Concealed Carry

Review: Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus

M&P plus pistol and magazine on ammo

I am not certain who manufactured the first slim-line compact 9mm.

The STAR BM, Smith and Wesson 3913 and early Kahr pistols are among the candidates I’ve found.

The slim-line nine has come to mean a compact polymer-frame striker-fired 9mm.

Among the most popular are the Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm and the GLOCK 43.

There is plenty of room for improvement in most pistols and the GLOCK 43 became the GLOCK 43X at a later date.

Smith and Wesson has also improved their Shield with the new Shield Plus.

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.

M&P Plus Pistol
The Shield’s improvements include a new style trigger and a different grip treatment.

Features of the Shield Plus

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. The new Shield Plus is an outgrowth of the Shield 2.0 introduced a few years ago.

The Shield Plus features improved grip texture. The extra rounds in the magazine are good to have.

Better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it! But the best feature of the new pistol is an improved trigger design.

The flat-face trigger is superior to the old Shield and the pistol features a tight, crisp trigger action. My example breaks at 4.5 pounds.

Many years ago, I carried first a Chief’s Special .38 and later a Star PD .45 under my shirt in concealed carry.

Each pistol was corroded to one extent or the other due to perspiration.

The Smith and Wesson Shield Plus 9mm features an Amornite coating on the slide.

This slide and the polymer frame are practically immune to corrosion. The pistol is as compact as the original pistol with a 3.1-inch barrel.

The new Shield Plus weighs two ounces more than the original, a slight trade-off for increased magazine capacity.

The pistol’s sights are the same as the Shield 2.0. This is a very decent sight setup for personal defense.

S&W M&P Plus pistol and magazine
The pistol is supplied with a 10-round and a 13-round magazine.

M&P Shield Plus Performance

I would not have thought it possible to design a slim-line high-capacity pistol as thin as this one, but here it is. The grip feels good.

The controls are non-obtrusive and protected by the grip design.

No snagging of the magazine release or slide lock while the pistol is carried concealed.

I expended more than 200 cartridges over the past two weeks getting a good idea of the performance of the Shield Plus, using both the 10 and 13-round magazines.

Function has been flawless.

Like all short-barrel handguns, it takes time to quickly get a good sight alignment and then quickly recover the sights after recoil.

The Shield handles as well as most compact pistols and better than most.

The Shield Plus handles better and shoots better than any original Shield I have fired.

While the slight extra weight helps, the new trigger is the real star of this show.

S&W Magazine
The tapered magazine proved to feed reliably.

Accuracy and Function

I have a dwindling supply of Federal American Eagle ball ammo on-hand.

Results were good to excellent with this loading.

While accuracy and control in rapid-fire is the mark of a personal defense handgun, I also benchrest-fired the pistol for absolute accuracy.

Firing from a solid braced position, the pistol consistently put five rounds into less than three inches at 15 yards.

A brace of five Federal 147-grain HST loads went into two inches. The pistol is certainly accurate enough for any foreseeable need.

I broadened the test by using Federal’s new Punch 9mm loading. 

I enjoyed firing the pistol, and after 40 rounds of this loading I was not rubbing my wrists — the Shield Plus is both controllable and accurate.

Just before writing this feature, I took a friend and to the range and we fired 100 rounds of the Winchester Active Duty loading as quickly as we could load the magazines.

It was not a chore at all and there were no malfunctions even when firing from the retention firing position, below eye level, with a bent wrist.

S&W pistol in leather holster
Galco’s Stow-N-Go holster is a strong choice for personal defense.

Carry Options

For concealed carry, a lightweight pistol is easy to carry, but only if you choose an appropriate holster.

The Galco Stow-N-Go is cut from center-cut Steerhide.

A metal-reinforced mouth (welt) prevents the holster from collapsing after the handgun is drawn.

A neutral cant allows behind the hip, crossdraw or appendix carry. The polymer belt clips take a sturdy hold of the belt.

I like this holster very much and own several. 

What do you think of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus? 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 (9)

  1. Answers on all front- magazines do NOT fit older gun, this is a redesign

    The gun is no more or less difficult to disassemble than any other slim line 9

    Rodney Firestar 9mm is a great gun, a classic.

  2. Send me a free one and I’ll review it. I do like -and collect- S&W’s.
    But I warn you -I’m 76 Y.O. with carpal tunnel and two numb RH fingers and thumb;
    and it will be compared to my STAR FIRESTAR (9mm) M43, which DOES NOT kick.
    [-thus I dislike plastic guns.)

  3. I see alot about 9mm. I would like to see some commentary on theS&W Shield 45. I have one of the 1rst series that came out but I have not seen any one talk about them. Mine also has the ported barrel.

  4. Could someone clarify for me if the new 13 round magazine will be accepted and function in a older
    9MM Shield.
    I have gotten a several opposing answers.
    I know a new 13 round mag. Will be expensive and will not be widely available, perhaps for a year or two, but will is fit and function in my older shield?
    Thanks.

  5. James, I don’t know what the Kahrs are like but the Shield spring is on the stiff side. It is about the same as my other 9mm and 40cal guns.

  6. I have had the older Shield for a number of years and thought it was a good conceal carry pistol. I purchased the Shield Plus a few days ago and they definitely made some improvements in the trigger action. The grip fits in my hand a little better as well. It seems like it might be just a little larger but it might be just the difference in the surface of the grip.
    The one thing I did run into is the 13 round magazine won’t take 13 rounds with some ammo. MAGTECH 115gr fmj and Remington 115gr fmj would only take 12 rounds. But with Winchester 115gr fmj 13 rounds would fit. I got out my caliper and there is a few thousands difference in the shell casings but I can’t believe they would have that tight of tolerance on the magazine. Of all the reviews I’ve read no one seems to have had the same problem. Maybe I was the lucky guy to get the only magazine like that. All in all I like the pistol and will keep it.

  7. I have just purchased the SW MP 9mm Shield Plus for concealed carry self defense. Extremely happy with this handgun. I have been to range twice and have run a couple of hundred rounds through. It worked perfect no problems. Did have to buy a good speed loader that handles single and double stack magazines. ( UpLULA did trick) magazines good quality but stiff. I can tell engineers at Smith Wesson put lot thought when designing trigger, reminds me of the PPQ Walther. Smooth. I paid $549.99 thought this was a steal at that price.
    Using a BIANCI model 57 leather. Perfect combo. I can’t find any negatives on this handgun. I would buy another one in a seconds notice!!!

  8. How hard is the spring to reassemble when you field strip the pistol?

    I had to sell my Kahrs simply because the springs were not easy to compress with arthritic wrists.

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