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Did you read Jeremy’s review of the new M&P 380 SHIELD EZ? He’s a fan. A five-star fan. But Smith & Wesson has just announced that they’ve found a problem that didn’t turn up in Jeremy’s testing. When shooting hotter ammo, the added recoil can, in some limited cases, cause the manual safety to flip from fire to safe.

That may not seem like a big deal…unless you’re using your pistol as a personal defense weapon. All you have to do is flip the safety off again to go live, but you can see the potential problem.

Smith says they’ve designed a fix and they’re offering a free upgrade on any M&P 380 SHIELD EZ built prior to April 4. Which, since that was only two days ago, you’d have to assume includes pretty much every gun sold so far. Here’s their press release:


To: M&P® 380 SHIELD™ EZ™ Manual Thumb Safety Owners

SPRINGFIELD, Mass., (April 6, 2018) –  Like any firearm, the function of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety pistol can be influenced by the type and quality of ammunition used with the pistol.  In the case of the M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety, we have found that in very rare circumstances, ammunition that produces a high level of felt recoil can cause the manual safety to move from the fire to the “safety on” position during firing.  Should this occur, you will not be able to fire the next round unless and until the manual safety is reset to the fire position.

At Smith & Wesson, we are committed to designing and producing firearms that meet the highest quality and performance standards.  To ensure that every Smith & Wesson handgun meets our standards for reliability and performance, as of April 4, 2018, we have engineered the manual safety so that it will be less susceptible to the influence of ammunition weight, velocity and loads. Any M&P 380 Shield EZ Manual Thumb Safety pistol produced before April 4, is eligible for a no-cost upgrade.  To determine if this consumer advisory applies to your pistol, please utilize our serial number verification tool on our consumer advisory page. Click here to navigate to that page.

If your pistol is subject to this advisory, please call Smith & Wesson at 1-800-331-0852 or email us at[email protected]. A FedEx return label and shipping instructions to facilitate the return of your M&P 380 Shield EZ pistol will be mailed to you promptly. If you have any questions, you may call 1-800-331-0852 for more information.


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  1. Seems like not having a manual safely, especially with that grip safety, would be the way to go for a carry gun, but hey, options!

  2. /begin_tounge-in-cheek

    So, limp-wristing can cause the safety to engage in addition to cycling failures? Huh, who knew?


  3. Well at least they are offering a free fix. 1st Gen guns tend to have these teething issues. Been there, done that a few times.

    • First, it is good they fixed it and are offering a fix.

      I so wish this gun was on the California roster! I’ve seen too many people avoid buying a self defense gun because of the recoil. We who shoot 5,000+ rounds a year of course have our favorite gun and know how to handle the recoil.

      But when someone over seventy wants a firearm, I’m not going to recommend a jumpy 9mm and not everyone wants a big heavy pistol (although there are so many I enjoy).

      Since I would have recommended the gun *without* the safety, I see no issue. I’ve seen too many beginners have to ask why a gun wasn’t going bang…

      We live in an golden age of pistols. Let’s celebrate!

  4. There is no such thing as 380 +p, there is only the 380ACP SAAMI spec. Of course S&W didn’t engineer a gun to function with pressures exceeding spec.

    That’s way different than testing for over-pressure to ensure the gun doesn’t “done blow’d up” in case of a bad loading.

    But why even get the safety on an EZ, or another one in this case.

    • Mebbe so….but Buffalo Bore is definitely hotter than most any 380….and is marketed as +P….even if there is no recognized pressure level.

      Even hotter than Geco, which tends to be warm.

    • The safety isn’t there to make the gun safer, it’s quite safe without it.
      The reason to put it there was for the same reason all of the M&P line have that option: because some folks like the, frankly, non-gun people this piece was targeted towards just feel better having one.
      I’ve had this conversation with new customers more times than I can count: “I don’t want that one, it doesn’t have a safety”… fine, here’s the same gun but with a safety switch if it makes you happy – will that be cash or charge?
      So. Will Smith be offering a “no safety” variant soon? Dunno. I see no reason they shouldn’t.

  5. Reminds me of how I had to grip my LC9 with your thumb holding down the safety because it was so light and the grip space so tiny that recoil/muzzle climb could easily make your hand hit it and reengage it. That and the trigger were my only issues (albeit pretty big issues) with the thing and the LC9S Pro fixes both.

