Latest Smith & Wesson Shield is EZ–New .380 Single-Stack M&P 2.0

The Smith & Wesson M&P .380 Shield EZ.

Smith & Wesson has completely re-thought their M&P series with the new polymer-framed, hammer-fired M&P .380 Shield EZ. Their latest pistol is a low-friction, low-recoil pistol chambered for .380 ACP with personal protection in mind.

Small pistols pose problems for many shooters. Either the recoil is so sharp that users back away or the guns function so tightly that only a handful of people can use them. At a certain point with small guns there’s no end to both problems.

Smith & Wesson is leading into these issues head-on with the new Shield EZ, a mid-size single-stack pistol built for concealed-carry and self-defense. Since the M&P EZ isn’t a smaller handgun, it shouldn’t be snappy like other .380s can be and is impressively easy to load and rack.

It’s so easy to handle people are likening the M&P EZ to rimfire pistols as far as loading and slide manipulating goes. The magazines even have an external slider to make loading that much easier.

“When we set out to design the M&P380 Shield EZ pistol, our goal was to deliver an all-around, easy to use personal protection pistol — from loading and carrying to shooting and cleaning,” said Jan Mladek, Smith & Wesson general manager.

“Throughout the development process, we focused on key areas that customers told us were important-the ease of racking the slide and loading the magazine, said Mladek. “We have incorporated both of these new features into the M&P380 Shield EZ pistol, allowing consumers of all statures and strengths the opportunity to own, comfortably practice with, and effectively utilize this exciting new pistol.”

Note the solid, single-piece trigger.

Picatinny-style equipment rail for lights or lasers.

One way Smith & Wesson makes the EZ a cinch to rack is that the new pistol uses an internal hammer-fired action. Another feature is the slide’s deep serrations at the rear of the slide. The last set of serrations are oversized and act like a racking tool.

The M&P EZ has a solid 8+1-round capacity and an above-average 3.6-inch barrel for improved ballistics. Its overall size and weight put it in the same class as many single-stack 9mm pistols with a full-length grip and unloaded weight of 18.5 ounces.

The M&P EZ incorporates a very large backstrap-length grip safety in place of a more common passive trigger safety. Smith & Wesson also offers the EZ with and without an ambidextrous manual safety.

See Also: One of the Year’s Best Pistols: the M&P 2.0 Compact

For some shooters these features can make the gun safer to carry outside of a molded waistband holster. It also means that the design can use a solid, single-piece trigger that will fire even without perfect trigger finger placement.

Otherwise the EZ is a Shield pistol to its core. It has the same stainless steel slide and barrel assembly with Smith & Wesson’s Armornite nitride finish. It has most of the M&P 2.0 features including ergonomic grip and grippy but unaggressive frame. And it comes with real 3-dot sights.

Includes (2) Easy to Load 8-Round M&P380 Shield magazines.

Easy to rack slide.

While it’s true that a gun with this set of features is going to be a niche pistol, it’s a niche that few manufacturers are building for.

A lot of people will argue that slide manipulation is a matter of technique, but for some shooters no amount of technique can reliably overcome a full-power slide. And for others even with loading tools magazines can be difficult. The M&P Shield 2.0 EZ was literally designed to cater to a select crowd, expanding what is for some, a very limited market.  MSRP is $399.

***Shop today for your new M&P Shield***

About the author: Max Slowik is a writer with over a dozen years of experience and is a lifelong shooter. He has unwavering support for the Second Amendment and the human right to self-defense. His ambition is to follow Thomas Paine, as a journalist by profession and a propagandist by inclination.

{ 25 comments… add one }
  • Cristobal Colon December 13, 2019, 4:44 pm

    The 380 EZ is an awesome Gun, but it should be upgraded to a 15 rd capacity, just like the Bersa thunder plus which is 15+1. It would definitely make the concealed carriers confident, that although it is only a 380 !!! It would carry 15+1 which would really rock the sales on this pistol. The more the merrier 👍💪🇺🇸

  • Allan Cloutier February 4, 2019, 5:44 am

    This EZ is the BEST. I do have the thumb safety

  • Scotty Gunn October 5, 2018, 7:02 pm

    The market is ripe for easy to rack defense autos. Just making them in pretty colors doesn’t attract many women. The only thing is, being 380, it would be nice to have a larger round count. However, I understand they wanted to keep the grip smaller.

