Author Topic: HOW DOES THE NEW M&P SHIELD PLUS (DOUBLE) STACK UP?  (Read 46 times)

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Online Graybeard

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« on: April 05, 2021, 10:22:48 AM »


Thereís a new Smith & Wesson Shield: The M&P Shield Plus. The latest version of the venerable 9mm micro-compact has an advantage over its predecessorsóa significant increase in capacity. The earlier versions of the smallest 9mm Shield held 7 rounds in its flush-fit magazine, but this new one begins with 10 rounds in the mag. And the extended mag holds 13.

That may be the most noticeable difference for those who know the older gun. And it isnít insignificant. Imagine you could have a car that looks exactly like your current car but gets almost twice the gas mileage. Would you make the switch?

Magazine capacity isnít the same as gas mileage. I tend to spend more on ammo when Iíve got magazines with increased capacity. I canít leave rounds in the magójust doesnít feel rightóso I shoot until theyíre empty. A more apt metaphor would be a car with a much bigger gas tank.

The M&P Shield Plus is big enough to hold and small enough to be concealed easily.

The capacity, no matter how you look at it, is the big story here. The Shield, a tremendously popular EDC gun and a popular choice for a backup gun for many, now holds more rounds. Smith could have stopped right there and made news with this gun.

How did they increase the Shieldís capacity?

The grip is a bit wider. By my measurements, the M&P Shield Plus is about 1/10 of an inch wider. It feels more ovoid in shape. Iíve got big hands, so Iím not bothered by the extra size. In fact, I canít really notice it unless it is side-by-side with an original.

My 13-year-old son, though, picked it up and said ďthis is much wider.Ē So there you go. Heís about 5í7″. Iím 6í4″. He can feel the size. I canít.

Why are there fired rounds in the magazine? Donít ask. It is still a top-notch illustration.

I can marvel at the interior of the grip, though. Thatís where much of the strategic reduction happened. The magazine is noticeably boxy at the shoulders, where the two lines of ammo become one, and the M&P Shield Plus had to make room for it somehow.

And the mags are still very well built. Theyíre steel and laser welded.

The interior walls of the new Shield are thin. Hard to take a good image of the inside of the mag.

What else did Smith do to the Shield?
There are two other big changes to the gun. The first is the grip texture. Smith has softened the texture just a bit. It looks like there was a very jagged pattern of micro pyramids that have been hit with just enough heat to round off the peaks. The new texture is supposed to be slightly easier on the hands and much easier on clothing and skin for those who carry it every day.

M&P Shield Plus grip texture. Note the texture on the mag-release button, too.
The new grip texture. Note the texture on the mag-release button, too. Just enough to be meaningful.

While I am a fan of the increased capacity of the M&P Shield Plus, Iím not so enamored with the grip texture. Iíve only had this gun for a week, but Iíve taken it to the range twice. Both times, the weather was just hot enough for me to break a sweat when I was moving. And it gets a bit slick.

The trigger on the new Shield Plus has a flat face. It feels fantastic.

I can hold an older Shield almost completely flat. This newer version is slightly harder to hold down. The texture doesnít bite into my skin as Iíd like. If Iím even slightly sweaty, muzzle-flip becomes harder to control.

Part of this comes from the lack of texture on the frame. One of the many things that Smith is missing is texture above the trigger well and on the front of the frame. Is that a deal-breaker for a gun like this? Hardlyóbut it is something you need to train around.

The other change

The M&P Shield Plus also has a flat-faced trigger. This one, like the capacity, is kickass.

I really like the trigger on this gunóit functions flawlessly. Thereís a slight take-up and a clean break. The reset is reasonable for an EDC gun and easy enough to feel in rapid-fire.

The trigger breaks at a comfortable 6+ pounds. Thatís reasonable for accurate shot placement and stout enough that Iím not likely to pull without an intentional movement.

Sights and such

There are ways that the Shield has always been a great EDC gun, and the new version is no different. The mag-release button on this gun is big enough to find and use without having to look at the grip. It isnít so big that you will accidentally press it when you grip the pistol, but it isnít small either. And the texture there is nice both aesthetically and functionally.

