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Beretta Nano vs. Kahr CM9 vs. S&W Shield

In the past few months we have individually reviewed the Beretta Nano, Kahr CM9 and Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, all three of which we recommend for concealed carry. All three are single stack “micro compact” pistols chambered in 9mm, but which is best?

Nano vs. CM9 vs. Shield

In this post, we compare the three head to head to find out. There won’t be a lot of feature detail, for that, check out each individual review.

Scoring System

I decided to come up with a system to score the pistols, so I could more easily choose a final winner. To that end, I used the categories that matter to me the most when choosing a concealed carry pistol, and weighted them as such.

Possible Points
Reliability 25
Concealability 15
Shootability 15
Firepower 10
Trigger 10
Ergonomics 10
Sights 5
Available Accessories 5
Bonus 5
Total 100

One thing to note on the scoring system is that pistols will be awarded points compared to each other as well as other pistols of this type that I have experience with, like the Ruger LC9. I will not be scoring/comparing to, for example, full-sized pistols.

Also, it should go without saying, but of course this is subjective and only my opinion. Your mileage will likely vary.


Reliability needs no introduction. It’s weighted the highest (25 points possible) because if the gun doesn’t go bang, it’s nothing more than an expensive club.

Beretta Nano

Score: 25

The Nano has seen the least action between the three pistols, but nonetheless has been completely flawless.

Kahr CM9

Score: 25

I’ve had the CM9 the longest, and have perhaps shot it the most. Zero failures from day 1.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 25

Another perfect score. I’ve only had the Shield a few short weeks, but in that time it has seen right at 800 rounds with zero malfunctions.


Concealability (15 points possible) is pretty self-explanatory – it’s how easy it is to conceal the pistol. Since these pistols are all roughly the same size, I was tempted to skip this category altogether, but there are some subtle differences that do actually make a difference in how the guns carry.

Beretta Nano
Kahr CM9
S&W Shield
4.17″ 4.0″ 4.6″
17.67 oz. 15.9 oz. 19.0 oz.
.90″ .90″ .95″
 5.63″ 5.42″ 6.1″

Beretta Nano

Score: 14

The Nano, on paper, is larger than the CM9 and smaller than the Shield. In my hand though, I can’t tell a difference in size between the Nano and CM9. The extra few ounces in weight is noticeable if you hold them both that the same time, but I didn’t notice a difference carrying the Nano.

Even though it’s slightly bigger than the CM9, it scores the same because of it’s sleek snag free design. No external levers and no rough edges – this gun conceals extremely well. The Nano is small enough for me to pocket carry in cargo shorts.

Kahr CM9

Score: 14

The CM9 is the smallest and lightest of the three pistols, and carries as such. The CM9 is small enough for me to pocket carry in cargo shorts.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 13

The Shield is the biggest, heaviest and thickest of the three pistols, hence the lowest score, but it is still quite compact and thin. With the Shield I give up the ability to pocket carry in cargo shorts. On one hand, this is a bummer as it’s a very convenient carry method in the summer. On the other hand, since I started carrying in the appendix position, I haven’t been pocket carrying very much at all, so it hasn’t been a big deal.


Shootability (15 points possible) is how easy it is to hit your target with the pistol. Since we’re discussing small concealed carry pistols, I’m not talking 25 yard, bench rested accuracy, but rather combat accuracy in the application of self-defense.

Beretta Nano

Score: 10

The Nano has a long (but smooth) trigger pull that, for me, took some getting used to. It’s an accurate pistol, but I found that in order to achieve accuracy, I had to slow way down and stage the trigger.

Kahr CM9

Score: 10

The CM9 is in roughly the same boat as the Nano. Again, it has a long, smooth trigger pull, but staging is required for precision. Both the Nano and CM9 are more than accurate in self-defense situations where shooting will be more “point and click” than precision.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 14

The Shield is easily the most shootable pistol of the three. This is due to its superior trigger pull and ergonomics, as well as its slightly larger size and weight. I was seriously tempted to give the Shield full marks.


Firepower (10 points possible) is the standard load out capability for each pistol – the number of rounds that can be carried using the magazines that come with the pistol.

Beretta Nano

Score: 8

The Nano comes with 2 – 6 round magazines, which is pretty standard for the type, giving you a total of 13 rounds (6+1, 6 on the reload).

Kahr CM9

Score: 6

The CM9 comes with only 1 – 6 round magazine, giving you 7 rounds (6+1 with no reload).

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 10

The Shield comes with 1 – 7 round magazine and 1 – 8 round magazine, giving you a total of 16 rounds (7+1, 8 on the reload).


