Smith & Wesson is continually improving its 2.0 pistols. One of the latest examples of the ongoing improvement program is the Smith & Wesson M&P 9mm Shield 2.0 with Integral Green Laser Sight.
Not long ago, Smith & Wesson purchased Crimson Trace, the pioneering manufacturer and developer of handgun and long gun laser sighting systems. Crimson Trace, which is based in Oregon, already made a wider variety of laser sights than any other company, but the acquisition by Smith & Wesson has allowed them to apply their ingenuity directly to Smith & Wesson products.
The S&W M&P Shield Line of Firearms
The M&P Shield line is the compact, single-stack version of the very popular full-sized polymer-framed M&P line. The Shield puts full-sized power of the 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP calibers into pistols that are easy to conceal and will not become annoying after a full day of carry. The M&P Shield 2.0 9mm with Integral Green Laser weighs only 18.8 ounces. It also comes with seven- and eight-round magazines. The eight-round magazine has a slight extension for a fuller grip. Barrel length is 3.1 inches, and overall length is only 6.1 inches. The barrel and slide are both constructed from stainless steel. The Armonite finish on the barrel and slide provide outstanding corrosion-resistance.
M&P Shield 2.0 Improvements
Other 2.0 improvements include a more aggressive grip texture that is much like the aftermarket skateboard tape appliqué kits that can be applied to existing gun designs. I found the new grip helped maintain a firm grip and helped control the shots while firing.
The articulating safety trigger has also been enhanced. The M&P trigger is as crisp and close to a true single-action trigger as is possible on a striker-fired handgun. There is about 1/3 inch of takeup. The actual pull is in the 5-pound range. A version with an additional manual 1911-style safety is available if you want more assurance of safe carry.
Although you won’t notice it in a gunfight, the 2.0 series features an improved tactile and audible trigger reset, which is the final major improvement. It has basic three-dot white sights with a windage-adjustable rear sight. Tritium sights are also available.
Rather than being attached to an existing frame, the Crimson Trace green laser is an integral part of the frame. The Shield is also available with the Crimson Trace Laserguard detachable laser, which is not as compact.
The integral laser Shield will not fit in a standard Shield holster because it increases the size of the frame at the front end of the receiver. This is not a big issue, because holster makers are quick to design new rigs for pistols, especially with the incredible level of popularity the Shield line has. Batteries are easily replaced after field-stripping the Shield. Field-stripping does not require the trigger to be pulled.
While the Laserguard grip turns the laser on only momentarily, the laser switch on the 2.0 with integral green laser keeps the laser on until it is turned off. Pushing the button on either side of the laser turns it on. The next push causes the dot to pulsate, and the third push shuts the laser down. The green laser is brighter than the red laser version, and it costs only $50 more. A laser-sighted handgun really gives operators a tactical advantage by moving their focus forward and helping them identify their targets. It is also a force multiplier that increases the intimidation level against a threatening opponent. The opponent can see where the bullet will strike if fired, because the laser sight removes all the guesswork.
Testing the Shield 2.0 at the Shooting Range
I took the Shield 2.0 to my outdoor shooting site on an overcast day and brought along SIG Sauer’s new 147-grain 9mm V-Crown JHP Elite defense ammunition as the test round. V-Crown ammo is made in a wide variety of calibers and bullet weights that are not limited to guns that Sig manufactures. A number of manufacturers in the past have come out with a line of branded ammunition, but those efforts were short-lived. SIG Elite ammo is here to stay.
The test went off flawlessly. In a previous test of a Shield 9mm, I was unable to load both magazines to full capacity. This time, the seven- and eight-round magazines were loaded fully, although the last couple of rounds required a good amount of effort to load. While the magazines should become easier to load with further use, a magazine-loading tool might be valuable here.
I did not zero the laser sight before I went to the range. I recommend that you check the laser for zero before you take it to the range. It will be close to being zeroed in, but not perfect. As it turned out, the laser was not zeroed exactly for my eyes and from distances I intend to use it, but I wanted to see how far off it was. To zero the laser, find the longest distance from which you could possibly engage an intruder in your home, and zero the unloaded Shield for that distance. A proper laser sight picture should have the laser dot sitting directly on top of a properly aligned front and rear sight.
To test the laser’s zero during live-fire, I started out by shooting with the laser sight only. While shooting from 30 feet, the factory alignment caused it to print a nice 2.5-inch group 6 inches to the left of my point of aim. Recoil was very controllable, even with the 147-grain bullets. These loads were likely moving along very close to SIG’s advertised velocity of 985 feet per second, as all the previous Sig ammo I’ve tested has been very close to advertised. The excellent trigger contributed to the accuracy, and the laser was very visible under the day’s cloudy conditions. There was no noticeable muzzle blast even from the short 3.1-inch barrel.
I switched to the iron sights for the rest of the test. Groupings remained about the same size, but they were centered. The Shield was fired straight from the box without cleaning or additional lubrication, and there were no failures to feed or fire. It isn’t like the old days when older designs had to be fired fairly extensively to test reliability — a fact which makes it easier on the defensive shooter with limited funds for ammunition.
I am very impressed that Smith & Wesson is striving to improve an already excellent design with not only the 2.0 enhancements, but also with the addition of a truly integral Crimson Trace laser sight. Both the gun and the sight should give you a lifetime of service. MSRP is $549.
Smith & Wesson: smith-wesson.com