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.
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.
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.
Accuracy and Function
I have a dwindling supply of Federal American Eagle ball ammo on-hand.
Results were good to excellent with this loading.
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.
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!