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Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Review

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Review


The Original M&P Shield with flush mag.

Something about the feel of an M&P is like saying hello to an old friend whenever I pick it up. Being a fan of their pistols, I got the Shield for myself so I could have the option to carry something smaller and more concealable.

Shortly after bringing the gun home and taking my wife to the range with that pistol, she decided that it now belonged to her. So, I suppose this could go in the “cons” list of buying this pistol. You might just lose it to your loved one, as I did.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a single stack pistol built with a slimmer profile to increase both concealability and comfort, and is an excellent choice for the armed American citizen.


One of the best reasons to purchase the M&P (Military & Police) Shield is the price point. It won’t break your bank with the original Shield having a suggested retail price from Smith & Wesson of $367 and the newer model Shield 2.0 at $479.

This makes the Shield a great option for someone who is brand new to concealed carry and doesn’t have a lot of extra cash to spend. They can get a trustworthy, reliable pistol at a reasonable cost and upgrade it later if they so choose.


Shield with 8-round magazine

The short, slender size of the Shield lends itself well to concealment on smaller framed individuals, while still boasting an 8+1 capacity for 9mm. This isn’t the highest capacity for a pistol in this category, (see this review on the Sig P365) but is still an acceptable round count for a pistol of this size.

The Shield comes with two magazines. One 8-round mag with a grip extender, and one flush-sitting magazine with a 7-round capacity. While the Shield has been claimed against my will, I still carry it on occasion when I need a lower profile pistol.

When I do carry it, I like to have the 8-round magazine inserted because with the 7-rounder, the pinkies of my average sized hands hang off the bottom. This causes the pistol to jump around on me a bit more making it more difficult to control during rapid fire, not to mention less accurate on follow up shots.

In contrast, my hands fit perfectly on the 8-round mag allowing me to maintain a full combat grip. I recommend shooting extensively with both magazines so that you will be able to understand the difference in the grips and how it relates to shooting accurately.

The only time I’d use the shorter magazine is if I were to use the Shield as a B.U.G. (back up gun). In this case I would use the flush fitting magazine in order to decrease the mass of the pistol for better concealability, such as in an ankle holster.

S&W M&P Shield 9mm ShapeShift Ankle Holster by Alien Gear Holsters

The grip extender on the 8 round magazine just slips onto the magazine itself and is held in place by the base plate. There is only a slight amount of friction keeping the magazine extension where it belongs and, in my experience, it can come loose.

This is a small thing, unless you are carrying that magazine as a spare and the extension wiggles down while in your pocket. This could create a situation for a fumbled reload if you need that spare mag in a hurry. I recommend running a thin bead of glue to keep the extender where it belongs.

Carrying a spare magazine is something many people who carry the Shield like to do, due to the lower capacity. Those of us who are used to carrying a full-size pistol as part of our EDC (every day carry), might disapprove of the lower round count to the 15-17 rounds previously available to them.

But, by carrying 9 rounds in the pistol, and another 8 in a spare magazine, the shooter has the same number of rounds available to them as if they were carrying a G19 with a 17-round mag.


I have to say that the trigger on the M&P is my least favorite part. The hinged trigger feels a little spongy and isn’t pleasing to shoot in my opinion. It hits a good wall with a clean break, but there is a little extra travel giving it a mushy feel followed by a long reset.

That said, I believe it is still perfectly adequate for a combat pistol. I have seen much worse triggers by far. However, my personal preference is to swap out the stock trigger for an aftermarket one. Apex Tactical triggers are my go-to when I have the funds available for a pistol upgrade and are one of the first things I like to improve.

For those who are interested, the stock trigger pull weight is generally between 6-7 lbs.


The sights are also nothing to call your mom about. They’re perfectly adequate and will get the job done, but beyond that they aren’t much. One white dot for the front sight and two for the rear sight.

I wouldn’t be so tempted to switch the sights out for aftermarket ones if the metal sights of the M&P series weren’t so sharp. Since I like to carry in the appendix position, I find the sharp-edged sights digging into, and wearing holes in my skin and shirt.

