By Sturm Guilford
It’s bigger than I expected, perhaps only because my daily carry is a Rohrbaugh R9.
I’ve been shooting since my Father taught me basic marksmanship at age seven. I still have that Red Ryder. Basic marksmanship training is less about the tool, and more about consistency, practice and the teacher. I had as good as it gets; Dad was the Atticus Finch of my small town.
As I said, it’s bigger than I had expected, but that’s just a matter of perspective. I fired 100 rounds of 115grn FMJ Winchester White Box through a newly purchased pistol, with less than five hundred rounds through it. There were no jams, zero failure to fire, and no failure to chamber or extract. After only two or three magazines, I was able to relax and find the grove of smooth trigger pull, break, and reset. The reset is audible and easily felt in the fingertip. There is no trigger slop and break is crisp, however the trigger pull is a bit stiff. After another mag I could consistently get reasonably quick follow up shots, all inside a pie pan at twenty five feet. It IS small, but it did fill my dainty, girl like hand, and without the usual twisting compact guns, firing full sized 9mm para, often seem to do. (It does come chambered in a .40SW – that would be interesting to try). The pistol was delivered with two magazines – one seven round and one eight round mag with a finger perch, and TruGlo 3-Dot sights. The magazine springs are exceedingly stiff, for the life of me I could not get the last round in either mag… you’ll need a LULA Loader. Owner’s manual says it’s rated for +P, but +P is not recommended.
It’s a slim and smooth .95” wide, with a thumb release slide lock, thumb mag catch, all right side.
This variant has no manual safety. Fit and finish were good, and the sights were tight (we won’t go into my last experience with a brand new S&W auto loader with loose, un-peened sights), take downs are a breeze. It looks good, matt black finish with stippled polymer frame and black anodized stainless steel slide. Every manufacturer seems to have their own patented, proprietary coating, we’ll just call it anodized, and be done with it.
Ok, I have to admit it: I liked. I brought a lot of bias to the range against S&W autoloaders, but left with a new sense of appreciation. Not a convert by any means, but I will give them some respect.
A coworker had bought this for his first concealed carry pistol/ first pistol ever. As a first handgun, it had to fulfill a multiplicity of duties: a range gun, plinker, and trainer for his kids. Yes, it had to fill a lot of rolls – inside the waistband strong-side carry, mornings at the range with wife and twelve & fourteen year old daughters – all experienced airsoft shooters. It will do all that well.
Model: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield
Magazine capacity: 8 & 7 rounds
Material: Stainless steel slide and barrel, polymer frame
Weight empty: 19 ounces
Barrel Length: 3.1″
Overall length: 6.1″
Sights: TruGlo three dot
Action: Striker Fired
Next time – owning and living with a Rohrbaugh R9 for six years…