My S&W 9 MM Shield


My S&W 9mm Shield

A couple years ago, with the way things have gone in the world, and here in the USA, I decided it was time to have a pistol to carry as needed to protect my Home and Family. With my 22 years in the US Army, I could of had a waiver on the requirement for a certified training class, but with it covering all aspects of Safe amd Legal gun use, I took the 8 hour class. After taking the class, being finger printed, and having a back ground check, in about 12 days, I received my Tennessee Carry Permit.

After a lot of research, I decided the S&W 9MM Shield was my best choice. I decided on the PC (Performance Center) model for less recoil, better sights and improved trigger.

The Performance Center Ported M&P9 Shield offers discerning shooters premium features including a factory ported barrel and slide, improved trigger, and Fiber Optic Sights.

Features * Extremely thin and lightweight - can be comfortably carried all day * Polymer frame with embedded stainless steel rigid chassis system * Striker-fired for short consistent trigger pull, every time * Performance Center sear enhanced trigger for a crisp trigger pull * M&P's patented take-down lever and sear deactivation system. * HI-VIZ Fiber Optic Sights * Ported barrel and slide for reduced muzzle flip * Single sided thumb safety * Includes 2 magazines, one with extended capacity for full grip * Weight: 18.2 oz / 516.0g

During my 22 years in the Army, I always smoothed and polished the feed ramps on any weapons I used to reduce FTF (Fail To Feed) problems. I decided to polish the feed ramp on my Shield, and since it does have a stainless steel barrel, I did the complete barrel.

Since S&W frowns on making any changes to any of there guns, and may not honor warranty work on modified guns, make sure to put a few hundred rounds through it before making any changes.










Polishing the Barrel: There are several ways to polish the barrel. This is how I did mine. 1. Remove the barrel, plug the ends of the barrel to keep the vinegar out and soak it in white vinegar for 3 hours, remove it and use a old wash cloth or dish washing pad, and rub the loosened black coating off. Do this a total of 3 times to get most of it off, including in the pores. 2. Use 800 wet dry sand paper, and get all the coating off. Move up to 1200, then 2000 to get it perfectly smooth and no sanding marks showing. 3. Use a good quality metal polish on it, and polish till you have the desired shine. I used Mothers Mag and Wheel Polish. If you have a Dermal tool, you will find this very handy. Note: When doing the feed ramp, only use the sand paper in the direction of the bullet feeding, and only enough to smooth the ramp, then polish.


Sites:

The sites on the standard Shield are adequate for a carry gun, but could be better. A good improvement would be a set of Big Dots if staying with standard type sites, or you could move up to some of the Fiber Optics, or Nite Sites.

The sites on the PC Shield are a huge improvement over stock, but after shooting it for several months, and then doing some of it at night a few times, I decided the Fiber Optics just did not cut it at night. I picked up a set of Trijicon Tritium Night Sights. I got the ones that are Green, and has a Bright orange ring around the front sight that absorbs light at night, and is Very Easy to see during the day. S&W now sells a PC 9mm Shield with Night Sights, instead of the Fiber Optics, if that is what you want. It is Sku:11630.




Holster:
Most people end up purchasing several holsters before finding the one that best suits there needs. A few things to consider are, will you carry it on the belt, outside the waste band (OWB), or inside the waste band, IWB, all day carry, or a few hours at a time.

I recommend IWB unless in the Winter, and a long shirt or coat will completely cover it. Carrying a gun exposed does nothing but draw unnecessary attention to you, and makes you the first target of a gunman.

A leather holster will always look nice, but they change there retention of the gun over time, are noisy, and change characteristics with heat and humidity.

Kydex holsters can be molded to fit any pistol, usually have a screw to adjust retention tension to fit your needs, and are not affected by temperature or humidity. They can be a little uncomfortable against your body or tee shirt on a IWB holster.

My choice is a hybrid, with Kydex front and leather rear. This gives great fit and retention, along with more comfort.

I have tried several holsters, and decided on the Raw Dog IWB Holster. It is very easy to put on, or take off, hold the gun very well, are easy to draw you gun from, and make re-holstering the gun easy. I have a few guns stashed around the house, so I do not carry full time. If I did, I would consider one of the Alien Gear holsters that are comfortable, and great for all day carry. They are not the best for short term since they are a little time consuming putting on and taking off and a tad bulky.

What ever holster you choose, make sure it has adjustable retention, the trigger is completely covered to prevent accidental discharge, and make sure the magazine release button is also covered to prevent it from being accidentally released, or someone else intentionally releasing it.

One last thing, pick up a small tube of blue Locktite, and loosen the screws that hold the holster together one at a time, and put a couple drops on the treads from the back, and retighten. Make sure you have a good snug retention fit on the pistol. This will prevent problems down the road.




