Yada yada yada the external safety “turns itself on.” (1:56). Well, if storing the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in a fanny pack unintentionally switches the external safety on (when you wanted the safety off) don’t carry the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in a fanny pack. If withdrawing-the-gun-wise still sucks, you’re done. Generally speaking, given the possibility of “accidents” like this and the stupidization effects of an adrenalin dump, I won’t schlep an EDC (everyday carry) with an external safety. I don’t recommend that you do, either—unless all your guns have an external safety and you train relentlessly. That’s why I withheld the final star from the otherwise awesome Ruger LC9, whose Chiclet-sized external safety is a lot stickier than the Smith’s. Of course, you could glue the safety down or otherwise disable it, but good luck explaining that to a jury.

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82 Responses to TheYankeeMarshal: S&W Shield’s Deadly Flaw

  1. I’d like to see his exact setup that is causing the safety to engage. If he’s carrying any firearm with a safety for CCW he should always sweep the safety…..period.
    All my handguns that have a safety engage/ disengage exactly the same….. Down to fire.

    • I think you said it best if I carry a gun that has a safety regardless of weather or not I use the safety. I would still train myself to disengage the safety. That’s pretty much how I carry my shield even though I don’t use the safety and I use a holster not a fannypack I still go through the motions of disengaging the safety when I draw.

  2. It is not uncommon for guns to have the safety engaged when carried. I recommend that a gun that has a safety is NEVER carried with the safety disengaged for that reason. If the gun can’t be carried with the safety engaged for any reason, buy another gun.

  3. He mentioned in the comments that it was a fanny pack with a built-in holster and in the video that it was the holster itself that was activating the safety.

      • Or use a different gun, which is what he’s going to do. He doesn’t like manual safeties anyway, probably because he’s mostly a revolver guy.

    • That was my thought… if whatever loose object in the fanny pack is switching on/off the safety… what happens when you pull out the firearm at home to put in the lock box, or at work if you are an officer and that loose object works its way into the trigger guard? Especially with a round in the chamber. Bang when you don’t want a bang.

      I carry a .40 Shield, with the safety on. Train monthly including safety off during draw. True the safety is a bit of a pain because it is so small, but thats the tradeoff for not having it dig into your fat roll.

      • The design of the firearm is for a slim profile, the mag release, and takedown levers are also low profile. The gun is designed with a purpose. don’t want a safety, buy a Glock. I have a couple of those too and they are excellent.

    • If your expecting the safety to be turned of it can be very deadly. When 1 second counts to get the first shot off to save your life, no knowing the safety is on is very deadly. I carry a M9 safety off, I also carry a Springfield XD 5 inch. So no problem with those safeties.

      • I own a Shield and also an M&P compact with no external safety. There is no “flaw” with the Shield as he describes it. If he has such a problem with it perhaps he should carry a different pistol. Because if you watch the Military Arms Channel, he says the safety take more force to put on than off. Mine operates in the same manner.

      • I’d be more concerned about the extra time it takes to open a fanny pack, than flicking off the safety with my thumb as its being withdrawn.

  4. All 3 people that carry their shield in a fanny pack are probably freaking out right now!! Oh the horror!

  5. I’m wearing a G17 in a Serpa OWB today. Picking the right jacket will let you conceal just about anything.

    Nutnfancy is a big fan of the fanny pack, and I can see it for EDC IFAK, but otherwise I far prefer item specific belt holsters.

  6. External safety features are preferential. If you do NOT prefer them…don’t bitch about the fact that they exist and turn themselves on or off. It comes with the territory that devices are imperfect and adding moving parts increases the odds of such. It’d be like dropping the clutch on a manual then switching to an automatic when you knew full well that a leg twitch could do that for you.

    You drive a manual…you have stalled out or peeled rubber and know how to handle it. Same goes for a manual safety. You have seen em screw up and screwed em up.

  7. Yankee Marshall’s YouTube game is simply posting intentionally agitating/antagonistic videos because there are just enough idiots out there who will watch them and argue with him.

      • That’s it then. I guess I am going to have to buy a Shield in .40

        Why? To completely piss off both of their followers!

    • I’m gonna have to disagree. He posts a lot of good information and unique insight. While I may not agree with him on this particular point, his words make people think and that’s pretty extraordinary for a youtube gun guy.

