Gun Review: Smith & Wesson M&P9 SHIELD M2.0 9mm

With the introduction of their M2.0 line of polymer framed, striker fired pistols, Smith & Wesson addressed the one big complaint that gun buyers had about the M&P line: the trigger. As we’ve mentioned in previous reviews of both the full-size and compact double-stack versions of the new M&P9 M2.0, the attention Smith paid to improving what was generally considered a mediocre-at-best bangswitch has really paid off.

For those looking for slim, single-stack concealability in their everyday carry gun, the ultra-popular M&P9 SHIELD was just the ticket when it was first rolled out back in 2012. But Smith’s done a fair bit of work improving an already good gun and making it a damn near perfect concealed carry pistol.

First, some of the smaller changes. The M&P SHIELD M2.0 has a new pebbled grip texture that provides a much more sure hold on the gun, even with wet hands. We’d like to see them even a tad more aggressive than they are, but these are a big improvement over SHIELD v1.0

Like the original M&P SHIELD, the M2.0 has scallops rather than traditional serrations on its stainless steel Armornite-coated slide for a good grip while racking the pistol. But the new version adds a line of scallops to the front of the slide as well which gives you a touch more purchase on the forend of the gun should you need it.

The standard low profile white dot sights are virtually the same as on the original. If you want night sights (or even a laser, now that S&W owns Crimson Trace), those versions are available too. The standard rear sight on the M&P SHIELD 2.0 is sloped, however, and won’t let you rack the slide one-handed should you need to.

The SHIELD ships with two magazines; a flush mount seven-rounder that conceals a little more easily and a slightly extended mag that gives you eight plus one capacity (shown above).

But let’s talk about the big improvement that the M2.0 gives shooters — the trigger. Smith’s mushy trigger on the original M&P pistols launched an aftermarket industry offering replacement options. The M&P9 M2.0’s much-improved bangswitch has surely cut into those companies’ sales.

Some may argue that it could have a shorter trigger reset, but by any measure, the M2.0 trigger pull is light years ahead of the original SHIELD’s. It breaks cleanly at a little over five pounds with no perceptible grit. And, unlike the full-size and compact M2.0 pistols, the SHIELD’s trigger shoe isn’t as tightly curved. In short, it’s a huge improvement that makes all the difference in the updated gun.

Just like v1.0, the M2.0 SHIELD disassembles simply and quickly for easy field stripping and cleaning. Zero problems there.

At the range, it proved perfectly dependable and surprisingly accurate for its small size and short sight radius. Nothing we fed the M&P SHIELD M2.0 gave it pause and it proved one-ragged-hole accurate at self-defense distances.

Smith & Wesson still offers their original SHIELD, too. It flew off the shelves for years for a lot of good reasons. It was slim, easy to carry, reliable and affordable. It’s even less expensive now, with an MSRP $110 less than the M2.0 (there’s frequently even more of a spread in the retail price…I’ve seen original SHIELDs available for well under $300).

So, is the new M&P SHIELD M2.0 worth the additional samolians? Absolutely. The better grip surface and forward scallops are great, but the big improvement that makes all the case for the upgraded gun is that M2.0 trigger. That’s what’s made an already good gun one of the best choices on the market for an everyday carry pistol, right out of the box.

Specifications: M&P9 SHIELD M2.0

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 7+1, 8+1
Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
Overall Length: 6.1 inches
Front Sight: Steel – White Dot
Rear Sight: Steel – White Two-Dot
Weight: 18.3 oz

MSRP: $479 (less via Brownells)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * *
The M2.0 isn’t a big change from the v1.0 gun, but the differences make the gun look better to our eye. The newly stippled grip and forward scallops on their Armornite coated slide are improvements.

Ergonomics: * * * *
Much better than the original. The grippier grip and those front scallops give your hands more to hold onto. Reaching the magazine release is a slight stretch for those of us with small hands, but that’s a minor quibble. And the M&P SHIELD’s slim profile makes IWB carry effortless.

Reliability: * * * * *
Perfect. Our gun had already seen a lot of rounds, and handled everything we threw at it. You should have no worries at all relying on the M&P9 M2.0 as your EDC pistol.

Customize This: * * * * *
Plenty of options, many of them right from Smith. They make versions with and without a thumb safety. With and without night sights. With and without Crimson Trace lasers. And that’s not counting a very healthy aftermarket selection from a variety of makers.

