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Smith & Wesson Shield Plus $100 Price Drop: Legendary Gunmaker Puts America First

It's easy to be patriotic when it doesn't affect your bottom line. With the $100 Shield Plus price drop, Smith & Wesson is stepping up for the American shooter.

Smith & Wesson Shield Plus $100 Price Drop: Legendary Gunmaker Puts America First

Smith & Wesson's M&P9 Shield Plus micro-compact pistol has proven to be reliable, portable and pack with plenty of firepower. Now it's $100 more affordable. (Photo by Michael Anschuetz)

Times are hard right now for everyone that works for a living. We all know it, but Smith & Wesson has decided to do something about it. The Shield Plus, one of Smith’s most popular pistols ever and one that helped set the benchmark for micro-compact performance, will be available to the American shooter for $100 less, starting right now.

The Shield Plus is Smith & Wesson’s entrant into the micro-compact race and it checks all the boxes with authority. Chambered in 9mm and sporting a 3.1-inch barrel, the Shield Plus gives the shooter 11+1 or 13+1 rounds on tap without sacrificing ballistic performance. At a length of 6.1 inches, a height of 4.6 inches, a width of 1.1 inches, and weighing less than 20 ounces, the Shield Plus is easy enough to carry that it will never get left in the glove box or on the nightstand.

Shield Plus 9mm Pistol
The original Smith & Wesson M&P Shield opened the doors for a subcompact pistol revolution. The stack-and-a-half Shield Plus is the company's standard-bearer in the micro-compact market. (Photo courtesy Smith & Wesson)

As the Handgun Editor for Guns & Ammo, I’ve put thousands of rounds through dozens of micro 9mm pistols, and the Shield Plus is always at the top of my list when asked about the type. The texture of the polymer frame is the excellent M&P M2.0 stippling which strikes just the right balance of texture and ease of carry. You can shoot it all day and it wont chew up your hands or your garments. Because of the design of the pistol, with its undercut trigger guard and high tang, the Shield Plus is softer shooting than many of its competitors, with less snap and muzzle flip. This beats the shooter up less and allows more substantial training sessions, something that’s important with guns that get carried every day.

Performance Center M&P9 Shield Plus with Crimson Trace Optic
Since its introduction, the Shield Plus line has expanded to include optics-ready OR models, and Performance Center configurations that feature longer slides and barrels, and upgraded sight options. (Photo courtesy Smith & Wesson)

The controls are all well executed, but the trigger bears an extra mention. The trigger is flat faced, a nice modern touch and while spec’d at 5.5 pounds, usually breaks lighter than that with my sample right at 5 pounds and executive editor Joe Kurtenbach’s sample breaking at 5 pounds, 6 ounces. Like all striker triggers, it’s a bit gritty out of the box, but smooths out nicely within the first 200 or so rounds. The magazine release isn’t obscenely stiff, which is also a nice touch. Because guns in the micro-compact class have smaller grip surfaces, shooters hands tend to bump the controls, ejecting magazines and locking slides at inopportune times. The gun maker solution to this is usually to ratchet up the spring tension, making the controls stiff and difficult. Smith has wisely chosen to go the other route and design the controls so that they work as they should.

Shield Plus 9mm Pistol
For the more adventurous shooter, Smith & Wesson also offers a 30 Super Carry model of the Shield Plus, with 13+1 and 16+1 capacity. (Photo courtesy Smith & Wesson)

Performance is good, with the 3.1-inch tube delivering its best groupings in the low 1-inch range and its worst groupings in the low 4-inch range. Federal Syntech 150-grain TSJ delivered the smallest group with a 1.16-inch knot hole and Hornady 124-grain XTPs delivered the smallest average group with a 2.34-inch overall showing. With many guns in this class struggling to average 4-inch five-shot groups, this underscores the attention that Smith has paid to the details with the Shield Plus. It also shows that it’s up to you to put in the work and figure out what bullet works best in your gun.

The Shield Plus is available with many options, including an optic-ready (OR) version. Optics are the way of the future whether you like it or not, so it makes sense that the Shield Plus offers OR configurations. The little pistol is also available with a functional thumb safety for shooters that are uncomfortable carrying without a mechanical safety. This addition always sparks ridiculous and heated conversations on social media and in gun forums, so here’s my advice on the matter. Shut up, no one cares about your opinion. If you want a thumb safety, get one. If you prefer no mechanical safety, get that. Be happy with your purchase either way, knowing that you’re getting a quality gun. Thanks to Smith & Wesson being a great American company, you’ll be getting that great pistol for a hundred bucks less. Now go buy a hundred bucks worth of ammo and practice.

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