If you follow the firearms industry at all, you have probably noticed the plethora of sub-compact handguns designed for carry. Traditionally, these guns skimped on features more commonly associated with their full sized counterparts. As time has progressed however, we are seeing more and more innovation in the world of sub-compact carry pieces, and the lines between the pocket pistols and duty guns grow more blurred when it comes to features.
Smith and Wesson launched their wildly successful line of M&P (Military and Police) semi-auto, striker fired handguns in 2005. Though the lineup was originally geared towards and marketed for law enforcement personnel, where the guns have enjoyed great success, civilians took notice. In 2012, Smith and Wesson released the 9mm and .40 S&W variants of the Shield, and heavily marketed the pistols for civilians to use as concealed carry pieces. It worked extremely well. The guns began selling like crazy and haven’t let up since. According to CBS News, as of 2016, the M&P Shield 9mm was America’s #1 selling gun. Reportedly more than 1 million of these firearms have been sold.
It’s hard to argue with numbers like that. The Shield 9mm is a gun that carries well, shoots well, and has a respectable capacity of 7+1 with the flush fitting magazine, and 8+1 with the extended magazine. Here are some specs from Smith and Wesson’s website:
- 3.1″ barrel
- Sights are steel, with two white dots in the rear, one in the front
- Polymer Frame
- Weight is listed as 18.3 oz (unloaded)
- Overall length is 6.1″
- Width is 1″
- MSRP is listed as $479.00
I have owned both the original Shield, as well as the 2.0. While I believe both are great guns, I do prefer the more aggressive grip texturing on the 2.0. The trigger is improved, but not enough that I would justify spending the money to upgrade from the 1.0 to the 2.0. Neither variant has ever given me issues with reliability, and holsters work for both versions. The MSRP that Smith and Wesson has listed is exorbitantly high compared to what I have actually seen the guns go for. Brand new 2.0’s can be had for less than $380 all day long, and used 1.0’s I have routinely seen for less than $300, and in fantastic shape.
As Smith and Wesson says on their website, “One million Shield owners can’t be wrong.” As much as I like Glock, I’d have to say they are right.
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