S&W Shield 9mm……on the way


I have been looking for a new pistol to allow for better concealed carry than my full size Smith & Wesson M&P9. I have really struggled making a choice. I tend to be too analytical making decisions. Possible candidates have included a Kel-Tec PF9, Ruger LCP in 9mm, and an assortment of Taurus models. Price range is in the $400 region which rules out most revolvers (which I am not really interested in), any 1911 compacts, and upper end models.


As I have gone through several offerings including those mentioned my biggest complaint has been around trigger pull. I understand why but the long trigger pulls that most of the models have just flat out suck. I realize that most of these models have no external safety and thus use the long trigger pull to provide some realm of preventing an unintended firing while being carried in a pocket. I just don’t like long trigger pulls. 

Another frustrating aspect of some of the pistols that I tried that was grips that were too small. Yeah – I know. These are COMPACT pistols and made to be small. Regardless, I want my pinky to be resting on the grip to help control firing. Some models are available with an extended magazine which allow for better grip and additional rounds. I like this option.


In the end I choose the Smith & Wesson Shield in 9mm. It offers a very slim profile, shorter trigger pull, and is available with a +1 magazine for a more secure grip. Compact and easily concealed with up to 9 rounds of 9mm at the ready.


The deposit has been made. I will post a full review after I am able to spend some time with it.



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  1. I am in a similar situation with choosing a new concealed carry. I have been using a Walther PPK/S as a “pocket pistol”, which is more or less a back up to a larger handgun either on me, or within arms reach. I want a bigger caliber than .380! So far, .45 ACP is my primary focus. I have too many requirements that have confused the issue: around $500, single & double action, safety that decocks, hammer NOT striker fired and reasonable price for additional magazines. I really wanted a Ruger KP345, but with a barrel length of 4.2″, may not fit completely in my pocket. Taurus has several compact .45 autos, but most of them are striker fired. Sig Sauer and Heckler & Koch have models that fulfill my needs, but they run around a grand. Kimber has the most compact pistols, but none of them are double action and they all cost more than a thousand. I looked at a used Bersa Firestorm that met most of my requirements, but I balked because I know nothing about that firearms manufacturer. I should just splurge and get a German gun!

  2. I now carry an aftermarket polished and worked over little Kimber Ultra Carry Custom in .45acp, the original Walther PPK which is smaller than the PPK/S in .380 and loaded with CorBon, and an old High Standard .22Mag derringer. Of course I’m a big man. In my man purse among other things is a P220, five magazines, and a rail light/laser. I’m old school, my pistols have hammers. Daughter has a baby Glock and shoots well enough with it – but no hammer?

    Small caliber backups you think. I remember once commenting dubiously that the double rifle I was looking to buy only had two shots. ‘Well I suppose they’ll be getting closer,’ at least that what the salesman told me when I bought my first African double. He was right about that. The second shot is always closer.

    Irish, you might not want to skimp on that .45 if your life and that of those you love hang on it. My life has been in the balance of things and I’m glad my equipment was up to the job.

    Let us know how the pistol shoots Rourke.


  3. We both have the shield in 9mm, and we love it. From being easily concealed, to a good shooting pistol, we have no complaints. It even fits in our ATV bag top zippered pocket (XDm fits but it harder to get out in a hurry). We’ve had coworkers and friends buy the shield as well, probably about 10 in total, nothing but praise.
    I haven’t been able to perfect the quick draw yet due to it’s smaller size, but practice makes perfect.

    Hopefully you will not be disappointed in your new purchase.

  4. Rourke,

    I bought the S&W Shield in .40 cal for my daily conceal carry and all I can say is that I love it. One of the best conceal carry hand guns I have bought.


