Smith and Wesson surprised everyone when they released the M&P380 Shield EZ (part of their M&P M2.0 line). They already produce the very popular Bodyguard 380. They already produce the slightly smaller, yet more powerful M&P9 Shield.
What gives with this new 380 Auto from Smith and Wesson? What does it offer that the M&P9 Shield or Bodyguard 380 doesn’t?
Primarily, it’s extremely easy to use and shoot. So easy, in fact, it’s in the name.
Here’s what makes it so easy to use:
The slide racks extremely easy.
The magazine is easy to load.
The pistol is easy to disassemble and clean.
It’s easy to shoot.
The grip-safety makes safety easy as well.
S&W designed this pistol for an important segment in the concealed carry community: non-experts and also those with less than average hand strength.
Many women, and older folks have a hard time racking a pistol slide. This same demographic of gun owner usually has a hard time loading the magazine too.
Also, many novices and newbies to the concealed carry community are afraid of accidental discharge. The grip safety shines here gives peace of mind for those folks. There’s even an optional thumb safety for those that prefer one.
Lastly though, this pistol is completely ideal for shooters (even advanced shooters) who want a pistol that shoots fast and accurately. The 380 auto round doesn’t kick as hard as 9mm, 40, or 45acp. That’s a well established fact. Most pistols that are chambered in 380 kick hard only because of their diminutive size. However, when you pair up the 380 auto round with an 18 ounce pistol that allows a full grip, it won’t kick nearly as hard as the similar sized 9mm Shield.
It’s really designed for everyday carry and that’ll be easy in Kydex S&W M&P380 Shield EZ concealed carry holsters from Clinger.
The S&W M&P380 Shield EZ really shines in a self-defense situation because of how easy it is to keep on target in a rapid fire scenario. You can be sure that a 45 ACP or 10mm round is far more powerful but if the follow up shots have a 3 foot spread how effective is the round in reality?
I have no doubt that with intense, dedicated training one can effectively get a desirable grouping with a high powered round out of small handgun. Intense, dedicated training isn’t for everyone though. In fact, it’s not for most people.
For someone who’s only willing to go to the range once or twice a year (if ever), less powerful rounds are much easier to get on target accurately and quickly. Also, follow up shots will be much closer to the first shot and the odds of hitting the target in a rapid fire scenario go up drastically.
Putting the 380 round in the new 380 Shield EZ makes shooting accurately easier than ever.
Paired up with the right S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters, this makes a great Concealed Carry setup.
Specs listed by Manufacturer + Notable Features
Weight – 18.5 oz
Caliber – 380 auto
Capacity – 8+1
Barrel length – 3.675”
Overall length – 6.7”
Action – internal hammer fired – Single Action Only
It’s about a 1/2” longer and 1/3” taller than previous Shield pistols
includes two 8 round mags
loaded chamber indicator – S&W says it’s both tactile and visual
available with a thumb safety or without
reversible mag release
Lifetime Service Warranty
the follower in the mag is bright orange
included in box: cable lock, 2 magazines, owners manual (ships in cardboard box)
S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters are available at Clinger Holsters
Look & Feel / Ergonomics
It’s immediately obvious that this pistol possesses the same level of quality as the rest of the M&P M2.0 pistol lineup.
It has an excellent fit & finish (especially for the price). It has a very nice Armornite finish. It also sports the same stippling pattern as the other M&P M2.0 pistols. However, the texture is much less aggressive than the other M&P M2.0 pistols. You can still get a good grip that’s easy to hold on to though.
Smith and Wesson designed this pistol with Concealed Carry first and foremost. They intend it to be your “everyday carry pistol”. Carrying this pistol all day every day will certainly be doable in most scenarios considering how thin and light it is. There may be certain situations where you need a pocket pistol like the Bodyguard 380 from Smith and Wesson. However, the 380 Shield EZ is about as thin and light as you can hope to carry in IWB Kydex S&W M&P380 Shield EZ concealed carry holsters.
The point of aim feels great at a very natural 18 degrees. This seems to be the most popular grip angle for most shooters.
The ergonomics involved in racking the slide really pays off for this pistol. The slide has serrations that are easy to grab. An unconventional feature is the wider serrations on the back of the pistol. These really help you rack the slide.
