PPS M2 VS Shield M2.0
Which Is Better For Concealed Carry?
Smith and Wesson sold well over 1,000,000 M&P Shields. The latest version – S&W Shield M2.0 – is even better. It’s that darn good. Walther engineered one of the highest rated Single Stack Nines in existence with the Walther PPS M2. Which one is more worthy of your hard earned dollars?
If we could only pick one for concealed carry, which would find itself on our belt?
Because capitalism is awesome, not only is there a handgun for every imaginable purpose, there are usually multiple competing products that each proclaim they fill a given niche better than any other similar product.
So when it comes down to the PPS M2 and the Shield M2.0, which is better? Does it matter?
Are there significant differences?
And most importantly, should pineapple be on pizza? No. Wait, let’s go back to the guns. It will be easier to answer those questions.
Now both guns are poly-framed, striker-fired pistols chambered in 9mm, and marketed towards the concealed carry market. Both have similar capacity single stack magazines, and both are fighting for identical customers.
Each gun is made by a well established company that is famous for high quality handguns built for real world consumers. Each company has a cult following, and a long legacy of innovation and even cultural impact.
Lastly, each company has been working hard to grab a piece of that high demand concealed carry market, and have been tailoring products to meet the demands and desires of concealed carriers everywhere.
So let’s take a closer look.
The Walther PPS M2: Quality & Ergonomics Perfected
Ever since Glock popularized ergonomic, polymer framed striker fired pistols with pistols like the Glock 19, the gun industry has been awash with attempts to grab some of that market. And this is where we have to face stark reality.
From a mechanical standpoint, there is precious little technical difference where it matters on these sorts of guns. There are small differences, but the technology is the same.
The most common differences are the types of internal and passive safeties, and the quality of the trigger. A spongy trigger can ruin a good gun.
A great trigger can make a good gun legendary.
In this case, both guns offer great trigger feel with a good reset, so rather than engaging in nit picking over small mechanical differences, we are going to look at more important differences.
Walther lists a number of key features for the PPS M2.
Some are styling, others are far more interesting innovations that have become in great demand in this golden age of concealed carry that we now live in.
The PPS M2 includes a red loaded chamber indicator, that can be both felt and seen, a visible chamber viewport that allows for quick verification of if the gun is loaded, a uniquely textured grip, Tennifer coating for maximum corrosion resistance, three dot metal sights, both front and rear slide serrations, and lightweight, fast resetting trigger.
Multiple magazine options are available.
The PPS M2 ships with a six round low profile, a seven round magazine, and an extended 8 round magazine.
In addition, the mag release is designed to prevent accidental release and the entire gun is designed to be snag free when carried concealed.
So far, the PPS M2 looks pretty solid, so how does the Shield M2.0 stand up to it?
The Smith and Wesson M&P Shield M2.0: The Next Version of Greatness
Just as Walther is a venerable old name in handguns, so is Smith and Wesson.
A few years back, Smith and Wesson blew the dust off another venerable name, and brought back their Military and Police line for the 21st Century.
The M&P line was Smith and Wesson’s answer to the booming striker fired polymer framed pistol market, and it was backed with tradition and reputation that Glock simply couldn’t match. Having created a viable full sized contender in this market, Smith and Wesson then turned to the concealed carry market, and brought out the Shield.
Many declared the M&P Shield the best Concealed Carry gun on the market.
We now have a newer version of that great pistol: Shield M2.0.
As we’ve already discussed, there is nothing new under the sun with these types of guns, and the Shield M2.0 reads a lot like the PPS M2.
Featuring a specially textured grip for a secure hold in all weather conditions, a lightweight, precision trigger, corrosion resistant coating on the slide, a unique take down system that does not require pulling the trigger, an optional 18 degree backstrap for a more natural hold, and a lifetime warranty, we start to see subtle and not so subtle differences between these two guns.
Smith and Wesson ups the ante with their magazines as well, shipping a 7 round flush fitting mag, and an 8 round extended grip magazine with the gun.
So, on paper, we’ve got two compact, single stack 9mm polymer frame, striker fired pistols from two of the world’s most famous handgun manufacturers. How do you choose between these two pistols?
Well darn. Let’s look closely.
The Shield M2.0 is 4.5” tall with the flush fitting magazine to the Walther’s 4.4”.
The Shield M2.0 is 6.1” long to the PPS M2’s 6.3”.
