Pistol Review: Smith & Wesson New M&P M2.0 10mm

The 10mm Auto has seen a revival in popularity in recent years, and the new Smith & Wesson M2.0 10mm is among the latest additions to the 10mm lineup available to consumers. Many hunters, hunters, and country travelers find the 10mm pistol to be an attractive self-defense option. As a result, many gunsmiths are expanding their lines to include 10mm auto chambers. In the 10mm Auto’s obscurity, there were few options for shooters who wanted to carry it, but not anymore.

This new 10mm is built on the M&P M2.0 .45 automatic frame and offers a 16-round capacity with grip and ergonomics that set it apart from other 10mm pistols. Individual tastes in pistols are as varied as those who shoot them, but anyone who loves the convenience and functionality of the M&P line will likely be a fan of this pistol. The M&P M2.0 10mm doesn’t break new ground when it comes to pistol design, but it does give shooters another quality option to carry in another country.

Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm 4″ Specifications

  • Caliber: 10mm automatic
  • Capacity: 15 + 1
  • Barrel: 4 inch, stainless steel, 1:10 5R
  • Dimensions: 7.2″ (L) x 5.6″ (H) x 1.3″ (W)
  • Weight: 27.8 ounces
  • Frame: polymer
  • Slip: stainless steel
  • Optics: Cut slides for optics, adapter plates included
  • Controls: Turbulent slide stop, reversible magazine hold
  • Finish: Black Armornite
  • Grip: interchangeable back straps, abrasives
  • Sights: steel, 3-point white, optical elevation
  • Trigger: Single action, flat-faced, trigger rod safety, 4 pounds 9 ounces (measured)
  • MSRP: $654

welcome flavor

The new M&P 10mm doesn’t bring new concepts or dramatic designs to market, but it’s still welcome. One of the most attractive features of the 10mm as a backcountry defense cartridge is that it is easy to learn how to shoot quickly and accurately when compared to larger pistols housed in cartridges like the .44 Rem. mag. Weight, ammo costs and recoil all play a factor, but so does familiarity. Shooting a stronger-than-normal cartridge, the average shooter will likely do a better job with a pistol platform they are familiar with. I mean, a shooter operating a Glock 19 or similar striker-fired pistol would have a shorter learning curve mastering the Glock 20 10mm versus the Ruger Redhawk in .454 Casull.

in hand

The M&P M2.0 10mm has a polymer frame with a relatively thin grip with interchangeable backstraps for angle customization and palm swells. There is plenty of real estate to allow for a good grip, but the grip is not overly thick or full. The texture on the handle and back straps is great – a soft drip-type treatment.

The M&P M2.0 10mm uses a 15-round steel magazine with a polymer base plate. There isn’t much of a rim on the magwell, but the bottom of the grip features a miniature cut-out on each side to help remove the magazine if it gets stuck. In my sample, the magazines fell freely when released, but it’s not a bad feature. The pistol also sports a rugged, easy-to-feel, slide-in position and a reversible magazine pick-up button for left-handed shooters.

The controls were easy to operate with minimal hand movement for me, and the aggressive front cocking serrations made loading and unloading the rifle a simpler task, especially with the optics mounted on it. The beveled edges and clean lines of the slide and bezel made the case and opening the holster smooth and efficient.

M&P 10mm Light and Optical
The M&P M2.0 10mm comes ready to light with multiple adapter plates. The light is also a great addition to the back country. Tyler Friel

Other key features

The M&P M2.0 10mm is a fast-action pistol that is comfortable to handle, but there are a few other things worth noting as well. This pistol comes in two models, with a barrel length of either 4 or 4.6 inches. The 4.6-inch barrel is the standard length for a full-size 10mm, but the shorter 4-inch barrel on the full-size frame reduces the overall length to 7.2 inches and makes it more compact. The slide comes optics ready with a removable, scrape-embossed vice plate mount. The pistol comes with a variety of adapter plates and screws for mounting many of the popular pistol’s red dot optics.

The top rear of the chamber features a small cut-out hole that acts as a loaded chamber indicator, allowing you to see the brass if the chamber is loaded. The lower rear of the chamber is slightly tilted for reliable feeding, but the case head is still well contoured and supported—which is important with defensive, high-pressure loads. Pistols with “unsupported” chambers can result in a grin-shaped bulge in the case head at higher pressures, or even rupture of the housing.

The slide bars are thinner and shorter than pistols like the XD-M Elite Compact OSP 10mm and the bars are tapered thicker in the front and rear. This reduces the bearing surface between the slide and frame and reduces friction. One of the main things to note when it comes to the 10mm polymer auto, the M&P M2.0 10mm frame features a steel insert in the frame’s channel in front of the slide bars. This is the contact surface that the tire hits at the rear end of the rebound cycle. I have seen polymer contact surfaces on some other pistols that have been severely damaged over time due to the severe recoil of the 10mm cartridge. This steel attachment should help prevent any deformation.

