S&W Announces M&P Shield .45 ACP Carry Gun at NRA 2016

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At the 2016 National Rifle Association Annual Meeting, gunmaker Smith & Wesson announced a new single stack carry handgun for the civilian market: A .45 ACP variant of their popular Military & Police Shield, previously available in .40 S&W and 9mm only.

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The new big bore Shield comes in two variants, like other M&P handguns, one with and one without a manual safety. Like the .40 S&W caliber model, the new Shield .45 ACP carries 6 rounds in its standard magazine, and 7 in its extended pinkie rest magazine. As well, the .45 model uses the same three-dot sight arrangement, but due to the larger chambering, is larger in dimensions: Compared to the 9mm Luger and .40 Smith & Wesson M&P Shields:

.45, Length – 6.45″, Width – 1.05″ (incl. slide stop), Height – 4.88″

9mm, Length – 6.1″, Width – 0.95″, Height – 4.6″

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Both the 6 and 7 round magazines use the same body, hence the “+1 marking.

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The .45 ACP Shield competes directly with the Glock 36 (against which it is slightly thinner and about half an inch shorter, but taller), and Kahr CM45 (against which it is somewhat larger in every dimension) for the .45 ACP compact concealed carry handgun segment. At the show, the M&P Shield .45 ACP handguns that were present had a smoother, cleaner feeling trigger than I am used to in the M&P series of handguns, although I cannot say whether that improvement will carry over to the production gun.

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The M&P Shield .45 ACP has a suggested retail of $479.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • SineNomine

    Cool. I have a Shield in .40 and I like it. It’s a good size and handles well. The only issue I have is the trigger’s a bit gritty.

    • Big Daddy

      APEX

      • SirOliverHumperdink

        ^This^. Just a shame you have to spend more $ to make the gun right.

        • Big Daddy

          It’s keeps the price down which is good. Some people cannot afford to mod it or an upgraded gun. Thank goodness companies do sell these aftermarket products. I’ll stick with the Glock and the many, many aftermarket upgrades available.

          You can buy a less expensive but higher quality gun and as your money allows mod it, upgrade up whatever.

          I have some police trade-in Glocks that I rebuilt, nice guns. As long as the frame and slide is good, it’s totally rebuildable at home. Without all the parts out there I’d be stuck with worn-out parts and no ability to upgrade.

      • Definitely– I have the APEX trigger installed on my full size M&P45, and even without the transfer bar and spring kit the difference is night and day over the factory trigger. MUCH more accurate and faster on the followup.

        • Big Daddy

          I had the M&P 45, I sold it and bought a Glock G30 & G21, ask me which has less recoil. Yes the grip is big but you get used it. The G30 is one of the most accurate handguns I ever shot for what it is.

          • I have an early Gen3 Glock 21 and it is indeed quite accurate… from a rest. I haven’t fired it in years, though, because it’s just too big around for my dumb short fingers to get a proper firing grip on, so the best I can get with standing slow fire is “minute of bad guy” at 10 yards. I probably would have picked up a Gen4 21 instead of the M&P if Glock had released them two-three years sooner.

          • Big Daddy

            That’s why they invented the dremel tool…LOL. I took down the Glock bumps and back cut the trigger guard a bit. I have big palms and short fingers. I’m going to do a little more massaging of the grips on the 30 & 21.

            I have a GEN 4 G41 coming this week. It’s thinner and lighter than the G21. A bit more recoil but manageable, much less than the M&P 45 I had. With +P HST the M&P was brutal. The G41 has a kind of 1911 thing to it because of the changes, thin, long & balanced better. Both the G30 and G21 are a bit top heavy due to the slide weight but that’s what makes them have low recoil for the round. Even the +P in the G21 was extremely manageable, the G30 not so much. So I’ll use the Gold Dot 230 in the 30 and the HST +P 230 in the G21.

            I usually carry the G26 or G19 but now I can with the G30 also. Since there is open carry now I don’t worry about printing in Texas and I’d even carry the G41.

  • ProLiberty82

    For heck’s sake, just release a god damned Glock 19 sized 9mm M&P already S&W! It’s my knee jerk reaction every time I see or hear anything about S&W pistols, great value guns with super low recoil but there is just that painfully obvious omission in their lineup.

