Shield 40 Review | A Smart Investment for Concealed Carry or Home Protection

The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 40 is an excellent choice for concealed carry. It is for this reason that the pistol has enjoyed such a loyal following. Not to mention that it's affordable, easy to handle, and capable of delivering some serious punch.

Being a semi-automatic pistol, the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 40 is a smart investment for concealed carry or home protection. Heck, it even holds its own in recreational or competition use. To help you determine if the Shield 40 is a good fit for your needs, I'm going to share my thoughts on this versatile piece of weaponry. You can also compare it to other quality concealed carry pistols, or the top home defense ones.

Build Quality & Performance

Like all firearms, there are several factors you should first consider before sinking your hard-earned money into the S&W M&P Shield. The first factor is build quality. Let's explore the ins and outs of the construction to see if it lives up to the hype.

The first thing that most people notice about the Shield is that it looks really nice. It's a sleek, stylish, and all-around attractive gun. What's more, it's incredibly stout, as well. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is very well-made, from build-quality to performance.

This is largely thanks to its tough polymer frame. Because of the materials used in the manufacturing of the Shield 40 S&W, you needn't worry about things like rust or corrosion. Moreover, this pistol is built to take a beating.

Its frame is remarkably durable. Drops, bumps, and scuffs are of little consequence when you have this level of craftsmanship at your service. But the protection in the Shield goes even further. Smith & Wesson made sure to give the stainless steel slide an Armornite finish.

Thanks to this addition, you can look forward to the Shield having superior resistance against wear and tear. Even after extensive use, most gun owners report that their Shield 40 S&W looks just as pristine as the day they bought it. And if you get caught in the rain or enjoy target practice in the elements, the weather-resistant Armornite finish ensures that your gun stays safe.

The benefits continue with the coating on the Smith & Wesson Shield minimizing glare, allowing you to shoot in the bright midday sun without worrying about blinding light bouncing off your firearm. If you're using the S&W M&P Shield for concealed carry, the last thing you want is glare from your weapon in a self-defense situation.

Personally, I love my Shield 40. The underrated/unwanted caliber delivers excellent concealment and a top-notch design. Recently purchasing an M&P Shield .40, I appreciate its black matte-coated paint that matches my uniform.

While the .40 caliber's recoil is impressive and it can shoot 6 rounds per clip, I do think a steel frame would be great instead of polymer. I've been taking advantage of the excellent deals available on .40 pistols since the FBI switched back to 9mm, but I do advise caution with pistol designs that have a high bore axis, as you can really feel the difference.

smooth gun

Concealed Carry

This brings me to the next strength of the Smith & Wesson Shield. When choosing a firearm for concealed carry, you should be looking for one that is lightweight and reasonably portable. The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield meets those needs thanks in part to its polymer frame.

The frame goes a long way in helping the 40 S&W Shield keep its weight down. It's still a full-size pistol. But it boasts a comfortable weight that is sure to complement your safety and self-defense needs.

I found there to be no issues carrying the 40 S&W Shield in a holster. You know it's there, but it never becomes a bother or feels like it's in the way.

Furthermore, it's a breeze to remove the Shield from your holster. You should have no trouble quickly drawing your weapon in time of a tense situation.


The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is available in either .40 caliber or 9mm. Your needs are what will determine the caliber you choose, so be sure to consider your reasoning for getting a gun in the first place before you jump on either option.

bullets and a gun

If using the Smith & Wesson Shield for home defense, you may want to go for the more powerful .40 caliber. But be warned, as the recoil will increase considerably. When firing 9mm, the pistol doesn't have much recoil. If you're new to guns and aren't yet comfortable with larger caliber weapons, you're probably better off sticking with 9mm handgun until you become acclimated with handling the pistol.

Let's pause for a moment to check out the full specifications of the 40 S&W Shield so you'll know what features to expect.

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 40 Specifications


Overall height

4.6 inches


Armornite (black)


40 S&W or 9mm

Overall length

6.1 inches

Frame material


Barrel length

3.1 inches

Frame width

95 inches

Trigger pull

6.5 pounds


6- or 7-round

Rear sight

White 2-dot

Sight radius

5.3 inches

Front sight

White dot


19.0 ounces




The barrel of the Shield is nice and compact, measuring at just a little over 3 inches, while the total length of the gun is just over 6 inches. The weapon is indeed remarkably compact. But what helps make the Shield such a homerun for concealed carry is its slim construction.

