S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Review: Upgraded CCW Contender

by coldboremiracle

November 13, 2023

1 comments

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Today we have a treat for you GU readers. We are taking an in-depth look and review of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus 9mm sub compact pistol. The Shield is one of many CCW focused handguns with features and design to benefit today’s concealed carrier.

S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Action Striker fired
  • Capacity 8
  • Optics Ready No
  • Sights Fiber optic
  • Frame Polymer
  • Barrel Length 3.1 in
  • Overall Length 6.1 in
  • Weight 20.9 oz

S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Background 

The M&P series of pistol has a long history of service, and with the Shield model Smith & Wesson brought that reputation to a micro-compact pistol. The Shield was designed to maximize features in a very small and portable handgun. 

The Shield incorporates the handsome cuts and rugged features familiar to all pistols in the M&P line. It compresses these prominent features into a narrow and small framed polymer-framed pistol to give its owners an edge when they need it most. 

M&P pistols have been around for a long time, but the Shield is a much newer development. The first M&P pistol goes back as far as WW2, a revolver chambered in the .38 Special. The lines focus on military and police service seem more like a tradition now than anything. Selling weapons to law enforcement and not the public is scandalous at best. Let’s hope firearm manufacturers don’t need to relearn that lesson. 

The Shield has an incredibly narrow design, which makes it a particularly good choice for a carry pistol. The engineers at S&W worked some impressive magic, fitting all the M&P goodness into this slim and sexy little pistol. 

S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Features

S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Features
1 Armornite finish

Metal finished with Armornite® durable finish

2 Flat face trigger

New flat face trigger replaces the hinged trigger commonly found in M&P handguns

3 Chamber indicator

Chamber indicator is both tactile and visual

4 Take down lever

Patented take-down lever for easy disassembly and cleaning.

5 Striker fired

Striker fired action with sear deactivation system.

6 18 degree grip angle

18 degree grip angle aids in natural aiming comfort.

Models and Variations of the S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus

The M&P Shield plus comes in several configurations. They offer it in 9mm and 30 super carry. You can also get it with or without a thumb safety. In addition, they have optics ready and performance center options.

S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus – Review

SW MP9 Shield Plus Hero

To test the Shield, I grabbed several boxes of ammunition and headed into the mountains to give it a good thrashing. Both my son and I spent several hours shooting, loading, and shooting some more with the little Shield.

Shootability

The small size of this pistol is impressive. When you hold it in your hand, it is surprisingly narrow.

It might almost even be too narrow if you are a person with really large hands. With a full magazine, the pistol still felt quite lightweight. 

SW MP9 Shield Plus Appendix

With all that in mind, I anticipated a pretty good snap when the little Shield went off. But to my surprise, it was much easier to control than I expected. This surely had something to do with the ported barrel. The muzzle blast created a visual V of flame and kept the pistol from rocking excessively in the hand. 

Ergonomics

The trigger is just the right amount of length, in my opinion, for a CCW pistol. It breaks nicely and predictably. This made shooting the Shield very pleasant and also allowed me to shoot it quite accurately. 

The narrow grip that I thought might be too thin was actually very comfortable. The very low profile safety seemed to be almost too low profile, but disengaging the safety was actually just fine. It took a little more deliberate effort to engage the safety, but using my thumb to move it to the fire position was flawless. 

The magazine release also took a little more deliberate effort, which is probably a good thing for a CCW. The only thing I disliked about the magazine was the spacer at the bottom of the floor plate. It had a little play that could cause some fumbling when seating the mag. 

Accuracy

SW MP9 Shield Plus Sights

The fiber optic sights were fantastic, the red rear sights contrast beautifully with the green front sight. The sights popped even in the lowlight of a cloudy evening. And made for one hit after another. 

Hitting targets within 20-30 yards was very doable. The short stature of the Shield did not seem to inhibit my ability to shoot it well. This is a big plus, in my opinion.

Drawing the pistol from a holster was clean and smooth. The edges of the pistol have just the right amount of softening to avoid snagging on clothing. The grip angle kept the pistol on target everytime I presented it on target.

Value

While I prefer more than 10-rounds for my CCW pistol, the Shield really seems to be a valid contender in my estimation. It actually surprised me to see the MSRP of $499 after playing with this pistol for a day. It really did impress me more than I had expected. 

Conclusion

Shooting the M&P Shield was a surprisingly pleasant experience, not that I expected it to go poorly. I just liked it much more than I anticipated. The compact size of the Shield makes it an excellent choice for concealing. And with the reliable function and heritage of the M&P line, it will stand up to daily carry. 

