Quick Review of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield vs the Ruger LC9 and M&P 9C

Smith & Wesson announced the M&P Shield 9mm at last week’s NRA convention in St Louis.  It is a single-stack 9mm similar in size to the Ruger LC9.  It ships with a flush (7) and 1 round extended (8)  mag.  It has a small manual safety.

We were fortunate to get a chance to test shoot the M&P Shield and what follows is a quick range report based on shooting it against the Ruger LC9 and M&P 9 Compact for comparison. Shooting was done by two shooters (Virgil & Sarah) and limited to a few magazines from each at ~15 feet distance offhand.

Shared impressions:

  • The Shield is made to similar fit and finish to it’s bigger M&P brethren which is to say very well
  • While the Palm Swell isn’t adjustable, it feels great in the hand and makes the grip feel much larger than the LC9, even though they’re about the same
  • The Shield trigger pull is very similar to the M&P 9C and much better than the LC9
  • The Shield is a bit heavier than the LC9, but not enough worry about
  • At a $449.00 MSRP Price Point, these are a great buy
Both shooters shot 1 mag from each pistol on a practice target to ‘warm up’ and get a basic sense of trigger pull, recoil, and sights.  They then shot 5 shot ‘groups’ for each.

Virgil's Target

Virgil’s Review:

The M&P Shield shot like an M&P  - which is outstanding in such a small package.  As you can see in the target above, group size for the Shield and 9C were quite comparable compact.  The trigger difference really shows vs the LC9 which takes much more practice to master (as shown in the vertical stringing).  The Shield reminded me a lot of the Glock 36, about my favorite and best shooting compact 45, and if Glock made a single stack 9, I would expect it to shoot like the Shield.  Felt recoil was a bit higher than the M&P 9C but not appreciable.  The LC9, being lighter, had more recoil and ‘flip’ than either S&W.

Sarah's Target

Sarah’s Review:
If you look at the red circle between the center and right target, you can see why I’m not a huge LC9 fan.  Somewhere below those two holes is a 3rd shot.  These were aimed at the center target.  The combination of long, heavy trigger and small sights make the LC9 hard to shoot without a lot of practice.
The Shield shot very well.  The 1st magazine for ‘score’ was 5 shots from the extended mag on the left target.  All of these grouped just under the centerline.  I then shot 3 shots from the flush mag into the same target – the 3 holes above the centerline.  I then switched to the right target with the M&P 9C and finished with a final 5 shots into the center target with the Shield and the extended mag.  I really liked the larger sights on the Shield vs the LC9 and the palm swell grip.
Shooter “Bios”:
Virgil & Sarah are the driving force behind Ranger Firearms & Mercantile, LLC – striving to make it Northwest Florida’s best & friendliest gun store.
Virgil has been shooting recreationally since his youth.  A Jack of All Trades but Master of None, he has shot a wide range of firearms over the years and dabbled in NRA High Power, IDPA, Steel Challenge, USPSA, Cowboy Action, and Muzzle Loader competition shooting when time permits.  Most at home behind the sights of a modern “Black” and traditional “Black Powder” rifles, he’s been working hard on improving his pistol skills.
Sarah is ever the good sport in trying new things.  She did her 1st competition (a Steel Challenge match) last year and has gravitated towards the Springfield XD-9 as her go-to semi-auto, although she’s started to hear the siren song of match-grade 1911′s.  No slouch in the rifle world, Sarah shoots them all from 22′s to AR-15′s and up and is the proud owner of a new flintlock rifle for the rendezvous circuit.
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