Smith & Wesson’s New Subcompact M&P Shield.
You remember the fairy tale, Goldilocks and 3 Bears right? Goldilocks invades the home of three innocent bears. She tries out their porridge, chairs and beds, finding two out of three of each too hot or too big, too cold or too small, but one is just right. Today, she would be busted for burglary and vandalism, but that’s another story. Anyway, that was my impression the first time I picked up our test-and-eval S&W’s Shield 9mm: Not too small, not too big, but just right. It snuggles nicely in a coat pocket, but shoots like a belt-gun.
It’s no secret that I don’t like little-bitty guns, especially the 9.5-ounce teensy .380s. They almost seem alive as they squiggle around in my oversized mitts, and when I present ’em, it’s like I’m pointing my truck key. Then comes their bite when I pull the trigger, which seems out of any reasonable proportion to their terminal effect.
I realize they fill a niche, and I often carry one as a backup. I have no illusions about the .380 ACP cartridge. It ain’t a .45, but I wouldn’t want a 10-year-old boy thrusting a sharpened stick into my gut or face, either—especially if he does it a half-dozen times, as hard as he can. Still, I would be more comforted with the power of a 9mm Parabellum round, and a frame I can get a firm and certain grip on. I’ve tried a handful of undersized 9s and found them lacking in reliability, pointability, and/or stability in the hand. The Shield fills the bill for me beautifully, and it might do the same for you.
This latest addition to the “next-generation” M&P family is S&W’s smallest to date, and the Shield faithfully replicates their proven mechanics and best features, just in a coat-pocket-friendly size. No parts are interchangeable with the other family members, and the Shield really had to be reengineered to assure reliability and longevity using a powerful round in such a small format. It wasn’t just a matter of reducing all dimensions. Let’s do a walk-around, OK?
By John Connor
Photos By Robbie Barrkman
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