  • Rita August 16, 2018, 9:49 pm

    With a plate and eight screws in left wrist, I don’t have the grip strength I once did so gave up on the semi auto and was feeling I would have to go to the revolver, which isn’t my first choice. So glad this EZ is now available for someone like me who is somewhat limited due to an injury.

  • G. FACHETTE May 4, 2018, 12:59 pm


  • Mike towne March 22, 2018, 4:00 pm

    Mine will not fire sometimes because of the gripe safety. No problem with other autos. Bought this one because of the EZ slide. But if I it won’t go bang what good is the EZ.

  • Dave C March 5, 2018, 11:39 am

    There is a substantial segment of the general populace that rightly fear becoming victims of violent crime: the infirm and the elderly. There are vicious thugs who select people with mobility issues, arthritis, or frail condition because such predators view the vulnerabilities as ensuring minimal trouble in carrying out robberies, assaults, etc.

    Bravo to S&W for providing a pistol to this market, for whom there has been little research and development for. Personally, I think a tipping barrel semi-auto would obviate the need to “rack the slide” but I applaud the design of a concealed-hammer single-action with a five-pound trigger pull with an audible and tactile reset. A modern, well-designed .380 jacketed hollow-point, like the Hornady Critical Defense will not meet “FBI criteria” but out of a 3.6-in. barrel, on a frontal, unobstructed shot with minimum recoil and rapid follow up shots, should get the job of “stopping” a violent, life threatening attacker.

    Revolvers are frequently recommended for people relatively unfamiliar with handguns, or lacking in strength, and yet these are often the most difficult to shoot well due to heavy double-action trigger pulls. Single-action usage is typically frowned upon by most self-defense trainers. A semi-auto pistol is usually easier for most people to actually fire and get good hits with, but there are issues like retracting the slide and so on. The tactile loaded chamber indicator and the “grip safety” may prove helpful for people somewhat intimidated by the self-loading handgun’s manual of arms. Thank goodness we’ve all got options whatever our own personal limitations might be, eh? About the only change I might make to this pistol would be either a tip-up barrel to obviate racking the slide all-together, albeit S&W doesn’t make a pistol like that, but keeping the other features, and maybe introducing it in 9x18mm Makarov caliber, but with the same single-stack magazines with the little knob on the side like a .22 auto pistol. For those who deride the .380, reflect for a minute that many infirm and frail persons are frequently advised to carry .22 magnum revolvers and such

    • don June 17, 2018, 5:00 pm

      I like your post. I thought it was me getting too paranoid in my old age.i limp, I hurt but my mind is still rock and roll. I feel like a pretty fishing lure getting trolled tru the weeds every time I go outat night. so im arming down, im selling my old Makarov and going with the s&w 380. with the auto green lazer and holster.i plan next year to sellmy 12 gauge pump for a new 20 gauge semi auto is a series of adjustments,including least if im a pretty lure, might as well have a good sharp hook !!!
      stay safe.

  • John Smith February 12, 2018, 7:04 am

    My 72 year old mother has been through several firearms as she wanted something more concealable than her .38 snubnose, we tried ruger lcp, couldnt shoot it very well due to grip and had problems racking the slide. Tried a shield in 9mm, same problem racking the slide, didnt like the recoil. Sticking with 380 caliber, concealable but functional, options are limited. Settled on the browning 1911-380. She Likes it, except for cocked and locked carry. This smith would be a good option if it was put in the shield platform. Small grip, thin profile, give it whatever slide assist they put on this version and bingo. As for this one, its a range pistol at best. 380s are meant to be concealable, this looks rather bulky. If this gun was meant for the crowd that my mom fits in, why the weapon light rail? Feature doesnt match the intended market.

  • PaulWVa February 10, 2018, 10:36 pm

    This looks like a solid effort to find a niche in a very crowded polymer gun market. Many people like the auto pistols better but do have problem with the slide. I think they should apply this design to a 9mm.

  • Rich Zellich February 10, 2018, 2:28 am

    Wow, how about that – it only took S&W 110 years to reinvent the Colt 1908 Hammerless! They seem to have put the grip safety on upside-down, though.

  • benzi February 9, 2018, 6:35 pm

    Tell me about sigma.

