Living With The Smith And Wesson Shield

Living with the Smith and Wesson Shield

A few updates on carrying the S+W Shield on a daily basis…

  1. It’s VERY easy to carry. I forget I’m wearing it most of the time.
  2. Because it’s so thin, my “carry pants” don’t fit well.
  3. The Crossbreed MiniTuck is fantastic. It’s comfortable, keeps the gun where it should be and allows for a good grip on the gun during the draw.

LC9 Magazine v. Shield Magazine

The biggest issue I’ve had so far is dealing with spare magazines. The Shield doesn’t use a single stack or a double stack magazine: It’s more a stack-and-a-half, which means that it’s too wide for 1911 magazine pouches but is too small for double stack magazine pouches.

Here it is compared to the single-stack Ruger LC9 magazine. See what I mean?

Because of this, choices for a weak side magazine carrier are limited at best. Would could go nylon, but I prefer Kydex, and things look pretty barren. Comp-Tac makes a bunch (I kinda like this one for everyday carry) and CrossBreed has some as well, but other that, it’s pretty slim pickings out there.

Other than that, I continue to fantastically impressed with this gun. I put another 50 rounds through last weekend, and punched a bunch of holes into a milk jug 30 feet at speed with no troubles at all. most important, for it’s size, the Shield is incredibly FUN to shoot, which is something I can’t say about any of the other smaller pistols I own. The Shield may take a bit more training and practice to master than a compact pistol like my CZ P07, but it’s far and away the easiest-shooting “mini” pistol I’ve ever owned, and a good choice for someone who’s looking to either upsize their pocket .380 or downsize their compact 9mm.

Fourteenth Report

Fourteenth Report

Remember when I said yesterday my shooting has gone downhill as of late? I wasn’t kidding.

Dot Torture Drill

Dot Torture Drill: 45 out of 50. 

No excuses, I flat out SUCKED. What I HATE about that target is the lack of tight, one-hole groups. Not good.

Most of, in fact ALL OF my trouble came from the dococker on the P07, which meant going to double action at the start of a string after shooting most of the previous string single action. The antidote to this is some simple 5 shot strings, where I shoot them DA, SA, DA, SA, SA.

El Presidente Drills

P07 1 P07 2 CZ75 1 CZ75 2 Shield 1 Shield 2
Target One 2ACD 3AC 2A2C A2CD 3AC 4A
Target Two AC2D 3AC 3AC A3C 2ACD 3AC
Target Three A2CM 3AD 3AC 2ACD A2CD 4A
Time 10.04 11.3 10.37 7.39 13.99 12.68
A’s 4 9 8 4 6 11
B’s
C’s 3 2 4 6 4 1
D’s 2 1 2 2
M’s 1
Points 21 52 52 40 44 58
Score 2.09 4.6 5.01 5.41 3.15 4.57
Draw 2.14 2.65 2.56 1.82 2.93 2.46
Reload 3.34 2.79 2.69 2.14 4.09 4.09
Avg. Split 0.41 0.57 0.48 0.33 0.70 0.59

The CZ75 was shot with American Eagle 147gr FMJ’s, with noticeably soft recoil that was easy to manage. It was SO nice, I’m going look at switching to a 147gr bullet in the near future for all my reloaded rounds.

And this is where the smaller size of the Shield holds it back. With it’s small size and light weight, getting it back on-target after each shot proved to be a chore.

Shooting The Smith And Wesson Shield

Shooting the Smith and Wesson Shield

The whole point of testing out this gun isn’t so I can say “It shot sub-MOA at 62.5 yards! It fed SuperDeluxe Expand-o-Blasters better than the Defend-o-matic 2000 EXMFPJ’s!”; it’s to see what the Shield is like to live with on a day in, day out basis.

Anyone can pick up a gun, put 100 rounds through it and form an opinion. This test is to show what it’s like to learn to carry a new gun versus what you normally do (or do not) carry.

So, what’s lt like to shoot?

