As someone who’s fairly new to the firearms world I’ve only had an opportunity to try a few guns, but I have tried most handgun styles. I’ve tried my hand at revolvers, 1911s, and GLOCK-style (although never actually a GLOCK) pistols. In fact, I’ve carried all of them for at least a short time and finally settled on my go-to firearm of choice: the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in 9mm with the extended magazines . . .
Upon getting the Shield I noticed a few things right off the bat. First thing that went through my mind was, “Crap, I got a California compliant version.” There are three things that the Cali version has, two of which had to go. The one thing I don’t mind, is the loaded chamber indicator. It’s just one of those extra piece-of-mind things I quadruple check every time I’m practicing dry fire drills. The two things that need to be addressed were:
- The magazine safety. God that thing is a pain. Can’t release the firing pin without a magazine in the well. Between trying to run the gun at an IDPA match, and my belief that if I pull the trigger I want a bang, it had to go. Thankfully, all it takes to make that happen is a five-minute YouTube video, a couple tools I had laying around, and a 10-cent spring from Home Depot.
- The trigger pull. Weighing in at a solid 6.5 pound pull, with the natural iffyness of the trigger itself just doesn’t cut it. Every time I pull the trigger I’m pulling left (I shoot lefty). As soon as I can afford it, I’m dropping in an Apex trigger.
Another thing I upgraded were the base sights. I’ve never liked those white dot sights that come on just about every pistol I’ve seen. They’re ugly and big and don’t help much in my opinion. I swapped out the Shield’s stock sights with a set of low-light vision off-the-shelf sights, and I shoot worlds better.
As for how I carry it, 99.9% of the time I carry it with an Alien Gear Gen 1 holster. I tried a couple off-the-shelf models, but we lefties don’t have too many options and the Alien Gear feels amazing. It’s darn comfortable and I can drive for hours and not feel a thing. I also carry two additional magazines in a mag holster on my offhand side. That gives me 24 rounds in three magazines plus one in the chamber — more than I’ll ever need (I hope). I also have a cheap shoulder holster that honestly is just fun to wear. I can draw a little faster, and it’s easier to access while sitting in a car, but it’s more difficult to conceal in a windy city.
Overall it’s an amazing little gun. Not perfect, but no stock gun is. It takes time, and work to make it fit you. I enjoy shooting it, and I feel comfortable carrying it. What more can I ask for?
(See the rest of the posts in this series here. Send your What I Carry and Why submissions with a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org with WICAW in the subject line.)