Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 SHIELD EZ 9mm Pistol


M&P9 SHIELD EZ courtesy Virgil Caldwell

I saw this handgun was on the shelf at South Carolina Gun Company before I knew Smith & Wesson was producing it. That beats the usual long wait for a newly introduced handgun.

Smith & Wesson anticipated the demand and is shipping the new model in great numbers which is a good thing because the M&P9 SHIELD EZ is going to be a very popular pistol.


The M&P9 SHIELD EZ features the 18 degree M&P grip angle and M2.0 grip texture shooters love. (courtesy Smith & Wesson)

The easy-racking M&P9 SHIELD EZ semi-automatic — a follow-on to their excellent M&P380 SHIELD EZ — is a far different pistol from their ultra-popular M&P9 SHIELD M2.0 9mm with only a family resemblance.

Read TTAG’s review of the M&P380 SHIELD EZ here

The M&P9 SHIELD EZ has some M2.0 improvements in the form of excellent sights (dovetailed white-dot front sight and adjustable white-dot rear sights), small forward cocking serrations, and improved stippling on the grips.

What makes the M&P9 SHIELD EZ so easy?

The purpose of the original SHIELD EZ design was to offer a pistol that’s easier to use at every level for those who may have struggled with semi-automatic handguns before. That means easy to load magazines, easy racking of the Armornite-coated stainless steel slide, easy field stripping, and modest recoil. The EZ design is even touted as being easier to clean. The thing is, all of those claims are true.

Smith & Wesson achieved the ease of racking the new 9mm version SHIELD EZ by using an internal hammer design, rather than a striker-fired action. That means a lighter recoil spring that’s much easier to manipulate.

The EZ .380 is a very easy-handling, easily concealed handgun. The only drawback: many of us have serious reservations about the effectiveness of the .380 ACP round. Hence the new 9mm Luger version of the EZ pistol. This pistol offers a baseline for wound potential I am much more comfortable with.

The subcompact 9mm SHIELD EZ is a good size for concealed carry and control in firing. In fact, it’s almost exactly the same size as the earlier .380 model.


The M&P9 SHIELD EZ features rear cocking “ears” for an easy rack slide and a top tactile loaded chamber indicator. (Virgil Caldwell for TTAG)

But that’s not the only EZ feature. There are serrations front and rear, though the front serrations are so minimal they might as well not be there. But Smith has included rear cocking “ears” machined into the rear of the slide of the type usually found on .22 caliber handguns (think Ruger Mark pistols). This gives the shooter an extra bit of hold on the slide.


The load assist tabs on the 9mm SHIELD EZ’s 8-round magazines mean much easier loading of all eight rounds. (Courtesy

Another .22-like feature of the M&P9 SHIELD EZ are the tabs on magazines.


M&P9 SHIELD EZ eight-round magazines are extremely easy to load thanks to the load assist tabs that help to compress the spring while inserting rounds. (Virgil Caldwell for TTAG)

Like many rimfire magazines, the semi-auto 9mm SHIELD EZ’s magazine load assist tabs allow you to easily compress the magazine spring, lowering the follower and making for easy insertion of all eight rounds. That’s something many new shooters (and plenty who aren’t so new) have trouble with.

The M&P9 SHIELD EZ pistol ships with two 8-round magazines.


The Smith & Wesson M&P9 SHIELD EZ’s frame safety, grip safety and reversible magazine release are easy to manipulate. (Virgil Caldwell for TTAG)

The slide lock and reversible magazine release are positive in manipulation. The manual thumb safety is frame mounted and easily manipulated, locking in a positive manner.

Like the original .380 SHIELD EZ pistol, the semi-auto M&P9 SHIELD EZ has a grip safety. Unlike the M&P9 SHIELD M2.0, there is no trigger safety.

While a version without a frame mounted safety is available, a lot of people feel more comfortable carrying a pistol that has one. I believe it’s a big plus on this single action hammer fired handgun.


The M&P9 SHIELD EZ has a light, crisp trigger with slight undercut. (courtesy Smith & Wesson)

The 9mm SHIELD EZ has an excellent, crisp, light trigger as well. Trigger pull is smooth with modest take up and breaks at a clean 5.0 pounds with a rapid and audible reset.

