Smith & Wesson M&P-9 Shield – Range Report – New Gun Review

by Duane A. Daiker on February 24, 2013

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Smith &Wesson M&P9

The Shield closely resembles a scaled-down M&P pistol with the same external controls and the same manual of arms.

By Duane A. Daiker

Smith & Wesson
www.smith-wesson.com

Smith & Wesson’s 2012 arrival to the micro-sized 9 mm-pistol market was fashionably late, about a year after just about every pistol company in the gun industry put out a pocketable 9mm. But while most of the competitors pared down their 9mm pocket gun, Smith & Wesson managed to keep most of the features of the full sized M&P, and this proved to be an instant hit with the army of M&P enthusiasts out there. It made perfect sense to retain as much of the M&P design as a micro-sized pistol would permit, but that took more time, and it was a tough judgement call for Smith & Wesson to debut the Shield at SHOT Show 2012 instead of 2011 when so many pocket 9mm pistols were released. A year even later now, just coming out of SHOT Show 2013, it seems to have paid off for Smith & Wesson. The Shield has been for the most part sold out since its introduction a year ago, and now with some serious range time on the guns, the Shield has shown to be very accurate and reliable. It is also one of the few striker pistols on the market with a manual thumb safety, which almost puts the gun in a category by itself.

Smith & Wesson M&P9

The M&P9 Shield’s accuracy and reliability is exceptional, especially for a micro-sized 9 mm pistol.

Small Gun, Big Features

The M&P9 Shield is a single-stack pistol that weighs about 19 ounces empty, and 24 ounces fully loaded with 7+1 rounds. It has a 3.1-inch barrel with five-groove rifling and a 1-in-18.75-inch rate of twist. The test pistol was chambered in 9 mm, although a .40 S&W model is also available.

It has roughly the same dimensions as the Ruger LC9 or the Kel-Tec PF-9, about 6 inches long and 4.5 inches high. This is larger than most .380 ACP pistols, but still small for a handgun in a serious self-defense caliber. Put simply, the Shield is not quite small enough to be a true pocket gun for most people, but it is well suited for deep concealment just about anywhere else.

Desantis Nemesis, Smith & Wesson M&P9

The DeSantis Nemesis was used to test the M&P9 for pocket carry. Although this gun might be too large for most to carry in this manner, the affordable pocket holster has features that made it ideal for testing, including its anti-print panel for discrete carry.

This little M&P pistol is a striker-fired double-action like its full-size counterparts. Despite its shrunken state, the Shield retains all the standard pistol controls. Unlike the full-size M&P, however, the magazine release is not reversible and the thumb safety is not ambidextrous. The external levers are flattened and reduced in size to keep the gun thin and streamlined. In fact, the Shield is very slim, measuring slightly less than 1 inch wide.

Interestingly, Smith & Wesson opted to equip all the Shield pistols with a manual thumb safety. The larger M&P pistols have an optional ambidextrous thumb safety, but the vast majority are sold without safety levers.

There is some debate about the wisdom of manual safeties on striker-fired self-defense pistols like this one. With a 7-pound trigger pull and a trigger safety, the Shield probably doesn’t need an additional manual safety. You could just not use the safety lever at all, but that leads to concerns that it could accidentally be activated. The thumb safety is the one feature the Shield could probably do without.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield

The extended magazine adds significant useful length to the Shield’s grip and one extra round for a total capacity of 8+1.

Smith & Wesson wisely opted to stick with high-end materials for the Shield, with a stainless steel slide and barrel finished in black Melonite for maximum corrosion resistance. Even the three-white-dot fixed sights are crafted from stainless steel, not polymer like some of the Shield’s competitors.

Each pistol is shipped with two magazines. One is a flush-fit, seven-round magazine, and the other is an extended eight-round magazine. The shorter version works very well for concealment, but the eight-round magazine provides just enough extra grip length for most shooters to really wrap their hands around the pistol. Getting two magazines with the purchase of the gun is a nice touch. The smaller magazine is great for carry, with the extended magazine hidden somewhere for a reload, if necessary.

DeSantis Cozy Partner, M&P9

The DeSantis Cozy Partner is easily concealed under just about any cover garment, and in testing with the M&P9 it made a good combination.

Disassembly of the Shield is easy, and follows the same procedure as the full-size guns. Smith & Wesson’s takedown procedure requires manipulation of a sear-release lever in the mag well prior to rotating the takedown lever and removing the slide. No tools are required. While it involves an extra step when compared to most polymer pistols, it would be almost impossible to accidentally disassemble a loaded pistol, so the safety factor is improved.

Carrying the Shield

Although somewhat large for pocket carry, there are those who will be comfortable in doing so. During the course of testing, a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster worked fine when the right attire was selected. Smaller people, however, may have problems stuffing the Shield into a typical front pants pocket.

Most people will prefer some type of belt carry for the Shield. The small size of the pistol makes belt carry as easy as it gets. It was tested outside the waistband in a Galco Stinger belt holster, and inside the waistband in a DeSantis Cozy Partner holster. Supporting the diminutive Shield isn’t much of a challenge for either rig, and both worked exceptionally well for concealed carry. However, there is no shortage of excellent holsters for this popular pistol.

Smith & Wesson M&P9

All the external levers are minimized and flattened to aid in deep concealment and to minimize the chances of getting hung up during presentation.

The real test of a small pistol, of course, is at the range. Micro-sized guns are often difficult to handle, but the Shield’s performance defies its small size. Excellent ergonomics make this pistol very comfortable to shoot, even with hot defensive loads. The Shield has noticeable muzzle flip while shooting hot 9 mm self-defense ammo, but the perceived recoil is very mild. It was actually pleasant to shoot.