  5. I carried just a Series 70 Colt Gold Cup 1911A1 for 25 years. A little while back, I started experiencing some numbness in my hands from degenerative disks in my neck. Consequently, I grew weary of riding the hammer forward after chambering a round. I am somewhat reluctant to keep the chamber empty, in that a fast evolving situation may not allow me time to draw the slide back. So, I bought a Smith & Wesson Governor revolver. I load rounds 1,3 & 5 with Winchester PDX .410 shotshells and 2,4 & 6 with 300 grain .45 Long Colt shells. It is a good size gun, so not real concealable. I have the PPK/S in my pocket for backup. I load every other round with Hornady Critical Defense bullets. This is the weapon that I want to replace with a compact .45 auto. The Walther decocks when the safety is applied. I love that feature. So does the Ruger KP345! I am intrigued by the German guns. However, not only are they a grand a piece, additional magazines run between $40-60. I will have to handle them all a few times, slip them in and out of my pocket before I make a decision. I have not ruled out a Kimber. I think the 1911 is the best overall handgun of all time. Thanks for the advice, Panhandle Rancher! I do think somewhat like you. I’ve been eyeballing a derringer as a secondary backup, too.

  6. Irish,
    Sorry to hear about your numbness. We’re all getting longer in the teeth.

    1911s are made to be carried cocked with a round in the chamber, that’s why the redundant safeties.

    An old pistol fighter showed me how to safely lower the hammer on a 1911. Place the thumb of your weak side hand between the slide and cocked hammer. Roll the thumb slightly toward you forcing the hammer further back and squeeze the trigger. Roll the thumb the other way and up to safely lower the hammer while releasing the trigger. The hammer should then safely rest in the half cocked position with no possibility of slipping. Do this every time with your hammered weapons and the hammer will never slip. With a little practice you will be able to roll the thumb up on most semiautomatic pistols without ever getting pinched. I don’t recommend this with S&W style revolvers where the firing pin is on the hammer but it might work with some of the newer revolvers with the firing pin mounted in the frame. Let me know if it helps.

    I’ve always liked High Standard, especially their wonderful .22LR target pistols. What a shame the company is no more. Their little .22mag derringer is simple and effective. I bought one for each of my family members. You can still find them on the market from time to time (http://www.gunsamerica.com/971454494/HIGH_STANDARD_22_MAGNUM_DERRINGER_DM_101.htm)


  7. If a really quality handgun on a budget is an issue, please don’t discount the revolvers. And please also don’t forget the preparedness rule “Two is one, and one is none.” You can find quite a few pawnshops and gun stores with used quality revolvers in .38/.357 where you might be able to get two for your price or slightly over, especially if you are willing to take Taurus or Rossi weapons that are perfectly fine, mechanically, just not quite as finely finished as S&W. Having another gun as a backup is never a bad thing. And (it’s an old rule, but still a good one), “the fastest reload is a second gun.” With the right load, even the .38 has a fine record of one-shot stops. For civilian carry, where you’re not required by duty to walk into trouble and may just be able to break contact, five or six effective shots did the job for a lot of decades and I think they’re still a good choice.

  8. I have a Walther P99c QA in .40 s&w absolutely love it. It has an extended mag for the pinky, and it hits where you point it. It has a very nice trigger pull as well, real smooth. Would like to fire the S&W Shield never been lucky enough though. My old warranty administrator bought one and had nothing but good things to say about it. Congrats on the pistol, looking forward to the review.

  9. TJMO,
    Taurus is better than Rossi but neither is in league with a K, L, or N frame S&W. It is more than just finish, the S&W revolver design is more robust with better metals. And the smoothness. Nothing beats a worked over S&W action. Nothing.
    Not just my thoughts either,

  10. Good choice! I purchased a Walther PPS 9 mm a few years ago and love it and when I saw the Shield I shot it and fell in love with it. The Shield and Walther are almost identical in size.

  11. I just pulled my Colt Gold Cup out of the gun safe to check out your decock method, Panhandle Rancher. I only pinched my thumb when I neglected to let off the trigger as the hammer moved forward. In that case, the hammer goes past the half cock position. I got it right after a few tries. THAT PUTS KIMBER IN THE RACE! I am wondering if the 3″ barrels take a standard 1911 magazine. I have a bunch of them! I considered a revolver to fulfill the “pocket backup” as both Ruger and Taurus have compact models. I already own a Security-6 with a 2.5″ barrel, but it is heavy. Scandium, Polymer and aircraft aluminum were not around when this gun was made. To my surprise, a Taurus Judge Public Defender actually fits in a front pocket! Not that the weapon is really that small, more so the shape since it is more long than wide. However, if I’m keeping the Governor as my main carry, I’ll want an automatic as backup.

