What Improvements Were Made to the New M&P Shield Pistol

What Did The M&P Shield Change In The Latest Model?

A Brief History of the Smith & Wesson M&P Line

Smith & Wesson has made a lot of great guns since the company’s conception in 1852. The M&P Shields are not the first M&P guns. The M&P line dates back to 1942, when S&W released the Victory Model M&P Revolver. The Victory Model was designed in response to a request on behalf of the British Commonwealth during the second world war. By the time the war was over, S&W had sold more than three quarters of a million M&P Victory Model M&P Revolvers to allied forces. Before the M&P Shield, there was a basic M&P Pistol released in 2005, and two M&P Rifles (released in 2006 and 2011, respectively).1

The original M&P Shield was introduced in 2012 and had sold over a million times within just 4 years of its release.2Although M&P stands for “Military & Police”, the M&P made a large impact on the consumer market. In fact, it quickly became the most popular consumer choice for personal protection, and one of the top concealed carry choices altogether. This is probably because the original M&P Shield was specifically designed to be a slim, super lightweight, striker fired pistol which would be comfortable to conceal carry. Most people who purchase an M&P Shield absolutely love it and become loyal followers of the pistol design and effectiveness. 

After seeing so many M&P Shield’s sell, Smith & Wesson realized the pistol deserved a few upgrades. In 2017, S&W would release the M&P Shield M2.0 (sometimes just called the M&P M2.0, or the M&P 2.0).

Differences Between the Original M&P Shield and the New M&P Shield 2.0

The differences between the original M&P Shield and the new, 2017 M&P Shield M2.0 are rather few, but still impactful. And ultimately, Smith & Wesson essentially decided to upgrade every facet of the gun (however, minisculely). The upgrades featured changes to the finish, frame, grip and trigger. While the original M&P was designed mostly with the intention of being a concealed carry firearm mostly intended for professional use, the M&P M2.0 was designed with many intentions. The new M&P is highly capable for professional use, personal use, and sporting use.1This is likely because S&W saw the high volume of consumer interest in the original M&P Shield. 

One of the biggest changes to the M&P Shield that is seen in the M2.0 series is the grip. Most people who have handled both guns, significantly compliment the new grip texture. The grip on the new M&P Shield actually covers more surface area, allowing an easier maintenance of grip during shooting.3S&W actually refers to the rougher texture of the grip (feels a lot like sandpaper) as an “aggressive grip texture.”4Another upgrade that many M&P lovers enjoyed was the trigger. A common complaint about the original M&P Shield was that the trigger took too long to reset. The new M&P Shield M2.0 has an improved trigger and faster reset. There is also an over-travel stop installed behind the trigger of the later series.

There is another subtle change most people do not recognize right away in the slide design. The Shield M2.0’s has a scalloped texture imprinted on the front end of the slide. Although there is some speculation as to the actual intention of these textures, the general consensus of the intention is a grip for the slide. It offers an audible reset feature (so reset can actually be heard). There are additional thumb grips on the M2.0 as well. While both series pistols have a skeletonized steel frame underneath the polymer exterior, the M2.0 is 2 ounces lighter! Finally, there is a slight change to the font, which is sharper and easier to read.

Both M&P Shield Pistols Are Dependable

The M&P Shield is a great gun, which is why Smith & Wesson made the M&P Shield M2.0. Both M&P Shields use 9mm ammunition (both are also available in .40). Both guns come in 7 or 8 round (extended) magazines. Both M&P Shield models are excellent concealed-carry guns which easily disappear when carried. Both are single stack Both pistols have developed a significant following, and are considered extremely reliable. Both pistols are effective in nearly all applications (professional, personal protective, or sport). Obviously, the upgraded M&P Shield M2.0 would be the preferred handgun in most cases due to the many enhancements specifically upgraded from the original model. Albeit, either pistol is a great purchase and well-respected firearm.


1Smith & Wesson. 2016 SW Catalog. Retrieved from:https://www.smith-wesson.com/sites/default/files/media/2016_SW_Catalog_edit_SM_1.pdf

2Smith & Wesson. Company History. Retrieved from: https://www.smith-wesson.com/company/history

3Eagle Gun Range TX. Shooting Review MP 9 Shield M2.0. Retrieved from: https://www.eaglegunrangetx.com/shooting-review-mp-9-shield-m2-0/

4Smith & Wesson. Performance Center MP9 Shield M2.0. Retrieved from:https://www.smith-wesson.com/firearms/performance-center-mp-9-shield-m20-4-barrel

About the Author:

Mark Doberman, The Proprietary Gun Smith

The Proprietary Gun Smith is a marksman, expert gun handler, ammunition specialist, survival guru, and lifetime gun enthusiast. He owns (or has owned) nearly every legal firearm and ballistic available, has fired nearly every gun, and regularly consults professionally in the firearm world. He has studied firearms and similar tactical lifestyle for more than 40 years. In addition to writing for ArmoryBay.com, TheProprietaryGunSmith has guest written for more than a dozen other sites and/or magazines in the industry.

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