Gun Review: S&W M&P9 M2.0 Compact

Other than my M&P shield I don’t really have many M&P Pistols, but that’s about to change.  Throughout the years I’ve continued to see shooters excel with their M&Ps at competition. Of course they all changed out their triggers, barrels and sights, but there had to be something drawing all these guys to the platform.  

I get a lot of requests to review different firearms and lately I just keep hearing about the M&P 2.0 Compact. When I get a lot of requests for one particular gun I start to really take a look at it. Throughout the past couple months I’ve gotton a ton of requests to review Smith and Wesson’s M&P 2.0 Compact.

Then I got a chance to shoot the new full-sized M&P 2.0 and I realized what I was missing.  It was a better gun than I realized, so was the S&W M&P9 Compact just as good?

M&P Compact vs Glock 19

Since Glock took the market by storm there’s been a lot of cheap imitations with very few improvements.  While the M2.0 Compact definitely looks like a Glock, S&W decided to address most of Glock’s Flaws to make the gun more functional.

When looking at these two guns side by side you see the obvious resemblance.  They are almost exactly the same size and similar in price. So it’s inevitable that we compare the two.

  • Better Grip:  I don’t care how devoted you are to the glock platform at some point in your life you’ve complained about the grip(or lack thereof).  For a company in the internet age I don’t get why Glock hasn’t done something about their horrible grips. S&W addressed this issue by making a textured grip that gives you a rock solid hold(perfectly solid and very grippy)
  • Better Shooting Angle:  Some people like the Glock shooting angle and acclimitize quickly, but it never seemed to make sense to me.  Yes it was designed so law enforcement would hit center mass, but couldn’t they just aim for the chest like they do with every other platform.  With the M&P compacts low bore axis and excellent grip you can get a rock solid hold and quickly get off follow up shots.
  • Easy To Manipulate Slide:  While the slide isn’t as easy to rack as my Glocks it’s surprisingly easy to manipulate.  Considering how light the recoil is I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use.

Noticeable Problems

Don’t get me wrong I really love this gun(especially for the price), but there are a few things S&W really needs to change.  I don’t know why, but I really hat the Compact’s magazine well. For some reason I’m constantly snagging my magazines on the sides.  

Most other Semi-Autos use a funnel style magwell with a slight flare around the edges.  This allows you to quickly reload without worrying about getting the perfect angle. Maybe I’m just not completely familiar with the platform yet, but blind magazine insertion was a no-go for me.  

Yes with a little practice I would would definitely speed up my reload time, but with such a simple design change would make a huge difference.  Considering I shoot multiple times per day(nice not having a real job) I shouldn’t have a problem inserting a magazine.

Smith and Wesson M&P 2.0 Compact Review

This really is just a great medium sized gun.  It’s the perfect size, not too big, yet not so small that it limits ammo capacity.

I’ve always been surprised that smith and wesson never really dived into their M&P platform. They’ve had the standard full size M&P for a number of years, but never really made a ton of changes.  I think it’s been about 12-13 years, and then they have the subcompact size, but they never got into that in-between market that I love.

Glock’s Model 19 has really been king of that market forever, so maybe they thought they couldn’t break in.  Who really knows, but one things for sure, it was a much needed addition to their lineup.


It’s the perfect size for a full size gun feel and yet you could still carry it everyday. Initially I just wanted to test this gun out so I called up my dad to raid his safe.  The funny thing is after getting a feel for it I ended up heading to the store and buying one myself.

For everyday carry the Compact’s design is much friendlier than the full sized version, but it could be a bit large for those of you with smaller frames.  Being a 6ft 230lb guy with gorilla hands makes this the perfect size gun for me. If you like the size of a Glock 19 this is almost identical in size(blatantly obvious S&W copied the dimensions).

The actual size and weight will depend on which barrel length you choose, but regardless it’s going to be easy to conceal.  Remember it’s still a fairly large gun so don’t plan on wearing a tank top and short shorts.