The accuracy of the Shield was even more impressive. At 7 to 10 yards, The X-ring of a standard NRA pistol target was drilled at will. Part of this accuracy can largely be attributed to the excellent trigger. While it is relatively heavy, the length of pull with resistance is quite short. Once you get past the initial take-up, the remaining trigger pull has a definite “glass rod” break, which most shooters prefer. The feel is a bit unusual, and it takes some familiarization, but it definitely contributes to the pistol’s excellent practical accuracy.

There were no problems with the Shield in the course of testing. The gun digested several hundred rounds of assorted brands of premium ammunition without a single stoppage. Only time will tell, but this pistol’s well established design and strong family history bodes well for its long-term performance.

Big Future

Smith & Wesson M&P9

The Shield’s excellent ergonomics, retained from the larger M&P pistol line, make this gun comfortable and pleasant to shoot, even with hot defensive loads.

The Shield rounds out the M&P line with a true micro-sized 9 mm that shares the same look, feel and manual of arms as the full-size pistols. The availability of the Shield may actually help sell full-size M&P pistols by “closing the gap” on a well-rounded pistol platform that now has full-size, sub-compact and micro-sized options.

Even if you don’t love the entire line of M&P pistols, the Shield promises to be a great gun on its own merits. Smith & Wesson is offering a high-quality single-stack 9 mm that performs as well or better than any pistol in its class for an MSRP of only $449. Street prices will be somewhat lower, and that translates to a real bargain for concealed carry. Of course, the company stands behind every pistol with its lifetime repair policy and its famed customer service.

The Shield is an excellent pistol, with the kind of performance that promises to make it a long-term success for Smith & Wesson. However, we’re hoping the company decides to offer a version without the thumb safety. The safety could certainly be ignored, but if the manual safety simply wasn’t there it would be the unqualified micro-sized 9 mm choice for many who carry.

 

{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

rover February 25, 2013 at 6:21 am

very good revieu but would like to know the weight of gun empty and with full load
thank you

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Pete February 25, 2013 at 7:30 am

Reread the article. You missed the information you’re asking for.

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Bjay February 25, 2013 at 7:56 am

24OZ fully loaded

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Guy Sagi February 25, 2013 at 7:24 am

19 ounces unloaded and we’re checking to see what it tips the scales at fully loaded!

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john oneil March 2, 2013 at 3:42 pm

Wow, I feel very fortunate. I paid a deposit on my Shield 9mm at a gun store while visiting my daughter/S-I-L in Charlotte early last summer. Four weeks later it was shipped to my local gun store. My S-I-L recently paid a deposit at the same store for the Shield .40cal. A short few weeks later it was there for pick up. $449 each. I don’t know why so many others are having such a problem.

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Bill February 25, 2013 at 7:34 am

These things are like unicorns, I’ve heard they exist but have only seem them in pictures. If i ever do
do come across some, I’ll take two.

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Richard Hutchings February 25, 2013 at 7:52 am

The review is all well and good, and I have been waiting to get my hands on one, but it seems that the company under estimated the popularity. There is not a Shield in 9mm to be had. When are we going to see them? I want one, and have just about run out of patience waiting. I am about to get a competitor is S&W doesn’t hurry up and get some built and in the market place.

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Administrator February 25, 2013 at 8:02 am

No they said right up front that they would be sold out for a year and hard to get. They aren’t buying containers from China. Smith & Wesson actually makes all the guns they sell in Springfield Massachusetts.

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Charles February 26, 2013 at 10:10 am

Smith and Wesson is under a new parent company now and they addressed that issue when it changed hands. I am a Smith revolver fan and was disgusted when they sold out. I was glad to see them change hands and attitudes.

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William February 25, 2013 at 8:30 am

Basically it is a Glock 9mm subcompact. Glock is a tried and true weapon that will function as good or better. Remember S&W went along will slick Willie Clinton and his gun ban in the nineties. They’ll most likely sell out again with Obama. That’s why I will not buy another S&W.

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John February 25, 2013 at 9:02 am

I disagree. The Glock subs are bulky and not very comfortable to carry. This slimline Shield is the real ticket, its light and IMHO shoots better than the Glock 26. I own both M&P and Glock pistols and have started leaning towards the M&P line a little more.

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Duane Daiker February 25, 2013 at 9:24 am

William,

S&W changed ownership in 2001 and renounced the agreement signed with the Clinton administration the prior year. S&W is a great company with great people who believe in the Second Amendment.

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Travis May 17, 2013 at 11:08 pm

That’s your right to not buy, my right to disagree and buy…..and buy American, although I wish they would move production out of the liberal northeast.

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Travis May 17, 2013 at 11:09 pm

That’s your right to not buy, my right to disagree and buy…..and buy American, although I wish they would move production out of the liberal northeast.

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JasonWorlthing February 25, 2013 at 9:40 am

I dunno.. it’s a fine pistol but that grip flirts with being too skinny and rounded at the ends that make it not the most ready handle to get the best perch onto. Tho admittedly costs $100+ more than the Shield there is the Walther PPS that I seem to hold onto and shoot better; diifferent triggers also but that doesnt seem to affect its utility and accuracy in the negative either.

By all reports anywhere I suppose the Shield is a splendid tool and nicely priced if you can find one, I finally got mine (end of Jan 2013) after being on a waiting list since late April 2012.

I suppose somewhere in there a more squared off grip works in my favor, I also have a 100% working Sig P938 that I shoot dead on also.

Still working on my accuracy, groups and followups with my Shield, but admittedly only have a little over 150 rounds thru it…need to find some more of that “unobtanium” called ‘available 9mm target ammo’ that once upon a time used to be as abundant as the buffalo but now is as scarce as the unicorm to work on it some more.

