Smith & Wesson M&P Shield

Today is April 13, 2012. Why would I mention the date? You will find out in due time, but rest assured it is very relevant.

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With the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, the company has officially thrown their hat into the "single-stack, polymer pistol for concealed carry" race. It will be competing with the likes of Beretta's BU9 Nano, Ruger's LC9 and Kahr's CM9. As an extension of the ever-popular M&P line, we think the Shield will do just fine.

The Smith & Wesson M&P line is a line of semi-automatic, polymer-framed pistols that utilizes a short recoil operation, which is an excellent description of the M&P Shield. To date, the M&P Shield is the smallest, slimmest and lightest pistol from the line. Those traits, when combined with the Shield's reliability and safety features, make it a superb choice for personal protection and concealed carry. In addition to the manual thumb safety, which prevents any rearward travel of the trigger, the M&P Shield is also equipped with a passive trigger safety. The disjointed trigger features a secondary lever that must be pulled in conjunction with the trigger. This safety prevents any accidental discharges by requiring that the trigger be fully and intentionally depressed.

Another hallmark of the M&P line is ergonomics. The scaled down M&P Shield is designed for high comfort and functionality. The pistol is equipped with a fixed backstrap that boasts an excellent texture, which provides for enhanced control. This texture is also present on the forward-facing part of the grip as well as the magazine release. An oversized trigger guard allows for simple operation of the pistol with or without gloves. Speaking of control, the 18-degree angle of the grip promotes more natural aiming. All of this blends perfectly with the easy-to-conceal profile of the pistol. You may also be pleased to hear that Smith & Wesson is already working with top manufacturers to offer personalization in the way of lasers, holsters and sights.

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield features a 3.1-inch barrel and an overall length of 6.1 inches. Ordinarily, I would not bother mentioning the width, but the Nano boasts an astounding width of .95 inches! The slide and the barrel are manufactured from steel, with both featuring a black Melonite finish. The pistol weighs in at just below 1.25 pounds. The inclusion of an adjustable 3-dot iron sight system, which features a dovetail front sight, provides for the rapid acquisition of targets and pinpoint accuracy. Included with every pistol are two magazines – one 7-round magazine and one 8-round extended magazine that provides a full three-finger grip.

Now we come to the complaint department. Of course, I do not mean my complaints – this is an excellent pistol with an excellent design. This is where I address the complaints of people who have likely yet to handle the M&P Shield but found it necessary to voice their opinions anyway. First up is the manual thumb safety. The safety is extremely well designed. When disengaged, it offers a profile that is low enough so as not to interfere with thumb placement. If you do not want a safety, ignore it. The lever is tight enough that accidentally engaging the safety is nearly impossible. Next up is the trigger. Many people are not fans of the M&P-style trigger. Though the design of the trigger on the M&P Shield remains unchanged, the trigger pull is much smoother than its predecessors. I know because I have handled it. If you do not believe me, read some other reviews.

If you are looking for a powerful pistol suitable for concealed carry, consider your search over. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield has arrived. Chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum, this pistol is set to force a great deal of concealed carry pistols into early retirement. Consider the Shield for:

- Personal protection and concealed carry

- Target shooting

- Law enforcement

- Collections

- Much more…

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