Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ with Laser

The Shield EZ is a shining example of a company investing a lot of thought and effort into creating a semiautomatic that practically anyone can use. Now it’s even easier to shoot well thanks to the addition of an integral Crimson Trace green laser.

Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ with Laser
Smith & Wesson’s M&P380 Shield EZ is a soft-shooting, easy racking pistol that now is available with an integral green laser.

The Shield EZ is a hammer-fired .380 Auto, and the fact that it’s hammer-fired and not striker-fired is a contributing factor to how easy the slide is to operate—because in a hammer-fired designed the recoil spring doesn’t have to be as stout as in a striker gun. The slide works so easily I can do it with do it with just my thumb and index finger.

Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ with Laser
The rear of the slide flares slightly, providing an additional gripping point to aid in racking the slide.

To further enhance the ease of racking the pistol, the rear of the slide—in addition to featuring well-executed serrations—flares slightly. The flare isn’t so big it creates actual wings, but it does create as a definite ledge to assist in drawing the slide to the rear. 

The laser is one of Crimson Trace’s Laserguard, and it fits seamlessly in front of the trigger guard. The laser’s housing continues around the trigger guard and continues down the frontstrap a little more than half an inch. This extension houses the activation button and creates what Crimson Trace calls “instinctive activation.” When you have the pistol in a proper firing grip, the laser turns on without you having to reach for buttons on the laser portion of the unit.


Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ with Laser
The Crimson Trace Laserguard features instinctive activation. When the gun is in a firing grip, your fingers contact the activation button below the trigger guard and turn the laser on.

And when combined with the Shield EZ’s grip safety, you have the ideal setup: In a proper firing grip, the laser is on and that safety is off. This particular model also has an ambidextrous thumb safety, and it’s a good one if you’re a fan of the thumb safety. Smith & Wesson sells a model without the thumb safety if that’s not your thing.


The pistol has excellent ergonomics and feels right at home in your hands. The stippling on the grip frame is not too subtle, not too aggressive. 

The trigger is pretty good. The pull on my sample averaged just a touch over 4.5 pounds. There’s about a quarter-inch of take-up, and it does exhibit some creep, but it’s certainly fine for its intended use as a close-range defensive pistol, and the reset is nice and short.

Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ with Laser
The provided magazines feature small plastic studs on the orange follower that help compress the magazine’s spring.

The magazine release is easy to reach, and magazines drop free without issue. Speaking of magazines, the pistol comes with two eight-rounders with orange followers. As an added bonus, there’s a stud on the sides like you’d find on rimfire magazines. These assist in compressing the spring during loading—another user-friendly feature many people will appreciate.

The slide is coated in Armornite for corrosion resistance, and behind the ejection port you’ll find a loaded-chamber indicator you check by look or feel. Sights are metal three-dot, with the adjustable rear set in a dovetail.


Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ

Type: Hammer-fired semiauto
Caliber: .380 Auto
Capacity: 8+1
Barrel: 3.675 in.
Overall length: 6.7 in.
Height: 5 in.
Slide width: 1 in.
Weight: 19.1 oz.
Construction: Armonite-coated steel slide, polymer frame
Trigger: 4.5 lb. pull (measured)
Sights: metal 3-dot, Crimson Trace Laserguard
Safeties: manual thumb (as tested), grip
Price: $579
Manufacturer: Smith & Wesson, smith-wesson.com 




GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

All About Handgun Ammo

All About Handgun Ammo

Rich and Jim get into the nitty gritty of the FBI ammo protocol, firing into various barriers to illustrate what can happen to a bullet.

Handgun Basics

Handgun Basics

SIG Academy's Hana Bilodeau joins Rich and Jim to discuss the essential skills all handgunners should master.

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

Kyle Lamb and Eric Poole talk SIG pistols

G&A Editor Eric Poole and Viking Tacticals's Kyle Lamb talks about 2 new pistols from SIG Sauer and a Lipsey's Special of the P365.

Trending Articles

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge – it's been a long Ammo

To Cast a Good Bullet

Bart Skelton - June 28, 2012

I don't have a distinct recollection of the first time I reloaded a cartridge — it's...

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol designed for personal defense. Compact

Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall Review

Jeff Chudwin - January 29, 2019

One of the newest in the Micro 9 series, the Kimber Micro 9 Nightfall is a serious pistol...

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer SKU # 180023) is an easy-racking, soft-shooting pistol. Compact

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 Review

James Tarr - November 06, 2018

As you will learn in this detailed review, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 380 (manufacturer...

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a two-tone aluminum-framed model in 9mm (model # 6758). This review by James Tarr will focus on the 9mm. 1911

Ruger SR1911 Officer-Style 9mm Review

James Tarr - May 01, 2019

The Ruger SR1911 is offered in two versions, an all-stainless in .45 ACP (model # 6762) and a...

See More Trending Articles

More Reviews

Whether or not you're a handgun hunter, the Dan Wesson Kodiak is an ideal companion for outdoors-folks who spend time in brown bear territory—or anyone thinking about taking the 10mm plunge who wants a gun that delivers both performance and panache. Reviews

Dan Wesson Kodiak 1911 Review

J. Scott Rupp - February 12, 2020

Whether or not you're a handgun hunter, the Dan Wesson Kodiak is an ideal companion for...

Once left for dead, the 10mm Auto cartridge is going gangbusters today. The resurgence started in the 1911 platform, and the round is now moving into striker-fired guns. But wheelgunners aren't being left behind, thanks to the Smith & Wesson Model 610 revolver. Reviews

Smith & Wesson 610 10mm Revolver Review

J. Scott Rupp - October 25, 2019

Once left for dead, the 10mm Auto cartridge is going gangbusters today. The resurgence started...

Retailing for just over $600, the Davidson's exclusive 1911-A1 Rock Standard FS has all the features you want for sport shooting or defensive carry. Reviews

Davidson's Rock Island 1911 Review

Jeff Chudwin - November 20, 2019

Retailing for just over $600, the Davidson's exclusive 1911-A1 Rock Standard FS has all the...

The new Glock 48 has been specifically designed to be the “Canadian Glock 19,” but the end result is an interesting handgun that should be of great interest to Americans as well. Semi-Auto

Glock 48 Review

James Tarr - August 14, 2019

The new Glock 48 has been specifically designed to be the “Canadian Glock 19,” but the end...

See More Reviews

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.