Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun – a New Big Bore CCW Weapon

Gun nut, Tom McHale, reviews the all new Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun with expanded extra fat bullet capacity, for concealed carry?!?

The new Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun packs 10+1 rounds of .45 ACP.
The new Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun packs 10+1 rounds of .45 ACP.


USA –-( I love a good 1911 chambered in .45 ACP. In fact, I probably shoot it better than just about anything else, and that inspires confidence.

However, in these days of angry mobs and random terrorist attacks, the standard capacity of a .45 doesn’t make me feel so warm and fuzzy. With a “normal” capacity of 7+1, it carries half as many rounds as a double-stack 9mm. It’s easy to find a wonder nine that packs 15+1 and many, like the new Smith & Wesson 2.0 models, stuff 17+1 into a surprisingly compact package.

Yeah, I know, .45 rounds are huge, and each one is capable of leveling an entire city block, but magazines can leak amazingly fast when things go bad.

Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun

If you’re into big bore calibers, one alternative is to consider a double, or more accurately, one and a half stack polymer .45s like the new Smith & Wesson M&P 45 2.0. This one stuffs ten rounds of .45 into the magazine plus an extra in the chamber. So, if you carry a spare magazine, you’re looking at 21 rounds of total carry capacity. That’s not too shabby and works out to six more than a standard 1911 and spare magazine configuration.

The M&P 45 M2.0 sports a 4.6-inch barrel with a 1:15-inch twist rate. That barrel length equates to a 7.9-inch overall length, almost an inch shorter and 11 ounces lighter than an SW1911 government size. As a different comparison, this size and weight put it in the same class as the 9mm Glock 17.

Even though it's a double-stack .45, it's about the same size as a Glock 17.
Even though it’s a double-stack. 45, it’s about the same size as a Glock 17.

The trigger is where the significant changes from the original design are most evident. While I liked the overall feel of the 1.0 M&P series, I would have to describe the trigger as a bit on the mushy side. The new one has been completely redesigned and is much, much better. There’s a noticeably smoother take-up stage followed by a crisp break. I measured this one with a Timney Triggers Gauge, and it showed exactly 5 3/4 pounds of pull weight every time.

The Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun trigger reset is positive; you can hear and feel it. To see what I mean, dry fire, but hold the trigger back while you reset the slide. Then, slowly release the trigger until it resets. After about 1/4-inch of travel, you won’t be able to miss the reset either by feel or the audible “click.” It’s nice.

The grip size options of the S&W M&P 45 M2.0 are also new and improved. Each pistol ships with four interchangeable backstraps so you can easily tweak the grip size to fit your hand and personal preference. The pistol comes with the Medium size installed, so included in the box is one that’s smaller and two that add additional circumference. I ran a tape around the default Medium grip configuration, and the circumference measured 5 1/4 inches. For comparison, I did the same with a Springfield Armory 1911 TRP and came to about 5 1/16 inches. That gun has Crimson Trace Master Series Lasergrips installed, so the grips are a hair thicker than standard.

The Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun grip texture is aggressive - this gun won't move around while you shoot.
The Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun grip texture is aggressive – this gun won’t move around while you shoot.

The texture on the new M&P 45 2.0 is much more like skateboard tape; it’s an aggressive pattern. The good news is that once anchored in your hand; it won’t move. The bad news is that if you carry inside the waistband, you’ll want to use a holster with a generous back panel or wear and undershirt to protect your skin.

Under the covers, you might notice a couple of holes in the polymer frame forward of the trigger guard. Through those, you’ll see the extended stainless steel chassis. It’s been made longer with the new models to help reduce flex of the frame. Just below that is a rail segment for attachment of lights or lasers.

The standard M&P 45 2.0 is a striker-fired pistol with no external safety. Of course, there are internal safeties like the now common trigger safety. If you prefer, you can order the M&P 45 2.0 with a manual safety option. I tried this on one of the new 9mm pistols and found it changed the feel of the trigger a bit. It was a little rougher and had a slightly detectable “shelf” that you could feel during the pull if you concentrated. So that’s the tradeoff. Also, the standard model is black, but you can order this gun in Flat Dark Earth as well. The 9mm I tried came in that finish and it looked sharp, but then again, I have a thing for that color.

The M&P 45 2.0 worked like a champ with this Safariland 578 GLS Pro-Fit holster. It's one of the few paddle holsters that actually stays put.
The M&P 45 2.0 worked like a champ with this Safariland 578 GLS Pro-Fit holster. It’s one of the few paddle holsters that actually stays put.

