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Worth the Wait: S&W M&P9L 2.0 Upgrade Benefits from 12 Years of Users’ Feedback

By Todd Burgreen

The S&W M&P polymer-frame striker-fired handguns quickly evolved into an industry leader among duty and personal defense handguns after arriving on the scene in 2005. The M&P lineup of handguns became the greatest market competitor for Mr. Gaston’s Glock here in the US. S&W have recently decided to update their M&P handgun lineup via a 2.0 upgrade. After all, it would smack as arrogant to assume that the customer feedback from more than 12 years of being on the market would not benefit the handgun.

The M&P has always attracted admirers thanks to its ergonomics. For example, its 18-degree grip found favor with many who argued it offered better natural point of aim than the Glock’s 22-degree grip angle. Thankfully, S&W did not change the grip angle with the 2.0 upgrade. Instead, they focused on other aspects, such as the trigger, the extended stainless integral chassis, lowering the grip to bore axis, reducing the beavertail, including four interchangeable backstraps (versus three), the rear sight profile, the new slide serrations/lightening cuts and the grip texture.

It is best to think of the S&W M&P lineup of handguns as a “system” stretching from the Shield, Compact and Standard to the Long slide models. The S&W M&P “secret” to success is minimal operating controls, high cartridge capacity to size ratio, relentless reliability and, to paraphrase a famous political advertisement, “it is the trigger, stupid … .” While the grip size may change, the position of the slide and magazine releases will instantly be familiar. An even better illustration of the S&W M&P “system” would be the similar trigger pull found on all M&Ps. Simplicity should not be confused as a lack of refinement.

The M&P 2.0 used as the test bed for this article’s T&E was an FDE M&P9L 2.0. The “L” designates a 5-inch barrel; something that was only available from the S&W Performance Center before the S&W 2.0 upgrade. The handgun arrived with low profile ambidextrous manual safety and slide release controls. The M&P9L 2.0 has...

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N3 (March 2018)
and was posted online on February 9, 2018

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