M&P Shield: What’s So Great About It?

By CTD Rob published on in Reviews

It is one of the most desirable handguns on the market today. For concealed carry, it tops most lists for design features. It is currently difficult to find in stock, which makes it all the more popular. Many of the critics raved about its small size and powerful 9mm or .40 caliber options. Most range reports gave it excellent reviews for handling, reliability and accuracy. I patiently awaited my turn to try one out. Admittedly, my expectations were soaring after reading the Internet buzz. When I opened that familiar, blue Smith & Wesson box, I quickly started drawing my own conclusions.

Thin Enough?

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Overall S&W built the M&P Shield very well—but not perfect. As expected, they added features consistent with what the concealed carry market demands. The first thing you notice when handling a Shield is how thin it is. Imprinting is a long gone problem since S&W made the slide a very slight .95 inches in width. However, it is a bit thicker than some of its competitors. As a comparison, the Kahr CM9 and Ruger LC9 both measure in at a slightly thinner .90 inches. Still, it seems to have no trouble hiding under clothing, even if it is a bit beefier than some other options.

Height

The Shield is tall. Actually, it is really tall. The Ruger LC9 seemed lanky too, but the Smith & Wesson stretched that crazy height another tenth of an inch. When you hold an M&P Shield, it feels good until you aim down the sight and that erroneous height is more than a little noticeable. If you are more accustomed to squattier guns, you may have some difficulty adjusting. It is by no means a deal breaker, and it didn’t hurt accuracy, but I felt it was worth mentioning.

That Darn Trigger

M&P Trigger

M&P Trigger

It creeks. It isn’t like pulling a sled over a rock pile, but its close. The Kahr CM9 has a long heavy trigger too, but it is as smooth as a plate of glass. This thing feels like I’m closing a very small rusty gate. Most double action only handguns are guilty of this too, so it wasn’t surprising that a gun in this price point has a bit of a sordid trigger. Comparatively speaking, I think the trigger pull rests somewhere in the middle of the competition. Since no two handguns, even two of the same model, rarely have exactly the same feel, you might have better luck than I did. However, I will say that I am a huge fan of the safety system built around M&P triggers. They may not be the smoothest, but they get the job done—however this brings me to my next point.

A Thumb Safety

This is perhaps the most famous complaint about the Shield. It has a thumb safety. I’ve been fairly outspoken about my dislike of thumb safeties on carry guns in the past, and I’m not changing my position. However, I do understand why some people would feel better if their gun has an off button. At least Smith & Wesson placed the safety in a good spot. Simply leaving it actuated in the fire position seems to be the way to go. I just hope that after a few thousand rounds it doesn’t start popping out of place when I need it most. I hope I never have to find out.

The Bottom Line

Even with some nit-picky issues, The M&P Shield is an excellent concealed carry handgun overall. As with most things, choosing your CCW is going to boil down to personal preference. There simply isn’t a model that wins out in all categories. However, if you choose an M&P Shield, you could have made a far worse choice.

GLOCK 26 Kahr CM9 Ruger LC9 M&P 9 Shield Kel Tec PF-9 Beretta Nano
Height 4.17″ 4″ 4.5″ 4.6″ 4.3″ 4.17″
Length 6.41″ 5.42″ 6″ 6.1″ 5.85″ 5.63″
Width 1.18″ 0.9″ 0.9″ 0.95″ 0.88″ 0.9″
Weight 19.75 oz 14 oz 17.1 oz 19 oz 12.7 oz 18.27 oz
Trigger Pull 5.5 lbs 6.5 lbs 5.6 lbs 6.5 lbs 5 lbs 5.7 lbs
Magazine Capacity* 10 6 7 7 7 6

*Larger Magazines Available

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Comments (73)

  • Dan

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    I have the Shield also, and my only complaint is that the safety is hard to operate when shooting left handed

    Reply

  • RP

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    I have a Glock G34 a Kimber Stainless Target II, and a Ruger SR40.
    I bought the M&P Shield for a smaller concealed carry gun. I just put 60 rds through it and I am not impressed. The trigger is horrible.The safety is almost impossible to use left handed. The slide release is so hard to release, that I thought it was jammed. Accuracy was fair, and I am sure it will improve once it is broken in. I understand my other pistols are at a higher price point, but I was not expecting this. At around $425.00 I guess its a fair price, but I expected something a little more refined.

    Reply

  • hooks7036

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    I HAVE CARRIED A GLOCK 19 FOR THE PAST 4 YEARS IN MY ALIEN GEAR CLOAK TUCK 1.0, OCCASIONALY ROTATING WITH MY G26. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE GLOCK PISTOLS, BUT I GOT THE ITCH TO TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT SO I BOUGHT A SHIELD 9MM LAST WEEK. THIS PISTOL IS FANTASTIC!!! SUPER SLIM COMPARED TO MY GLOCKS,SHOOTS VERY WELL, AND JUST FEELS LIKE A PISTOL IS SUPPOSED TO (NOT FAT AND CLUNKY). I WILL OT BE GETTING RID OF MY BELOVED GLOCKS, BUT THE SHIELD WILL BE MY NEW EDC AS SOON AS THE AG CLOAK TUCK 3.0 ARRIVES AND XS BIG DOTS ARE INSTALLED.

    Reply

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