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Chris February 25, 2013 at 7:57 am

Street price is not lower than MSRP, please update the review.

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Administrator February 25, 2013 at 8:01 am

It depends if you go into your local gun dealer, as we always suggest. Most of the stocking gun dealers have not risen prices. They refuse to abuse their local customers.

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Jeremy February 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

I wish. No one has them in stock, nor can any local dealers even find them. I was just at the famed Don’s Guns YESTERDAY and told I would be waiting a solid 2 years to get one from S&W. If you look on gunsamerica or gunbroker, those in auction sit at a very comfortable 600/e. If you know dealers who have them at or under MSRP, please start posting links!!! I guarantee they would be sold out in a matter of hours.

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lt in houston May 18, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Jim Pruett Guns and Ammo in Houston always seems to have a few in stock.

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Eddy November 12, 2013 at 11:35 am

I bought mine for 389.00 about 6 month ago. Actually is my wife, she loves it

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Greg February 25, 2013 at 8:46 am

I have one in .40, it’s a great shooter from the holster and rapid fire on the tombstone target. Pretty easy to shoot 2-3 inch groups out to 25 yards. Not what I expected from a short barreled CCW. So far, it’s digested anything I’ve feed it, and the recoil control is decent with the extended 7 seven round magazine for leverage. Not much difference with the 6 round, but I can’t get the same follow-ups. Will add a set of night sights when available, then I’ll shoot til it wears out…

I’m fortunate, most of our local dealers in NOVA are not jacking prices on popular guns, but they don’t stay on the shelf either.

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Bill roe February 25, 2013 at 8:52 am

Where can it be bought? None out ther!

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Bill roe February 25, 2013 at 8:54 am

Where can one be bought? Hard to find!

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Whit H February 25, 2013 at 9:00 am

Please note:
I believe Smith & Wesson is under completely different ownership and leadership than when “Slick Willy” was in office.
They certainly build better guns than they did then, and everything I have read and heard is that their philosophy is much
more in tune with it’s customers.

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Charles February 26, 2013 at 10:21 am

They are under new ownership. They have always built excellent revolvers and steel/aluminum autos.

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Gary February 25, 2013 at 9:08 am

I was lucky enough to buy a shield early on and have been using it as my primary carry gun ever since. I did change the sights to a pair of HIVIZ and I could not be happier. Way to go Smith & Wesson.

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Sky Buster February 25, 2013 at 9:14 am

I don’t agree on removing the thumb safety. I bought the Shield because it had
a safety. I don’t feel comfortable carrying “cocked & locked” or carry a Glock with
no way to make it safe.

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Jeremy February 25, 2013 at 12:06 pm

I agree. I’m a rifle and shotgun person myself, but am in the market for a compact for carry. A few hours on the web brought me to the Shield and I fell in love with it. I had already planned on purchasing when I realized it did infact have a thumb safety, which only made me want it that much more!

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Michael February 25, 2013 at 5:58 pm

I have two full sized M&P 9mm, two .40s and could not get used to carrying them W/O a safty. I have been carrying for 45 years so I am no rookie. When the shield came out I bought a 9 follow by a .40 because of the thumb safty. With a hint of training it’s second nature for me to draw and release the safty in one motion. When S&W came out with the M&P full size .45 with a thumb safty I bought one and it replaced my 1911s as nightstand weapons.

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SylvesterGAConservative February 25, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I agree with “Sky Buster” in disagreeing with the author regarding the thumb safety. I would NEVER purchase a concealed carry weapon (or any other pistol, for that matter) that did not have a manual safety (preferably ambidextrous) mounted right where it belongs: ON THE FRAME, where God and John Browning intended it! That feature is precisely WHY I plan to order an M&P Compact in .357 Sig and .40 Short and Weak WITH the ambidextrous thumb safety and why I will probably purchase an M&P Shield in 9×19 and an S&W Bodyguard .380 at some point as well. I learned on the M1911A1 in Navy boot camp. My favorite pistols in my collection are those based on the 1911 design (my LAR Grizzly Win Mag Mark I and my custom Colts) as well as my DA/SA pistols based on the CZ75 (Sarsilmaz, Tanfoglio, and Bul). There is simply no sound reason why a good quality polymer pistol (hammer or striker fired) shouldn’t have a frame mounted safety as well.

Also, as far as I’m concerned there is no such thing as a “trigger safety.” Granted, one is not supposed to put one’s finger inside the trigger guard until one is ready to fire. However, the fact is that it DOES happen occasionally — even with experienced, supposedly professional shooters. Show me an experienced, professional shooter who claims that he or she has never experienced an “accidental discharge” and I’ll show you someone who is being “less than truthful.” If it happens one time too many while a Glock or something similar is being carried in the small of the back position, somebody’s gonna have a red, burning furrow across a butt cheek. Frankly, I despise those “spongy” Glockish triggers with that so-called “trigger safety” feature, anyway. They suck s$%t through a dirty sock in terms of the way they feel, and they’re an accident waiting to happen.

I ruled out the Glocks, ruled out the “Glocks with Grip Safeties” (Springfield XDs), and ruled out the Walther PPS too — all because of those crappy Glockish triggers. I still have a Taurus PT 24/7-OSS-DS45BN and I like the way it feels and shoots, but I would never buy a Taurus 24/7 G2 because they screwed up and went to that damnable Glockish trigger. Frankly, in full-sized and semi-compact polymer framed, hammer fired pistols, I like the FNX and Bul Cherokee pistols. As far as polymer framed, striker fired pistols go, though, the Smith & Wesson M&P line of pistols in my opinion are definitely superior to the Glocks, “Glocks with Grip Safeties,” Walther PPS, and other such pistols that have crappy triggers and that lack a proper frame mounted safety. To each his own, I suppose, but I’d NEVER recommend a pistol lacking a frame mounted safety to a novice.