If you’re planning to carry the Shield concealed, I recommend having your local gunsmith change out sights to something a little more CCW friendly.

The rear sight is also sloped, which could prevent you from being able to rack the slide off your belt or another surface during one handed reloads. This is of course very situational, but something to consider if you’re into that kind of thing.

Since I carry the Shield on a limited basis, I haven’t bothered with any upgrades yet. But when I get around to it, I plan on doing the sights first, for comfort, then the trigger.


The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield can be purchased with or without a manual thumb safety. If you’re unsure whether you want an additional safety, I would recommend purchasing the Shield with the safety installed and then removing it after if you decide you don’t need it.

If you do decide to remove the safety, there will be a little slot exposed where the safety had been. For some of the larger models in the S&W M&P line, you can purchase a “Manual Safety Frame Plug” to fill this gap. But if there is anyone producing these plugs for the Shield, I don’t know of them.

The plug is not a requirement and is purely a cosmetic detail which will not affect the function of your pistol.

You can have your gunsmith do this if you want, but You Tube videos abound and I found it simple enough to do myself. I imagine there are some arguments against doing this, however I can’t think of a profound enough reason to make this an issue for me.

There is a “Chamber Check” window where it is possible to see if a round is loaded in the chamber instead of doing a press check. The window is located on the top of the slide where the slide connects with the chamber.

You can mostly disregard this window altogether as I have never, not once, used it to see if I have a round in the chamber. Mostly, because the “window” is so small it’s difficult to see anything unless there is a lot of direct light. But also, because a press check is a more reliable way to ensure my pistol is loaded when I pick it up.


I like Glocks. I think they are a wonderful addition to anyone’s arsenal. But I don’t Love them. The grip angle and ergonomics of the M&P series of pistols is better in my opinion and the 18-degree grip angle falls smoothly into my natural point of aim, which makes the pistol feel more of an extension of my arm.

Everyone is different, but you can do much worse than a Shield.

The slide lock and magazine release are both easy to reach with the thumb. However, I find a reasonable amount of difficulty locating the slide release when working on reloads because it’s so small and difficult to activate. I tend to fumble it almost every time, so for that reason I stick with the way I first learned by just running the slide.

Smith & Wesson hasn’t forgotten about those shooters who are left handed and added the ability to move the magazine release to the right side of the pistol.

The small size of the pistol means it doesn’t weigh much, just 20.8 oz. This lighter weight means the 9mm feels a little snappier when shooting. But, due to the amount of grip available, it’s completely manageable.


The Shield is offered in all the most common defensive pistol calibers. Mine is chambered in 9mm like almost all of my handguns, but also available are the .40, .45, and even .380.

Keep in mind that the felt recoil will be higher with the larger calibers of the .40 and .45 since the Shield is a lighter firearm, and a lower round count available with a maximum capacity of 7+1 with the grip extension.

Options for upgrades.

Since the Shield is such a popular choice for concealed carry, there are a number of companies offering upgrades for your pistol. In addition to the already discussed aftermarket triggers and sights, magazine base plates for an additional few rounds, and custom colored mag releases are also available from companies such as HYVE.

Shield upgrades by HYVE. Photo: Pinterest

Recommended Holsters:

I recently reviewed holsters produced by L.A.G. Tactical and highly recommend the Appendix MK II. However, since this pistol is so popular, you should have little trouble finding a holster from your favorite Kydex bender.

This is a great pistol to carry around the house, or in situations where you may, or may not be wearing a belt. For this reason, one of my favorite ways to carry my Shield is in the Brave Response Appendix Holster. It may appear to be low tech compared to some of the shiny Kydex products out there, but it’s one of the most comfortable ways to carry the Shield concealed.