  • Stephen February 9, 2018, 5:47 pm

    That’s hideous.

  • Shawn Driscoll February 9, 2018, 4:55 pm

    I like the 380. I had my Llama mid-size 1911 for years until parts for it became harder to find. This will be a great gun. The 380 is just as good as a .38 these days. Lighter bullets than a .38, but faster kinda evens them out.

  • Enthusiast February 9, 2018, 12:51 pm

    This would be more practical if a bit more compact—no need for a full grip making it difficult to carry concealed. Better off with a shorter grip and offer grip extensions as needed/desired by the shooter. And a 3.6” barrel? 3.25 would be more than adequate. This is a range gun and should be good for that. The people it’s designed for will quickly find out it doesn’t conceal all that easily….but maybe that’s S&W’s plan – to bring out a compact version of this next….

  • Todd February 9, 2018, 12:28 pm

    I’m not sure that I understand the market for this. What are the reasons for picking it over one of these modern “micro-nines”?
    Is this primarily a recoil issue, maybe?


  • Jim February 9, 2018, 9:26 am

    Interesting piece…the .380 Bodyguard’s trigger sucked big time, which is the reason I got rid of mine. There are no size specifications, but from reading the article, I assume the G42 is smaller, of course with a couple of rounds less capacity, but it is as soft shooting as any compact .380 I’ve ever seen. Of all the compact .380’s I’ve owned (which has been several), the G42 is the best, although the S&W sounds interesting.

    • eric harbord March 5, 2018, 9:35 pm

      Downside with the 42 is racking.
      Fixed mine with a vickers racker.
      But it’s still heavy for many folks.and 8rds tops 6 nicely.I see these as being good choices for petite recoil sensitive a shtf situation they’d be good pdws for kids.

      Hope they encourage the manufacture of cheap 380 ammo.I like shooting that round about as much as 45acp

  • Richard February 9, 2018, 6:22 am

    If there were no grip safety then I would consider this pistol. Not sure why this pistol will be any better than the Bodyguard.

    • Phil Whitehead February 9, 2018, 8:36 am

      You don’t like it?
      Easy fix…don’t buy it.
      Stop complaining about things you don’t like and go buy what you do.

    • Scott Harper February 9, 2018, 9:15 am

      The Bodyguard is a nightmare to shoot with a miserable trigger. This gun will be 10 times easier to shoot due to its size alone, not to mention having a much better trigger than the Bodyguard. Would be a great gun for a new shooter, elderly person, or anyone with compromised grip strength.

      • Harley February 9, 2018, 1:14 pm

        Don’t pick on the elderly, I’m almost 80 (!) and my EDC is a Wilson Combat Xtac Elite amongst others in the safe. But you are right in a lot of cases. My better half shoots well but can’t rack a slide on any of our pistols no matter what technique she tries. This S&W may be good for her.

      • Sean February 9, 2018, 1:43 pm

        I also own and carry a bodyguard .380 as a backup.. I think you are mislabeling the design of the dao trigger as “miserable” when in fact the gun was designed specifically to have a da revolver feel to the trigger.. it is a great trigger for self defense.. especially for those that might otherwise carry a da j frame revolver ( the bodyguard is substantially slimmer and easier to conceal than any 38 cal revolver). In the event that you need it for personal defense, the 6-7lb dao trigger pull will not even be noticed.. and the added benefit for a pocket gun with a dao trigger is that for it to accidentally misfire in your pocket or while pulling it out, is very close to not possible.. a safe, effective, and reliable .380 is what the gun is.. it was designed to be a safe (damn near foolproof), highly concealable, dependable, personal protection weapon.. that is all it was designed to be.. I researches and fired the bodyguard 380, ruger LCP, kimber micro 380 and sig p238 and found the bodyguard to be the most reliable and safe micro pistol that I tried… none of them are good as a range gun.. none are comfortable to shoot (due to their size).. if you purchased a bodyguard .380 as a range gun.. then you should get rid of it and get a full size range gun.. regardless of the brand or model..

        • Shawn Driscoll February 9, 2018, 4:57 pm

          I bet recoil will be better than my AMT Back-up in .45

  • Frank St Clair February 9, 2018, 6:08 am

    I hope these features are well advertised. The pool of people wanting to be armed, but aging, is growing.

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