The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is a striker fired polymer frame pistol aimed at the Conceal Carry market. It is avialable in 9mm, 40S&W and .45 ACP and is widely considered by many experts to be the best conceal carry pistol available today in terms of ergonomics, accuracy and reliability. With over 1 million M&P Shield pistols sold to date.
Prior to the release of the Smith & Wesson M&P line of pistols the dominant conceal carry polymer frame pistol on the market was the Glock 26. The M&P Shield have since surpassed the Glock 26 in accuracy and has matched the Glocks performance in reliability. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield have achieved this while also being about a $100 cheaper than the Glock 26. The is a single stack pistol which makes it thinner and lighter thant the Glock 26 which is a double stack magazine which makes it thicker and hard to conceal and carry. Glock has since asnwered with the Glock 43 which is a single stack 9mm like the M&P Shield but it has not been recieved as well as the shield and has not sold as well either.
So what makes the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield so good ?
As a conceal carry pistol the Smith & Wesson M&P Shieldpretty much gets everything right, so lets examine its strong points. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is striker fired which prevents the weapon from firing unless the trigger is directly pulled. Zytel is used in the frame design to reduce weight which is superimposed on a steel chassis.
The steel slide is treated with a proprietary process called Melonite which produces a matte gray non glare finish with a 68 Rockwell C surface hardiness rating.
Ergonomics: The slide has a low profile which holds the barrel axis closer to the shooters hand to reduce recoil. Not only does this make the Smith & Wesson M&P Shieldmore comfortable to shoot but also makes reacquiring your target in a rapid fire scenario much quicker. The pistol also comes with interchangeable back straps on the full size and compact models to fit various hand sizes
Reliability: The slide has only 4 points of contact with the frame leaving room for small particles of dirt to fall off during operation. A useful feature should your pistol fall in dirt, mud or sand. Just YouTube Smith & Wesson M&P Shieldtorture test to see for yourself.
Accuracy: The slide design also aids with accuracy as discussed before, the low profile of the slide holds the barrel axis closer to the shooters hand which enhances natural point of aim and hence accuracy. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is said to be one of the best conceal carry pistols on the market with a natural point of aim. New shooters acquire a higher level of accuracy shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P Shieldover all other subcompact polymer pistols currently available on the market.