Concealed Carry

Review: M&P Shield Plus Performance Center

S&W Shield Plus Performance Center

A few weeks ago we were able to test the new and exciting Smith and Wesson M&P Shield Plus 9mm.

This high-capacity variant of the well-known and very popular Shield compact pistol demonstrated excellent performance.

I have also been able to test-fire the new and interesting Shield Plus Performance Center pistol.

This is an elevated Shield Plus if you may, with many good features. The grip and frame are the same, while the slide and barrel are longer.

With a four-inch barrel, the Performance Center pistol generates a bit more velocity, on the average of 50 fps according to the ProChrony, over the 3.1-inch barrel Shield Plus.

The real advantage is in practical accuracy and handling.

The pistol’s main advantage is an excellent set of fiber-optic sights, as well as the longer sight radius.

Since the grip and frame dimensions are the same as the other Shield Plus, the pistol isn’t difficult to conceal.

Purchase a Galco Stow-N-Go inside-the-waistband holster and you are good to go with concealment.

The longer slide and barrel will be buried in the trousers and easily concealed with a light garment.

The original Shield and the new Shield Plus are not hard kickers.

The new pistol, however, is a downright light kicker with a little extra weight up front.

I think this pistol has a great deal of appeal to those that wish their carry gun to double as a house gun.

For home defense, a little more barrel and sight radius coupled with lower recoil is good to have.

There isn’t anything quite as versatile as this pistol with its 13-round magazine, fiber-optic sights and easy handling.

The Performance Center gun has two more ounces of stabilizing recoil-dampening weight.

The pistol is lighter and faster handling than quite a few competitors.

A rather nicely outfitted tool kit is provided with the Performance Center pistol.

Gun Cleaning Kit
A very nice tool kit is included with the Performance Center Shield Plus 9mm.

Standout Feature: Mag Capacity

Magazine capacity is a huge selling point.

The slim-line nine usually holds six to eight cartridges, with greater capacity available with extended magazines.

Nine rounds of 9mm Luger is a good reserve of ammunition, greater than a five or six-shot .38, and much more effective than a .380 ACP pistol, yet not much more difficult to carry.

The new Shield Plus is modified to take a flush-fit 10-round magazine or an extended 13-round magazine.

The grip circumference isn’t any larger than the original Shield. You can do wonders with a polymer frame and modern technology.

This is quite an example of modern CNC design and manufacture.

M&P Shield Plus Pistols
The Shield Plus 9mm is a winner in either variant. The Performance Center gun is worth the extra tariff. The standard Shield Plus is a great all-around pistol.

Other Features and Specs

I have repeated much of the introduction of the Shield Plus above.

There is also a good bit of new information to talk about with the Performance Center gun.

The trigger on the original Shield Plus tested features a smooth, crisp 4.5-pound trigger compression.

The new pistol from the Performance Center breaks at 4.6 pounds, no surprises here. The flat trigger design is a very good one that I find useful.

Amornite coating is also a feature of the Shield Plus Performance Center pistol.

Disassembled Shield Plus
The Performance Center model disassembles as easily as any other Shield.

How It Fires

Getting down to the business of test firing the pistol, I found a handy, light and good shooting pistol. The Shield Plus handles well.

The Performance Center pistol, with its additional inch of barrel, handles even better than the standard Shield Plus.

There is no discernable slowing of the draw. The pistol gets on target quickly.

The balance is such that the pistol travels between targets quickly and smoothly.

The fiber-optic sights make for a great deal of difference in fast shooting.

Get the bright sights on the target and press the trigger straight to the rear and you have a hit. Speed loads are brilliantly fast.

I am unaware of any pistol this size that offers such fast handling and real speed in combat shooting — the Performance Center Shield Plus is that good.

Fiber-Optic Front Pistol Sight
A bold front sight aids accuracy.

Load Considerations

Any 9mm Luger handgun should be reliable with a wide range of ammunition.