Well, it’s pretty good. The trigger’s stiffer than what I’m used to but it’s easy to learn. And it feels good to shoot: There’s none of the usual unpleasantness associated with small guns firing a full-sized ammunition. I could easily see myself shooting this in IDPA (and will, in fact) or taking it thru a four-day pistol training class.

How does it shoot versus my other carry guns, though? Well, let’s compare.

I ran the Shield thru the same shoot-off I did with my other carry guns, a Mozambique Drill shot at 5 paces rather than 7, so let’s compare the scores.

The Gear:

The guns and holsters used were:
9mm CZ P07, Crossbreed Supertuck Deluxe
9mm Sccy CPX-1, Bianchi Model 100
9mm S&W Shield, Crossbreed Minituck
.380 ACP Kel-Tec P3AT, Galco Second Amendment

All the holsters are IWB strong side holsters. All were at 3:30 (-ish) and all were drawn from concealment.

The Results:

Gun CZ P07 S&W Shield Sccy CPX-1 Kel-Tec P3AT
Time (1) 3.31 3.63 3.21 3.30
Hits (1) 3A 2AB 3A (No head) ABD (No head)
Score (1) 4.53 3.63 4.67 2.73
Time (2) 2.93 2.81 3.30 3.39
Hits (2) 2A 1C CDM 2A B 3A
Score (2) 4.43 -2.14 3.94 4.42
Time (3) 2.75 3.12 2.84 3.11
Hits (3) 3A 2AC A B C 2C M
Score (3) 5.45 4.17 3.87 1.93
Average Score 4.80 1.87 4.16 3.03

I blame the Shield’s low score on my lack of practice these past few months. I’m rusty, and it shows. I really tried to goose that second run, with disastrous results.

As far as daily carry, it’s fantastic. The gun rides comfortably all day long in a Crossbreed Mini Tuck and is MUCH easier to carry than my P07. It’s now my carry gun of choice unless I’m going somewhere where extra-discreet carry is required.

Shot Showoff

Shot Showoff

Another post in the Smith and Wesson Shield series.

So, how does the durn thing shoot, you ask? 

Very well. 

I started off with two mags of alternating Hornady XTP’s and Federal 115gr FMJ’s, because the FMJ’s are my usual practice ammo and the Hornady’s are my carry ammo of choice. I’m not a big fan of shooting mild FMJ’s for practice and then switching to SuperDeluxe ++P++ Expand-O-Blasters for a defensive round, and I was pleasantly surprised to find there was no difference in gun behavior or felt recoil between the FMJ’s and the hollow points. 

After that, it was a 3 yard Dot Torture Drill.

45 out of 50. Not too shabby. 

Considering this was done within the first 100 rounds I put through the gun, I’m very pleased with a 45 out of 50, and I’m sure that will improve as I get more used to the Shield’s trigger. 

Next up was a side-by-side comparison of the Shield as a defensive gun, and that’ll be tomorrow’s post. 

Me … Smith … And Wesson

Me … Smith … and Wesson

First impressions of the Smith And Wesson M&P Shield 9mm…

Well, right off the bat, I was expecting it to come a lockable plastic pistol case. Instead, it’s packaged not unlike a pair of shoes.

Inside was a lock, a fired casing, the usual paraphernalia, the Shield and two magazines; an 8 round mag with an extended basepad, and a smaller 7 round mag.

A few first impressions:

  • The trigger pull measured 8.5 lbs, and it’s decent striker-fired trigger: No grit, no stacking, a discernable break and, unlike a lot of other M&P’s, a noticeable reset.
  • It feels fantastic (and this is coming from someone who regularly shoots a CZ75, which is known for it’s ergonomics): The gun points well, as no discernible rough spots to tear up your hands, and fits well into my little skinny girly hands.
  • The sights are… ok. Never been a big fan of three dot sights (although they’re better than the party favor sights that a Glock comes with). I’ll be looking to swap these out with some night sights (or better yet) a combination tritium/fiber optic sight in the near future.
  • It’s skinny. Skinnier than my Sccy, but shaped a little different, which means all the holsters I have for my Sccy won’t work with the Shield.

