Introducing the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Smith & Wesson has just announced its new Shield handgun. It's an addition to the M&P line and fills a significant niche.

In short, it's a single-stack, polymer-frame handgun built to the ultra-durable standards of the Military & Police line and designed to be carried day in and day out by people who will abuse it and then expect it to perform on demand. Initially available in 9mm and .40 S&W, it retails at $449. It is less than one inch wide and weighs in at 19 ounces.

With it come two magazines—one short and one extended with a grip extension sleeve. The short magazine holds seven rounds in 9mm caliber; six rounds in .40, while the extended version holds eight rounds in 9mm and seven in .40 caliber. Plus it has the added benefit of providing a full grip. The slide is finished in Black Melonite at 68 HRc. Barrel length is three inches.

Sights are white-dot front and rear; the firing mechanism is striker-fired, and the trigger sports mild enhancements to S&W's standard M&P line of pistols, offering a quite usable 6.5-pound pull. The grip angle is a natural-feeling 18 degrees—a number settled on after engineers spent an inordinate amount of time studying human anatomy. Breaking from M&P pistol tradition, there are no interchangeable backstraps. Such a luxury would have made the grip bulkier, and proved a worthwhile jettison in order to achieve the fantastic slender feel of the Shield.


To date I've put over 600 rounds through my sample M&P9 Shield, with exactly one failure—and that was due to a clearly-visible ammo defect and no fault of the gun itself. It's accurate and surprisingly controllable under rapid fire. Check out the accompanying video to see it in action.

In a fit of pro-active activity, the good folks at S&W coordinated with a number of holster and aftermarket accessory providers. When new Shield pistols hit your dealers' shelves sometime in mid-April, you'll be able to purchase a holster for it from half a dozen manufacturers including Galco, DeSantis, Fobus, Blackhawk, Uncle Mike's and Pistol Wear. XS Sights and Hi-Viz are producing tritium and fiber-optic drop-in sights. And last but not least, laser accessories will be available from Crimson Trace, Laserlyte, and LaserMax.

Some, but not all, of the holsters and aftermarket sights can be viewed in the accompanying photographs.

What makes this gun important on today's scene? The fact that it carries the hallowed M&P designation. It is tested with much more extreme tests than standard pistol lines from S&W and competing manufacturers, and is built to provide lawmen with count-on-it performance.

This is an enthusiastic report. Do I really like it that much? I like it enough that it's going to become a permanent resident in my IWB holster. And that's about all I need to say about that.

Watch for a full, in-depth review coming up in Shooting Times magazine.

Recommended for You


Review: Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm

Joel J. Hutchcroft - April 29, 2019

Crimson Trace enters the riflescope business with the Crimson Trace CTL-3420 4-20X 50mm.


Shooting Times Father's Day 2019 Gift Guide

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 07, 2019

Shooting Times editor Joel Hutchcroft provides a comprehensive list of ideal Father's Day...


Share the Handloading Experience

Lane Pearce - May 19, 2019

The joys of handloading are many, and one of them is sharing the experience with a novice.

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Moving and Shooting

Most gunfights are fluid and it's likely that you will need to move. Here are some precise methods for moving and shooting.

Skills Drills: 3-Second Headshot

James Tarr runs through the 3-Second Headshot drill.

Hornady 6MM Creedmoor

Tom Beckstrand and Neal Emery of Hornady highlight the 6MM Creedmoor ammo.

See more Popular Videos

Trending Stories


Review: SIG SAUER P320

Joseph Von Benedikt - September 13, 2018

Is SIG's P320 modular pistol the best polymer-framed high-capacity sidearm ever designed?


Review: Stoeger STR-9

Joel J. Hutchcroft - May 17, 2019

The new striker-fired STR-9 9mm semiautomatic pistol from Stoeger Industries is reliable,...


Review: Bushnell FORGE 4.5-27X 50mm

Sam Wolfenberger - May 01, 2019

The new Bushnell FORGE riflescope is “the only choice for long-range hunting enthusiasts.”

See More Stories

More Ammo


Hornady Frontier .223 Rem. & 5.56mm Ammo

Jake Edmondson - February 12, 2019

Hornady resurrected its Frontier Cartridge line of ammunition this year. Currently, 11 loads...


The .338 Winchester Magnum

Allan Jones - February 20, 2019

Created in 1958, the .338 Winchester Magnum vastly outperformed any previous commercial...


Danger Tamed: Hornady DGX Bonded Hunting Ammo

Joseph von Benedikt - May 23, 2019

A half-century in the making, the new DGX Bonded is Hornady's best-ever dangerous-game bullet.

See More Ammo

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.