Ported M&P Shield… I Don’t Get It

    I must be grouchy or something, but another product caught my eye as one that I do not understand the existence of. While the Apex Glock Magazine Plates were and are, in my opinion, utterly stupid, a larger name in the firearms industry put out a product that seems to be an answer searching for a problem.

    Smith & Wesson, specifically their M&P Shield Performance Center Ported model.

    Before I go on and on, I actually get the benefits of a few of the upgrades. The fiber optics sights are sincerely appreciated and any upgrade to the trigger of a striker-fired handgun is usually a welcome upgrade and on a Shield, which is known for having a generally excellent trigger (relatively speaking), an upgrade may just make it fully usable.

    But, I can’t get over the ported barrel. Here’s my logic:

    • Subcompact handguns are typically purchased for concealed carry and similar scenarios.
    • They are normally small by nature, which limits barrel length.
    • Short barrels are bad, as they limit velocity which is needed for penetration and for hollow-points, expansion.
    • Taking an extremely short barrel and addition ports reducing actual acceleration distance is even worse. In this particular example, porting makes it only a 2″ or less effective barrel.
    • This is combined with increased flash, especially in low-light when the handgun would be used for its intended purposes.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand porting on long(er) barrel handguns and for those typically used for competition, but for a subcompact carry gun, the choice to port the barrel seems odd, especially at its location. The supposed reduced muzzle flip so close to the axis of rotation would be minimal.

    Now, if they increase the barrel length by 1/4-1/2″ and added porting past the slide, I would understand, but I just don’t get this offering. Doing so would keep critical velocity and put porting father down the handgun away from the axis of rotation.

    Of course, to each their own and I love the market’s ability to sort winners and losers quickly, so time will tell if Smith & Wesson found a niche or missed the target on this one. 


    Nathan S

    One of TFB’s resident Jarheads, Nathan now works within the firearms industry. A consecutive Marine rifle and pistol expert, he enjoys local 3-gun, NFA, gunsmithing, MSR’s, & high-speed gear. Nathan has traveled to over 30 countries working with US DoD & foreign MoDs.

    The above post is my opinion and does not reflect the views of any company or organization.