New Pistol Review: Testing the M&P9 M2.0 Metal

Introduction to the M&P M2.0 Metal

New from Smith & Wesson is their aluminum-framed version of the optic-ready M&P pistol named the M&P9 M2.0 Metal. The lightweight and rigid metal frame is designed to provide better performance and durability to an already well-established ancestry of reliable pistols. Maintaining compatibility with all M2.0 slides, holsters, magazines, and palmswells, the M&P9 M2.0 Metal has great backward compatibility right off the bat.

The frame and slide of the S&W M&P9 M2.0 are compatible with the polymer M&P9 M2.0

Specifications of the M&P9 M2.0 Metal

  • Model M&P®9 M2.0™ METAL
  • Caliber 9mm Luger
  • Capacity 17+1
  • Optics Yes
  • Color Two-Tone
  • Safety No Thumb Safety
  • Length 7.4
  • Front Sight Steel White Dot
  • Rear Sight Steel White 2-Dot
  • Action Striker Fire
  • Grip Interchangeable Palmswell Inserts (4)
  • Barrel Material Stainless Steel with Armornite® Finish
  • Slide Material Stainless Steel
  • Frame Material 7075-T6 Aluminum
  • Slide Finish Tungsten Gray Cerakote®
  • Frame Finish Tungsten Gray Cerakote®
  • Barrel Twist 1:10″ RH
  • Barrel Length 4.25″ (10.8 cm)
  • Weight 30.0 oz.

What’s Different About the M&P 2.0 Metal?

Switching it up from their long lineup of polymer-framed handguns, Smith & Wesson crafted the frame of the M2.0 Metal from 7075-T6 aluminum. They then topped both the frame and the slide with a sexy Tungsten Gray Cerakote to color-match the whole pistol while providing better protection from rust and corrosion. The color is nothing flashy but looks sleek while helping establish a real “metal” look to the pistol. Being an engineer who makes a lot of parts from aluminum, I appreciate the contoured and well-polished frame.

Full Picture of the S&W M&P9 M2.0 Metal with a Holosun Optic mounted
Sleek contoured cuts in this metal frame provide a very comfortable grip

While aesthetically pleasing, it remains ergonomic and functional. The thumb grooves fit me well, and the metal frame gives a solid foundation for mounting any light/laser options. While polymer frames can flex and shift a laser’s zero, the M2.0 Metal will remain rock solid. Utilizing a Picatinny-style rail, this pistol is ready for nearly all accessories consumers may want to add.

Three-slot Picatinny rail
The metal frame is a great host for lasers such as the Streamlight TLR-10G as it will hold zero better than polymer-framed handguns

Coming in at 30oz, the M2.0 Metal adds 4.2oz over the polymer M&P M2.0 Compact. Using an uncalibrated kitchen scale, I measured the Metal frame to be 8.5oz whereas I measured the polymer M2.0 to be 6.4oz. This is only 2.1oz, and I think the unaccounted-for 2.1oz comes from the slightly longer slide the Metal version uses.

Weight of the S&W M&P9 M2.0 Metal frame
Weight of the S&W M&P9 M2.0 frame

Ergonomics

The frame provides a very natural feeling 18-degree grip angle. In addition to a natural grip, the palmswell grip inserts fit my hands great. There are 4 options to fine-tune to fit your hands, but they all provide very aggressive stippling. Right out of the box, I noticed how aggressive this texture is for both the front and rear polymer straps and I loved it. This helps me maintain a solid-unwavering grip when burning down stages with quick strings of fire. When shooting, I did notice the difference this aggressive texture makes when compared to shooting with other pistols with a less textured grip. The frame also features an ambidextrous slide release which is appreciated.

Replaceable backstop with very rough and aggressive stippling

Magwell

Reloads normally are intended to be quick, and the M2.0 Metal is built to help with that. While minimalist, the aluminum frame does have a flared magwell to help feed new magazines into the gun. This is built in and does not flare the bottom of the grip out in any major way. Due to this sleek design, it should still conceal well and not push out clothing as some large aftermarket magwells can do. This pistol accepts any 17-round M2.0 magazine and comes with two straight from the factory. It also will still fit the standard M&P9 holster.

Slightly flared Magwell machined into the frame of the M2.0 Metal
17 round magazines sit flush with the bottom of the frame of the M2.0 Metal. 15 round mags are not compatible

The Slide

The slide is nearly identical to the polymer M&P M2.0 Compact other than it features a Tungsten Gray Cerakote, and is about 0.25 inches longer. It continues the tradition of wavy-cut front and rear slide serrations which work great for racking the slide. The cuts are plenty deep to get a solid grip when using gloves or for manipulating the slide in adverse conditions.

