M&P shield Range Report


May 7, 2012, 01:01 PM
Ludus Magnus MMA holster, and single mag pouch in coyote. If you are interested in the gear pictured let me know I am the one that makes them.

Hey guys, I finally got to put some rounds through my M&P shield and I wanted to share my thoughts on the gun for anyone that might be interested.

Short Version: I love this gun. After 468 rounds of different ammo brands, weights and styles there were zero issues. It is very concealable, recoil is a non issue, and has all the accuracy that I will ever need in a defense gun.

Long Version: I will be honest, I first heard about the shield a few days after it came out. I am all for selection and options, but honestly I thought “what can this gun do, or do differently than all the other sub compact 9’s on the market?” I had the kel-tec pf-9 at that time. The PF-9 filled the niche just fine, and there really wasn’t any need for me to look into other choices because the PF-9 was just fine. However, when I held it for the first time, and messed with it for a bit I figured out that I might be onto something with this gun. I knew I liked it, I just didn’t know how much until I ran it the first time at the range.

Trigger: I have never actually shot an M&P so I really have nothing to compare it to. However, the first time I dry fired the shield I knew I was going to be quite pleased. The take up and the break are fine for me. The reset point is not the best, but after shooting xd’s for so long I know how to work a trigger like that, so no worries there. The reset on the shield maybe better than other m&p’s however, it is not comparable to a factory glock trigger’s reset. Compared to the PF-9, I would say weight wise they are pretty similar. The PF-9 seemed to be almost like a very nice da revolver trigger. In short, I like the trigger on the shield, and I think it is among the better triggers on sub compact 9’s out there. The trigger caused me no problems whatsoever.

Sights: The sights are indeed easy to find and quick on target, even though they are pretty basic three dot sights. Nothing fancy, but they work. They are “no snag” sights though, and you know what that means. No help from the sights in manual racks of the slide during one handed manipulations. My only gripe about the sights is that they do not have a 90 degree front for manual racks.

Shoot ability: I had heard that the shield shoots like a much larger gun, and I was very interested to see for myself. I am happy to report that what I read was correct. It handles like a compact gun instead of a baby or sub compact gun. After 468rds, which is something that I would never dream of doing in other sub compact handguns, I did not feel fatigued what so ever. Even with the 7rd magazine though it feels like a sub compact in your hand, when actually firing it, it runs just fine, and can be handled and ran with the much bigger dogs. With the 8rd magazine in, I didn’t feel like I was holding a sub compact gun at all. If I had to say there is a difference in the shoot ability between magazines it is only slightly, with the 8rd magazine being the best. To illustrate just how “shoot able” this little gun is; I got my best ever time on the FAST drill today. Yes it was on the 3rd rep, however my 1st 2 reps were very close to what I get with my g-19. The 3rd rep beat my previous best with the g-19 by about .25 sec. Even with the +p rounds it is very easy to shoot, control and fast to get back on target even in rapid strings of fire.

Safety: I will be honest with you the first time that I went and looked at this gun; I totally forgot/ missed the fact that there was a manual safety on the gun. The safety was off when I brought the gun home, and it has stayed off since. At no point did the safety come on, on its own or get knocked on.

Reliability: Well what more is there to say 468 rounds in approx. 1.5hrs of shooting with various ammo brands, bullet styles and weights there were no issues.

Accuracy: I had no trouble keeping all the rounds in the designated target area while shooting and training on various size targets, at various ranges, and under various conditions. No matter if that was a head box, a 3” circle, the high center chest of SEB targets etc. I would say that that is telling enough right there of the guns accuracy potential. I am sure in the hands of someone who is a good shooter it would be capable of some very tight groups. Even when shooting on the move or from various positions; weapon hand only, reaction hand only it kept putting the rounds where I needed them to be.

Grip/ ergos (7rd vs 8rd magazine): I have small hands, so even with the 7rd magazine I have no problem getting a good hold on the gun. However, half of my pinky or a little less hangs off the bottom when using the flush magazine. The 8rd magazine makes this an even sweeter package. Changing mags does change the feel of the gun a tad, but it is really no big deal to me personally. When I do carry the shield I will do so with the 7rd in and the 8rd as a spare. This will keep the gun as short as possible, and concealable as possible. Though the shield is a little wider and grip is slightly bigger than the PF-9, I honestly prefer it. It fills up my and more, and doesn’t feel like I am holding onto a 1”x2”.

