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Smith & Wesson Performance Center M&P 10mm: The Ultimate Gun?

Smith and Wesson 10MM. Image: Industry Handout.

Back in 1990, when the FBI adopted the Smith & Wesson Model 1076 10mm pistol as the first ever standard-issue semiautomatic pistol for its field agents, it looked like the 10mm Auto would be the Next Big Thing in autopistol cartridges. It also looked like Smith & Wesson would continue to rule the roost in the American police semiauto pistol market.

Then along came the .40 S&W cartridge, which stole the 10mm Auto’s thunder. The Model 1076 turned out to be much ado about relatively little, thanks to poor design, and it gave way to .40 S&W and 9mm pistols from Glock and SIG.

Fast-forward to the 21st century, and the 10mm cartridge has surged in popularity. Meanwhile, Smith’s M&P product line has gone through its own renaissance, thanks to the M&P series of autopistols that debuted in 2005. 

So it only makes sense that the 10mm Auto and S&W would be reunited, as they have been in the guise of the S&W Performance Center’s M&P M2.0 10mm pistol.

S&W M&P 10mm M2.0 History and Specifications

Before we go into the gun itself, a brief word about the Smith & Wesson Performance Center is in order here. As Patrick Sweeney noted in a May 2020 article for Gun Digest, the Performance Center firearms are worthwhile for the following reasons: “The many available upgrades to common production models…There is no wait time for a gunsmith to complete his work…Generally, the work performed at the Performance Center is less expensive than from a gunsmith.”

Smith introduced the 10mm chambering of the M&P M2.0 in November 2021. The company offered a compact model with a 4-inch barrel and a full-sized model with larger 4.6-inch bbl. Specifications of the full-sized Performance Center model include a barrel length of 5.6 inches, an overall length of 8.60 inches, a width of 1.30 inches, a height of 5.6 inches, and an empty weight of 31.40 ounces. Standard magazine capacity is 15+1 rounds.

In the manufacturer’s own words, “Building off of the successful launch of the M&P®10mm M2.0™, we’re happy to give this the Performance Center® treatment. A long slide with porting in the barrel makes this a more accurate and more manageable 10mm handgun. The M2.0™ flat trigger will give you consistency in your pull, and now with the Performance Center® tuning, you can deliver accurate shots down range. A perfect option for those looking to step up their game.”

Personal Shooting Impression

Once more, it was out to the excellent Cindy’s Hot Shots indoor shooting facility — specifically the Glen Burnie, Maryland location — this past weekend to try out one of their 10mm rental guns. I was trying to decide between the Smith  or the Glock 40. Well, when one of the range staff informed me that they had just gotten the Smith, and I would be the first customer to fire it, that cinched the decision for me!

Though I have fired more than my fair share of high-capacity autopistols in 9mm — the so-called Wonder Nines — .40 S&W, and .45 ACP, this was my first time shooting a double-stack 10mm. 

As one would expect from a factory custom gun, it was superbly crafted, but it also had the tightness and stiffness that often accompanies brand new firearms that require a breaking-in period. In a way, it is akin to driving a brand new car for a few hundred miles in order to “seat the parts.” 

The supposedly ambidextrous slide stop/slide release lever was extremely stiff to operate on the left side of the frame, and nigh-on impossible on the right side of the frame. When inserting a fully charged magazine into the mag well with the slide all the way forward, I had to give that sucker a really firm slap to get it properly seated.

Reliability-wise, what I wrote about a break-in phase for a brand new gun holds true again. When I racked the slide to chamber the first round, it hung up on the feed ramp, so I had to smack the back of the slide to get that round chambered. The same malady occurred with round #2 after I sent the first round downrange.

Fortunately, no more bobbles occurred from there, and I was able to appreciate the incredible accuracy of this gun, as well as the comfortable grip ergonomics. Recoil was tolerable.

As I have mentioned before, my right-handed/left-eye cross-dominance gives me a tendency to pull my shots slightly leftward, a common occurrence according to my friend and fellow firearms instructor Lou Chiodo. Not so with this 10mm tack-driver. The gun gave me perfectly well-centered shot groups that were true to point of aim with my 7-yard head shots and 25-yard torso shots alike. They absolutely obliterated the desirable areas of the B27-IMZ Life Size Silhouette Paper Target.

Ammo used was PMC Bronze 200-gr full metal jacket-truncated cone, with 50 rounds divvied evenly between the two aforementioned distances and fired from the classic Weaver stance. 

Want Your Own?

True Gun Value states that “A SMITH & WESSON PERFORMANCE CENTER M&P M.20 10MM pistol is currently worth an average price of $627.83 new. The 12 month average price is $627.83 new.” At first, that sounds a bit too good to be true for a factory custom gun. But upon further review, the manufacturer’s own MSRP is $749.00, which is an absolute bargain for a make & model of this reputability. Guns.Com currently has an asking price of $699.00.

Christian D. Orr is a Senior Defense Editor for 19FortyFive. He has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.  In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports. If you’d like to pick his brain in-person about his writings, chances are you’ll be able to find him at the Green Turtle Pasadena in Maryland on Friday nights, singing his favorite karaoke tunes.

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).