Test: with the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield polymer pistol in 9x19 mm on the firing range

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield disassembled
Smith & Wesson supplies the Shield with two magazines: here the longer version with a polymer coating following the grip contour. Despite Melonite coating, S&W chooses stainless steel for most steel components.

In contrast to the longer and wider Military & Police versions, in the Shield the US manufacturer renounced to levers on both sides and interchangeable palmswell inserts.  The stainless steel magazines are not truly single-stack, the body measuring 16.5 mm in width except for the lips area. The disassembly pin in the back of the grip is also missing on the small Shield models, as is the Picatinny rail under the muzzle. Technically, as usual, these guns use a Browning system with the chamber block locking in the ejection port, combined with a partially pretensioned striker. The surfaces of the steel parts are protected from rust and scratches by nitriding, although Smith & Wesson still uses stainless steel alloys.

How does the 9mm M&P Shield pistol handle?

Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield
Six or seven  9mm Luger rounds in compact dimensions: the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield.

The pistol status can be checked through an opening at the rear of the chamber. Like many other pistols, the Shield also has a trigger safety device in addition to various automatic safety devices, which prevents the trigger from moving in case of strong shocks. Unlike the competitors, In Springfield, Massachusetts, they solved the problem by not just adding a tongue in the trigger, but using a two-part trigger blade

The wave-shaped serrations on the slide, that offer secure grip even with wet hands, provide a striking look. The Shield is available in several versions, e.g. with or without a thumb safety, as well as some special versions with reflex sight and with ported barrel to reduce recoil.

Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield: technical data and price


Smith & Wesson M & P 9 Shield

Price:719 euro (price may vary due to VAT and custom duties)
Caliber: 9 mm Luger (9x19)
Magazine capacity:6/7 + 1 cartridges
Barrel length:2.9" / 74 mm
Dimensions (L x W x H):6.1 x 1.06 x 4.64 in (155 x 27 x 118 mm)
Trigger pull weight:109.3 oz / 3.100 g
Weight:20.28 oz / 575 g
Notes:Striker-fired action, partially preloaded striker, melonite finish, polymer frame, trigger safety, Browning locking system, drift adjustable steel sights.

Evaluating the M&P 9 Shield test gun 

The steel sights of the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield 
The steel sights are well dimensioned in relation to the size of the gun, but offer no further extras.

In the accuracy area, the Shield coped best with Federal's Tactical JHP self-defense load (-4 points) – no malfunctions occurred on the shooting stand (-0 points). The trigger featuring a medium-length travel and reset offers a more clearly defined breaking point than a GLOCK, for example, without approaching a real SIG P 210-style breaking point. Trigger overtravel should also be a little less, even if the factory trigger is perfectly usable for a gun with a partially pretensioned striker (-3 P.). The grip texture doesn't offer enough purchase even for a small pocket pistol, but overall the hand position subjectively seems to be correct and when using the eight-shot magazine also the small finger comfortably fits on the magazine extension in the grip contour (-2 P.). The controls are small and narrow, but still pleasant to operate and the magazine release can be reversed. The Shield features a disassembly lever on the left side above the trigger, but can still only be stripped with a tool, or else the pistol can be disassembled after pulling the trigger (-1 P.). Rear and front sights are made of steel and offer an effective sight picture, but apart from white dots there are no other extras and there are no other adjustment options besides knocking them (-1 P.). Basically, workmanship and finish are of high quality. Only the warning about the missing magazine safety is laser-engraved, otherwise there are discreet-looking roll markings. The manufacturer could better conceal the casting seam on the frame, and the barrel had a slight lateral play in the chamber area (-2 P.).

Test results: S&W M&P 9 Shield

Accuracy (max. 50 points) 
46 points
Cycling/safety (max. 10 p.) 
10 points
Trigger characteristics (max. 10 p.)7 points
Grip design (max. 5 p.) 
3 points
Controls (max. 10 p.) 
9 points
Sights (max. 5 p.) 
4 points
Fit and finish (max. 10 p.) 
8 points
Total points (max. 100 p.) 
87 points
Test result 
Very good
5 out of 6

Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield: wrap-up

In conclusion, the M&P 9 Shield lends itself to a direct comparison with GLOCK ‘s competitor models. Here it can be seen that the Shield as a whole and in many respects resembles a small GLOCK, with a few additional parts made of steel instead of polymer and a more conventional grip angle. In the overall standings, however, the comparable GLOCKs are ahead, albeit just a notch.

This article is also available in this language: