Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ | First Shots

Where does the M&P 380 Shield EZ have a place in the shooting world?

USA – (Ammoland.com) The new Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ coming as a surprise to most gun owners, I don't think that any of us expected to see a larger single stack .380 ACP from a large manufacturer. Many of us that digest gun content thought that the M&P 380 Shield EZ was a gun that no one had asked for and was a solution to a problem that didn't exist.

How wrong we all were.

There are a ton of gun owners that aren't interested in the latest door kicking gun or even a large gun like the full-size M&P 9 M2.0. There is a growing segment of female shooters that are clamoring for a pistol that can be easily manipulated as well as countless others that just flat out can't run a gun like those of us that digest gun content on a regular basis.

So yes, this gun has been asked for, the rest of the gun industry just hasn't been listening.

The new M&P 380 Shield EZ is the gun that we never knew we needed as a choice.

M&P 380 Shield EZ Specs:

Features

  • Easy to rack slide.
  • Crisp, light trigger with tactile and audible trigger reset.
  • Includes (2) Easy to Load 8-Round M&P380 Shield magazines.
  • Grip safety – grip pistol to fire.
  • Windage adjustable, white dot rear sight (tool included).
  • Can disassemble without pulling trigger.
  • Grip texture optimized to size and recoil.
  • Tactile loaded chamber indicator (TLCI) – can see and feel if there is a round in the chamber.
  • Available with or without ambidextrous, manual thumb safety.
  • Picatinny-style equipment rail for lights or lasers.
  • Perfect size for nightstand or carry, or a day at the range.
  • Reversible magazine release.
  • Thin and lightweight – can be comfortably carried all day.
  • Optimal 18-degree grip angle for natural point of aim.
  • Armornite durable corrosion resistant finish.

Specifications

  • SKU: 11663
  • Model: M&P 380 SHILD EZ Manual Thumb Safety
  • Caliber: .380 Auto
  • Capacity: 8+1
  • Barrel Length: 3.675″ / 9.3 cm
  • Overall Length: 6.7″
  • Front Sight: White Dot
  • Rear Sight: Adjustable White Dot
  • Action: Internal Hammer Fired
  • Grip: Polymer
  • Weight: 18.5 oz / 524.5g
  • Barrel Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
  • Slide Material: Stainless Steel – Armornite® Finish
  • Frame Material: Polymer
  • Purpose: Concealed Carry, Home Protection, Personal Protection
Out of the Box Impressions

The first thing that I did when I got my hands on the new M&P 380 Shield EZ was checking the chamber, just like anyone that displays good gun handling skills should. To my surprise, I could have sworn that I was pulling the slide back on a .22 lr pistol and not a .380 ACP. Yes, it really is that easy.

Overall fit and finish on the pistol that I was able to shoot was very good given its sub $400 price point MSRP and should make most people happy. Several of the features really hone in on that consumer group that has largely been ignored and been forced to accept the J frame revolver as their mascot. What features could that be? Glad you asked.

The M&P 380 Shield EZ features an internal hammer to keep the trigger pull light and easy to shoot.

The pistol comes equipped with an internal hammer that provides a crisp, easy to pull 5-pound trigger pull on a solid trigger that does not have a trigger safety like all other M&P pistols. Smith also added a grip safety to the gun to make sure that the gun is not only drop safe (yes I checked), but also ensure that when the gun is inevitably dropped into a purse, sock drawer, or even a diaper bag without a holster. Like it or not, some people just aren't going to practice safe gun handling with their carry piece and those people are more often than not in the demographic that would really appreciate the M&P 380 Shield EZ.

The grip safety is probably one of the most under-appreciated features.

Shooting the M&P 380 Shield EZ

While I saw a real use for the M&P 380 Shield EZ, I was almost sure that I was going to hate the thing on the range. Wrong again. Not only is the magazine easy to load, but the gun shoots flat as hell! Normally .380 ACP pistols care snappy, flippy little pistols that just aren't fun to shoot. I wanted to keep shooting this thing all day but sadly had to put it down to do some other things.

