Smith and Wesson Shield Plus Review

The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is a notable advancement in the world of concealed carry firearms, building on the legacy of the company's well-established M&P Shield series. Designed for everyday carry, the Shield Plus offers a higher capacity without compromising the slim profile, making the Shield line popular among concealed carriers. A vital feature of this 9mm micro-compact pistol is its capacity enhancement, now providing up to 13+1 rounds, a significant upgrade from its predecessor. The ergonomics of the Shield Plus are carefully tailored for comfort and ease of use, featuring an 18-degree grip angle that aids in a more natural point of aim and effective recoil management.

Smith & Wesson has incorporated a flat-face trigger into the Shield Plus design, enhancing the shooter's ability to achieve consistent finger placement for more accurate and repeatable shooting. The pistol also offers options such as an optics-ready slide and various sighting systems, demonstrating the company's commitment to accommodating modern shooting preferences. The Shield Plus maintains a discreet profile, essential for concealed carry, allowing individuals to carry the firearm with minimal visibility and maximum comfort.

Key Takeaways

  • The Shield Plus is a high-capacity micro-compact 9mm pistol optimized for concealed carry.
  • Smith & Wesson has refined the ergonomics and capacity of the Shield Plus without sacrificing its compact size.
  • Features like the new flat-face trigger and optics-ready options reflect the pistol's modern design enhancements.

Design and Features

The Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is engineered to focus on compactness without compromising functionality, highlighting its polymer frame construction and enhanced grip textures for better recoil management and comfort.

Frame and Construction

The frame of the Shield Plus is crafted from a durable polymer that contributes to its lightweight and sturdy build, weighing in at just 20.2 ounces. The polymer is complemented by an Armornite® finish on the slide, offering corrosion resistance and prolonged durability. Its design underscores an ergonomic grip with improved texture, promoting a more secure hold and control.

Trigger and Action

This model introduces a flat-faced trigger, marking a significant enhancement in the trigger system. The flat design facilitates consistent finger placement, contributing to a smoother pull and better overall trigger action. This upgraded trigger system aims to deliver improved accuracy and a tactile, audible reset for a polished shooting experience.

Sights and Accuracy

Outfitted with standard white-dot sights, the Shield Plus aims to offer rapid target acquisition, a key feature for a self-defense firearm. The pistol's 3.1-inch barrel lends itself to a more natural point of aim, and users can expect a high level of accuracy. Additionally, sights can be upgraded to night sights to further enhance their accuracy in low-light conditions. These features collectively establish the Shield Plus as a reliable option for everyday carry and personal defense scenarios.

Capacity and Caliber

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus is a noteworthy evolution in concealed carry pistols. Its enhanced capacity and standard 9mm caliber appeal to a broad range of gun owners.

Magazine Options

The Shield Plus distinguishes itself with a double-stack magazine design, allowing for increased capacity without significantly altering the handgun's profile. It offers two magazine options:

  • Flush-Fit Magazine: Standard capacity of 10+1 rounds of 9mm.
  • Extended Magazine: Provides an increased capacity of 13+1 rounds of 9mm.

This improved capacity is a substantial upgrade from its predecessors, skillfully balancing firepower with concealability.

Caliber Specifications

The Shield Plus is chambered in 9mm, a popular caliber known for its balance of recoil management and stopping power. This makes the firearm an attractive option for personal defense and law enforcement.

  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Note: The 9mm caliber is sometimes referred to as 9x19 Parabellum.

It's important to note that the Shield Plus's magazine release is designed to be easily accessible, allowing for quick and efficient magazine changes. While the Shield Plus is currently unavailable in the .380 ACP or 30 Super Carry calibers, its 9mm configuration remains a popular choice among concealed carry firearms.

Concealment and Carry Options

Selecting the right concealment and carry options for the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus is pivotal for achieving comfort, accessibility, and discretion. The choice of holster and carry style directly impacts the ease with which the handgun can be carried and drawn.

Holsters and Carry Styles

There are many holsters available specifically for the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, designed to accommodate its compact frame and smooth slide profile. Regarding Inside-the-Waistband (IWB) solutions, users prefer options that balance concealment with quick draw capability. The Urban Carry G3, for instance, is a popular IWB holster offering rapid draw and a secure fit. Its design takes advantage of the Shield Plus's slim overall length and unobtrusive grip angle, ensuring the weapon stays concealed under everyday clothing.

  • IWB Holsters: Favored for their low-profile design, allowing for adequate concealment beneath a layer of clothing.
    • Pros: Covert, snug against the body, and typically accessible.
    • Cons: May require loose clothing for optimal concealment.