Trigger pull (10 points possible) is pretty important to me when choosing a pistol of any kind. If I don’t like the trigger, there’s pretty much no chance I will buy the gun. In fact, this is the reason I didn’t buy the Ruger LC9 - the trigger pull is too long, too heavy, or breaks too far back against the frame for me.

Beretta Nano

Score: 7

As mentioned, the Nano trigger is long, but smooth and has a fairly clean break. On my gun, it’s slightly heavier than the CM9, so I slightly prefer the CM9’s trigger.

Kahr CM9

Score: 8

Much the same story with the CM9 – a long trigger pull that is smooth with a clean break. As far as double action triggers go, this is a very good one.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 9

The Shield has an excellent striker action trigger rated at 6.5 lbs. There’s just a little take-up, a very clean break, and a short, audible reset.


One of the most subjective categories, but an important one nonetheless, ergonomics (10 point possible) is how the gun feels in your hand.

Beretta Nano

Score: 7

The Nano sneaks up on you. When I first held it, my impression of the ergonomics was that it was too blocky, but the Nano grew on me.

Kahr CM9

Score: 8

The CM9 ergonomics are pretty good. It fits my hand just a little better than the Nano. My only gripe is the checkering on the front of the grip, which I fixed with some excellent Talon Grips.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 9

The Shield ergonomics are excellent. I was tempted to give another perfect score to the Shield, but I suppose ergonomics could be better. Somehow. Worth noting is that I do have Talon Grips installed on my Shield as well, but I don’t think they are 100% necessary.


Everyone has a different idea of what sighting system you should have on a defensive pistol. My idea is somewhat simple and uninteresting: usable sights that work. 5 points possible.

Beretta Nano

Score: 5

The Nano sights are excellent, which is a pleasant surprise on a pistol this size.

Kahr CM9

Score: 4

I don’t like the bar-dot sights as much as the 3-dot sights, but the CM9 sights are still very good.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 5

The Shield 3-dot sights are also excellent.


Accessories aren’t the most important thing, but they should be considered because at minimum, you will need a holster in order to carry your gun. 5 points possible.

Beretta Nano

Score: 3

The Nano is pretty new, so there aren’t a ton of accessories available, but there are enough to make the Nano a valid choice.

Kahr CM9

Score: 4

The CM9 has been out a little longer, but also has a lot of accessory compatibility with of the more expensive PM9.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 4

The Shield is VERY new, but hit the market running. Smith & Wesson did a very smart thing in getting the Shield out to the accessory market prior the release, and virtually every major holster maker now has holsters available for the Shield.


I wanted a category that I could use to hand out points for whatever I wanted, so I came up with the bonus category. Maybe this is just the cool factor, but sometimes you like a gun and you can’t really explain why. 5 points possible.

Beretta Nano

Score: 5

The Nano scores big in the bonus category for me because of the awesome removable stainless steel sub-chassis, and the snag free design.

Kahr CM9

Score: 2

I gave the CM9 2 bonus points because Kahr listened to the market and made a less expensive version of the PM9 that is still an excellent gun.

Smith & Wesson Shield

Score: 3

I gave the Shield 3 bonus points because Smith & Wesson also listened to the market and built the pistol that people wanted, unlike some other unnamed manufacturers. In addition, they listened and redesigned the trigger, which is excellent.

Final Score

Beretta Nano
Kahr CM9
S&W Shield
25/25 25/25 25/25
14/15 14/15 13/15
10/15 10/15 14/15
8/10 6/10 10/10
7/10 8/10 9/10
7/10 8/10 9/10
5/5 4/5 5/5
3/5 4/5 4/5
5/5 2/5 3/5




Wrapping Up

So there you go, the clear winner according the numbers is the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. It’s definitely worth reiterating that all three are excellent pistols, and you can’t go wrong with any of them. But for me, the Shield is the best gun in terms of shootability, accuracy and ergonomics. I give up a few ounces in weight and the ability to pocket carry, but what I get in return more than makes up for it.

If you made it this far, you probably disagree with a lot of the scores you just read (it’s inevitable), so let me know in the comments where you think I went wrong. Thanks for reading!

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93 Responses to Beretta Nano vs. Kahr CM9 vs. S&W Shield

  1. Andy May 14, 2012 at 8:51 am #

    Well designed review that must have taken some work. Since I do have a M&P Shield 9mm,I did like the outcome. Everything said did make sense. Only comment is that ordered the Talon Grips and were hoping they wouold be worth it.

    • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 9:37 am #

      I like the Talon Grips. Whether or not they are worth the $15 really comes down to your grip preferences. Thanks!

