Smith and Wesson M&P Shield – Impressions

It’s been amazing to see how much buzz and excitement the recent introduction of the M&P Shield has stirred up amongst people that I know and forums that I participate in. Why all the hubub? Aren’t there a ga-jillion and a half sub-compact and micro pistols on the market already?

Well, every sub-compact and micro pistol has it’s strengths, weaknesses, pros/cons, features, etc. It’s not a one size fit’s all proposition when your audience is extremely picky about what their idea about a good carry piece looks like…

One of the pistols that I own is the Kel-Tec PF-9. I really like the dimensions and the features of the PF-9, but there’s one thing that’s missing: fit and finish. Getting a reliable PF-9 can be a bit of a hit and miss proposition, and there are extensive online tutorials about how to take off the “rough edges” from these firearms (these procedures are called fluff-n-buff typically). I performed some of these basic steps, and my PF-9 has been rock solid. But there’s still a rather “basic” feel and look to the pistol. What if you wanted something that’s about the same dimensions, but with better quality? The latest newcomer into this category is the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield.

I’ve had the opportunity to shoot a couple of these pistols, and all I can say is: “NICE”. I don’t personally care for the manual safety design, but from what I hear there are ways to work around that feature (removal, etc) – I’ll have to look into this further if I get serious about buying one…

The first thing I admired about the pistol was the fit and finish. This is a scaled down iteration of the full M&P line of pistols – and it has the same high quality and attention to detail that you’d see on the other models. The machining and finish on the slide is smooth and consistent with the rest of the pistol. The ergonomics just “feel right” to me as well, with somewhat better purchase when gripping compared to the PF-9.

After shooting the pistol I had another surprise: it’s shoots *really* well. I was able to group much better thanks to the great trigger (compared to the PF-9) and ergonomics. The photos above (9mm model) show the extended magazine as well as the flush-fit magazine. With the extended magazine in place, the grip is actually quite accommodating.

With a street price in the ~$400.00 range, this pistol is quite a good option, and I think will give the other micro and sub-compact pistols in its class a good run for their money! I’d recommend holding one and shooting it if you have the opportunity. If you want to read more about the features and specs for this pistol, see the official Smith and Wesson product page.

Anyone have the chance to try a 40 S&W model yet?


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One Response to Smith and Wesson M&P Shield – Impressions

  1. Mark Bailey says:

    I purchased two of these about an hour after the announcement was made (one for me and one for the wife) and couldn’t be happier with them both. I mainly use 1911’s so the rear safe was cool for me, even though a lot of folks get hung up on it being there, it was intentionally placed there for the purposes of carrying it in your pocket (at least according to S&W), when holstered I haven’t found it necessary to use the rear safe especially since it has the trigger safety.

    I can easily hit the black at seven yards while rapid firing, and friends who shoot competitively can rapid fire at twenty yards and keep in a three inch group, so we’ve found it to be very consistent after having put about a thousand rounds through each. I’ve tried Winchester white box, s&b and American eagle (all in 115 grain), for self defense powerball, hornady critical defense and federal hydra-shock, I’ve also shot about fifty rounds of 147 grain reloads. After all those different rounds no failure to feed, stove pipes, or big problems other then since purchasing the guns each of them had a single incident of the slide not staying locked open when the clip was emptied (which occurred in the first hundred rounds).

    I haven’t seen the gun in a .40 cal yet or even talked to anybody who owns one.

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