Let’s talk about that last one for a bit. Here’s the Shield in a pocket holster that fits my Sccy like a glove.

That ain't gonna work

Nope. Not with that exposed trigger, at least. While the Sccy and Shield are shaped similarly, there are differences.

sccy CPX-1, S&W Shield

The Shield is a bit taller and longer and therefore only fits into the pockets of cargo shorts and the like, whereas I could kinda sorta pocket carry the Sccy in a pair of dress pants.

Next up, spending some quality time together.

P.S. If you’re new here, welcome. if you’re not, welcome back, and please note the new homepage and RSS feed addresses.

Koolaid. It’s The New Black.

Koolaid. It’s the new black.

First in a series of… a lot. 

M+P's for everybody!

Yeah, so I drunk the Koolaid, and got in a Smith and Wesson M&P Shield for review. 

Why? 

  1. I like mini 9mm’s. I was way ahead of the curve with this fad, having bought a Sccy CPX-1 back in 2007, and I like their combination of power, size and accuracy.
  2. A mini 9mm is fantastically easy to carry. Unless your dress requirements force you to pocket carry (as is often my case) there’s no reason not to have a small 9mm with you at all times.
  3. They’re powerful enough. Yes, I’d rather carry something with more oomph on a daily basis, but I’ve yet to find a comfortable IWB holster for my Mossberg 500… 
  4. They’re accurate enough. They ain’t gonna out-shoot my CZ75, but they can deliver the goods when needed

A mini 9mm isn’t a service pistol and it’s not a good choice for IDPA or competition, but they are laser-sighted (pun not intended) for concealed carry. Times have changed, and unlike 2007, when I bought my Sccy CPX-1, there’s plenty of choices out there now for mini 9mm’s:

  1. The grandaddy of them all, the Kel-Tec P11. A good value to be sure, but I’m just not convinced they’re reliable enough to trust my life with. 
  2. The Sccy. I know there’s plenty of good reviews out there nowadays, but the fact is, my gun’s been back to the shop three times for cracked receivers, and I just don’t trust it for daily carry. Plus, the ergonomics on my version are horrid: The gun is physically painful to shoot after just a few rounds.
  3. The Ruger LC9. Nice gun, but that magazine disconnect is a tough hill for me to climb over.
  4. The Kahr CW9. Good value, but I’ve never enjoyed shooting Kahr’s because the slide release and my weak side thumb just don’t get along… 
  5. The Taurus Slim. I’m not convinced that Taurus has reached the top-tier of gun manufacturers, but I want to believe. Just not right now …
  6. Sig P290. I got a chance to play with one at SHOT, and while there’s nothing wrong at all with Sig’s (“The best $600 gun that $800 can buy!”), it just didn’t fit right, somehow. 
  7. The Beretta Nano. Ummn, no. Look, I own and shoot a CZ P07 so I’m the last person to talk about weird-looking guns, but I just tend to believe that, just like airplanes, a gun that looks good, shoots good.  
    Sue me.  

So that left the M&P Shield. The gun is fantastically popular right now, but I finally got one in for review, and so far, I like it. A whole bunch. 

More to come on Wednesday…

Pocket Protector (Part Deux)

Pocket Protector (Part Deux)

Now that I’m gainfully employed and working in an office again, I’m back to wearing “business casual” from 9 to 5, so that means pocket carry.

I’ve changed a few things and added a few more since the last time I talked about this sort of thing, and so the current lineup is (from upper left)…

– An iPhone4 with a cracked screen. The iPhone5 can’t come quick enough for me…

A Boker AK-74 knife, clipped onto the weak side pocket

Sabre Pepper Spray, carried in the strong side pocket

– Spare mag with Hornady XTP’s, weak side pocket

Leatherman Micra, strong side pocket in the back of the holster

– Kel-Tec P3AT with a Crimson Trace laser, strong side pocket

– Money/cards/ID, weak side pocket

Photon Micro II flashlight, usually carried on the keychain

– Keychain, weak side pocket

On the phone there are the Flashlight, iTriage and Emergency Radio apps for emergency situations, and Angry Birds because, well, BECAUSE 🙂 .

