Hands-On with the S&W Shield

As expected, the S&W Shield is here at the NRA Annual Meeting, and it’s basically a small version of their existing M&P line. All of the controls and the styling feels familiar, mainly because they’ve been copy-and-pasted from their other M&P pistols. But the most surprising thing is that the gun actually feels comfortable in my hand. The Nano and the CM9 both feel awkward and tiny to me, but this handgun feels just about right.

The issue with this gun is that the gun is copy and pasted from their existing line, including the trigger. The trigger on the M&P has never been known for its glass smooth properties, and the Shield continues that tradition. It’s bumpy and gritty and generally disagreeable, but chances are if you’re trying to defend yourself you won’t mind.

The gun comes in both 40S&W and 9mm (shooter’s choice), and included in the box are both the 7 and 8 round versions of the single stack magazine.

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

23 Responses to Hands-On with the S&W Shield

  1. avatarRyan Finn says:

    Caleb claims that S&W fixed the whole no audible or tactile reset that plagues the standard M&Ps. Did you notice it in the Shield?

  2. avatarMichael B says:

    I handled one last night at my LGS and I did not notice the trigger on it being bumpy or gritty. It had a clean break and a decent reset.

  3. avatarMichael B says:

    BTW all the stores around here are asking the retail price for it. They’re nuts.

  4. I’ve found a couple other reviews so far, and the most notable thing that they all pointed out was that the trigger is actually much improved from the stock M&P trigger we know and love. Hope to see a more extensive review from you guys soon.

  5. avatarJason says:

    Finally, someone is making a handgun with a tiny redundant safety, too small to hit easily, and positioned so you can’t rest the pad of your thumb on it on presentation. I get so bored with guns that just go “bang” when I pull the trigger. At last, some excitement! Will it go off? Will it not go off? Only Murphy knows!

    • avatarRab says:

      +1000

      If they had to put a safety on, they should have used the same one as on their full-size M&P

      • avatarJason says:

        If I’m going to bother with a safety, I’d better be getting a superb single action trigger in return. And it had better be ergonomic. But I’m a demanding so-and-so. Fortunately, there are plenty of gun makers who easily live up to my expectations.

        • avatarSomeone says:

          Ding ding ding!

          We have a winner!

          Try the *gasp* Taurus 709 for a true single action striker fired single stack with a safety.

          A side note…I wonder if the 709′s slide will fit the Shield’s frame, the gun looks way too similar for it to be a coincidence.

        • avatarJason says:

          I said “superb”. Even the Walther PPQ’s trigger isn’t good enough to justify an extra safety, and I love the Walther PPQ’s trigger. No, you make me mess with a safety, I want a trigger that’s a step above fantastic: either a well-tuned 1911 trigger, a CZ-75 with a trigger job by CZ Custom, or a SIG P210. Nothing less is worth the effort.

        • avatarSomeone says:

          If you haven’t tried the 709, you should.

          I hate all manner of DAO triggers and basically anything that isn’t a 3# single action with no creep and minuscule over travel.

          The 709 has about a 1/16″ overtravel and 1/8″ reset.

          Try it. You’ll be sirprised. It’s about 10x better than the PPS.

  6. avatarST says:

    I understand the desire for a great trigger pull .That said,only one handgun out of the number I’ve handled -including the ones I own-has ever met that standard.I wish the Nighthawk Customs 1911 trigger could be transplanted to every pistol sold today,but such is the stuff of pipe dreams.I may as well wish for the end of gun control in New York City.

    As the cops with NY-1 Glocks prove,a gun with a crappy trigger that works when the flag flies is still quite capable of keeping the Goblins at bay.If you want a pistol with a sexy trigger pull,get a 1911.If the need is for an affordable pistol that can be hidden in the pocket,then trigger pull is barely on the radar for shopping criterion.

  7. avatarRaph84 says:

    I actually find it kind of odd that they call this an M&P. Other than the appearance of the grips it seems more like the bodyguard series.

    These guns do not have the same controls (aka different safety, no option for a magazine disconnect) which just doesn’t seem to make sense. If I were a police dept. looking at backup guns and officers were carrying M&P’s with a thumb safety and a mag disconnect I would worry about them carrying this pistol, as muscle memory/training with their primary pistol could lead to some unfortunate mistakes with this back up gun

    • avatarSBinMN says:

      Thats a good point for cops and the safety and mag disconnect.
      I did read that they are offering a LE verison probably with night sights and 3 mags. I assume they might also include a mag disconnect to address that issue, but who knows. Maybe they have it in they’re mind to wait to see if the demand is really they’re for cops. I agree they should have just used the original thumb safety, maybe Apex or similar will make one. However __if__ it’s like they’re other M&P’s you can easily remove the thumb safety if you don’t want it.

