The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield took the concealed-carry market by storm when it was introduced. Up until that point, there had not been an affordable, small single-stack 9mm handgun on the market and there was a great demand. Years later, the SIG Sauer P365 accomplished the same feat when it came to market with an impressive 10-round capacity while being smaller than the Shield and the Glock 43 that were dominating the micro-9mm market.
Today, we’re going to compare the SIG P365 vs the Shield so you can decide which is the best option for you. We cover all the pros and cons of each model in detail so you can be better informed on your quest for a new gun.
Table of contents
- Sig P365 vs Shield Concealed Carry
|Metrics||SIG P365||S&W M&P Shield|
|Weight w/ no mag (Oz)||16.5||18.4|
|Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)||18.6||20.4|
|Weight w/ full mag (Oz)||22.9||23.4|
|Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)||4.23||4.45|
|Width of grip (Inches)||1.02||0.95|
|Width of slide (Inches)||0.90||0.09|
|Width across controls (Inches)||1.01||1.03|
Sig P365 vs Shield Concealed Carry
When you compare these guns right off the bat, the biggest difference is going to be the capacity. With a flush-fit magazine, the Smith & Wesson Shield holds 7 rounds while the SIG P365 holds 10. That’s a major difference. Even holding three fewer rounds, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is still heavier when the gun is loaded, and it’s almost a quarter-inch taller than the SIG P365 when you consider the height from the bottom of the base pad to the top of the slide.
No matter how you look at it, the SIG P365 is a much more efficient gun to carry than the M&P Shield. I think at the end of the day, most of this comparison is going to come down to price point over feature, but there are some areas in which the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield excels over the SIG P365 for certain individuals. I’ll cover that in the next section.
Ergonomically, both of these guns feel pretty good in the hand, although I’m going to have to give the edge to the SIG P365, at least from my point of view.
If you have larger hands, this is where the Smith & Wesson MP Shield is going to come into its own. If you have absolutely large or extra-large hands, the M&P Shield is probably going to be a lot easier of a gun for you to use, especially if you throw in the 8-round magazine. The SIG P365 has a very small grip circumference that makes the gun harder to shoot, grab, and hold for people with very large hands (I mean extremely large hands).
Most of the people reading this are probably going to be better suited with the SIG Sauer P365, but there are some individuals that the Shield will work better for. The grip length on these guns is almost identical as far as the amount of your hand that you can get on the grip itself. I have just a little bit more purchase on the Smith & Wesson, but not by much. My pinky will fit halfway on the magazine baseplate of either gun.
Leverage when it comes to shooting is going to be similar for both, although I do seem to get a much better grip on the SIG P365. For comparison, I have medium to large hands that I would consider proportional to a six-foot-tall man.
Hands-down, the SIG P365 has a better texture than the M&P Shield. The Shield texture is almost non-existent: you can see some texture built into the frame, but it feels really slick and doesn’t do much to keep the gun from moving around when you hold it tightly. The texture on the SIG P365, on the other hand, feels like 1200-grit sandpaper in a good way. It isn’t too aggressive, but the gun doesn’t really move around in your hand.
The serrations on the SIG P365 at the rear portion of the gun are similar to the serrations on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, but the forward serrations on the SIG P365 are obviously much better than the Shield’s. Depending on the variation of Shield that you have (original or new), the new one will have four cocking serrations, but they’re not aggressive or large enough to matter. I’m going to say that hands-down, the winner is the SIG P365 vs. the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield when it comes to slide design.
There are multiple sight options on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. Depending on the variation of gun you get, it will come with either three-dot fiber-optic sights with the Pro model or three-dot standard sights on most of the other Shields. The three-dot standard sight is the most common model that you’ll see and these are definitely acceptable, but they’re not great.
The SIG Sauer P365 comes standard with SIGLITE Night Sights, which are pretty good. They have a green front that is fairly bright in the daylight — although not as bright as I would like them to be — and then they have a rear blacked-out sight that has two tritium vials on each side of a square notch.
Overall, the SIG P365 definitely comes with better sights out of the box, but they both have substantial aftermarket.
Aftermarket sights for both these guns are plentiful, and I would in fact say that it’s probably a tie. You can find just as many options for the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield as you can for the SIG Sauer P365.
Right now, there are no red-dot mounting options for the SIG P365 in the current production method. Hopefully SIG will add some brand-new red-dot options for the SIG P365 in the future, but there currently are none.
With the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, however, you also can not get any red-dots mounted on the pistol, but if you get the four-inch Pro variant, they do offer a stock gun that comes with a Crimson Trace electric sight. The Crimson Trace red-dot optics are kind of new and untested but have a good warranty, so you can always get that option direct from Smith & Wesson.
That said, the SIG P365 XL also has a red-dot mount sight and SIG ships the gun with the SIG Romeo Zero as well, so that’s probably a more apples-to-oranges comparison between the four-inch Smith & Wesson M&P Shield vs. the short-slide SIG P365.
Both of these guns come with the option to add a thumb safety. The thumb safety on the Shield is mounted on the left-hand side of the gun only, set up for right-handed shooters to swipe off with their thumb. It’s very low-profile and, frankly, almost too low-profile. I would not fully trust carrying a gun with that safety as it would be very easy to not swipe it when you mean to. Conversely, the P365 safety add-on comes with ambidextrous safety levers that stick out just slightly further than the Shield safety levers and are therefore easier to use. Both guns can also be ordered without a safety, which is the most common method you’ll find them in stores.
I prefer the SIG P365 with safety if I’m going to have to compare that vs. the Smith & Wesson Shield with safety. It’s just easier, and having ambidextrous safety makes a lot of sense on a carry gun where you might have to shoot using your support hand if something goes wrong.
