Smith & Wesson M&P9 Performance Center
Ported Shield Review

Part 1 - Introduction, Specifications and Summary
June 5, 2016

Last year I reviewed the Smith & Wesson M&P®9 Performance Center® Ported Pistol and it has become one of my favorite pistols due to it's ergonomics, trigger pull and accuracy.  This is why I was extremely interested when hearing the news about the new Performance Center® Ported M&P®9 Shield™ that S&W recently released.  Although I don't own a Shield (yet), I know they have proven to be reliable and comfortable to shoot based on the times I have shot these pistols.  My thoughts on this new pistol go something like this... taking a (the proven, remove "great shooting standard") great shooting standard Shield platform, adding the Performance Center (PC) trigger and barrel porting, upgrading with new high visibility sights, the new PC Ported Shield should make an outstanding handgun.

Now some might argue that the trigger pull on the original Shield is already good, and that porting is not needed and that original sights were good enough, and honestly they have a good point. As S&W have shown here, there is always room for improvement. These three enhancements in this new pistol offer the shooter quicker sight alignment with the HI-VIZ® front and rear sights, greater opportunity to stay on target when making the smoother/lighter trigger pull, and greater opportunity for a faster follow-up shot with reduced muzzle flip.  Smith & Wesson are offering these enhancements for an additional $70 compared to the standard version which brings the MSRP to $519 for the new PC Ported Shield.  After doing a quick online search, it seems you can get this new pistol for somewhere between $430 and $450.

 

During my reviews I like to compare my results to the manufacturers claims where possible so the following text in colored italics was taken directly from the Smith & Wesson website on 4/17/16 and gives the Key Features and Specifications for the Performance Center® Ported M&P®9 Shield™.  The , and are my way to keep up with details that I have covered in this review with either photos, commentary or both.

Key Features

  • Smith & Wesson’s new M&P SHIELD™ is a slim, concealable, lightweight, striker-fired polymer pistol.
  • Available in 9mm and .40 S&W, the new M&P SHIELD features a slim design combined with the proven and trusted features found in the M&P Pistol Series.
  • From the pistol’s easily concealed one-inch profile to its optimized 18-degree grip angle, the M&P SHIELD offers professional-grade features that provide consumers with simple operation and reliable performance.
  • Chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W for proven stopping power, the M&P SHIELD features a high-strength polymer frame with a black, durable, corrosion resistant finish, coated stainless steel slide and barrel.
  • Both models are standard with a 3.1-inch barrel, which contributes to an overall length of 6.1 inches and an unloaded weight of 19 ounces.
  • For fast tracking and smooth target acquisition, the M&P SHIELD is standard with a 5.3-inch sight radius and has been enhanced with a short, consistent trigger pull measuring 6.5 pounds. Featuring a quick and audible reset made possible by the striker-fired action, the M&P SHIELD allows multiple rounds to be placed on target both consistently and accurately.

Specifications

  • SKU: 10108
  • Model: Performance Center® Ported M&P®9 SHIELD™
  • Caliber: 9 mm
  • Capacity: 8 and 7 Rounds
  • Action: Striker Fire
  • Barrel Length: 3.1” (7.9 cm) review pistol measured 3.12"
  • Front Sight: HI-VIZ® Fiber Optic Green
  • Rear Sight: HI-VIZ® Fiber Optic Red
  • Grip: Polymer 
  • Weight: 18.2 oz. (515.9 g) review pistol weighed in at 20.2 ounces empty with the 7-round magazine installed, the 18.2 ounces represents the pistol without a magazine installed
  • Overall Length: 6.1” (15.5 cm)
  • Overall Width: .95” (2.4 cm) across the grip frame and 1.01" across the takedown lever
  • Overall Height: 4.6” (11.7 cm) 4.65" with the 7-round magazine installed and 5.12" with the 8-round magazine
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Barrel Finish: Black 68 HRc
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel
  • Finish: Black
  • Sight Radius: 5.3” (13.3 cm) review pistol measured 5.05"
  • MSRP: $519

This review is broken down into multiple parts with this page providing links to each part along with an overall summary of the specifications, pros and cons, and my final "bottom line" comments.  Make sure you take time to checkout the other parts of the review because they contain many photos and lots of commentary.  Also, there is an extreme amount of detail in those parts which is not covered on this page.

As you read these Pros and Cons below, keep in mind that it is hard to keep my particular preferences from creeping in the equation.  Therefore, it is important that you take the time to look at the other parts of this review so you can decide yourself on items which may be more of a personal preference.

Pros:

  • Very bright HI-VIZ® fiber optic front and rear sights
  • The 18 degree grip angle allows the sights to naturally align with the shape of my hand when aiming the pistol
  • The pull weight on this pistol measured 5.4 lbs based on an average of 6 pulls using my digital trigger pull scale and I feel this is a good pull weight for a conceal and carry pistol
  • I feel my range testing proved that the trigger enhancements and porting are features that the shooter can discern when comparing the PC Ported Shield directly against the standard Shield
  • The pistol shot great and I was very please with my range test results and my group average of 1.01" for this style of pistol at 7 yards was great

Pro/Con/Comment (you decide)?:

  • No magazine disconnect
  • Manual Safety and Magazine Release can only be configured for a right hand shooter
  • There is a drop in velocity due to the barrel ports, but I don't consider the 1.16% drop (12 ft/sec) for the Critical Defense ammunition to be significant and worth fretting over

Cons:

  • At this point I have had the pistol for a little over two months and I having a hard time finding a con which I guess is really a pro, but I had to put something.

 

Bottom Line:

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Ported Shield has quickly become one of my favorite carry handguns.  The pistol shoots great, has a great accuracy potential which was proven at the range and is in a slim and relatively light weight package.  I'm still amazed at how well this pistol shot at my steel target range while transitioning quickly between multiple targets.  If you are in the market for a single stack 9mm with some enhanced performance features, make sure you checkout the S&W PC Ported Shield.  Also, S&W just released their new PC Ported Shield with Tritium night sights, so this gives you another option to ponder.


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