Overall: * * * * 1/2
Smith & Wesson made all the right moves in updating what was already one of the most popular single stack 9mm pistols in the world in the original M&P SHIELD. The new M&P SHIELD M2.0 can make a very strong argument (though there are a lot of very good options) for being the best all-around choice in a 9mm concealed carry pistol.

comments

  1. avatar Thomas Duensing says:

    I wonder how it compares to the 9mm Performance Center version, trigger-wise.

    1. avatar mlk18 says:

      I have the original, the PC model, and the 2.0. The trigger on the PC is better than the other two, even the original which has an Apex trigger in it. But the 2.0 is about halfway between a stock original Shield and PC Shield. Very shootable.

  2. avatar Lugnut says:

    I bought the original today in Lilburn, GA for $269 plus tax. I already had the 2.0, but at this price, the original was to good to pass up.

  3. avatar Manse Jolly says:

    …”it proved one-ragged-hole accurate and self-defense distances…””

    What is self-defense distances? My definition might be different.

    Well written review…I would not mind doing a test drive with it.

  4. avatar Michael R Becker says:

    I bought one as my back-up gun two months ago. It’s got the integral laser. The trigger was OK, but I replaced it with an Apex and it’s worlds better. I added the Apex because my main EDC is a Walther PPQ 45 with an Apex and the triggers on both are virtually the same, the Shield has more take-up but the pull and the reset are close to identical with the Walther.

    Very nice pistol and it’s easy and fun to shoot.

  5. avatar JMR says:

    Wish gun manufacturers would bring the texture up and along the frame rails. But the texture on this is a great improvement love mine.

    Funny thing is the texture on my 9c 2.0 is a little more aggressive.

    1. avatar Yepnope says:

      I thought it looked a tad different. Maybe 2.0 9Cs texturing would be too uncomfortable against your skin when carrying

      1. avatar JMR says:

        It is a little more rough on the skin in my experience (the 9c2.0 vs the shield 2.0)

        1. avatar Yepnope says:

          I have a 2.0 and would want it rubbing against anything less rough than my hand. Thanks for confirming

  6. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

    That’s what’s wrong with these polymer guns. They all look like every other brand. When I first looked at the picture I thought it was a picture of the greatest and only mistake in gun buying I have ever made. Just another POS like the Springfield XDS Mod 2 in .45 caliber that I bought in January of this year. BORING!!!! Anyone interested in buying a slightly used gun? Lmao.

    1. avatar RedOwl says:

      …if the price is right, sure. My XD(M) compact is pretty boring too; but it is accurate, easy to shoot, easy to maintain, etc.. I have been thinking about the XD-S for when I am forced to wear clothing that does not easily conceal a larger gun. I have some non-boring guns like a nice S&W 1911 and a “project” gun but I don’t really want to carry any of them.

      1. avatar Bruce Clark says:

        Make me an offer, comes with 4 mags. 3 extended 7 round, 1 flush fit 6 round. Nifty nylon notebook style case. Shoots good but I actually believe .45 cal is a little bit much for it to handle, definitely I would not recommend +P ammo or aluminum ammo. I should have bought the 9mm version. The gunstore I have traded at for many years will do a buyback, so I’m not worried about it seriously though. Just venting in hopes that someone else won’t make the same mistake as I did on this stinker. I just didn’t have the gun with me the last time I was there. I paid $558 out the door, they said they’d give me $500 for it.

  7. avatar Jimmy james says:

    Smith makes a good poly gun. They should have made a 9mm and or 45 Bodyguard, DAO.

  8. avatar OmnivorousBeorn says:

    Vintage TTAG content. Good to see. Thanks for the review.

  9. I tried to persuade my wife to get the Shield when we shopped for a replacement for her Nano.
    We demoed the LC9SPro, Glock 43 and the Shield. The Ruger had snappy recoil but I liked it. The Shield had the best trigger and capacity. She was going with the Glock no matter what. She loves my G19.
    I like the texture on the 2.0. Good single stack just got better. Might own one as a back up.

  10. avatar Don Prather says:

    Question: how is the Shield 2.0 for shooters with weaker hands? Does it approach the EZ for ease of racking the slide?

    My wife really likes the EZ, but I’d rather have her shooting a 115-grain bullet at 1100 fps than a 90-grainer at 900 fps.

    1. avatar Kyle says:

      dont sell that 90 grain 900 fps short.

      They leave a hell of a hole and you can put nearly twice as many rounds on target for every 9mm in the same amount of time.

    2. avatar Vicrattlehead says:

      The Shield is not easy, but not necessarily hard to rack. At first my wife struggled to rack my 2.0 9mm (she has very small hands and not an exceptional amount of strength-no arthritis or anything though at less than 40yo). After some practice at technique though, she doesn’t have a problem with it now and can rack it with confidence. In fact, she’s threatened to take it from me several times because it’s such a nice shooting gun!