Concealed Carry Considerations

Carrying the Shield Plus concealed requires considering the interplay between the gun's dimensions and the carrier's attire and body shape. The frame and overall length of the Shield Plus make it a strong candidate for concealed carry, with many owners comfortably securing the firearm with minimal printing.

  • Factors to Assess:
    1. Grip Angle and Frame: Ensuring that the curvature and size of the grip do not protrude noticeably against clothing.
    2. Slide Profile: A slim slide profile helps minimize the visibility when holstered.
    3. Overall Length: Shorter barrels are easier to conceal, making the Shield Plus an apt choice for concealed carry.

For many, pocket carry is not preferred for the Shield Plus due to the firearm's size; however, holster manufacturers offer numerous alternatives, such as the CrossBreed options for concealed carry holsters and belts that accommodate different carry positions while ensuring comfort and firearm security.

Comparative Analysis

In the realm of concealed carry handguns, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield Plus has enhanced capacities and features that directly compare it with other leading models. This analysis aims to compare its competitors concisely and examine its market positioning.

Competing Models

Sig Sauer P365: The Sig Sauer P365 has established itself as a formidable rival. It offers a high capacity of 10+1 or 12+1 rounds in a similar micro-compact frame. It boasts a proprietary magazine design that allows a double-stack capacity in a single-stack size profile.

Ruger Max-9: Ruger's entry, the Max-9, is noted for its affordability and functionality, with a capacity of 12+1 rounds. It stands out with its optics-ready slide, allowing users to mount their preferred red-dot sights easily.

Springfield Hellcat: The Springfield Hellcat pushes the limits with a 13+1 capacity, challenging the Shield Plus. It is also optics-ready and has a distinctive Adaptive Grip Texture for improved handling.

Performance Center M&P Shield: Smith & Wesson's own Performance Center models of the original M&P Shield offer upgraded features such as improved triggers, ports, and sights for enthusiasts seeking a more customized experience.

Comparison Table:


M&P Shield Plus

Sig Sauer P365

Ruger Max-9

Springfield Hellcat













Yes (certain models)




Performance Center Available

Limited Accessories

Some Accessories

Limited Accessories

Market Positioning

The M&P Shield Plus is positioned as a value proposition in Smith & Wesson's lineup; it is more affordable than some higher-end models yet provides a generous capacity and enhanced features compared to the original M&P9 Shield. Reviews often highlight the M&P Shield Plus' balance of size, capacity, and shootability, emphasizing its role as a prime candidate for concealed carry.

Value and MSRP: At around $553, the Shield Plus offers a competitive price point. It is slightly higher than the Ruger Max-9 but lower than some configurations of the Sig Sauer P365 and Springfield Hellcat.

Accessories: While the Shield Plus is not optics-ready, a wide array of aftermarket accessories, including sights, holsters, and magazine extensions, are available, allowing owners to customize their firearms to their preferences.

The Shield Plus is a notable choice amongst concealed carry devotees, offering a solid combination of reliability, capacity, and value, securing its place in a highly competitive market.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section provides the reader with clear, reliable answers to some of the most common questions about the Smith & Wesson Shield Plus.

What optics options are available for the Shield Plus model?

The Shield Plus is compatible with micro red dot sights, which can be mounted on firearms with optics-ready slides.

How do the Shield Plus performance and features vary in the Performance Center editions?

Performance Center editions of the Shield Plus include upgraded features such as an enhanced trigger system, ported barrels, and improved sights for better accuracy and handling.

What magazines are compatible with the Shield Plus, and are there extended capacities available?

The Shield Plus uses specific magazines designed for it, offering a standard 10-round capacity and an extended option for 13 rounds.

What are the key differences between the standard M&P Shield models and the Shield Plus?

The Shield Plus differentiates itself from the standard M&P Shield models by having a higher magazine capacity, a flat-face trigger for improved trigger control, and a slightly wider grip to accommodate the double-stack magazine design.

Can you highlight the functionalities provided by adding Crimson Trace to the Shield Plus?

Shield Plus models with Crimson Trace provide a built-in laser sight for enhanced targeting precision without the need for a separate laser accessory.

What are the advantages of the new 30 Super Carry caliber in the Shield Plus lineup?

The 30 Super Carry caliber in the Shield Plus lineup balances stopping power and magazine capacity, allowing for a higher round count comparable to 9mm offerings while maintaining a slim profile suitable for concealed carry.

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