Recoil is very light. While I don’t consider the 9mm a hard-kicking round there is some momentum when firing this pistol. The M&P9 SHIELD EZ’s action isn’t locked breech, but rather delayed blowback, so the jolt is more than the average compact 9mm. It isn’t severe but this isn’t the pistol for +P ammo (thought it is +P rated).


The M&P9 SHIELD EZ has a short Picatinny-style rail for lights and laser attachments. (Virgil Caldwell for TTAG)

Shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P9 SHIELD EZ

I’ve fired hundred rounds of ammunition through the gun without a single failure to feed, chamber, fire or eject. Good quality ball ammunition such as the Black Hills Ammunition 115 grain FMJ is the ticket for practice and training. I fired the pistol at 7 to 15 yards in practice and have found the gun very accurate and controllable.


New shooters appreciate the M&P9 SHIELD EZ’s light trigger pull, grip and manual safety, and soft recoil. (Virgil Caldwell for TTAG)

Since we are in the winter months I like a load with greater penetration to cut through heavy material if need be. The Black Hills 124 grain JHP or the Black Hills Honey Badger 100 grain loading work for me.

Although the 100 grain Honey Badger is rated +P recoil is still very controllable. In absolute accuracy the pistol will place five rounds into 2.5 inches and sometimes less at 15 yards, firing from a solid barricade. I have fired the pistol with Fiocchi, Hornady, SIG SAUER Elite, and Winchester ammunition. The pistol has never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject and exhibited good accuracy with all loads.

I’m a fan of the M&P9 Shield EZ. I liked the earlier .380 ACP pistol a lot (just not the cartridge it shoots). The new 9mm pistol with all the same shooter-friendly features takes care of my caliber concerns.

This isn’t a gun just for women and old guys, either. The 9mm version of this gun would make a worthy carry or home defense gun for virtually anyone.

That said, many of our brothers and sisters have some form of ailment caused by age injury or infirmity. The M&P9 SHIELD EZ offers a handgun they will be able to control well in contrast to an underpowered handgun. I like that a lot.

Specifications: M&P9 SHIELD EZ

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Internal Hammer Fired
Capacity: 8+1 Rounds (2 magazine included)
Barrel Length: 3.675″
Front Sight: White Dot
Rear Sight: White Dot, Adjustable for Windage
Frame Width: 1.04”
Overall Height: 5.05”
Overall Length: 6.85”
Sight Radius: 5.875”
Weight: 23.2 ounces
MSRP: $479 (about $400 retail)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style and appearance: * * * *
As polymer frame handguns go- this is a nice looking handgun.

Reliability: * * * * *
It fed every bullet style from subsonic range loads to +P personal defense rounds.

Accuracy: * * * *
Compared to other compact 1911 9mms it’s in the same range for accuracy and handles quickly. While not a target gun, it’s more than accurate enough for personal defense use.

Versatility: * * * *
This is a good all-around choice for both every day concealed carry and home protection.

Overall * * * * 1/2
If you liked the original M&P SHIELD EZ, but had reservations about the effectiveness of .380 ACP, Smith & Wesson’s new model chambered in 9mm parabellum should put your mind at ease. It’s everything the .380 EZ pistol was — easy to load, easy to shoot, easy to disassemble and clean — but chambered in a more effective personal defense round.

See also:

Smith & Wesson M&P380 SHIELD EZ review

Smith& Wesson M&P9 SHIELD M2.0 review 

Smith & Wesson M&P9 M2.0 Compact review



  1. avatar RedFlagRising says:

    They should offer a Bernie version, in bright Red.

    For 100.00 extra of course, because capitalism costs more without price controls.

    1. avatar Casey says:

      I know that must have made sense to you when you typed it, but to everybody else? Not so much.

      1. avatar RedFlagRising says:

        Rest easy, your time in the gulags wont be all bad.

        Fridays will be Pizza Day (saltines w/gluten free tomato paste on top.)

        1. avatar Clit Commander says:

          You’re such a choad.