Point ability, with the shield is good as well. From a compressed position, pushing the gun out, the sights are easy to find/track, and are pretty well aligned without any adjustment. Here I will throw in a big +1 to the grip force adapter. “Whoa wait a minute you say” what does this have to do with the grip force? If I was running a g-19 all the time without one, the shield and a stock 19 would point very differently. The grip force adapter makes crossing back and forth between guns easy. It makes them so similar that it is no problem going from one to the other.

Special notes: 1) you have to ensure that you get a good seat on the mag, when the mag is full and the chamber is closed it is a little tougher to seat than what I am used to. However, that is something that I now know and is no issue. 2) Though the 8rd magazine does drop free, most of the time for me, my palm would be against the extended part of the 8rd mag, and it would not come all the way out. Sometimes it would drop free as there was no interference by my palm, other times it wouldn’t and I would assist the mag coming out. Another good reason to carry the 7rd as the primary and the 8rd as a secondary; it will allow a smoother reload if one is called for in a fight. If you need to reload in a fight you are already in a bad way, and you need every advantage that you can get.

Pre- Range activities: As with any new gun, I first took it apart, checked out the inner workings and gave it a cleaning and lube job. Of course, I had to make some gear for myself and did so by making me an MMA holster and single mag pouch for it, for both carrying and for running it at the range.
Range Time: While at the range I wanted to ensure that I was not only testing the shield out, but that I was also getting some good training/ practice out of the session as well. I decided that I would start with some diagnostics of the gun’s accuracy and shoot ability, and then I would move straight into doing a normal practice session. I wanted to do the normal drills so I could see the “practical” accuracy of the gun. Basically, what I was capable of doing with the gun in a more dynamic way than just standing and punching holes in paper. I wanted to run the gun as hard as I could. This was made difficult by the fact that I only had the two supplied magazines. However, I did the best that I could, and jammed mags as fast as I could to keep the gun hot and under as much stress as possible.

Ammo Used: 468rds total (A mix of Tula, Federal Champion, Remington Golden sabers, and Winchester PDX-1) Ammo weights were 115, 124 and 124 +p.

Drills Conducted:
1) Mechanical accuracy: I started at 7yds on a bull’s eye target. I shot 2 mags two handed, and 1 mag each weapon and reaction handed. Accuracy was very good and on par with any other defensive handgun I have shot and or used.
2) I then conducted the 21 shot drill. This was more for me, to work reload with retention, various shots per strings, scanning etc.
3) 5^5 drill. I have come to love this drill, and this is something that I do great deal. I did a total of three reps of 5^5. I can shoot this drill clean on demand, and under time with my g-19 and xd. However, with the pf9 I would pull a shot or two here and there. I wanted to see how the shoot ability of the shield would compare to my other guns by using this drill. I just did 2 hands from the ready and 2 hands from the holster. My drills were clean and under the par time on all the reps. My times were very much on par with what I do with the g-19.
4) I then conducted “distance” shooting with the shield. This was on seb targets at 10 and 15yds. Nothing fancy. I could make the hits with the pf9 so I wanted to make sure that I could with the shield. I pulled 2 shots at 15, but other than that, the high center chest of the seb took all the hits.
5) Fight to your feet drill
6) Won’t stop drill (my personal take and preference for conducting a “failure to stop”).
7) Pacing drill
8) Seb drills at 3yds and 7yds
9) Shrinking dot drills at 7yds
10) 1-5 drill: 2 hands stationary x 2 reps/ shooting on the move x1 rep)
11) Speed reloads.
12) Bill drills x 3 reps (all were clean and only slightly slower that what I run them with the g-19)
13) Fast test x 3 reps
A) Rep 1 : 6.96
B) Rep 2: 6.93 All clean
C) Rep 3: 6.67
14) Testing of JHP loads.

Conclusion: There is a great deal of options on the market when it comes to sub compact 9’s. For me personally this is the best one yet. I am glad that I snagged one up when I did. The shield is compact, reliable, and accurate, has a good trigger, highly visible sights, feels and handles well, and is at a pretty good price point. I think S&W did a great job on this gun all the way around. I had zero problems with the gun, gear, or any of the ammo. I look forward to carrying this gun on a daily basis. This is not going to serve as a BUG, it is going to be a primary gun that I carry when the weather, and situation dictates that I do so. I do not feel under or out gunned with the shield and a spare magazine on my person.

If you enjoyed reading about "M&P shield Range Report" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
May 7, 2012, 01:17 PM
BTW .. Trijicon HD night sights fit the Shield.

May 7, 2012, 01:20 PM
nice, and good to know. Thank you.

May 7, 2012, 09:57 PM
Accuracy was………….
Was what?

May 7, 2012, 10:02 PM
Fixed it.

If you enjoyed reading about "M&P shield Range Report" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!