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M&P Shield Plus Review

Here is our M&P Shield Plus review. The Smith & Wesson Shield was the first commercially successful micro-9mm pistol on the market. 

When it was introduced in 2012, the only other competition on the market was the Kahr series of pistols. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Left Stand

The Kahrs didn’t gain much in the way of commercial success. But then, the introduction of the Sig Sauer P365 threw the Smith & Wesson Shield for a loop. 

The Smith & Wesson Shield had a seven- or eight-round capacity with an extended magazine. However, this paled compared to the much smaller Sig P365, which held ten rounds of 9mm. 

Combining that with the introduction of many other similar-sized pistols, Smith & Wesson Shield sales started to slip. That’s when and why Smith & Wesson introduced the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus.

SW Shield Plus

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Smith & Wesson increased the capacity of the Shield Plus to 10 rounds with a flush-fit magazine and 13 rounds with a slightly-extended magazine. 

There are some other critical changes to the firearm’s design, improving the Smith & Wesson Shield’s original configuration and the Shield 2.0.

Table of contents

Role-based off size

The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is set up for concealed carry and not competition. This is not a large enough gun to use for duty use. Somebody could carry this gun as a backup on duty, but it definitely would not be a primary firearm.

Concealed carry

There are multiple methods by which you can conceal carry a firearm. However, to conceal the gun effectively, it must be suited for that carry position. We’ll cover each of those below in our Shield Plus review.

IWB Carry

Carrying a gun inside the waistband is the most practical method of carrying a gun like the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus. 

The gun has a thin profile, which makes it relatively concealable. However, this guy has a reasonably long grip, especially when comparing it to its competition. 

That said, with the extended grip, it comes with 13 rounds of capacity overall or 10 with the flush-fit magazine.

Appendix IWB Carry

For appendix IWB carry, the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus might be a little bit short. I know this sounds counterintuitive, as many believe that a shorter firearm will be more comfortable carrying at the appendix position. 

On the surface, this makes sense until you start looking at how a gun interacts with the body. 

For example, when you have a shorter slide on the firearm, you will not have as long an area to spread the pressure out when carrying at the appendix. 

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With most holsters, the weight of the gun sits above your belt line. Gravity wants to pull this weight to the ground.

This is going to force the muzzle of the gun into your groin, which will be uncomfortable. 

You can avoid this by getting a properly designed appendix holster and even adding a wedge to the back of that holster to make it even more comfortable. 

Of course, you’re going to want to make sure your holster is excellent and rounded to make things comfortable.

OWB (Outside the Waistband) Carry 

For some reason, the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus just makes sense to me for an OWB concealed carry firearm. 

If you like to carry your concealed carry firearm OWB, you’re going to want to make sure you have a long and large enough cover garment to conceal the firearm. You’ll also want to make sure you have an excellent OWB holster that is designed to sit close to the body.

Typically, paddle holsters are not a good design for this. Instead, you’ll want some sort of pancake-style holster that allows the gun to sit close to the body and take advantage of the slim profile of the Shield Plus.

Pocket Carry

I only mention pocket carry because there will inevitably be individuals who want to pocket carry this gun. 

I know some individuals have pocket carried the Smith & Wesson Shield. That said, it’s not easy to pocket carry this for most people. 

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If you’re a larger individual or wear very baggy clothing, then you can do it. However, if you’re smaller or of an average size wearing regular clothing, you’re likely to be suited with a smaller gun for pocket carry. 

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is just a big gun to carry inside your pocket.

Features 

As we mentioned earlier, the capacity on this firearm is 10-plus-one with a flush-fit magazine and 13-plus-one with an extender. 

M_P Shield Plus Review with Magazine

This does give you a lot of firepower, considering the size and thickness of this gun. I like the slim profile of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus, and the extra capacity is an advantage.

Magwell

The magwell on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus has no bevel whatsoever, but the magazine itself tapers quite a bit at the top, so that allows the gun to function somewhat like it has a magwell. 

SW Shield Plus

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Now here’s where the issues come into play. The grip on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is just short enough that my hand extends down below the grip. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Magwell

This means that to drop the magazine free, I have to break my grip for the magazine to drop freely. This is the case with both the flush fit and the 13 round magazine.

Grip/Ergonomics

The ergonomics of a firearm are often misunderstood. For example, many people think a gun should just feel good in the hand. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Grip

Not only should a gun feel good in the hand, but it should allow you to gain leverage on the firearm in a way that allows you to control recoil effectively. 

Sometimes these two goals do not line up. If I have to choose, I’ll choose effective control over recoil over feeling in the hand. That said, sometimes you can get both. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus seems to do just that. 

It does feel reasonably good in the hand, although the profile might seem a little bit slim for some.

