The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. or… Shield Performance Center, or Shield 2.0, or Shield 2.0 Performance Center, or EZ, or 2.0 Plus, in 9mm, .40, and as of recently, .45acp.
Micro carry pistols are nothing new. Whether it’s compact, super compact, deep conceal or whatever, these things have been around a hot minute. Whether it is the truck gun, range gun, the Mad Dog Tanner under the hat gun, shower gun, which by the way it is documented a shower gun has been used in home defense just so you know. So, like most dudes(or dudettes), we are always looking for a new purpose for a gun so we can justify the need to buy another. We can’t just buy one to buy one, it needs “purpose”, or so we tell ourselves. Lucky for us, Smith and Wesson gave us a new purpose, they gave us, the Shield, and for me anyway, it was a game changer.
When I first saw the Shield sitting on the gun show table amongst the sea of polymer grip pistols, I intentionally over looked it. Instead, I was looking for a full-size pistol. Something, I thought at the time was more useful, and practical. You know, the extended barrel with threaded tip, extended mag holding 21 rounds, the suppressor height sights, maybe even with an optic! Such as the Sig Sauer P226 MK25 RX in FDE that I picked up that day.
Then, as time went by, (got married, had a kid) I started wanting to carry more, and these full-size pieces were getting a little annoying to conceal, especially in the south where 10 months out of the year I can wear shorts and light shirts. This is where the Shield stood taller than all the rest. Back at the Will Rogers gun show in Fort Worth. Which is by far my favorite gun show to attend, hosting over 1000 tables per show. I finally swept the Shield up, checked out, and never looked back… Sorta.
My first Shield was a .40 cal “1.0”. Not the best trigger, not the best grip, which was a little rubbery and slick when sweaty, but still very thin, very light, and easy to conceal. I think in this version I could only max out at a 6-round capacity. Due to the annoying muzzle flip of the .40 during range sessions, I ended up trading it in for 9mm Performance Center version. This is what the Shield was meant to be! For a 100 more bucks I had Hi-Viz fiber optic sights, ported front barrel, with the extended grip it holds 8 rounds, better trigger, and it just felt better overall. It cannot be over stated, this gun is thin, in all the right ways. While still feeling like you have a solid grip on it.
With a full-size grip when the extended mag is in, it makes for fun little range gun, not ideal, but still changes things up a bit. With the flush mag in, you can literally just throw this thing in your pocket and head out the door. Apex carry? Easy. Hip carry? Absolutely. Shoulder holster? No problemo. Fanny pack carry? Oh, hell yeah! Ankle carry… meh, probably not so much. Gooch carry? I recommend only in a kilt based off my testing results.
You can get the Shield in 4’’ barrels now, as opposed to 3.1’’ traditionally. The 2.0’s have a crisper trigger, and a much better stippled grip, so much so, it feels like it sticks to your hand. For pencil pushers out there, it may rub ya a bit raw. Additionally, we now have the new Shield Plus, which gives you 10 and 13 round magazines without really feeling any difference in the grip. So, what does it suck at?
Well, out past 15 yards I had a hard time maintaining an ideal center mass group. It gets the job done, but isn’t as pretty. It’s not what I would want as a duty carry. The ported barrel doesn’t really reduce muzzle flip I don’t think, but looks cool. Some complain the porting may flash bang your eyes in a low light scenario. To that I say, hit your target and don’t worry about it, pussy. (I tested it in low light and I had zero issues when focusing on my target and not the gun barrel. Not a fan of the hinged trigger safety. (This was fixed in the 2.0 Plus.)
In closing, the shield is a must have. If you’re not a S&W type of person, then there’s the Sig P365 which isn’t too bad either. I consider myself a Sig fanboy, however, this Shield is hands down my EDC.