Other holsters that would work well for the Shield:

  1. Stealth Gear Ventcore AIWB
  2. Sticky Holsters
  3. Mission First Tactical IWB Appendix Holster

Light Options:

The Shield doesn’t have any rails underneath the barrel to allow the addition of a light or laser. For this reason, there are only a few companies that produce a light that attaches around the trigger guard.

One of the best options is the TLR-6, which has both a light and a laser in one package. Read about this light and how it compares to other popular CCW weapon lights in this article: Top 5 Weapon Mounted Lights Compared.

M&P Shield with the Streamlight TLR-6 weapon light

Keep in mind that it may be more difficult to find a holster from the company you were planning to buy from if you add a light. Depending on the company, they may not be able to produce a holster specific to your choice of light, so keep that in mind when planning your purchases.

Changes from the Original Shield to the 2.0:

The Shield 2.0 has been out on the market since late 2017 and is the latest in the M&P line of Shields. While I have yet to thoroughly test one of the newer 2.0s, the upgrades for this latest version appear primarily cosmetic.

I know there was some work done to the trigger and I do feel like it is better, however, I still strongly prefer an aftermarket trigger over that of the stock M&P 2.0 trigger.

The stippling pattern and aggressiveness of the grip has been changed and can rub you a little raw if it’s against your skin for too long in my experience. The feel of it in the hand is good, but you might want an undershirt between you and the grip for CCW.

Smith & Wesson has also added serrations on the slide near the muzzle. The intent is to allow more grip when performing a press check from that end. But there isn’t nearly enough friction to allow this smoothly, so I perform my press checks the way I always have. From the back … Like a normal person.

The last, more notable difference is in the price, which raises the recommended retail value of the first-generation Shield from $367.00, to $479.00 for the Shield 2.0. A difference of $112 which could easily go into the purchase of a high-quality holster.

The added cost and few differences don’t make me want to run out and purchase the latest Shield, although deals can be found closer to the cost of the original if you look.

If you are thinking of upgrading from the original Shield to the Shield 2.0, rest easy knowing that all your old mags and holsters will still fit your new pistol.

The Shield for Home Defense?

Yes. If it’s all you have, absolutely. But, if you are looking to purchase a pistol for home defense, and not planning on CCW, I don’t think it should be your first choice.

A full-size pistol holding at least double the round count when/if you need it and paired with a good flashlight is a better option. The larger pistol will have less felt recoil and will ultimately perform better for the function of home defense. But the Shield could handle that role if you needed it to.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is an excellent choice for CCW and will serve you well. While there is no “perfect pistol” out there. The Shield does a great job of balancing the problems of a combat worthy pistol in a small, easy to conceal package.


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SMITH AND WESSON-All you should know

SMITH AND WESSON-All you should know

American Outdoor Brands has announced plans to split its firearms unit, Smith & Wesson, from its outdoor products business, citing “changes in the political climate.”

The firm said in a statement Wednesday that it would create two independent, publicly traded companies. The restructuring is expected to be completed in the second half of next year.
Existing shareholders will receive stock in two companies: American Outdoor Brands, which will sell products including knives and fishing gear, and the guns business, Smith & Wesson Brands.
“There have been significant changes in the political climate, as well as the economic, investing and insurance markets” since American Outdoor Brands began efforts to diversify away from guns, chairman Barry Monheit said in a statement.Shares in American Outdoor Brands (AOBC) have plummeted nearly 40% this year as US gun manufacturers face a backlash from consumers and investors over the use of their products in mass shootings. A rifle manufactured by American Outdoor Brands was used in a 2018 mass shooting that killed 17 people in Parkland, Florida.Some consumers have boycotted Smith & Wesson products, denting sales. American Outdoor Brands has also been forced to defend its business practices against the likes of Blackrock (BLK), one of the world’s biggest asset managers and a major shareholder in the company.
The industry has also suffered a decline in sales prompted by the election of President Donald Trump, who is viewed as unlikely to support tighter restrictions on gun sales or ownership.
Firearms accounted for more than 75% of American Outdoor Brands’ revenue in the most recent quarter.Separating American Outdoor Brands into two companies will better enable each to deliver on its strategic and spending priorities, creating more value for shareholders, CEO James Debney said in a statement.
Debney said the board had granted his request to lead the outdoor products business. Mark Smith, who currently leads the firearm manufacturing operations, would become CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands.
The restructuring announcement comes one day after the US Supreme Court said it will not stop families of Sandy Hook victims from bringing a case against Remington Arms Co., the embattled manufacturer of the semi-automatic rifle that was used in the 2012 mass shooting at the elementary school.
While a federal law protects gun manufacturers from wrongful death lawsuits brought by family members, the Sandy Hook families are seeking to hold Remington accountable for its marketing practices. The ruling opens the door to further cases against gun manufacturers.So people looking to buy guns online or to buy a smith and wesson handgun or smith&wesson pistol can visit our S & W gun shop to see Smith & Wesson M&P,Smith&Wesson 9mm.Our Gun shop has all Smith & Wesson Models and parts for sale.We have the Smith & Wesson Rifles,Shortguns,Hunting guns and lots more.