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Jess February 26, 2013 at 12:46 pm

I agree.. I got mine because of the Safety, where most of the smaller guns didn’t offer it. I am short and the gun perfectly fits my hand. For a small gun the recoil is less than expected. i have a 38 special and the recoil is horrible.

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Skip February 25, 2013 at 9:30 am

I was able to acquire one last year. After 500 rounds I made to minor changes that dramatically improved the accuracy. The first was an apex trigger kit that reduced the trigger pull to a little over 4 pounds. The second was a set of truglo tfo sights from an m&pc. The gun now has a way better and smoother trigger plus the sight upgrade makes for quicker target acquisition

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Nick the Enforcer February 25, 2013 at 10:29 am

Where did you get the apex trigger kit? how much was it?
thx.

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Don February 25, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Here is the link to the duty kit. It has gone up since I installed mine in the 40 cal version (have both the 9 and 40) to $93.00. https://apextactical.com/store/product-info.php?pid65.html

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Tricky February 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm

If you alter the firearm mechanism with aftermarket trigger assemblies you should not use it for concealed carry. Any alteration from factory constitutes changing your legal firearm into a “deadly weapon.” If it is carried and used in self defense the gun and rounds are taken and tested. If any modification to the firearm, or if you’re not using factory “personal defense” rounds, you will likely find yourself in a lot of legal trouble. There are only a few legal defenses; used as home defense or traveling from a gun range. Ask a local CC school, your local law enforcement or read the federal firearms act.

Happy & Safe Shooting to All

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Nick the Enforcer March 3, 2013 at 12:05 am

Good Point. I’ve been told that before and as looney as that sounds to many of us I doubt it is untrue, knowing how ill-logical the gov’t is. Someone out there must know of a test case?…. Everyone I know has a modified CCP/home defense arm. So I guess a trigger-job, a mag-release button extension, or a ported barrel makes the gun uber-uber-deadly? Dead is dead in my books, good to keep in mind though.

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SheepDog March 9, 2013 at 11:38 pm

I’ve been all over the BATFE Regs and nowhere do I find that a trigger tune-up changes the classification of the pistol. I’m a gunsmith. Do you have a reference, Reg #, page, and paragraph? I’ve done several Police Officers and Highway Patrol Officers pistols, as well as my own. Our SDA regs have no mention of this. No I wouldn’t put a 1.5 to 2 lb trigger on a ccw, only my Gold Cup National Match. But a 4 lb trigger is both accurate and safe if you know what you’re doing. The guys with the Sig 226′s and 12 lb triggers have trouble qualifying. They really appreciate a 7.5 lb trigger. Most of their off duty pistols are Glocks, and they work well with a 4 lb t/p.

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Andy February 25, 2013 at 9:34 am

Great gun, I have shot a friend’s Shield many times and now want one. However, “want” and “can find” or at two opposite ends of the spectrum right now. I have the LC9 as my primary CCW but will be changing that as soon as I can find the Shield. My local dealers get one on a rare occasion and are still selling them for about $450 or less at a cash price and I will wait patiently…I refuse to pay what some individuals are trying to sell them for (ex. a guy on ArmsList has one for $700….really?). Good article!

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Patriot March 21, 2013 at 11:36 pm

I saw a Shield sell for $850 on a popular gun website. WTH?

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Ron November 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm

Just bough a .40 shield Friday night 11/22/13, paid 399.00 at the gun range

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Todd February 25, 2013 at 10:07 am

I have one in .40 , it is easy to conceal ( fits in my front pocket easily) and shoot . I’ve put about 120 rounds through it with Wichester white box and Hornady critical defense no problems , I even staggered the mags with a mix of the rounds worked perfectly. Trijicon needs to make some night sights for this !

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Nick the Enforcer February 25, 2013 at 10:28 am

You should note that even before the 2012 re-election of the POTUS and the sad events that triggered panic-buying of EVERYTHING firearms related this model was NOT available. I held one in Aug ’12 and after doing 3 days of research I returned to my FFL dealer and the two he had were already sold $389 each! He has not seen any more as all the other dealers I’ve called say the same thing “Maybe late 2013.” For that fact you will not even expect to get one for MSRP. I have seen reasonable auctions end for $550 to $650. Some are asking way more but for a gun you want and of high quality in uncertain political times that is not an unreasonable price. Taking a wait and see approach of just three days cost me $200 more but who knows what it will be at the end of 2013!

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William Douglas February 25, 2013 at 10:33 am

A few years ago, I discovered a small hairline crack in the frame of my ten year old S&W 637. I called the company and told them what I had found, and they asked me to return the gun to their factory for inspection. Within a couple days, I received a prepaid FedEx shipper from S&W, and I sent the gun off for inspection. The following week I received a call from S&W telling me they were very sorry but my gun couldn’t be repaired, so they were sending me a free replacement to the FFL of my choice. A couple days later when I picked up my new gun, I noticed that S&W had equipped it with Crimson Trace laser grips free of charge. Who does that? In my opinion, S&W does have the best customer service in the business, and since that time I have purchased two additional handguns and a M&P AR-15.

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John February 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

Maybe off the subject but I have to concur with your opinion of S&W’s customer service, they are top notch. At the same time I have to commend Sig Sauer. I sent Sig a 1911 on a Monday and had it back by the following Monday with the slide completely rebuilt. The days of buying from companies with the “put 500 rounds through it and call me in the morning” attitude are pretty much over for me.