        2. avatar Felix says:

          Fine you red moron that WAS funny lmao

    2. avatar Rob says:

      I use and like this site for its reviews and info about firearms and supplies, not to read opinions by moronic, self-obsessed gas bags who think people give a crap about either their bloviating or their narrow-minded views. Think whatever you’d like but dial back on forcing your views on people that didn’t ask. FYI, you’re not 2% as clever as you think you are.

    3. avatar Dan says:

      This is what happens to people whose education is limited to watching Fox News, listening to Rush Limbaugh, and reading Epoch News!

  2. avatar Kevin says:

    Great review, thanks. Looks like an excellent pistol.

    “The EZ design is even touted as being easier to clean.” How so? Is it dishwasher safe?

    1. avatar vCad says:

      Take down is easier because the recoil spring isn’t as stiff as some 9mm handguns, it is an easy gun to field strip.

      1. avatar Kevin says:

        Makes sense, thank you.

  3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    glad it’s available to the infirm.

    1. avatar bill says:

      You WILL get there…if you don’t die first.

      1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

        genetic evidence says otherwise. enjoy your pablum.

  4. avatar D.T.O.M. says:

    It will be interesting to see a high volume test (50,000 rounds plus) of this pistol. The EZ mechanism likely has a higher slide velocity and will then likely increase wear (especially on the frame). Smith & Wesson maybe betting that these are low-volume shooters, and willing to warranty the few that are not for increased sales.

    1. avatar Josh says:

      You’re probably right on all three points. If a shooter has such reduced hand strength to be in the market for this pistol, it’s going to be awfully difficult to convince him to sign up for a week long, 3000 round class. My mother, on the other hand, is the ideal customer. Elbow injury, significant loss of grip strength. Doesn’t want to upgrade from her SIG P238 to a 9x19mm because the slides are too stiff. Probably would put less than 500 rounds per year through it.

  5. avatar The Rookie says:

    Nice review. I like what S&W is doing here.

    Of course, now I want them to try to come up with a soft-shooting, easy-to-rack 10MM

    1. avatar Jack Zeller says:

      Spot on, for a 10 mm. Waited for three years for S&W, but finally had to buy a Glock MOS.

  6. avatar TommyJay says:

    I like the gun and the review. I don’t know why others don’t implement the small cocking ears on the rear of the slide.

    So is the delayed blowback done like the Walther CCP or one of the many other methods? Extended capacity mags. available?

    1. avatar dph says:

      My VP9 has cocking ears.

      1. avatar TommyJay says:

        Nice. I haven’t tried the H&K’s but I like the paddle release on the Walthers.

    2. avatar Eric Lund says:

      Small cocking ears = something to catch on your clothing. Don’t think I’d use this as a pocket gun.

      Also, my wife and I rented and shot one at our range. It kept locking back after a shot. Not a technique issue. We’ve shot nearly every gun they have, and this is one of the very few we’ve had an issue with. I forget the name of the other, but it was an expensive ($5000) gun, and we suspect, very sensitive to so-so range maintenance. CAVEAT: The EZ we rented was both FILTHY, and dripping level over lubricated. I’m a little surprised it worked, at all.

  7. avatar don says:

    Bought one. It’s a nice pistol. Easy to rack, lightweight, backstrap safety, and easy to load. BUT the accuracy was poor. Could not get a good grouping at 25 ft. even with a bench rest. All over the pie plate. Good for up in your face defense. Sold it two week later. I expected better from S&W.

    1. avatar Clit Commander says:

      Maybe you’re just a poor shot.

        1. avatar ‘liljoe says:

          Everyone has their niche.

          I can’t for the life of me get a good grouping with my p365, but I can drill a hole through a quarter at ten yards with my g43… not that I’ve been attacked by many quarters.

          It wasn’t for you but it will find a good home, I’ve got one of these and it’s a pretty good shot within self defense distances.

        2. avatar don says:

          Your correct in your opinion. My Ruger SR9c and Springfield EMP has no problem grouping 2-3in. at 25ft. BTW, my friend Tim bought a Sig 365 and he isn’t pleased with it’s poor grouping either.

        3. avatar Accur81 says:

          Not sure if your Sig 365s are out of spec – mine will shoot rounds through the same hole at 8 yards with Federal 124 grain American Eagle. The reviews here have them as a pretty accurate gun as well.