Raw Dog



And the Alien Gear Holster


Alien Gear




Gun Belt:
I have tried top of the line 1 1/2 wide, thick leather belts, and they do ok for a few months, then they start saging. Leather softens over time from flexing, and absorbs a certain amount of moisture, which also makes it flex more. With a gun belt made with the thin metal strip in between 2 layers of leather, it will not sag over time. These keep the gun where you want it to be, and not requiring readjustment while you are carrying, and remain comfortable.

I have found that Bigfoot Gun Belts offer a very well built gun belt that Will Not Sag, and at a very affordable price. These compare to gun belts costing over $100.


Bigfoot Gun Belts



Ammo:
I have researched, and tried several different brands and types of ammunition, and for just plan range shooting, just about any Brass, Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) will work. What ever is available, and on sale at Wal-Mart. :) Now for Defense Ammo, it is very Important. I chose Federal 147 gr HST to be the best choice for the short barrel Shield. It has Great Expansion, and good penetration, Without Over Penetration. It is best to use some range ammo that is close to the same grain weight as your defense ammo. I use 3 different ammo at the range, Wal-mart's cheapest just to put rounds down range, and 147 FMJ to go along with my Federal 147 HST Defense Ammo. Using 147 FMJ, or something close in weight to train with the 147 HST should give very good training results.



You can use Ammoseek to search for ammo at many online sites. Here is one I saved for Federal 9mm 147gr HST ammo. This has both standard loads, and +P loads showing. +P is not recommended for regular use, but is perfect for using during the Winter as Defense Ammo to give extra velocity for penetration through heavy Winter Cloths. I have 1 magazine loaded with this, marked Winter on the side.
Search HST 147

P9HST4 Ammo is +P, and not for regular use, but ok for Winter Defense with heavy clothing.

P9HST2 is standard HST, and perfect for Defense use anytime.

For range plinking, any 9MM ammo is fine, but for Training, you should use ammo with close to the same grain bullets as your Defense Ammo. If you use 147 HST for Defense, any of these should be good for Training, and help keep the cost down.

Search FMJ 147


I actually keep 3 groups of ammo boxes for the different caliber ammo I use.

1. Range plinking ammo, 2. Affordable Training/SHTF Ammo, and 3. Personal Defense Ammo.

For the 9mm pistol, I pick up what ever Walmart has On Sale for plinking, then for serious training, since I use 147 gr HST for Defense, and I use 147 gr FMJ for training also. I always end each range session with one magazine of my Defense Ammo.

What ever you do, do not use FMJ ammo as your carry ammo, since it does not expand, it is prone to go through who you are shooting at, and hitting someone else also, plus not having the stopping force of Defense Ammo.

Below is a performance comparison between the 147 HST and the new 150 Micto. There is not enough differance between them, to justify using one over the other, but the Micro only comes in a 20 round box and runs around $24 per box, but the 147 HST comes in a box of 50, and runs about $20 a box. Much better choice overall.



Another video showing the great expansion of the Federal 147gr HST


Note: I switch out my standard 147gr HST for 147gr +P HST during the Winter to have better penetration through heavy clothing. The S&W Shield is rated for +P, but not +P+


Shooting:

Shooting the Shield can be a little different for some. The Shield is built to be a very effective, comfortable, easy to conceal pistol. Part of this is accomplished by keeping the profile thin.

Some people have a problem with shooting it low and to the left. This can be caused by several things, but the most common, is finger placement on the trigger. With the narrow grip, it is easy to place your trigger finger incorrectly on the trigger, causing you to shoot off center.

If you are shooting left, try putting your finger on the trigger resting more towards the center pad, like the below photo.



Below photo shows the most common cause for constantly missing where you aimed, but your shot group is good.



Starting with a one handed grip, take the firing hand and form a salute, separate the thumb from the salute. The meaty web portion between the thumb and index finger should be seated all the way into the top of the back strap. Wrap the lower three fingers around the grip panels and place the index finger down inline with the side of the pistol. Then allow the thumb to naturally rest on the grip panel (preferably inline with the slide).











For a two-handed grip take the non-firing hand and make a salute, separating the thumb from the salute. Take the non-firing hand thumb and palm and slide it into the open area of the grip panel. Rest the non-firing hand thumb directly under the firing hand thumb (pointing inline with the slide towards the target). Wrap the remaining fingers around the firing hand fingers.



Doing the 2 handed method, which is much more precise, you will need to shift the pistol/wrist alignment slightly, and support the pistol equally with both hands.



There are a couple of things that can cause you to constantly shoot off center. Incorrectly holding the pistol, and the sights being out of alignment. With a very slim single stack pistol like the Shield, it is common for the shooters to not grip it properly, and pulling the trigger with the finger in a way that it causes you to twist the gun slightly as you pull it.

The other thing is the sights being off. You can verify your sights easy with a laser bore sight. These are put in the chamber like a regular round, and puts a red dot where the barrel is pointed at, and with perfect sight picture, you can compare them and determine if the problem is sight alignment, or shooter problem.

These are very affordable, running between $10 and $30, and can be found at most gun stores, or on line.