Comparing the trigger on these two guns is very easy. I’m going to go over each trigger in-depth so you can make up your mind which set of features works best for you.
SIG Sauer P365 Trigger
The trigger on the SIG P365 has light take-up before you hit somewhat of a wall, and then you’re going to feel lots of creep before it goes into a nice rolling brake. From the reset, it moves back to that wall point where you feel the creep again before the trigger break. I really like this trigger and I’ve had great luck shooting still targets out to 100 yards with this gun. It’s a fantastically accurate trigger when you have time to pull it very slowly and it works pretty well for up-close uses as well. I’m a big fan of it.
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Trigger
The Smith & Wesson Shield has a hinge-style trigger and I am not a fan of this. The way my hand sits up, it’s very hard to activate the bottom portion of the trigger that deactivates the trigger safety, and due to this, I end up applying a lot of pressure to the top of the trigger before the trigger pulls when my finger slides down enough to deactivate the safety. Not everybody is going to have this issue; this is unique to my hand size.
I’m going to review the trigger as if I didn’t have this problem. When you pull the trigger, you’re going to fill that light take-up as the trigger safety disengages and you’re going to hit a wall, and from that wall you’re going to feel a little bit of creep before you hit another wall and that’s where the trigger breaks. This is not quite a hard wall-break, but it’s not a rolling break by any means either. The trigger is closer to a wall than it is to a rolling break.
The trigger isn’t bad, and the trigger on the Smith & Wesson 2.0 series is definitely a lot cleaner than the original Smith & Wesson triggers, so the only difference between the 2.0 series and the original Smith & Wesson Shield is how clean the break is for the 2.0s. Personally, I prefer the trigger on the SIG P365 to both the M&P Shield triggers, but your mileage may vary.
The slide lock on both guns sit fairly far forward, so if you have smaller hands, you might have trouble reaching it. They’re both only mounted on the left side of the gun and set up for a right-handed shooter. I myself prefer this slide stop on the Smith & Wesson Shield as it’s well-rounded and just easier for me to use. It’s a stiff slide lock, but it’s not as sharp as the slide lock on the SIG P365, so it’s just slightly more comfortable in the hand. That said, I’m nitpicking with both guns and the slide locks are pretty close in actuality.
I find the magazine release on the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield just a bit easier to use. Due to the way the grip is designed, I can drop the magazine on the Smith & Wesson without removing my hand or breaking my grip. On the SIG P365, I have to break my grip or the palm of my hand will block the magazine from dropping free. This isn’t an issue everybody will have, but a lot of people with medium to larger hands will.
There is no magazine well to speak of on either of these guns. There’s a very slight bevel on the Smith & Wesson Shield, and no such bevel at all on the SIG P365, but both of these guns have a similar speed to reload and the magazine well doesn’t aid you in any way.
Quality-wise, I’m going to say these guns feel pretty similar. The construction quality of the frames for both seem kind of cheap but the slides seem to be well-built. You’re looking at metal slides vs. polymer frames, and I honestly think the original Smith & Wesson series has a higher-quality feeling of frame material than the new 2.0 series. The new 2.0 Smith & Wesson Shields’ feels similar in quality to the SIG P365 series in comparison. Quality is really a wash here.
There’s a good aftermarket for the M&P Shield, but the SIG P365 has become so popular that the aftermarket is currently larger for that gun.
Luckily, the Shield has become more of a budget-friendly gun, and due to that, there aren’t as many people interested in doing aftermarket upgrades, but there are many on the market and a lot of companies have put enough R&D money into the products that they still stock them. You’re still going to be able to find a lot of aftermarket parts like trigger shoes, trigger parts, sights, and other accessories for the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield.
Aesthetically, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield has never been a very attractive firearm in my opinion. It just seems off proportionally and the outline isn’t that attractive. The SIG Sauer P365 is what I would call a “cute” gun — it’s so small that it’s kind of cute and very proportional.
Shooting the SIG P365 is an absolute dream. The gun has very light recoil and for its size, it’s really a fantastic gun to shoot. The Smith & Wesson Shield, on the other hand, shoots kind of like you expect it to. It has a fair amount of recoil and is very flippy for a gun of its size. If you have the original version, the lack of texturing doesn’t help either.
The 2.0 model is quite a bit better in that regard, but it’s still not nearly as controllable as the SIG P365. Unless you have really large hands that aren’t able to get a proper grip on the small SIG P365, then the SIG P365 is just going to shoot a lot better for most people. If you have massive hands, I’m going to say the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield will shoot better for you.
Pricewise, it’s hard to discuss the Smith & Wesson Shield at this time because their prices are currently extremely high. Smith & Wesson runs a lot of dealer and distributor promotions that significantly affect the dealer cost of the firearm during normal periods that usually benefits the consumer as well. As I write this, firearms demand is at an all-time high, so there are no promotions while dealers mark up their normal margins.
I’m going to assume that demand will die down or production will catch up when discussing prices. I’ve seen Gen1 Smith & Wesson M&P Shields for as low as $229 with manufacturer rebate in the past, but they normally sell for somewhere between $299 and $329 while 2.0 base models sell between $369 and $429 depending on the time of year and promotions.
The SIG Sauer P365 is considerably more expensive with a normal street price of $499 and an MSRP of $599. Three extra rounds in the gun gives you 30% more capacity, which is substantial. Value is very similar on these guns when you account for the sights that come on the SIG P365 not needing to be replaced, which is roughly $100 worth of value.
Ultimately, I think your budget and hand size are going to determine which gun holds the better value for you.
Sig P365 Pros
Sig P365 Cons
- Small grip
- Magazine cost
S&W Shield Pros
- Larger grip
S&W Shield Cons
- Recoil impulse