Smith and Wesson Shield

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

  • Design Features
  • Build Quality
  • Recoil
  • Fun Factor
3.5/5Overall Score
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Weight: 34.24 oz
  • Capacity: 7,8
  • Action: Stricker Fired
  • Compact Size
  • Recoil Impulse
  • Low Magazine Capacity

If you’re reading this and know my feelings about the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield, you’re probably surprised I’m reviewing this gun.

If you aren’t familiar, I’m an unashamed M&P Shield hater. I do not like this gun. I would not carry this gun. You probably think that’s a weird way to start a review article and expect the reader to give it any credence.

But, being honest and upfront about how I feel about this gun will give the reader insight and credibility when I say what S&W got right with this gun.

In that same mantra, you may decide some of my critiques aren’t legitimate and that’s totally up for the reader to decide.

I will have a bias, but that will be with any gun. But I want to review this as it’s an extremely popular concealed handgun and isn’t a complete bust.

s w m p shield stock

S&W M&P Shield

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fired
Capacity: 7-8 Rounds

M&P Shield Features

Considering what features your concealed handgun comes with is always very important since features make a break the gun and determine if it’s worth getting your money.

In this section, I’ll cover the three major features of any concealed handgun: the grip and ergonomics, the sights, and the magazine capacity.

s w m p shield stock

S&W M&P Shield

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fired
Capacity: 7-8 Rounds


How the gun feels in your hand is extremely important so much so that if a gun doesn’t feel good in your hand when you’re looking to purchase it often recommend not buying it.

As I mentioned earlier, I am not a huge fan of the M&P Shield; however, it’s not because of the grip and ergonomics.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Grip

The overall ergonomics and the grip on this gun are pretty good.

Like many concealed handguns, this one has a flush-fit and pinky extension magazine.

I would always carry this gun with the pinky extension magazine because otherwise, my pinky falls off and I’m not too fond of the feel of this gun when that happens.

I understand running the flush-fit mag if somebody wants to get maximum concealability.

M&P Sheild’s extremely thin frame feels good in my medium to average-sized hands. The master grip also feels pretty good and overall, the gun has a pretty balanced feel in your hand, so the grip ergonomics are good.

The stippling on the frame or grip frame texture is okay. There’s a lot of smooth surface on the M&P Shield but not a lot of abrasive surface on this small gun to help with your shooting grip.

The S&W M&P Shield M2.0 has a bit more aggressive grip texturing and more surface area texture on the grip.

s w m p shield stock

S&W M&P Shield

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fired
Capacity: 7-8 Rounds


The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield does drop the ball regarding the sights. The included sites on the M&Ps are three-dot configurations with three very simple white dots.

M&P Shield Sights

One of the biggest letdowns on a concealed carry pistol is the lack of night sights.

While the number of aftermarket options for M&P Shield night sights is vast, it would still be nice not to change them out of the box.

s w shield 6

The sights are fine and do the job, but they aren’t my preferred configuration. While most Glocks come with night sights, I have this same criticism of their factory sight configuration.

Magazine Capacity

Now the biggest flop of the M&P Shield is the magazine capacity. At a mere 7 or 6 round capacity in the world of Springfield Hellcats, Glock 43, and Sig P365‘s 10,12, and 15 round magazine capacities just brings this gun down.

s w shield 7

Magazine capacity might not mean a lot to you and you may be able to sweep this under the rug but it cannot be overlooked as a ball drop in the feature department.

I won’t harp on this anymore. The issue is cut and dry and glaringly obvious.


Having all the right controls on your gun will make all the difference in you liking the gun and loving it.

The four major controls on any pistol are the magazine release, slide lock/release, and the trigger.

Some might argue the take down lever but I don’t see any take-down lever as a make-or-break control on whether or not to recommend a gun.

s w m p shield stock

S&W M&P Shield

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fired
Capacity: 7-8 Rounds

Magazine Release

Many magazine releases are the same on most pistols. They sit in nearly the same spot and function almost exactly the same.

s w shield 3

The M&P Shield magazine release isn’t much different in that regard. It sits directly behind the trigger guard and is flush with the frame. It has some texture on it but nothing too aggressive.

Use is extremely easy and fluid and it drops the magazine rapidly and easily. Also very easy to

Slide Lock

Slide locks have a bit more variation in design and function than magazine releases tend to have.

The slide lock/release on the M&P Shield does it’s job but it’s not much in terms of functionality or design aesthetics.

s w shield 2

I know this might sound crazy but this just reminds me of a small piece of bend sheet metal.

It’s the Microsoft Word Clippy from the early 2000s of slide lock/releases.


But it does the job but best of luck pulling it down on an empty mag, even for a wore in Shield it isn’t happening.

It’s even hard to use when the magazine isn’t in, the overall design and function are just lacking. It also doesn’t have an ambidextrous lever to make it easier to send the slide home while in the slide lock position.


