M&P Shield 2.0 Progress Report

This is a quick little off-topic post to let you guys know what’s going on with my transition to the the M&P Shield 2.0.

The First 500

I have now crossed the 500-round threshold with the M&P Shield 2.0. This was my reliability benchmark before being willing to carry the little 9mm on a daily basis. My range sessions went as follows:

Session 1
100x – Federal American Eagle 115-grain FMJ

Session 2
50x – S&B 124-grain FMJ
100x – Federal “Champion” 115-grain FMJ

Session 3
150x – S&B 124-grain FMJ
20x – Federal “Champion” 115-grain FMJ

Session 4
50x – S&B 124-grain FMJ
50x – Federal 124-grain +P HST

I am happy to report that through all of these range sessions I have not had a single malfunction. Not even a failure of the slide to lock to the rear or failure of a magazine to eject. Nothing. This is a pretty refined handgun design, so I expected no less. I performed minimal maintenance to the gun during this phase. Twice I placed a couple drops of oil on the slide rails. That’s it.

M&P Shield 2.0

Modifications

I haven’t made many modifications to the M&P Shield 2.0. The ones I have made have been minimal – I think this is a very capable firearm right out of the box. The two changes I made or will make are listed here, in order of importance to me:

Safety Solutions Academy MagFIX Baseplate: One complaint a lot of people have about the Shield’s 8-round magazines is that the grip “sleeve” slides down the body of the magazine. I share this complaint.

M&P Shield 2.0

SSA’s fix is pretty awesome. It is a replacement baseplate that interlocks with the sleeve. Both eight-rounders I equipped with the MagFIX have worked flawlessly through 100 combined rounds. Due to cost I only purchased two, to be used on the magazines I will use for carry. These baseplates have been in beta for a while; I’m glad to finally see them in production.

M&P Shield 2.0

Sights – Heinie Ledge w/ Straight Eight Tritium: As you know, I’m a fan of night sights. However, I am not a fan of the traditional three-dot arrangement. Heinie “straight-eight” night sights offer two dots in a vertical arrangement. I feel that this offers a greatly simplified sight picture.

I also find these sights to be slightly more refined than the factory sights. Both the front and rear sight blades are nicely serrated. The front blade is also thinner (0.125″ vs. 0.135″). I do quite a bit of work at the 25-yard line and find this permits more precise sight alignment. Those 10/1000ths of an inch might not seem like much, but they definitely make a difference. I have purchased the sights but haven’t installed them yet. This modification is coming soon.

Holster Stuff

AIWB Anxiety: Upon initially transitioning to the Shield I had some anxiety about the trigger and AIWB carry. It is very light and short  relative to the wheelguns I’m used to. I’ve recently adopted a pretty novel solution to this problem. First and most importantly, I’ve tried to limit “administrative” gun handling to the absolute minimum. This is good practice regardless of what you carry.

There are times when you have to take the gun off your belt, however. Instead of unholstering I’ve moved to taking the whole holster off my belt. This is a huge benefit of my preferred holster from Dark Star Gear. The Dark Star holster has a metal belt clip. I know some of you won’t like this and prefer a full loop. The Dark Star’s clip is extremely well designed, however, and there is little chance of it coming off when you don’t want it to.

M&P Shield 2.0

Taking the gun and holster off as a unit greatly reduces the times per week I have to holster the gun. This is no replacement for reholstering reluctantly. I always take a long pause before reholstering, and always “look” the gun into the holster. I still get plenty of reps in with 5-10 minutes of dry practice per morning.

Printing Anxiety: This gun is flatter and sharper than a revolver. I had some concerns about printing (and still do). I have contacted Dark Star Gear to order a “Vanguard claw” for my AIWB holster. This claw attaches to the trailing (rear) edge of the holster. It extends backward at belt level. When the belt is tightened, it helps to pull the gun’s butt closer to the body. I will update you guys when this product arrives. You can check out the holster with claw HERE.