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Michael February 25, 2013 at 5:31 pm

I fully agree with the insane 500 round rule. If it’s a quality pistol it should function perfedtly out of the box. S&W has wonderful cousmer service. My rule is if it malfunctions after the first two mags it goes back.

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Avalon February 25, 2013 at 10:35 am

Good for you Sky Buster. It amazes me the number of people that put safety last.

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Avalon February 25, 2013 at 10:36 am

Good for you Sky Buster.

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Larry February 25, 2013 at 10:38 am

Got my 40 Sheild last summer shortly after the first reviews were out, after it was unveiled at ShotShow 2012. Found it at Cabela’s and got a discount so I got it for $400. (sticker was $449) Didn’t realize at the time it was going to get so hard to find but after having it, carrying it, and shooting it, I now know why it is. The sweetest thing I’ve shot for a ccw ever. (I’ve carried for over 20 years) Everything it’s hyped up to be and more. Worth the wait.
And personally, I like the external thumb safety. Piece of mind with one in the chamber.

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Pistol Pedro February 25, 2013 at 10:55 am

To those that say they can’t find any, be patient. They are available at prices below MSRP to hundreds above. Call your local gun shops often and if they have a waiting list, get on it. I’ve found two in three weeks for my wife and I. Had to drive a few hours, but we each have a new carry gun.

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Nick the Enforcer March 3, 2013 at 12:17 am

Consider yourself lucky! I was on a list for over 8 months and the dealer finally called and said he was tossing the list and putting everyone on a text notification first-come, first-pay basis. Other dealers said thay are NOT doing any lists b/c the inventory is trickling in so slowly it is not worth their time/manpower to manage lists. None of them would let me pre-pay in full either which I offered to do. S&W told me they are producing them and that some dealers in their network [like Bud's] that move large amounts of product get prefrence. So the local non-stocking or low-stock FFL probably wont see too many.

Nontheless we [dad & I] made the choice to find the best deal on a pair for CC, We did and although we paid more than MSRP I will not put a price on a firearm I plan on CC to protect my life and of the ones I love.
I tell friends considering that in the long-term availibility/prices will even out, short term we are dealing with high demand, a socialist POTUS, and weak dollar/economy. Short term if you have the $ I advise not to risk paying even more $ later as we all know things for us gun owners rarely go our way w/o a fight.
God Bless.

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bsojoe February 25, 2013 at 11:14 am

I have put my name on every “email me when back in stock” gun store on the internet and even a year later nobody has this gun.. I WANT ONE! S&W said that they are making them as fast as they can, but I stiil can’t find one. It’s
just like RRA polymer 1911….. WHERE ARE THESE GUNS!!! :(

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Ben February 25, 2013 at 11:20 am

Did a lot of research on-line and everything was pretty positive. Looked at other comparable pieces, but decided I would go for a .40 cal Shield. The decision was the easy part. Finding one to actually purchase was an experience. Saw one a week ago at a gun show, held it and fell deeply in love with it. Price was well above MSRP, but unless you are at a gun shop when a delivery arrives and are tight with the owner, good luck finding and purchasing one at or near MSRP. I decided to pass on the one at the gun show. Continued to hunt on-line and ultimately found a decent deal on an auction site and went ahead and purchased it. I pick it up from my FFL tonight and can’t wait to get it to the range. I love my current Glock 27 as a ccw, but think the Shield – because of it’s slimmer profile – will end up being my primary ccw.

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Jeremy February 25, 2013 at 11:51 am

You mentioned a lower street price, I WISH!!! I’ve been dying trying to find one for less that 600! I have a few I’m watching, and willing to pay every penny, but I wish S&W could crank up the production to get these back to MSRP.

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JD February 25, 2013 at 11:52 am

Will not purchase another S&W product including t-shirts until they send a message to state and local governments that they will not sell to them if they ban citizens from owning them. Period. Time to step up S&W! Or lose the support of the public.

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Jerry Brown February 25, 2013 at 11:55 am

The M&P series, including the Shields are pretty good values for the money. Haven’t gotten my hands on a Shield either; but it’s heavier and larger than my Kahr PM9, my deep concealment carry gun since 2005 and nothing has come along to challenge it! Weighs only 14.5 oz unloaded, considerably less than Shield, Sig’ 290, Glock. With the short 6 rd mag, you only have a 2 finger grip; but no control issues with this gun in 9…40 is squirrely though. Kahr trigger is light and smoother, something not found in most of this genre’! Two-tone or all black finish……and night sights commonly available. Their less expensive CM is not nearly as good!

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Ray Zillick February 25, 2013 at 12:04 pm

I’m on my second shield., First one got stolen out of my car. I had shot the first one extensively, including several idpa matches. It never hick-uped even once. It is and always be my concealed carry gun.

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Greg February 25, 2013 at 1:26 pm

I have the 40and it is great gun, u can find Trijicon night sights on Amazon, the full size M&P sights work fine want to have a gunsmith do this it was not the easiest I was told by my gunsmith who specializes in custom M&P work. They made such a difference in target accusation I was amazed. Going to get some trigger work if he ever gets caught up with his ammo business. I am a big guyn the gun conceals very easy with an IWB Holster. Just wish I would get. The extra magazines I ordered from S&W been waiting 4 months and keep. Calling and they sy the same thing ech tie a note 4-6wks actually very frustrated with them. That is my only complaint, u can find the 9 aftermarket but no one making one for the 40.

