I finally had the opportunity to take the little Shield out to the range. I have to say I’m quite impressed. Unfortunately the pictures that I took didn’t turn out too well, but I’ll attempt this blog anyways. I’ve already talked about the Shield in unboxing and a comparison to the Springfield XDs-45 here.
Like all M&Ps it just feels right in my hand. The texturing is enough to be able to handle the recoil but not too aggressive to become painful like when shooting the XD-s. Recoil is minimal despite it size. I thought that the high bore axis might lead to some squirlyness, but it handled quite well. Double taps and rapid fire were easy to keep in good groups for defensive purposes. At longer ranges the Shield is adequately accurate. With factory reloads I was able to produce a nice 5″ group offhand.
I am happy to report that reliability was 100% as expected. It ran about 100 FMJs to warm it up and then tried a couple of defensive rounds. On hand I had some Hornady Critical Defense 115gr, Federal HdraShocks 124gr, Federal HST 124gr, Ranger T-Series 147gr and Fiocchi 115gr hollow points, all of which ran flawless. I will probably be carrying the HSTs. I am also happy to report that the safety wasn’t an issue and I don’t think it will be.
One of the pleasures of shooting the M&P is the trigger. It’s like getting my XDs-45 all over again. The trigger breaks at a good weight, just over 6 lbs. It is smooth and unlike my full size M&P has a great reset. For such a little gun it’s a pleasure to shoot. My only gripe right now is the lack of availability of magazines. It looks like I’m going to have to spend some time this weekend making a holster for it.
For a review of the Shield that is better than anything I could come up with watch this. Man can that old guy shoot. I can only hope to spend my retirement days reviewing firearms at my private range… I digress, please feel free to comment if you have any questions on the Shield.
It’s always an exciting day when I get a new firearm. The urge to go out and test it is really the only thing that runs through my mind until I can satisfy it. It’s also a sad day for me today because I’m losing a member of my collection. As I stated in my last post, I am changing my concealed carry setup. When I received my XDs back from the recall the trigger wasn’t the same as before and it had lost one of the qualities that I loved about it. I had been contemplating moving completely to a 9mm anyways (my main carry is a Glock 19). So I put the XDs up for sale. It was easy to sell since I had a bunch of accouterments that I basically threw in for free. This freed up the funds to purchase the 9mm replacement. Luckily I don’t have to hand over the XDs until tomorrow so that gave me the opportunity to do a comparison.
I decided to go with the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield. There are several reasons why. To me the Springfield and the M&P are in the same category. Both are highly reliable, similarly sized, striker fired, quality handguns. You really can’t go wrong with either. What it really boils down to is features. It just so happens that my decision was made on price since I really couldn’t decide. The military discount that Smith and Wesson offers is pretty incredible.
There are several other handguns in this same “class” that were not considered for one reason or the other. The Ruger LC9 has a double action only trigger that I absolutely hate. The post recall XDs is bad enough… The Remmington R51, the new kid on the block, has had some serious quality control issues. I kind of loved the idea of the R51 but after reading more about it I don’t think I could ever buy one. The Beretta Nano is just, well… I don’t like the lack of external controls, but that could be a good thing. I’ve owned Khars and again double action trigger. I’ve never been a fan of Whalter’s. Some people love them, I just, meh. Other contenders were either prohibitively expensive, not a proven brand, or had one of the afore mentioned gripes. This left me with the M&P and the XDs9.
Looking at them both it’s easy to see that they are quality handguns. Most parts, like the slide rails and slide release, are machined rather then stamped (here’s looking at you Glock…). I’ll break it down by what I consider the important categories.
Size-It’s a tie. They are almost Identical.
Aesthetics-I have to give this one to the M&P. The XDs looks like the chunky ugly friend.
Trigger-You can probably guess where the vote goes here. M&P.
Trigger Reset-Tie. Both are audible and tactile without being obnoxious like my Glock.
Safeties-The XDs. Both have trigger safeties but I much prefer the XDs palm safety to the M&P manual safety. I need to see if I can get that thing removed.
Sights-XDs. A front fiber optic sight standard? What? The sights on the M&P are standard three dot. Not bad just nothing to write home about.
Adjustability-XDs. Interchangeable back straps. Luckily the M&P fits my hand quite nicely but it could be a problem for someone with larger hands.
Caliber-XDs. A pocket .45 wins hands down. However, I don’t feel underpowered with the 9mm. Don’t get me started on the M&P in a 40. I’ve shot one and it was one of the worst shooting experiences of my life.
Capacity-Technically a tie since the XDs is also offered in a 9mm and the standard magazines are both 7 rounds. The XDs does offer a 9 rounder but the M&P only offers an 8.
Ease of Takedown-Tie. They both takedown in exactly the same way.
Cost-M&P. With my military discount it was just over $300. The XDs with a military discount is still about $450. Add about $100 to both for consumer prices.
Comfort-M&P. Holding it is just like it’s big brother, which I feel is the most comfortable handgun ever. It has enough grip without being obtuse like the checkering on the XDs. The checkering on the XDs works well but feels a little to aggressive.
I will update this blog when I get it out to the range. I’ve shot one before and loved it and I don’t feel like that it going to change. It’s unfortunate I won’t be able to do a side by side shooting. I don’t feel like this would be an accurate representation since the calibers are so different. What I would like to see, however, is how much the slightly higher bore axis effects the Shield.
Did I miss anything? Please feel free to email or comment.