    • John August 7, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Ditto – really good review. I have the Nano and had the CM9 and I agree with almost 100% of what you listed (I like the Talon grips but you MUST blow-dry them on). The M&P shield has a better ergo feel and higher-set beaver-tail so bore axis is much better than the Nano. The only thing I would add is that on a pocket pistol you can shoot with the middle-finger and move the index up to brace, and still achieve the 60/40 grip (60% support hand 40% trigger hand). With the middle finger shooting the Nano grips/feels more like the shield. Something to try out; some don’t like it, but works for me. 🙂 Thanks again for the solid review.

      • Brandon August 7, 2014 at 10:41 am #

        Thanks guys.

  2. Arol May 14, 2012 at 8:52 am #

    Great review. I agree 100%

    • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 9:00 am #


  3. L. M. Burns May 14, 2012 at 8:55 am #

    I agree with your scoring. However, my choice is the Kimber Solo CDP. I’d like to see you rate it against the Shield (I’d pick the Solo over the shield mostly because it’s smaller and easier to carry).

    • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 9:01 am #

      Thanks! The Solo is interesting for sure. The early reports were a bit sketchy, but it sounds like Kimber has the bugs worked out for the most part. Have you had any reliability problems?

  4. Aaron May 14, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    Shoot, I was going to go after the nano at lunch today. Now I guess I will have to wait for shield availability in my area.

    • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 9:56 am #

      Try them both if you can – maybe you’ll think I’m nuts. 🙂

      • Aaron May 14, 2012 at 11:03 am #

        I have held both, I do like the feel / ergo of the shield, however I like the snag free design on the shield. Help me make the call….

        • Andy May 14, 2012 at 11:06 am #

          Go Shield! I love mine. Plus S&W are good to deal with. Lifetime warranty .

        • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 11:10 am #

          Which trigger do you like better? How do you want to carry (IWB, OWB, pocket, etc)?

  5. Aaron May 14, 2012 at 11:17 am #

    I plan to carry either appendix or at my right side. I am not in love with the nano trigger, but I feel it’s a safe one. I do like the non-snag fram etc of the nano. I also like the 8 round extended mag on the S&W and the trigger. It’s a hard call for me.

    • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 11:21 am #

      If you aren’t going to pocket carry, then the Shield is the better choice in my opinion.

      • Aaron May 14, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

        Ok, give me a few reasons.

        • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

          Did you read this comparison? 🙂

          Better trigger, better ergonomics, shoots better, more rounds. You give up a little in size and weight, but if you’re not going to pocket carry, I don’t think you’ll find that to be a big deal.

          Ultimately though, it comes down to personal preference, because as mentioned, they are all three great guns.

          • Aaron May 14, 2012 at 3:43 pm #

            I guess I was just hoping the nano would be your advice as it’s easily in stock around my area. 🙂

          • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

            Haha – dude, the Nano is a great gun, I just like the Shield better.

          • Aaron May 17, 2012 at 12:45 am #


            Thanks for the review and putting up with my questions. Dumb luck came around and the shield was in stock here in my area , I’m happy to say after holding both you were right. Shield is in hand and my Saturday morning is booked for a range session.

          • Brandon May 17, 2012 at 7:26 am #

            Hey man, no problem! Let me know how you like it once you have a chance to shoot it.

  6. Mick May 14, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    This was a great comparison and I think it has helped me make up my mind – the Nano. Let me tell you why and get your thoughts. I’m a southpaw… the only thing stopping me from getting the Shield is the right-hand frame mounted safety – especially considering it has a fairly light trigger. I don’t think you talked about the fact 2 do not have physical safeties other than the Nano’s glock-like trigger safety? But, do you think if you were a lefty like some of us – it would change your mind? Also, the Nano’s magazine release can be changed from one side to the other for us right-side thinkers. BTW, I have a Kel-Tec PF-9 that shoots fine… but I just think the overall build quality of the Beretta can’t be overlooked. Thanks again for a well thought out comparison and any other comments.

    • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

      If I were left handed, I would probably buy the Nano, but for a slightly different reason. I don’t care about the slide catch/release or the safety (I don’t use either), but the mag release might be a big deal. Although, I’m sitting here trying it, and I can actuate the mag release without too much effort, so now I don’t know.

      Bottom line is the Nano is a great gun too. Thanks for reading!

      • James August 5, 2013 at 1:07 am #

        Excellent review Brandon, thanks! I’ve been going back and forth between these four guns (including both the CM9 and PM9), and WAS leaning towards the Nano but, because of you, I’m reconsidering (again!). Thing is, I AM left-handed, and was leaning towards the Nano (and the Kahrs) for another reason: What I’m looking for is a concealable self-defense gun and, while I understand that the accidental engagement of the safety is highly unlikely, with it being on the “wrong” side, if it DID happen and a stressful situation occurred – that would probably not result in a very pleasant situation.

