HomeGunsBig Bore Greatness: Testing the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm

Big Bore Greatness: Testing the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm

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The bigger the bang, the bigger the smile, right? Smith & Wesson is well known for its powerhouse pistols. They originally released the Model 610 in the powerful 10mm back in 1989. Now Smith & Wesson is back with its semi-auto M&P M2.0 chambered in 10mm. This thing packs a serious punch!

The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm

Back at the beginning of October 2021, I was fortunate enough to be invited to the annual Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous in scenic southeastern Idaho. If you’re invited, you get to take your time and talk one-on-one with the manufacturers.

This provides an opportunity to learn about the product before heading out to the range. It is a great opportunity to see the future of firearms and related accessories.  

When I walked out onto the range that early October morning, I made a beeline for the S&W range table to check out this beast of a pistol—the new M&P M2.0 10mm. After shooting several mags through each model present, I was able to get a pretty good feel for the pistol. It put such a smile on my face that I knew I wanted one for myself.

Both available models of the Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm, with and without the paddle safety. (Photo by Alex Landeen)

Why 10mm?

I’ve been in the market for a pistol that can knock down pretty much anything in its path. But I didn’t want the added bulk of a .44 Magnum or bigger. Plus, this isn’t the 1800s, and I don’t want to carry a huge hog-leg on my side.

It’s mainly meant to be carried out in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. This is because I’m currently training a tracking dog for SAR (Search & Rescue).

I really love my dog, and I don’t want either of us to become a meal for one of the many hairy beasts that live in the mountains and hills out this way. I usually carry a .45 ACP with Federal HST +P loads or a .357 Magnum wheel gun that I have.

Given the nature of my circumstances, I really don’t want to have to ask more than once or twice. So, the 10mm seems like a logical choice. After all, it will drop most anything out here with a single, well-placed shot. Grizzly bears may require a mag dump. But I’ve got 15+1 reasons why my pooch and I won’t make for a tasty meal.

Besides, a 10mm projectile traveling at almost 1,100 fps makes one hell of a persuasive argument. It thunders in a universal language that even the biggest animals in the Pacific Northwest can easily understand.

Gun Details

The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm comes from the factory in 4- and 4.6-inch barrel lengths, both with a full-size frame. S&W also decided to offer an optional external ambidextrous paddle-style manual safety for those that feel more comfortable carrying in this fashion.

Each variant of the S&W 10mm M2.0 will ship with a total of two 15-round magazines. Each slide is also pre-cut for optics with a cover plate included. All the better to see Yogi Bear’s evil twin.

The pistol features a trigger safety.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

The M2.0 offers a flat-face trigger, which will allow for consistent finger placement. The lower bore access helps to make for a better shooting experience by reducing muzzle rise for faster follow-up shots.

Four interchangeable palm swell grip inserts are included to ensure that any size hand can comfortably reach the trigger and still take advantage of the 18-degree grip angle. The grip texture on the M&P 2.0 is “enhanced,” providing a comfortable grip, especially during felt recoil.

Smith & Wesson includes interchangeable back straps with the M&P M2.0.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

The grip itself has a somewhat aggressive textured finish. It still feels nice enough in the hand, so you don’t feel like you’re holding a block of 60-grit sandpaper. Just enough to not let it slip in your hand yet still be comfortable while carrying concealed.

An interesting feature to note, the M&P’s patented take-down lever and sear deactivation allows for disassembling the pistol without pulling the trigger. That’s a great feature for most and will give a warm fuzzy to those who wanted the external safety.

Red-Dot Ready

S&W was kind enough to include a nice selection of plates for mounting a reflex sight to accommodate the various footprints on the market. It was time to pick out and mount a red-dot sight for this 10mm beast.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the ACSS (Advanced Combined Sighting System) as far as reticles go. Primary Arms is the exclusive distributor of any Holosun optic with the ACSS reticle in it. Once I saw the Holosun HE507C-GR-X2 Pistol Green Dot Sight with the ACSS Vulcan Reticle, I knew that I had to have it.

The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 comes with mounting plates for popular red-dot optics.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

That 10-MOA green chevron is bright, crisp, and clear. There are 12 brightness settings, and it will go 20,000 hours on a CR1632 3V Lithium Coin battery.

