Smith & Wesson Offers Ported Shield Pistols

ported S&W Shield

Smith & Wesson announced the company is now making and selling M&P Shield pistols with ported barrels and slides. Both the 9mm and .40 S&W versions of the Shield will be available with the porting.

Porting can help reduce muzzle rise during recoil. Considering that the guns have relatively mild recoil and rise for their size, the porting may┬ámake these into very soft shooters. However, porting can direct a large amount of the flash upward, which might increase interference with the shooter’s vision in low light situations. Many self defense situations occur in reduced lighting.

These pistols are produced by the Smith & Wesson Performance Center. The guns will be equipped with HiViz fiber optic sights. The guns will have the external manual safety.



Richard Johnson

An advocate of gun proliferation zones, Richard is a long time shooter, former cop and internet entrepreneur. Among the many places he calls home is http://www.gunsholstersandgear.com/.


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  • A.WChuck

    Was porting something in high demand from customers? Outside of “game” guns, I have never heard anyone speak highly of porting.

    • floppyscience

      Glock ported virtually their entire line with the Gen 3 “C” series. It didn’t do too well.

      • gunsandrockets

        I have never heard an explanation from Glock for why they discontinued those ‘C’ models. Most of those who badmouth that Glock variant seem to do so from speculation instead of personal experience.

        Assuming S&W are not fools, they must think there is a good market for this option.

        • floppyscience

          I presumed they weren’t selling well.

          After they were discontinued a whole bunch appeared online for dirty cheap as sellers tried to get rid of their stock. I remember CDNN had them listed for something like $399 new and they were up for at least 6 months. Likewise I saw a lot of them in local stores marked way down and they didn’t seem to go anywhere for a while.

    • Bill

      If it was, I wasn’t told. The number of them in use in law enforcement is nil to none. I know of one agency that adopted ported GLOCKs, and I believe that most of the troops unadopted them on their own.

      • gunsandrockets

        Which agency?

        • Bill

          I knew someone would ask. It was some middle sized agency in Florida quite a while ago, the name escapes me.

          Ported guns have a nasty habit of melting your polyester uniform shirt when fired from some close-quarters retention positions. Nothing lowers your qualification score like a singed nipple.

          • John

            Yeesh. Why aren’t uniforms 100% cotton or hemp? It’s way more flame-retardant.

          • gunsandrockets

            This happened to you?

          • Bill

            I’ve had ported guns come through training programs. Low-flash powders have reduced some of the retro-rocket effect, but when shot from retention positions, close to certain shapes and types of cover, and from positions of disadvantage, such as prone on the shooter’s side it can get funky. They may be fine for playguns, but for duty guns any “advantage” they bring is illusory and not worth the disadvantages.

  • Otm Shooter

    I would not carry a ported gun for self defense. I don’t know if thats what this is geared towards, as I think the Shields make a good carry gun.

    I don’t think it would be pleasant to fire that indoors if you had to.

    • I have fired a ported springfield XD at night and indoors. Doesnt make any difference really.

      • Otm Shooter

        I hear you there. There are several variables involved. I’ve also fired ported guns and guns with compensators. In my experience, the closer that walls and ceiling are, the more noise or shock (or whatever it may be) seems to be felt/heard. The presence of ear pro and the varying levels of ear pro also make a difference in my book. To each his own.

  • Tyler Browne

    I think S&W’s money would’ve been better spent on a “Don’t limp wrist it, stupid” campaign.

  • Nathan Harris

    What’s up with the tacky “Performance Center” nonsense being on the slide? Couldn’t that have been a little less conspicuous? I understand branding, but c’mon.

  • INFI

    Fiber optic front sight, in front of ports?? Ok.

  • Edeco

    Seems like defeating the purpose of using a 9mm instead of 380 to me. But to each their own.

  • Dracon1201

    Hmmmm… Contrary to the comments, I wouldn’t mind trying one of these in the .40 flavor. Mine is excellent, but I’d like to shoot them side by side.

    • gunsandrockets

      In my experience the difference in shooting comfort between a Glock 23 and Glock 23C is significant. I bought a 23C.

  • Bill

    Is that *all* the Performance Center did to the gun – extra holes and HiViz, soon to be carbon covered sights? No action work?

  • Robert

    The article also forgot to mention that s&w has an improved trigger on this as well. I used to be sceptical of ported handguns until I purchased a glock 19C, it is my daily carry and one of my favorite firearms to shoot. Modern self defense ammo has little to no muzzle flash and powder burns would be the least of my worries in a self defense situation if I had to use it in close quarters.

