I Carry: Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact Pistol in a Tulster Holster

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Hey everyone, this is Shooting Illustrated bringing you another episode of “I Carry.” In today’s feature, we’re taking another look at the Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact pistol and some related gear. Let’s take a closer look at this kit:

Firearm: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Compact (MSRP: $669)

Today we’re re-examining Smith & Wesson’s Compact 9 mm version of the M&P9 M2.0 pistol. When the M&P series first launched in the 2000s, two iterations were available: There was a full-size, 4.25-inch barrel model with a 17-round magazine, and a subcompact with a 3.5 inch barrel and 12-round magazine. It wouldn’t be until the M2.0 upgrade in the late 20-teens that Smith & Wesson would introduce the Compact model with a 4-inch barrel and a 15-round magazine.

Wait. Four-inch barrel and 15-round magazine? That sounds suspiciously like the Glock G19, which was considered for decades to be the platonic ideal concealed-carry gun: Big enough to shoot decently well, small enough to be concealed without having to don a parka. While it may have taken Smith &Wesson a bit to get there, once there, the M&P9 M2.0 Compact took that concept and ran with it.

The Compact version is capable of accepting the larger M&P’s 17-round magazines, as well as mags from the previous M&P generation, as Smith & Wesson smartly kept the magazine geometry constant. It has an overall length of 6.8 inches, height of 5 inches and a weight of 25.9 ounces. It has the aggressive but not painful texturing on the grip and interchangeable backstraps as well as the ambidextrous controls of the M2.0 upgrades, in addition to the scalloped serrations that have become the hallmark of the second generation.

The last item of note on this version of the M&P is in the CORE optics-mounting system. Smith & Wesson has opted for multiple attachment points on the slide and slim plastic spacers to accommodate a wide variety of optic footprints, making it more convenient. Screws to attach optics and a handy guide as to which optic needs which plate and screws come with the M&P CORE system, as do tall sights to co-witness with a variety of red-dot sights. It’s a smart, useful way of making the handgun work with many different systems, and about the only way I can see to improve it would be to have metal plates rather than plastic.

Holster: Tulster Profile+ IWB (MSRP: $69.99)

To carry the Smith & Wesson M&P9 Compact, we’ve opted for the new Tulster Profile+ IWB holster. This upgrade of Tulster’s excellent Profile series adds an optics cut in addition to a DCC monoblock belt-attachment system. The Profile+ maintains the same easy-on/easy-off design of the original Profile, as well as the full sweat guard—and it’s available for both right- and left-handed shooters.

Retention is adjustable via a single screw under the trigger guard, and cant is adjustable from a range of straight-drop (0-degrees) to 30-degrees and variations in between for strong-side carry. We’re showing the Profile+ in the appendix position here, but it is well-suited for any type of inside-the-waistband carry you care to employ. And, as a side bonus, Tulster has its name on one side of the holster, and the pistol make and model on the other, which is super helpful if it happens to fall into that dreaded box of holsters with all the others…

Optic: C&H Precision Weapons Comp (MSRP: $299)

Rounding out today’s kit is a Comp red-dot sight from C&H Precision Weapons. C&H has been making optics-mounting plates for various pistols and systems for years, and starting in 2023 added its own line of red-dot sights for handguns. We have the Comp model in today’s kit, which brings a large viewing window, C&H’s Smart Power Management and 10 brightness level to the optic’s capability. Between the Smart Power Management system and motion control, where the device powers up after detecting movement, C&H claims up to 50,000 hours of battery life on the single CR1632 battery.

While the Comp we have today has a 3-MOA red dot for the aiming point, a 3-MOA green-dot version is also available, as is a model with a 3-MOA dot and a 36-MOA circle multiple-reticle system. The Comp is shock-resistant and IPX7 rated for water-resistance, weighs approximately 1 ounce and is mounted via the RMR-type optic footprint. C&H even includes a rudimentary rear sight for backup, and the battery is loaded through the top, so no removal is needed to change batteries.

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