Smith & Wesson revamped the M&P line early in 2017 with the M2.0, which offered as standard features extras that many M&P owners had been paying to improve on their own. More-aggressive texture improves purchase on this version, while forward cocking serrations aid in slide manipulation and press checks. The frame has been strengthened, the beavertail reduced and an additional backstrap sized between Medium and Large joined the fray.
Later in 2017 Smith & Wesson debuted the M2.0 Compact, which brings a 15-round capacity firearm to the mix. The first generation M&P Compact would more-accurately be described as subcompact, as it did not allow a full, three finger firing grip. This M2.0 version shortens the barrel to 4 inches but keeps a grip you can wrap your whole hand around, and Smith & Wesson supplemented this variant with one featuring an even shorter barrel. This frame is a great size for a concealed-carry handgun, as it’s small enough to easily conceal while being large enough to shoot competently. Standard capacity, full-size 17-round mags will work just fine in the M2.0 compact, and Smith & Wesson even ships the Compact with two spacers to fill in the grip when using full-size, 17-round magazines.
Both American Rifleman and Shooting Illustrated ran separate M&P M2.0 pistols through 2,000 round torture tests, with only one failure among them—that’s one failure in 4,000 rounds. The M&P’s reliability is excellent, and the thoughtful upgrades made to this new generation serve to improve the shooting experience and increase the ease with which it can be carried.
When it comes to outside-the-waistband carry, having the right holster is of paramount importance. Bravo Concealment’s OWB Kydex holster offers a ten degree forward cant to present your pistol properly for a smooth draw. Solid locking retention holds the handgun solidly in place, while the easily replaceable belt loops can be swapped out for inside-the-waistband clips if you find the need for greater concealment down the road.
Going from the full size M&P to the compact comes with a capacity loss of two rounds. This can be easily overcome with the Hyve Technologies +3 magazine extension, which replaces the existing baseplate. There’s even a small setscrew to make sure the magazine extension stays in place. While it does add a bit of heft, that’s an easy tradeoff for the peace of mind the extra rounds offer.
Blackhawk 1700 Shirt (MSRP: $59.99)
When carrying outside-the-waistband, a specialized cover garment can mean the difference between discretion and printing. Blackhawk’s 1700 shirt is designed with lightweight fabric and a pattern designed to break up a pistol’s outline. Hidden document pockets and stain resistance are additional features adding to this cover garment’s utility.
Camillus Vortex Knife (MSRP: $39.99)
Lifetime warranty, carbonitride/titanium blade finish and G10 scales for under forty dollars? Camillus Knives’ Vortex offers this ambidextrous thumb stud opening knife with AUS8 steel construction, a three and a quarter inch, plain blade and liner locking mechanism. Sharp, easy to deploy and affordable are great combinations in an EDC knife.