I could go on, but I think the video above or below really does say it all.

Conclusion

REALLY want to get one of these for teaching new shooters and for my wife to carry. Badly. I also secretly really enjoy shooting it and would love to see Smith & Wesson develop a full-size M&P 380 EZ. I would be the first in line at the gun store to order one since it is probably the most fun I have had shooting centerfire pistols in a long time.

You can learn more about the Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ on the Smith & Wesson website.


About Patrick R.Patrick Roberts

Patrick is a firearms enthusiast that values the quest for not only the best possible gear setup, but also pragmatic ways to improve his shooting skills across a wide range of disciplines. He values truthful, honest information above all else and had committed to cutting through marketing fluff to deliver the truth. You can find the rest of his work on FirearmRack.com as well as on the YouTube channel Firearm Rack or Instagram at @thepatrickroberts.

  • 39 thoughts on “Smith & Wesson M&P 380 Shield EZ | First Shots

    1. great informative video. Am going to buy one asap. Thanks for sharing your findings and your honesty came through beautifully.

    2. I have had my .380 EZ since April 20, 2018. While out shopping I ran across it quite by chance. I would be considered the target (pun intended) audience for this pistol (middle aged female). I bought it right then and there. I have fired almost 1100 rounds and have only had the safety pop on once (during my LTC proficiency testing, of course), but since I new about the issue, I recovered without incident. I absolutely love this gun. It is easy to use and fun to shoot. I have read many times of men wanting to get this for their wives, girl friend etc. My advise to that is, give her some features and terms to research and let her come to her own conclusion. The best gun is one you like to shoot and are comfortable with, and for women, that might be a 22LR ( I know, I know. But would you rather her feel safe with something small or to leave the weapon at home because she doesn’t like it).

    3. 100% function, with no problems during a 100 round range session with the EZ that I received back from Smith after seding it to be evaluated.

      It’s just as reliable as it was before I sent it in for grins and giggles.

      The return process is free and easy, save having to be home to sign for its return which of couse, I realize is necessary.

      I still love the damn thing because of the EZ design features, internal hammer, very good trigger pull, accuracy and for just being a fun gun to shoot.

    4. The S&W Shield .380 EZ arrived today after the recall.

      I have 250 rounds loaded for testing Friday, weather permitting.

      Note: I have had no problem with the safety for 4 range sessions @ 100 rounds each before the rwcall.

    5. I just ended my 20 year S&W boycott (remember the deal with Bill Clinton) by purchasing the M&P Sheild EZ pistol. I am very disappointed with the gun. The gun frequently malfunctions. Frequently the gun ejects live rounds with the spent casing. It usually happens on the second to last round. When the case is ejected, the last round also ejects or stove pipes. This occurred with both magazines, 3 types of ammo and two shooters. In addition the slide failed to lock back several times and the sights were way off. The gun shot to the left even when the rear sight was moved as far as possible to the right. I will be calling S&W customer service to see if they can fix this piece of junk. Then I will sell it and resume my boycott.

      1. you need to grip the pistol tighter so the slide can kick out the spent cartridge…the gun is kicking back against little or no resistance…my wife was having the same problem but I fired 200 rounds with no issues.

        1. I had a Walther PPK in Thailand and did not give it the respect it was due when not griped firmly it would stove pipe once I griped it firmly the problem disappeared.
          Moe.

    6. Smith received the EZ via FedEx today, 4/20/18.
      I’ll report the results after I get it back but understand that I did not have any problems with it in 4 range sessions.

    7. 4th range trip with the S&W M&P .380 EZ with zero problems with either the Thumb or grip safety.

      100 rds of fun but did chronograph the .380 loads at an average 957.2 FPS, which knocked down all the plates I hit.

      Maybe mine is just harder to flip but it’s worth sending it in to see if they need to adjust for long term use.

      And, I need to make a mental note to never get oil on the Thumb safety.

      I can do dat.

