[Ed. note: Aaron got to put his hands on the new S&W Shield that is now for sale from Smith & Wesson. Enjoy his hands on review from the NRA Show!]
The 141st NRA Annual meeting is in full swing, with thousands of visitors and vendors. One of the first booths I stopped by was the Smith & Wesson booth to check out the new M&P Shield. A lot of hype has been put out by Smith & Wesson and gun bloggers alike, especially since the Shield was not unveiled at SHOT Show, the traditional venue to show off new wares.
What I learned at the S&W booth may make some readers happy that S&W took the extra time to unveil their newest M&P pistol. Not that the news about the Shield is earth shattering or ground breaking – most bloggers had already figured out that Smith & Wesson was going to unleash their version of a single stack, compact 9mm for the super hot concealed carry gun arena. Perhaps the only surprise in the firearm itself is that S&W is doing a joint release of the 9mm and .40 cal. versions.
But the way S&W has gone about business, might set a trend for the other big dogs in the release of new firearms. Instead of spotlighting a new product right away, Smith & Wesson remained patient and preferred to release a whole package and not just a firearm. Behind the scenes S&W worked with partners and vendors to ensure that the first day the Shield was on the shelves, the most highly sought after accessories would be ready to go out the store with the pistol.
Several holster companies have already produced a variety of holsters for the Shield, and there are several different options for sights.
Let us know what you think of the S&W Shield and Smith & Wesson’s “whole package” approach to releasing their newest product. Here are some of the key features of the Shield:
- Striker-fired action
- Frame width – 0.95 inches
- Barrel length – 3.1 inches
- Overall length – 6.1 inches
- Overall height – 4.6 inches
- Empty weight – 19.0 oz.
- Trigger pull – 6.5 lbs.
- 9mm comes with (1) 7 and (1) 8-round magazine
- .40 caliber comes with (1) 6 and (1) 7-round magazines
- White dot stainless steel front sight
- White 2-dot, stainless steel rear sight
- Melonite finish on the stainless steel slide and stainless steel barrel
- Extended trigger guard
- Simple take-down lever
- Flat profile slide stop lever
- M&P thumb safety (yes, they all come with them)
- Fixed textured backstrap
- Lightweight Zytel polymer frame
All the other features of the S&W Shield are in the same concept as the other M&P series pistols. The Shield has already shipped and comes with a MSRP of $449 for both 9mm or .40 caliber pistols. S&W employees told me that by summer 2012, S&W will have the Draconian ban States version ready for release.
Here is a list of the partner companies already providing accessories for the Shield:
- Crimson Trace
- De Santis
- Hi-Viz sights
- Laserlyte lasers (mounts to the front of the trigger guard)
- Laser Max (same mounting position)
- Pistol Wear
- Uncle Mike’s Tactical
- Williams Gun Sight Company (Fire Sights)
- XS Sight Systems
- Extra S&W Shield magazines ($37.95).