The M&P 45 2.0 is a pleasant gun to shoot. I’ve always liked the 18-degree grip angle (same as a 1911) and rounded profile. It’s a personal preference certainly, but the rounded profile tends to fit my hand better, and my shooting improves, with a more rounded grip as compared to the squared profile of a Glock. I think I just get better overall hand contact with the shape of the M&P.

I brought this pistol to the range with both included 10-round magazines and a pile of .45 ACP ammo to do both informal and accuracy shooting. I tend to like shooting .45 ACP in general, so the feel didn’t surprise me. The heavier and slower bullet, at least for me, offers recoil that feels more like a push than a snap, so I don’t consider it a heavy recoiling gun. Again, to me, it’s easier to control than something like a .40 S&W, but that’s a personal opinion.

After getting a feel for the pistol, I set up targets at 25 yards and shot multiple five-shot groups for accuracy with various brands and types of ammo.

Shooting the Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun here is what I found:


Five-shot group average, 25 yards

Black Hills JHP .45 ACP 230 grain


Hornady Critical Defense .45 ACP 185 grain


Sig Sauer FMJ .45 ACP 230 grain


Federal HST .45 ACP 230 grain


Polycase Inceptor ARX .45 ACP 114 grain


Sig Sauer V-Crown .45 ACP 230 grain


American Eagle FMJ .45 ACP 230 grain


American Eagle Syntech .45 ACP 230 grain


Sig Sauer V-Crown .45 ACP 185 grain


While not a bullseye competition gun, it’s perfectly solid for carry use and puts rounds where they need to go. While most ammo types shot to the point of aim with the default factory sight placement, both front and rear sights are dovetail mounted and easily adjustable for windage. I didn’t experience enough of an elevation difference to worry about that.

All in all, the Smith & Wesson’s M&P 45 M2.0 Handgun is a nice pistol. If you want a little extra fat and slow bullet capacity, check it out. The new trigger on the 2.0 series makes all the difference. MSRP on all variants is $599, but you can find them for less on the street.


Tom McHale is the author of the Insanely Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Google+, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

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Frank US Marine

I have both the M&P 2.0 in the 9mm full size and the new 2.0 compact. But when I’m hiking in the North Carolina mountains I prefer to carry my M&P 2.0 45 acp loaded with Buffalo Bore 255 grain +P Hardcast Flat Noise bullets. That should take care of any 2 or 4 lagged threats.


When I read the very first sentence, I completely ignored the article and scrolled to the bottom to comment. Can we please, for the sake of all that is holy, not mention the damned 1911 in every .45 article written today? I didn’t search 1911s; I searched M&P .45s. I’m interested in modern handguns that work. We’re not still flying Spad fighters or driving Model T cars, so can we please move on? It’s like…gunwriters have to literally apologize to the readers and to the 1911, as if it were a living, breathing soul, for writing an article about a… Read more »


I know this is an older post but I’d like S&W to produce a MP10 M2.0. With the new release of the Springfield XD(M) 10 maybe S&W will get the staff & engineers busy with a 10mm. I love my 1006 but it is a boat anchor compared to the M&P series!

David Amos

I have the M&P 45 M 2.0. I can’t express enough how smooth this trigger is. The recoil doesn’t recoil like a normal 45. Thr problem I’m having is I can’t find a RMR slide so I can throw a reflex on it. I’m starting to think they don’t make one. They have CORE slides on the .40 but……thats a .40. Not the .45. If I have some idiot break in my house or trying to harm my family, I want to see the idiot drop with one shot. I’ve never shot a .40 so I don’t know if the… Read more »


I have the .40 2.0 and the recoil is very mild. My Walther PPQ 5-inch in 9mm has more muzzle flip than my 2.0 in .40. You can get a part that fits in where the rear sight is to mount a red dot. You just have to remove the rear sight and install the part in it’s place. Here is a link to Outerimpact video that shows how to do it.

There are other companies who make comparable products that allow you to mount a red dot.

David Amos

Hey Michael,
Thank you for your reply. I’ll look into that. Thanks for the information. Semper fi.