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Smith & Wesson parent company splits in two

Smith & Wesson parent company splits in two

Citing the “political climate” related to the gun industry and the willingness of banks, insurers and investors to back it, Smith & Wesson said Wednesday it will split from the outdoor products and accessories businesses of American Outdoor Brands Corp.

Smith & Wesson changed its name to American Outdoor Brands (Nasdaq: AOBC) in 2016 as part of a diversification push — the opposite corporate strategy from the one announced Wednesday.

Smith & Wesson has has 1,600 employees at its Springfield manufacturing plant.

Smith & Wesson Brands Inc., based in Springfield, will encompass the firearms business, and American Outdoor Brands Inc., based in Boone County, Missouri, will include the outdoor products and accessories businesses, which sell everything from pocketknives to saws and gun cleaning supplies.

Corporate spokeswoman Liz Sharp didn’t respond to emailed questions Wednesday.

“There have been significant changes in the political climate as well as the economic, investing, and insurance markets since we embarked upon what we believe have been our very successful diversification efforts,” said Barry M. Monheit, chairman of the board, in a news release. “We believe that separating into two independent public companies will allow each company to better align its strategic objectives with its capital allocation priorities.”

“We also believe that this action will give the investment community clearer insight into the value creation potential in each of these independent companies, ultimately driving enhanced stockholder value,” Monheit said. “From the standpoint of our stockholders, at the time of the spin-off, the AOBC stockholders will own 100% of each company, thereby maintaining their pre-spin interest in both companies, and will thereafter have the ability to make distinct investment decisions tailored to their particular investment profile.”

The combined American Outdoor Brands had a disappointing earnings report in August. Quarterly net sales were $123.7 million compared with $138.8 million for the first quarter last year, a decrease of 10.9%. Profit was just $1.7 million, or 3 cents per diluted share, compared with $11.7 million, or 21 cents per diluted share, for the comparable quarter last year.

Also in August, American Outdoor Brands said its earnings for the year would trail even the lower estimates available at the time.

Retailers like Dick’s Sporting Goods have also pulled back from the gun business in the wake of mass shootings, including one Feb. 14, 2018, where a gunman used a Smith & Wesson rifle to kill 17 students and staff at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

Activists, including Parkland survivor David Hogg, have demonstrated outside the Smith & Wesson factory gates in Springfield. Religious groups, including a national network of Catholic nuns, bought American Outdoor Brands stock in order to influence the company to address gun violence.

Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow a lawsuit against gunmaker Remington. Remington is the manufacturer of the Bushmaster rifle a gunman used in 2012 to kill 28 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Among the dead were 20 young children.

James Debney, current American Outdoor Brands president and CEO, will lead the outdoor products company.

Mark Smith, currently head of firearms manufacturing operations, will be CEO of Smith & Wesson Brands Inc.