They are nearly identical in weight as well, with the Walther PPS M2 weighing in at 21.1 ounces unloaded, to the S&W Shield M2.0’s 18.3 ounce unloaded weight. You might be able to detect the 1.8 ounce difference but most can’t.
All these dimensional differences are really trivial.
However, Walther pulls ahead pretty quick in human engineering. Walther manages to add useful safety features to their gun. Being able to inspect the chamber without a press check, and having a visible and tactile loaded chamber indicator are really nice features.
Smith and Wesson offers a Smith and Wesson Shield M2.0 with an external thumb safety, which while controversial in some circles, has been in demand on striker fired guns since the 80’s, which gives them an edge in the safety department. They also have other caliber options for the M&P Shield M2.0, which is great for fans of calibers starting in 4.
Walther ships the PPS M2 with an octagonal rifled barrel, but out of a 3” barrel gun built for close quarters work, I’m hard pressed to get terribly worked up over that nice little touch, but when looking at nearly identical guns, sometimes it is those little touches that really matter.
So Which One is Best for Concealed Carry?
Questions like this ensure gun writers and gun manufacturers will have plenty of work. However, it is also confusing for the consumer. We are down to the point of picking over small differences in guns that may or may not even matter to you, the concealed carrier or law enforcement officer.
Either gun excels for the intended purpose of offering a modern, easily concealed handgun. While we might all wish to be able to carry a 1911 or a big magnum revolver, the fact of modern living often means that discretion is the better part of valor, and must opt for a small, easily hidden pistol.
Plus of course there is something to be said for a lightweight handgun, regardless of how you choose to carry it.
If you live in a place with oppressive and irrational magazine capacity limitations, you’ll appreciate being able to buy a high quality, well designed 9mm pistol. For better or worse, either of these guns will be at home in places like New York State, or other capacity restricted jurisdictions.
For those living in places that don’t require you to count the rounds in your gun, the compact, single stack designs offer easy concealing performance without major loss in firepower.
Sure it would be nice to have a 19 round mag but…
Nearly every civilian gunfight will be over long before you even have to consider reloading either of these guns.
If you like the passive safety features and Walther aesthetic, then the PPS M2 is for you. It is a fine looking gun, loaded with many small touches that make it stand out from the more utilitarian Shield M2.0.
Add the octagonal rifled barrel, and better quality forward slide serration and it’s easy to see why so many people love the PPS M2.
Smith and Wesson brings an optional manual safety to the table.
This a deal breaker for those that require one.
If you really want a different caliber than 9mm (although out of a lightweight, short compact pistol, larger calibers start to suffer more, and recoil harder), then Smith and Wesson offers you that choice as well.
It Really Comes Down to Personal Choice.
Instead, the choice comes down to your personal preferences in brand name, styling, and the voodoo of gut feeling.
The ultimate decision between these two would probably come down to how it feels in your hand.
If I had to pick one…
I’d reach for the Walther, but only because I like the ergonomics and have fond memories of some really insane long range shots with an octagonal rifled pistol.
Neither of these factors really declare the gun to be superior, simply different enough to be appealing to one person. You may not care about either of those, but may find when comparing the two guns in a shop, that you like the trigger of one, over the other just a little bit more.
If you are going for pocket carry, the Walther seems a bit more snag free, but the idea of pocket carrying an unholstered striker fired gun is terrifying.
The Comfort Cling holster from Clinger Holsters solves this issue perfectly.
The Comfort Cling holster stays in your pocket when you draw the gun out and protects the trigger while in your pocket.
If you are going for an IWB or belt holster carry, I think either gun would work equally well here as long as they’re in a high quality holster.
What’s the point in picking out a quality gun if you don’t get a high quality holster?
Again, Clinger Holsters really shine here. The V3 No Print Wonder or V3 Stingray holsters are both excellent choices for Concealed Carry.
Both are good guns, and both will do the job they are designed for. Each is also designed to appeal to the broad concealed carry market.
Both also have unique ergonomics that will appeal to different consumers.
It is a testimony to modern manufacturing and consumer demand that we can look at two competing handguns and find them both effectively identical, but also different enough to provide variety to those who want it.
The Bottom Line Is:
Compare how the trigger of each feels to you. Also, hold each of them and see which feels best in your hand.
If you prefer Walther over Smith & Wesson or vice versa, the decision is easy.
You can’t go wrong with either of these great pistols.