    • I needed both hands and one foot to engage the safety on my LC9. Maybe it is softer on the S version.

  6. Well, at least this is better – arguably – than the gun going off when it shouldn’t. (I’m going to guess the average gun in this job category is at least as likely to be, say, dropped, as it is to be used in a DGU.)

    And least they’re owning up to it immediately.

  7. No they failed to tell Jeremy it’s made out of fuckin plastic. I’ve worked in the polymer business, it’s actually pretty amazing stuff. How about a copolymer nut that fails at 150 psi, when the specs called for 45, that’s pretty amazing considering its 5 times lighter and .35 times thinner comparable to a metal alloy nut, even titanium, which has stretch issues. The down side is IT CANNOT SUSTAIN REPEATED SHOCK. Before that said nut was put on the market the company I worked for PIMCO ” you want it we can make it”(add plug) did extensive R&D,we had to, Elon Musk is using them, I was part of that team because I was like Clark( the guy who blows up gunz). I’m telling yah, if you want to hand something down, that still works, to the great grand kids, stay away from plastic. Plastics fantastic, but Steel is real

  8. I’m happy that I grabbed the non-thumb safety version (yes, there is one). This happens with new platforms, good that S&W is taking the bull by the horns and fixing it. ironicatbest is right on point. This reminds me of the Walther P-22 that I had, whose plastic safety would flex and engage itself under recoil.

    I doubt that either my wife or I will ever carry this pistol; not because it’s bad, just because it’s huge for a .380. My wife is the reason I bought this pistol; she can rack the slide with ease despite carpal tunnel surgery on both hands. With no thumb safety, she can’t forget to disengage it if something bad happens. I’m hoping to give her a couple of rounds more than her favorite 2″ .38 for home defense or as a car gun. IMO, it’s one of the things that the EZ is meant for.

  9. This not a new problem, many guns aren’t designed to use hot or higher pressure loads. In the past I have seen many well designed and built revolvers totally destroyed by use of heavy loads and reloads. .45 Colt heavy loads which are just under .44 magnum pressure might be fine in a Ruger Blackhawk, but fire the through your heirloom Colt Single Action Army and boom.
    If you really think you need more horsepower from your ammo, perhaps trading up to 9mm etc. Would be a much better choice.
    The safety is there for a reason, S&W is immediately dealing with it. This is not a striker fired gun, rather hammer fired, now think about it, would you carry a double action revolver in a concealment holster with the hammer cocked?

  10. The Safety levers on M&P pistols have a very weak detent and move without much force. My standard for a Safety detent force is the 1911. It’s a positive acting detent and the lever can not be accidentally moved on the 1911. I wrote to Smith & Wesson asking for a specification on force required to move the Safety lever from safe to fire and back. They said they have no specification. The lever can be easily changed to fire position when holstering. Its too easy to move. I have tested 4 different M&P models and all those with manual Safety’s are too easy to move. Some users have filed a deeper notch in the safety lever bar for a more positive detent and instructions can be found on the net
    I chose to keep the Manual Safety on my M&P as my long experience with the 1911 manual of arms is muscle memory.

  11. “How about Smith & Wesson issue an advisory that they intend to move out of Massachusetts.”

    Horace Smith and Daniel Baird Wesson Must Be Rolling In Their Respective Graves If They Knew The State Of Our Beloved Nation Is In Right Now…

  12. I just recently bought one of these for my wife who has issues with neuropathy in her hands caused by chemotherapy to treat breast cancer. I was really excited that this might be just the ticket to allow her to shoot again without pain and with her weakened hands (that’s the point of the design right?).

    Finally got her out to the range this afternoon and TOTAL FAIL. She could not engage the grip safety, no matter how she held the gun and we tried many variations (I was able to shoot the gun without any issues, but I’m 5’11 and 260). She tried for at least 20 minutes and was able to make it fire TWICE. This is completely unacceptable obviously. She is exactly the target demographic for the gun and she could not make it fire (but hey she could rack the slide!).

    The grip safety renders the gun useless for someone with smaller and weaker hands, the manual safety flipping on is the least of your worries.

    I can not recommend this to anyone other than a large relatively strong male (lots of them shopping for mid-size .380’s!).


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