Concealed carry is not a new concept, but the last several years have seen an incredible growth in the number of people who carry. There are obvious factors that drive this, but the number one reason is safety. A good firearm provides a sense of security unlike anything else. Inside the concealed carry world there are countless options from micro blasters to full size hand cannons. The unofficial modern-day king of the hill in this arena is the Smith & Wesson Shield. Well, for 2021 we might have a new king in the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield Plus.
S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Details
Originally released at the NRA Annual meeting in 2012, the small sleek Shield pistol has become one of the most popular carry guns of all time. In fact, in 2019 Smith and Wesson sold more than three million Shields in the U.S. It comes in a variety of flavors, but the bones of the gun have remained the same. Most companies would be content to maintain the status quo on such a gun and just count their money. This is not the case with Smith and Wesson, as it went back to the design table to find a way to make the Shield even better. The product of its efforts is the Shield Plus.
While there are several improvements to this popular pistol, the number one thing that stands out is magazine capacity. The Shield has always been a good carry gun, but magazine capacity was a bit on the thin side. That has changed as it now comes with an extended mag giving it a 13+1 capacity. This is a lot of 9mm capacity in a micro-compact pistol. In fact, it has the highest capacity of any pistol in this category. S&W also includes a flush-fit 10-round magazine for states that do not understand the constitution.
The next thing that is equally as interesting is a new trigger. The Shield trigger has been the point of millions of conversations over the years with hopes that it could somehow be improved. The Shield Plus has accomplished that. First the actual design of the trigger is different. While previous models had a mid-trigger hinge design, the Plus model has a continuous trigger with a striker safety release integrated into the face.
Additionally, it is a flat face trigger that by design should allow more consistent finger placement and more accurate and repeatable shooting. I measured the trigger on the pistol in hand and it broke consistently at 5.25 pounds. This is less than previous models I have run. Additionally, the trigger wall prior to break is exceptionally clean and short. For long-time Shield shooters, this is a very marked improvement. Reset distance is good while being very tactile and audible.
The last major improvement is in the grip. The Plus has what S&W is calling an “Enhanced Grip.” Based off consumer feedback around the M2.0 grip texture, S&W implemented a more balanced texture. The stippling allows the user to manage recoil and keep a firm grip and not irritate the skin while carrying concealed. It is a good balance of grip without being abusive to your hands or clothes. They have stayed with the 18-degree grip angle, which is one of the reasons for its popularity. This angle is remarkably similar to 1911s and offers a very natural point of aim.
S&W has succeeded in making the Shield even better. The improvements on this new model take the Shield to a new level of performance and capacity which will solidify its spot at the top of the concealed carry hill! For even more info, please visit smith-wesson.com.
Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield Plus Specs
- Frame Size: Micro-Compact
- Caliber: 9mm
- Action: Striker-Fired
- Capacity: 13+1 / 10+1
- Barrel Length: 3.1 inches
- Rifling: 1:10″- 5 RH
- Front Sight: White Dot
- Rear Sight: White 2-Dot
- Frame Width: 1.1 inches
- Overall Height: 4.6 inches
- Overall Length: 6.1 inches
- Sight Radius: 5.3 inches
- Grip: Polymer
- Weight: 17.9 ounces
- Magazine Weight: 13 Round: 2.6 ounces, 10 Round: 2.2 ounces
- Barrel Material: Stainless Steel with Armornite Finish
- Slide Material: Stainless Steel with Armornite Finish
- Slide Finish: Matte Black
- Frame Material: Polymer
- MSRP: $553