      • So basically he is the opposite of Colin noir especially in terms of review formats (Nutnfancy, Iraqvetteran8888) Cough.

    • Aren’t you a competitor of his? And aren’t you the same person who was desperately trying to convince everyone in the comments a few weeks back that we had sticks up our asses if we didn’t like Sons of Guns and those embarrassing unsafe jokers at Red Jacket Firearms?

      In fact, I’m certain that you were. I’d watch Yankee Marshal’s boring videos ten thousand times before I watch any of yours once, McCain.

  8. Grip safety seems like the best of both worlds. It’s, well, safe – it makes an ND while holstered almost impossible – but it’s still “out of the way” unlike other safeties.

  9. So the lc9’s safety is tiny, as is the shield’s, which dropped the lc9’s rating one star. Fair enough. A question: is the lc9’s safety ‘better’ then because its more sticky and won’t slip out of its intended position?

  10. I’ve never had a problem with my Shield’s safety turning on…then again, I carry in a proper holster (Fricke Archangel) with kydex covering the area where the safety is.

  11. I’ve carried my Shield IWB (Crossbreed Supertuck) daily for the past six months and the safety has yet to budge from where I left it.

  12. I have carried a shield 9mm all day every day for the last three months and I have never, not once, ever, never, ever, found the safety to be engaged. To be honest, i’m not sure the safety even works. . . . .

    On my particular gun, the safety is difficult to engage and easy to sweep off with the thumb. Maybe I just got lucky?

  13. I’ve carried a Shield since May of last year and the safety has never disengaged in my IWB holster. I stopped caring what he has to say at fanny pack.

  14. They sell new guns without safeties, but insist that an old TT-33 be mutilated before it can come in.

    Bleah.

    “… if storing the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in a fanny pack unintentionally switches the external safety on (when you wanted the safety off) don’t carry the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in a fanny pack …”

    “Don’t carry a fanny pack.”

    FIFY

  15. I’m not a fan of manual safeties in general, but any gun that has one needs a generous and easy to actuate lever. Far too many guns have these tiny and difficult to manipulate safeties.

    While I’m not a booster for the 1911 platform, one thing it absolutely gets right is the relative size and location of the manual safety. It’s a generously sized safety that is easy to depress as part of the draw stroke. If you’re going to equip a gun with a manual safety, the 1911 safety is the one to mimic.

    What I absolutely will not and never will recommend is carrying a gun with a manual safety, but leaving it off at all times and assuming that it will remain off when you need it. If you carry a gun with a manual safety you need to drill turning off the safety as part of your draw-stroke, until it’s second nature. If you’re not willing to do that, you chose the wrong gun.

    • Curious: is there a 1911 platform pistol that does not have a manual safety? I really don’t know that ive seen one. But it’d be cool, I think?

      • I don’t think I would combine a short, light single action trigger and no safety with the world cool… I think the word you’re looking or is ‘dangerous’.

      • The closest thing to what you describe is a Para Ordinance LDA trigger. Not EXACTLY single action but…the 1911 guy’s manual safety free option. I don’t know if they still make them but they’re out there.

  16. I carry my Shield in an IWB Desantis Cozy Partner holster. Always, safety off. I’ve been carrying it for quite some time now, and the safety has never engaged by itself. I’ve also engaged in some active activities while carrying, and yet still; the safety has never been engaged by itself.

  17. The safety is harder to move than the trigger so if that happens in his “holster” he better hope the safety stays on.

  18. I’ve about had it with the tactical “dogma” which says external safeties are bad. Get this-the odds of an ND by the gun’s owner or an unsafe borrower/student thereof are much higher then actually clearing holster to shoot someone. If Glock pistols had the option for external safeties, we wouldn’t be treated to nonsense like Lee Paige’s “Im the only one professional enough” statement.

    Perhaps, we should all accept that as People of the Gun, our carry needs are diverse enough to where carrying a gun with or without a safety makes perfect sense depending on our circumstances.

    • Agree. The diversity of designs is excellent. Different pistols serve different needs and clientele. A 1911 person who was never a revolver person is going to brush the safety down on every draw. On the other hand, an undercover cop is going want a small light but capacious striker-fired model, maybe (well, overwhelmingly) a G30, 30SF, or 30S, or similar. There’s a place for revolvers, too.