    • Bill

      The M&P compact is close- I have both

      • ItalianAmerican

        I do too, and it’s true. I have basically all of them, including the Shield.
        Love my Shield in 9mm. I am in California, so no CCW for me. But if I could, I would definitely consider this new Shield in .45. Well done SW.

        • Marcus D.

          If you are an urbanite, move to Sacramento. It is months behind on processing apps, but is “virtual shall issue,” which means if you don’t come off as a weirdo or jerk in your interview, you get a CCW. Which is actually true for most of everything north of there also, except Yolo County (whose Sheriff is against anyone carrying in the small urban areas in the county, even though open carry is legal in all unincorporated ares–which is most of the county by area.)

          • Lew Siffer

            I respect you and your advice, but if one has the wherewithal to pack up and move, why not just move out of that nightmare state entirely? With all their economic and other serious issues, they are spending your tax money debating whether to force people to make further changes to the configuration of the magazine release on the AR15s.

          • Marcus D.

            There are many in the same circumstance as I. I have a professional license, a client base, and I am 60 years old. I don’t want to start from scratch, and I certainly don’t want to have to take a licensing exam. I once tried to move back east; I couldn’t get any call backs on my resume. Others have family and friends. It can be very difficult to cut ties and move on.

    • Bowserb

      We’re off topic but I agree. Not just S&W, but everyone. The G19 is the model of optimum compromise. Light weight, 4″ barrel, 15 rd magazine, rail, full 3 finger grip without an extended mag. I’d rather have it with the M&P trigger and thumb safety, though. I added a Cominolli thumb safety to mine, but there is no alternative trigger like the smooth faced M&P available for the Glock…that I know of anyway.

  • Darhar M.

    I own a Shield 9mm that I have carried daily for a couple of years now
    but will retire it and buy this one as I have been waiting for the Shield
    to be available in .45acp.

  • Nashvone

    How long until the Performance Center model comes out? I was thinking about a Shield in .40 but I think I’ll wait until the .45 makes it to market.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    It looks like the grip texture has been improved as well. It’s about time. I hate it when I have to stipple my firearms. And TALON grips always peel off because the adhesive isn’t strong enough. They still need to improve the thumb safety though. It’s too dang small. It needs to stick out more. That’s the only thing that keeps me from recommending the M&P Shield for people that are looking for a single-stack carry gun.

    • Yes, the rip texture has been improved. So many posts, so little time.

      • Stan Darsh

        Any idea if the standard 9mm and .40s&w Shield models are getting the improved trigger and grip texture that is on the new .45 Shield?

        • So far as I know the “improved trigger” is the invention of us gun bloggers like myself. I have not seen any piece of S&W literature that acknowledges it. Yes, I think the triggers on the M&P .45 Shields that were at the show are better than the standard M&P trigger, but I have no evidence suggesting that was anything but the guns being hand-picked demo models.

          I sincerely hope the better triggers are something S&W is incorporating quietly into the M&P line, but I have no evidence suggesting that is the case.

          As for the grip texture, I don’t know, either.

  • Marcus D.

    Hmmm, the 9 and the .40 are both on the California Roster (with a manual safety, of course). Is it too much to hope that it will be allowed in? (I checked, and it is not on the roster at this point.) The only Kahrs we can get in .45 are the high end KP models, and the Springfield XDS is not allowed either. I am rather a fan of small .45s, so I will have to keep a look out for this one. Fingers crossed.

    • I salute your fortitude, for being able to live in California while still having this thing called “hope”.

      • Marcus D.

        Sadly, I was reading on the GunsAmerica blog that S&W has modified the frame angle somewhat, and that is enough to constitute a “material change” of an exiting firearm or constitute it as entirely new firearm, such that at least currently, it has to comply with the microstamping mandate to be sold here. Since there is no gun in the world that does so (and for that matter the technology the Attorney General relied upon to declare the mandate to be in force doesn’t comply either), so there is no chance that this firearm will be sold here. There is a pending lawsuit in the federal district court that may change that, but undoubtedly an appeal will be taken and relief is years away.

  • Volk

    So even closer to the 9c’s dimensions than the original Shield but with half the capacity. At least here there’s a caliber difference but I still personally fail to see the appeal of the Shield series compared to the compacts.

    Oh well, I won’t complain too much as a varied market is a healthy market.

