Joe Grine

I hate it when this happens. After years of waffling about which carry pistol to buy, I finally settled on a M&P SHIELD. The S&W was everything I wanted: slim, concealable, lightweight, striker-fired polymer pistol. Six months later, S&W brings out a new version with a ported barrel and slide, an even better trigger than the original, and HI-VIZ fiber optic sights. We were able to shoot the 9mm version of this pistol today, and walked away highly impressed. I need to shoot it at night to see if the ports are annoying in low visibility, but right now I’m thinking I am going to sell my Shield and upgrade to this new ported version . . .


Courtesy Joe Grine

Courtesty Joe Grine

Joe Grine

Like the regular Shield, this bad boy ships with two magazines: one that features the pinkly finger extension and one that features a flat butt plate.

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61 Responses to New from S&W: Performance Center Ported Shield

    • Neither do I. Never have. Since I’ve developed tinnitus, I understand comps, brakes and ports even less, especially on a carry gun.

      The second reason I don’t grok porting on a carry gun is that you’re typically going to have a short barrel, which already is costing you muzzle velocity. Porting isn’t going to improve this issue at all.

      • Eh, all gunshots are loud, and ported pistols being slightly louder is moot. If your ears aren’t protected, you’re going to experience hearing loss either way (along with potential pain and distraction); if they ARE protected, you’re good either way. It’s a wash.

        Porting works to reduce/minimize muzzle flip in a given pistol over an un-ported version, but unless they practice with the ported pistol exclusively and regularly, most folks will never be able to take advantage of the difference made by the ports.

        And even though I am a fan of ported pistols, I fully agree that porting an already-probably-too-short barrel in 9mm is the biggest problem with this pistol, and the one that has no easy solution. If I felt I really wanted a ported barrel in a pistol of this size, I’d buy a slightly extended barrel, with the ports on the extended portion. But realistically, you’re better off to just spend the money on full-powered practice ammo.

        • I can already shoot my Glock 43 as fast as I can squeeze the trigger with enough accuracy at defensive distances to meet my needs. In a 4 shot string where I am point shooting with no reference to sights, I end up with about an 8 inch by 4 inch vertical string at 20 ft. I’m not bragging. 2 months ago I couldn’t do this. a 2 day Reflexive Shooting class at Sig got me there. Either way, if you get the software up to snuff, there is no need for the financial and ballistic cost of ports.

          Don

        • If a person can’t handle the recoil on the Shield, they need more training, not porting. And good luck in darkness when you shoot it. I think Smith has found the perfect solution to a nonexistent problem.

      • Ported guns are way too loud. Even with ear plugs in you can feel and hear the difference. Ear plugs can somewhat muffle sound, but they cannot decrease the concussive energy.

        Ask anyone who has sustained hearing loss, it’s no fun. Save the ported guns for the range games, use standard barrels with standard pressure rounds for real life.

        That’s my 2 cents.

        • Nice reference indeed. Stranger in a strange land… Robert Heinlein. I use the word all the time and no one seems to know what I’m talking about. nice to see a fellow traveler of days gone by. Fair Witness.

  1. These actually hit the market before SHOT Show, my buddy was able to buy one for 499 at one of the large Gun shops in Tampa Florida. I haven’t seen them on the internet anywhere And I didn’t see them on Smith and Wesson site yet but that means really nothing. I have a 5 inch Ported 17 + 1 full size pistol I carry at work And it’s a match grade quality barrel And it’s a Performance Center gun with their trigger in it So is this new shield it is a Performance Center gun. I’m a little upset as well cuz I’ve had a shield since they first came out And paid 400 and change For it And now I could have got a really super nice one for just a couple dollars more doesn’t that figure.Anybody here on the site have one already as well I would have actually purchase one the same day my buddy did But it was the last one they had they only got three And it was the last one and it was his first handgun so I wasn’t going to deny him that It shoots awesome What are you guys think of yours if you have one of these models?

  2. I’ve read in some other reviews that the porting helps with muzzle flip, without jetting any flames into your vision – even shooting from a retracted ready position didn’t blow crap around. So – from a defensive shooting standpoint, the porting isn’t that big of a deal.

    Keep in mind that folks have carried revolvers for years, with a barrel-cylinder gap that also shoots flames and crap around. I even carry a ported Taurus Tracker in .45 ACP on occasion, and it doesn’t really cause any problems either.

    • At our range and Gunshop When I shoot my 5 inch ported Performance Center M&P Core Pistol Without an optic on it I do not see the flames coming out of the port But are 16 pistol range Has high definition cameras watching every shooter from front and behind And you can actually see flames coming out of the ports On the high definition camera But you cannot see them when you’re riding the gun and firing it.But my full size Performance Center 5 inch ported M&P Pro Core does not give any kik or muzzle flip at all because of the porting and I’m guessing also because of the size of the weapon, But I did notice when I was shooting my buddy shield Performance Center ported barrel That it had no Muzzle flip whatsoever detectable to me But then again I shoot 5 600 rounds of handgun ammunition a week.

