Smith & Wesson has joined the 10+ capacity concealed carry ranks with the NEW M&P Shield PLUS.
Smith & Wesson just stepped up their game in the compact pistol category – big time. One of the biggest criticisms of their M&P Shield, both versions 1.0 and 2.0, was limited capacity, especially after several competitors introduced highly concealable firearms that carried 10 to 12 rounds. Not one to be left in the dust, however, Smith & Wesson has caught up with their new M&P Shield PLUS in two different versions.
Building on the wildly successful original Shield, these new versions carry over many of the same features of the legacy product but add some long-overdue updates that put it right in line with the Sig P365, Mossberg MC2, and Springfield Hellcat. Smith & Wesson finally has a true contender in the high-capacity sub-compact arena.
But it’s more than the just capacity that sets this new model apart. Several other features stand out, including an entirely new barrel and frame in a Performance Center version.
Let’s compare the old vs. new to see what Smith & Wesson has added to the Shield to make the PLUS:
|Shield M2.0||Shield PLUS||Shield PLUS Performance Center|
|Capacity||8+1 & 7+1||13+1 & 10+1||13+1 & 10+1|
|Barrel Length||3.1 inches||3.1 inches||4.0 inches|
|Front Sight||White||White||Fiber Optic Green|
|Rear Sight||White||White||Fiber Optic Red|
|Frame Width||1.1 inches||1.1 inches||1.1 inches|
|Overall Length||6.1 inches||6.1 inches||7.0 inches|
|Weight||18.3 ounces||20.2 ounces||22.4 ounces|
|Trigger||M2.0 Trigger||NEW Flat Face||NEW Flat Face|
|Optic Ready||No||No||Crimson Trace 4 MOA Red Dot Included|
|Available Manual Safety||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Two features, in particular, stand out above all the rest: two higher capacity magazines on both versions and the included red dot on the Performance Center upgrade. These are huge improvements over the base model Shield.
For those who might wonder how Smith & Wesson pulled this off engineering marvel of adding more rounds to an existing platform without altering the slide and frame, it was a feat of rather simple but genius engineering: just make the grip wider while leaving the frame and slide the same size. This means these guns hide under cover garments as well as the original Shields because the slide and frame are still just over an inch wide. It also means anyone who has an existing Shield or Shield Performance Center can still use the same holsters they have used for years. It’s always nice when a gun manufacturer improves their product without making the consumer start over. Smith & Wesson has done just with the Shield PLUS and Shield PLUS Performance Center pistols.
Another welcome change was the grip texture. When the first Shield came out, some shooters complained the grip was not grippy enough, that it slipped too much on follow-up shots. So Smith & Wesson added a more aggressive texture to the 2.0, solving the problem for some, but many then complained that S&W had overcorrected, that the new grip was too rough. So for the PLUS, the company has wrapped the grip in a moderate texture, halfway between the two, in hopes this will win back original version owners who abandoned the platform and version 2.0 shooters who got sore hands.
Smith & Wesson has answered the call for a higher-capacity concealed carry pistol with the Shield PLUS lineup. The new features make it a serious contender in this ever-growing space.
David Workman is an avid gun guy and a contributing writer to several major gun publications. As an NRA-certified instructor, David trains new shooters on basic handgun skills and CCW requirements and is a strong advocate for training as much as you possibly can. “Real-life shootouts don’t happen at a box range.”
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