August 16, 2021
By Brad Fitzpatrick
The newest branch on Smith & Wesson’s ever-growing M&P family tree is the M&P9 M2.0 Compact four-inch OR. OR stands for Optics Ready, and this gun sports a milled slide that allows shooters to mount their favorite reflex optic. Smith & Wesson includes seven plates for mounting the most popular red dot pistol sights.
“The use of optics has become increasingly popular as handgun owners look for ways to enhance their accuracy and shooting experience,” says Vince Perreault, Smith & Wesson’s brand marketing manager. “To meet the demands of our consumers, the M&P9 M2.0 Compact is now able to accept many popular slide-mounted optics, straight from the factory.”
The gun’s four-inch barrel is housed in a slide that measures 1.1 inches wide. Overall length is 7.3 inches, which is slightly shorter than a Glock 19. From the top of its sights to the base pad of the magazine, the new M&P9 measures 5.1 inches, which is comparable to the Glock. The M&P has an unloaded weight of 27 ounces, and its beveled slide makes the gun less likely to print.
Smith & Wesson M&P pistols feature a Zytel polymer frame with an extended stainless steel chassis. Both the barrel and slide are made from stainless steel, and both are treated with an Armornite salt bath nitride treatment that improves the strength and corrosion protection of the metal. Practically speaking, the M&P9 2.0 Compact OR is capable of withstanding exposure to moisture and perspiration that occurs when a firearm is carried daily.
The M2.0’s slide cuts vary slightly from the original model, and this gun comes with aggressive fish scale texturing at the front and the rear of the slide. Also new on the M2.0 guns is a revised grip texturing that provides a secure hold on the gun and a lighter, smoother trigger than the previous-generation model.
One thing that hasn’t changed much over the M&P9’s lifespan is the control layout. There’s a reversible push-button magazine release and an ambidextrous slide stop as well as a rotating takedown lever that makes M&P guns easy to clean and maintain. The recoil spring features a flat coil design, and there’s a three-slot rail under the barrel should you elect to mount a light, laser or light/laser on your gun. The M&P9 Compact OR also features extended three-white-dot sights dovetailed into the slide that will co-witness with your reflex sight.
Suggested retail price is $616, and the gun comes with a number of extras, including a second 15-round magazine, a total of four backstrap inserts, base plates and two magazine sleeves for firing 17-round magazines.
While it’s not super-small, it’s still easy to conceal when worn inside the waistband, and it offers plenty of grip space and handles recoil well—thanks in part to the low bore axis and 18-degree grip angle.
The M2.0 trigger is excellent. The trigger pull averaged 5.5 pounds when measured on a Wheeler gauge. Take-up is smooth, and the wide, smooth trigger face is easy to manage. Instead of a bladed trigger, the Smith & Wesson’s trigger is divided into two pieces, and the lower portion pivots. I like this cleaner S&W design better than a bladed style.
I mounted Trijicon’s new RMRcc red dot on the M&P9. This compact optic doesn’t impede draw, and the overall height of the gun increases by just about 0.75 inch, making this the ideal carry gun setup for those who prefer a reflex sight. Accuracy was excellent, with the best five-shot group of the day measuring just 1.05 inches at 25 yards.
Off the bench the combination of the pistol’s low bore axis; smooth, short-reset trigger; excellent ergonomics; and the red dot optic made it easy to control and shoot quickly. Smith & Wesson has spent a decade perfecting the M&P9 pistols, and it should come as no surprise that there were no feeding issues throughout the 200-round test.
The rotating takedown lever makes field stripping the S&W M&P9 fast and simple, even for new shooters. Unlike other pistols that require knocking a pin free to remove interchangeable backstraps, the Smith & Wesson only requires that you turn the frame tool—which extends below the base of the grip with the magazine removed—90 degrees and pull it free from the gun.
Finding the right base and screws to match your optic is easy, too, and there’s a detailed chart in the rear of the manual to help you match the correct base plate to your optic.
The striker-fired 9mm semiauto market is saturated, but there are a few guns that are standouts in this overcrowded field. Smith & Wesson’s M&P9 M2.0 Compact OR is one of them. This versatile gun shoots like a full-size pistol and carries like a compact while offering the option to mount a reflex optic. If you’re considering a new red-dot-ready gun for daily carry, this M&P9 needs to be on your short list.
Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.O 4-Inch Compact OR Specs
- Type: Striker-fired semiauto
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 15
- Barrel: 4 in.
- OAL/Width: 7.3/1.1 in.
- Height: 5.1 in.; 5.9 in. w/Trijicon RMRcc
- Weight: 27 oz.
- Construction: Armornite-finished stainless steel slide; polymer frame w/interchangeable grips
- Trigger: 5.5 lb.
- Sights: co-witness-height white three-dot
- Price: $616
- Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson; smith-wesson.com