While that seems like a lot of stuff to carry around (and it is…), all that disappears into a pair of flat-front khakis and a dress shirt pocket, but still gives me enough options to deal with 95% of the things I need to worry about. If all that stuff and my situational awareness and de-escalation doesn’t get me safely to my car and my get-home bag, I’ve made a big error in judgment somewheres along the way…

Two Questions

Two questions

For those who think a CCW holder would have had no effect on the Aurora shooting

1. Would a lone policeman have made a difference in that theater? If so, why? *

2. What would be your best option for survival for you and your family in that situation other than huddling in a corner, praying you don’t get shot? 

I refuse to play the victim card and let life just happen to me. You may chose differently, but please allow me the right to defend my family’s lives, even if you chose not. 


* I’ve stood side by side on the firing line with a Maricopa County SWAT officer and a Federal Air Marshall and matched them shot for shot, and that was 2 years ago: I’m a MUCH better shot now. Tell me again how cops are better-trained than a CCW holder… 

Daily Where

Daily where

When I was at Front Sight earlier this year, I was the only one in my class practicing and shooting with an untucked shirt as my cover garment. Everyone was using an unbuttoned shirt or a jacket to cover up their gun. At IDPA, I’m usually the only one without a “Shoot Me First” vest. 

I can understand people not wanting to show off their underwear as they yank their shirt out of the way (Calvin Klein boxer briefs, if you MUST know), and many of the students at Front Sight were from colder climes (ie not Arizona) so a shirt or jacket in summer makes sense, and yeah, if you want to win at IDPA, you need a shoot me first vest… 

But. 

Watching the people of Arizona these past few days, we just don’t wear jackets or unbuttoned shirts in the summer. We just don’t. Heck, I’ve seen more people open-carrying than I have with open shirts. 

Which confirms my decision to train and compete with an untucked shirt. Sure, I may show a little skin during the draw and yes, it’s a tiny bit slower than a vest, but it also fits the definition of “concealed carry” in Arizona, which is why I do it in the first place.

More …

First Impression – Crossbreed Microclip

First Impression – Crossbreed Microclip

Ever since I put a Crimson Trace laser on my P3AT, I’ve had to carry it my pocket and nowhere else, which is not a bad thing as the gun is unique suited to pocket carry. 

But. 

I like to carry the little sucker when I’m wearing blue jeans and i don’t want to carry a bigger gun and I’ve yet to have a smooth draw from the front pocket with jeans. And no, I don’t wear emo pants. 

There just aren’t a lot of tuckable IWB options out there for a P3AT with laser. P3AT, yes, with laser, no.

Fortunately, Crossbreed offers their holsters with a option for the P3AT and a laser. 

Minituck and P3AT

RIght off the bat, I remembered why I like carrying the KelTec on my waist. After the first 30 seconds with the Microclip on my belt, I forgot I had a gun with me.

It’s that light. 

The Microclip is smaller than it’s Supertuck big brother. Here’s the two side by side. 

And here it is with the Galco Ultimate Second Amendment that I used with the P3AT before I got the laser.

The holster is as well-made as the larger Supertuck and is very comfortable to carry, but that comfort comes with a tradeoff: The leather backing seems to interfere with my draw more than the old Galco holster did, but I won’t know until I take it to the range and test it out. 

Also, my first attempt at carrying it tucked in resulted in the holster pivoting around that one J-hook and the gun in the holster slid under my beltline and out of easy reach. A quick trip to the restroom solved that problem and it hasn’t happened since, but it was a little disconcerting at the time. 

All in all, I like the Microclip. I may need to do some razor-blade surgery on it to improve my speed, but I’ll leave that question for another day once I run it thru a Mozambique or two. But if you’ve got a P3AT with a laser on it, the Microclip is definitely a viable option for belt-carry. 

More …