The bright sights and grip angle make it easy to get on target quickly. The only drawback I could come up with really is that it holds fewer rounds than other options. There are several great models in the M&P Shield Plus line. Surely you can find one that fits your needs best. 

SW MP9 Shield Plus Review

S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Pros and Cons 

  • Size – Very compact and slender, easily concealed
  • Trigger – Great trigger and reset
  • Safety option – Thumb safety for those that want it
  • Sights – High visibility sights are easy to pick up
  • Shootability – Very controllable while shooting
  • Value – Affordably priced
  • Capacity – Lower capacity than many other options

Report Card

Shootability

The Shield is very comfortable to shoot, and easy to control despite its small stature.

A-
Reliability

We experienced no malfunctions during testing. It runs like a machine.

A
Ergonomics

The grip is a little narrow for my taste, but it didn’t seem to affect my shooting.

B+
Accuracy

For a pistol this small, it shot very well. Keeping patterns under three inches at ten yards.

B+
Value

For the price of the Shield, you get excellent features and performance.

A
S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Final Grade

Our Grade

A-

Reviewed by coldboremiracle

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 7 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus Starter Pack

These items are must haves for all firearms owners and range trips:

Upgrades and Accessories for the S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus

A good holster is an absolute must for the Shield. There are so many good Kydex holsters you can surely find one that fits your needs.

The ETS Shield magazine give you a bit of additional magazine capacity over some of the smaller capacity mags. With room for twelve rounds and the ability to see how full it is, it adds an additional level of security to your favorite concealed carry pistol.

And if twelve rounds isn’t enough for your daily carry, carrying an extra magazine in this Comp Tac magazine pouch. It attaches to your belt as an outside the waistband accessory, so you can carry an additional magazine for added security.

Upgrades and Accessories for the S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus

DeSantis Uni-Tuk Gun Holster
  • Kydex front with padded and breathable synthetic backing
  • Multiple tension points
  • Tuckable 360C clip
Buy on Amazon
ETS S&W M&P 9 Shield 12 Round Magazine
  • Translucent carbon smoke finish
  • 12 round capacity
  • UV and impact resistant
Check Price
Comp-Tac Single Magazine Pouch
  • 1.5in belt clip
  • Kydex material
  • Retention screw for adjustment
Buy on Amazon

Best Ammo for the S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus

Federal Champion 115 brass is what we shot most of. It functioned great and did not leave significant carbon fouling on the gun. The short barrel of the Shield definitely resulted in some fireballs while shooting. 

Speer Gold Dot 124 HP is what I normally carry in this pistol. It functions well and shoots accurately from the Shield.

Range Ammo

Federal Champion Training Brass 9mm 115 Gr

Federal Champion Training Brass 9mm 115 Gr

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Gun Deals $0.23
GunMag Warehouse $0.23
Target Sports USA $0.26
Gritr Sports $0.37

Defensive Ammo

Speer Gold Dot 9mm Ammo

Speer Gold Dot 124 Gr HP

Marketplace
Cost Per Round
Gun Deals $0.99
Optics Planet $1.04
SW MP9 Shield Plus Ammo

Other CCW Handguns to Check Out

Check out our best CCW handgun article to see some of our favorite concealed carry handguns all in one place. Below are two guns similar to the M&P 9 Plus that you may want to check out.

1 Glock 43x

Glock 43x

A single-stack “slimlined” Glock pistol specifically designed for CCW.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A

Based on 141 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

2 Sig P365XL Spectre Comp

Sig P365XL Spectre Comp

The Spectre family of pistols has become the pinnacle of feature-rich performance in the Sig Custom Works polymer lineup.

Check Latest Price

  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy B
  • Value C

Our Grade

B+

Reader’s Grade

A-

Based on 7 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Handgun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

How to Care for Your S&W M&P 9 Shield Plus

Here is a video showing you the disassembly of the M&P Shield for maintenance.

Check out the links below for the manufacturer’s website.

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About coldboremiracle

coldboremiracle is a self-taught "Freelance Sharpshooter" based in the Rocky Mountains. A true gun nut at heart, but has a passion for precision shooting particularly as it applies to hunting. When not at home or work, he is more than likely behind a riflescope in the high country evaluating the wind for the next shot.

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1 COMMENTS

  1. I have the Smith&Wesson Shield Plus 9mm and the Springfield Hellcat as carry guns and it’s about a dead heat on them. Both are great carry guns. The new flat trigger on the S&W is as good as factory triggers get. Fun to shoot. Both guns are easy to hide even with Red/Green Dots on them.

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