    • A single stack magazine is a big deal for concealability, and also for anyone with short fingers.

  • WELL, NOW.

    I will definitely be checking these out when they’re released to the wild; I like my Glock 36 a lot– very concealable, amazingly controllable and comfortable for a small .45– but the ejector and magazine spring conspire to cause more FTEs than are acceptable for a carry piece with a +1 buttplate on the magazine. Also, getting pinged in the forehead with hot brass every ten or twelve rounds gets old after a while.

  • Lew Siffer

    Personally, this is too big to replace the LCP in my pocket and too small to replace the G19 when I carry IWB. But this isn’t about me; there are a group of customers out there who are ecstatic because this is THE gun they have been waiting for. Good for them and good for S&W.

  • Herr Glock

    I’ve been trying for the last 3 years to find the “perfect” compact .45. I started with the Glock 36, well because GLOCK. It just seemed “big” for a 6 plus 1 gun. I held onto it, and got a Kahr CM-45. Great size, little known fact is they take standard 1911 mags. The gun came with “1” 5 round mag…really? I liked the fit, the finish, and the concealability. It complemented the CM-9 I had for awhile. My problem was being left-handed, the mag release constantly dropped the mag, and when I got a spare, it popped the cartridges loose in my pocket (CM-9 did that, too).Also, the triggers are way too revolver-like for my liking. Both Kahrs were sent off to good right-handed homes, and my next experiment was the Glock G30S. I traded the Glock 36 for it, but ultimately, it’s about the same size as my Glock 19, and doesn’t have the interchanging back straps. This Shield might be “the one”.

  • john huscio

    Not a fan of m&ps to begin with, this changes nothing. Glock 30s remains the optimal carryable 45acp pistol. IMO.

    • maodeedee

      The G30 is too thick and chunky. The Glock 36 can be carried for longer periods of time without being as noticeable.
      I like Glocks but S&W took their basic striker-fired design an perfected it with better. ergonomics. I also prefer the 9mm or better yet the 40 M&P to the Glock 43 single stack 9mm after shooting all three and comparing them.

      Try shooting one (without the unnecessary slide safety) and you will become a fan.

  • nova3930

    I’d probably be interested in one if I hadn’t swapped all my M&Ps and standardized on the P320. This almost looks like what a 1911 would be if you designed it in the 21st century….

  • Chris Miller

    It never ceases to amaze me how few people know of the Sig P245/ P220 Compact. It’s a 6+1 version of the P220 with .3.9″ barrel (think P229/ P228) and a reduced grip (like a P239, but a rounded front strap). The P245 can be had fro $550-$650. That said I will try to get my local range to pick this up as a rental, otherwise I will have to plunk down some money to at least give it a try.

    • Shawn Primus

      The P245 isn’t in production anymore. Looks like the closest thing in production is either the P239 in .40 or the P220 carry.

  • lookinoutforu

    I love my 9mm Shield! Having said that, a Shield in .45 cal. would be the ultimate carry gun.

  • Dragonheart

    I wonder how do the dimensions compare to a 3.5″ 1911?

  • James B.

    The .45 Shield sounds only a tad smaller than a compact-carry 1911, and shooting .45 ACP, I’d think you’d want the extra weight of a metal gun.

  • HolyCOW

    Too big, will have to go XDS…

    • maodeedee

      Why? The two guns are almost Identical in size, read the specs.

      I’d rather go with the S&W 40 Shield which is smaller, lighter, and more compact and load it with 174 grain Critical Duty ammo. I’ve fired the M&P 40 with that ammo and it is very controllable as far as recoil, recovery time, and hit probability. The light 45’s might not be unless you used 45 ACP 185 grain non-plus +P ammo.

      Springfield XDs .45
      Weight (with Empty Magazine) 21.5 ozs.
      Height 4.4″ w/ Compact Mag, 5″ w/ Mid-Mag X-Tension™
      Barrel length 3.3″
      Overall Length 6.3″
      Width:.90

      S&W M&P 45
      Weight: 20.5 oz. unloaded
      Overall Height: 4.8” with Flush Magazine
      Barrel Length: 3.3”
      Overall Length: 6.45”
      Frame Width: .99”

      M&P 40
      Weight: 19.0
      Overall Height: 4.6”
      Barrel Length: 3.1″
      Overall Length: 6.1″