  7. Dean May 14, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    I would have spent the extra 44 for an extra Kahr mag, especially since you can have a larger 8-round back-up for that price, and the overall price would still keep it within the price range of the other two. Unless you really want something strictly out of the box.

    Good review overall, the only thing I’d ask for is which pistol you shot the best with, the Accuracy part you mentioned in wrapping up.

    • Brandon May 14, 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback Dean. I shot the best with the Shield. If I slow way down and stage the trigger properly (on the Nano and CM9), all 3 are very accurate. But I can shoot better faster with the Shield (Shootability) and I’m more accurate with the Shield.

  8. Kirk May 15, 2012 at 7:59 pm #

    Thanks for a great review. Looks like I will be owning a shield soon.

    • Brandon May 15, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

      Thanks Kirk!

  9. Joe May 17, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    I love the subjective scoring systems of these reviews. I can’t really tell you which one of these guns I’d rather have, because I would choose the Glock 26. The Glock is proven, holds 10 rounds, built to military specs and I would trust my life to it. The Nano looks interesting and so does the shield, but both are too new to judge.

    • Jordan November 17, 2013 at 4:40 am #

      hahah you don’t too often hear people praising military specs lol

  10. Nelson May 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    I have a CM9 and I like how it shoots for such a small gun. Passed on the LC9 and LCP because of the trigger. Now I’m thinking I might try a Shield but would like it in 40 S&W any thoughts or experience with the 40?

    • Brandon May 23, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

      Unfortunately no experience with the 40. I actually haven’t seen one yet, and last I heard, they weren’t shipping yet. Looking forward to trying one, and if you find one let me know!

    • Brian August 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

      I know that you posted this a billion years ago, but nobody seemed to jump on it, so here goes. I have a Shield in .40. It goes with me absolutely everywhere. It should have been named the S&W Blankie, because I spend as much time with it as I did with my blankie when I was 4. Or maybe the noisy cricket. That seems appropriate. I digress.

      The .40 is, for lack of a better term, sharp. Everyone I have given it to on the range has said the same thing right out of the gate: “Whoa.” It’s a little tough to shoot until you get used to it, and good body mechanics are a must. I really thought I had made a mistake after the first range day. A few months have gone by now; I have been practicing my fundamentals, and my proficiency with the Shield is really getting there. I’m now confident with rapid-fire up to 30 yards. No great feat with some firearms, but it’s only a 3 inch barrel. In short, the Shield has made me a better shooter.

      If you have weaker wrists and/or hands, get the 9mm. I don’t have that problem, I was just comfortable with easier to shoot, heavier frame guns and had gotten lazy.

      I wouldn’t trade my noisy cricket for anything.

  11. Christopher May 25, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Great review, thanks. Made me consider the CM9 and Shield both of which i’ve ignored in my search for a sub compaact 9mm. I’ve held the Nano and the first time was not impressed. It felt overly top heavy, almost clumsily so. Though I tried it again a few days later and it felt less so. I found myself missing that slide release. It is just so engrained in us to reach that thumb up. I agree about the sub frame and the future possibility of a .40 cal S&W kit. Really cool idea if they live up to the possibilities. I would like to hear your take on the Sig P290 and the Walther PPS which both also play in this field. I found the Sig to be very cheap feeling, very not Sig like and with an extremely lousy weight distribution. The Walther while bigger than the others on paper doesn’t feel like it to me in the hand. With swappable backstraps, excelent sights, and with 3 different magazine sizes to choose from I found it to be a great choice. Though you are back to an ackward movement in the magazine release being on the trigger guard. Thanks for your time and getting me to consider some other players.

    • Brandon May 25, 2012 at 10:43 pm #

      Honestly I would recommend the Shield. It’s small, but shoots like a bigger gun. The PPS is a good gun too, but I prefer the Shield’s trigger and ergos. If the PPS was a single stack version of the PPQ, then that might be a different story! SIG P290 didn’t really interest me ergonomically when I handled it, so I passed. Agreed on the weight distribution.

      At the end of the day, there are a bunch of good guns to choose from, so pick the one that feels the best to you. Make sure you dry fire them. Trigger pull is a big difference maker for me, especially in these small pistols that are already inherently harder to shoot b/c of their size.

  12. Ken M. June 1, 2012 at 1:59 am #

    Thanks for a very respectable review ! Your areas of focus for the concealed carry situations were very thorough. Weighting of qualities were well thought out. If I were doing reviews, I think I would fault towards more criterion, making the review cumbersome and confusion. You did it just right.
    I hope to see more of your reviews in the future.

