A Week with the M&P Shield

Ok, in reality it has been a few weeks with the M&P Shield, including a couple range days. I am generally a proponent of carrying as close to a full size service pistol as possible, even for off-duty/plain clothes work. But I also understand that there is reality, and sometimes it is just too impractical to attempt to conceal a Glock 19 and still be appropriately dressed. In this role, and that of a second gun, the M&P Shield is certainly a viable choice.One of the more controversial features of the Shield is the addition of the low profile, strong side only thumb safety. For certain types of carry, including in the pocket, the thumb safety provides some peace of mind. Having grown up with the 1911, this feature is not a deal killer, but if you aren’t used to dealing with a mechanical safety, this will require some training for the manipulation to become second nature.

The pistol itself is quite shootable. The take-up was smoothed over a bit by Hilton before I received it, but the break is as it came from the factory. It is somewhat heavy with a bit of over-travel. Certainly workable, but nothing to brag about. Keeping eight rounds in a head box at 15 yards wasn’t a problem. Recoil was surprisingly soft for such a small pistol. I wouldn’t want to take a three-day pistol class with this, but a solid range session won’t have you running for ice packs either.

The manual of arms is familiar to anyone who shoots a regular M&P. The slide release and magazine catch are in their usual locations. The pistol comes with a seven round flush fitting magazine, and also an eight round magazine with an extension so you can get most of your hand on the gun.

Will the Shield replace my Glock 19? Nope. But for those occasions where only a small pistol will do, I’ll be digging that Shield out of the safe…

This entry was posted in Modern Service Pistols and tagged , , , by Tim Lau. Bookmark the permalink.

About Tim Lau

Tim Lau has over a decade of experience as an end user, armorer and instructor. He has worked for several well known firearms training organizations, and holds multiple firearms instructor certifications. He owns and operates 10-8 Consulting, LLC, which provides industry consulting services as well as marksmanship and specialized firearms training to qualified civilian, law enforcement and military personnel.

9 thoughts on “A Week with the M&P Shield

  1. Thanks. Do you have anything quantified re standard drills for time vs your other carry options?

  2. The S&W Shield 9mm is a great gun. There is little that needs to be done to this great concealed carry option. I changed out the factory sights for quality night sights and added rubberized Talon grips. It seems to just disappear on my waist with the 7 round magazine but feels better in the hand when shooting with the 8 round magazine. Someday when money flows a little more smoothly I seriously might pick up the Crimson Trace laser for this gun.

    • To be honest though, sometimes on the 8-round mags the rubber extension plate does come loose and can seriously mess with reloads unless you slam the mag in.

      Would have been nice to have an actual solid 8-round version with a beavertail though.

  3. I have been using a Shield (in 9mm – the .40 version has been full of problems since its introduction) for almost a year. It is my default daily carry gun. No, it doesn’t hold 10-17 rounds, nor is it .45. But I can conceal it all the time, and a 9mm beats anything smaller.
    Mine have Novak sights, with a wider rear notch, and the Apex carry kit for the Shield. If I had one complaint, it is the thumb safety. I would prefer it to either be bigger – more like the full size M&P – or deleted. As it is, it is too small for me to use during carry, yet it still there and needs to be checked to make sure it is off.

    One of the best, out-of-the-box gun Smith makes, IMHO. If I was still active duty, carrying or issued a bigger M&P, it would be my constant backup

  4. I have had the Shield 9mm for a while. Per reading one of Hilton’s old articles regarding the Shields manual safety, it is removable. I did so on mine and have had ZERO function issues. I believe Hilton mentioned that the LE version of the Shield would come exactly this way. I did epoxy a small shaped black plastic bit in place of the old safety to cover the void. The only other modifications include HackathornTritium sights and the APEX carry kit.

    This is the most practical concealed carry gun I own.

  5. My thoughts exactly. For fun I am usually in an environment where looks and fashion predominate so that usually means more form-fitting clothing than usual. My twin M&P Shields can disappear under those muscle t-shirts or the slimmer polos, heck even a suit vest can hide the shields easily. For times where appearance is not a concern I have my Gen 4 Glocks.

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