S&W M&P Shield 9mm Review!


May 2, 2012, 09:55 PM
This is my fist review, so bare with me. I wanted to include some pictures, but they kept coming out fuzzy, so I just left them off.

I wanted to post a review here on my newest acquisition, a S&W M&P Shield 9mm. First how I got here. I had been using a Ruger LC9 for that last several months as my CCW. I had it out shooting again this weekend, and after almost 1000 rounds and months of shooting, I still could not do better than 6 inch groups at 7 yards. While that is probably good enough for a subcompact defensive pistol, I wanted better. With my larger pieces, Glocks, Sigs, and Baretta, I can easily shoot 2 inch groups of less out to 15 yards without difficulty. So I was looking to replace my LC9. I happened by my regular LGS and the first thing Dave hands me before I even tell him what I am looking for is the Shield. Needless to say, I didn’t put it down until I had to fill out the paperwork to take it home.

The ergonomics are perfect. It is a single stack that easily fits in the hand, but the palm swells give you enough to hold onto. The stippling provides traction without leaving marks or taking skin, and it doesn’t catch on clothes either. While it does not come with the interchangeable back straps, the grip seems to “fit” everyone that has held it, large and small. Like all Smiths. The fit and finish is excellent, and I believe that it will be durable like the rest of the line. The sights are of the 3-dot variety, and set as far to the ends of the slide giving the shooter the best possible sight radius. I found them to be highly effective and could shoot a 3 inch group out to 15 yards. Now on to the best part of this pistol: TRIGGER! If you are familiar with the M&P line, then you know that the trigger is acceptable, but nothing to write home about. That is after all one of the main reasons for the introduction of the M&P Pro Series. The stock trigger on the Shield is better! There are rumors about an enhanced APEX carry package for it, but I cannot possibly see why you would change anything. The trigger is smooth, short, crisp, devoid of any stacking, and has a very positive reset, pretty much everything you always wished and M&P trigger would have. Smith really got it right with this one! It comes with 2 factory mags. One is a flush fitting 7rounder that lets about half my pinky to catch on. The other is an 8round with built-on gap filler to provide a full firing grip.

A lot of research and planning clearly went into the development and release of this pistol. Some of the major holster manufacturers were given advanced molds to begin making holsters even before the pistol was released. I current am using a yaqi style holster, but am looking at options from Galco, Desantis, and Blackhawk! Extra mags are hard to find right now, but that is workable as the pistol comes with two. I have no doubts that more accessories will pop up as I predict this will become a very popular choice for CCW and LEO BUG.

At the range I fired 100 rounds of 115gr PMC fmj to break it in. Zero malfunctions, zero FTFs. Everything worked exactly as it should. I found the recoil to be surprising tame for as light as the pistol is. Rapid fire was easy and controllable. At 5 yards I would dump a mag into 1-2 inch hold. At 15 yards, 2 inch groups or aimed fire were the normal. I then tested my usual carry round, 125gr Remington Golden Sabres. Like the 100 rounds before them, 25 of these went off without a hitch, and shot just as the accurately as the PMC.

In all, I could not be more pleased with this pistol, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a 9mm CCW of BUG. There are rumors that a .40SW coming in the future if you like a bigger hole.

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BP Hunter
May 2, 2012, 10:28 PM
Nice review and congrats! I saw and handled the Shiled last week at a LGS. It was only $389...for a quality S&W handgun! I was that close to buying it. I compared the size with the gunstore's Kel Tec PF9, which also is my summer carry. It had the same width but the grip of the Shield was a little longer. If the store accepted trade ins, I would have gone home with the Shield definitely. Excellent purchase Doc!

May 2, 2012, 11:46 PM
Good review! Sounds like a good gun.

