In my assessment, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is one of the more interesting product announcements to come out of the 2012 NRA convention or the 2012 Shot Show. Smith & Wesson has jumped into the ever crowding compact pistol arena with the 9mm Shield, which will also be available in 40 S&W.
The M&P Shield is a striker fired weapon, just .95 inches wide by 4.6 inches high and is just 6.1 inches long.
It weighs 19 ounces empty and loaded with nine 124 JHP rounds weighs in at just over 1.5 pounds.
However, by the dimensions stated on the Smith & Wesson website this is indeed a gun intended for those wanting a backup gun or a concealable sub-compact pistol.
Besides its impressive concealable dimensions this pistol has an excellent trigger. The trigger has a consistent 6.5 pound crisp pull with a quick and audible reset. I shot 115, 124 and 147 grain JHP ammo with no failures to feed, fire or eject, a total of 150 flawless rounds.
This was a very accurate pistol right out of the box (adjustable for windage) and the recoil is as soft and manageable as any 9mm pistol that I have ever fired. I am very impressed with my first M&P purchase. The Shield has thumb safety on the left side of the frame. We know people who absolutely hate the protrusion of a thumb safety on double action a striker fired carry pistol. I’m one of them. But other “consumers” demand an external safety on the frame. If Smith had to include an external safety, this one appears acceptable.
The safety is usable, but I don’t think it will accidently get swiped on given how low profile it is and with the detent pressure it has. I personally won’t be using it at all and will be doing a lot of testing to make sure it won’t accidently get swiped on before carrying it.
When I purchased the Shield, I was looking for a sub-compact for Mrs. Wolf. But after shooting it, I will definitely be using it as my primary summer carry pocket pistol. It fits perfectly in a DeSantis size E1 pocket pistol. The Shield compares in size to a Kahr PM9. It fits very well in the right front pocket of my carpenter jeans and cargo shorts. I believe this pistol can be pocket carried in a very slim holster by most people and be acceptable for comfort and fit.
Mrs. Wolf says I’ve never met a handgun that I didn’t like. It is true that I own and carry many different brands, caliber and size handguns. I enjoy shooting them all but can honestly say, for now the Shield is my favorite sub-compact pistol of any caliber. (But I’m not selling my Sig P238)
Overall, this pistol is OUTSTANDING and will fly off the shelves for a long time to come. You get a lot of pistol for $400. The Shield receives a five star rating from the Wolf, based on its quality, cost and design.
I’ve owned and carried a Glock 26 for over fifteen years. We have shot more than 5,000 rounds through it and don’t plan on selling it either. But we prefer shooting and carrying the Shield at this time. We will have to see if the Shield continues to function flawlessly like the Glock 26 when I put more rounds through it. I’ll update my evaluation after we’ve put at least a 1,000 rounds through it, which won’t take longer than a few months. I really like shooting this pistol.
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 7+1 with flush fitting magazine, 8+1 with extended magazine
- Barrel length: 3.1 inches
- OAL: less than 6 inches
- Widest point: 0.98 inches
- Un-necessary External Manual safety