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American COP November 2012 Digital Edition - Page 32
n Photo: Robbie Barrkma S ’ W & S ELD SHI A better size comparison; if you can carry an iPhone, you can carry a Shield. So no excuses! A Shield with a LaserMax laser. terF Cen ire frame mounted SUZI HUNTINGTON Building on the design success of the M&P Series, S&W’s new Shield offers new options for backup or concealed carry for S&W devotees. T E K C O P P U BACK E! n the summer of 2005, S&W grabbed the attention of the polymer pistol world with the introduction of the S&W M&P 9mm semi-auto. With ergonomics and design elements raising the bar considerably for that genre, S&W quickly began to garner law enforcement market share for duty pistols. As is often the case, the consumer market also saw the benefits of this streamlined, lightweight holster gun, and dealer orders poured in. Over the past 7 years, S&W has built on that original model, expanding the lineup to include compact models, midsized models and expanding the calibers to include .40 S&W and .45 ACP. Today, police agencies as diverse as the iconic Vermont State Police, to the Belgian Federal Police, and dozens of others, have adopted S&W M&P series duty pistols. But what’s been lacking has been a truly “compact” version — until now. In March I was invited to S&W for Shield guts, including the yellow sear deactivation lever (red arrow). I S U O H R E W PO the launch of The Shield. There’d already been a lot of chatter on the forums and other sites about the “secret weapon” they’d been teasing us with since SHOT Show. I was quite interested to see what all the fuss was about and felt a little like Charlie winning the golden ticket to get into Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory — S&W is actually better than a candy factory, by the way. After signing the requisite non-disclosure agreement (had to keep my yap shut until they launched it at the NRA Show a few weeks later), I got my first glimpse at The Shield. as my duty weapon for years, and I find the Shield would be the perfect gun to carry if I were back working as a “defective” again. If I were back in uniform, I’d have no qualms carrying this as a backup in a Renegade ankle holster. My test gun was chambered in 9mm, which is good because I’m most comfortable shooting 9mm. At the S&W event, I put about 200 rounds through it, and since then I’ve put several hundred more through it. I’ve fed it a variety of ammo from cheap reloads to matchgrade, and the gun has functioned perfectly, regardless what it’s been fed. A Real Shooter At first glance I thought, “Great, another pocket pistol.” The market is literally ﬂooded with compact guns right now and I was a bit jaded in thinking I’d see something truly special. But once I looked closer, I realized I shouldn’t be so quick to discount its relevance. S&W built this gun as the next evolution in the M&P series, but it’s not a simple case of making a mini-me version of the fullsize gun; everything had to be engineered from scratch. It’s small — 6.1" overall, less than 1" wide and 4.6" tall, and weighs 19 ounces. It’s not much bigger than the classic S&W J-frame, yet it offers 7- or 8-round mags, a fast reload, and more controllability. I carried a full-size polymer 9mm by Springfield Armory The S&W M&P Shield comes in 9mm and .40 S&W, with a single-sided thumb safety and slide stop. They have black Melonite-coated stainless steel barrels and slides (for wear and corrosion resistance), polymer frames, and are striker fired with a 6.5-pound DAO trigger pull. They come standard with two magazines (7- and 8-round for the 9mm, 6- and 7-round for the .40) and 3-dot white sights. Takedown is easy, but you have to pay attention. As with full-size M&P’s, the take down lever and sear deactivation system allows you to disassemble the gun without pulling the trigger. In order to do this, you need to use a small ﬂathead screwdriver or something similar to rotate the sear deactivation lever (painted yellow) down into the mag What’s What 32 WWW.AMERICANCOPMAGAZINE.COM • NOVEMBER2012