    • Brandon June 1, 2012 at 7:52 am #

      Thanks Ken!

  13. Robert Hathaway June 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    Having never handled any of them. How would you say they compare with the Glock 26?

    • Brandon June 14, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      The G26 is a great gun, but has an altogether different feel being a double stack. Looking at the numbers alone you might think there isn’t much difference in width, but there is, especially the way they feel in your hand.

      If you have a G26 and like it, and don’t want something thinner that’s easier to conceal, then I would say stick with your G26. But if you’re looking for something thinner, give these three a look. My guess is you’ll like the Shield the best.

      • Robert Hathaway June 15, 2012 at 7:55 am #

        No Glock here. I was just curious how it stacked up(no pun intended!). I’m just waiting on Springfield to release something in this form factor. If I were to pick up one of these. It would definitely be the S&W.

        • Brandon June 15, 2012 at 7:57 am #

          Springfield has the XDs, but so far I’ve only seen it in 45 ACP. Should be interesting to see how the XDs compares to the Shield when Springfield’s releases the other calibers.

  14. Barry June 19, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    I own the nano and love it. Best features are the smooth surface and snagless construction, plus it’s take down it far superior to any other double action pistol I have ever shot. No take down pins or levers just turn the take down pin 1/4 turn counter clockwise and bingo it’s done. The sights are excellend and adjustable and upgradable. Beretta says they will be offering an extended magazine this year which will be greatly appreciated. It is well made and tight and the only think I wish it had is the ability to lock the slide back with or without the magazine installed, but you can’t have it all. I like the lifetime warranty S&W has, but the nano should last a lifetime with no need for any major repairs. I also wish Beretta’s trigger was as good as the Shields. Hopefully, that will be a future option that can be improved in the future, but the trigger as is, is really smooth and clean, but a bit long.

    • Brandon June 19, 2012 at 9:57 pm #

      Thanks for the feedback Barry!

  15. Joe June 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    I don’t own any of them yet, but, have become interested. With that said, I really like the way you broke down your scoring and what-not. Thus far, I find the Nano to be the most aesthetically pleasing. I guess it’s time to head to the gun shop and get some hands-on, huh? Well done, Brandon. I’m gonna bookmark you!

    • Brandon June 30, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

      Thanks Joe!

  16. Michael July 6, 2012 at 5:51 am #

    I appreciate the areas you look at when testing and reviewing. I too am concerned with trigger pull, travel, break and reset and that is why I chose CM9 which has been flawless and the sweetest trigger. I am waiting for the Shield to be released in .40 and I do intend to purchase one. I assume the recoil will be VERY snappy, compared with the 9mm, considering the light weight. It would be great if you were able to acquire one and report your findings in the areas mentioned. I have a holster picked out, thanks to your recommendations..

  17. Aryanliving July 10, 2012 at 9:01 am #

    All the guns reported on are great guns. Of the 3,I’d have to pick the Kahr or it’s less exspencive sister CW9. Either way Kahr! and I’m not a kahr crazy! I just don’t like the nano, I do how ever love shooting M&Ps when ever I can, their draw back (for me) is you need a tool to field strip it, I hate that! Alot!
    But great reviews love the site!

    • Stephen May 14, 2013 at 11:28 am #

      You only need a tool if you don’t want to dry fire to release the slide. Plus the it comes with one for the backtrap release tool.

  18. Seth August 7, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    Even though the khar came in last, is it still a great gun?

    • Brandon August 7, 2012 at 11:04 am #

      Yeah man, it really is. I carried the Kahr CM9 for a year and never had a problem with it. You can read my review of the CM9 here.

  19. Lynda August 12, 2012 at 2:17 pm #

    Thanks for a great review. I am trying to decide between a Nano, and a Shield, and have read (and watched) several reviews. I was all set to order a Shield when my friend, who is a police officer told me he had had and witnessed several problems with S&W and didn’t trust their semi-auto pistols. He suggested the Nano or the Diamondback DB9 (which I also researched and determined the recoil might be a little too snappy). I currently own a Sig P250 compact and like the long trigger pull just fine, but it is a little too big to carry (so I don’t), and that is the problem. I plan to use a Remora holster in the waistband and the thigh holster for when I wear skirts. Please let me know your thoughts. Thank you so much and God bless you.

    • Brandon August 12, 2012 at 3:01 pm #

      Hi Lynda – you can’t go wrong with either gun. I prefer the Shield over the Nano though. I suggest holding them both, dry firing, and if possible, renting to shoot. That will be a tall order though, as almost no one has the Shield in stock. I did have a problem with my Shield, but other than that it’s been 100%.

