The Smith & Wesson Shield
Introduced at Shot Show 2012 the 9mm Shield created quite a stir – and became quite the success for Smith & Wesson. Originally offered in two versions – thumb safety or not – the little pistol has really come a long way in just seven years. Smith & Wesson now produces them in four calibers – the original 9mm – a .40 caliber, .380 acp – and a .45 acp .
And so many different factory “options” it tends to be difficult to choose, yet you can find one that fills your specific needs if you are willing to wade through the myriad of offerings.
Night sights – ported barrels – integral laser – “Performance Center” models with upgraded triggers – ( all y’all know how I feel about aftermarket triggers for carry or duty handguns – work and practice – that ugly P word again – and upgrade your skill set !! ) just about any flavor you desire can be bought from the factory.
Let’s take a look at all four . . .
9 mm Shield – The one that started it all . . .
At the time of release it really raised the bar for small 9mm pistols. 7 plus 1 capacity – thin – very concealable inside the waistband and depending on the cut and fit of your pants even pocket carry. Touted as a single stack it’s actually a slight stagger stack. The .40 and .45 are true single stack magazines. Polymer framed for weight savings it comes in at just 18.6 ounces with no magazine. Steel insert for the rails – locking block – fire control group etc.
Then came the Shield in 40 S&W – Weighing slightly less – the barrel is thinner by just a bit – larger hole ( .40 caliber or 10 mm vs 9mm ) – and since the 40 S&W is a little larger diameter cartridge – the breech face , extractor , and ejector are different. Externally ( except for the bore ) the pistols are identical. Holster , Talon grips , lights , sights , lasers etc. are interchangeable.
And then came the Shield in .45 caliber. It is slightly longer in slide and barrel. A tiny bit wider in the slide – and just a little bit longer grip and ever so slightly taller.
Most leather holsters ( and some kydex ) will interchange – I have holsters for the 9mm and the ones I use work with all 3 versions. I utilize the 9mm and .40 as pocket pistols utilizing this minimal kydex cover –
It is as simple as can be – loop it around a belt loop – “click” it over the trigger guard and slip the pistol in your pocket. It even works on the .45 Shield –
The only issue is the .45 Shield just won’t fit in a pocket – the 9mm and .40 are right on the edge of what I can utilize and the tiny difference in the size of the .45 Shield “sizes” it out of the pocket – but it works great inside the waist band or in a belt holster.
And last of the Shield series –
The Shield 380 EZ – S&W wanted to include a 380 in the Shield series – and they are calling this a Shield – so I guess it is a Shield – there are some significant differences between this and the other three, which we will look at when we get to the “380 EZ” post. Here is a side by side with a 9mm Shield and you can see S&W went down a little different path with the 380.
Plan to do each “flavor” as a stand alone post – Then I’ll pick a favorite – that won’t be hard to do for me (Hint – You will be surprised ) – can’t speak for y’all and which one you will pick.
Remember – Have Fun – Run the Gun – and Fish Heads are Cheap !!