Shooting with a red-dot is an acquired taste, especially if you’ve been shooting iron sights for almost 30 years. However, once you become more proficient at it, it just makes sense. Older eyes will appreciate it as well.

Primary Arms and Holosun worked together to bring the HS507 X2 to market with the combat-proven ACSS reticle system in the form of the ACSS Vulcan. Upon presenting the pistol, that chevron in the ACSS Vulcan reticle immediately draws the eye in and helps put focus on the target rather than just the front sight.

Changing the Batteries in the HS507 X2

When it’s time to change out batteries, it’s as simple as opening the side battery drawer and swapping them out. No more removing optics for this task. It’s got a solar failsafe to keep it going if the battery dies when needed most. Thus, keeping you in the fight.

One of my favorite features on this red-dot is the “shake awake” function. Set your gun on the nightstand and walk away, and it goes into a kind of standby mode. As soon as you grab your weapon, it senses the movement and returns the Holosun back to your preferred brightness setting.

The Holosun HS507C X2 is available in a red or green ACSS Vulcan reticle and has fast become my go-to pistol red-dot.

Dry Fire

Practice with your firearm often. If you cannot afford a whole lot of ammunition, then check out the Mantis X Dry Fire Training System. Two words to sum that up—awesome and humbling. This system will help you become a better shooter.

If you plan on carrying this as an everyday carry pistol, you should practice unholstering and presenting and then re-holstering without looking. These drills should be done as often as you are able. Develop that muscle memory and get comfortable carrying your firearm. Know it like it’s an extra appendage of your body.

That Mantis X Dry Firing Training System is a great tool to help you develop good shooting habits and doesn’t require the use of live ammunition. I call that a win-win.

The slide features aggressive forward cocking serrations.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

Range Impressions

Felt recoil of the new S&W 10mm was very manageable, and I was able to get back on target without issue. Ammunition seems to be in short supply, and a variety of 10mm ammo is hard to find. That being said, the good folks over at Federal and Remington (Vista Outdoor) sent me some ammo to get this test done.

Had it not been for Federal Ammunition, this test would not have been possible without donating a kidney on the black market to be able to afford the prices for 10mm defensive ammo.

The Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 makes a formidable game changer, chambered in 10mm.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

Remington UMC 180-grain FMJ was a breeze to shoot, I actually expected more recoil and was pleasantly surprised. Moving on over to one of my favorite defensive loads, Federal HST in a 200-grain flavor. It gave a bit more kick but was still very controllable.

Now, the Federal Premium Solid Core 200-grain Syntech Flat Point kicked like a little mule. That being said, it would most definitely be my go-to ammo for carrying in the wild. I’ve got 16 chances to hit the big bear charging at me and a spare mag if I’m still around to do a reload.

With proper training, when the pucker factor kicks in, that felt recoil will go out the window and feel almost like a .22LR.

Final Notes

After shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P 10mm M2.0, I’m thinking of purchasing the 4-inch (non-external safety) variant for myself to wear while out in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest.

If you’re in the market for a nice 10mm semi-auto pistol with very reasonable recoil, you really should give some serious consideration to the Smith & Wesson M&P 10mm M2.0.

For more information, please visit Smith-Wesson.com.

The author shooting the 10mm powerhouse.
(Photo by Alex Landeen)

Smith & Wesson M&P M2.0 10mm Specs

Caliber: 10mm
Barrel: 4 inches
Overall Length: 7.2 inches
Weight: 28.5 ounces (empty)
Grips: Polymer
Sights: Iron, Red-dot height
Action: Striker-fired
Finish: FDE, black
Capacity: 15+1
MSRP: $654

Performance

LOAD  VELOCITY ACCURACY
Federal Personal Defense HST 200 JHP 1,098 1.10
Federal Solid Core 200 Syntech Flat Point 1,074 1.70
Remington UMC 180 FMJ 1,076  1.60

Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in feet per second (fps) by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 21 feet.

This article was originally published in the Personal Defense World June/July 2022 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions at OutdoorGroupStore.com. Or call 1-800-284-5668, or email [email protected].

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