Paper or plastic? Remember that simple question? I always preferred paper grocery bags as they kept my apples, oranges, and cans of soda from rolling around the back of my SUV when I turned corners. Then one day paper bags weren’t available anymore. Our choice was gone, we were stuck with plastic bags, and there was nothing we could do about it. That’s just the way it was! Fortunately, Smith & Wesson still gives us the choice between polymer and Metal with the M&P9 M2.0.
The Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Metal
The popularity of polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols encouraged manufacturers to give customers exactly what they were asking for. While many companies initially made 9mm alloy-framed guns, they have mostly been replaced with higher capacity, poly-framed models. It seemed to be what the concealed carry market wanted—more bullets in a lighter gun.
Smith & Wesson rocked the shooting industry last December when they introduced their CSX. The CSX is a 9mm, single-action, semi-auto micro-compact pistol with a 10+1 flush-fit magazine or 12-round extended magazine.
But what really set this gun aside from the current crop of micro-compacts, other than its single-action cocked-and-locked action, was its aluminum frame. It is a gun that I thoroughly enjoyed shooting. And time will tell whether the CCW market embraces the little single-action pistol as warmly as I did.
Extensive market research and survey work by Smith & Wesson before committing to full production of any product virtually guarantees a new product’s success. As I pulled the newest S&W M&P9 M2.0 Metal Frame gun from its box, I thought, “My God—they’re going to sell thousands of these!”
Meet The M&P9 M2.0 Metal
It’s a stunning beast, complete with frame relief cuts designed to not only lighten the T6 aluminum frame but to provide the shooter with a comfortable thumb shelf and indexing points. Those cuts also give the gun some very cool aesthetics!
The Metal M&P9 also retains the reptilian style fore and aft slide cocking serrations of the original M2.0. S&W coats the frame and stainless slide with a beautiful and non-reflective Tungsten gray Cerakote finish. Parts like the magazine release, takedown lever, slide stop, extractor, sights, and barrel are given S&W’s proprietary Armornite black finish for a pleasing contrast.
S&W ships the new gun with four interchangeable palm swell inserts to custom fit the gun to the user’s hand and trigger reach. The black inserts are textured for a no-slip grip, and there is a front strap insert made from the same textured polymer to ensure a secure firing grip—even with wet hands.
S&W realizes that not everyone needs or wants a lightweight gun. There is a reassuring heft to the M2.0 Metal pistol that is absent in polymer guns. Some might even say that S&W has given the gun a soul!
Virtually The Same Gun as the M&P9 M2.0
The M&P9 M2.0 Metal pistol is virtually the same gun, albeit with an aluminum frame, as the polymer-framed M&P9 M2.0. In fact, even the holsters made for the plastic gun will work perfectly with the aluminum-framed gun!
The new gun retains features like the bilateral slide stops, a reversible mag release, and a railed dust cover for attaching a tactical light/laser. S&W outfits the M&P9 2.0 Metal with a stainless steel 4.25-inch barrel. Two 17-round magazines are included with the gun.
Like the poly-framed M&P9 2.0 guns, the new Metal gun uses the same upgraded trigger. It has a blade safety in the trigger face, and it breaks crisply at 3 pounds, 5 ounces with a firm reset.
The gun also has an optics plate with a polymer cover. S&W includes seven different polymer optics adapter plates to handle just about any micro red dot available. I attached a Trijicon RMR with a 3.25-MOA dot.
Because the M&P9 M2.0 Metal Frame is a full-size gun with a 4.25-inch barrel, I set my targets out at 25 yards. I used a 2-inch diameter Shoot N C for my aiming point. All groups were fired from a seated position using a DOA Tactical shooting bench while resting the gun’s dust cover on a Millett BenchMaster for support.
I fired three five-shot groups with each ammunition, and the best group is reflected in the performance chart. I selected ammunition based on bullet weight to see if the gun had any preferences. Four of the five loads tested were defensive rounds, with the Federal Syntech Training Match 147-grain being the only real range load tried. Groups ranged from just over 1 to 1.5 inches.
Keep in mind-these groups were fired at 25 yards! That is exceptional accuracy, and the M2.0 Metal’s enhanced sear geometry and crisp trigger pull helped make these groups possible. I am happy to report that the M2.0 Metal digested them all without a single bobble!
Doubletap’s 77-grain solid copper hollow point produced the very best five-shot group measuring just 1.04 inches. This load continues to impress me. It is always accurate and usually produces the highest energy of the loads I include. This is even though it is a standard pressure load—not a +P.
From the M&P9’s 4.25-inch barrel, the round had a velocity of 1,515 feet per second (fps) and generated a whopping 392 foot-pounds of energy. I witnessed Doubletap’s owner, Mike McNett, fire this round into a block of gelatin from a 3-inch micro-compact. It penetrated 14 inches easily, mushroomed to twice its diameter, and retained nearly 100 percent of its weight. Now that’s performance.
Tulster sent me a Contour outside the waistband (OWB) holster for the new Metal frame M2.0. As I mentioned earlier, the external dimensions of the aluminum and poly guns are the same. I chose the OWB holster as this is a full-size gun and wearing it at the 4 o’clock position just seemed to make more sense than my usual appendix carry with micro-compacts.
The holster is adjustable for ride height, cant, and retention. Additionally, the “molded-in” asymmetrical wings of the Contour’s Kydex shell angle the pistol’s grip toward my body, eliminating the visible print with a covering garment.
I set up my MGM BC C-Zone steel target at 15 yards and did some draw and fire work. The value of the metal frame can be seen in shooting rapid fire as the added weight helps control muzzle disruption.
The new Metal gun weighs in at 30 ounces unloaded, whereas the original M2.0 poly frame gun weighs 24.7 ounces. That’s an 18 percent difference, and it becomes immediately apparent when shooting double taps. I was able to get the dot back on target quickly and my splits, or time between shots, averaged 0.18 of a second.
The sights on the M2.0 Metal are not tall enough to co-witness with the RMR’s red dot. If I were going to keep this gun, I’d most likely replace them with taller suppressor sights for this reason. Fortunately, the Tulster Contour features a raised sight channel to accommodate the taller sights.
For more information, check them out at Tulster.com.
The M&P9 M2.0 Metal is a Welcome Upgrade
I own one of the original M&P9s purchased after an S&W media outing years ago. It’s a gun that I frequently used for classes where one of my more expensive/custom guns would not be appropriate. Not to mention, I often use it as a training gun for new shooters.
I’ve always shot that gun well and didn’t see the need to upgrade when S&W came out with the M2.0. But I really like this new M2.0 Metal pistol! It just feels good in the hand, and I love the way the aluminum feels compared to the polymer frame.
I appreciate what the added heft does for recoil control and love the M2.0 trigger. It gives me the ability to shoot the gun closer to its accuracy potential, and its firm reset also makes quick follow-up shots easy.
But to be completely honest, I like the new Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Metal because it just looks cool! Its Tungsten finish with black accents puts polymer-framed guns to shame in the looks department. With a suggested retail price of $899, look for S&W to sell lots of the new M2.0 Metal guns.
For more information, please visit Smith-Wesson.com.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 METAL Specs
Barrel: 4.25 inches
Overall Length: 7.4 inches
Weight: 30 ounces (empty)
Finish: Tungsten Cerakote
This article originally appeared in the November/December 2022 issue of Tactical Life magazine. Get your copy today at OutdoorGroupStore.com.