Review: Smith & Wesson M & P Shield EZ

My gun-buying days are over because I can’t imagine ever finding a nicer gun than the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ.

So, I found myself at the gun store last week, just hanging around while my companion finished a transaction. A salesperson asked if he could help me, and I couldn’t resist: “What’s the best pistol for a woman with small hands and a little bit of arthritis?”

The first thing he offered to show me was a .380, but that was a non-starter. I’ve fired one before and really didn’t like how it felt. I can’t explain why; it was just wrong for me.

In addition,  the .380 has very limited self-defense potential. When that madman started shooting up a subway car in New York, his victims were lucky that he had what’s believed to be a .380 because it’s just not that lethal a weapon.

I have no desire, of course, to shoot up anybody. However, should I ever be confronted by a big man hopped up on angel dust or natural psychosis, I don’t want to trust my survival to a .380. I want something with 9mm stopping power.

Seeing that the .380 was a no-go, the salesman next suggested the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ, which he said was easier on the hands. He showed the gun to me, and I fell in love. The gun is effortless to rack and has a perfect distance from grip to trigger and a no-thumb safety that’s controlled by putting full pressure on the grip while pulling the trigger. Because I don’t speak gun very fluently, here’s Smith & Wesson’s own description of the gun:

• Ported barrel to reduce muzzle flip
• Lightening cuts in slide for reduced weight
• PC flat face, black anodized aluminum trigger
• PC enhanced black anodized aluminum grip safety
• PC ported barrel with Armornite® Durable Corrosion Resistant Finish
• Easy to rack slide
• Performance Center action, crisp, lightweight trigger with tactile and audible trigger reset
• HI-VIZ® Litewave H3™ Tritium/Litepipe Sights
• Tactile loaded chamber indicator (TLCI) – see and feel if there is a round in the chamber
• Picatinny-style rail
• Two easy-to-load, 8-round magazines

The M&P Shield EZ felt lovely, the Black Friday price was good, and I did something I very rarely do: I made a big dollar impulse buy. When I got home, I discovered that the deal was even sweeter, because Smith & Wesson is offering $50 rebates.

Today, I got the chance to fire my new gun, and I was delighted. It’s a breeze to handle, putting minimal stress on the joints in my hand. The sight and I melded as one, and I was instantly able to land the bullets where I intended them to go.

In addition, because the grip is really well-engineered, I wasn’t at risk of getting a bloody thumb joint, something that I managed to do three times with my Ruger, when my thumb joint got in the way of the slide. My companion, who has bigger hands and less arthritis, also thought it was a great weapon to handle.

If you’re in the market for a new pistol, especially if you have small or slightly mobility-impaired hands, think about the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ 9mm. I highly recommend it.

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