March 08, 2022
Micro-sized, subcompact pistols are all the rage these days—even more so than in years past because most of the new ones are being chambered for the 9mm Luger round. Obviously, these pistols are built for everyday carry, with personal protection their main purpose. Smith & Wesson has the new M&P9 Shield Plus that fits this mold perfectly.
The polymer-frame, striker-fired M&P9 Shield Plus (MSRP: $553) has a 3.1-inch barrel and a magazine capacity of 13 rounds. It weighs 20.2 ounces. It is 6.1 inches long overall, 1.1 inches wide, and 4.88 inches tall with the 13-round magazine. A flush-fitting 10-round magazine is also included, and with it inserted, the pistol is 4.44 inches tall.
The company also offers a new Performance Center M&P9 Shield Plus with a 4.0-inch ported barrel, fiber-optic sights, and a Crimson Trace 4-MOA red-dot reflex sight installed (MSRP: $925). Shooting Times received the standard-catalog M&P9 Shield Plus for this report.
The sights on the standard M&P9 Shield Plus are steel and are dovetailed into the slide. The rear sight has two white dots, and the front sight has a single white dot. Tritium night sights are also offered for an additional charge. The sight radius is 5.3 inches.
Other nice features include the flat-face trigger (it’s the levered, safety-type mechanism), an 18-degree grip angle, and enhanced texturing on the grip. The stainless-steel barrel and slide are finished in matte black Armornite, and the polymer frame is black. Our pistol does not have a manual thumb safety, but you can get the model with one if you prefer.
At the range, I ran five 9mm factory loads through the pistol at a distance of 25 yards. The average velocity, extreme spread, standard deviation, and accuracy for each load are listed in the accompanying chart. As you can see, average accuracies ranged from 2.00 to 3.50 inches. Overall average accuracy was 3.08 inches.
I also fired a full magazine with each load offhand at a self-defense distance of seven yards. Those groups ranged from 2.50 to 3.75 inches. The pistol handled comfortably and was easy to get on target quickly. The slide was easy to rack, requiring 22 pounds of force, according to my crude, jury-rigged setup. That’s on par with other compact striker-fired pistols.
By the way, according to my standard RCBS trigger pull scale, the M&P9 Shield Plus’s trigger pull averaged 5 pounds, 8 ounces. That’s the average of five measurements.
Reliability throughout my shooting session was perfect. I didn’t have a single failure to feed, fire, extract, or eject. That’s a testament to the reliability of the pistol and also to the ammo.
M&P9 Shield Plus Specification
- Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson smith-wesson.com
- Type: Striker-fired autoloader
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Magazine Capacity: 10 and 13 rounds
- Barrel: 3.1 in.
- Overall Length: 6.1 in.
- Width: 1.1 in.
- Height: 4.44 in. (10-round magazine)
- Weight, Empty: 20.2 oz.
- Grips: Integral to polymer frame
- Finish: Matte black Armornite barrel and slide
- Sights: Drift-adjustable rear with two white dots, white-dot front
- Trigger: 5.5-lb. pull (as tested)
- Safety: Safety trigger
- MSRP: $553