      I own 3 Smith & Wesson pistols, and they have been fantastic. If you have any doubt whether Smith & Wesson autos are any good, check out the endurance test ToddG did. 62,333 rounds, 2 failures. That’s ridiculously reliable.

      Good luck!

    • Tapmot October 5, 2012 at 10:42 am #

      I have a Colt 380 Gov. sized like the Sig. Nice carry for me but .380. I purchased a S&W Shield in .40 S&W and my banged up hands are fine with it.
      First shot was a bullseye. I can live with 7 40’s as I don’t expect to get into a firefight and the back up 6 is fine. I use a Remora for IWB and I stay away from skirts. The Nano was sliperly for me, and I tried a SOLO, the slide was to dificult to pull back for my damaged hands. And the Shield is easy to carry IWB and hides well.

      • Brandon October 5, 2012 at 10:46 am #

        Thanks for the feedback.

  20. kabonka99 August 24, 2012 at 6:28 am #

    Hi Brandon,

    Thanks for the information. This really makes my day, as I just put a deposit for my S&W 9mm Shield yesterday. Hope to see it begining of October.
    was interested to hear what type of holister you would recommend for CCW.

    Keep up the great work.


    • Brandon August 24, 2012 at 6:49 am #

      I carry mine AIWB in a PHLster Skeleton. Thanks!

      • kabonka99 August 24, 2012 at 6:57 am #

        Hey Thanks,

        Again new to all this lingo, what is : AIWB, and who makes the PHLster Skeleton holister?

  21. Aaron August 24, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Well, after shooting the shield I am starting to see lots of feed problems from the magazine. Rounds are not chambering correctly, but it’s got nothing to do with the gun, it all looks magazine related. Any ideas about how to fix?

    • Brandon August 24, 2012 at 10:28 am #

      Could be the magazine spring. Both mags or just one of them? If it’s just one mag, try disassembling the mag and checking it out. Spring could be out of spec or something.

      If it’s both mags…that would seem less likely to be a mag problem. Keep us posted!

      • Aaron August 24, 2012 at 10:30 am #

        Will Smith replace a magazine spring?

        • Brandon August 24, 2012 at 10:31 am #

          You know, I have no idea. I would guess yes, but contact them and find out (I would call them).

    • Tapmot October 5, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      Aaron, are you slapping the magazine on your hand “Primer side” as this just may solve your problems. Years ago I had a 1911 that was a problem and and old Sargent showed me how to fix the problem. Now I set any and all magazines this way before putting them in the gun.
      The old guy was right in this case.

  22. Tricia August 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm #

    Great review! Thank you!

  23. Jon September 16, 2012 at 12:03 am #

    I own the Nano,Walther PPS and now the M&P shield. I didn’t get the CM9, as dry firing produced the exact trigger as the Nano. Surprisingly I shoot better with the Walther PPS. It may have to do something with the grip of the handle is better in my hand.
    I have ordered talen grips for the M&P shield, is the handle is just too small for my big hands. Next I like the nano. Problem is with the nano I’ve had some extraction issues, and if you were in combat mode with this you’d be dead, as it has no slide lock to remove the extraction. The trigger pull causes need to be somewhat inaccurate with the nano, otherwise I love the size of a gun.
    So far Walter PPS is the best of my choice. The trigger is not quite as nice, but I sure am accurate with this gun.
    I recently bought a Glock 26 guess what it easily surpasses all of these guns and accuracy, and perhaps reliability. It’s funny I hate the blocky body of it and yet it fits so well in my hand and the trigger is so smooth it all comes together very well shooting.
    If it comes down to my life I would bet on the Glock!
    Oh and for those interested I also tried the sig Sauer P938, very Nice trigger, I was very accurate. Again I had some feeding issues with it. Also the trigger tore up my finger. Had to send it back to Sig for jams.
    Glock or PPS, you can’t go wrong.

  24. BrewNinja September 27, 2012 at 9:17 am #

    I own a CM9 as a summer carry gun when the g30 is just too big and heavy. I chose it mostly for its legendary reliability. Its been pretty awesome so far and a great little gun. I think the firepower category is kind of a waste. I carry it with the Kahr 7+1 mag instead of the 6 round it came with. Biggest reason was it allows the pinky to get contact. However the gun was designed to be a very small form factor, a true pocket gun. So you cant really give it less points for it being what it was intended to be. If you want more rounds, they tell you right in the manual to buy the larger mag. Some people will, and some people wont want that. It all depends on how you want to carry it. To me the fact that the shield doesnt get that small is a negative. But really it comes down to how you are carrying it. You probably should have marked down the shield more than you did in the concealability category, its quite a bit bigger than the CM9 when compared side to side, and thats why I went with the CM9.

