‘Fueled’ by Ed Brown: Custom Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 Review
“Did you know Ed Brown made an M&P?!” Hollered one gun shop employee to the other as I was transferring this unique pistol from the Guns.com Vault. Anyone who loves 1911s knows the name Ed Brown. They have been one of the top 1911 specialists for over 50 years. Seeing their work in a polymer gun is not what a lot of people would expect, but it is a collaboration that makes 1911 and M&P enthusiasts pretty happy.
So, what happens when a top-notch gun shop known for custom 1911s gets its hands on a striker-fired polymer gun? Well, we present to you an M&P Fueled by Ed Brown.
Why Ed Brown Chose the M&P
This is Ed Brown’s first polymer gun. After over 50 years, the Ed Brown family has seen the rise in popularity of polymer-framed striker-fired guns. Looking to broaden its scope of platforms, the choice to redesign and remanufacture the M&P was an easy one. Holding a great reputation and as one of the few polymer pistols that have a 1911 grip angle, it fell right in Ed Brown's wheelhouse for ergonomics and reliability.
Even though this platform saw a revamp in 2017 with the M2.0, when Ed Brown took on this project in 2020, the M&P was still long overdue for upgrades. Not only was this their first platform of choice, but it also had a strong customer base to support with very little competition.
Some Pros and Cons
The Ed Brown version of the M&P is comfortable and offers great shootability and aftermarket options that you won't find on the normal M&P pistols. Unlike Glock, Smith & Wesson does not have nearly the amount of aftermarket options. If you have an M&P already, Ed Brown offers all its parts separately, or you can get a complete model. This particular one is the MP-F1 model, and I’ve listed some of its particular specs below:
The only thing by S&W left is the frame. Ed Brown redesigned and remanufactured everything from frame pins to the action in order to get the most performance out of this platform. Every metal-injection-molded part was taken out and replaced with fully machined components, and it was all custom fitted to improve accuracy.
One of the biggest game changers is the Accuracy Rail – an oversized machined block that is fitted into the polymer frame and replaces the original rail. They then hand fitted the slide and barrel together to the rail and used custom pins to help with further fit refinement. All this provides for improved barrel lock-up and accuracy. Plus, there is no rattle. Give it a shake! It’s a pretty tight fit for a polymer pistol.
The other area of focus was the trigger. The installed trigger group has tight tolerances that will simply perform better than the original. This makes the Apex trigger installed by Ed Brown even better than the standard drop-in kit. To take it even further, the sear was custom machined along with a skeletonized striker block and striker. The result is a shortened reset and reduction in overtravel and pull weight. The pull is in a sweet spot between 3.5 and 4 pounds.
When compared to other M&Ps, shooting the Apex trigger installed by Ed Brown is simply better. You can barely compare it to the stock trigger because it is leaps and bounds over that one. Even compared to other competition triggers, it is an improvement. We can thank this sweet trigger system to everything around being top-notch quality. A good foundation goes a long way.
Long cuts on each side of the slide expose a suppressor-ready barrel with attractive flute cuts. The intense milling on the slide and barrel provides a wild-looking design and improved performance. The reduction of reciprocating mass in the slide translates into less muzzle rise when shooting. I saw this very clearly when making quick follow-up shots during drills. This gun just likes to go fast.
The redesigned action and extractor also pile in on the list of upgrades to improve performance. Magazine capacity was bumped from 17 to 19 rounds with an anodized, extended baseplate. This is particularly useful in competition when having two more shots makes the difference in extra target engagement. Magazines also feed smoothly into a custom extended magwell that makes reloads feel 10 times faster. If you’ve ever reloaded a stock M&P, you’ll appreciate this.
The magwell fits perfectly into the frame and is made of fully machined aluminum that is anodized to match the baseplates. They not only look good but also fit nicely together. Extended magwells work best with extended magazines, so having a gun that comes with both is ideal. Who doesn’t like more ammo and an easy reload?
Finished with black nitride and milled for optics, there isn’t much more one could ask for in a pistol. The Trijicon footprint will directly mount an RMR or SRO, and other mounting plates are available should you choose a different red dot.
Now, if you are a person who likes iron sights, like myself, you’ll be pleased to learn about the changes made to the sighting system. Not only are they Ameriglo tritium with serrated blacked-out rears, but these are suppressor-height sights and co-witness with a dot. They are perfect for installing a suppressor and as backups for your red dot. Now, if that wasn’t good enough, and you’d like a different sighting system, Ed Brown made that easy by cutting the slide for Glock sights. With an enormous aftermarket for Glock sights, the world is your oyster with a gun that can now run almost any sight you want.
How Does It Compare to Other M&Ps?
Shooting it out of the box, there wasn’t anything to complain about. The sights are right there when you pick the gun up, and they stay on target due to the reduced muzzle rise. This makes follow-up shots and transitions a breeze. Truly, it is hard not to be accurate with this gun. There is something about suppressor-height sights that also seems to make precision shooting at greater distances better. I’m a fan.
Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to shoot several M&Ps and even used one in 3-Man 3-Gun competition. The Ed Brown M&P still feels like an M&P but shoots much more accurately.
Who Is the M&P Fueled by Ed Brown for?
This is a firearm that can perform at competitions right out of the box. Sticking to range days, I can attest that it is a great gun just to have for fun practice as well. The improvements are a benefit to both experienced competitors who want something ready to go and newer shooters who would enjoy the ease of shooting.
Though it might seem like a niche gun, the M&P Fueled by Ed Brown works for many audiences. From 1911 fans and Smith & Wesson fans to race gun fans and even new range goers, it has something for everyone. Anyone I have handed this gun to has enjoyed how it shoots. That includes my husband, uncle, the lady at the gun shop, and myself.
Until this Fueled series, I hadn’t been a huge M&P fan, something about the way they shoot just didn’t do it for me. This one by Ed Brown feels largely improved and has made me appreciate the M&P’s capabilities much more. This is a pretty impressive overhaul, and Ed Brown did it right.
Over 50 years of experience went into redesigning this platform to their standards, and the result is top notch. If you’ve been on the fence about an M&P, try this model. It might make you feel differently. For those who love M&Ps already, there is nothing not to love about this one.