The slide release.

The slide release is much harder to use. Thereís a slight bump in the steel, but it is still much easier to sling-shot this one closed during a mag change. You can hit that button, but it takes some serious muscle to drop the slide.

Like the other Shield pistols, take-down couldnít be easier. You can release this lever easily and you donít have to pull the trigger to get the slide off. This is a welcome featureóone that is meant to prevent accidents.

The Standard version has white 3-dot sights. The Performance Center version offers other options. Note the odd bit of texture on the rear of the slide. Donít put your thumb there.

The sights, though. Back when the Honor Guard took on the Shield, one of the many things that Honor Defense got right was the sights. Thereís no good reason to have a sloped ramp on the front of your rear sight. Not one. Is that so you can be sloppy when you shove it into a holster?

The M&P Shield Plus front sight is drift adjustable, as is the rear.

With a ledge on that edge of the sight, the gun can be racked one-handed much more easily. Hook that ledge on anything, even your holster, and push. Thatís it.

The sights on the M&P Shield Plus arenít badótheyíre just not great.

But thereís a Performance Center option that offers several other upgrades, and sights are the first thing Iíd fix.

Shooting the M&P Shield Plus

A disclaimer. When I shoot slow and steady, I can shoot accurately. With subcompact 9mms and the urgency I force into concealed carry drills, I tend to pull consecutive shots left of center.

25 feet, target shot group from a full 10 round Shield Plus magazine.

With the M&P Shield Plus, I had to slow down a bit to get the dead-nuts accuracy I was looking for. But it delivered. This is from 25 feet. Thatís not bad for me and this size gun. I was really impressed, actually, with how easy it was for me to punch out the center.

Notice how my support hand is slipping from the frame.

Iím a big proponent of training. And this is why. I have a harder time holding down this gun than I do other subcompact 9mms. Even when I have a solid grip on the gun, it wants to kick up more than others this size.

Shield Plus recoil with a younger shooter's hands. There's just not much for the support hand to connect to.

The same look from a much-younger shooter. Thereís just not much for the support hand to connect to.

And here you can see the same in my sonís hands. The Shield Plus surprised him. This was actually his first shot with it, and he thought he had it held down.

After a few rounds, though, youíll get the feel for what it takes. The gun is controllable. We all need regular practice with our gripóand the Shield Plus will remind you of that if you get lax.

These guns are not meant to be fun-guns or plinkers. Theyíre designed for EDC. I can see what Smith was doing with softening the grip texture. It is what it is.

As for holsters, I havenít had the chance to check direct compatibility between the new version and the older ones. Iíd think it should fit 2.0 holsters with no problem, or anything forgiving and leather.

The only holster I had on hand that fit was this one from Urban Carry.

Wrapping up

The M&P Shield Plus has an MSRP of $553. Retail, even in this market, is lower. And yesóI did buy this one outright. As a gun reviewer, I typically get guns loaned to me for review purposes, but I didnít this time. I bought this two days after Smith announced the new gun, and my FFL had several in stock.

The price-tag may be enough to keep some folks away. It puts the new Shield out of reach for some, but it is consistent with S & Wís pricing. And the gun is a welcome addition to a growing field of sub-compact 9mms with robust capacity. Competition keeps these companies honest.

And there are options for those who want to take this gun to the next level. As I mentioned above, the Performance Center upgrades are available. For those who want to run red dots, that may be a good place to start.

Bill aka the Graybeard
President, Graybeard Outdoor Enterprises

I am not a lawyer and do not give legal advice.

Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life anyone who believes in Him will have everlasting life!

Offline Lloyd Smale

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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2021, 10:23:52 PM »
buddy found one at a local gunshop. I havent shot it but he really likes it and he has more shooting experience then probably all of us rolled together. He said he actually likes it better then his hellcat and much better then his little sig.
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Offline DDZ

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« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2021, 07:41:55 AM »
I wish I could find one in my area. Wonder what gun shops are selling them for?
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