    • Brandon September 27, 2012 at 9:30 am #

      Thanks for the feedback, I agree the CM9 is a great gun.

    • Bob May 13, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

      Great reply – and I agree on conceal-ability scoring, especially since that seems to be the main focus here; Well, that, and the only reason I want a gun this small is to be able to pocket-carry. Sounds like ANY of these three will be a great choice – just pick which one fits your preferences the most.

      The sleek, pocketable Nano sounds like what I need (small, pocket-sized for summer). Then again, maybe I should just get the M&P as an always-carry gun and skip the summer-only pocket carry idea…

  25. Dale October 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm #

    I just bought the Shield, Really like the way it feels, But my favorite to carry is my Micro Desert Eagle 380, less fire power, but feels really good in my back pocket

    • Brandon October 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm #

      Cool been wanting to try one of those.

  26. Steve February 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    great review,I would have to ask again about being a lefty.I really like the shield,do you know if the magizine release can be switched to right side of the grip thanks Steve

    • Brandon February 4, 2013 at 2:20 pm #

      No it cannot.

  27. Richard April 2, 2013 at 1:20 pm #

    I’ve read this review multiple times now and use it a measuring stick b/w these three guns. In my mind you included the best 3 guns for pocket carry/deep concealment. I currently EDC an M&P Compact so I think I’m strongly leaning towards the Shield being my next pistol purchase. That said, my first carry gun every was a Kahr CW9. That gun has actually been the most reliable pistol I’ve owned to date (I’ve owned XDm’s, XDs, Gen3 Glocks, and M&P’s). It literally had ZERO malfunctions and I tried to make it malfunction (low tang grip, steel cased ammo, reloads, letting my wife shoot it as a newbie, etc). Needless to say Kahr has always had a special place in my heart as a result. My best friend EDC’s the Nano. I actually tried to talk him out of buying that gun but quickly ate my words the first time I shot it. I can’t name a thing wrong with that gun although my preference is to always use the slide release on reloads, but that’s just a preference. Thanks again for a efficient yet comprehensive review of 3 great guns.

  28. Sam May 17, 2013 at 6:59 pm #

    Wow, great one. Funny I went to local gs today and had the shield, nano and pps out trying to decide. Shield had best trigger, pps did not feel right it was between nano an shield I brought home shield. I live in FL an only wear cargo shorts most of the time fits in pocket great.

  29. Matt July 7, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

    I own the Nano and it’s a great gun. Very reliable and I’ve seen that it’s very accurate, it’s just that I am not that accurate with it. I think it has to do with the long trigger pull. The trigger feels good, it’s just really long. I have to concentrate on my trigger pull to get any accuracy out of it, which isn’t ideal on a concealed carry gun. I am very accurate with the Glock 26, but it is a bit bigger than I would like for a CCW. I may try the S&W Shield, if I can get the opportunity to shoot one without buying it. As it is, I will keep practicing with my Nano.

    • Mick July 8, 2013 at 9:32 am #

      Use snap caps to see what’s happening to your POA during the trigger pull. I did that and found I was pulling it. It is amazing how much using snap caps helped me develop better trigger control with my Nano. After doing that, I now consider my Nano one of my more accurate pistols.

      • Matt July 9, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

        Thanks, I will have to try that.

  30. edm66 August 7, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

    What would gun you pick if it was ONLY for pocket carry. ( can include other guns not in this review).

    • Brandon August 7, 2013 at 8:27 pm #

      I suggest taking a look at the Kahr CM9 or PM9. I carried the CM9 in the front pocket of my cargo shorts quite a bit when I lived in Houston.

  31. James August 8, 2013 at 3:16 am #

    This is really quite a maze sifting through all this information towards making a decision. Seems that with just about every gun out there, there’s a group that loves it, and then there’s the haters.

    Since my earlier days of finding the perfect carry gun, I’ve collected a Walther PPK/S (the first one had feed problems, it’s replacement has been flawless) but a .380 is really pushing the envelope for being powerful enough for an effective self-defense weapon, and the safety’s on the wrong side for me – I’m a southpaw. Yeah, I know, it’s safe to leave it off – but I’d always worry about it accidently getting switched on. Love the gun though, and I think it’s the perfect concealed carry size.

    While I was at the gun shop shipping the first Walther back to Interarms to address the feed problems, I had become pretty conflicted about semis and I told him I read that one can still find decent used Colt .38 Specials and did he have any? He said, “Funny you should ask, I was cleaning out the back room and found a brand new one, never fired.” So I bought it. Nice gun, but not the easiest for concealed carry.