  8. avatar jram01 says:

    I’ve have the S&WM&P.380EZ. Great pistol. I got tired of EDCing a S&W SD9VE9mm Double Stack as well as my RIA1911. These firearms are a little too heavy for EDC for an old guy like me.
    For me, the EZ.380 is more comfortable to carry. I use a Hornady.380 FTX Defensive Round which is comparable to a 9mm.
    However, if the new S&WM&P9 also came out with a ported barrel, a flat performance center trigger and an optional grip safety, I certainly would give it a try without a doubt.

    1. avatar Hugh Glass says:

      Don’t doubt the .380, it’s plenty enough for the job. Real life stories abound. Plenty of dead guys would agree if the could. You sir are GTG.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        We keep hearing caliber doesn’t matter which really means bigger bullets than mine don’t matter. Anything smaller sucks. Personally, I like bigger bullets but generally carry a 9. I bought a 380 EZ just to have a light weight pistol for air travel.

        1. avatar RidgeRunner says:

          Totally agree, I carry a 1911 .45 or Glock 19 primarily but stick a Bodyguard .380 in a Wright Bandicoot in my pocket frequently and ain’t sneered.

        2. avatar Vic says:

          Air travel? How do you get this aboard, or are you law enforcement or a pilot.

        3. avatar Vic says:

          Technology has advanced to the point where the statement “get the biggest caliber you can handle” (like you were shooting horses in the Civil War and needed a .44 Army) is not really applicable anymore. There are lots of YouTube videos showing how effective even a .22 LR can be. I bought the .380 before the rush and got a $50 refund (Visa card).
          I found the 9 mm when shelves were virtually empty, but because I knew about it, I bought it immediately,

      2. avatar Vic says:

        I had first the .380, and then found a 9 mm which I didn’t expect, so bought it. The 9 mm has the frame safety. I purchased Kydex type molded holsters for each–and they are slightly different because of the width, and location of the magazine release. Racking the slide is easy, magazines load easily, which over time will increase your confidence in either firearm. The .380 is sufficient with self-defense load. I now feel that my carry permit (since 1993) is paying off. I did have some jams which I attribute to cheap Russian ammunition. Otherwise very smooth operation. On the .380, the grip safety is certain enough to allow the experienced shooter to avoid accidental discharges. The most important part–where the new round angles up into the chamber, appears to be stainless steel. Easy to clean, because there isn’t much to do.

  9. avatar former water walker says:

    Nice if you need it. But why the eff did they put a grip safety on it?

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Seems counterproductive to me as well. My anecdotal evidence has been that the target audience is worried about not being able to engage the grip safety (due to grip strength) when they need to.
      It’s not *actually* a problem but it definitely concerns some people.

      1. avatar dph says:

        Possibly because it’s a single action hammer fired weapon with a light trigger?

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Doesn’t make it any safer TBH, just something else that can break.
          Also the real version with no manual safety will probably have a trigger safety so it’ll be even more unnecessary.

        2. avatar tdiinva says:

          Trigger safeties fill the same role as grip safeties except trigger safeties can be triggered by clothing during holstering. See Glock Leg although not limited to Glock.

        3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Glock leg? Yawn.
          The grip safety is actually more likely to be engaged while reholstering anyway.

        4. avatar tdiinva says:

          Not likely if know what you are doing.

          I guess you forgot John Boch’s post of the appendix carry Glock thigh incident. It would not have happened with a grip safety. I bet he’s not yawning about Glock leg.

      2. avatar VC says:

        If you cannot engage the grip safety you probably cant pull the trigger either. It isn’t difficult at all but it keeps a single action pistol from firing unless the grip safety is depressed. Like the Colt 1903. This gun is basically a modernized Colt 1903– not a bad place to be.

        1. avatar Vic says:

          I agree, you must practice to be assured you have engaged the grip safety. If you don’t the gun will not fire. I found this out in practice with dummy rounds. One can’t practice taking the gun from the holster at a range so you need this kind of practice until it is second nature.

    2. avatar John in AK says:

      They didn’t put on a grip safety because AOBC (you know, the conglomerate that now lies craven where S&W once proudly stood) only puts redundant, useless bits–such as cute little on/off key switches–on REVOLVERS.