Phillip Martin

I have shot the big three; 9mm. .40 and .45 in striker fired polymer framed pistols. All are easily controlled with training. Which is best is open to debate and I know of no empirical evidence that one is more lethal than the other. I urge you to practice, practice, practice with what ever you chose. Too many guns may get in the way of proper practice. If you are set on a dot sight pistol I would recommend you buy a model offered from the manufacturer. Always use the best jhp bullets except when practicing. For that I like… Read more »

David Amos

Thanks fir the reply. I have shot 9mm and. 45. I have put over 1500 rounds through my .45. I mostly use range ammo but i have put roughly 150 rounds of 230 grain Horniday XTP. You are very correct about whatever weapon you get, practice is the key. The way you shoot and the way I shoot are totally different and you have to get to know your weapon extrememly well. My fault wasn’t thinking about all of my options before I bought it. Lesson learned for sure. I love it though. I’m very happy with the feel of… Read more »


I sent my complete slide (your exact same pistol) and a Vortex Venom to Primary Machine, and they milled in the red dot sight and it looks integrated from the factory.

American Defense

Hi Dave, yes theres a Big difference in shooting a 40cal vs 45 & not in good way everything about it stinks!! Theres good reason why the FBI, Homeland Security, Air Marshall’s & most importantly nearly every police department across the country has dropped or is in the process of dropping the 40 cal & any contracts tied to it over the past 4 yrs. also if you look around you’ll notice many firearms makers are dropping the 40 cal guns, & you never see new 40 cal carry guns being produced This has nothing to do with being week… Read more »


Very interesting thoughts here about the 40 cal. Could you reach out to me at [email protected] I have a few things I’d like to talk with you about!



I have the new 2.0 in 45cal. I never had a problem with the trigger in my M&P 357 sig 1.0. fullsiize. I like the M&P series of pistols, I would get a 9mm but I think my XDM 9 would be a little jealous. My 357sig shoots just fine , even out of the box when I purchased it when they were first introduced. Now here is the real question, can you swap from 40cal to 357sig?

Taco Junkie

Sounds like a nice gun but I love my Springfield XDm 3.8″. It is 9+1 with the short mags and easier to carry than the M&P in the article and with the Xtension and longer mags goes to 13+1. Nice balance, good trigger, match grade barrel. Around the same price.

Phillip Martin

I have always thought that bigger was better and therefore the .45 was the best. Now I am told that modern bullet development makes the 9mm equal to the .40 and .45 and it is cheaper to boot. Roy Huntington, magazine editor, whom I respect told me to shoot what I shoot best and that would be my Kimber TLE2 .45. But I won’t do it because it is just too big and heavy. I think the most practical cartridge is the 9mm so I am looking for a everyday carry gun and may have found it in the FN… Read more »

Capt Ed McCourt USMC (ret)

Just remember gents, in the real world if the SHTF and you don’t take care of business with rounds 1-2 you may not need the extra magazines. A friend and shooting partner of mine picked up an M&P M1.0 .45 ACP. I like 185 Gr. for competition, he had 230 Gr in his mags. I shot it only from 10 yds double tap + one and keyholed al three rds! in a 2″/3″ bulls eye the first time I shot it . If the M 2.0 trigger is even smoother then the M 1.0 It must be GGGRRR888 !! I… Read more »


You would trade an ~$2000.00 Gold Cup for a pistol you can buy for <$500 new? Standby, I've got to run to the gun shop and pick up a v.1.0 for you. I'll be right back!


7+1 is the way to go. Anything more is just wasting bullets. Although I won’t be able to resist, I will have to have the new M&P.

Joe laureano

45acp hit what you have to once and keep on moving forward with no problems yeah the 3 USMC.

Hardy Spires

The next item on my purchase list is a good .45. I have a SDVE in 9mm and a .380 bodyguard that I just got this week. I ordered it while the rebate was still in effect and got it with the crimson red laser. I can’t wait to slip it in my pocket and go shopping. It just begs to take me somewhere. It’s size and feel are great for concealed carry. I like the SDVE because of the double stack magazine and it’s capacity. This new .45 that the article is written about would make a nice set.… Read more »

Joey Mendoza

Why did you not get a Glock 21 , 13+1 45acp with 185 gr gold Dot or Cor bon and Call it a day !


There a 14 round magazines available for the M&P 45 which are 100% reliable in my experience.

robert adams

45 ACP because shooting more than once is silly.

Joe laureano

Robert that’s absolutely right,


If you live in Kommunist controlled Kalifornia your mags carry 10 rounds, having said that, when I carry my 9mm shield I carry 3 extra mags, my g19 & g21 I carry 2 extra 10 rd. mags.


My 1911 has 14+1 and I carry 2 spare magazine with additional 14 each, so I am good with my 1911.