New M&P Shield 380 EZ – The Handgun For Anyone

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The Smith & Wesson Shield is a single stack compact handgun that has become a very popular handgun for concealed carry. It came out in 9mm and .40s&w and eventually .45. However some shooters have a difficult time racking the side back. So Smith & Wesson has now come out with their new Shield 380 EZ.

In terms of a small .380 ACP chambered pistol, Smith & Wesson had their Bodyguard handgun. However I found the Bodyguard to be too small. It is a pocket gun. The grip is so short that you can only get two fingers to hold the grip. So you have less control as a compromise to concealment. Small pistols tend to exacerbate the physics of recoil and muzzle climb simply because they are so small and harder to control. Larger pistols are easier to control in the same caliber.

This makes the Shield 380 a perfect pistol on paper. Not only is the size great for shooting, Smith & Wesson designed this gun to be easy to use. The slide has wing like protrusions at the rear to help facilitate your grip when pulling the slide back. Look at the photo below, you can see the iconic scalloped serrations of the M&P line but at the rear the last serration is wider than the rest.

 

The recoil spring has been lightened. This results in less resistance when pulling the slide rearward making it easier to rack. The slide even says “EZ” to let you know it is easy.

Racking the slide back is one of the difficult things to do when operating a semi automatic handgun which Smith & Wesson has addressed. The second most difficult task is loading the magazines. Sure there are some great third party devices to help you load bullets into the magazine but Smith & Wesson designed their magazine to be easy out of the box. The single stack magazine features a window cut along the side and the follower has a button that sticks out the side. So now you can just pull the follower down with one hand as your other hand loads the bullets into the magazine.

Shield 380 EZ magazine

photo by Guns & Ammo

 

Smith & Wesson also made this gun safer. The regular Shield pistols have a trigger safety and an optional frame safety. The Shield 380 EZ has a grip safety as well as an optional frame safety. The grip safety is like that of a 1911 or Springfield XD. Only by gripping the gun does the safety disengage and it is ready to be fired.

 

They have also included a loaded chamber indicator (LCI) at the top of the slide. This is probably due to the California regulation that handguns sold in the state of California must have a LCI. If you look at Smith & Wesson’s California compliant handguns, they all have the LCI.

SKU: 180023
Model: M&P® 380 SHIELD™ EZ™
Caliber: .380 Auto
Capacity: 8+1
Barrel Length: 3.675″ / 9.3 cm
Overall Length: 6.7″
Front Sight: White Dot
Rear Sight: Adjustable White Dot
Action: Internal Hammer Fired
Grip: Polymer
Weight: 18.5 oz / 524.5g
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
Slide Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
Frame Material: Polymer
Purpose: Concealed Carry, Home Protection, Personal Protection
The Shield 380 EZ retails for just $399.99 and with Smith & Wesson days coming up you may be able to find these for a lot less. Last year M&P Shields were going for under $300 after the rebates. Some as low as $225.
  • Billy Yee

    Unfortunately, even with the Loaded Chamber Indicator, this gun will never be sold in the retail market in CA due to the lack of non-existing “microstamping technology” being incorporated into the gun that is required to be added to the ridiculous CA “not unsafe” gun roster.

    • jrj90620

      Navin Gruesome is likely the next governor of CA and he’s even more antigun than the current gov.

  • Sam D’Orlaque

    I have an M&P 9mm and racking the slide has never been a problem and a 9 had a good kick to it. However, when it comes to carrying concealed, truly concealed, the 9 is to big unless the weather is real cool and you have sweaters,jackets , and other garments to arrange whatever configuration suits your needs. I’m interested in seeing the 380 in a sheild (I currently carry the 380 ruger LCPII

    • Family1stDefense

      Hi Sam. The Shield 9 is my go-to, EDC gun. While it is certainly more difficult to conceal than a Ruger LCP, it can be concealed with an untucked polo, tee shirt shirt or a jacket. According to reviews I’ve read, the 380 EZ is actually a bit larger than the Shield 9 (built on the M&P 22 frame I think) so it will be no easier to hide.

      I don’t find the slide difficult to manipulate on my Shield either, but many women do. I’m a firearms instructor and feel this gun may be great option for my female students. Looking forward to getting one in my hands!

      • TwoTon

        Just picked up an EZ, and it is only 1/4 inch longer than the 9, but it’s slightly thinner. Both are quite easily concealed.

  • Twinspeedr

    IMO, .380 really only suited to be the “big-dog pocket gun” and for that it’s great. But, if you’re going to carrying something this big, you might as well go with something in 9MM Luger for better stopping power for minimal additional recoil.

    • TwoTon

      Well placed shots, from persistent lethal training can compensate for what is called” stopping power” when using smaller caliber rounds, like a .380. I carry 2 different 9’s(depending on outfit, weather), daily, but I feel just as comfortable with a .380 as a defense round.

      • Twinspeedr

        Good for you. I wish more people could get easy access to ongoing firearms training. It’s can be expensive & difficult to find good instructors if you don’t know a LEO or other “professional” personally.

        • CZFan

          Dont make the egregious mistake of equating Law enforcement with trained and competent shooters. Most LEO’s have skill levels far below the average civilian enthusiast.