Skip to main content

Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ – First Look

Smith & Wesson has boosted the power of its excellent M&P Shield EZ with a hot new version in 9mm.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ – First Look
The Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ is a small, light semiautomatic 9mm suitable for home defense or concealed carry that’s easy to operate.

One of the great new trends in semiauto pistols is manufacturers have recognized that these pistols can be hard to operate for some people. Smith & Wesson’s solution to this was the M&P380 Shield EZ, a hammer-fired .380 that’s super easy to rack and load. Now the company has made the logical leap to chambering this same pistol in 9mm. Meet the M&P9 Shield EZ.

I am a big fan of the original Shield EZ, and now it’s better because, frankly, I’d rather carry a 9mm than a .380. And with the M&P9 Shield EZ, you get all the benefits of the original design.

One, it’s hammer-fired. This allows designers to use a lighter recoil spring than you’d find in a striker-fired pistol, which in turn makes the slide easier to rack. And it really is. I just received a sample of this new gun (we’ll have a full review in Handguns in an upcoming issue), and even without any break-in firing I can operate the slide with just my forefinger and thumb. Not that I would as a matter of course, but the fact that I can tells you how little racking force is required.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ
The gun’s rear serrations are nicely grippy, and a slight flare at the rear of the slide adds even more purchase.

Two other design features contribute to the ease of operation. One, Smith & Wesson’s “fish scale” serration pattern at the rear of the slide is nicely grippy. These serrations taper toward the back of the slide, and then the slide flares at the rear, creating almost a shelf for extra purchase. It’s a great setup.


Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ
Tabs on either side of the eight-round magazine make it easy to depress the magazine’s spring for loading.

The “easy” theme extends to the eight-round magazine. It has tabs at the sides, like you’d find on a .22 LR magazine, to aid in depressing the follower while loading. This might seem like a small thing, but I’ve shot with a number of people who have complained about how hard mags can be to load. And for people with compromised hand strength, arthritis, etc. this is a godsend.


Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ
The gun has a grip safety and is available with or without a manual thumb safety. The frame features excellent stippling and a small beavertail to aid control.

The M&P9 Shield EZ features a grip safety and is available with or without a thumb safety—another smart move on Smith & Wesson’s part. I don’t feel the need for a thumb safety on a gun with additional safeties, but my wife, for instance, prefers a thumb safety regardless of the presence of other safeties.

As thumb safeties go, this is a good one. It’s ambidextrous and just large enough for easy operation but not so big it could snag on clothing. The tension is just right.

Speaking of safety, the Shield EZ has a legit loaded-chamber indicator. A lever just behind the ejection port atop the slide protrudes when a round is in the chamber. You can easily see it, and you can easily feel it.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield EZ
The loaded-chamber indicator at the top of the slide is easily seen and easily felt to determine the gun’s status.

The rest of the controls are well done. The aforementioned grip safety works great, and the reversible magazine release is a sensible size and sticks out just the right amount so it’s simple to activate. The slide lock lever is on the small side—which is certainly what you want for carry—but I found I was able to use it as a release lever with my right/firing thumb fairly easily.


The grip fits my medium-size hands really well. I haven’t had the chance to shoot this new 9mm version, but the combination of the frame’s slight beavertail and the stippling should make this a really controllable 9mm to shoot.

The front of the frame sports a three-slot Picatinny rail for adding a light or laser, and it’s worth noting the M&P9 Shield EZ is available with a red Crimson Trace laser as an option. Sights are white three-dot.

As a 2.0 version, the gun has an improved trigger over earlier M&P guns. The sample on my gun broke at four pounds, five ounces on average. It’s got about an 1/8-inch take-up and some overtravel, and I think it’s a perfectly adequate trigger for a home defense/concealed carry gun.


Overall length of the gun with its 3.675-inch barrel is just under seven inches, and it’s nicely slim at 1.15 inches wide measured at the slide-lock lever—1.46 inches across the ambidextrous safeties. Weight on my sample was 23.1 ounces with empty magazine. Those dimensions make it an excellent carry gun but still should prove a nice-shooting gun.

