Later thoughts on the M&P Shield

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. Oh hotness of hotness for the perfect concealed carry gun, right?

I dunno.

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….

13 thoughts on “Later thoughts on the M&P Shield

  1. If you ever find yourself close to buying a Gen 4 G19, do yourself a favor and try the Walther PPQ first.

    I always find double stack “compacts” to be not much of an improvement.

  2. “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.”

    You know I’m not a big guy. But being a lifter I always found that big lats + big posterior chain makes for a nice ‘pocket’ to conceal big handguns. I guess being short and stocky helps with that, though . . . anyway, update your wardrobe!!

    • In a way, it does.

      But it’s also causing well… more bumps and curves to deal with, longer levers due to longer slides against certain curves. Let’s say I can start to understand the issues women have with IWB. 🙂 I’m happy with the changes… it just of course has a cascade effect here.

      The wardrobe will slowly be updated… just takes time…. especially because clothing shopping isn’t as fun as gun shopping!

  3. I carried a glock 19 for about a year without any real complaints.

    But when my love affair with M&P’s started I was carry a full size M&P Pro for a while and then a regular M&P. Honestly, the pro was a little too big for me when carrying IWB but the regular full size was workable.

    I too tried the shield experiment and honestly I have many of the same problems you have with it. I have fairly small hands and still don’t feel super confident with my grip on the shield.

    Also like you I wanted to try the M&P 9c and really found that to be the best of both worlds. With the extended base plate the gun is both comfortable to carry and easy for me to grip and shoot accurately. Also, the capacity is much better than the shield as well.

    My next experiment is trying to find a holster that can accommodate the 4.25 M&P Pro with an optic on it.

    If you don’t have an M&P 9c readily available you are more than welcome to try mine out.

    • Yeah, the Pro is a little long. Back when I was in the XD camp I had a 5″ and a 4″ and the subcompact (3″). I tried the 5 for a while but it was just too long. 4″ was my main carry. The subcompact was alright, but I just couldn’t jive with it too much. But now… it might work out for me. Things have changed.

      As for such a holster… you may have to go the custom route. I do think there are folks out there that will do custom kydex like this; hit Google.

      I don’t have a 9c available… yet. But I will soon. 🙂 Thanx for the offer tho!

  4. I think you will like the 9c. I have been carrying a glock 19 AIWB for the last year but have looked at the 9c for the same carry position. I also have a full size m&p that I have carried this way and discovered that he full size is a little too long for me to be comfortable, but the grip seems to conceal a little better than the glock. If you are going to be in on the dp-2 class this weekend I’ll show you the holster that ended up working best for me.

    • To clarify… when you say “the grip seems to conceal better than the Glock”, do you mean the grip of the full-size M&P? or the compact M&P? I would assume the compact but, just want to be sure of your statement.

      I won’t be out this weekend, so can you tell me the holster? My order of CCC’s Shaggy just shipped (for the full-size), so I’m looking forward to how that will work out.

  5. I meant the grip in the full size M&P! There is something about the geometry of the grip on the M&P that causes less “hard bumps” even with the beaver tail. I suspect the c grip with the beaver tail shaved down would be even easier to conceal. The holster I have been using is a ctac that I cut the wings off of and moved a clip onto the body of the holster itself. It is very similar to the shaggy except that it has a singlr clip instead of the two loops. That configuration works better for me as it is easier to take off and put on, I am in and out of a vehicle a lot. I will snap a couple of pics when I can.

    • I hear that. Part of my reason for switching from XD to M&P was the “hard bumps” if you will. Not just the fact that the XD and Glock feel like unrefined bricks in your hand and the M&P has more curves… but there was a geometry issue with how my trigger finger inserted into the trigger guard. Just the geometry of the way the XD frame is cut, the way my hand is, the angles and how it all came together, the top edge of my trigger finger would rub the frame and push the muzzle left. I couldn’t really help it just due to how I’m built vs. how the gun is built. But the M&P? That same area on the frame is more rounded, and while it’s maybe like 1/8″ less plastic there, it’s more than enough to let my finger be free of the frame rub.

      So yeah, I can see this. I did try some playing around with AIWB and the M&P. Friend of mine had a nice holster that worked well.. forgot what model it was. I tried a Blackhawk CQB which wasn’t bad, did conceal, but didn’t hold tight against the body. Just got shipping info on my Shaggy so… any day now.

      The CTAC makes sense. I reckon this holds well?

      I tried their 2 O’clock for my J-frame. Did NOT work. Just too my Kydex in all the wrong places.

  6. For me, the 9c is an “in between”. It is a little thicker than I like for concealment, but operationally it is as perfect as I have encountered in a handgun. I have seen my friends use it and they too show very high accuracy — more than Glocks or 1911s or revolvers. Best wishes with your search.

    • Thank you.

      I think that’s the thing about the Shield… conceals awesome, but just too thin for me to grip and shoot as well. Well, hopefully I’ll see soon about a 9c.

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