      I do like how they partnered with companies and already have aftermarket accessories available now and most in another month from the PDF file S&W released on the Shield. Ones out now or by end of month: Blackhack Tuckable Holster, DeSanti Holster,
      Fobus Paddle Holster, Galco, HiViz Front Sight Green, Pistol Wear, XS Sights

      May 2012: LaserMax CF-Shield, Uncle Mikes Reflex Hip Holseter, WilliamsGunSight Fiber Optic sights

      I’m sure Apex Tactical is already working on something.

      I’m wearing my M&P9L IWB as a test since I’m considering a M&P9C and now this. Granted my holster is really crappy, well it was made for a G23 10 years ago and doesn’t fit exactly, but it’s really annoying, not the barrel but the grip and sights digging in. So I might just get the M&P9 Full Size 4.25″ and then get a M&P9 Shield or smaller for actually carrying. I wish I knew someone with a M&P9C with a good holster that I could wear for a few days to test out if that’s even a possibility or not for me. Now that I’m writing this, my IWB is so crappy I’m just going to cut a hole in the bottom of the barrel so I can truly feel the grip of the full size M&P.

      • avatarSBinMN says:

        Wow. After I cut the hole in the bottom, it’s not that bad at all. I should clarify I have never CCW’d before so this is new even wearing one the last two nights. I knew it would drop the grip down a little bit, but didn’t realize how much better it feels though. I guess this is what people who CCW a 4.0″ to 4.25″ weapon or so and then go down to these smaller weapons like the Shield must feel like. It’s got to be a nice feeling though, yes less rounds but also don’t have to worry about printing and if the gun is small enough can also wear it in the summer with shorts and a T-Shirt.

        I guess a M&P9C could be ok then. Only reason so I could use my full size mags and get a X-Grip extension. Would like to use my Apex FSS & Trigger with it and eventually the Apex Bar-Sto barrel also. I have it at 3 lbs now which is low for a CCW, but I have constant hand and wrist pain so not too strong. To be safe I’d probably still go to 4.25 to 4.75 lbs though. Of course if I had the money I’d just get the M&P Full size 4.25″, M&P9C and then the Shield or similar and not even worry about it. First have to sell my M&P9L for the funds though. Sorry for the rambling, just trying to type and think out loud which helps me make a decision.

  8. avatarSean says:

    I got to handle one…well, I can’t say. The people that had it had too sign a non-disclosure form. But I was impressed in the way it felt. I got to shoot one in 9mm last night. Only one magazine, but I was impressed. I might buy one when I get some extra money. Far better shooter than my old Kahr.

  9. avatarRon says:

    I’m curious as to why they decided to go with a fixed backstrap instead of the interchangable ones?

  10. avatarSevere says:

    Once again the slim line pistols ignore those of us in our right mind.

    Is there some inherent design requirement that removes the ambi controls on these slimmer pistols? I just want a right side slide release! …yeah, I know….slingshot and hush.

    • avatarRon says:

      It has to do with the slim factor itself.
      Ambi. controls add to the overall thickness.

      Yea I think it’s crazy too.

    • avatarEric says:

      I absolutely hate that. It’s why I decided not to get a S&W Bodyguard. That they gushed over how the Bodyguard’s integrated laser was ambidextrous while ignoring that the pistol carrying it was not just acted like salt in the wound.

    • avatarOODALOOP says:

      Dude, buy a M&P 9c or a Walter PPS then. The 9c has no safety and a good mag release (lefties love righty mag releases) and the Walther PPS, also with no safety, has the mag release designed as part of the trigger guard. Being a lefty myself I tend to gravitate towards non-standard handguns with no, ambi or odd safeties. I love ambi 1911s, the H&K P7 (love the grip safety) or the S&W M&P9c. Deal with it and move on. There is no love for those of us with a sinister bent….

  11. avatarDavid says:

    I shot a friend’s MPS 9mm the other day, brand new from the box. Functioned fine. Trigger was better than the MP .45 I shot a bit over a year ago, also a brand new pistol. More tactile reset but not as short or as crisp as my Walther P99. Not bad, just different. For yucks, shot it at a 200yd plate our club has on the rifle range and managed one hit out of one magazine with generic ball ammo. Front sight seemed a bit tall for both of us, printed low on a plate rack at 7 yds.

    For the price, and the mechanical accuracy and decent trigger, it’s ok.

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