Regardless of whether you choose a .40 caliber or 9mm model, you can look forward to having a low-profile gun that is ideal for self-defense.


The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield features a textured grip on your hand that makes the gun easy to hold well. This also helps if you happen to be firing in wet or rainy conditions. There is a granular feel that serves to provide comfort, security, and accurate firing.

Although it's not technically a customized grip, it sure comes close to making the Smith & Wesson Shield feel like a personalized gun. I thoroughly enjoyed resetting after firing and finding my next target. It feels natural and is easily one of the better pistols I've fired.

The exceptional grip affords you easy follow-up shots without compromising comfort. It's stable, secure, and precise - all the hallmarks of a great gun.

Shooting the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 40

Best M&P Drop-In Triggers: 1.0, 2.0, & Shield - Pew Pew Tactical

The M&P Shield, with its striker-fired trigger, is an excellent choice for home protection. If you have concerns about safety, you can opt for the version with a thumb safety, providing an extra layer of protection when needed. However, if you trust your decision-making abilities, the model without the thumb safety will suit you just fine.

The trigger pull, requiring 6.5 pounds of pressure, falls within a comfortable range that will attract beginners. Coupled with its soft recoil, this full-size firearm offers a well-rounded shooting experience for both veterans and newcomers. 

Resetting after a shot feels efficient and easy, thanks to the user-friendly trigger. It's worth noting that while some users find the Shield 40 Gen 1 powerful in a compact package, others prefer the performance of the commander-sized all-metal 40.

Additionally, the Shield 40 provides comparable capacity to the 9mm, delivering more power with each shot, and the recoil is manageable even for individuals with smaller hands.

When it comes to shooting, personal experiences vary depending on the loadings and charges used. Bullet weights of around 165gr/180gr make a notable difference in shooting performance.


The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield features a white-dot sight system. The front sight has a single white dot while the rear has two white dots.

check out the sights
shield sights

The sights on the pistol are exceptionally effective in their execution. Despite its compact size, there is still a generous 5.7-inch sight radius available, allowing for precise adjustments to enhance accuracy and align your shot perfectly. As someone who isn't typically a fan of compact pistols, I was pleasantly surprised by the Shield-40's performance during my shooting experience.

It proved to be accurate within a range of 5-10 yards, and the well-designed sight greatly contributed to its overall shooting capabilities. If you enjoyed the Shield in 40, I highly recommend giving the Performance Center 40 Shields Ported a try. It offers a satisfying shooting experience with a delightful feel and significantly reduced muzzle flip, making it an appealing option.

capacity 8

Shield 40 Capacity

It can be purchased with magazines that hold either 6 or 7 rounds (the 9mm version is available with 7- or 8-round mags).

If you carry the Smith & Wesson Shield 40 as your personal weapon, you won't have to worry about the magazine getting in your way. It tucks comfortably in a holster and never causes discomfort and inconveniences while you carry.

Is the M&P Shield Worth It?

Is M&P Shield the best and right pistol for you? The Smith & Wesson M&P Shield is an exceptional pistol.

These pistols are ideal for concealed carrying, home defense, at the range, and more. As a striker-fire gun, you can count on a reliable shooting experience with every round fired.

Those of you concerned with concealment will appreciate the compact construction that makes up this powerful gun.

Factor in the lightweight design and incredible accuracy, and you've got yourself a truly capable gun that won't let you down.

As you can tell from this review, you're definitely getting your money's worth by opting for the Shield. 

You're getting a gun that not only performs well across the board but one that is affordable, as well. You can pick up this gun for around the $300 price range, making it a bargain for anyone needing a reliable and well-built firearm.

Beginners will especially love what Smith & Wesson brings to the table. But even the most seasoned shooters are sure to appreciate the level of craftsmanship and quality. If you are on the fence as to whether you should invest in the Shield, I assure you that once you fire it, you'll be glad it's yours.

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