Everyone is buzzing about the new M&P Shield.
I’m sure more information will come out as the NRA Show starts today and runs through the weekend. I’m sure it will be the #1 product everyone will talk about and want to handle on the show floor.
I will admit, I find it intriguing and would love to get my hands on one, not necessarily to buy, but to test and evaluate. Why? Because of the form factor. I’m thinking about people with smaller hands, and if it might fit the bill for those people.
Over at KR Training, when we’re teaching new students in the Basic Pistol 1 class, a large point of that class is to let students try a bunch of different guns, see what they like, and more importantly, learn about gun fit. While they get to try a lot of different guns in the class, there’s no way we can demo every gun that’s out there, even the smaller subset of good guns (sorry, we don’t promote crappy guns). So the best thing we can do is arm the student with knowledge so when they go to the store they are able to make better decisions about what to buy and what not to buy. But of course, having some direct knowledge of specific makes and models goes a long way.
The way the striker guns are going, it’s big fat double-stack magazines and thus grips, and people with smaller hands tend to have a rougher time. So we tend to have to point those people towards 1911’s or the few good single-stack semi-autos like Kahr’s. Not that that’s a bad thing, but due to their hands it just forces them into a realm with fewer choices. That’s not always great because you want folks to have a solid, proven, modern platform like Glock, M&P, or XD, and while all those models can now change backstraps, sometimes it’s still not enough for those with really small hands. So it was cool to see Springfield make their XD-S, as an XD in a single-stack frame with a very slim and compact profile. And now S&W is putting out the M&P Shield, as a single-stack (well, essentially) in a slim and compact profile. I do find it interesting that Springfield went with .45 ACP and S&W went with 9mm and eventually .40 S&W. And of course, we all doubt Glock will ever do this.
We do generally recommend beginners get larger guns, because they are easier to shoot and are better suited for a beginner to establish the fundamentals of shooting. However sometimes you have to work with what God gave you. I am wondering if this might work out as a gun suitable for filling this niche, or at least giving more options to people in this niche.
As for me, I’m not sure if the reduced size really gains anything for me. I recall comparing my XD-9 subcompact to a J-frame in terms of size/carry comparison, and while of course the XD had greater capacity, the J-frame won out in terms of overall size and ability to be better carried in an NPE. And if I can carry a larger gun, I will, and I do. So I’m not sure this particular gun would work well for me personally, but I would like to know how well it works so we could speak knowledgeably about it to students.
A few other interesting points. I read that there’s a more discernible reset. Hrm… interesting. Sounds like S&W is listening. I wonder what impact this has on Apex Tactical’s business. 😉 And reading Caleb’s review, seeing it keeping to about a 4″ group at 25 yards from a standing hold? That’s pretty good. Could perhaps S&W be quietly addressing the M&P’s accuracy issues? I’m not sure about the thumb safety… I’d be curious to know if you could honestly leave it turned off and the gun still be usable (e.g. the drop safety doesn’t rely upon it, which it shouldn’t; exactly how does their thumb safety mechanism hook into the action; unlike a 1911 where you gotta use it; etc.).
But the biggest thing? The price point. $449 MSRP is just crazy low price. I’m sure here at first it’ll retail around that price because I’m sure demand will be hot. But that’s some aggressive pricing for the market. I’m sure it’s going to be a big seller.