It looks like Smith & Wesson has finally figured out Glock’s secret. Leaked photos of a new M&P M2.0 Compact show a pistol with a feature that has the potential to be a GAME CHANGER in the world of versatile handguns for duty, concealed carry, or home defense. What is this amazing feature, you ask?
It’s the right size. That’s it. No more, no less.
The secret of the Glock 19’s popularity is not that it’s incredibly reliable or that it’s more accurate than anything else out there. It’s not that the Glock 19 has a great trigger or that it fits hands just right or is super pointable and most people can pick it up and shoot it better than other guns. In fact, the Glock 19 is horrifyingly average in all of these aspects.
Modern pistols are expected to be reliable, provide good accuracy, not be awkward to hold, and be somewhat easy to pick up and shoot. The standard for this was set on March 15, 1911, when a Colt 1911 fired 6,000 rounds without a malfunction (compared with two malfunctions for a service revolver of the time) and was found to be fast and accurate to shoot. It should not be surprising that over 100 years later we have other options which are also reliable and fast to shoot accurately.
There has long been a disconnect between the engineers who design handguns and the people who pick them up and carry them to work every day. One of the most puzzling disconnects has been the sizes selected by gun companies when they take their full-size service handgun and shrink it down to a carry or compact pistol. Too often, they think a compact gun just needs to have a slightly shorter slide. Or they go too far and make a pistol with the shortest possible slide and a grip just big enough to get two fingers on.
These efforts are no more concealable than their full-size counterparts – or so small that they are far more difficult to shoot rapidly and under stress when encountering the variety of engagement distances at which one must expect a carry gun to be effective. For some reason, gun companies have decided that there is no middle ground here, with the notable exception of Glock and their G19.
Countless dozens of new pistols have been announced to much fanfare only to find that their new “compact” gun has little lasting impact on the marketplace. What they don’t seem to realize is that a lot of people either don’t want to have or can’t afford to have more than one gun, or one type of gun, for every situation from carry to duty to competition to home defense. The number of pistols which serve as a true “jack of all trades, master of none” is very small indeed; many pistols do very well at one or two of these while coming up short on the others.
All of this is intended to say that the Glock 19 is not perfect or even excellent at any one thing which other pistols are not considered to be perfect or excellent. It’s just the right *size* – it fills an average size hand with the right number of cartridges, it can be concealed under a wide range of clothing, and the barrel and sights are long enough to be effective at any distance where one might find themselves relying on a handgun. That’s it. That’s the reason why people like the Glock 19. If I had a dollar for every time I’d heard someone say something to the effect of “I would ditch my 19, but there isn’t something else this size out there,” I could buy a Glock 19.
If you take a look at some other “compact” or “subcompact” guns, you have a choice of too short with the flush fitting mag and too long with the extended mags. The math isn’t hard – a Glock 19 has a 4” barrel and is 5” in height. But everyone else has been messing around with 3” or 4.25” barrels or 4.6” or 5.25” heights without realizing that there really is a sweet spot in terms of pistol size, something that can be held in the hand and hidden under a shirt without giving up shootability. Yes, a difference of ¼” in grip length does make a difference when it comes to concealability and shootability.
Smith and Wesson finally figured out that people like guns with good triggers when they introduced the M&P 2.0, and it looks like they also figured out that people like guns to be the right size with the M&P 2.0 Compact. It has a 4” barrel and holds 15 rounds in the mag. Yes, it has all the other M&P2.0 features like a better trigger with an improved reset, four backstraps instead of three, et cetera, et cetera – but what really interests people is the size.
That’s all we’ve wanted this whole time. We’re very happy someone who makes decisions at Smith and Wesson figured that out, and we can’t wait to compare it head to head with the Glock 19.