Another complaint I have is the way the trigger guard is undercut (or lack thereof). There is a slight undercut, but you’re going to get locked knuckles if you use this gun often enough. 

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Unfortunately, it just doesn’t allow you to get your hand as high as I would hope. You also have to put a decent bit of effort into making sure you get a high grip on the Shield Plus, and most of this is due to that undercut design. 

Extended Magazines

If you’re running the flush-fit magazine and have hands similar to mine, your pinky is going to hit on about half of the magazine baseplate. 

It allows you to get a pretty good grip, but not as good of a grip as I would like due to the size of this firearm.

The distance from the bottom of the undercut at the top of the slide is quite tall on the Shield Plus. This is one of my key complaints. 

If you have a smaller firearm like the Sig P365 that is much shorter, you will have the same capacity and a smaller overall profile. 

If you’re running the 13-round magazines on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus, I can get a full grip that’s nice and ergonomic. 

I have no complaints about that setup, but if you plan to run the flush-fit magazine and have large hands, you might want to consider the possibility that you may not be able to get a full grip on the firearm.

Beavertail

There is no beavertail on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus. However, there is an excellent ergonomic tang, and I have no complaints about that area. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Tang

It does an excellent job of allowing your hand to get high and not hurting in any way. Also, it doesn’t rub up on any bones in your knuckles.

Texturing

The texturing of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is fantastic. I’m sure that you remember the texturing being slick for those familiar with the original Shield. 

The texturing on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 2.0 was highly aggressive in turn. But, unfortunately, it was probably too aggressive for most people. 

M_P Shield Plus Review front strap

It could be pretty irritating when rubbing up against the skin. 

Could you get used to it? Yes. Was it a little bit too aggressive for 99 percent of people? Also yes. 

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus, on the other hand, has a nice compromise on texturing. It feels like very aggressive sandpaper, but it’s designed so that it will not irritate your skin unless you’re super sensitive.

M_P Shield Plus Review Backstrap

It provides you a good grip on the firearm while not being too aggressive for carrying. I like this texture on the Shield Plus, but I have concerns about how it will hold up long-term. 

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I think it will do a pretty good job, but it has a bit of a rubber-like feel that concerns me. Of course, it might wear down over time, but only time will tell. As these guns are on the market longer, we’ll see if that’s the case.

Slide

The slide on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield has both forward and rear serrations, although the serrations at the forward portion are useless for anything but press checks. 

Even then, they don’t provide much value. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Rear Serrations

The reason for this is that the serrations on the front of the gun are only about an eighth of an inch tall and just not that aggressive. 

The serrations on the rear, though, are excellent. They provide just enough force to allow you to cycle the slide while not being so aggressive that they hurt your hands. 

Racking the slide in the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is heavy. That is something that you’ll want to take into account if you are a brand new or novice shooter.

Sights

Sights on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus are your standard three-dot Sights. You can get them either painted white or a night Sight variant. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Sights

The white-painted Sights are the standard Sights that you’ve seen on Smith & Wesson M&P pistols for years. They work. They’re all metal, and they’re not that bad, but they’re not that great either. 

If I were going to carry this gun, I would upgrade the Sights to something better. 

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The good news is that there are lots of aftermarket Sight options out there for these. So you’re not going to have trouble finding something that you like.

Red-Dot Options

Smith & Wesson has also released an optics-compatible Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus. This is a big positive in this review. 

The reason for that is that I like having the option of having a red dot on your pistol. Smith & Wesson had previously done this with the Shield series and had done it with a proprietary optics mounting system for their optic. 

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They have since changed that and now allow the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus to use a Sig Romeo Zero or Shield RMSc mounting pattern. Multiple dots use that mounting pattern on the market, so it’s just an excellent option to have.

This is something I’m very happy to report in this M&P Shield Plus Review.

Controls

Controls can make or break a firearm. So you must be able to easily reach and use all the controls to operate the gun safely.

M&P Shield Plus Review Safety

My Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus did not come with safety features. I originally planned to get one, but I didn’t because the model my store got in for me had an almost impossible safety to operate. 

They had a couple of those in the store and were all very hard to use. 

I don’t know if it’s an issue with all Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plusses or just that batch of guns, but they were so bad my store ended up sending them back to their distributor to get replaced. 

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Those safeties just are not that well designed, in my opinion. 

Most of the safeties I’ve handled on the regular Smith & Wesson M&P Shields are relatively easy to use but lack essential features.

The safety on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is not ambidextrous, so if you’re a left-handed user, it’s a downside as you will not be able to deactivate the safety in the light of that scenario easily. 

Also, the safety is not that wide. 

Having a wide safety makes it easier to deactivate and just makes it easier to use. Unfortunately, the safety on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is so low-profile that it’s just hard to deactivate and you can’t guarantee you’ll be able to get it all when you need to.

