when firing quickly.

The grip features an above average level of aggressive stippling
Well-rounded and comfortable grip with removable palmswells

The frame utilizes an 18-degree grip angle which provides a very natural point of aim when presenting the weapon. Some handguns cause me to torque my wrists up or down which can be turned into muscle memory by working repetitions on draws and aiming, but the natural angle of the frame is appreciated. Featuring a three-slot Picatinny-style rail, this pistol is ready for nearly all accessories consumers may want to add as well.

Natural grip angle in a natural environment

Aiming to increase rigidity to reduce flex and torque when firing, Smith & Wesson embedded an extended stainless steel chassis into the frame. While as a shooter I cannot feel the difference this may make, as an Engineer I can understand and appreciate the incorporation of this design. Taking down the pistol is easy. After ensuring the gun is unloaded, there is no magazine in the gun, and there is no round in the chamber, simply lock the slide to the rear, rotate the M&P’s patented take-down lever, and either utilize the sear deactivation system for disassembly without even pulling the trigger, or let the slide back forward and pull the trigger when pointing in a safe direction and remove like most pistols.

Coming in at 25.8 oz, the M2.0 is a good balance between a full-sized handgun and a thin-carry option. This mid-ranged or “compact” size remains large enough to shoot well and light enough to not be burdensome or cumbersome when carrying every day. The frame also features an ambidextrous slide release which is appreciated.

The 4″ Compact is a great blend of size and function

This pistol accepts any 15-round M2.0 magazine and comes with two straight from the factory. The metal magazines feed well, and I have had no issues with them throughout the 500 or so rounds I put through them. They have holes stamped into both sides along with round counts to easily see how many rounds are currently loaded.

No issues burning through mag after mag of 115gr and 124gr Norma FMJ

The Stainless Steel slide features an Armonite Finish while it continues the tradition of front and rear slide serrations. I love these wavy slide cuts which increase the contact surface area over simple traditional vertical cuts. The serrations are plenty deep to get a solid grip when using gloves or for manipulating the slide in adverse conditions.

Aggressive front and rear slide serrations

Smith & Wesson features a tall white 3-dot iron sight combo for this pistol. While my favorite iron sight combo is a blacked-out rear sight and red fiber front, I appreciate the use of these taller sights over standard short iron sights that would become unusable after an optic is attached to the slide. These sights sit tall enough that they can still be used in conjunction with most optics, including my Holosun 507C. They provide something close to a lower 1/8th sight picture which I love. This means they barely sit above the base of the red dot to remain useable, yet they stay short enough to not block a large amount of the window for the red dot.

Tall white three-dot iron sights
Dots just tall enough to use over the base of the Holosun 507C

The newer M2.0 trigger utilized in this pistol works well. While it is not a “flat face trigger” like S&W calls it, the new trigger is flatter than that of the previous M&P pistols. When working the trigger, the takeup is smooth, the wall is defined, and there is a very short amount of creep (I measured it to be about 0.08″) before the trigger breaks. After the trigger is depressed, there is a short, positive, and audible reset which is just past the wall. This places your finger right where it needs to be for taking that next shot. Featuring an overtravel stop, there is less excessive movement when shooting. I consistently measured the trigger pull weight to be a hair over 4.5 lbs when being pulled from where the center of my trigger finger rests.

Featuring a 4.0″ stainless steel barrel with a 1:10″ twist rate and an Armonite finish, the S&W M&P9 M2.0 is more accurate than I am. For the hundreds of rounds I put through this pistol, I had no issue slamming steel from various distances. Shown below are the groups I got from standing at 10 yards. I was able to consistently get near 1″ groups minus flyers that I acknowledge were my fault.

Groups shot standing from 10 yards away. Top left: Norma 115gr FMJ, Bottom left: Norma 124gr FMJ, Top right: Norma 115gr JHP, Bottom right: Norma 108gr MHP

For the duration of my testing, I had absolutely zero malfunctions. The only thing close was the two instances of the slide not locking back on an empty magazine, but I believe this was due to my grip and my support hand riding the slide release. The M&P9 M2.0 ran like a champ. It burned through 115gr, and 124gr 9mm Norma FMJ without issue with and without an optic attached. Between the low barrel bore axis, natural 18-degree grip angle, and solid grip texture, staying on target when shooting quickly is easier than with other comparable pistols. The recoil wasn’t sharp, and the slide kept settling right back near where I had it aimed before breaking a shot. This pistol ran smoothly and without a hiccup. While both 115gr and 124gr ran without issue, I feel like the 124gr gives a slightly softer recoil impulse and it is for this reason that it is my preferred competition round.

Blasting a TaTargets Silhouette with the Streamlight TLR-10G illuminating and lazing what needs to be engaged
Building up some carbon after a few hundred rounds of low light shooting with the Streamlight TLR-10G

Overall, I think the optic-ready M2.0 continues the Smith & Wesson legacy of building solid-performing firearms. I had zero reliability issues while testing this optic-ready pistol. The trigger is good, and it shoots flat with the low bore axis incorporated in the design. MSRP for the S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact is currently $659. Out of the box, this comes with two 15-round magazines, four palmswells, and seven optic plates. For the money, I find the features and reliability found in this pistol tough to beat.

Contents included in the box with the M&P9 M2.0 Compact

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About the author: Mitchell Graf is passionate about hunting and competition shooting. During college he was the shooting instructor for Oklahoma State’s Practical Shooting Team, and these days he spends as much time as he can chasing after pigs and coyotes with night vision and thermals. You can follow Mitchell’s adventures over at his Instagram @That_Gun_Guy_

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  • Greg Scarpa March 2, 2023, 5:45 pm

    That huge light ? Seriously

  • Kane February 27, 2023, 1:00 pm

    Is it essential to co-witness (partial or total) a pistol with iron and red dot sights? Maybe it can aid when the iron sights are lined up to find the red dot but are these not still two differant systems. I have little red dot experience but planned to skip the co-witness aspect at least intially.

  • Bob Tucker February 27, 2023, 9:11 am

    Some men’s bodies still produce testosterone. They use iron sights.

  • VirtualWatts February 27, 2023, 8:15 am

    I have this pistol and it replaced my full-sized duty. Great fact – the full-sized 17-rnd magazines are compatible with this pistol, and there is a spacer made just for this to fill the gap between grip and magazine. Called the M&P 2.0 C Magazine Spacer. So all of my full-sized magazines transitioned over! Most of my holsters transitioned as well.

  • A February 27, 2023, 7:54 am

    Best gun I’ve ever owned..

    • G February 27, 2023, 8:29 am

      Second best here.
      If you like the 9, you will love the 10.

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