Performance Center
Shield 2.0

S&W’s CCW “Phenom” Gets a Hotrod Makeover
6

The Smith & Wesson Shield has now become the 2.0 version and the Performance Center mod shop has added enhancements with a ported model. The gunsmiths at the Performance Center conceptualize, engineer and handcraft their products from the ground up and comprise the “Best of the Best” — each with an average length of service at S&W of over 23 years. What they’ve done for the Shield, in addition to porting the barrel and slide, is to polish the feed ramp and hood, tune the action, install a PC sear and test fire each gun for function.

A Platform Evolves

Introduced in 2012, the Shield is a continuation of the polymer-framed, short-recoil, locked-breech Military and Police (M&P) line introduced in the summer of 2005. The intention was to go head-to-head with GLOCK in the law enforcement market. Since its introduction, the M&P has captured a large percentage of this market. But while targeted at LE agencies, the M&P is extremely popular in the commercial market.

For the Shield, S&W took the power and features of their full-sized M&P and put them into a slim, lightweight pistol the size of your hand. The M&P Shield is easy to conceal, offering professional grade features with simple operation and reliable performance. It was one of the first of what we’ve come to call “single-stack nines,” attractive to the concealed carry crowd. Although the 9mm was the first one introduced, it was quickly followed by a .40 S&W version, and by early 2017, a .45 ACP version. S&W announced in November 2015 they had sold over one million Shields, and they’ve continued to sell well.

The 2.0 version was first announced with the full-size M&P in January 2018 with the Shield 2.0 version following later the same year. It’s a bit of a facelift based on feedback from Shield users over the preceding five years. The 2.0 has a refined trigger for a smoother pull, crisper break and a more audible, tactile reset. The frame stippling has been changed to give the shooter a better grip on the pistol — it’s a bit rougher, almost like sandpaper, but it does give you better purchase. The machining of the slide is a bit different, with a softer bevel and some fish scale serrations toward the front of the slide that aren’t on the original model.

The Performance Center added porting to help reduce muzzle flip and to provide some reduction in felt recoil. PC 2.0 Ported Shields are available in six flavors: two 9mms, two .40 S&Ws and two .45 ACPs. The difference in the two models for each caliber is the sights. You can opt for Tritium night sights or HIVIZ fiber optic sights. The two 9mm models have thumb safeties. None of the .40 S&W or .45 ACP models have them, though all Shields have internal safeties and trigger safeties.

The PC touch: Alongside the S&W Shield Model 2.0 comes a Performance Center
model with tuned action and ported barrel and slide.

The Performance Center added two ports in the Shield’s barrel and six ports in the
frame to dissipate redirected gasses. The ports reduce muzzle flip and felt recoil.

Less flip, better break

To find out how the porting works and to determine if there was any negatives — such as blinding muzzle flash or potential burns on the hands — I spent an afternoon shooting five different types of ammo through both the PC 2.0 Ported Shield and a non-ported original. I also enlisted the aid of some additional shooters to get their overall opinion of the new model.

The first thing we all noticed about the PC 2.0 Shield is the trigger. It’s definitely smoother. I checked it later with my Lyman Trigger Pull Scale and determined only a slight difference in the pull weight — 5.5-lb. average for the PC 2.0 Shield compared to a little over 6 lbs. for the original Shield. The real difference was in how it felt — the smoother pull, the tactile break and the reset. None of us even noticed any muzzle flash. The PC engineers apparently took care of this problem by how they placed the ports on the barrel and slide. The barrel ports are at 10 and 2, well forward on the barrel. The slide has three corresponding holes on each side moving rearward from the barrel holes. The arrangement seems to be very efficient.

Shooting at 7 yards from a standing two-handed position, all shooters were able to put all their rounds within a pie plate-sized target. The ported Shield wasn’t more, nor less, accurate than the older one, but it was easier on the hands and more pleasant to shoot. With an MSRP of only $539, it’s definitely worth the money to have a Performance Center gun to brag about!

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