      You see, a grip safety on a hammer-fired DA-only semi-auto is about as necessary as a clutch pedal on a truck with an automatic transmission.

    3. avatar neiowa says:

      Does it freaking MATTER I they put a grip safety on it?? NO

  10. avatar Firing pin says:

    I like everything about it better than my MP9 shield 2.0 except it’s longer then mine, on the other hand it’s longer because it has a rail which is nice if you want to run a light or laser, then again on my shield I don’t need a rail because I have the Crimson trace Green laser guard pro with a flashlight and laser all in one that fits my shield without a rail which is nice

  11. avatar Dan says:

    That grip safety looks dumb as fuck. Get rid of it.

  12. avatar george burns says:

    It looks stupid. I own 3 M&P’s 2 are PC guns, and the 3.6 compact. They are good looking guns, “as far as Polymer guns go”, but this thing looks like it’s broken. Trying to be an XDS copy with a crappy cheap looking profile. I have seen the PC version with the slide cuts, like Lipstic on a pig.

  13. avatar jimmy james says:

    ” I believe it’s a big plus on this single action hammer fired handgun.” ??? Looks like a striker fired handgun to me.

  14. avatar Don in Texas says:

    I’ve always been a revolver guy going way back to when I reloaded for my .357. I’ve had The Judge for several years but due to 2 torn tendons in right shoulder, I can’t handle the recoil. Surgery not an option at my age. Actually I’ve been afraid of a semi since ‘Nam and “heard” the screams after a .45 discharged by accident. You never forget that. My wife is much younger and wants to get a license to carry. A revolver would be difficult to fire the required number of rounds. She has never fired anything other than a BB gun at beer cans from the patio. You can stop laughing now. She’s damn good, lol. She doesn’t run from any challenge. Question is – do you think this would be a good firearm for her to learn with?

    1. avatar Jim says:

      If she has no problem with racking the slide or loading the magazine on a regular semi-auto, then get her a Beretta Px4 Storm Subcompact 9mm. I found one at Cabelas – two hour drive, but I was able to buy it that same evening.

      My absolute favorite feature of this gun is the decocker. I can load a bullet into the chamber and then decock the gun before holstering it. (I can also leave it on safety, or I can turn the safety off after decocking it, whichever I prefer.) I can then carry with a safer double-action trigger pull (10 lbs), which will fire as soon as it is pulled, but is a bit harder and longer than the single action pull. This provides more safety when carrying, and gives you a tactile reminder that you are about to fire the weapon, giving you that last instant to back out in case you change your mind about shooting the gun at the last second.

      If she doesn’t have the hand strength to rack the slide or load the magazine, the Smith and Wesson EZ would be an excellent choice. It truly is EASY to both rack the slide and load the magazine.

      I personally like to have more safety than just a trigger safety. I’m not brave enough to carry a gun that has a bullet in the chamber AND IS COCKED, and which will go off if something hits the trigger by accident.

  15. avatar Dan says:

    I have never understood the ire that grip safeties elicit from commenters? Not being sarcastic, I really don’t understand?

    I have seen the argument that it adds “another thing to break”, which seems counterintuitive because that delicate little trigger safety adds a similar level of fragility.

    I’ve seen the argument about acidental discharge while holstering, but that one seems ridiculous since it would indicate the person holstering had their finger on the trigger, and a trigger safety would not prevent that.

    My Shield was an early model with a manual safety, which I find uncomfortable to operate, plus I have trained ambidextrously for over 40 years, and it is very cumbersome to operate left handed – not so with a grip safety.

    I have had my XDs completely disassembled multiple times (not recommended unless you are a gunsmith or masochistic), and the mechanism behind their grip safety doesn’t seem any more prone to failure than a trigger safety.

    My EZ slide pistol is a Glock, but a trigger safety to me is an oxymoron because it is located on the trigger. I carry appendix, so would prefer a grip safety, but very confused about why they seem to get maligned on here?

  16. avatar Harry says:

    Just as people some weapons are good some not so good regardless of the make. We can argue this vs that but so much depends on different opinions. In my opinion all opinions are valid to that person unless he/she has an agenda. Give it a rest we all have our likes and dislikes. Doesn’t make one right and the other wrong. Believe it or not there can be lemons on the highest priced, hyped guns. Just my opinion.