    I’ve also got a Seecamp .32 – Tiny, but same problem with the .380, it’s just not powerful enough.

    I like the Shield, but there’s the Safety on the wrong side issue again.

    So, I guess it’s down to between the Kahr PM9/CM9, or the Nano. Leaning towards the Kahr, as it’s just about the exact same size as my PPK/S, only in a 9mm.

  32. Dave Nowlin September 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    I am pocket carrying a shield right now so you obviously don’t know what you are talking about. I’m not really all that big. I’m 5′ 9″ and weigh 180#.

    • Brandon September 21, 2013 at 10:26 pm #

      Dave, thanks for taking time out of your evening to be a dick.

    • Jake September 23, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Hey Dave, do everyone a favor and take your libtard bullshit somewhere else. Did it ever occur to you that maybe, just maybe, what works for one person MAY NOT work for everyone?

  33. Jordan November 17, 2013 at 4:53 am #

    Man i am really torn between the LC9 and the Shield in 9mm. Its nothing against the CM9 or the nano but im just a little picky about getting all my fingers on the grip. I was reading all the forum comments and apparently the LC9 has a trigger pull that is not as ‘shootable’ as the shield. I am also looking for something that is more intuitive in an ecqc situation. I mean… its kind of like splitting hairs not much is more intuitive than a trigger depression. But i am also looking at purchasing a firearm for a female friend of mine who just recently had a kid and is procrastinating getting her first carry. Any advice on the LC9 vs Shield?

  34. Jack November 21, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    I also agree. I currently have a Beretta Nano and what you rated it would have been the exact same from me. I found a good deal on a Shield so I might be pulling the trigger on that and selling my Nano. Thanks for the comparison.

  35. Chris December 29, 2013 at 1:08 pm #

    I am considering this weapon for my wife and would love to hear from the gals in the house. She has held the Nano, MP9, and LC9. She has sho he SD9 but it is a little big for her hands.

  36. cap n lou January 14, 2014 at 4:18 pm #

    db 9

  37. Nathan February 24, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    I have a Nano but mine came with 1 six round mag and 1 seven round mag. The only things I don’t like about it are the long trigger pull, it does take some getting use to. Especially when your use to the trigger on an S&W M&P 9c. The other thing is the weight. It’s a little heavy for a gun it’s size. Thanks for the write up!

  38. lee August 1, 2014 at 12:39 pm #

    Thanks for the thorough review. I know it was quite awhile a go but it was the only one I have seen comparing these 3. It was very useful as I was comparing a shield, a cw9, a Nanon and an lc9.

  39. Joe November 13, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Finally took delivery last May of the long-promised California Compliant M&P Shield 9mm. What a wonderful gun! It has become my EDC, and I’ve actually grown fond of the red-sided “shark-fin” tactile loaded chamber indicator that was required by The People’s Republic of California in order for the gun to be sold in California. It shoots extremely well, and carries invisibly on my 6’4′ frame. Smith and Wesson has hit a home run with this gun!

  40. Fred Bar December 5, 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    Of course a larger, well made gun will shoot better than it’s smaller counterparts. So, by the same token, the Shield should be compared with larger subcompacts like the CZ2075 RAMI and the Springfield SD9 sc…..(making the Shield the smallest one). I need a better shooting replacement no larger in length than my P11 (which is reliable, BTW) so the Shield is out of the running.

    • Fred Bar December 5, 2014 at 3:34 pm #

      1) Price is not in the scoring….it should be. Maybe even consider street pricing. Otherwise there should be other more expensive guns in the running as well.
      2) Firepower: Should be only limited to how much the standard mag can handle. Not if it comes with 2 mags, that part should go in the Bonus section. Also if you need to buy another mag, that could be taken into consideration as a negative in the Price category left out above.
      3) Ergonomics: Yes, it varies mostly by hand size (width, finger length, hand length, etc), so maybe people of other hand sizes should shoot with them as well and maybe you can point out which hand size seems to fit which gun the best.
      4) Bonus: Should be limited to what comes with the gun, not only in hardware but also in warranty, servicing, turnaround time, etc.

  41. Rey February 1, 2015 at 10:03 pm #

    I like reviews like these that helps me decide on what to get. It’s true that all of the guns reviewed are all capable. A first I was almost certain I was going to get a CM/PM9, then I looked at the Shield and after a long and exhaustive research and looking at reviews, I decided to look at other guns on the market. I find the Shield to be a tiny bit smaller than a Glock 26 but less capacity. Then I looked at the Nano and found a cheaper priced one at CDNN. With the size, capacity, reliability after the FTE issues are ironed out, excellent concealability I pick Nano.