Yes, the M&P9 Shield EZ has an eight-round capacity while pistols like the SIG P365 and Springfield Hellcat boast more rounds. But those latter guns don’t have the features that make the Shield EZ so easy to work with. Having a bunch of rounds at your disposal is great, but having a pistol that you feel confident operating is just as, if not more, important. At a suggested retail price of just $479, this new pistol is going to appeal to a lot of people.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

KelTec P17 22LR Pistol – Feature Packed, Accurate & Fun to Shoot

If you're in the market for a 17-round, compact .22LR pistol that's feature packed, then the P17 is definitely an option for you. At less than 14 ounces fully loaded, and barely longer than a dollar bill, the P17 is concealable for pretty much anyone. The threaded barrel, Picatinny-style accessory rail, ambidextrous safety, ambidextrous magazine release and three (3) 16rd magazines come standard. That's a lot of value added in such a small package.

Teaching New Shooters

Teaching New Shooters

Julie Golob of Team Smith & Wesson guest stars, joining Jim and Scott for a discussion of how best to introduce new shooters to the sport.

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Federal Premium Punch Defensive Handgun Ammo: Reviewed & Tested

Handguns editor Scott Rupp fires some Federal Punch .380 defensive handgun ammo into ballistics gel the range for a performance test run.

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

The New Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun Load

Speer's Jared Hinton shows OSG's Lynn Burkhead the new Speer Gold Dot G2 Duty Handgun load.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

We all want to shoot better with a pistol, but what drills do we need to practice?9 Best Pistol Drills to Become a Better Defensive Shooter Training

9 Best Pistol Drills to Become a Better Defensive Shooter

Patrick Sweeney - September 24, 2019

We all want to shoot better with a pistol, but what drills do we need to practice?

When your life depends on it, you can rely on these seven 9mm defensive loads.Seven Great 9mm Defensive Loads Ammo

Seven Great 9mm Defensive Loads

Brad Fitzpatrick - November 24, 2020

When your life depends on it, you can rely on these seven 9mm defensive loads.

The Ruger PC Charger is a short, sweet 9mm pistol.Ruger PC Charger Review Reviews

Ruger PC Charger Review

James Tarr - December 04, 2020

The Ruger PC Charger is a short, sweet 9mm pistol.

Here are 6 must-see embellished pistols that are pushing the style envelope and challenging traditional aesthetics with logos, emblems and illustrations.6 Must-See Embellished Pistols Reviews

6 Must-See Embellished Pistols

J. Scott Rupp - May 22, 2020

Here are 6 must-see embellished pistols that are pushing the style envelope and challenging...

See More Trending Articles

More Semi-Auto

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.Glock 48 Review 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...

Designed for lightweight, low recoil accuracy, the CMR30 .22 WMR features a nice, single-action trigger, ambidextrous dual non-reciprocating operating handles, ambidextrous safety and heel catch magazine release.KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot Semi-Auto

KelTec CMR30 22WMR Review - Compact, Versatile & Fun to Shoot

Handguns Staff - August 14, 2020

Designed for lightweight, low recoil accuracy, the CMR30 .22 WMR features a nice,...

Magnum Research is bringing back the Baby Eagle, the little brother of the Desert Eagle, with the Baby Eagle III.Return of the Magnum Research Baby Eagle Semi-Auto

Return of the Magnum Research Baby Eagle

J. Scott Rupp - August 10, 2020

Magnum Research is bringing back the Baby Eagle, the little brother of the Desert Eagle, with...

Turn your Walther PPQ into a match-ready Q5 with a simple parts swap.Walther Q5 Match Upper Conversion Kit Semi-Auto

Walther Q5 Match Upper Conversion Kit

J. Scott Rupp - October 30, 2020

Turn your Walther PPQ into a match-ready Q5 with a simple parts swap.

See More Semi-Auto

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Handguns App

Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

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

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Handguns subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now