    8. I’ve had this fine handgun now, for 2 weeks & it shoots great !!!
      For me, it’s VERY accurate, right out of the box, at 7 yards.
      I shoot, roughly, 200-300 rounds of .22lr every two weeks, through my S&W M&P 22 compact & this 380EZ is the PERFECT (in my opinion ) companion to the .22compact. It even fits into my “On your six” kydex holster. I, even like the ambidextrous safeties, as I’m also a lefty !!!
      GREAT firearm Smith & Wesson…keep up the EXCELLENT work !!!

    9. I have had the same problem that others described. 5 times out of the first 100 rounds I fired through the pistol it did not fire. It acted like the safety clicked on or the gun didn’t cock. I have returned the gun to S&W for repair. Never had this happen with any other pistol I shot.

    10. 3rd range session with the S&W M&P .380 Shield EZ with Thumb saftey and had zero problems with either grip or thumb safety or anything else.

      Used lower power loads than my plate knockers, same 95gr Bayou Bullet, bullet and all the plates @ 20 yards that I hit, fell.

      I’m still extremely pleased with the function and quality of the firearm.

      I also own a Sig and Beretta .380 with the former smaller and the latter having higher capacity.

      All 3 are plain fun to ‘choot.

      The Shield is the one I’ll most likely conceal, IWB holster carry and the Sig for Pocket carry.

    11. I am handicapped and therefore I can only shoot with my strong arm. This gun has been an answer to all of us who may have limitations on what we can carry. It was easy to reload , much easy to shoot without the recoil. I don’t know but for some reason S&W has listened in order to make this gun. Very Happy!

    12. I just brought one home today, couldn’t wait to try it out. Unfortunately, it fails to extract the fired round every single time. I could not get it to eject the fired case one time. Not sure what’s going on, but I’ll be calling Smith & Wesson first thing Monday morning.

        1. Could be limp wristing. Try gripping your wrist differently and that should help as you need a fairly stiff wrist.

    13. Just took my S&W M&P 380 Shield EZ to the range for the first time and shot 50 rounds.

      Zero malfunctions, no problem with the grip or thumb saftey.

      If your grip is correct, it works as designed, from my perspective and I have large hands.

      Shooting plates about 20 yards, it was dead on out of the box, accurate and had an easy recoil with my hot, 100% plate knockers.

      Guess I got me a good one, yeah!

      Good design, S&W!

    14. just received mine , like the size and way it feels but the gripe safety is hard for me to engage and sometimes miss fires because of it. Will attempt to disconnect it. if it won’t go hang what good is it.

    15. I just purchased the M&P 380 Shield EZ and so far I love it!! I shot it as soon as I got it home. Easy to load and rack and seems accurate. I am a 48 yr old woman and also own a 380 Bersa and an LCR .38 revolver. I am impressed with this new M&P 380. There is one thing I have encountered with the Shield EZ on my first run of shooting it. The thumb safety pops up after almost every discharge. I first thought it was jamming until I discovered that the thumb safety had popped up on it’s own. My hand was not hitting the safety, so I’m wondering how this can be. Has anyone else experienced this?

      1. I’m having the same problem. Took mine out for first firing. Put 150 rounds through it. The safety would put itself on safe or partially safe (enough to stop trigger pull) on average atleast 1x per magazine. I had one magazine where it flipped the safety switch 3x. I adjusted my grip to make certain that no part of my hand was hitting the safety. It’s simply being switched from fire to safe on its own during recoil. This is an absolute deal breaker and I’m really dissapointed with this firearm. I could not trust it for myself or a loved one – I will be contacting Smith & Wesson. I consider this to be a DEFECTIVE firearm – and I’m afraid it may be a failed design from Smith. I wish I had gotten the firearm without the manual safety.

        Did you send yours in for repair?

