Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ Safety Advisory


On the heels of SHOT Show 2018 Smith & Wesson again showed that they have been listening to what consumers want in a defensive carry gun when they released the M&P Shield .380 EZ.

The new member of the M&P family is on an easy-to-carry carry compact frame. Since the EZ is chambered in .380 ACP the frame is large and shootable in comparison to other .380s. The pistol is topped with an easy-to-rack slide, a bottom hinged grip safety. You can purchase models with or without a thumb safety. It has already proven to be a popular handgun and excitement will continue to grow.

M&P Shield 380 EZ

380 Shield EZ Safety Advisory

Unfortunately, the M&P 380 Shield EZ has attracted a bit of unwanted attention with Smith & Wesson issuing a “Consumer Safety Alert” on April 6th. You can read the advisory here.

The issue revolves around the possibility of the manual thumb safety unintentionally engaging when the M&P 380 Shield EZ is fired with certain ammunition.

The M&P EZ is designed as a defensive handgun and this is what makes the inadvertent engagement of a safety problematic. If you are engaged with a threat, need to continue shooting that threat, and the safety unexpectedly engages you have a problem. You will be forced to disengage the safety before continuing to fire.

M&P Shield 380 EZ

The safety lever would only take fractions of a second to disengage. The bigger issue is the amount of time it could take the user to recognize the reason that the gun isn’t firing and then disengage the thumb safety. The recognition is likely to take the better part of seconds instead of fractions.

The M&P 380 Shield EZ is available both with and without a manual thumb safety. Customers that purchased a model without a thumb safety need not worry. Contact Smith & Wesson through the advisory to determine if your gun’s manual safety gun is affected.

If it is, Smith & Wesson has engineered a replacement safety that is “less susceptible to the influence of ammunition weight, velocity and loads,” and the upgrade is free.

The issue seems like a minor one compared to some other issues that have cropped up with defensive handguns in recent years and Smith & Wesson’s response leans much more heavily toward safety and customer service than the typical industry reaction.

Quality Customer Service

M&P Shield 380 EZ

Thus far, Smith & Wesson has handled this situation well by first recognizing the issue, then finding a solution, and finally communicating with their customers. It is this approach that will continue to develop a strong, trusting relationship between Smith and their customers.

If you have a M&P 380 Shield EZ, make sure to take a look at the advisory and take whatever action you need to ensure proper function of your handgun.

Paul Carlson, owner of Safety Solutions Academy, is a Professional Defensive Shooting Instructor.  He has spent the past decade and a half studying how humans can perform more efficiently in violent confrontations and honing his skills as an instructor both in the classroom and on the range.

Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of Critical Defensive Skills courses in more than a dozen states annually.  Courses range from Concealed Carry Classes to Advanced Critical Defensive Handgun Courses and include instruction for the defensive use of handguns, rifles and shotguns.  Safety Solutions Academy regularly hosts other industry leading experts as guest instructors to make sure that SSA’s students have the opportunity for quality instruction across a broad range of Critical Defensive disciplines.

  • STUART522

    1. are they recalling handguns already at retailers?
    2. I would assume they have a fix for it? (not mentioned in article)
    3. any handgun that doesn’t have a safety is just dumb. Yes Glock, If you don’t want to use it, then don’t. but they should all have that capability. IMO. If you can’t train to take a safety off, then you shouldn’t be carrying. (exception for law enforcement and SEALS)
    1a. i recently purchased 2 Modified Glocks (New) when i got them the workmanship was shotty at best, burrs, uneven rivets, misalignment. When i contacted manufacturer, they said, “oh, you got the first ‘gen’ of that model, they weren’t supposed to go out, but they were already at retailer and retailer said, just ship them and see if anyone complains…wtf? you’re going to let your retailer decide your brands, Brand.. and same with Sig that sent out those bad triggers, i think it was 6 months after buying it and still haven’t shot it yet.

    • Ghost

      1. It sounds like new guns already have the new safety lever.
      2. Yes ,they do have a fix. And yes ,it is mentioned in the article. It’s a new safety lever.
      3. The glock has a drop safety ,which besides your finger discipline is the only safety needed on any gun.

      • STUART522

        so the people who have shot themselves in the leg and bled out, did that drop safety work?

        • Joshua S. Johnson

          Careless trigger discipline isn’t the fault of a safety. It is exactly what I referred to, “careless”.

          • STUART522

            well not everyone is as perfect as you i guess. so if there were a little piece of metal to help the less fortunate than joshua joshua, ok, since your so manly, you could keep it off all the time, maybe play russian roulette with a magazine fed weapon.

          • Joshua S. Johnson

            I’m not trying to fight. Most instances where people shoot themselves they are hooking their booger hook on the bang switch. I realize there are others that happen that are unrelated. Guy with cheap nylon holster sits down and since it lacks trigger protection darn near blows his butt off, literally. I carry a Sig P226 most of the time and keep it de-cocked so that first trigger pull is a long one but still have a live one in the chamber. I also carry a S&W Bodyguard as a backup piece and it has a safety. I use it. I am not against a safety. I just realize some of my guns require way more trigger discipline. A safety can get “bumped” and no longer be on, as expected. To assume it is is foolish as far as I am concerned.

          • Ghost

            I’ve never heard of a holstered gun even in a cheap holster having this happen. I have heard about reholstering issues. But ,yes, it’s usually poor finger discipline. I have a 1911 and a fnx 45 tactical (that in in the process of selling) that have manual safeties, but as long as you follow gun safety rules, manual safeties are unnecessary.