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bernie garcia February 25, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Im glad to see here some expert opinions about Kimber. but is not only the overprise squeme they place on the market but the costumer service too. I bought one of the first Kimvers a Custon Target back them when not overprice I lost the front sight on the shooting range and when I call custumer service they told me to send the gun for evaluation …? unveliavable. well I post that as a warning in the 1911 forum and I receive all kind of atacks and insults and I was ban from the site forever, reason – joint the grup to complain about a gun

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Randy February 25, 2013 at 3:07 pm

I don’t know where all you people live, but I bought mine about seven months ago. No wait. I absolutely love it! I’ve owned Glocks in the past and in my opinion, the M&P line is MUCH, MUCH BETTER!!! I own three M&P firearms and wouldn’t trade them for anything. By the way, the price of mine, 379.95. The only thing I disagree with in this article, holsters have been difficult to find, at least in my area (SW Ohio).

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Jon February 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I don’t like the external safety for 2 reasons.

If you carry a S&W M&P full size on duty, the off duty gun (while smaller) should have the same system. You don’t want to hesitate while you think about whether the gun you have at the moment has an external safety. If they are both the same, it is not an issue.

Second, if you get past the presence of the safety, it is awkward for left handed people. Ambidextrous is important.

All that said, I would still go with this gun. It is spectacular in all regards.

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Robert February 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm

Hi,

I have compared my G26 to a Shield and the Shield IS narrower and easier to conceal carry. Also, I don’t see the issue with the safety and may purchase one because of the safety.

I do own an M&P 22 pistol which I purchased because it is cheap to shoot and a heck of a lot of fun for cheap. I paid $409 with tax in Ga. before the confiscation move began.

I have fired the other M&P 9 mm Compact S&W makes and found it easy to shoot and well designed pistol. The accuracy was about the same as with the G26.

I do however, think that a 4 lb. trigger would be a great upgrade. The sights, were fine, but of course have not tried the “upgraded ones”.

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Linda K Hamilton February 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Hello All! I ordered an M&P Shield 9mm mid year 2012, it took about 5 weeks to arrive. We had an unexpected job re-location and the new gun was not shot until last week (8 months later?). I had been carrying it concealed via the deep concealment holster SmartCarry, or IWB holster in the mean time. Wow, when we finally got to a range and shot only a 100 rounds through it, there was NO disappointment! I have to technical data to share with you, just the pleased-with-my-purchase factor! This felt good in the hand (I am female with average build and hand), certainly no issue with kickback to speak-off (factory loads – target light – solid copper bullet). Accuracy was consistent! Whooooot! I am anxious to shoot it again soon! TEAR-Down has the step of pushing the sear deactivation lever inside the ejection port. First thought as a pain step to remember, but I know its a good feature and I have already grown accustom to it.

I also shoot Glock .40, Glock .9mm, and S&W 357 revolver….

Can you see me smiling? :-D
Linda

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Danny February 25, 2013 at 9:24 pm

I’ve had the 9 since July ’12 and couldn’t be more pleased. It is my CC and at first I didn’t like the safety because I’m left handed. I have gotten used to using my index finger during draw to disengage it and now I agree with Sky Buster, I’ll keep the safety. I paid $419 for my at a chain sporting goods store, Sportsman’s Warehouse. I’ve looked online and if you pay attention you can still pick one up for under $500. I saw one on Guns America 2 weeks ago for $470. I also have 2 full size M&P 9′s, both without thumb safeties and I am as accurate or more so with my Shield and I have large hands (size 12). I am a S&W person as I also have 2 M&P AR15′s, a j-frame 38 model 640 SS and a model 53 6 shot revolver in 22 Jet. I’ll get off my S&W praise soapbox now but they are a great company!

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John February 26, 2013 at 3:12 am

I have a question: Why in the world did S&W give you two magazine with the Shield but the second (or could be the first) not have the finger extension and instead of 9 rounds it holds 8…and then buy a second mag with the extension for another $40.00 if you can find one…come on Smith!!! I could be wrong about the ammo count in the mags..it may be 7 in one and 8 in the other, regardless. I thought maybe at first it was for conceal ability but it’s just as easy to hide the gun with the longer mag as it is without.

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Larry H February 26, 2013 at 11:01 am

Was looking for a carry gun and saw the the Shield, but it wasn’t available. So I bought an LC9 with Crimson Trace.
It was a good looking piece but with the double action trigger was hard to shoot. Worked good as a belly gun. Finally found a Shield and have been loving it. It is easy to shoot and when taken down beside the LC9 you can see that Smith and Wesson builds a much higher quality gun. Sold the Ruger.

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Nick the Enforcer March 3, 2013 at 12:26 am

Ditto on the DAO trigger, did not like. Considered the LC9 as my dealer had a dozen but no Shield’s… I remembered I made a mistake years ago buying a Beretta 92 DAO and hated it from day 1. Luckily I had an FFL at the time and moved it in a week and still made money on it. Some features look good on paper but you end up not liking in the real world. We have all done it at one time or another.

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Chuck S February 26, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Meh, I’m more than happy with my S&W Model 3913! (NOT the damn “Ladysmith” either!).

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Allen N February 28, 2013 at 6:30 pm

I’ve been looking for something with a little more oomph to replace my Walther PPK/s in .380. I do like an wxposed hammer and a decock safety, but this little Smitty looks like just the ticket. However I’m well armed enough that I can wait until this gun-ban hysteria dies down, which it will right after Feinstein’s garbage bill goes down in flames.

You know, folks; it’s amazing but I remember when you could mail in your money to Sears and have all kinds of guns sent via United States parcel post right to your door. We didn’t have a “gun violence” problem then.

What we have is a mother in Colorado who has had some headshriker “determine” that her little 5-year-old boy is “transgendered” and is suing to force the school to let her “daughter” use the girl’s toilet. We don’t have a “gun violence” problem. We have a MORON problem.

