one for the street — one for the field

S&W’s M&P M2.0 Compact and Model 648 .22 Magnum
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The S&W M&P M2.0 was test-fired with a variety of 9mm ammunition and John
wasn’t surprised to find it ran like the proverbial top.

Handguns are purchased for a variety of reasons, with self-defense and general outdoor use right at the top. Two of the latest from S&W, the M&P 2.0 Compact 9mm and the Model 648 .22 Magnum fit nicely into these two categories. And keep in mind, the 9mm could certainly be carried in the field while the .22 Magnum could also serve for self-defense in a pinch.

The M&P name goes back 120 years to the original K-Frame first chambered in .38 Long Colt. And just about one century after S&W brought out their New Century .44 Special Triple-Lock they introduced their M&P line of semiautomatics, carrying on the grand tradition of the M&P name. I was not too pleased at them stealing the name of a classic sixgun, however the 21st century line up of M&P pistols have proven to be more than worthy of the title.

The latest M&P, M2.0 Compact 9mm is exceptionally attractive with its Flat Dark Earth finish. Its 4″ barrel riding inside an Armornite stainless steel slide is finished in Cerakote Flat Dark Earth and this same finish is molded into the polymer frame. Armornite is a corrosion-resistant finish, furnished on the barrel as well as the slide.

This M&P features a low barrel axis, helping to reduce muzzle flip and allowing faster acquisition of the sights. When it comes to fast shooting there’s no one any faster than Jerry Miculek. Jerry says the new M&P 2.0 Compact is exceptionally fast shooting because of several things, including the 18-degree grip angle and the trigger having a tactile reset. The tactile reset is short allowing minimum travel on both the pull of the trigger and the reset. When Jerry shoots it you have to really pay attention to even be able to count the shots — he’s that fast! In my shooting I find the trigger to be excellent, very smooth, measuring 61/2 lbs. My trigger finger always seems to get irritated by so-called safety triggers, however the regular trigger found on the M&P is quite comfortable for me.

The M2.0 Compact comes with four interchangeable back straps and two
polymer grip extensions for the use of 17-round mags.

Grip Ergonomics

The grip can be custom fitted to give the best natural point of aim by using any one of four interchangeable palm swell backstrap inserts furnished with each pistol. These are graduated in sizes of small, medium, medium large and large. The molded-in grip texture is featured all the way around and is quite aggressive, allowing for a very secure hold.

Two 15-round magazines are furnished, along with two polymer grip extensions to fit over 17-round magazines, providing a comfortable gripping surface. S&W provides the polymer extensions with each pistol, however the higher capacity magazines have to be purchased separately. With all four magazines fully loaded plus one round in the chamber you have access to 65 rounds of ammunition! If this amount doesn’t give you a comforting feeling I have no idea what would.

Sights on this striker-fired pistol are excellent, steel not plastic, with the three white dot set-up going on. I opted for the ambidextrous thumb safety and this model can also be supplied without. Cocking serrations are found on the back of the slide below the rear sight and there’s a rail for a light too. I can’t think of a single thing needed to improve this pistol. It’s simply excellent in all regards as provided.

The M2.0 Compact is accurate enough to pull double-duty as a trail pistol, says John.

Shooting

With over two dozen versions of 9mm ammo at my disposal, this pistol was fired extensively. Five-shot groups at 16 yards were mostly in the 1.5″ to 2.5″ size with me doing the shooting. My main practice ammo is S&B 124-FMJ and Blazer Brass 115-FMJ. Both of these group right in the 11/2″ neighborhood with muzzle velocities of 1,070 fps and 1,100 fps respectively. I normally opt for JHPs for carry and I had good results with SIG SAUER “365” 115-JHPs, 1,150 fps at 2″; Black Hills 124-JHPs, 1,160 fps, at 2″ and Hornady 115-XTP-JHPs, 1,150 fps, at about 17/8″ among others. Everything I tried shot well with no failures to feed, fire or eject. I would have no problem carrying this excellent little pistol for either concealed self-defense use or everyday carry off the beaten path. At 27 oz. unloaded, it’s handy too. It is definitely worthy of the M&P name.

The standard magazine holds 15, while the extended mag adds two more rounds.

The S&W Model 648 was test-fired with a variety of .22 WMR ammo
and John found them to all shoot excellently!

.22 Fun-Gun

I’ve long been a great fan of .22 Magnum and S&W’s newest .22 Magnum sixgun is the stainless steel 6″ Model 648. It’s an 8-shot .22 WMR revolver mainly designed for outdoor/hiking/hunting use. With a total weight unloaded of just over 46 oz. this is a hefty pistol making it very easy to hold on the target. Adding the weight of a scope makes it especially desirable for shooting small game or varmints.

The grips are a synthetic finger-groove wraparound style, and while I’m not normally enamored with finger grooves, on this pistol they’re more than welcome to compensate for the muzzle-heavy feel. The grips and the weight combine for very steady shooting. Sights are typical S&W and are all black with no white dots or fiber optics. The trigger, like most S&W DA sixguns is excellent whether it’s operated DA or single action.

My own model 48’s are strictly an iron-sighted proposition. However with the 648 the rear sight can be removed exposing drilled and tapped holes in the top of the frame for accepting a scope mount base. I chose to use a Weigand base mounted with a 2X Burris scope for test-firing at 25 yards. My shooting consisted of a full dozen versions of .22 Magnum ammunition.

Everything I tried shot very well, with my best groups for seven shots at 25 yards with scope included a Winchester 40-HP at 1,325 fps and a 1″ group; Federal 50-HP, 1,055 fps, at 1.25″; Winchester 40-Dyna-Point, 1,200 fps, CCI/Speer Gold Dot HP, 1,300 fps; Remington 33-Accutip, 1,515 fps, and Fiocchi 40-HP, 1,400 fps with all putting seven shots into 13/8″ at 25 yards. These groups were amazingly consistent and really showed this gun off!

At 20 yards, the iron-sighted Model 648 did great — but once scoped it really shined.

Iron Sights Too

Switching to iron sights and seven shots at 20 yards saw the above-mentioned Gold Dot HPs and Winchester Dyna-Points grouping right at 0.75″, and Federal’s 50-grain load giving a a solid 1″ group. My most-used .22 Magnum loads are from CCI consisting of their Maxi-Mag JHP and the Maxi-Mag +V JHP with both giving me right at 1″ groups for 20 yards. Muzzle velocities of 1,313 fps and 1,700+ respectively showed up on the chrono. The latter is also the most powerful load I know of in the .22 WMR line up.

This illustrates a significant increase in performance from the .22 Magnum compared to the regular .22 LR, even out of this shorter revolver barrel. This increase does not come cheaply, as a box of .22 WMR ammunition can cost anywhere from 4-6 times the same amount of .22 LR loads. In fact if cost is a factor the M&P 9mm can actually be shot cheaper than the .22 Magnum!

The M&P 2.0 Compact can do double duty. And the Model 648 .22 Magnum — while much heavier and larger — can also be pressed into service for self-defense with the CCI Speer Gold Dot 40-gr. JHP designed specifically for this purpose. These were two totally different new handguns from S&W, with both rated highly for use by me and mine. MSRP of the Dark Earth M&P M2.0 is $569 while the .22 Magnum Model 648 is listed at $749.

For more info: www.smith-wesson.com

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