  • Steven Calvaresi

    I’ve owed a Glock 17C for a little over a year now and love it. Put probably 4-5k rounds through it. Granted I shoot it with some extra aftermarket goodness that a police officer may never use, but I can say for a fact (because I’ve tried it) that the C variant will NOT mess with your night vision in low light, and you can shoot it from retention (I had to do it as part of a course I did with FLETC, with this pistol as you see it in the picture) without having it burn you/wreck clothing/end life as we know it.

    HOWEVER, I would NOT recommend holding the ports directly against unclothed skin, as I’m not foolish enough to think that’ll end well, but I’ve fired plenty from retention on my own without particular incident.

    What I WILL note is a distinct added sharpness to the noise of the gunshot. I would liken it to adding a muzzle brake to your AR. Your experience indoors will be similar, so expect hearing degradation if you start blazing away.

    All this being said, I love this gun. Shoots soft and hits what I point it at. Runs great with anything I’ve put through it so far. This is my current CCW, in a custom OWB holster, and in my experience with it I’m perfectly happy.

    Your mileage may vary…..

    • Cymond

      It’s nice to read from an actual user, instead of just conjecture and supposition.

      • Steven Calvaresi

        yea this place gets a little squirrely sometimes, and I don’t normally chime it, but I figured this was an instance where I had pretty considerable experience, glad I could help.

        • gunsandrockets

          Why do you suppose, we never hear from the usual suspects about the danger of firing a revolver from the retention position? Yet this fear of injury is always expressed about the C model Glocks.

          • Steven Calvaresi

            Good point, no idea. Like I said, I’ve shot mine from retention and never had any issues.

            I will say that it works better if you try to ensure your face is directly at the 12 o’clock position to muzzle, because it seems that at least the ports on glocks vent in a “V” pattern above the muzzle, pushing the gas somewhat to the side. Being directly above it keeps you in the “valley” between the rising gas columns, which are more puffs of hot air than anything else.

    • NDS

      Great looking G17!

    • BattleshipGrey

      Does your RDS get extra soot on it due to being close to the ports?

      • Steven Calvaresi

        It gets slightly hazy after maybe 10-12 mags worth, but nothing a quick wipe with a rag doesn’t fix. I’ve never felt I needed to halt training to clean it, and it doesn’t seem to be harming the optic, these T1s are tanks. I generally just wipe it down when I clean the gun. I mainly have shot M882 ammo through it, which is actually pretty hot and snappy. Winchester flat-nosed 115gr is almost like shooting .22LR, just louder. Only internal swapping I’ve done is my trigger (ZEV fulcrum kit).

      • Steven Calvaresi

        Also, the ALG mount comes with a blast shield to protect the optic, but I saw some dude had bent the crap out of his on the first mag with a .40 glock, I opted to remove mine (never used it) and haven’t looked back. The shield is aluminum, and the guy who bent his said ALG told him they’re working up a steel one. After my experience, I don’t really think it’s even necessary for a ported gun, let alone a standard model.

    • Chadd

      I’m curios; does the heat and blast affect the fiber front sight? assuming you had one at some point

  • FightFireJay

    This product does not make sense… but I want one. D@mnit!

  • BearSlayer338

    S&W just increased their chances of me buying a Shield in .40 by 50%(was 0% before),its not that I don’t like the Shield its that I find .40 in non ported/compensated guns to be about as comfortable as shooting a 14 ounce snub nosed .357 magnum revolver with very hot handloads.

  • olivehead

    I’ve never shot a ported pistol, but more than one person who has told me that you really don’t want to shoot these at night or in the dark because of the increased “flash” from the porting. Is this generally true, and if so, why would you want porting on what is primarily a self-defense/carry gun?

  • DavidyArica Freire

    I’m exited for the trigger and porting.

  • Tim Willingham

    I own one ported handgun (G23C). I replaced the barrel with a non-ported version soon after the purchase. The issues with blast while shooting from close in just didn’t justify what little advantage the porting might have given to recoil. I only use my pistols as working carry guns so I have no need for range/sport advantages that porting may offer. I also own shields in both .40 and 9mm and love the design. But I will never buy another ported pistol. Just my opinion, YMMV.

  • valorius

    Ive owned several ported pistols, the porting has no effect at all on night vision.

    Good retention aid though….