    • My 5 inch model has total different grips on it even the rear Backstrap Interchangeable pieces have a more aggressive grip texture And I want to say when I was shooting my buddy shield the Grips were different as well but I can’t hundred percent swear to it Maybe one of the fellas that shot it just recently can say But I know for a fact that the core Pro Series Has a awesome grip on it compared to the stock M & P series pistols Grips. And the trigger is absolutely amazing on it It’s got over travel stops A different trigger Transfer bar And it’s right at 5.2 pounds They say 5.5 out of the box so it is probably a plus or minus thereof so much Very minimal amount.

    • A trick with grips I’ve bin using for years and saved my life through I lost my left arm from a shooting is skateboard grip tape. Had blood all over my hand and pistol from being shoot in the arm twice and was able to empty the clip with no loss of control and I owe it to .50 cents of grip tape. Comes in lots of colors clear and black, can cut to any shape, holds on, comes of with no marks or damage just a little goo off removes any glue let behind, just right on how abrasive ect.

  3. Sootch did a review of this model and it fared well. I don’t see a big de with porting, now I probably wouldn’t sell my shield for this new model though.

  4. Living in Alaska shooting in the dark is always a possibility. Looking forward to a night range report as I’ve has a Shield for for two years and thinking about the new one.

    • Just as in the the case of muzzle flash, port flash is largely controllable by careful ammo selection. Cheap range/target/blasting ammo is the worst for producing flash, and of course it is these ammo types that most people are using when they shoot (or watch someone else shoot) ported pistols. This leaves them with the incorrect assumption that ALL ammo produces a huge amount of muzzle/port flash, which simply isn’t accurate/true.

      Any quality defensive load includes flash retardant in the propellant powder, and the results will be totally different from the results with cheap practice ammo. Don’t take my word for it — try it.

      • I was waiting for someone to bring up this topic. If you read on most self defense ammunition That is designed For self defense You will notice on the box it says on most major manufacturer brands That It has lower recoil On some But most all boxes say Les flash During use. This is to prevent you losing night sight Or your night vision capabilities when your pupils dialate from the bright flash from the muzzle When the gun goes off. I’d say about 90% of all self defense ammunition is loaded this way with a flash suppressor Propellant added to the powder load It’s actually in the powder they use for the self defense ammunition to prevent flashes.

  5. Seems like a bad idea actually. If most defensive shootings happen with the gun close to your chest, by that I mean without arms fully extended, it seems like you’re opening yourself up to powder burns and things of that nature from the porting. But I dunno. I’m probably wrong 😛

      • It’s only slightly worse than a magnum revolver, and we’ve been successfully using those for defensive uses for decades. Training easily fixes it (you know better than to wrap your support hand fingers around the front of a revolver, don’t you? Thank training), plus it provides a measure of grab-proofing for CQB (Bad Guy: “I got control of your muzzle; what ya gonna do now?” Me: “Just pull the trigger, and see how fast you let go…”).

  6. I could get the original flavor in 9mm for between $380 and $390, and I really want one. If this model doesn’t cost significantly more, I might wait until I can snag one. Should I wait?

    • It will probably be about $70 more going by the increase in MSRP, but you also get an upgraded trigger and fiber optic sights on the Performance Center gun, which would cost you far more to get done on the the standard gun then the increase, so it is up to you if those upgrades are worth it.

  7. Why on earth would you want to make a 9MM belch fire line a snub. 357? Ever fire a magnum caliber in low light? +5 for effort. – 10 for execution.

    • You mean the windows that let as much ambient light into the fiber as possible while still protecting it? Yes, they are a thing and have been for a while.

  8. We’ve got the Shield 1.0 with/without thumb safety as a great stagger stack slim 9mm defensive pistol for a reasonable price.

    Now 2.0 with ports. Will 2.0.1 be threaded? (Actually I thought I read that the threaded barrel was available, but it isn’t shown on S&W’s site.)

    Will 3.0.1-3 be interchangeable back straps?

    3.1 a double stack grip with 3.0.1-3 back straps? Say goodbye to the M&P Compact.

    4.0 the Mil-Spec civvy version of the new DoD pistol contract winner?

    5.0 the competition version that eliminates the M&P9, long slides, etc. Mag capacity=20+1.

    5,1 is the CORE.

    6.0? Steel or alloy chassis, Officer and Commander length slides/barrels.

    World domination and an international chassis that serves ALL purposes. The New 1911. (Or a $200 saddle on a $20 horse).

