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S&W M&P Shield: a Review from Texas Gun Talk


The S&W M&P Shield is one of the hottest and newest pistols on the market as of this article. Available in 9mm or .40 S&W, it’s a continuation of the Military & Police series from Smith and Wesson.

Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Model: M&P9 Shield
Price: $449 MSRP
Caliber: 9mm Luger (9×19)
Capacity: 7 or 8 Rounds 1.5 Stack Magazine
Firing Action: Striker Fired Light Double Action
Trigger: 6.5# Pull Weight
Safeties: Trigger Snag Safety, Plunger Style Drop Safety, and External Safety
Extractor: External Claw
Materials: Polymer Frame, Melonite Coated Stainless Steel Slide and Barrel

The M&P Shield comes with two magazines, a flush fitting 7 round magazine and an extended 8 round magazine for those with larger hands. Even with the shorter magazine I can get a full grip on the gun which is a commonality with the M&P lineup; like the M&P9c. The backstraps, however, are not removable. This no doubt was part of the reasoning for lowering the price point of the Shield.

The pistol features an 18 degree grip angle which many people will feel at home with since it falls between the 1911 and the Glock grip angles. The Shield is also incredibly light, albeit a bit top heavy, which is expected of a polymer pistol. Being a lightweight handgun means it’s that much easier to carry on a daily basis, especially for women who carry in their purses. This handgun appears to have been marketed heavily towards women and newer shooters. The overall dimensions are better suited to women’s hands than the M&P9c and the gun is only available with an external safety. A note on the safety, it’s pretty much worthless. It is inset into the frame to avoid snagging, but that means it’s hard to find and work under stress. I highly recommend carrying this handgun with the safety OFF.

Here’s the Shield compared to my Glock 19 2nd Gen. It has a shorter slide length, but the grip length is nearly the same. The width of the pistol is considerably thinner than my Glock.

For another comparison, this is the Shield compared to a full sized 1911. The 1911 is bigger in every way except in slide width, as one would expect.

Side by Side, M&P Shield, STI Trojan 5.0 (1911), and Glock 19.

Width comparison of the M&P Shield, Glock 19, and STI Trojan (1911). The Glock is supposed to measure 28mm, but the actual frame is wider. I used calibrated calipers to measure the widths.

The M&P Shield features a Melonite coated stainless steel slide and barrel, a polymer frame, and a unique “1.5” stack magazine. It’s not quite a double stack, but it’s staggered considerably more than a single stack. The recoil assembly is a double spring system over a steel guide rod. In smaller pistols the dual rate helps to provide adequate slide velocity to aid extraction while providing sufficient spring rate to chamber the next round and prevent accelerated frame wear. Many people find that these dual rate assemblies help reduce felt recoil.

Typically holster manufacturers are a few steps behind gun makers, but this was not the case for Comp-Tac. They had a model out on the market nearly immediately. A good holster, such as this CTAC from Comp-Tac, makes the M&P Shield disappear and easy to carry. Even compared to my Glock 19 this thing is a cakewalk to carry, and my girlfriend loves it. (It’s her EDC)

So how does it shoot?

The gun shoots really well. Compared to other popular offerings such as the Walther PPS, Kahr CW9, and Ruger LC9 it does a great job of mitigating recoil impulse. The trigger takes some getting used to with the silly snag safety, but conditioning yourself to position your finger on the bottom of the trigger and/or getting an aftermarket model that converts it to a Glock blade style would remedy this. The pull weight is supposed to be 6.5#s but I feel this particular gun is running about the 5# – 5.5# range.

The sights are nice, easy to line-up and track, but after some mileage the front sight is going to be duller than the rears and that’s going to distract your eyes away from the front sight. Just a downside to 3-dot systems, but you could always black out the rears.

Accuracy is great, it’ll hold a 1″ group at 7 yards all day if I do my job correctly. Typically the gun is physically capable of supreme accuracy, but the short sight radius tends to make the longer shot dispersion increase with a human behind it. The light weight also makes the gun a bit less accurate with a human behind it, dropping the pull weight would help immensely, but I wouldn’t really recommend it for a carry gun. Especially with the vague feel of the OEM M&P trigger.

I had bought this gun for my girlfriend to carry, but I find myself wanting to steal it or get one of my own. It’s a really great little pistol, and I’m not even a big fan of small guns.

Original article on Texas Gun Talk.


3 Responses to “S&W M&P Shield: a Review from Texas Gun Talk”

  1. 1911 Military Pistol Holster…

    […] ed to a full sized 1911. The 1911 is bigger in every way except in slide width, […]…

  2. Holster HQ says:

    I think the nose(barrel) looks kind of small for my liking but it seems to be the perfect gun. Time to go look at purchasing it, plus the price tag is great!

  3. Great review. I am a big fan of S&W. Could you please recommend some nigh sight for it?

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