M&P 10mm Frame
A steel insert in front of the polymer front slide bars will protect the sharp recoil of the 10mm Auto Tyler Friel

As would be expected in a full-size polymer pistol, this pistol features a 3-slot Picatinny rail mount. Gun lights are often overlooked when it comes to backcountry defense pistols, but if you run into trouble at camp after dark, you’ll be glad to have a light. I put the Surefire X300 Ultra on me, which is one of the best gun lights you can get.

Other internal elements are also what you’ll see in any other M&P M2.0, and are very similar to other striker-fired pistols. The M&P M2.0 10mm also has a sear spacer that when depressed allows you to remove the slide from the frame without pulling the trigger. Easy disassembly and maintenance with a swivel removal lever. The only thing I didn’t like was that the front end of the recoil rod/spring assembly is painted orange. It’s clear in which direction the gun goes, so I don’t think the coating is necessary—it peels off all over the front of the slide and frame and onto the barrel when fired.

painted spring recoil
The orange paint on the recoil spring won’t hurt anything, but it does make a mess. Tyler Friel

How to shoot M&P M2.0 10mm

Firing a 10mm well has something to do with recoil management. The factory profile and grip fitting on this pistol do an excellent job of facilitating a secure grip. The smooth, round contour of the front of the handle and relatively thin trigger guard allow for a tight grip close to the bore. Recoil on 10mm pistols is sharp, and a solid, comfortable grip aids speed, accuracy and confidence. Most other 10mm polymer pistols can use a bit of custom milling or ribbing, but I wouldn’t change anything on the M&P M2.0 10mm grip.

Even with my hands sweaty, the pistol is easy to hold and I had no trouble maintaining my grip. Shooting only with the weak hand, I had no trouble keeping a solid case on the gun. The Recoil will certainly throw you more than a 9mm, but it was the most comfortable unadjusted 10mm I’ve shot.

I fired nearly 300 rounds of different Factory Auto 10mm ammo and handloads through M&P and never had a single problem. I fired some factory defensive loads, but most of my shooting was split between 180-grain FMJ loads and a heavy recoil, 200-grain flat nosed bullet. I found it to be very accurate and was able to hold Federal Premium 200-grain HST hollow points within the Post-It Note from a supported position at 50 feet. Most importantly, the rifle was relatively easy to manage, falling off target quickly after recoil. I was able to get half a dozen A-zone hits on a USPSA-style target nearly twice as fast as I could with my .357 Magnum pistol.

I shot the pistol with iron sights first, then attached the Trijicon RMR to one of the included adapter plates. Installation was easy and the pistol performed well in both configurations. The sights with optical height are long, but they are easy to pick up and I had no trouble using them through my RMR window. They are a solid backup in case the optics fail. As part of the popular platform line, the M&P M2.0 10mm should also be compatible with a variety of aftermarket locations if you don’t like what comes with it.

The trigger on the M&P M2.0 10mm has some characteristics I like, others I don’t. It features a trigger bar safety that when pressed gives a flat trigger profile. I like the flat profile because I feel it allows me to squeeze the trigger more precisely. The trigger weight is relatively light for a striker-fired poly pistol—I measured my weight at 4 pounds, 9 ounces. Many of my pistols have a trigger that weighs more than 5 pounds.

The trigger break is clean and crisp—I love it—but the grip isn’t as smooth as I like. Squeeze through the safety of the trigger bar and through the gritty feel. The reset isn’t as special as I’d like it to be either. It’s tactile and audible but can be easy to miss. If I left the trigger off to reset, I could feel this courage when I started to push again. It didn’t affect the shooting in a perceptible way, but for such a loose trigger the turnout was annoying.

Advantages of M&P M2.0 10mm

  • Handle and shoot comfortably
  • Excellent grip texture
  • More compact than standard 4.6″ models
  • Good sights and multiple optical converter panels

M&P M2.0 10mm Cons

  • daring thrust trigger
  • Coated recoil spring makes initial cleanups a mess

last thoughts

For a defensive rifle of any class, comfort to hold, handle and shoot is of paramount importance—perhaps second only to reliability. Given the current popularity of the 10mm Auto is mostly for the purpose of rear-carry defense, the M&P 2.0 10mm provides exactly what shooters should be looking for in a rear carry pistol. It’s ergonomics and grip feel that sets it apart. While this may sound like nothing, if the rifle is more comfortable to hold and shoot, you are more likely to practice with it, carry it more often, and hopefully be ready to use when it really matters.

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