Making Better — Even Better

Apex Tactical's S&W M&P M2.0 Compact

SIG SAUER V-Crown JHP, Federal Hydra-Shok Deep and Inceptor ARX +P ammo all performed fine.
A Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 IWB holster in horsehide and matching mag carrier worked great.

Until I wrote this, I didn’t realize how much of a Smith & Wesson fan I am. I knew I had a lot of their guns and liked them, but it really struck home when I started digging through the gun safe. My first revolver? A .357 Smith Model 581. My first auto? A 9mm 5906. My first carry gun? A Model 642 J-Frame .38 Spl. My first .40? An M&P. In fact, my current carry gun is an S&W M&P9 full-size pistol, judiciously customized by Apex Tactical. See a trend here?

I’d been wanting something a tad smaller — without going the full “subcompact” route — and have been very curious about the new M&P M2.0 series of pistols. When Smith released the M&P M2.0 Compact, I jumped at the chance to see just what the difference is.

Mike’s new M&P M2.0 Compact 9mm went to Apex Tactical for a new flat-faced set trigger,
“Apex Grade” barrel and “failure-resistant” extractor. Note the zazzy blue color for the trigger.

A Solid Foundation

What does the 2.0 bring to the party? Enhancements both inside and out. Internally, the 2.0 has a stiffened polymer frame through an extended stainless steel chassis as well as a redesigned trigger for a crisper and cleaner pull, with a tangible reset. Externally, the pistol’s texturing was made more “aggressive” — and by this, I mean it’s reaching the level of 220-grit sandpaper. Seriously, this gun is not going to move in your hand. In addition, the pistol comes with four interchangeable palmswell inserts to fit hands ranging from petite to bear paw sized.

The new M2.0 Compact also brought something notable to the M&P line — a completely new size. While the original M&P line had an M&PC compact variant — yep, I have one of these as well — it was more of a subcompact-sized pistol. As a result, you had pretty much the full-size and a much smaller compact from which to choose. To all of the Goldilocks out there, the new M2.0 Compact is a “just right” addition to the line. With its 4" barrel — although a shorter 3.6" barrel version is also available — and 15-round magazine in 9mm, the new Compact fits right in the middle of the older M&P offerings.

For someone like me who prefers guns closer to the full-size range for EDC, the new Compact was just about perfect. Small enough to carry, but big enough to be a “real” gun. While it’s also offered in .40 and .45, I selected the M&P M2.0 Compact in 9mm. I also like the variant with the ambi manual safety.

The M2.0 brings a lot of upgrades to the M&P platform. One of these is highly aggressive
texturing and a total of four palmswell inserts to fit almost any hand size.

The Next Level

No sooner had I put in an order for the pistol when I got an email from Apex Tactical they had just released a “failure-resistant extractor” for the M2.0. Curiosity sent me to their site to see what else they were offering for the new pistols. What I found was a treasure chest of goodies. I put in an order for the extractor which had brought me there, as well as the new M&P M2.0C Apex “gunsmith fit” barrel and one of the company’s iconic flat-faced forward set triggers.

During my discussions with Apex, the question of trigger color came up. As I already had a red Apex trigger in an M&P Shield — yep, I have one of these, too — I asked if blue would be a possibility. They explained they plan to offer red, but all custom color requests such as this one go to Legion Precision for Cerakoting. So, I packed up the pistol and sent it on to Apex for the install work. I also included a set of Trijicon’s excellent orange HD XR Night Sights for installation while they had it.

For me, the Trijicon sights offer the best of all worlds. They are three-dot tritium units, but the front sight has a large colored ring for picking it up easily. This way you get the three dots for low light, but pretty much just the high-visibility front sight in daylight. Add in a racking ledge on the rear sight and a slim front post, and you have just about everything I would ask for in a sighting set.

The pistol comes with two handy “grip extensions” for getting a full grip when using the longer mags.
While the Compact has a shorter grip frame than a full-size, you can still use the longer mags.

Mike had the pistol topped off with a set of Trijicon’s excellent HD XR Night Sights.
Note the racking ledge on the forward face.

Hands On

I had spent the time waiting for the pistol to be finished by Apex gathering ammo and accessories. I went with my favorite holster rig, a Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 horsehide inside-the-waistband unit with a matching belt and single mag carrier, and I picked up a 17-rounder full-size M&P 9mm magazine to be my spare. I noted the Compact comes with two 15-rounders as well as two handy polymer “grip extensions” for 17-round magazines, slipping over the magazine body giving you a full grip with the longer mags.

When I received the reworked pistol, I was wowed by the work. The new “Apex Grade” stainless steel barrel was attractive and seemed to be well fitted, and the flat-faced trigger was terrific. Apex had set it at 5 lbs. for me since I explained this would be a carry gun, and it exhibited a clean and crisp break right at this weight.

I headed out to the range with Inceptor 65-gr. ARX +P, Federal Hydra-Shok 135-gr. “Deep” and SIG SAUER 124-gr. JHP V-Crown ammo. I settled in at the bench at 15 yards with the Compact on a rest and began shooting groups. I had a few failures to fully feed malfunctions early, but this soon cleared up. I suspected the tightly fitted barrel was “wearing” in, typical of an auto. I shot the pistol with the original and the new barrel and noted the Apex unit did tighten up the groups. The pistol showed a preference for the ultra-light Inceptor ammo, with a smallest group of 3/4″, but still shooting well with all three loads.

I really like the new Compact M2.0 from Smith & Wesson. The “bones” of it are exactly what I wanted in a new carry gun, and the Apex upgrades and Trijicon sights took it to the next level. The MSRP of the basic pistol is a very reasonable $569, although my customizing added up to more than the original cost of the pistol. However, in the big picture I think you get a lot for your money either way.

For more info:
(800) 331-0852
(623) 322-0200
(800) 338-0563
(480) 476-3006

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