  12. Panhandle Rancher – I completely agree with S&W being better, and my personal revolvers are all currently Smiths or Rugers, but you’ll pay more, and might have a real tough time hitting that $400 goal even in the used market. On a budget, how good does it HAVE to be? I’d rather have top of the line, but I’ve used Taurus in the past, they were rugged and dependable, and I wouldn’t have any worries if I had to economize and wanted multiple handguns for my money. I’d really hate to see folks put all their eggs in one basket, if they have a viable alternative.

    Don’t want come off all fanboy, but thanks for all your contribution to this blog. You have some of the most interesting and useful posts.

  13. Irish, glad it worked for you

    I have seen a lot of so called ‘experts’ on the 1911. A slip dropped hammer is a serious event indeed. The thumb decock method is the best I’ve found. If you release the trigger after the hammer starts forward, the half cock will engage every time. In fact this is one of the required safety checks I go through before shooting a pistol at practice. With a weapon like the 1911, every safety is critical and along with a bore check before target shooting, I verify functionality of all safeties – including the very important slide disconnect safety.

    A little harder to master is charging the weapon using muzzle friction ridges rather than those on the rear of the slide. Most serious tactical 1911s will have friction ridges near the muzzle as well as at the rear of the slide. Some of the little Kimber’s do not. Most people use an opposing action holding the frame with one hand and the slide with the other (thumbs pointing toward one another on the same side of the slide) pointing the muzzle to the weak hand side of the shooter and sometimes at the forearm in order to charge the weapon. This is biomechanically efficient but fraught with danger, both to the shooter and to his partner. After a while this bad habit becomes so automatic that the shooter never looks to the side to see where the muzzle is pointing.

    The ‘correct’ way to charge the 1911 is to grip the slide just behind the muzzle using the opposite hand so that your thumbs are on opposite sides of the weapon and pointing in the direction of the muzzle. This is awkward to begin with but with practice becomes as automatic as the common bad ole method. Being careful with body parts near the muzzle of any weapon is axiomatic. In any event, gripping the weapon this way forces the shooter to look down the muzzle axis. Any other way usually points the muzzle to the side or behind the shooter. Bad bad bad! I would be happy to create a short post with photos showing both the decock method, the safe charging method, and functional safety check if anyone is interested.

    In a past life I went through about 50,000 rounds per year, year after year, with the .45. After a decade of this, one becomes fast, accurate, and lethal – and glimmer of understanding about pistol fighting happens. Our brass was collected in Dempsey dumpsters every day. As the pace of training increases, so does the likelihood of accidental discharge. The folks I shot with learned from experience, some of it sad experience, how to safely handle a pistol.

    Irish, there is no way to predict what magazine a 3″ barrel will take as it is all in the grip length. With the Kimber, I think only the two short grip model Kimber .45s take the short magazine and a regular length magazine will work in them but stick out of the grip. Kimber makes a long grip short barrel .45 that some like.

    All my best,

  14. TJMO, a reasoned response for buying a Taurus, and thank you for reading my scribbles.

    Let me know what you think about the cheap route after that first bullet goes zinging by your head. I know several people who once carried a 9mm because it was more convenient suddenly re-invest in a .45 after their first bad encounter with danger. Please, I’m not trying to be a smart-a here but my point is, that when someone is really really trying to kill you or a loved one, how much should you spend to counter that threat?

    When you’re life is really on the line and not just pretend – only then can anyone really understand the value of quality. Too little, too late, is too often common.


  15. I chose the sig p238 also known as the miniture 1911 it is a 380, otherwise called 9mm short, it can be found at 500 on sale, that’s a 100 more than you wanted to spend, but the sights, and trigger pull is well worth that, it also offers the extended clip you are looking for… I’ve yet to show any of my friends this gun who has not acquired one for themselves. It is my favorite cc gun by far

  16. Sorry Doomsday, it would be a cold day in….when I pay $500 for any .380 especially when I can pick up a decent used Makarov (Walther clone) with 2 mags and pacmeyer grips for $150. regards, D.

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