Review: Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 .45 ACP

Smith & Wesson’s polymer frame Military and Police pistol has become a top choice among many shooters. It is difficult to mention polymer without a few words on the Glock. The Glock is a baseline for service use. It is reliable – it always works, in as much as anything always works. If you pay less then quite probably corners have been cut. If you pay more than the Glock costs then be certain you are getting something extra.

The Military & Police handfit, feel, and balance appeal to me. I prefer the trigger action. While I own two Military & Police 9mm pistols, I am a fan of the .45 ACP. I have a ton of brass and bullets – more or less- and enjoy firing the big cartridge. I have a great deal of faith in the .45, at least as much as any reliable handgun caliber. The Glock 21 and high capacity 1911 handguns are too large for my hand. The S&W M&P 2.0 .45 is ideal. This M&P .45 holds ten rounds in the magazine and an extended magazine holds fourteen. I don’t mind giving up a few cartridges for greatly increased handfit and firing comfort. 

The M&P .45 is a polymer frame striker fired double action only pistol. The striker is prepped but not the completely cocked when the slide is racked. Trigger action pulls the striker back the rest of the way and fires the pistol. Just like that ‘other’ pistol. The trigger has a clean break at 6.0 pounds according to the RCBS registering trigger pull gauge. The pistol features a steel chassis imbedded in the polymer frame. The slide is stainless steel coated in Melonite. This adds up to great corrosion resistance and low wear. The cocking serrations are well designed, offering plenty of leverage. The sights are top notch combat style sights. The complete package is attractive. The pistol has the usual frame inserts to adjust hand fit. The pistol is supplied with two ten round  magazines. In common with most polymer frame handguns the M&P .45 features a rail for mounting combat light. 

The question is; how well does the pistol handle and perform?

This question has several layers. I have carried the 1911 for many years, so am I giving anything up?

Not much at all – and gaining some important attributes. If you compare the 9mm S&W to the Glock 9mm, there is plenty of room for choice in either direction. But with handfit considered, the S&W .45 wins hands down in my opinion.

Just an option and I am glad we have many to choose from. I have fired the pistol extensively and consider it one of my most important personal defense firearms. At night I snap the Inforce combat light in place and the S&W M&P 2.0 .45 becomes my home defense firearm. Sure I have a long gun handy but nothing is quite as fast into action as a handgun at home ready just beside the mattress.  

Firing the Smith & Wesson Military & Police .45 is a revelation. It handles quickly and the grip design helps get on target fast with a good natural point. The term natural point and polymer frame are seldom found in the same report. This handgun is an exception. Get on target, press the trigger, and you have a hit. Recoil is subjective. The pistol kicks less than a 1911 in the M&P’s weight class. It isn’t quite as docile as a Government Model with a 40 ounce frame. It is comfortable to fire and shot to shot recovery is good. I don’t stress any of my .45s with +P loads, there is no point. The Hornady 200 grain XTP is the preferred carry load. This is an accurate loading with an excellent balance of expansion and penetration. The pistol is easily as accurate as any polymer frame striker fired pistol and more so than most. It is also more accurate than the run of the mill 1911. This means it will be more accurate than my Kimber Pro Carry but not as accurate the Wilson Combat CQB. That is good territory to occupy. 

I usually carry the big Smith in a DeSantis Speed Scabbard. This holster features a thumbreak. After years of institutional service I am familiar with fast operation of the thumbreak. It may slow me down a tenth of a second. But then the Speed Scabbard has enough retention to simply leave the snap un done during mundane travel.

I obtained this holster when doing a project on higher retention versus open top holsters and tested quite a few. The DeSantis is among the few thumb break holsters I kept! Since I carry this pistol when hiking and just spelunking this is a good option in the likely event I trip or encounter heavy brush. The .45 ACP is fine for feral dogs, the big cats and the bears in my humble neck of the woods. Bears are unlikely, so are the others, and the statistics favor a quiet walk while the possibilities are endless. The Smith & Wesson Military & Police .45 has taken the place of two lightweight 1911 pistols, a Government Model 1911, and some revolvers. That is quite an accomplishment in the safe of someone many would consider old school. But old school works. This big Smith is reliable, accurate, and hits hard. It may be carried daily without dragging the hip down. 

This pistol should be on the short list of anyone wishing to own a .45 caliber handgun.