|Smith & Wesson caused quite a buzz at the recent National Rifle Association annual meetings in St. Louis, Missouri with the introduction of the M&P Shield pistol, a small, slim, concealable handgun in 9mmP and .40 S&W with single-stack magazine.
THE NEW M&P SHIELD PISTOL introduced at the NRA Show.
Specifications for this little gem tell the story. Like other M&P pistols, it has a striker-fire action, is 0.95-inch wide, 6.1 inches long, and 4.6 inches high, weighs 19 ounces and has a 3.1-inch barrel. S&W indicated that it is expected to be available in California in the next few weeks. MSRP is $449.
That’s a lot of bang for the buck. Or, more succinctly, it is a lot of pistol in a small package for not a lot of money. The Shield has the right stuff for today’s market.
Small handguns — hideaways, dresser drawer denizens or Saturday afternoon plinksters — always capture imaginations. Until recently, a big drawback to such diminutive poppers was that they really didn’t fit bigger hands.
In recent times, however, all of that has changed. The Shield is a sterling example of how to put a lot of performance into a really small and handy package.
I have what are sometimes called N-Frame hands (that means big). Yet the Shield, for me, is totally shootable. Has to do with ergonomics and that sort of stuff.
By offering an M&P with a single-stack magazine, S&W is able to deliver the same kind of shooting reliability and performance that has made the M&P line famous, because the slide, controls, action, etc. are essentially the same as the larger, proven M&P pistols – but they are doing it in a handier package.
The real difference is the width of the grip, and, of course, the length of the grip. Since such hideaways necessarily have comparatively short handles, the number of fingers that can engage the grip sometimes is limited to two – maybe three in some instances.
To address this situation, there are extended magazines, magazine extensions and the like on the market. For the Shield, S&W has anticipated some of the concern by furnishing 7 and 8-round magazines with the 9mm Shield, and 6 and 7-round magazines with the .40 S&W Shield.
The longer magazines stick out of the bottom of the handle a little bit, which provides more to grab. That’s nice, but frankly the gun seems to handle quite well, even with the shorter magazine in place.
The Shield comes standard with white dot front and rear sights. Trigger pull is a nominal 6.5 pounds (rather typical for a striker-fired system, but with the Shield, there seemed to be a more noticeable trigger reset, which is nice).
Controls work the same and are in the same places one finds them on the larger M&P pistols.
The frame is made of lightweight Zytel polymer and the barrel and slide are made of stainless steel. The slide finish is black Melonite.
Looks like S&W has another winner with the Shield.
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Steve Comus is a nationally recognized hunting editor with Safari Club International and a former WON Guns and Hunting Editor. His column appears every other week in WON and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
SMITH & WESSON'S Paul Pluff shows the handy size of the new S&W M&P Shield pistol that is available in 9mmP and .40 S&W.