  17. avatar Harry says:

    I like the M&P9 Shield EZ. I am 75 strength issues. I had a XDs 45 and was just to much for an old man with health issues.. It has been mentioned the questioning of the longevity of the mp9. Guess what I doubt I am around long enough to send 50,000 rounds down range. I hve the gun for home defense nd I am completely and absolutely happy with it.

  18. avatar Pat R says:

    I am a 71 year old female with poor grip strength. When I took my concealed carry class several months ago, I had a terrible time racking the 9 mm pistol my instructor gave me to use for the class and the qualifying process afterward. I went to a local gun shop where the clerk showed me the M&P9 Shield EZ. I bought it on the spot. I love the gun. It fits my small hands beautifully, I can load and rack it easily, and it shoots accurately enough for my needs. I practice every weekend to improve my aim. I shot well enough for my CCL license scoring 100% at both distances with a 9 mm pistol and a .38 revolver, and I am someone who is new to shooting. This gun has been a godsend for me with my issues with hand strength. I would highly recommend it for anyone in my situation. You long-term gun guys may see it differently, but for my use, it is a great gun.

    1. avatar Vic says:

      I agree with what you said, Pat R. I’ve lost grip strength due to surgeries, although I can rack a 1911 Springfield, E-series .45 acp Smith & Wesson, and my first serious semi, Kimber Ultra Carry II in Stainless Steel. I still prefer the Kimber as a serious gun, polymer guns will wear differently–that’s why the Kimber costs so much more. The light weight of the EZs I notice particularly in summer, when I will only have a light jacket draped over my hip. The Kydex U.S. made holsters grip a belt or inside the pants very well. so my crossdraw is secure. I always carry butt forward, for the same reason Wild Bill Hickok carried his .36 Navy Colts–even some 3 years after introduction of the SAA when he was killed–a time when he was playing cards without his back to the wall.

  19. avatar Paul says:

    To all the internet Rambo’s out there, keep your Glocks, Sigs, M&P’s.. this pistol was not made for you. I was make for folks like the 70 y/o posters above and the likes of 2A supporting people who may have a handicap placard on their vehicle or any other myriad of reasons they may find the operation of standard combat/SD weapon difficult.. for this reason S&W should receive a Nobel Prize for taking in the considerations of Americas physically disadvantaged putting the R&D and $ resources and bringing to market a product giving these citizens an option. BTW, IIRR the almighty 1911 has a grip and slide safety, seems most folks are ok with that.. sheeh…

    1. avatar Don Roe says:

      It takes alot of ingredients to make a cake. If we all liked the same stuff we’d be driving old white station wagons.

  20. avatar Zen says:

    I bought a S&W M&P EZ 9mm about five months ago. Right out of the box the side release would not work. The front of the release looked like a saw blade and the notch in the slide had a ‘scab’ of their cheap Armornite finish on it. That was fixed and off to the range. There it failed to fire two or three time out of every magazine full. The grip safety had a ‘crunchy feeling’ and would not deactivate the safety every time. When I picked up the brass, I noticed the primers were blowing back into the firing pin hole. The firing pin is a cheap piece of thin stamped sheet metal in a round hole.

    I was talking to the dealer I bought it from and he said bring it back so I did. He exchanged it for a new one. That one did not have the slide release problem. The primer problem is still there but not as bad. I had no failure to feed or eject on either of these guns. The grip safety is much better on this one but the bottom line is, it isn’t reliable enough for a carry gun.

    Both of these guns had/have a nice triggers and the magazines are easy to load. The slide is not any easier to pull than my Sig P320’s.

  21. avatar Tom says:

    Hopefully the 9EZ does not have the same ejection and failure to feed on the last round or two of a magazine that many of the 380EZ’s do. You may want to check internet for reports of 380EZ failures and how many people have given up on SW fixing the problem.

    If the 9EZ is free of the last round problems then it should be a great EDC.

  22. avatar clamcop369 says:

    Just rcvd my EZ9. As both retired CG and State LEO, I’m no stranger to firearms but after 3 shoulder ops (rt) my SW1911PD has become a bit much. Range report to follow.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email