May 7, 2012, 07:37 AM
I also jumped on the Shield bandwagon and unfortunately I have been left disappointed. Maybe mine is a lemon, I dont know.
Anyhow this is my 5th M&P (yes I do like their line) and the other 4 do have trigger jobs on them. Out of the box, I'd have to say this Shield 9mm is the worst M&P trigger I have tried. I found the trigger very stiff and with a sharp break and a so-so reset. I have the Apex resets on the other M&P's to make them more Glock like. So in that respect the Shield has the best out of the box reset but other than that it sucks.
Another disappointment was the extreme stiffness of the safety. If I had to operate that safety while practicing quick draws using a full box of ammo, then I'd have a bloody raw thumb. Yes its that stiff!! Good thing none of my other M&P's have thumb safetys.
In a few weeks I will have time set aside to strip it down and do a polish on the internals and give it a trigger job to see if that improves its performace. For now I will stick with my M&P40C as the primary carry piece, even if her butt is a bit chubby. :eek:

May 7, 2012, 05:02 PM
Great job Doc. Your review was like a seasoned veteran rather than a first-timer. I, too, grabbed a Shield and I could not be more pleased. Unlike Nek, my experience with the trigger and the safety is that S&W nailed it. It's what I was hoping for in a small 9mm. I will not carry any gun without a safety or a long double-action first shot. Too many Glock legs in this world for my comfort, but I do acknowledge that using a thumb safety does require more practice than just pulling a trigger (at least, that is the excuse I give my wife for all my range visits). I will still carry my M&P9c, SR9c, and LCP - but, the Shield conceals better than the first two, and shoots a 9mm round more accurately than the 380 round of my LCP, so the Shield will, for sure, get many hours of prime concealed carry time. I love choices!

May 7, 2012, 05:13 PM
OCNM, I plan on utilizing the safety for when I want to be more secure in my handling [like unloading it for cleaning, storage, etc] and when I go to holster it with one in the chamber. I plan on, after it is secure in the holster, taking the safety off so it is ready for any [hopefully never to arrise] situation where I need to quickly use a sidearm. For me, . . . it is the best of both worlds. While practicing the best firearm safety I can, having the extra benefit of having a safety for certain procedures is a plus in my book.

I'm still waiting for my LGS to get one in. After that, I will attempt a review of my findings, . . . or just add to one like this thread.

May 7, 2012, 08:48 PM
NEK: Sorry to hear. Hope your get your issues cleared up or that you just got a lemon and can get it fixed. Being a new gun, if you call S&W they will likely go out of their way to help you. The last thing they need with a new gun is bad press, so I would give them a call.

LCNM: Thanks for the compliment. I guess I have read enough reviews to get an idea of how they should go. Glad to see that others are having the same good results I am with the Shield. Having taken it to the range twice now and putting 750 rounds through it, I have some update info.

-It really like 124 standard pressure ammo, FMJ and JHP. I wonder if that, being somewhat in the middle, is what they regulated it to. I am running Remington Golden Sabres 124gr as my carry ammo, and they are flawless and POA/POI perfect.
-It can handle +P ammo, and military surplus 9mmNATO (which is loaded hotter and harder), but I wouldn't go through 4 boxes of it, like I did today. That much power for that long in a gun that small starts to smart around round 300ish. But regular pressure stuff I can shoot all day.
-I read something about someone having a problem with the spacer in the 8round mag slipping around. I have noticed it. It has not been a significant interference for me, but I am going to experiment with some Gorilla Glue this week and see how it works. I use the smaller 7 round mag in the gun when I carry, and he 8 rounder as my spare. I value concealment over one more round before the reload.
-After 750 rounds (300 WWB 115gr FMJ, 50 Rem GS 124gr JHP, 300 WWB 124gr NATO, 100 124gr+p FMJ) still no FTFs. I am very pleased with this gun and have even recommended it to someone looking for a CCW as I have full confidence in it. I am currently using a Yaqi style loop holster OWB, but am looking into a better model specific option, probably Kydex, as I live on the beach and it is always hot and humid. Other than that, I am *hoping* they come out with a Lightguard for it, as I like the option of mount a light on a gun, and the Shield has no rail up front. Other than that, A+ to S&W, they got this one RIGHT!

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