        1. Hi Ed,
          Hate to hear you’re having a malfunction problem with your Sheild EZ too. I do plan to send mine in for inspection/repair. I contacted S&W and they advised me to do that. I am still happy I got the model with the thumb safety but, as you said, it’s not trustworthy if it’s going to be unpredictable in a protection mode situation. Which is why we arm ourselves in the first place, right? I wish you the best in getting your problem fixed. I think it’s a good shooter overall.

          1. @Felicia and Ed, Have you all ever tried SCCY? I would be interested in an opinion about SCCY from someone knowledgeable.

    16. Mr. Walker,

      With respect to the M&P .45 ACP, PC version, I agree totally with all your points!

      At 71, I’m having to consider what Smith has addressed in this firearm.

      And Mr. Patrick, I also agree with you because my .380 reloads maxed with W231 will reliably drop full sized plates hit in the upper half.

      They are accurate MFs to boot.

      W!ugh regard,

      Matt

    17. The .380 cartridge is not “9X18,” that would be the Makarov round. It is a “9X17.”

      In addition, it is not the case length that governs the ballistic potential of a bullet’s effectiveness, it is the working pressure of it, as well as the mechanism designed to handle it. Most .380s and all Makarovs are straight blowback actions, and they simply do not have the beans to provide the FBI requisite 12+ inches of penetration, AND expansion of approximately 1.5X to 2.0X the original diameter of the bullet, in this case, 0.355″.

      Such a cartridge as 9X19 typically requires some sort of short recoil or gas delayed action to function properly. This is why it is difficult to design a very light slide retraction effort into the pistol. On a straight blowback, e.g. Makarov and Walther PP/PPK, the mainspring powering the hammer also provides some mechanical retardation which is why you do not want to mess with the coil spring strength in an attempt to lighten the slide retraction effort. That may also cause ignition unreliability due to the also lightweight hammers having insufficient mass to detonate the primer percussively.

    18. This is just my personal preference but, I don’t want an EDC gun with a grip safety. I’m not even pro manual safety for a gun that will only be needed in a stressful situation. You just added two more things to worry about when milliseconds can be the difference between life or death. Once again, this is just my opinion. You make your own choice because, it’s you who will have to live with it.

      1. Mike, the best thing about a grip safety IMO is the fundamentals of a firm grip from the holster to trigger pull. Glock owners especially understand the double feed result of a light grip and or limp wrist. Practice practice practice is key with any new purchase of a different firearm than one is use to. In fact the MAJORITY of accidental handgun discharges occur while not shooting. IMO.

        I can’t wait to get one myself!

    19. Actually, this is a smart move on S&W’s part. These reasons are why the Walther PK380 is so popular with the ladies. Hopefully, they will get them out to the market asap.

    20. Not everyone can handle bigger calibers….some people have different slide retract parts to pull the slide back…..some have palm gel gloves or even grips maybe even arthritis or are unable to handle the recoil….not everyone can handle what you can, do remember it is a sport that a lot of enjoy. Help each other and be thoughtful. If it is a .380 or smaller does it really matter if the plate is knocked down? Enjoy the past time handed safely down from generations to generations. Think safe, Be safe, Shoot safe.

      1. A 380 is just a 9mm with a case that is 1mm shorter. Its a 9×18 as opposed to a 9×19. With the technology of today’s bullets, there are plenty of 380 rounds just as potent as a lot of 9mm rounds.

    21. Trustworthy, dependable, reliable and accurate, If this New M&P .380 is anything like their .380 M&P Body Guard, or the full size M&P ACP45, as expected, it will perform like all the other Smith and Wesson Firearms in which I am a proud owner of. My very simple analysis looks like this: “When I pull the trigger it goes bang, and the chambered round/bullet goes where the barrel is pointed, accurately, reliably each and every time. For me, when shopping for a reliable Firearm, I have looked at so many other Brands of Pistols, that inadvertently I default back to the M&P line up, Why? Best value,Great Customer Service and ease of use makes the M&P line up an excellent choice. In addition to being a “Great Reliable Pistol”, the Smiths hold their resale value slightly better than others, mostly due to Brand Name Recognition.

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