Not a positive point in this M&P Shield Plus Review.

Mag Release

The magazine release on the Smith and Wesson Shield Plus is a standard M&P style magazine release, and it’s easy to reach for myself with my thumb. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Magazine Release

It’s also going to be reasonably easy to reach for most smaller-handed shooters as well. So it’s a good safety design that works with people with extra-large down to small hands. It is also ambidextrous and reversible.

Slide Stop M&P Shield Plus Review

The slide stop on the Shield Plus is, again, a standard Smith & Wesson M&P style slide stop. It has that rolled shape that, frankly, I don’t love. 

This slide stop is very good at locking back the slide manually, but it’s not that great at dropping the slide. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Slide Stop

Despite the aggressive texturing, it’s very stiff. 

It can be somewhat hard to use for newer shooters. Also, when I try to drop it using my firing hand thumb, I have to put a lot of effort into it, and it just doesn’t work as well ergonomically. 

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It also sits reasonably forward. If you have smaller hands, this will be one feature of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus that does not work for you.

Trigger

The trigger on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus, in my opinion, is a vast improvement over the original Smith & Wesson Shield triggers. The original triggers on both the original Shield and the 2.0 series were hinged. 

Hinged triggers don’t always work for all users, and I was one of them. As a result, I could not reliably disengage the hand trigger safety on that firearm. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus trigger, on the other hand, is set up like a Glock. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Trigger

It has a trigger shoe section on the front that is very long and easy to deactivate for almost any shooter out there. The trigger shoe itself is also somewhat improved in shape. It has a flatter profile while having a slight curve in the trigger. 

I like the profile of the trigger on this gun.

The trigger itself has light take-up before you reach a wall, and then you have just the slide with a bit of creep before you reach a break. From there, you have a relatively short reset that resets right at the wall. I like the trigger on the Shield Plus, and that, along with the texturing, is going to be two of the highlights of my review.

Aftermarket M&P Shield Plus Review

The M&P Shield Plus does have a decent aftermarket due to compatible Smith & Wesson Shield parts. 

You can get recoil spring assemblies and such reasonably, and obviously, the sights are the same. 

However, accessories such as magazine extensions and whatnot are unavailable expect they will be along soon. Unfortunately, the standard Shield magazine accessories will not fit on the Plus model.

SW Shield Plus

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Maintenance

Maintaining the Shield Plus is just like maintaining any other Smith & Wesson M&P. You want to take out the magazine, lock back the slot on your firearm, and ensure that the chamber and gun is completely unloaded. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Dissasembly

Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to rotate the takedown lever down. Next, you can use a flathead screwdriver to push a yellow spring underneath the bridge face-down. 

This spring will allow the slide to drop so you do not have to pull the trigger when disassembling the firearm.

Once you’ve done that, the slide will come forward and then you can take the gun apart same as you would any other firearm by removing the recoil spring and barrel, so you can clean the firearm. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Disassembled

When reassembling the firearm, you’ll need to pull the slide back on, lock it back, and then rotate the take-down lever up. 

Once you’ve done that, make sure to place a magazine back into the gun to push that yellow spring back into place so your trigger won’t be dead.

M&P Shield Plus Review Aesthetics

Aesthetically, I’ve never been a fan of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, but the Shield Plus seems to be changing my mind. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Shaw Blade

While the overall proportions of the gun are similar and it still has that stout look, they’ve drastically improved the look of the firearm with the trigger shoe and new texture. 

These items just seem to balance out the work in the firearm a lot more. It’s still not a great, beautiful firearm, but it looks better than the older versions. 

I think it’s really something about the shape of the trigger shield that has improved the looks for me.

Shooting

One nice thing about the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is that with the 13-round magazine, you do get a full grip on the firearm, which helps with recoil control. 

However, when you run it with the flush-fit magazine, it doesn’t work quite well for me. If you have smaller hands, you’re probably going to get a similar performance out of either magazine. 

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The recoil in this gun is a bit snappy. It’s not quite as smooth as other guns out there like the Sig P365. This is one area where I wish Smith & Wesson had paid a little more attention and done some more design work. 

That said, I think they probably would have had to change a lot more about the firearm to get that to work.

Bore Axis M&P Shield Plus Review

This firearm does have relatively high bore axis, as well as that undercut issue we mentioned earlier. This makes the gun a little more flippy and seems like it has more recoil than flatter-shooting guns like the Springfield Hellcat and P365. 

That said, this does have one of the largest grips in any of those firearms. Having a large grip that has a good distance from the back- to the frontstrap is a great feature for larger-handed people. 

If you have larger hands, you might be able to get more performance out of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus than you could on the other guns mentioned. It’s a personal preference. 

