Smith & Wesson Shield

Smith Wesson ShieldThe Smith & Wesson Shield is a new pistol currently in production that will be unveiled to the public on April 12 at the NRA show.  Designed specifically for the concealed carry and personal protection markets, the new Shield is set to be a significant part of the Smith & Wesson line this year.

“Shield” may not be the final name of the pistol, but it is the name that Smith & Wesson is using in internal documents and SEC filings.  The word “shield” also appears multiple times in the company’s teaser video released last week.

The big question that remains is “What exactly is the Shield?”  Only the folks covered by a non-disclosure agreement know for sure, but much of the speculation comes down to one of three pistols:

  1. The Shield is a compact, single-stack .45 ACP pistol in the M&P line that will compete directly with the Springfield XD-S introduced at the 2012 SHOT Show.
  2. The Shield pistol is a compact, single stack 9mm that will be thinner than current M&P compact pistols and will go after the market current occupied by Kahr, the Ruger LC9, the Kimber SOLO and similar handguns.
  3. The new Shield handgun will be a Glock 19 sized pistol with a double-stack magazine.  The handgun would be sized between the current M&P duty-sized and compact pistols.

There are other suggestions floating around, such as a double-barrel 1911 like the recently introduced Arsenal AF2011-A1 and a polymer-framed 1911.  However, I think these are less likely than one of the above choices.

Of the three popular guesses, my money would be on #1 or #2, and forced to pick only one, I’d say the single-stack 9mm is the new gun Smith & Wesson will show.

If S&W introduces a single-stack 9mm as the new Shield, what will it look like?  Will it be an upsized Bodyguard 380 or a downsized M&P?  Pure conjecture, but I would say a downsized M&P.  Here’s why…

Smith & Wesson has touted the strength of the M&P line repeatedly in recent SEC filings, and the company’s desire to “leverage the adoption of the M&P by the professional community in the consumer channel.”  If the company believes it has a very strong brand with the M&P, and they want to increase sales in the personal protection market, tying the professional use of their firearms to the launch of a new pistol with the same branding may be a wise marketing strategy.

However, during a March 8 earnings conference call, Smith & Wesson president and CEO James Debney did mention the Bodyguard 380 by name when talking about the products that have driven sales for Smith & Wesson during the most recent quarter.  He also mentioned the M&P line.  That could suggest that S&W perceives the Bodyguard as an important line they would like to expand.

Further along in the conversation, Debney specifically stated Smith & Wesson growth, “…where we will balance growing market share with our M&P products while developing new products.”  Again, Debney highlights the M&P line as being critical to the company’s continued success.

Whatever the Shield winds up being, Smith & Wesson will be ready to start shipping in April.  In the conference call, Debney stated “Yes, we started producing [the Shield] in…Q3.  And we will be in a position…at launch where we do have inventory as we start to take orders.”

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About Richard Johnson

Richard Johnson is a gun writer, police trainer and really bad joke teller. Check out his other writing in Combat Handguns, Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement, on The Firearm Blog and at BlueSheepdog.


  1. I think you’re right, single stack 9mm with the M&P look and features. There is a much larger market for 9mm than .45 cal. and I think with what you’ve reported on S&W’s outlook, they’re going for the biggest “bang” for their buck!

  2. Richard and I were talking about this last night and I am leaning toward option #2, which would make it the single stack Glock that Glock has never made. Hopefully good for S&W! I’d buy one.


  3. Jon_in_WV says:

    The idea it would be a “glock 19″ sized pistols is just ridiculous. The M&P compacts already split the difference in size between the Glock 17 and 19 and the SD line is between the M&P compact and the full size. I can’t imagine anyone at S&W is scrambling to fill this imaginary niche. S&W does not, however, have a slim 9/40 in their lineup. It would make a lot more sense for them produce one of them. If it has the trigger of the M&P line I’ll jump all over it. If its a DAO I’ll stick with my 3913.

  4. The idea it would be a “glock 19″ sized pistols is just PERFECT. The M&P SUB-compacts already split the difference in size between the Glock 17 and Glock26 and the SD line is between the M&P SUB-compact and the full size. Everyone can imagine everyone at S&W scrambling to fill this perfect sized concealed carry niche as SO MANY other companies have. Having a true compact sized gun in their premier line as opposed to the Sigma and SD lines makes so much sense it just hurts !. S&W does not need a single stack M&P as the current line up is superb.

  5. Jon_in_WV says:

    Yeah, because everyone is scrambling to find an M&P that has a 1/4″ longer barrel. Yeah, that would make all the difference in the world.

  6. Yeah, cause the Glock 19 the NYPD carries and Glock 23,23,32 and all the other true compacts are just a stupid fad. What with their CC size but full 4 inch length barrels and ample magazine capacity, yeah who in there right mind would ever make them. I’m sure S&W is ready to dump the whole Sigma and SD line based on your thoughts. Thanks for pointing out everyone’s’ mistake in marketing and engineering.

  7. Jon_in_WV says:

    I think you mean 19, 23, and 32.
    Wait and see. If you are right then so be it. If not, you look like a real tool for getting so worked up. Its just the internet dude.

  8. Ummm no I said 19 23 32 . I simply wrote 23 twice. ???? I don’t have to be right. I never said it was going to be a true compact M&P. I simply pointed out your fallacy in stating that no one has use for a ” bastard” gun as a compact . I don’t know ,maybe you’re new to the whole gun scene of the last 40 years or something. If so I apologize. I do not in fact, believe it is a compact. My bet is on a line of small single stack autos much like the Ruger LC9. If by tool you mean someone who understands to strengths and weaknesses of common everyday handgun frame sizes then yes I’am a tool and proudly state so.

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