A smart engineering decision by Smith and Wesson was to position the hammer assembly lower into the frame which gives you more leverage. This simple lesson in physics explains why the rack is so easy to rack on this pistol.
One more great ergonomic feature on this pistol is the easy-to-load magazine. If you’ve ever loaded a .22 pistol, you’ve most likely seen the sliding tabs on the mag that help you pull the follower down with one hand while inserting the bullet with the other hand. This is much easier than using the bullet alone to force the follower and spring lower into the magazine.
The small size in and of itself can also be considered an ergonomic feature when you’re carrying this in S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters that are smaller than your other holsters. Take a look at Clinger holster to see how small a holster should be.
Let’s look at a few more features that really enhance ergonomics for this handgun.
The controls are very easy to reach. This is definitely a benefit for the expert and novice alike. Some pistols seem like the controls are impossibly hard to reach. If you hope to quickly reload a pistol under dire stress, easily accessible controls are paramount. Shaving a few milliseconds off the time it takes to change a spent magazine for a loaded one can be the difference between surviving an attack or perishing. It may sound dramatic but that doesn’t make it untrue.
The mags will drop freely with this gun too. It is baffling that you can still buy a new pistol these days and be shocked at the gun range when you learn that empty mags don’t always drop freely. You definitely won’t have that problem with this Shield pistol.
Now, let’s evaluate the texture pattern of the pistol. The stippling is much less aggressive on this pistol than the bigger double stack M2.0 pistols. It’s even less aggressive than the 9mm Shield M2.0. However, that doesn’t mean that the gun is slick or not grippy enough to hold onto during rapid fire. The stippling is plenty grippy enough to easily hold onto during rapid fire.
Super aggressive texture makes a gun easier to grip. That’s for sure. However, it can also make the pistol too uncomfortable for some people to want to use it for Concealed Carry. Really aggressive texture literally feels like 80 grit sandpaper is trying to refinish your top layer of skin. The grip will be the biggest part of the gun that’s not covered by your S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters. Sure, you can try to wear an under shirt between you and the gun. Many people don’t want to do that though (and they won’t). Plus, an under shirt can come untucked during the day and crawl up enough for some of the stippling to start re-sanding your hide again.
The lighter texture on the M&P380 Shield EZ works great for Concealed Carry. You can definitely carry it against your bare skin without breaking out band-aids at the end of the day.
Don’t let all these great ergonomic features go to waist on the wrong holster. Great S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters will have great ergonomics as well that really compliment this ergonomic pistol. Clinger Holsters has you covered here. They are as ergonomic and Concealed Carry friendly as the pistol it carries.
The 2 biggest things most people look for in shooting characteristics is trigger feel and perceived recoil. A crisp and light trigger helps you keep the pistol on target when pressing the trigger and less recoil makes follow up shots easier to get back onto the target. This pistol has these 2 characteristics locked down. And then some.
The trigger is incredibly light at 4.5 lbs. The reset is nice and short with an audible click. This is exactly the kind of trigger that many are looking for when they send their pistol to a gunsmith for custom work. It’s great to see a pistol come with a trigger like this straight out of the box.
Recoil is very easy to manage thanks to the tame 380 round and slightly bigger size than the previous M&P Shield pistols. Combine the tame recoil with that great trigger and you get a pistol thats incredibly fast and accurate. In fact, most reviewers agree that it’s among the most accurate 380 pistol they’ve ever tested. The longer barrel definitely helps with accuracy.
The 3 dot sights (which are adjustable for windage) are more of a combat style. That is, the front dot covers the target for a bullseye. The work great and make acquiring your target fast and easy. They are durable and high quality metal sights.
The grip angle of 18 degrees is identical to other M&P pistols offered by Smith & Wesson. Just like a 1911 pistol, this grip angle feels very natural when aiming and tends to be the most popular grip angle seen today. When using a pistol in self-defense, one might not have time to acquire a sight picture. Muscle memory and training would be the only thing at that point that would help you get the bullets to the target accurately. A familiar and optimal grip angle will aid in that area. When you pull this pistol from one of your S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters, you want the sights on target as fast as possible.
