Gear Review: Apex Tactical Shield Carry Kit

Smith and Wesson M&P triggers have never been known as “good” by any stretch of the imagination. I lamented the “godawful” M&P trigger in my M&P 45C review, and every stock one I’ve picked up since has given me fits. The Shield was the first M&P that didn’t seem to have a trigger filled with sand. I actually kind of liked it. Our man Ralph agreed, though he felt it was a bit too stiff by a pound and a half. The guys and gals over at Apex seemed to think the same. And when it comes to M&P trigger improvements, there’s one name that gets thrown around the most, Apex Tactical.

Apex Tactical VP & Pistolsmith, Scott Folk was kind enough to send me one of their M&P Shield Carry Kits. It comes complete with a fully machined sear, striker block kit, and spring set. According to the product brief, the sear is supposed to reduce trigger pull weight and over travel, the striker block kit smoothes things out, and the spring kit brings the trigger pull weight down to a number that starts with a five. Best of all, Apex advertises that, “This is a do-it-yourself drop in trigger enhancement kit designed to allow for the home gunsmith to easily modify their pistol without the excessive costs of shipping firearms.” I’m barely a home gunsmith (I don’t even play one on TV), but I figured I’d give it a try on a Shield of my own.

Our main man Scott also tossed in an instructional video showing you how easy it should be to install the carry kit in your Shield.

I found Scott’s video to be very well done and extremely informative. Truth be told, had these instructions been only in written form, there’d still be a pile of Shield on the bench. Scott is clearly a talented guy, and if you follow the instructions, you too can install the kit. But watch that video first and decide what your time is worth. Especially if you don’t have the tools to do this job. Specifically, the tool to push your rear sight out. You’ll need to do that to replace the striker block. And this is the part where I show you how much I mangled my rear sight using the wrong punch.

So how does it shoot? In a word, awesome. The stock trigger was good, but the Apex trigger is really excellent. Trigger pull is reduced to just a touch under six pounds, the break is clean, and the very audible reset point is very close to the break. This allows you to ride the reset point and make incredibly fast follow up shots without losing your sight picture.

Apex did a really great job with this kit, and if you have the right tools to get the job done, don’t hesitate to contact them and get one on order. If you aren’t sure of your gunsmithing skills, or don’t own the necessary tools, give some thought to sending your Shield off to Apex, and they can do the install for you. It will be about 4-6 weeks and cost you $150 + shipping.

Apex Tactical Shield Carry Kit

  • Includes: Apex Fully Machined Sear, Ultimate Striker Block Kit, Shield Spring Kit
  • Cost: $89.95
  • Installation Time: ~20 minutes if you are Scott Folk, closer to 1.5 hours if you are a mortal.
  • Installation Difficulty: With the right tools, fairly easy.
  • Installation Cost: If you choose not go the DIY route, $150 + shipping gets you a Level 2 Trigger which is the kit, some polish, and an install by the Apex Tactical Team.

 Design * * * * *

The Shield kit is very well designed, very well machined, and comes with all the little slave pins and doo dads you’ll need to hold everything in place while you assemble.

 Functionality * * * * *

My Shield performs flawlessly now. I have had zero reliability issues and feel totally comfortable carrying the Shield day to day.

 Overall Rating * * * * *

This is a well put together kit that will only enhance an already very nice gun.

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About Tyler Kee

Tyler Kee is a small town kid trying to make it in the big city of Austin, TX. A salesman by day, he is an avid motorcyclist and aspiring chef out of the office.

22 Responses to Gear Review: Apex Tactical Shield Carry Kit

  1. avatardan says:

    I’m sorry but dont call the trigger on something god awfull in the intro of the story and then in the middle of the article say that the same stock trigger is ok, it’s obnoxious and it does harm to the idea that you are telling the truth about one or the other statement.

    • avatarAnon says:

      He is a human being you know. Moving on, I had an Apex Forward Set Sear kit (FSS) installed in my 9FS and it took the smith a total of 3 hours. He had to take HD pictures and email them to Apex so they could figure out why he was having so much trouble. He had to take parts out of his personal gun and put them in mine to see if there was a bad part in my kit. Eventually he got it working and it has been a massive improvement. According to him, s&w has been making rolling changes to the m&p pistols to improve them since they were first introduced, so it makes it hard for Apex to offer products that will work in every generation of m&p. If you buy a kit from them (I recommend it), don’t expect it to just go in easy.

    • avatarInteriorattack says:

      I’m sorry but don’t read the article poorly and misunderstand which firearm he feels the trigger is god awful on. It’s obnoxious and does harm to the idea that you can read and understand English.

    • avatarLoyd says:

      “Smith and Wesson M&P triggers have never been known as “good” by any stretch of the imagination. I lamented the “godawful” M&P trigger in my M&P 45C review, and every stock one I’ve picked up since has given me fits. The Shield was the first M&P that didn’t seem to have a trigger filled with sand.”

      • avatardan says:

        and he is still calling the M&P trigger bad which the Shield is part of that family of firearms. and secondly just saying that the trigger on the shield is not gritty does not change that he states the stock trigger is bad in the beginning and then changes his stance later in the article.

        • avatarBen says:

          Actually, it’s not really part of the same line of firearms. The large majority of the parts in the trigger had to be re-designed for the MUCH thinner handgun. Reviewers all around the Internet have been raving about the stock trigger on the Shield as compared to the M&P.

          Just my 2 cents.

  2. avatarsdog says:

    i thought the shield had the “new and improved” factory trigger? i have shot my friends mp 9 and i did not think it was too bad.