My Thoughts on the M&P Shield 2.0

To date I have put 520 rounds through this sub-compact 9mm. This includes 50 rounds of Federal 124-grain +P HST. I doubt that many of the millions of Shields on the market will ever reach a round count like this. At this point I am extremely comfortable with the reliability of the M&P Shield 2.0. It will now formally replace my 640 as my EDC handgun. Though I am not running an official “torture test” I will keep you guys updated occasionally.

19 thoughts on “M&P Shield 2.0 Progress Report”

  1. When I first got my Shield 2.0, I purposely put 350 rounds (various manufacturers/grain weights) through it without cleaning it once. Never had a malfunction at all. I also have a full size M&P 2.0, and put 500 rounds through it, out of the box, without a cleaning. Same thing – not a single issue.

    I’ve added Hyve baseplates to make all of my mags at least 8-round capable (mostly so I can get a full grip on them), and a few of them are now 10-round capable, which is nice for range time.

    I also added a Hi-Viz green front sight. Other than that, I see no need to mess with anything. Gone are the days of immediately wanting to put an aftermarket trigger on the M&Ps – the trigger right out of the box is quite good.

    I generally AIWB, and after trying a few options, went with a Mastermind Tactics ‘Hadron’ holster. It’s the first holster I’ve used with a belt claw and foam wedge, and what a huge difference these two features make. The gun is tucked right up alongside my body as possible, while still being very comfortable.

    I know this is off-topic, but appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experience, as it seems we are on similar paths with our choices these days.

  2. I check this “Revolver” site almost
    daily and now a great pain is gripping
    the center of my chest, my eyes are
    burning and the room is whirling
    about me.

    1. I think I need to plan an intervention.

      I should have known it would come to this, when Justin started packing his revolver in a plastic holster, on a nylon belt. I hope it’s not too late to save him. ;^)

  3. The grip texture looks like that on the full-size M&P 2.0.

    Since I don’t carry I don’t really have a need for a gun like this, but it is a very nice small pistol. I shot one in 45 and it proved very controllable for that round.

    My friend looking for a modern semi automatic for home defense strongly considered the Smith and Wesson full size but decided in the end that the Ruger American pistol fit her hand better, had the grip texture she wanted, and it outperformed everything else she shot aside from the Walther PPQ. I preferred the S&W’s grip but the choice was not mine to make. For all of its high quality the Sig P320 full size and compact consistently jammed on her, but not on me, and I think it had something to do with how it fit her hand.

    While I am still revolver and 1911 guy, companies are producing some very impressive 9s and modern 45s these days. Keep us in the know with these off topic updates!

  4. Yea…I was just gonna ask… “Nice gun, but where is the “roundy thing” that spin around with the holes in it???”

  5. On a serious note, when the Shield first came out, I was at Gunsite at S&W’s expense with eight others. We were all provided with a brand new Shield. We removed the slide and sprayed oil on the rails and that was it. Nine guns over 3 days, firing 3000+ rounds. At the end of the week I asked if anyone had a malfunction with their Shield. No one had. That’s impressive.

  6. I have to say that gun looks nothing like what I imagine when I think Smith & Wesson M&P. :p

    I’m glad the gun is working out for you. I was a little surprised with myself. When I got to the part where you mentioned having no malfunctions, I was disappointed. I hadn’t realized I was rooting against the Shield until that moment.

    1. I totally get it. On the other hand… my 640 definitely didn’t make it through its first 500 rounds without a malfunction.

      1. Ok I was trying for funny, but in hindsight might have been jerky… sorry Justin! Please don’t think I hate the auto.

        1. No worries, buddy. You’re a known good guy around here and we knew you were being good-natured. As a hopeless smart aleck myself, I got a chuckle out of it. ; ^ )

  7. Did your Shield come without a safety? Even though I shoot left-handed I like the thumb safety for when I am holstering the weapon. Once securely in the holster I disengage the safety. I think that is the only thing that dinky safety is good for.

    1. It did not come with a safety. If the safety were the size, shape, and position of the safety on the larger M&P variants I probably would have gotten one, but I don’t feel I can reliably disengage the little Shield safety.

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