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Nick the Enforcer March 3, 2013 at 12:29 am

You might want to keep that .380 in my travels it is one of the only handgun calibers I still consistantly see on the shelves. Both defense and target/ball ammo seems very available even now.

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Ashley January 9, 2014 at 11:36 pm

thats because its expensive for what it is

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DiamondK March 4, 2013 at 11:08 pm

I have bought a couple of 9mm Shields on Gunbroker.com for around $500 when you factor in s/h and the FFL processing at a local dealer. I carried a Glock 19 until I purchased M&P 9 and there wasn’t any comparison for the feel or accuracy. The Shield has the same feel at it’s big brother but is easier to carry concealed or as a back up. I still have a LCP 380 that I carry depending on the clothing but the Shield is at the top of my list for every day use.

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JungleCogs March 8, 2013 at 9:51 am

Great design, I love mine. And I really love the thumb safety; one of the best on the market. I think a thumb safety is a great idea; still don’t understand why the market has moved away from them.

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Spearpoint March 18, 2013 at 8:28 am

How is the recoil of the shield 40 compared to the shield 9

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cstipe March 18, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Not sure about the ownership of S&W at this point. That said, American made and American owned matters. I love S&W revolvers. No autos yet. Mostly xd’s and 1911′s in my safe. Mainly I wanted to point out that Taurus released the “slim 9″ years ago and it has an excellent thumb safety. I would not carry a gun without a safety or a heavy trigger on a revolver. Those who shoot 1911 competitively can deal with the safety quite well. I have shot and carried the Taurus Slim for two years. And yes, I do trust my life to it. It has functioned perfectly with factory ammo. The Slim has nearly the same dimensions as the Shield. A bit easier on the wallet and it is a shooter!

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bill March 20, 2013 at 1:41 pm

I shot the 40 shield yesterday. It had less felt recoil than the glock 22. It was easily controlled with the good ergonomics of the grip. Good pistol for the size and price.

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HallockG April 28, 2013 at 2:59 pm

Finally got this little gem a couple weeks ago after being on the waiting list for 2 months. Took it right to the range and shot 500 rounds. Perfect fit. Perfect handling. Perfect groupings. Almost no recoil. And disappeared in my IWB. Smith & Wesson….you should be proud. A great fantastic gun for conceal and carry. If you can even find one, GET IT.

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Fletchman May 15, 2013 at 3:59 am

I have handled one at the shop and was amazed how it didnt have that “little” pistol feel to it. I admit to having a lack of confidence in the 9mm round in stopping bad guys. I had my sons friend come home from Iraq a few years ago. He was a tank commander and had to shoot a haji 3 times to drop him with his sidearm. The 40 S&W just might be the gun for me.

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Tony May 15, 2013 at 12:44 pm

Walked into my lgs n had 2 in stock bought one on the spot without even thinking twice. I was in there to get an lc9 since I thought shields were a myth!! Lol. Got it in 9mm and put a lasermax grip on it.. I love it!! It is much easier and comfortable to carry than my Springfield xd9 sub-compact. If glock never makes a single stack 26,or Springfield releases the xds in 9mm,, this is the ccw to beat!!

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Ryan May 17, 2013 at 3:26 am

If anyone is in Utah they can buy mine. Just bought one for my wife who’s been begging for one. She picked it up and said, “Nope, way too big…” Grrrr. I pocket carry the .380 Bodyguard as I’m a short guy and the Shield feels too big for my needs. The Bodyguard I am carry everywhere wearing anything.

Seriously…any takers. It’s brand new in 9mm.

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Jim Crawford November 19, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I’m considering a 9mm shield. Still have it?

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eje May 20, 2013 at 9:57 pm

I have tried to buy a Shield 9mm since August of 2012. I finally found a dealer that had a wait list with a hefty deposit requirement. It is now the end of May 2013 and was told that It would be at least another 9 months or more before I would probably get mine. There are 4-5 friends in the same situation as myself with other dealers. Even with an e-mail response from Smith and Wesson, that stated they were “working 24-7″to fill their orders they gave no other explanation of where all the Shields were going out as they are made. The problem now is the lack of and locating 9mm , also the shocking price gouging by fellow “gun enthusiasts”. The price in the Dallas area is $1.00 or more per round. We have nothing to fear from the Anti-2nd Amendment foes any more, it is pro- second amendment gun owners, ammo hoarders, big business gun and ammo manufacturing that are taking advantage of the average citizen and the every day “plinker”. We are making things worse for ourselves, the government is smart by letting us destroy ourselves from within. Soon only the wealth or the elite will be able to shoot or own guns.The wealthy now controls most of what our government does anyway and we are the ones paying all the taxes. I have yet to hear the NRA comment on this self destruction. All I hear is “send us more money to fight”. What about us fighting for our own rights! Oh yea” I don’t want a US Shield anymore, I’ll stick with my Springfield XD made in Croatia!

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Clay May 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm

I drove up to Cabela’s in Buda Tx this morning and bought my Shield 9. They had 3 when I got there and only had 1 left after I bought mine.

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mike October 1, 2013 at 9:31 pm

Bought mine in March2013 aftera4month search they were and are that popular.The 9mmshield is graceful low recoil,nice fit,easy to dissasemble and clean ,accurate and no ftf or to extract. Iamm waiting 10 weeks for a order for a 8 rd mag from S&W they said probably another2 -4 months.Great piece.

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David October 4, 2013 at 5:40 pm

I just bought one ten minutes ago. In illinois, piling gun had one and I walked right in and got it! Super pumped to try it. I have heard good things about it.