  3. avatarmike says:

    I’ve heard all year that the M&P lineup are the true “Glock killers” now. Well i completely agree that they feel much better than holding 2×4′s. But after all the talk and hype… bottom line is I have to shell out an additional ~$100+ on a new gun just to correct the lousy trigger? When every stock Glock is fine out of the box at ~5.5 lbs and feels great?? It’s hard enough trying to find an M&P shield under msrp. Why can’t a big outfit like S&W have this gun “perfect” out of the box?

    • avatarRalph says:

      @mike, whether someone likes the “feel” of a trigger is very subjective. Triggers are like computer keyboards. Some people like ones that are clicky, while some like them softer. I like Glock triggers well enough, but I find them to be too spongy and not positive-feeling, which isn’t what I prefer in a trigger. If Glock triggers are perfect for you, that’s great. Buy Glocks. For me, they’re far from perfect.

      • avatarmike says:

        Ok I hear you. My intent wasn’t to start a M&P vs Glock preference debate. I’m simply pointing out that the majority of people are fine with a stock Glock out of the box. But with an M&P, the first thing everyone hears about and wants to do is get some Apex kit to “fix” things. I want an M&P Shield 9 real bad…. but i’m not looking forward to “fixing” it out of the box.

        • avatarBen says:

          I have a Sheild in 40 that I bought about 2 weeks ago. Trigger is awesome feels lighter, smoother, and crisper than my Dads G23. All in all I love the little thing, and after the pain in the arse of putting in a set of trigicon night sights its not worth it to me to punch them back off the improve what is already a great trigger.

    • No Glock Trigger is “Fine” out of the box.

      • avatarEd Hall says:

        Agreed. I have and love many Glocks. NONE of them have stock triggers, most have a polish, 3.5 connector, then 7000 round through them. Then they are “ok”.

  4. avatarRalph says:

    Three cheers for Apex. I’d install those kits on my wall-mounted light switches if Apex made them.

  5. avatarmotomed says:

    have this in my shield and can’t believe the difference it made. my stock trigger was very heavy and just not great. had a local gunsmith put it in and install night sights at the same time and he charged me less than $75 to do it with a 3 day turnaround.

  6. avatarOldLawman says:

    I own two Shields, both with the Apex Carry Kit. Agree completely with your evaluation, and also share your pain about trying to remove the rear sight to install the striker block and spring. S&W must use a hydraulic press to install the sight.

    The stock trigger is not bad, and has a very positive reset. The Apex kit just makes it better all around.

  7. avatarWill says:

    I’ve seen some reviews recently that seem to be almost word-for-word the same, except for the gun, and a few details because of. That isn’t to say that what is reviewed is bad, but IMHO, it can subtract from a review. It’s a good thing TTAG doesn’t do this.

  8. avatarBlehtastic says:

    Thought this would be a totally awesome article on a new holster that fits on the back of a Captain America shield, am now disappointed that it’s yet another article on the ridiculously overhyped late-comer to the carry gun marketplace.

  9. avatarChris says:

    I honestly thought I was the only one who disliked M&P triggers. I dont know any other way to describe it but their verson of safe action feels, spongy. It feels more like I have to pull the trigger twice, with take up in the bottom half before the whole trigger moves. With Glocks, I dont get that.

    This is not to bash the M&P, it is not a bad gun. I just never liked the trigger. I would like to try out the Sheild. I havnt heard much bad about it and the trigger supposedly is better. Very crisp and prominent reset from videos I have seen. Until then, I will stick with my G23.

  10. avatarMarmot says:

    I fired 100 rounds through my new Shield 9 on the 24th. The trigger is very good and I would not change it.

  11. avatarTrevor says:

    Purchased a kit directly from Apex, trigger does not fit right, Trigger is stiff, dosent reset, Trigger saftey does not engage, so i called apex to see if they can fix it. They want to charge $105 plus $17.95 return shipping. Also it will take 8-10 weeks. Forget that i will never order again. Wish companies stood behind their product.

  12. avatarKen Weldon says:

    I purchased a S&W SD9VE for my wife as a defense gun. Accuracy was fair and trigger pull long and hard at about 10 LB. A friend suggested getting the $21 Apex trigger kit and I installed it in about 30 minutes after some fit frustration due to the tight tolerance. The next day the wife’s accuracy went from a 5″ grouping to 2.5″ at 20 yards. She said the pull was so much lighter and now thee was no pulling the gun off. the trigger tested out at slightly over 5 pounds. I then decided to polish the key parts shown on APEX’s web site and reduced the pull 3.5 Lbs. I bought another S&W SD9VE and never fired it before installing my second APEX kit and polish routine and it tested at 3.7 Lbs. I figure between the kit and my time that amounts to about $100. The point is I really wouldn’t have paid $425 for this pistol plus tax and permits outright for an entry level gun. So I see the merit in S&W philosophy on sales here. A lot of people are satisfied out of the box. Now I don’t understand why anyone would spend $500 plus dollars on a pistol that really doesn’t shoot any more accurate or reliably in the hand or on a bench. I normally shoot a Sig P228 and find the S&W SD9VE just as acceptable for occasional shooting or self defense. There’s been no failures of any kind through the S&W after over 1200 rounds. Those rounds are merely 100 a month to make sure the wife and daughter can handle it properly and stay reasonably proficient. And it came with two mags for that price. I don’t think you can get more for less and maybe not more for $100 – $150 more out of the box.

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