One thing to keep in mind when considering shooting fast and accurately is your holster selection as well. Your holster should allow a full combat grip before you even draw the pistol from the holster. This ensures that you don’t have to adjust your grip after the draw. It’ll be near impossible to get off a fast and accurate string of shots without looking for S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters that accommodate a full firing grip for the gun. All Clinger Holsters allow a full firing grip on your pistol.
S&W has assured the press that they designed the pistol to be compatible with a wide range of currently available 380 ammo. This is to help ensure reliability. Everyone agrees: this is a reliable pistol. Reliability is one of the top considerations for a Concealed Carry pistol and S&W took this task very seriously.
One of the most unique and interesting features of this gun is the grip safety and its benefits. Obviously there are millions of gun toters going about their day without grip safeties on their pistols who manage not to shoot themselves in the leg. So many might come to the conclusion that a grip safety is unnecessary and just makes the gun more complex or complicated. And while it’s true that it isn’t necessary that doesn’t mean it doesn’t add valuable benefits to the gun. Clinger’s Kydex S&W M&P380 Shield EZ concealed carry holsters do not interfere with the grip safety. This is always important to verify.
Because the grip safety is a passive safety, no thought goes into deactivating it. If you are holding the pistol in a firing grip and press the trigger, the gun will go bang. There’s no training required to flip down a manual thumb safety (on the version without a manual thumb safety). A version with a thumb safety is available for those who would like the extra layer of safety.
What a great feature the grip safety is though for the novice and expert alike. The expert gets an extra layer of protection that he/she might not have been willing to accept if it involved a thumb safety. The novice gets peace of mind with a handgun being safer to carry without worrying about the training and muscle memory involved with deactivating a thumb safety while presenting a weapon in under a second from your S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters.
A good grip safety is a win-win for everybody. However, it’s only a win-win if it’s a good design. Thankfully for everyone, this grip safety is not just good, it’s incredible. Gripping the pistol in a firing grip disengages the internal hammer block effortlessly.
The grip safety pivots from the bottom of the backstrap rather than from the top. The beavertail is not built into the safety either like a 1911 pistol. Rather, the beavertail is part of the frame. It’s long enough to easily protect your hand from slide bite but no so long as to make the pistol print easier under clothing.
One last cool feature to list here: No trigger pull is necessary to disassemble the pistol. This should be something every manufacturer strives to achieve with any pistol they design. As gun owners, we follow gun safety every day…until we disassemble a pistol that requires a trigger pull to disassemble.
The pistol will almost definitely not be pointed at a shooting target when the trigger is pressed. Plus, the vast majority of people won’t have a clearing trap on the table they’re using during a disassemble.
The ability to clean your pistol without pulling the trigger is a great safety feature for the expert and for novices. It just makes sense.
Why Is This Gun Great For Concealed Carry
This is simple to answer. It’s thin and lightweight. This pistol is very easy to shoot fast and accurately. It’s easy to operate for all types of shooter.
The longer barrel length and today’s more effective 380 ammo make this pistol more than capable of defending your life against a predator.
At 18 ounces, it’s light enough to carry without it being a burden. Yet it weighs enough to have a low recoil.
One last reason: S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters are already available and they are sweet! Clinger Holsters makes great holsters for this pistol. Plus, they’re made specifically for Concealed Carry.
While some might dismiss a 380 pistol that’s the size of many 9mm pistols, this pistol breaks down that argument.
The M&P380 Shield EZ deserves consideration for a daily carry pistol. It’s thin & light yet handles like a dream under rapid fire. Throw in top notch accuracy and reliability and it’s tough to argue that it’s not a good choice for Concealed Carry.
If you want a small Concealed Carry pistol that makes it easy to get lead down range fast and accurately, this pistol will make you smile.
Maybe, you want a pistol that’s easy to rack and easy to load.
Perhaps you’re looking for a pistol that’s safe and easy to handle.
With all of these benefits, there’s lots to love about the Smith and Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ.
Check out our full lineup of holsters if you want to carry this pistol in the best S&W M&P380 Shield EZ Holsters available.
Our current lead time for Comfort Cling Holsters is 1 day.
Our current lead time for V3 Kydex Holsters is 5-7 business days.