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Joe October 9, 2013 at 8:43 pm

I had gotten to know my local dealer while waiting for my pistol permit. After I got it in August, I told him I was looking for my first pistol. He showed me 6 new 9mm shields that had just come in. I held it and fell in love. Firing it has been a real pleasure. Lucky me.

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Nic October 29, 2013 at 1:04 am

Where can you buy one of these?

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Nicc44 November 1, 2013 at 1:01 am

Crackshot Guns Anderson, Indiana has them. Got one today.

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Dave November 7, 2013 at 12:44 pm

These were only $379 at my LGS’s last summer (2012) and then everybody wanted one and the price shot up to $449. What a rip. The price now is $429 but that’s still a lot more than it should be. Considering they were $379 it makes you realize it’s just the gun store making a bigger profit because they know people will pay. Save your money and get a double stack pistol. Trust me, if you’ve ever been in a situation where you have had to pull your gun or even thought you may have to, YOU WILL WISH YOU HAD MORE FIRE POWER! This is no joke. Also, always carry spare mags, at least one. Most carry nothing extra at all. This is dumb. Most live in a dream world and only imagine perfect scenarios where everything works out to their advantage because they are carrying a concealed gun. They imagine it’s like the movies and one shot will stop someone dead in their tracks and that will be the end of it. No, no. Say there are multiple threats (5-6) guys and they too have guns and know how to use them. Now what? Will you stop them all calmly and with precision with 7 rounds of 9mm? Not unless they are standing still 20 feet away and let you shoot them one by one. Expect the worst and prepare for it. Maybe it’s just me but make sure you bring enough gun if you carry. High capacity rules. Low capacity doesn’t make any sense. The real world difference in width of a carry gun is something you wouldn’t ever notice. You are only aware of it because someone pointed it out and quoted the phrase, ‘slim is in’.

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Ricky November 26, 2013 at 5:45 am

Dave, if everyone thought the way you did this weapon wouldn’t be so popular. I’m not going to argue against you, however I will say that I have been in combat, both state side and overseas. You rarely tend to have multiple assailants that stay to fight after rounds are fired. Much less 5-6 whom take up defensive positions and throw rounds down to you.
This weapon isn’t for taking out your local gangs or cartels army. It’s simply a easily concealed weapon, that is for personal defense.

That’s my own personal experience and opinion. Take it at face value.

Now back to the shield, it is a great weapon. And by far the best concealable subcompact I have carried. I have the .40 variant and have put 300-400 rounds through it, and I simply love shooting it. It’s accurate light and gets back on target quickly. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone that conceal carries.

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John November 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

The Shield is a great firearm. Agree with everything said here. Perfect size for CC. Mine is in 40SW. I expected some significant recoil but happily found it very controllable and easy to shoot. Accuracy is superb. Fit and finish is great as well. The trigger is gritty out-of-the-box, but after a box or two of shooting it smoothed out nicely. Trigger break is crisp and consistent. The Apex trigger mod probably makes it even better. Just a word of caution, however. When you get one, be sure to check the SKU of the box before purchase. When I bought mine I didn’t realize that it was a MA nazi-compliant model with a 10lb trigger, vice the 6lb for the other states (and no, I didn’t buy it in MA). Actually, after shooting it, I got used to it. I haven’t decided if I’ll Apex yet or not. It’s primary function will be as a CCW, so I’m not to adverse to the heavier trigger. Again, S&W hit a home run with this pistol. Buy one.

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Chuck December 23, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Picked up a 40 S&W 2 weeks ago added a Crimson Trace laserguard and love the combo. Paid $390.00 for the Shield and $180.00 for the laser. Greatest dealer to work with in Missouri. Shoots like a dream have an Alien Gear ITW holster in left handed. Have not had any problems with anything including ammo usage or availability. Sorry to hear all of the troubles.

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Nathan December 25, 2013 at 12:09 am

I spent 6 months trying to find one of these, and walked into my lgs in CO the day before Christmas and the counter clerk placed a gun in the case, I went over to look and it was two 40 shields and on 9mm. I almost couldn’t buy it fast enough, was in the case for about 30 seconds. He said he’s never had one of the 9s stay in the case over a day. Now that I”m home with it, I can say it feels great, looks great (quality), and fits my hand like it was made for it with the extended mag (I’m 6’3” 225 lbs). Fired 50 rounds through it w/o problem and will do a few hundred more between xmas and the new year. First impressions are very positive and very excited I was lucky enough to find one after waiting and looking so long.

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Ashley January 9, 2014 at 11:19 pm

I managed to get a Shield in the 40mm at a gun show I paid $400 for it and I love it now if only I can find a holster that I like for CC

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mike March 3, 2014 at 12:38 am

I shot this gun at a local range and fell in love. No gun store around here ever has them in stock (when they get them in they are gone fast). Bass pro sold out of one they were asking $450. Got one brand new on gunbroker for $385 about 3 weeks ago. This gun is available you just have to look for it. I ordered a custom tuck holster from pj holsters (9 week wait). Love the gun!

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kirk April 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Just picked one up 3 days ago for $330 before tax. Love it. Handles like a much larger pistol and very controlable. About 150 rounds through it with no ftf or fte. Breaks down easy. The article stated that you have to flip down the yellow lever inside the reciever. However you can also pull the trigger then flip the lever and the slide comes right off. Great gun.

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kirk April 6, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Just picked one up 3 days ago for $330 before tax. Love it. Handles like a much larger pistol and very controlable. About 150 rounds through it with no ftf or fte. Breaks down easy. The article stated that you have to flip down the yellow lever inside the reciever. However you can also pull the trigger then flip the lever and the slide comes right off. Great gun.

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