I proofed the Performance Center Shield Plus with the Hornady 100-grain XTP Lite, a load intended to provide good performance with light recoil.

The Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense is a proven loading offering a good balance of expansion and penetration.

Finally, wishing to proof a +P loading, I tested the Hornady 124-grain XTP +P in the American Gunner line.

The pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject. Recoil control is good, although the +P loading did exhibit more push back.

As for accuracy, this is among the most accurate guns I have fired this size and weight.

Five-shot groups of less than two inches at 15 yards are the norm. This is a sharp-looking and nice performing pistol well worth its price.

What do you think of the M&P Shield Plus Performance Center? Let us know in the comments below!

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (10)

  1. bought one – fired it and it shot well just an issue with the slide release……had to send back to S&W. Multiple failure to release slide after locking when magazine emptied. Could not drop slide release with one to two fingers. Could not pull back on the rear of the slide to release it. The interior clip snagged on teh slide locking it in place. I needed a screw driver to pry the slide release down to release the slide. Showed the range gunsmith and after a few attempts – he could see the slide snag i=on the slide release interior clip. The only way to release the slide was to push down on the muzzle end to knock it free. He said the clip needs to be sanded down and sent it back to S&W. VERY ANGRY at this since I have a shield 2.0 in .45 cal. What kind of quality control issues or design flaws are coming out of this new gun. Pistol gone for 3 weeks. I subsequently went and bought myself the second choice for a 9mm high cap CCW pistol – Sig P365XL. Sweet pistol.

  2. If I’d have wanted a trigger like that, I could have bought many a gun with that system. The old trigger style is WHY I chose the M&P Shield in the first place. I’d like to hear what other shooters think of this trigger style/change.


  3. I’ve got a PORTED performance center shield on pre-order at Brownell’, but no definite arrival date.

    Do you have a NON- PORTED PERFORMANCE CENTER SHIELD, as featured in this posting, IN STOCK, and if so, what is your price ? I might cancel the Brownell order, and buy from you instead.

  4. I have the standard Shield Plus and it’s all but perfect. Only legitimate complaint with it is the rear slide serrations could stand to be a little deeper/more aggressive. They’re a bit slick feeling, other than that, fantastic little 9.
    It weighs about 2-3 ozs more than the P365, Hellcat, and Max9 coming in at around 20ozs total, but that helps with recoil impulse and it all but disappears when carrying, so why would I want to drop extra cash for some cheap fiber optics, ported slide and barrel, and a barrel that’s an inch longer? Answer is, I won’t. My SD40VE with 14 rounds of 180gr weighs the same as the PC Shield with 13 rounds of 115 gr 9mm… and if I’m going to carry something that weighs 22+Ozs then it’ll be my .40 cal with Apex kit for half the price. Performance center stuff isn’t that great for the extra cash you have to drop.
    Buy a regular Shield Plus, spend $79 on a replacent front sight that comes on the Ruger Max9 and call it a day.
    The Max9 front sight is a Hi-Viz green fiber optic ringed by a Tritium vial… and yes, Ruger used S&W’s dovetail so it fits perfectly.

  5. I will buy a PC version, with the four inch barrel. And when they make one in 45 acp, that also. I already have all of the rest! Good job S&W!

  6. I agree with everything W.R. Said in his review. I received my m&p shield PC about 3 weeks ago and have only fired about 50 rounds through it. The Underwood Xtreme defender 90 gr shoot very good with low recoil. I have also shot American eagle 124 gr fmg with good results. This gun is awesome. I’m probably going to get another one for my wife. The cleaning kit is a great bonus ( didn’t now I was getting that with it).

  7. I have a older shield bought 5 yrs. ago I have a 10 shot mag . Will the new 13 shot mag work in my older shield

  8. I have a old shield bought 6 yrs ago I have a 10 mag will the new 13 shot mag work with my older shield

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