    I’ll stay with my 1.0.1 (Talon grip, laser, single spring stainless recoil rod, MagGuts and mag extensions, Apex trigger and Sear, ATS firefly sights).

  9. I have a fair amount of trigger time behind some ported, short barrel revolvers. No thanks. It’s not the flash issue for me, it is the debris coming up from the ports so close to my face from anything other than a arms extended shooting position. Another minor point is it just leaves another hole for more crap (lint, etc.) to get into a carry gun. And no offense, but if you have a problem with a short barrel 9mm that only porting will solve, you have a problem. I would have rather seen a slightly extended thumb safety. The lack of that caused me to sell my first Shield with safety when the no-safety version came out. As a 30-year devotee of the 1911, I have no problem with a properly placed thumb safety, if I can only locate and manipulate it. Otherwise, no safety for me. My current Shield, with Apex carry kit and Novak sights, is my EDC.

  10. A ported, 3″ barrel, single stack, carry pistol…

    Really S&W? How about removing your heads from your butts and make a G19 size M&P?

  11. Porting is nothing but a gimmick– a gimmick that can blow crud in your face at precisely the wrong time.

    And while it _may_ reduce muzzle flip, don’t count on it being noticeable. There’s just not enough gas in a 9mm cartridge to do much– especially with the short lever arm of a 3″ barrel. Ever wonder why there are no 9mms with muzzle brakes running in competitions? Or .45s? Hint– because it doesn’t work. 9mm Major, .38 Super, 9×23, etc. yeah sure. But not 9mm (too little gas) or .45 (too low of a pressure).

    It’s asinine. Wait for the non-ported version, due to appear in a year or two.

    • “Ever wonder why there are no 9mms with muzzle brakes running in competitions?”

      No, because I know why — most stock/non-modified categories/classes ban them (IDPA/USPSA/IPSC), not because they are ineffective, but because they ARE effective (there is no reason to ban something that doesn’t work; the competitive market will eliminate the pretenders). The only classes/categories where ported/comped guns are allowed are the master/high-level competition classes, and there, to be faintly competitive, you need the MAXIMUM amount of compensation/recoil-reduction, which is what drives the high-gas-pressure/volume calibers over factory-loaded cartridges.

      It’s not that factory ported pistols in factory calibers don’t work, it’s that they work too well to compete against stock unported pistols, and not well enough in the high-end master-class categories.

  12. The semi auto concealed carry market has been a bonanza for firearms makers for several years now. I suspect that is slowing down as the market gets saturated and Smith is looking for ways to keep the gravy train going. One way is exactly what happened here. The author has a Shield he is perfectly happy with. But now there’s a newer, shinier model out with more bells and whistles. Kinda like the newest iPhone. Gotta get one now!

    • More productive marketing tech would be to tweek Obumer so that he talks more about guns. That will increase sales more than any R&D. Perhaps conduct a Shield lottery for Chicago welfare moms with an exclusion for some demtard favored group. That would set him off.

  13. Ported pistols suck. The powder flash flies right up in your face when you shoot, no good for close in work. They are twice as loud, which is no big deal, but they lose alot of muzzle velocity which can affect reliable function.

    Had a V10 XD9 awhile back, it was a jam o matic because the slide lost so much rearward velocity it wouldnt strip the next round hard enough. Asked Springfield about it, they ran me around so I just traded it on a Glock. OK range toy, watching the fire come out the top, but completely useless for self defense. Portholes belong on cruise ships.

    • A little correction on what you’re saying there I agree with ported Barrels losing more velocity then on ported Barrels, But the loss is not very significant at all you’re talking maybe a hundred feet per second Maybe. And adding a heavy or spring recoil spring that is To a Springfield that has issues cycling Rounds in and out of the chamber correctly Is not going to help anything in fact it will make it cycle more Poorly then if you left the standard weight spring in the gun That doesn’t make any sense to me why you would add a heavy or spring to a gun that already has a problem cycling ammunition That’s like the opposite of what anyone I know would do and I’ve been in the business over 20 years. Not to chop your ass or anything just saying.

      • Where does it say I put a heavier spring in it? I asked Springfield about the FTF and they told me they had never had a complaint, and blamed the ammo. In other words, they could care less. So I went to a gunshow poophole and swapped it dead even for another Glock. Not sure what you are going on and on about.

        • Sorry Fred, I reread your post and I see that I read it wrong. I thought you would ask for a heavier recoil spring from Springfield Armory. Now I do know that ported barrel seem to like Heavier weight Bullets Because of the loss of velocity From the porting. The heavier bullet keeps In the rifling Actually in the barrel for millisecond longer Which increases its velocity Even though ported.

