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Smith & Wesson Shield EZ in .30 Super Carry: Full Review

Smith & Wesson was first to adopt the new Federal Premium .30 Super Carry cartridge. In the proven Shield EZ platform, it's one of the best EDC pistols available.

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ in .30 Super Carry: Full Review

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ in .30 Super Carry: Full Review (Handguns Photo)

When Federal introduced its new .30 Super Carry cartridge earlier this year, it partnered with Smith & Wesson to produce the first polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols chambered to the new round. Both the M&P Shield Plus and the M&P Shield EZ are now available in .30 Super Carry.

The new Shield EZ in .30 Super Carry is virtually identical to the 9mm version. It has a grip safety, and a manual thumb safety is optional. Due to the grip safety, it does not have interchangeable backstraps. The grip angle is vertical, about 18 degrees according to S&W, which is roughly the same as a 1911.

Easy EZ

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ .30 Super Carry
The Shield EZ controls feature a grip safety. While the test gun didn’t have one, a manual thumb safety is available as an option. (Handguns photo)

All Shield EZ pistols feature modern surface texturing that provides a secure grip without being too aggressive. Both the Shield EZ’s slide and the 3.7-inch barrel are made from stainless steel and are coated with Armornite, a nitrocarburized surface finish that resists corrosion and wear. 
With an internal hammer that rides lower in the frame, it’s easier (hence the “EZ” name) to work the slide. That means even shooters with weak hands or conditions like arthritis will more likely be able to operate the Shield EZ.

Distinctive wave-pattern slide cuts are found on the rear and front lower half of the slide. Angular slide cuts reduce weight and increase carry comfort, but they also give the Shield EZ a distinct look. There are “ears” or extensions machined into the rear of the slide that assist with cycling, but these wings aren’t pronounced enough to cause problems during the draw. Many shooters find it difficult to load magazines, too. Smith & Wesson addresses this by using a relatively light magazine spring. The two included magazines are also equipped with tabs on either side of the magazine that can be pulled downward to compress the magazine spring, simplifying loading.

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ .30 Super Carry
The Shield EZ’s light slide is easy to rack, and operating it is made even easier thanks to cocking “ears” at the rear of the slide. (Handguns photo)

The biggest news about this magazine is it holds 10 rounds of .30 Super Carry ammunition. That’s two more rounds than you can stuff in a Shield EZ in 9mm while getting similar terminal performance. With its 100- and 115-grain 0.312-inch-diameter bullets, the .30 Super Carry generates muzzle velocities up to 1,250 fps and energy levels on par with a 9mm. The Shield EZ’s small slide stop can be challenging to operate. However, with the gun’s light slide, releasing the slide with the overhand grasp-and-pull method is easy.

The egg-shaped magazine release is reversible, and takedown is fast, simple and safe thanks to a rotating lever located on the left side of the frame and a design that doesn’t require a pull of the trigger. There’s also a loaded-chamber indicator on top of the slide and a three-slot accessory rail under the barrel. The gun measures 6.8 inches long and stands 5.2 inches tall. Width is listed at 1.5 inches, although that must include the width of the manual safety because my sample, which didn’t have a safety, measured just 1.1 inches wide. Slide width is 0.96 inch. Listed weight is 21.6 ounces unloaded, but I weighed the gun with an unloaded magazine installed and found the weight to be 23.7 ounces.

Reduced Recoil

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ .30 Super Carry Magazines
The big news with the Shield EZ in .30 Super Carry is that its easy-loading magazines hold two more rounds than the 9mm magazines. (Handguns photo)

Theoretically, .30 Super Carry pistols produce less felt recoil and muzzle rise than the same pistol chambered in 9mm. Since I had both the 9mm and .30 Super Carry Smith & Wesson Shield EZ pistols on hand, I was able to see if there was an appreciable difference in recoil between the two. There is a reduction in recoil with the .30, but it’s not dramatic. All Shield EZ pistols have great triggers. The test pistol’s trigger broke at an average of 5.3 pounds, well below the six- to seven-pound triggers found on other pistols but not so light as to be dangerous.

The sights are white three-dot style, set in dovetails, and the rear notch sight has a recess that cuts glare. These sights are suitable for defensive work in most circumstances. From 25 yards the pistol shot well, producing a test-best five-shot group with Speer’s 115-grain Gold Dot load that measured 1.5 inches at that distance. Most groups measured between two and three inches from the bench. In practical shooting I found the gun offers a comfortable grip for good recoil management and a short trigger reset for fast follow-ups. The action is smooth. The only hiccup I had was during the bench testing when I didn’t depress the grip safety completely, and I did not have that issue when shooting from an unsupported position.

Having two extra rounds on tap is always beneficial and makes a compelling case for the Shield EZ .30 Super Carry. Time will tell whether this cartridge will prove successful, but Federal made a wise decision in partnering with Smith & Wesson for the initial launch. The Shield Plus and Shield EZ are currently your only options for this new round, and I think the EZ is a fine choice for those seeking a small gun with great capacity.

Smith & Wesson Shield EZ .30 Super Carry Specs

  • Type: Striker-fired, semiautomatic
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 10+1 rds. 
  • Barrel: 3.7 in. 
  • OAL/Height/Width: 6.8/5.2/1.1 in.
  • Weight: 23.7 oz.
  • Grips: Black, polymer
  • Finish: Armornite
  • Trigger: 5.3 lbs. (tested)
  • Sights: White, 3-dot
  • MSRP: $521
  • Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson

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