I have to admit that Smith & Wesson did try to fix this trigger on the Shield Plus. But, right now, I’ve reviewing the M&P Shield and the trigger is by far one of the worst on a handgun in modern times.

s w shield 4

I know it seems like I’m really getting down hard on this gun, and I am. Because Smith & Wesson has a name and reputation to uphold.

They make some fine guns but their modern stuff is really dropping the ball. The “break in the middle” trigger has long been a point of criticism from firearms enthusiasts.

It just feels unnatural and doesn’t do this gun justice because it shines in the grip and ergonomics category.

s w m p shield stock

S&W M&P Shield

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fired
Capacity: 7-8 Rounds


The Shield has a plethora of accessories and some of them truly enhance the gun and fix some of the grievances I outlined above.

Range Bag

First and foremost you need to take your shield to the range and put some rounds through it. If you want to carry it concealed you need to be familiar with your handgun so get you a good range bag and head out to the range.

Lynx Defense makes 4 fantastic quality, American made, pistol range bags.

If you only have the Shield the Prime handgun case may be all you need. It’s simple and effective and protects your gun effectively.

The pistol range bag is the next step up if you have multiple guns or a decent amount of range gear you might want to grab the pistol range bag.

Now if you have lots of gear and plenty of guns you’re gonna want the Concord. That “little fella” is perfect for 3+ handguns and tons of extra gear and supplies.

Now if you are in need of our latest and greatest bag, the Valkyrie, you are really packing for the range. This guy is YUGE.

But no matter what range bag you pick get one that fits your needs and get to the range and do some shooting!


If concealed carry for the M&P Shield is your goal than you’ll need a holster. I’d recommend you get a kydex holster like the Harry’s Holsters Shorty.

S&W M&P Shield in Harry's Holsters Shorty Holster

It’s perfect for the first time user or the more experienced concealed carry user.


This is one area of the gun I like and that’s the overall a look. Very clean lines and well done milling and etching.

The M&P line has been around for almost two decades now and the overall look of the line hasn’t changed a ton.

It has a quality timeless look to the milling and coatings on the gun, requiring little change from year to year.


This 9mm shield is reliable, chews up, and spits out anything you feed it. 115 GR round nose practice ammo? No problem.

Defensive hollow points? No problem. You name it and this should shoot without issue.

Great Range Ammo
Blazer 9mm
Go-To Defense Ammo
hornady critical defense 9mm
Unique Defense Ammo
winchester hex vent

M&P Shield vs M&P Shield Plus

The M&P Shield has been through a number of different updates and changes along the way. One of the major changes was the grip texture on the M2.0 series.

But the biggest change came in the M&P Shield Plus which made it a double stack magazine that bumped the capacity to 10-13 rounds.

They also replaced the trigger with a flat trigger that fixed a lot of the issues people had with the curved trigger.

Overall, the Shield Plus gives me hope for the S&W Shield because it’s clear that Smith & Wesson was listening to customers and took it to heart in the development of the Shield Plus.

Soon I’ll have my paws on a Shield Plus and I’ll give it the run down and see if it truly kicks my long-held dislike of the Shield series of handguns.

s w m p shield stock

S&W M&P Shield

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fired
Capacity: 7-8 Rounds


The M&P Shield 9mm is a gun that’s okay to shoot, but it’s not a “fun” gun to shoot.

What I mean by that is it can be shot all day but it’s not enjoyable like a full-size pistol or something with more weight for recoil mitigation.

It’s an easy gun to practice with and become comfortable with shooting but it’s not one that I’d want to shoot for hours on end.

Final Thoughts

While my feelings on this gun haven’t changed and my criticisms are still valid, I think this gun has some very redeeming qualities.

The gun is reliable and accurate which are two very important parts of a concealed carry pistol.

While I don’t enjoy shooting the gun in a life-and-death situation, I would feel comfortable with this gun performing.

Some of the things I don’t like are completely opinion and vary person-to-person.

But overall, I wouldn’t tell anyone not to get this gun if they found a deal on it. While I might suggest they also look at a Shield Plus, S&W made several excellent improvements to that model.

s w m p shield stock

S&W M&P Shield

Caliber: 9mm
Action: Striker Fired
Capacity: 7-8 Rounds


How much does a 9mm M&P shield cost?

They vary from $350 to the max of the $505 MSRP.

Is the M&P Shield a good gun?

The Shield has it’s positives and it’s negatives like any product but overall the gun is accurate and concealable which makes it a good gun in most peoples eyes.

Is there a difference between M&P and M&P Shield?

Yes, the M&P stands for Military and Police and is S&W’s all encompassing model name.

The M&P line has a number of guns in it including rifles so the M&P moniker needs to be followed by the model of the gun in the line such as, M&P Shield or M&P Compact.

What is MP shield?

The S&W M&P Shield is a reliable and accurate concealed carry pistol with redeeming qualities, although personal preferences may vary. It is recommended to also consider the Shield Plus model for its notable improvements.

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