The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. Oh hotness of hotness for the perfect concealed carry gun, right?
If you search my blog about the Shield, you’ll find thoughts here and there about shooting it and carrying it. Back in June 2012 I carried it for a little while. Well, I ended up carrying it again for the past couple months.
Did my opinion change?
I opted to do it again because of an interesting combination of factors.
First, it was Texas summer. Hot. That means you want to wear less clothing, or lighter/thinner (material) clothing. Consequently, concealment is more difficult. The Shield does conceal quite well, at least on a body of my size.
Second, my clothing doesn’t fit the same any more. All this weight lifting that I’m doing, and I’m a bigger guy than I was before. Some shirts, some pants… there’s just not as much spare and loose cloth any more. 🙂 And so, that makes things harder to conceal. I don’t like tight clothing, but it just takes time to update the wardrobe.
Third, I just wanted to give the thing another try. I’m exploring AIWB more, and I’ve wondered if this might make a fair AIWB gun.
I maintain that this gun is comfortable, but not comforting. No question there’s great comfort in wearing it. There’s no butt sticking out, knocking into the backs of chairs, making it uncomfortable or awkward to sit and lean back. The slimmer size means there’s less waistband consumed by the thickness of the gun. The general lack of bulk and corners jutting out just makes it more comfortable on a daily basis, even with things like your arms dangling or swinging at your side as you walk — nothing bumps.
I found myself doing more dry work with the Shield, and found myself constantly frustrated with it. I just can’t get a really tight grip on the gun. I cannot get my hand to tuck itself up hard and close under the beavertail. There’s always some small gap. It’s just the nature of my hand vs. the shape/size of this grip. It’s not very comforting.
I still have only the Apex hard sear in there. I did purchase the full Shield trigger kit, but I have still yet to install it. Low priority.
So I don’t know. There’s a part of me that really wants to love this gun, but I just keep finding it doesn’t measure up. If I can’t get a good grip on the draw, if capacity will be so limited, if it provides more wearable comfort than “gee this is the reason I carry a gun” comfort… well….
Again, this is me. We all have different circumstances, and the Shield may be right for you. I’m begrudgingly coming to terms with it not being right for me.
That said, I’ve been throwing around the notion of an M&P9c. Again, I really would prefer a full-sized gun. But with my exploration into AIWB, I’d like to see if a compact might work. Heck, I’ve even wondered about a Glock 19, but I’m more reluctant to go there just because it would be a larger cost (gun, holster, mag pouches, lots of magazines, better sights, better trigger, etc..). But the 9c and 19 have similar enough dimensions that trying out a 9c may cure me of some Glock desires. 🙂
Continuing to explore….