Smith & Wesson is expanding their very successful M&P Shield series with nine new models with longer slides and barrels. Offered in 9mm Luger, .40 S&W and .45 ACP, these mini “longslide” Performance Center Shields are also available from the factory with red dot sights.
Each of the chamberings comes in three versions, a base model with a 4-inch slide and barrel assembly, an “optics ready” model which includes the mini red dot sight and a fully-equipped ported model which also comes with a factory red dot.
All of the new Performance Center Shield pistols come with a green fiber optic front sight and red fiber optic rear sight. Also included with every gun is a Performance Center cleaning kit that comes with brushes, rods, nylon jags and a handful of patches to get started. Like other Shields, they come with one flush and one extended magazine.
Capacity for the 9mm is 7+1 with the flush magazine or 8+1 with the extended mag and 6+1 or 7+1 in .40 S&W and .45 ACP depending on the magazine. None of the new models feature manual thumb safeties.
With these guns it’s not just about added extras. These are Performance Center guns with tuned actions for better trigger feel. The triggers have an improved takeup and break and an enhanced, audible and tactile reset.
Taken all together these pistols have multiple advantages over the stock Shield models. The lengthened barrel will provide better external ballistics, and the improved sights and longer sight radius mean faster, easier shots even at longer distances.
These aren’t advantages that shine just in self-defense situations. With these new Performance Center M&P Shields, Smith & Wesson is also offering factory race guns for competition shooters.
As with the bulk of shooting sports back-up gun competitions are getting popular with a lot of shooters. Even someone who carries a basic Shield pistol can benefit from the practical shooting sports – these Performance Center models will give them a competitive advantage at the range.
Like other Shield models they are still priced affordably, starting at $532 in 9mm, .40 and .45. Optics-ready models, which come with an installed 4-MOA sight, run $826 and the ported, optics-equipped model runs $854. As always, real-world and online pricing will be less.
Smith & Wesson is working hard to make sure they have a Shield for everyone. Whether that’s for someone looking for a single-stack with all the bells and whistles or a back-up gun competitor looking for a factory gun that’s out-of-the-box ready for matches, Smith & Wesson is almost making it hard not to own a Shield.