      I like it when people point out what they see as the virtues of some design. I don’t like it when they assume most people need that benefit, or that there are not reasons to chose a different model. The same goes for training. It always seems to be sold, rather than described. That’s tedious. Approach matters, I think.

    • I still am confused about the Lee Paige thing. (DEA guy)
      Did he put his foot in his mouth and then shoot it or did he shoot himself in the foot while shooting off his mouth?
      Horse apiece I guess.

  19. I have a few guns with external safeties. One is Kimber Ultra Carry II and the rest are SA Sig Sauers. The design of the safety on my Sigs and the Kimber is such that it is in a natural place to be flicked off with the thumb on the draw stroke. I’ve used it for IDPA stuff and never had a problem disengaging the safety. For SA guns,you need an external safety if you are going to carry them with a round in the chamber. My Kimber and my Sig P938 are my carry guns and I have no problems going back and forth between them and my other guns with no external safeties. My thumb naturally sweeps down on the draw and if there is a safety, I catch it, if not, no harm done.

    From the look of the Shield, it seems that the disengaging the safety would be not be a natural action and would require some degree of thumb contortion to get it right. It also seems kind of stupid to have it at all on a striker fired gun.

    The only gun I ever owned with a crappy hard to reach safety was my Sig P210 (I reviewed it here on TTAG last year) and that was my major ding against the gun. Sig has corrected this on some of the higher end P210s and I’m told that the new safety design will eventually make its way into all models of the P210. For the record, I no longer own my P210 for that very reason.

  20. I always used to carry the 1911’s because they were always my favorite guns. I learned that the manual safety could be a big problem during a few of my tactical training classes, and that’s when I made the switch to the Glocks and my new favorite carry gun the S&W 642 that Ralph highly recommended. The 642 is an awesome little revolver that never lets you down.

  21. I think calling it a fatal flaw is overdoing it, but it’s still a good advisory for “if you were thinking about using it this way, it won’t work.”

  22. I have an LCP and love it. The external safety *and stupid looking LCI and magazine safety* are all perfectly good reasons why I have not gotten the LC9.

    I don’t think external safeties belong on carry guns either. I hate having the “what if” thought in my mind. I want it always ready to fire.

    I’m okay with grip safeties though. Which is why I’m pulling the metaphorical trigger on an XDs in less than 3 weeks *turning 21*

  23. I really do get a kick out of the anti-safety crowd (including RF). First, flicking your thumb up or down is the easiest thing to do. It takes far less time than drawing the weapon. And if a tenth of a second makes any difference in a gunfight you will be shot regardless. Even the old wild west was never really that way.

    Second, most of us who carry will never, ever, have to draw our firearms in anger. Contrast that with carrying 24/7 for decades and most of us are at a much higher risk of a brain fart (and subsequent ND) than a DGU. The best argument I can think of against safeties is that some of us who like to fiddle with our firearms might grow complacent and accidentally fiddle with our safeties off.

    I do have to agree with RF on one thing though, I don’t (and wouldn’t) own any autos or long guns without safeties (do they even make long guns without safeties?). So yes, I do train exclusively with safety equipped firearms.

  24. I’m sorry but … what grown man uses a fanny pack?

    Maybe that fanny pack he’s got is the “deadly flaw.”

    I thought mainly women used fanny packs and that was in the 1990’s.

    I can’t remember the last time I saw anyone using one.
    It’s been well over 10 years.

    Just saying.

  25. As a ‘1911 guy’ my unthinking automatic draw stroke includes an attemped to switch off the safety even on pistols that don’t have a manual safety. So far the worst this has ever done is slightly abrade my thumb. If you’re committed to pistols without safeties I suppose that’s a bullet proof solution.

    I have a shield and an XDS-9. . . I leave the safety off on the shield in holstered carry yet attempt to sweep off the safety on both it and the XDS even though the latter has none.

    I guess it’s another training Vs equipment issue. be honest with your self, if you won’t train to the point that sweeping the safety is automatic and almost unstoppable muscle memory then most certainly carry a pistol without one. That said, I don’t think this detail makes one design inherently better than the other, different designs for different circumstances I say.