If you use the laser bore sight, you want your sight alignment like this, and if the laser red spot is off center like this, your sights are off. Do not worry about high or low at this point, since that needs to be compensated for with a pistol anyway, depending on distance. If the sights are off, depending on the pistol, you will need to have eiter the front or rear sight shifted, then rechecked. Most Gun Stores have sight pushers, and someone that can adjust them for you.




Loading the Magazines:

I have loaded magazies for several pistols and rifles over the years, but never have I loaded magazines that were as hard to do, as the Shield. Trust me on this, get a UpLula Universal Pistol Magazine Loader. These will work on any 9mm through 45 cal single or double stack magazines.


Uplula Loader



Some add on Grips:

Talon has some Great Grips that are available in both granulate and rubber texturer. Yhe rubber ones feel great, but the granulate ones are too agressive for IWB carry. If you order them, make sure you order the ones for each of your 8 round magazines also.

Take your time installing these, and read the directions a couple of times. Normal cleaning does not harm these, except CLP, which will loosen them up.


Talon Grips

Don't forget to order the grip for the 8 round magazine also


Trigger:

The trigger on the Shields are typical of standard factory triggers, and after a few hundred rounds, do get smoother. The Performance Center versions have much improved triggers, but not perfect. I am not a fan of the hinged type trigger, so swapped just the trigger in my PC Shield, for a Apex. I did not want one of the red ones, so went with a black one that looks more factory.

Apex Kits for the M&P Shield directly replace the factory hinged trigger with a solid aluminum trigger body featuring a center mounted pivoting safety that maintains factory safety values. The kits reduce pre-travel and over-travel by approximately 20%, and provide the M&P Shield pistol owner a smooth, consistent trigger pull that is approximately 2 lbs lighter (based on variations in factory tolerances) with the advantage of a more detectable trigger reset. If you have a Performance Center Shield, you already have a near perfect trigger, that could only be slightly improved by using a Apex trigger unit only, to replace the S&W hinged polymer one.


Apex Triggers



Recoil Spring:

The factory Recoil Spring seems to be the only possible weak point in the Shields. My Shield is well over 1 year old, and has Hundreds of rounds through it without a problem. Some have had the recoil spring come apart during cleaning. The most common problems are the end deforms at the small end, and allows it to come apart, and where the two springs join. S&W will send you a replacement with no questions. I emailed them, and requested a replacement, that I put in my gun cleaning kit, to have if/when needed.

Many have ordered a Recoil Spring unit from www.ssguideRods.com If you decide to go that route, you can use Discount Code SWFACEBOOK for a 10% Discount.



SS Guid Rod



Magazines:

The 9MM Shield has a 7 and 8 round magazine. The 7 is the flush fitting one, and is the easiest to carry concealed. The odd thing about the 7 round mag, is it uses the same exact spring. This has been causing problems with loading the 7 round mag, and when loaded, the added pressure has caused the spring to become deformed, and in many cases, broken. Several guys have had good luck removing 1 coil off the 7 round magazine spring.

The 8 round mag is easier to load, but still rough if not using one of the Uplula Loaders.

If you have a Shield for a Self Defense gun, you really should have a few extra magazines, and have a couple loaded with your Defense Ammo, and a couple for range practice with FMJ in them. These magazines retail at over $35, but if you shop around, you can find them much cheaper on sale. Some places even sale them with Free Shipping, if you buy in quantity.

Palmetto State Armory always has good prices, around $20. Palmetto

MagGuts:

Replace your magazine internals with multi-spring system that allows the storage of additional round(s) without extending the mag while maintaining proper spring pressure and meeting or exceeding original performance. You can order with or without a new base plate. This allows the option to increase the capacity even more for your carry gun.


MagGuts

You can order the guts and new base to get 2 extra rounds, or order just the guts, or just the base, which will each add 1 extra round.

Hyve Magazine:

Hyve makes a 10 round complete magazine, that uses a S&W 8 round mag and adds there extension to it, and also a +2 base plate that uses your existing magazine. They are both abailable in several colors.




Hyve Extentions and Complete Mags

I think one of either of the MagGuts or Hyve units is a good option for your 2md magazine that you may carry seperately on your other side, but not in your conceal holster, as it will only add bulk and weight to your gun.


Spare Magazine Carrier:

I wanted a Spare Magazine Holder that was light weight, could be carried in any location or position, and be affordable.

I prefer to have my spare magazine on the opposite side as my carry gun so I can be holding the gun in my right hand, eject the empty mag, and pull the new mag out with my left hand and insert. These Flashlight Holsters are great for this, since they are extremely light weight, will hold a magazine snug, but allow easy removable, and can be secured to your belt at any angle.

These are available everywhere, and I purchased mine at Lowes for $9.



Here are a few photos of mine, with a 8 round magazine in it.












The latch on the rear will rotate 360 degree, with several detents to lock it in place. As you can see, there is plenty of room for one of the larger magazines.




Field Stripping the S&W Shield







My M1 Carbine Page


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