Other Options

I decided to try their 9mm version with the 4” barrel, but they also have a 40 caliber version.  With all my 9mm reloads upstairs I can never bring myself to buy a 40 caliber gun. Personally I went with the safetyless version, but you can also find it with a frame mounted safety if you want that option.

M&P Compact Sights

The stock sights are traditional bright white 3-dot style sights like you see on every other factory M&P.  They’re fairly smoothe even though the rear sight has a slight vertical angle. You shouldn’t catch the sights on your pockets or belt, but that’s always a concern with steeply angled sights.

I haven’t seen a factory tritium version(like they do with the shield) in stores, but I’m sure they soon will add that option to their lineup.  Regardless I would probably go out and buy Trijicon Sights anyway if this was going to be my EDC gun.

Initial Impressions

After trying the Original M&P years ago I kind of gave up on the platform for a while.  I just couldn’t get over that horrible trigger. Obviously Smith and Wesson learned from their original mistake and seriously improved the trigger this time around.  

Maybe I just had low expactations, but the trigger on the M&P 2 compact really blew me away.  They set the new stand making one of the best factory triggers on the market.

With a very smooth lightweight pull there’s no surprises.  There’s very little stack or grit in the movement and it breaks at a hair over 5 pounds on my scale.  Personally I’m not a huge fan of the trigger shape(feels a little tight), but I have abnormally large fingers so that’s probably the reason why.

If this was going to be my everyday carry I would probably swap out the trigger with an aftermarket one, but I shoot a lot of different guns so it will probably stay as is.  With consistent training I could definitely get used to this exceptionally smooth trigger.

Pistol Ships With Multiple Backstraps

I really love how companies are leaning away from their one size fits all approach to guns.  The M&P compact ships with 4 backstraps so you can customize the grip to your hand. Swapping out the standard grip for a larger size really improved the feel in my hand.  

Range Report

After a quick and easy breakdown where i cleaned up and lubed the gun I went out back to my makeshift range.  With a few boxes of ammo at hand I tried a wide combination of bullets. A grab bag of Lead cast reloads, hollow points and FMJ ranging from 115 to 147 grains.

After sending a few hundred rounds downrange I had no problems to speak of.  Magazines always inserted securely, dropped easily and had no feeding issues.  Didn’t matter what type of ammo I used or how I held the grip there wasn’t a problem.  Limp wristing is definitely not a problem with this gun like it is with some Glocks.


Dissassembly is as easy as you could possibly expect.  There’s no weird knobs you have to pinch, twist and slide all at the same time.  It’s just a basic dissassembly that you’ll learn in minutes.

You do have to pull the trigger to release the slide, so make sure you check the barrel.  I know it shouldn’t have to be said, but better safe than sorry.


Honestly it took me a couple magazines to get used to the shorter barrel and angle of this gun.  Felt so much like a Glock 19 that I kept hitting high. After quickly realizing my problem I made the adjustment and was right on target.

Shooting off-hand all my groups were pretty close to 3” at 25 yards.  With a little more practice and purpose built reloads, I’m sure I could bring my groups in a bit.  You don’t really care about my accuracy so I spent the rest of the day shooting off my Caldwell Pistol Rest.

Accuracy was really good, with all my groups averaging between 2”-3” off a rest at 25 yards, depending on the ammo.  Had a little fun extending my range out to 50 and 100 yards, but obviously shots were slow and the guns not made for long range.

For some reason it really didn’t like my larger 147 gr rounds.  Tried a box of cheap Federal American Eagle 147 Grain ammo and Hornady’s 147 Grain Hollow Points and both had wider 3” groups.

My 124 Grain Hornady Jacketed Hollow Points and Federal 124 Grain FMJ seemed to bring my groups down closer to 2”.  Winchesters 115 Grain white box split the difference at 2.4”.

Final Thoughts

Smith & Wesson really did a lot of things right when designing the M&P 2.0 Compact 9mm.  It’s got an American made design that can compete side by side with anything in its class.

This gun is a great value at about $450 at your local gun store.  Honestly I would probably be willing to pay a bit more. I don’t know if Glock and Sig loyalists will be willing to make the switch, but they’d be fools not to give it a try.

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