Smith & Wesson’s evolutionary step into the world of polymer-frame, striker-fired concealed-carry pistols began in 2012 with its M&P Shield chambered for 9 mm Luger. At the time, the design was one of the smallest and lightest in the company lineup, and a market trend for slim concealed-carry pistols soon followed. Nearly 10 years and many line extensions later, the company rolled out its M&P Shield Plus, which provides some substantial upgrades and is available in a chambering that didn’t exist in the early days of the original Shield. The example seen in the NRA Gun Of The Week video above, came to American Rifleman chambered for a unique .30-cal. defensive pistol round: Federal’s 30 Super Carry.
Just as you’d expect from the M&P Shield line, you get a robust and feature-rich setup, which includes a user-friendly frame with enhanced grip texturing throughout. What you may not have expected is for the Shield pistol to undergo a chassis change to accommodate larger-than-original magazines. That’s right, the latest M&P Shield Plus is a capacity-rich micro-compact, packing up to 17 rounds of 30 Super Carry on board. Standard, flush-fit magazines though, are 13-round units.
The Shield Plus has received more than just a chambering and magazine change, this 19.3-oz. micro-compact was designed to make the most of its small size, with a 3.1", 18-degree grip angle, improved trigger and optic-ready compatibility. Drift-adjustable sights are also included with the front post housing an orange ring with a tritium-illuminated center for low-light conditions. The rear unit provides a square notch and two tritium dots for sight-picture alignment.
Despite the compact dimensions of the design, the Shield Plus handled remarkably well on the range. The gun’s enhanced trigger was noted by our testers to be an improvement over previous designs and exhibited a tactile and audible reset. The enhanced frame design was also a boon to recoil management considering the snappy recoil produced by the novel .30-cal. chambering.
Though our testers chose to run the gun with its factory iron sights, the micro-compact pistol proved its worthiness at typical home-defense distances. There was no manual thumb safety provided on the model used for testing, which instead used a passive, blade-on-trigger-shoe-style safety. Smith & Wesson has thumb safety models available in either 9 mm Luger or 30 Super Carry. The added capacity of 30 Super Carry makes the micro-compact Shield a more-than-capable package for everyday carry.
Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson
Action Type: recoil-operated, striker-fired, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Chambering: 30 Super Carry
Slide: stainless steel, Armornite finish
Frame: black polymer
Barrel: 3.1" stainless steel, Armornite finish
Magazine: 16- and 13-round capacity
Sights: drift-adjustable, three-dot tritium
Overall Length: 6.1"
Weight: 19.3 ozs.