  26. Total bunk. Ok so at the gym he put’s it in his purse, I mean fanny pack. Then it’s in a holster. When I get the Shield, it will be in my coat pocket, no holster, safety on, one in chamber. Fall/Winter as I am walking to work, about a mile, inner city, if a BG or BG’s make a move ill make a move. No under coat, hip holster, your done, toast if you carry so. And I train as I carry it.

  27. Miss that safety lever a couple of times in IDPA and you realize how much of a burden it really is. It’s okay to look stupid while the clock ticks. It’s not okay to look stupid during a DGU. I didnt know the Shield had an external safety. Thought it was like the other M&P’s. Oh well, that’s one off my list to try out.

    I’ve missed the 1911 grip safety a couple of times too due to sloppy/sweaty/shaky draws. You’re going to get what you grab and nothing more. I just want it to go bang when I pull the trigger. My simple brain cant handle any more tasks.

  28. Shield, Infidel.
    Hard kydex shell over all movable parts, no external forces can reach my safety or trigger.
    Office carry, safety on. Home or outside the castles, safety off, but sweep EVERY TIME before the muzzle is out of the holster.
    I have a callous on my thumb that hooks the safety perfectly. Works for me.
    Maybe I should always keep safety on so that I always feel the click of change when I sweep.

  29. He has a point. If you were to carry the gun rectally you could accidentally activate the safety with your colon. Doubly deadly.

    Does anyone really listen to this guy?

  30. After thousands of rounds thru and hours carrying a 9mm Shield, I have never found the safety on by accident. In fact, the recessed safety on both of our Shields is pretty darn stiff, and I find the suggestion interesting that a casual bump or jolt could engage the safety on either of ours. However, there is no arguing that training is the key to carrying a gun, any gun, with or without a safety.

  31. Seems to me that a thumb safety is personal preference. Personally I like the XD and carry such in Kydex. Some guys love Glock because of no safety… to each their own. Was looking at Shield subcompact at buddy’s house tonight and with anyhting approaching a large hand, a small safety awkwardly placed on a subcompact would be tough to “flick” off as the subs already leave the pinky finger off of a short magazine without grip extender. I’m learning that training with the EDC until it becomes a muscle memory issue is critical and if you cannot develop the muscle memory with a particular side arm, then you should find one more suited to you and your situation. Shooting IDPA really helps develop and test that muscle memory. I cannot envision myself ever carrying anything in a fannypack… just not a wardrobe item that I posess. Although, as we age and our midsection potentially grows, carrying concealed inside the belt could become less comfortable, so maybe in 40 years or so I’ll consider a fanny pack.

  32. Horse manure. If your fanny pack is so cluttered, how do you know you are grabbing your gun? You should train yourself to disengage/verify any safety as you draw the gun. Anything less is just irresponsible. I have two Shields. Since I always keep their safeties on, they have never turned themselves off.

  33. The only potential “DEADLY FLAW” or “DOWNRIGHT DANGEROUS” issue I picked up in this video is the Yankee marshall carrying the shield (Off safety) in a fanny pack not designed to carry that firearm. It may have had a holster, but if it’s activating that safety? …..IT’S WRONG…..Just listen to the loud clicks it was making when he was activating it..And I’ll say this too….if there is so much other crap in that fanny pack, or he’s carrying it in such a way to cause that safety to move……It can also cause that trigger to pull. Then….BOOM.
    Also….he needs to consider this. Probably 90% (or more) of the people watching his videos, are very inexperienced , and most likely lack the training for carrying deep cover. Or are not trained in drawing from and re holstering into a concealed holster, etc. These people should be encouraged to practice using safeties,and drawing from a concealed holster while deactivating the safety. Instead of calling someone who uses a safety a “PUSSY” as he did in his follow up review of the new (No Safety) M&P shield.
    Firearms like the Glock, among other striker fired or DAO semi-auto handguns without safeties are great Duty weapons for open carry.They are also great for concealment. BUT I feel most of the people carrying these weapons concealed really lack the proper training to carry like that.
    I think most of the people looking for the YANKEE MARSHALLS videos on youtube are most likely in the untrained, or UNDERtrained category . He needs to consider this when making these videos.

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