[FIREARM REVIEW] Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .40 S&W


Today, we’re going to be taking a look at the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield chambered in 40 S&W. A popular firearm for concealed carry, let’s break it down and see how it holds up.

M&P Shield Form Factor Dimensions

The M&P Shield, chambered in .40 caliber, has an overall length of 6.1″ and a barrel length of 3.1″.  The real winner for this is it’s concealability along the waistband – less than an inch wide (0.95″).  So if you wear a size 34″ belt, you may need to wear a 36″ belt to comfortably accommodate it in an IWB holster.

With a trigger pull of 6.5 lbs, it’s definitely a stiff pull.  That’s not a bad thing, in my opinion.  A lot of striker fires – like the Glock 19 – have a much lighter trigger pull and it’s not something I particularly appreciate.

And yes – it is a striker fire.  I’ve always felt striker fire was an ideal choice for concealed carriers because it seems to benefit the “0 to 60” mentality that self-defense situations often seem to take.  While SA/DA is my preferred carry style for full size combat pistols, this model of M&P Shield offers a lot of durability and good safety features that a concealed carrier would appreciate.

The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

My overall impressions, after having carried the M&P Shield as my daily carry pistol, is that it offers fantastic high caliber performance in a small package.  If you want an everyday carry that fits well in an inside the waistband concealed carry holster, this is certainly a great choice

Ugly: Recoil Compensation

Now, there’s no surprise with this one.  With a slim form factor, there’s no room to handle recoil within the actual mechanics of the gun.  And to be honest, it was something I could get used to.  That said, for those comfortable with a more isometric grip, this is a great pistol.

Bad: Standard Magazine Catching On Slide Release

With the extended magazines I used, the slide release would reliably close.  For some reason, the one standard magazine I had wouldn’t trigger the slide release.  This may be due to the particular standard size magazine I had.  My daily carry configuration was with the extended magazine and throughout that time, I never had the slide release fail to close when loading.


While unloaded with the slide open, this M&P Shield’s slide release does not close with a light touch as it does on some other pistols I own.  This was a little annoying but not a bad thing.

Good: Price For Performance?  Ridiculously Good.

For less than $450, a concealed carrier can feel confident tucking this into his IWB holster.  With a manual safety that’s accessible from either the left hand (forefinger switch) or right hand (thumb), it’s equally capable in the left or right hand with practice.  That’s something that can’t always be said for other concealed carry pistols.

The recoil spring in the M&P Shield .40 S&W is extremely durable and remained extremely taut despite putting it through some rigorous range testing.  In one instance, I put upwards of 300 rounds of overpressurized Fiocchi ammunition through it without so much as a hiccup in terms of performance.

Best of all?  It’s always reliably hit at the 20 yard mark.  Sight picture and sight alignment are fantastic and I like the ability to be able to engage targets at range.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .40 S&W

Screenshot from mp-side-shot-x1

MSRP: $450

As an entry level .40 caliber pistol, it performs much better than similarly priced alternatives.  For concealed carry, it’s slimline form factor has yet to be surpassed readily in the single stack variety.  An extended magazine makes a full pistol grip possible while the standard size magazine still offers plenty of capacity.

  • Concealability: 4.9
  • Recoil: 3.0
  • Reliability: 3.3
  • Magazine Capacity: 4.4 (Standard) or 4.5 (Extended)
  • Breakdown: 4.8
  • Price: 5.0
  • Overall: 4.2/5.0 (B+)
About James England | View all posts by James England

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry…

James England is a Marine Corps veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and has served as a defense contractor in Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. His daily concealed carry handgun is a Glock 36 in a Lenwood Holsters Specter IWB or his CZ-75D PCR in an Alien Gear MOD holster.

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  • Jim Screws

    I have one and I like it. My only complaint is there isn’t a 357 SIG barrel for it! I also have a M&P Compact in 40 and I purchased a 357 SIG barrel for it. It’s the cat’s pajamas!!! I love it!

  • Kevin Kilkenny

    Some call it a slide lock, not a slide release.

    • James England

      I have since been educated on the difference. Thank you very much for giving me the heads up.

  • Robert Havens

    Respectfully, I think you should reconsider your grip. Putting your finger in front of the trigger guard is a good way to blow it off

  • Bob Faulds

    This is my everyday carry handgun. I also have a S&W Bodyguard 380 which I like also. Both guns are a very good choice & easily concealed but I went to the 40, for knockdown power.

  • Eric Frank

    The Shield 40 is my edc. I feel the recoil is one of its best qualities. I’ve shot several 40’s and the Shield felt the best. It handles the recoil quite well. Also very accurate. I shoot this gun just as well if not better than my Glock 19.

  • Stumpie

    I pull 3″ groups with my Shield .40 all day long, no problems with recoil,etc. Great gun!!

  • Adam Estabrook

    I personally own the Smith & Wesson M&P 40c and i love it so much I posted a review on it.

  • Don Morris

    I own both the 9 and the 40.. Love them both wouldn’t trade them for anything.. Very accurate ..I prefer to carry the 40 as my EDC just personal preference. Never a single problem with either and I have put hundreds and hundreds of rounds downrange

  • damnedweare

    holy crap. f’in come to it.. ffs…watched 5 mins and realized nothing but 20 minutes more.