The Great Debate Smith & Wesson M&P 9 2.0 vs Glock 17 Gen 5
March 14, 2018 By Dave Young (YoungBuckDave)
When it comes to polymer frame pistols, there are two brands that are always battling each other for the title of "The Best Polymer Frame Pistol". Those two brands are Smith and Wesson, specifically their M&P line, and Glock. This is another one of those "Great Debate Topics" that has been discussed since the day these two were produced. Both are extremely reliable handguns with police departments around the country, choosing either one as their officers sidearm of choice. Rather than having it be a discussion of Smith and Wesson vs Glock, let's narrow it down to two specific pistols, the M&P9 2.0 and the Glock 17 Gen 5. Both are full size 9MM polymer frame pistols, and by doing so, we will be able to see which is preferred out of these two amazing firearms. Although, I do not own these newer models, I do own an M&P9 and a Glock 19 Gen 4 and have shot both the new 2.0 M&P9 and the new Glock 17 Gen 5. So, let's get started!
First, I am going to talk about the Glock 17 Gen 5. In the October issue of our newsletter, I talked about Glock coming out with their new Gen 5 lineup of pistols, which consisted of the Glock 19 and Glock 17 and the new special features that were added to the Gen 5. One of the great improvements of the Gen 5, which was a major complaint of every Glock generation prior, was the trigger. The trigger on the Gen 5 line up was re-engineered with customer complaints considered. This new trigger on the Gen 5 Glock is very smooth with all the grittiness taken away allowing a very clean reset and crisp break. Another positive feature on the Glock 17 Gen 5, is the magazine capacity of 17 rounds of 9MM, which gives the user a lot of firepower, if needed to deploy this pistol. The Glock 17 Gen 5 also added a flared mag-well. As the grip goes down at the very end, the two sides are flared out ever so slightly, which is just enough to help funnel your magazine into the gun during a speed reload. The addition of the ambidextrous slide stop makes it perfect for both left and right-handed shooters. Additionally, most people love removing the finger grooves on the grip and including illuminated night sights. There are many pros to the new Glock 17 Gen 5, but the biggest complaint about this new generation of Glock is that aftermarket parts, which are widely available for Gen 3 and 4 Glocks, will not be able in the new Gen 5 Glocks due to internal specifications that were changed when this generation was designed. Even though I am sure they will be making Gen 5 aftermarket parts very soon, people were not happy about this when the new Generation 5 Glocks were released.
Now that we have talked about the pros and cons of the Gen 5 Glock 17, let's discuss the Smith and Wesson M&P 9 2.0. The M&P line and the Glock line up have always gone head to head in debates for many years. Especially, with Smith and Wesson releasing a 2.0 line and then Glock following suit with their Gen 5 line up, it made the debate even more intriguing. Just like the Gen 5 Glock 17, the most notable change with the M&P 2.0's, is their upgraded trigger as well. This trigger upgrade features a smoother and cleaner reset than the previous version and is well liked around the community. Along with the trigger, the 2.0s have more aggressive texturing along the grip making it easier to hold the gun if your hands are very sweaty or wet. This aggressive texturing enables a user to grip onto the gun better when shooting rapid fire and assisting with staying on target. Just like the Gen 5 Glock 17, the magazine can hold 17 rounds of 9MM. Although this is not a new feature on either gun, it is still a great capability for any law enforcement officer or user. On the 2.0's slide, Smith and Wesson added front cocking serrations, which I am personally a huge fan of because it helps when you press check your gun to ensure a round is properly seated in the chamber. Another great feature people love is the fact you can get an ambidextrous safety installed on the M&P 9 2.0, if you wish. I'm not personally a fan of manual safeties on most guns, but there are a large majority of people that like this extra safety measure. Even though there were many nice changes to the new M&P 2.0s, one of the features that people didn't like is that Smith and Wesson chose not to upgrade their sights. Even though you can purchase a M&P 9 2.0 with night sights, the standard edition does not come with this upgrade unlike the Glock 17 Gen 5 who has night sights included on their models.
Now that we have talked about the pros and cons of both the Glock 17 Gen 5 and the M&P 9 2.0, I'll give you my opinion. When it came down to the Glock 17 Gen 4 and the M&P 9, I personally liked the M&P, even though both came with less than desirable triggers. I felt the M&Ps stock trigger was a little better and didn't have finger grooves on the grip. The reason I'm not a fan of the finger grooves is because everyone's hand size is different and regardless how the finger grooves are cut, they never fit your hands as they were intended. Since Glock released the new Gen 5's and removed the finger grooves, it immediately caught my attention. Also, I personally feel the trigger upgrade on the Gen 5 Glocks, like the Glock 17, is better than the trigger upgrade on the new M&P 2.0s. Additionally, the Glock 17 Gen 5 and all the other Gen 5 models, come with illuminated night sights, as a standard feature, along with its flared mag-well allowing a speedy reload during a stressful situation, which led me more towards the new Glock 17 Gen 5, as my preference. For all the above reasons, I feel the Glock 17 Gen 5 is the winner in the "Great Debate"!