    • “They are twice as loud, which is no big deal…”

      Unless you actually have to use it one day, God forbid. You’ll be hard of hearing the rest of your life because some Dbag decided you were an easy target.

      • Played guitar in heavy metal bands for 20+ years, my concept of loud is different than most. I often shoot without ear muffs. I like loud. However that ported XD9 was definitely a barking bitch. If it hadnt been for the jams I would have kept it for the cool factor, but I refuse to keep any guns that dont function well without a simple fix, and Springfield turned me off with their attitude. And the hot powder in the face was no fun at any speed. Still have a XD45 that runs perfect, the Croation guns are decent if the barrels arent turned into swiss cheeze.

  14. Porting has literally zero effect on your night vision.

    If it did, people would avoid revolvers like the plague. It’s a nonexistent problem made up by people with lots of imagination but no desire to test their baseless conclusions.

    • I agree, there a tiny bit louder they’re not twice as loud that’s ridiculous. There a tiny bit louder just like a revolver is And the porting does do its job it does work especially if you’re recoil sensitive. Try shooting your pistol in a pitch black environmentAnd see how much Flash your gun puts off with no porting Do the same test with a ported barrel pistol And then do it again with a revolver You’ll notice a hell of a lot more flash coming off the revolver around the cylinder face Then coming out of the end of a ported barrel Or out of the ports.

  15. I dunno Jim, we’ve got nothing this year. We spent too much time at the range and forgot to develop anything with the real razamataz the kids like!

    No, Bill, wait… I got it. Holes. Yeah, we put holes in the the barrel. Makes the gun go faster! Or something?

    Jim, that doesn’t make any sense. Ignoring the fact that you want to make the bullet go faster, and this will do the opposite, this is a 9mm. Muzzle flip is not really an…

    Don’t worry Bill, people will buy it anyway. People always do.

  16. I’ve had the new Shield ordered since Nov 2015. Still waiting,…,.
    It’s now Feb 2016.
    Sure hoping it’s worth the wait.

  17. I purchased one of these ported models, ended up selling it. I also own a standard Shield and liked that much better after installing the Apex Duty/Carry Flat faced trigger upgrade. The ported model was fine but I like the extra weight of the standard model and actually shoot better with it.

  18. y’all don’t know shwit.beatch beatch beitch………freakin babies…….don’t freakin buy it if ya don’t freakin like it.

  19. My ported shield melted my face off but after reconstructive surgery and multiple skin grafts I’m going to be ok:)

    • Now that’s funny William! I just bought a ported shield with optical sights and can’t wait to shoot it.

  20. Judas Priest (You’ve got Another Thing Comin’)…So many naysayers to the idea of a ported, short barreled 9mm vs whatever. And most of you have never even shot one! Yet you expound your opinion. I shot the Shield, Performance Shield. and Glock 43 side by side. 50 rnds. ea., sometimes one shot only, then the other, then the other. 25ft for all. The Performance Center was noticeably different, and in my hands, more accurate. The trigger is more like the Glock than the original Shield. Smooth, but the reset was crisper and more defined than the 43. The sights are terrific for target re-acquisition and aided by the noticeable reduction in muzzle flip from the porting. Muzzle flash, no issue. Debris? Really? What are you talking about? Clean your weapon and don’t use Eastern European ammo. Noise? For crying out loud…your discharging explosives 30″ from your head. There will be noise.
    Result? I added the Performance Center to my group and it is now my EDC.
    Please…before you ridicule and dismiss, go find one to rent or borrow and then render an opinion. But make sure there is a fire extinguisher near by to put your shirt out. Unbelievable.

    • I happen to agree with you There. I own a regular shield in 9 millimeter And I also own a Glock 43 And a good friend of mine Just purchased The new performance center shield in 9 millimeter And we took all three to the range And show them side-by-side And I could not tell the difference in noise between Either of the three pistols The ported barrel was not noticeably louder And did not have any debris come out of it except for burnt gunpowder residueI think the ported Shield Shot better Out of All three pistols it shot better than my shield the original Style With no porting It shot better than the Glock 43 More accurate

    • I also think that the trigger Is as good if not better than the Glock 43Itshot amazing I couldn’t believe That that short barrel pistol had absolutely no Muzzle flip whatsoever I wish I would have waited Butt Maybe they’ll be something cool I’ve already got a ported M&P 5 inch Performance Center And I really enjoyed shooting that gun it’s a freaking tack driver But I do like my glocks as well

      • Thanks for the support Dave. Now go run some Ruger ARX through it. It changes the dynamics even more. ~1400 fps out of the barrel and it almost feels like you didn’t even pulled the trigger. Available in 380, 9mm, 40 and 45. Check out the gelatin tests on this stuff.
        Have a great weekend.

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