      It’s definitely one you will want to try out in person if hand strength is an issue (assuming her technique is solid).

    3. avatar Sora says:

      I have Shield Original and I assume 2.0 retains the 18lb spring together with same grip on the slide.
      Weaker hands and slippery fingers need not apply. They will not be able to clear chamber during stressful situation, not that the thing ever jammed on me, even with limp wrist test.
      The recoil spring was made so you can shoot +P+ rounds, and go back on the target quickly for follow up.
      No a whole of lot recovery time when your attacker is already in your face during self-defense.
      There’s a reason they made EZ, many people need it.

  11. avatar Kyle says:

    Can I get one without the stupid warning label on the side?

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      If that is your only complaint just cover it with black permanent marker or paint. Now I must ask. Do you even own a firearm? If you do. You seem a bit Bitchy.

      1. avatar S.Crock says:

        Wow y’all are hostile. I too am annoyed at how a lot of guns are looking like billboards with warnings on them nowadays.

      2. avatar snowman snowflake says:

        Are you a snowflake?

    2. avatar Passerby says:

      And you wonder why you’re alone.

  12. avatar Jon in CO says:

    PSA has standard 1.0’s with safety for $249. If I wasn’t so heavily invested in Glock (and a die hard fanboi) I’d definitely own one.

  13. avatar Pete says:

    Haven’t googled for one yet, but can you buy and drop a 2.0 trigger in the 1.0?

    1. avatar DaveP. says:

      The 2.0 trigger is basically Smith’s answer to the Apex trigger for the original Shield. If you want the better trigger of the 2.0, just get an Apex from Brownells or Midway and it’ll be fine.

    2. avatar emir Timur says:

      You don’t need to, just remove the firing pin block ease it’s edges then polish it to a mirror finish. You can also polish the sear to a mirror finish with jewels rouge without changing it’s profile. After that your 1.0 trigger will feel better than the factory 2.0 without spending any money on parts.

  14. avatar Cooter E Lee says:

    Just bought one and had some issue with the gun jumping sideways after trigger break. I don’t have this issue with other pistols, but I’m not the worlds greatest shot.

    After 100 rounds and 1000 laser shots it doesn’t jump when I have a super tight support hand grip.

    Also, note the housing that the crimson trace sits in is NOT removeable from the lower. So if your laser breaks or you decide you don’t want it, you’ll have to dremel it off

  15. avatar TR says:

    Do they really have to put “Caution: capable of firing with magazine removed” in white on the slide? It’s fugly and libtarded

  16. avatar Squiggy81 says:

    If I didn’t already own a first gen in 40, I’d pick one of these up. Not quite enough of a difference to upgrade for me. Trigger is actually decent for what it is. It’s not a target gun. If I ever need it, I’m pretty sure I can hit where I need to. Recoil is very manageable, even in 40.

  17. avatar Sora says:

    http://www.palmettostatearmory.com is selling Shield 9mm 2.0 with laser built in for $349 and original Shield 9mm for $249!!! NEW!
    https://palmettostatearmory.com/s-w-m-p-shield-2-0-9mm-w-red-laser-11671.html
    https://palmettostatearmory.com/smith-wesson-m-p-shieldtm-9mm.html
    Days they are offered varies and some days you can get models with manual safety, some days without.
    They also have .40 S&W version for slightly more on some days.

  18. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    When I was looking for a slim, light concealed carry gun, I compared this S&W to the Glock 43 – capacity, cost, trigger, other specs. I could not find any logical reason to go with the Glock. The Shield excels in every category.

  19. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Shot the 2.0. It was fine. Did not evoke any emotions whatsoever. Like a Toyota Corolla.

  20. avatar Eddie G says:

    I have a 1.0 with a Talon Grip on it I like. I wonder if adding the Apex makes it just as good as the stock 2.0. The Sig P365 has me more intrigued. I know the issues but that’s all being worked out.

  21. avatar Brian Mumford says:

    I think groupthink has perpetuated a hate for the original M&P Shield trigger that didn’t really exist. Having had M&P’s since they were first released, including an original Shield, I remember what happened back then. A segment of the population that resented not having an audible reset like a Glock hated the M&P trigger. When the Shield was released, however, people RAVED about how good it was and hoped it would make its way into the regular original M&P lineup (which it did and made people like me happy). People, however, largely weren’t complaining about the Shield trigger until the M2.0 line came out which was even better.

    1. avatar Capt Insano says:

      Sure they were. Maybe you weren’t looking in the right places.

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