Smith & Wesson traces its roots to 1852, when Horace Smith and Daniel Baird Wesson partnered to manufacture a revolver that used a self-contained cartridge. Over the years, Smith & Wesson made revolvers for Old West gunslingers and the army of the Russian czar. It made guns for the allies in both World War I and II.

Under previous owners, Smith & Wesson faced a ferocious backlash in 2000 after reaching a gun-control agreement with the Clinton administration. The boycotts and protests nearly took down the company.


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Springfield’s legendary gun maker Smith & Wesson faces future, controversy

Springfield’s legendary gun maker Smith & Wesson faces future, controversy

Activist Catholic nuns from around the country succeeded Tuesday in getting shareholders of Smith & Wesson’s parent company to pass a resolution asking management to give an accounting of how the company monitors gun violence and what it’s doing to make safer products and keep firearms away from those who shouldn’t own them.

The result, announced at a noontime virtual shareholders meeting held exclusively online, disappointed American Outdoor Brands CEO P. James Debney. Debney, who had urged shareholders to vote no, spoke just after the vote.

But Sister Judy Byron, member of the Adrian Dominican Sisters and director of the Northwest Coalition for Responsible Investments in Seattle, said the report she and her fellow women religious seek is in the best interests not only of shareholders but also of society.

She cited the use of Smith & Wesson firearms in by gunmen in mass shootings at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and a community center in San Bernardino, California.


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“We are all seeking solutions to the epidemic of gun violence in our community,” Byron said. “While shareholders all seek a good return, this cannot be our only objective. As investors we cannot sanction a backward-looking business model that looks to the next election to steer base sales.”

Byron and her group want the report to include:

Evidence of monitoring of violent events associated with products produced by the company,
Details on efforts underway to research and produce safer guns and gun products, and
An assessment of the risks to corporate reputation and finances related to gun violence in the U.S.

Father of school shooting victim takes on Smith & Wesson

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The vote is nonbinding, but it puts public pressure on American Outdoor Brands to comply.

Byron’s group got shareholders of a competitor, Connecticut-based Sturm, Ruger & Co., to pass a similar resolution this summer. Ruger has said it will comply despite the resolution being nonbinding.

Debney, in his remarks Tuesday, didn’t address what American Outdoor Brands will do.

Byron said she hopes he decided to prepare the report and to open a dialogue.

“Every investor has a voice and we used our voice,” Byron said. “This is a critical issue in our society. And you have to be part of the solution.”

Byron said Tuesday she only knows that the resolution passed. AOBC won’t make vote totals public until it files paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission later.

The nuns only have 200 shares, the minimum number needed to get a shareholder resolution on the ballot. But Byron said that by getting the matter on the ballot Tuesday, she and her fellow nuns put the matter before the larger investors with more shares and forced them to consider the issue. It also gave them an easy way to make their feelings on gun safety known without taking the lead.

“It gave them a way to voice their concern with the company,”

Byron said she and her group meet next week in New York and then they’ll decide on a strategy for the next round of investor proxy votes.

They might continue to put questions to American Outdoor Brands and Ruger or they might branch out.

She said she and her sisters need to be tenacious. They owe it to the student activists who emerged from Parkland, Florida, after the shooting there.

“We can’t let the young people do the heavy lifting,” Byron said.

The company’s roots trace to 1852 when Horace Smith and Daniel Baird Wesson partnered to manufacture a firearm that used a self-contained cartridge.

American Outdoor Brands has 1,600 employees at its Springfield Smith & Wesson plant. It is advertising for production and professional workers in Springfield, at a plastics plant in Deep River, Connecticut, and at a new warehouse in Missouri.

The religious orders and health care organization that brought forth the gun safety report petition are:

Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, U.S.-Ontario Province
Adrian Dominican Sisters
Catholic Health Initiatives
Congregation of St. Joseph
Daughters of Charity, Province of St. Louise
Mercy Health
Mercy Investment Services
Sisters of Bon Secours, USA
Sisters of Providence, Mother Joseph Province
Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia
Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Louis Province