Crimson Trace

October 11, 2017

Shooting the M2.0 Compact

My range trips have become too rare, too busy and not well organized. I went out on our Wire holiday Monday to try to catch up. The Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact went along for the ride. I wanted to confirm my hold as to zero, acquit myself and the gun at distance and get some gun handling work done.

Running the gun – loading, holstering, reloading, drawing, and working from various ranges help me get a firm idea of how well the piece works for shooters.

To assist in my work, I relied on the Safariland GLS Pro-Fit holster line. The Model 575 – using a 1.5" belt loop attachment – served as the holster for the gun I was wearing and nicely fit the M2.0. I didn't take lots of time to find or acquire holsters for this pistol and went to the Pro-Fit to make life easier.

I also tried it in the Safariland Model 576, an inside-the-waist Pro-Fit with the Grip Locking System. Both rigs easily accepted the new gun.

For ammunition, I selected the Black Hills 115 grain EXP hollow-point and Hornady American Gunner 115 grain XTP load to check zero. The Federal "Aluminum" case ammo with 115 grain FMJ bullets got the nod for distance and handling work.

I started out painting up the small IPSC-type steel silhouette in the first bay of the club. By small, I mean that the normally 6"x6" head box is a four-inch square and the body is 11 ½" wide and 15" high – as opposed to the "C" zone part of my CTS ABC-Zone target (ca 17" high, 11.8" wide).

I knew that I should hold just a little right as I was tending left with the M2.0 as I do with a competitor's pistol. The first shot at fifty yards hit the steel. The second slid by on the right – too much correction – and the third again hit the little target. I moved up to 25 yards for the "B" zone hits (head box). Having two rounds left instead of the required 1 for my little test, I proceeded to put two Federal bullets into the same smear on the paint.


I went to work on 3" bull's-eyes at 7 yards with Black Hills 115 grain and Hornady 115 grain ammo. My correction to the right is reflected in the bulls, with all hits inside the rings. I held the Black Hills better apparently as the cluster was smaller, but either round will do fine.

I loaded up with Federal "Aluminum" and posted the Birchwood Casey EZ-Scorer IPSC Practice silhouette – 12" x 18", about the same size as the steel target I'd worked on. The first and third rounds at 25 yards went into the "C" zone of the target. The remainder at 25 yards and all but one from fifteen yards went into the 6 ¼" x 3 3/8" "A" zone. I pulled one left – that was definitely shooter-induced – into the "C" at fifteen yards.

I worked on a few pairs and a failure to stop at 7 yards. The top round in the failure went below the upper "A" zone but still in the 3 ¼" square "B" zone head box.

From the three range trips, I can reach a few conclusions. One, the gun will shoot quite well in competent hands. If I can find those competent hands, we can better illustrate that. I believe it will out-shoot my skill level.

It feels distinctly different from any other gun I've shot extensively. It's quite unlike the earlier M&P line in "feel." I'm not sure how relevant that is to performance in the short term. Like anything else, taking a one- or two-day class with it would make worlds of difference. Short range trips separated by days, perhaps not. I've not tried any of the other back straps from the box and it's unlikely I will – in the short term.

The grip texturing is abrasive. I've not worn this gun – except at the range – and wearing it against the skin may not be a good experience. This could be a case where Talon Grips could serve to minimize abrasion while maintaining grip friction.

The sights are fine as is – I still like tritium up front and can't black out the dots on the rear sight – as is the trigger.

The form factor, as expected, is nice. It handles like a service gun and hides like a "plainclothes" gun. It also has the capacity of the service gun. The M2.0 Compact ships with a pair of magazine "boots" to fit the 17 round M&P9 magazine so you can carry a full-size magazine as a spare.

That's a nice touch.

We'll keep working with it and keep you posted.

- - Rich Grassi