M_P Shield Plus Review Left Stand

I think this is a great option if you’re a Smith & Wesson fan that wants a slightly larger gun.

Concluding Thoughts

With its flush-fit mag, this gun is not the most capacity-efficient gun on the market with it is one of the most efficient with the 13-round magazine. 

There’s something about this gun that makes me think it would be great for OWB concealed carry. I really like the slim profile of the grip while still having one that feels more like a full-size gun than some of the other smaller options. 

SW Shield Plus

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That said, this gun does pack a fair amount of recoil for its size, and I really wish they would do something with the system to make the gun recoil a little less.

Overall, I’m happy with this gun, and I’m stoked with the improvements Smith & Wesson made to just the texture, trigger, and capacity of this firearm. Overall this was a positive M&P Shield Plus Review.

11 Replies to “M&P Shield Plus Review”

  1. Steve says:

    You state that they had a proprietary optic? Never heard of a S&W optic..also bore height is higher than a Sig 365 with more recoil? I think I you may be smoking something. I’ve not seen a single review or anyone state that this recoils more than a 365 or hellcat. The more I read your reviews the more I think you should stick to making holsters and not giving your opinions on the guns themselves.

    1. Harrison says:

      Crimson Trace is owned by the same group that controls Smith and Wesson. They made an optic just for the shield. If you have very large hands the SW Shield might have softer recoil but you but for everyone else, the other guns are softer shooting.

    2. Ryan says:

      This also indicated *red flag*, especially when saying the 365 is softer shooting…. I’ll save anyone the time reading through my accolades of both training, teaching and working on firearms…. Regardless of all that, I do ALOT of shooting and now train on the side with getting older. Now, I will say the reviewer is correct partially about the partnership with delta, giving S&W proprietary, special design with RDS & laser systems…. But to say a 365 is in any way softer than a shield or shield plus is extremely misleading and arguably outright wrong, nomatter the users expirence, lack there of or any kind of special pistol grip implementation. At the facility I train at we have a pretty good selection of pistols to rent and try, including all major modern handguns plus a few niche choices. For every one of my new shooters wanting to go micro compact or any of my ccw individuals trying to decide on what’s best for them I always have them try a glock 43, shield plus & 365. Not once have I ever had a customer say the 365 felt softer than both the shield and glock. 90% of the time they’ll go out of their way to say how much softer the shield felt compared to both the other options which I go on to fully agree with their assessment. The shield plus has personally been the most controllable, easiest to manage as well as draw and target transition with, especially when it comes to quick shot succession that I’ve ever used in the micro compact 9mm field. Even the 365xl honestly feels about the same when it comes to perceived recoil with the xl just barely taking the cake but I’m sure that’s primarily due to having a larger surface for grip compensation….. I’ll save you from my opinion on the damn hellcat.

      1. Ryan says:

        *CORRECTION* – I ment to say Crimson Trace, not Delta….. No clue where that slip came from….

  2. Jamie L Swope says:

    The Keltec P11 was on the market starting in 1995 and was the first truly marketable Micro 9 double stack 12+1. It wasn’t perfect but it was one of the first true Full Capacity Micro 9’s to see success with 10+1 standard and 12+1 upgraded mags. To say the Kahr was the only option in 2012 is taking a lot away from Keltec, who usually pioneers great tech it seems, but doesn’t achieve the success of other brands?

    1. Harrison says:

      The kel tec wasn’t commercially successful. Never became a household name. It was much larger than the Khars and slightly larger than the shield.

  3. Kevin Kehoe says:

    I purchased this gun January 1st 2022, I put about a 150 rounds through it took it home to clean it and the take down lever would not catch past the pin. Brought it back to the Academy sports store where I bought it, they did an adjustment and took it back to the range to shoot. Took it home to clean and the same thing happened. Academy sent it back to Smith and Wesson and they had it for over a month. Took it to the range to shoot and the same thing happened. Academy sent it back and I called Smith and Wesson and asked them for a new gun. They told me no. I Inquired how many times will I have to send it back before I get a new gun and I got and I got no direct answer. Very disappointed with Smith and Wesson I am waiting for an answer

  4. I like my 9mm M&P Shield with the 8 round magazine. anything smaller feels uncomfortable.

  5. Elem N. Ope says:

    When you said the Hellcat and P365 shhot softer, I can’t ake anything else you say seriously. You are literally the only person or review that has stated that.

  6. Jason says:

    The Walther PPS had been on the market for years when the Shield was introduced, you dope.

    1. Harrison says:

      The Khar guns are a similar form factor and were on the market years before the PPS. But the Shield was the first widely accepted option. At the time the Walther PPS was introduced, it was over $800, and they didn’t produce that many. So supply and price point killed a gun that could have been what the shield was. Big fan of the PPS but the initial launch price and supply killed it.

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