Aggressive front slide serrations

Sights

Smith & Wesson features the standard 3-dot iron sights for the M2.0 Metal. While nothing special, they work, and the rear sight has anti-glare serrations cut into it. However, these iron sights sadly sit too low to be used in combination with most optics. Most likely, they will not clear the base of the optic, which was the case for me when using the Holosun 507C.

Anti-glare serrations machined into the rear sight

Optic Mounting Plates

Straight from the factory, this pistol comes with 7 different optic mounting plates to accommodate nearly all popular optic footprints along with the screws that will most likely be needed. While I love the aftermarket support included, these plastic baseplates extended slightly forward of my optics creating an awkward-looking tab. While the only downside I see is cosmetic or a potential snag hazard, I just wish these would come cut to match the footprint of the optic rather than having excess added material. A small chamfer on the front two corners is all I am asking for. The good news is they are just plastic, so anyone who cares enough could hand-file this tab flush with the optic and frame.

Included optic plates, screws, and owner’s manual saying which combinations work for which optics.

The Trigger

The trigger for this pistol is not unique to the M2.0 Metal, but it does work well. The takeup is smooth, the wall is defined, and there is a very short amount of creep before the trigger breaks. After the trigger is depressed, there is a short reset which is just past the wall to get your finger ready for that next shot. Featuring an overtravel stop, there is less excessive movement when shooting. Smith & Wesson also is using an enhanced sear for a lighter and crisper trigger let-off. I consistently measured the trigger pull weight to be around 5.2 lbs when being pulled from where the center of my finger pulls from.

Trigger safety adds another layer of protection, and the over-travel stop can be seen behind the trigger

Barrel and Accuracy

Sporting a 4.25″ stainless steel barrel with a 1:10″ twist rate and an Amornite finish, the S&W M&P9 M2.0 is more accurate than I am. For the hundreds of rounds of I put through this pistol, I had no issue slamming steel from various distances. Shown below are the groups I got from standing 10 yards from the target. I was able to consistently get near 1″ groups minus flyers that I acknowledge were my fault.

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

Reliability and Testing

Throughout my testing and a few hundred rounds, I had absolutely zero malfunctions to note. Not one stovepipe, failure to feed, or failure to lock back on an empty mag. The M2.0 metal ran like a champ. It burned through 115gr, and 124gr Norma FMJ without issue. Between the aggressive stippling, the low barrel bore axis, and the natural 18-degree grip angle, shooting quickly was easy. 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 very flat and smooth.

Smacking steel from around 25 yards
Burning through 115 and 124gr Norma FMJ without any hiccups

Conclusion

Overall, I think Smith & Wesson has created another solid-performing pistol. I had zero reliability issues while this optic-ready pistol looks and feels fantastic. The trigger is good, and it shoots flat. MSRP for the S&W M&P9 M2.0 Metal is currently $899 but the street price is running a little less. Coming with a rigid metal frame and optimized grip, I am sold. While I was loaned out this gun to review, I fully intend to purchase the M2.0 Metal due to my great experience with it throughout this review.

S&W M&P9 M2.0 Metal with everything that comes in the box

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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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  • John February 3, 2023, 7:28 am

    What is old is new again: metal frames. More accurate because they don’t flex.

    What is also old and new again: hammer guns thanks to AIWB carry.

    Maybe they’ll put a hammer on the M&P9 M2.0 Metal and the journey will be complete.

    Makes me glad I’ve stuck with metal-frammed TDA hammer guns all this time. Welcome back, everyone else. 😉

  • DEFENDER January 6, 2023, 3:44 pm

    Anyone else have trouble with Allen Head screws shearing off that hold-down optic plates?

  • trail January 3, 2023, 1:28 pm

    looks like a plastic trigger on a metal gun. somehow that just dont seem right. now u gotta go out and spend another 100-150 on a trigger kit from timney or apex. timney has a flat hinge. apex might a have a metal trigger only for sale similar to the one shown here. most comp shooters will prob want the full kit to reduce tpw.

  • Ed January 3, 2023, 12:34 am

    Sweet…. would be a nice companion to my CSX.

  • Jake January 2, 2023, 12:17 pm

    Looks very nice. Will there be, or is there a 5 inch version?