S&W Shield – 9mm & .40


Smith & Wesson Shield – this one is in .40 caliber

We are going to look at these as a pair – ( except for the breech face, extractor, ejector, and magazines they are the same  basic pistol )

With the introduction in 2012 of the Shield line Smith & Wesson put together an immediate success story that is still being written today – and shows no signs of slowing down. Let’s take a few minutes and look at some of the things that they did to to make this as popular as it has become . . .

Ergonomics – simply put – how does it feel? Now for a lot of consumer items ergonomics takes a passengers seat if not a back seat to function – simply because form becomes the issue, at times function almost becomes a secondary consideration the “styling” –  the color – the perception of a fashion sense – “does the dress make my butt look to big??” – Guys are screwed at that point – there is only a wrong answer to that question!! That table lamp just needs to provide light – that’s all – but if you go to any furniture store you realize form beats function. Why else would you have literally a 1000 or more different table lamps on display??

Handguns are a little different however –

Functionality – does it go bang? In the case of an auto loader, does it cycle reliably? – do the magazines feed reliably? – Ergonomics is a big part of it – but function leads and form follows. A lot of it is almost a Goldilocks kinda thing – Oh this grip is too big and this grip is to small but this one is just right – is the trigger reach too short – too short and the right handed folks will tend to shoot left – the left handed to the right – very small pistols (KelTec P3ATNAA Guardian – itty bitty stuff! ) those issues really show up – the Shield not so much – it is just big enough that someone with average size hand can do well with it with some practice. ( Damned P word again! ) S&W balanced it fairly well – yes the grips are thin, but it has enough trigger reach to somewhat off set the issue. The 18 degree grip angle helps with point-ability and “feel” and helps a lot with the ability to strip rounds out of the magazine and run them up into the chamber in a reliable manner.

More to consider – Recoil – slide mass vs recoil spring vs perceived recoil – amazingly the perceived recoil of the 9mm and the .40 are almost identical and the .45 has more recoil but the perception is a “gentler” recoil with it – ease of maintenance – is a degree in mechanical engineering needed to field strip – clean and re-assemble??

Let’s take a look . . .


9mm Shield

Check clear – Obviously ! – I include this because there does exist those among us those who would not think to do this – I simply refuse to launch into a rant about about non thinking people at this point – maybe tomorrow – maybe next week – but for today I will leave the oxygen thieves that are staggering among us alone in their blissful ignorance – see – I can feign being  tolerant despite it being difficult!! – and I am not breaking my New Years resolution – I resolved to no longer feign concern – I never said I would not feign tolerance!!!


Drop the magazine . . .


and rotate the take down lever 90 degrees clockwise . . .


release the slide and pull the trigger . . .


And as simple as that there is your 4 pieces  – ready to clean – no Greg – No bubble bath pics in this post!! – although at some point I will do a post on cleaning / lubing one just to show how easy it is – the pistol Greg – the pistol – some day maybe – if I can find some tasteful – shall we say artistic Asian girls in bubble baths pictures – just keep checking back Greg !!!

The biggest difference between the two ( 9 vs 40 ) is the slide . . .


9mm on the left – .40 on the right

The obvious is the breech face on the 9mm is smaller – and if you stare at it long enough the difference in the extractors is plain to see.


The hole in the slide for the barrel is the same – same barrel blank for either one – different sized hole – one bored, chambered and rifled for 9mm – the other for .40 . . .


9mm on the left – .40 on the right . . .

Even the recoil springs are the same part number!!!

Come on Bruce – How do they shoot ??


I would like to apologize up front for not having the pics from the .40 up here as well . . .

Multiple pics scattered across several different devices and multiple thumb drives – although now I think the term thumb nail drive is more appropriate. Pictures do exist of range time with the .40 – whether or not they exist on this planet . . . or in this dimension – well . . .

This pic is three magazines and firing at a sustained rate of about three rounds every two seconds – for me the 9mm is almost too slick feeling without some type of grip tape – rubber or grit type – either one would help with the “feel” – but damn they sure shoot nice – I did stick rubber style Talon Grips on the .40 and it does make a difference.

Easy to shoot well – easy to do normal maintenance on – easy to conceal – it’s not difficult to see how the Shield line up became such a success. I will get into the .45 and then the .380 and then a cleaning post as well.

Remember – Have Fun ( it really upsets some people to see other people having a good time ) – Run the Gun ( shooting is a hoot – kinda like Mom / apple pie / see the USA in your Chevrolet thing ) – and Fish Heads are Cheap !! Ain’t going there today !

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