Smith & Wesson M&P Shield: Very Interesting but I’ll Pass

Smith and Wesson MP Shield - 1
Photo from the Smith & Wesson Facebook Page

Last night I sat down in my basement, lit up a cigar, and opened up my laptop. After checking Email, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+, I turned to Google Reader for news and entertainment. As it turns out, the hot topic was the newly unveiled Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.

I’m not going to bore you with the specifications (at this point I’m sure you’ve seen them in a dozen different places) but in a nutshell it is scaled down M&P. The new Shield is currently available as a single stack 9mm with a .40 S&W version available in the near future.

I first heard about this gun on the Smith & Wesson Facebook Page when they began running thier ad campaign (I was not a fan of the teaser campaign and found myself annoyed by the guessing game). Shortly after the campaign began, I started seeing speculation that Smith & Wesson was releasing a Single Stack 9mm to complete with the new Springfield XDS in .45 ACP as well as the popular small framed 9mm options from Ruger, Kahr, Ketec, etc.

I really didn’t care why Smith & Wesson was getting into the small frame 9mm game but I was looking forward to it. Ever since buying my Smith & Wesson M&P back in 2007, I’ve been a proud supporter of the brand. When I had issues with that gun, customer service took care of me without issue. I was sold when it came to the M&P platform and the company behind it.

Now that the teaser campaign is over and formal information has been released in the form of company specifications and industry video, I’m even more pumped up about the gun.

Trigger Reset has been Adressed

When it comes to the Smith & Wesson M&P line, my biggest issue comes in the form of the trigger reset. When trying to shoot it fast I find that I either short-stroke it or let out the trigger all the way, to ensure that it resets properly. I’m certainly not the only person to take issue with this and I’m thriled to hear that the trigger issue has been resolved in the new M&P Shield.

At the bottom of this post I have some video from Jim Scouten of Shooting USA as he gives us a first look at the small polymer pistol. Jim tells us “The new Shield follows the proven M&P design. Its striker-fired with a safety engagement trigger that may be the best trigger yet in any M&P.”

It has a Manual Safety

One of the common complaints that I’ve seen involves the manual safety. I don’t recall where I read it, but I remember seeing something to the tune of Smith & Wesson does not recommend this as a pocket gun. Taking the pocket element out of this gun, I can certainly see why people are turned off by the manual safety.

Looking at the safety, it appears to be modeled after the safety found on the Smith & Wesson Bodyguard and not the optional safety on the M&P line. The good news here is that the safety on my Bodyguard is very difficult to engage by accident (even when you are purposefully trying to engage it with the knuckle of your thumb) but disengagement is easy (a quick swipe of the thumb and it pops right off).

To me, this means that if I chose to ignore the safety, I shouldn’t run into any issues with it becoming accidentally engaged. At the same time, if I chose to use it, it is easy to disengage and small enough that it shouldn’t interfere with a holster (I don’t own an M&P with a manual safety but it looks big enough to jab you in the side as you wear it).

Smith and Wesson MP Shield - 2
Photo from the Smith & Wesson Facebook Page

Why I’m Passing

So if I’m excited about this gun, why does the title of the post say that I’ll pass? The answer is simple, while this guy is very cool and I’d love to have one, it doesn’t fill any of my needs. I carry two types of guns, the ones ride on my hip and the ones that fit in my pocket. I have both of those categories covered.

When I carry a gun on my hip, I carry a Springfield XD Sub Compact in .40 S&W. This gun rides in a Crossbreed Supertuck holster. I went with this combination because I wanted something small that wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb. It is discreet and also carries more rounds that the M&P Shield (XD carries 9+1 of .40 versus the Shield with 7+1 of 9mm). If I were to make the switch, I’d feel like I was downgrading (in terms of bullet size and round count) and not gaining a whole lot in terms of conceal-ability.

In those times when I feel that I need to be a little more discreet, I slip a Smith & Wesson Bodyguard into my pocket. While some would argue that I could get a M&P Shield in my pocket and upgrade from .380 ACP to 9mm, I don’t feel it is necessary. From what I can tell, the M&P Shield is very close in size to the Ruger LC9, which I couldn’t comfortably fit into my pocket when shopping for a pocket pistol. Besides, I’m comfortable with the .380 round and don’t feel any pressure to run out and get a true pocket pistol in 9mm.

If I had a spare $400 to spend on a brand new gun and the M&P Shield was something I felt that I needed, instead of something that I just wanted, I would have already called my Smith & Wesson dealer asking him to get me one.

Video from Shooting USA Showcasing the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

I first saw this video on Weer’d Word

8 comments On Smith & Wesson M&P Shield: Very Interesting but I’ll Pass

  • I think I am going to pick it up when they come to CA and sell my Kahr CW9. I like the fact that this is basically the same size as the Kahr but has a manual of arms similar to the 1911. I also really like that they have upgraded the trigger too.

  • I’m not too crazy about my PF9 and might consider replacing it with the Shield. . When I CCW it’s my M&P45c or the PF9 — the PF9 can be worn with shorts and t-shirt without anyone noticing. I’d have to handle the Shield to see if I’d really want to change. When I OC, it’s generally my 1911 or my M&P357 — no need for it there!

    • Out of curiosity, what about your PF9 aren’t you crazy about? Every once in a while I see one used for what seems like a good price. In the back of my mind I always tell myself ‘For that price, why not?’

      I haven’t picked one up yet, but maybe one day.

      • It doesn’t handle +P well — i ALWAYS end up with failure to feeds with +P JHP, even when looking for specifically roundish heads.

        I believe in always firing at least 50 rounds with my carry pieces at the range — I end up with a small hole on my thumb, above the bottom knuckle. Happens every time and it hurts.

        The finish is crap — when I first got it, the holster I was using at first let part of the slide touch my skin and the finish basically came off and I had to keep wiping it to prevent rust — and Kel-tec refused to take it back to refinish as it was outside 30 days. Compare that to S&W taking in a used pistol that didn’t work (my model 22a I bought cheap), repaired it, upgraded the internals and re-finished it after they left a few marks on it — for free. Kel-Tec customer service < S&W by far (though S&W did nearly send me the wrong pistol to replace my M&P45c kaboom)

        For the size, the PF9 is great — I can wear it in shorts and t-shirt without anyone noticing. It's not a range gun, which I understand. But when it comes to trusting my life to a pistol, make mine a Smith and Wesson. Or my colt 1911. Or my BHP.

        Currently the PF9 is relegated to the console armrest in my car.

  • The M&P shield will not take any type of +P rounds and it is very stiff as far as the safety and slide use. Not a gun for girls. I would not recommend it….Smith says to shot 400-600 rounds through it to loosen it up.Well that’s another couple hundred bucks and still stiff. Not thrilled at all! dg255

  • The Shield is cream of the single stack carry gun crop, but it isn’t pocket gun. If you aren’t looking for a single stack belt gun, it isn’t the one for you.

  • Hi Walt. Thanks for the nice post!

    Now SW offers a Shield without the manual safety.
    Just wondering, are you still against this pistol? 🙂

    • Andrey,
      No, I’m no longer against the Shield. Actually, I couldn’t resist and finally broke down and bought myself one last year. I’ve been very happy with it so far.

      In fact, I was considering buying a second one. Smith & Wesson was offering a $75 rebate on the Shield ($50 on the Bodyguard) and it was very tempting.

      Now that cash back rebate is over, I think they are now offering 2 Magazines and a Mag Loader with a mail in rebate.

      Not quite as tempting as cash back but still a good deal on a solid gun.

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