Check out our full Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9 Review.[/framed_box]
Last week Smith & Wesson released a new pistol for the concealed carry market called the Shield. Typically, when a manufacturer releases a new gun, it’s months (and sometimes years) before it actually hits the market. And sometimes even longer before you can find any decent accessories (like holsters).
Smith & Wesson thankfully bucked this trend with the Shield. The Shield was announced Thursday, April 12, 2012 at the NRA Annual Meeting in St. Louis as well as on the internet, and was in stores by the following Saturday, April 14. And on April 14th, I was lucky enough to pick one up in 9mm.
This will not be a full review, as I’ve only had the pistol for a few days, but I still wanted to provide a data point to those who are considering early adopting the Smith & Wesson Shield.
The Shield is a very ergonomic pistol. It’s under 1″ thick and is fairly light at 19 ounces. It is just a little bigger and heavier than the previously reviewed Kahr CM9 and the Beretta Nano, which is also undergoing testing.
I love the feel of the Shield, but then, I’m a big fan of the M&P line in general. The Shield does not come with interchangeable backstraps like the full-size and compact M&P models, but this wasn’t a problem for me as it fits my hand perfectly.
I didn’t notice at first, but after comparing the size to the Nano and CM9, I found that the Shield’s grip is noticeably longer. I think this contributes to making the Shield more controllable than both the Nano and the CM9.
The Shield comes with a flush fitting 7 round magazine and an extended 8 round magazine. With the 7 round magazine, my pinky finger dangles off the grip. I don’t mind this, but I know some people hate it, so there you go. With the extended 8 round magazine however, I can comfortably get a full grip on the pistol.
Recoil is fairly mild compared to other pistols this size, possibly due to its slightly heavier weight. This is especially noticeable with the 8 round magazine. With the 8 round magazine and the full grip, it’s nearly as comfortable to shoot as the full-size M&P.
I spent several hours at the range the day I bought the Shield, shooting over 300 rounds through the Shield along with the Beretta Nano and Kahr CM9 to compare them. There’s no question that I shot the Shield better than the Nano and CM9. I shot all three pistols at 3, 5 and 7 yards, and the Shield was the easiest of the three to hit with.
Smith & Wesson has several holsters listed on their website for the Shield. While these may or may not be good options, I am most interested in a custom Kydex holster (or three) for IWB and OWB carry.
PHLster Custom Kydex Holsters
Well as it turns out, I’m in luck. I spoke with Jon from PHLster, and they are now offering several custom Kydex holsters for the Smith & Wesson Shield. At the time of writing, PHLster is the only custom Kydex shop offering holsters for the Shield that I could find. Check out a video overview of PHLster’s Shield Kydex holsters on YouTube.
The Smith & Wesson Shield is a great gun two days in. Unless there are major surprises coming, the Shield is going to be highly recommended. In our coming full review we will discuss the Shield in the role of concealed carry, further shooting impressions and range reports, detailed comparisons with the competition, and interesting feature details like the manual safety and redesigned trigger.
Questions about the Shield? Let us know in the comments below!