Whether you are a woman, like me, who has been struggling to find the perfect method of carrying a concealed weapon, or you are the husband who is looking for a way to encourage his wife to carry concealed, I think I have found the best solution to date. It's the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield. This 9mm pistol has received lots of glowing reviews from men, but I want to tell you --- woman-to-woman --- how it meets my needs.
In the past I've shared my journey of gun ownership and training. I started with the Springfield XD 9mm as my first range pistol. I graduated to the Glock 19 and then to the Baby Glock, hoping that this compact gun would allow me to carry concealed. These handguns would work if I wanted to use a concealed carry purse. But I had decided that this option would not be my primary choice for different reasons: 1) I didn't like the idea that my defensive weapon was not on my person. I have trained with my handgun in a range holster and liked the feel of it in that position. 2) I didn't want to have to worry about someone taking my purse away from me during a struggle, or 3) stealing the purse while I was distracted. But the Glock 26 was still too big and I could not effectively find a way to hide the fact that I was carrying.
I made up my mind that this was the handgun I wanted. Then came the wait. It has become one of the most popular handguns in the country and the waiting list at gun stores is getting longer by the day. After pre-paying and being promised that it would probably be 3-4 weeks before I received my purchase, you can imagine my frustration when that time frame turned into 2 1/2 months. I then lucked into a family-owned store that was able to get me the firearm in less than a week. So if you decide to go this route, be prepared to be more patient than I was. I had increased the level of my training, and it was time to get down to business and find the right carry gun. That happened with the Shield.
Then came the ultimate tests: training with the gun and actually carrying it. The Shield passed the first test with great results. I put close to 150 rounds through the chamber that first day and had only one jam, probably due to my limp-wristing it as I grew accustomed to the recoil. I was most impressed with the trigger pull, which felt the same as my Glock 26, which I love. The Shield has a good, short reset; very distinctive -- you can feel it and hear it, making "catching the link" easy. The recoil was less than I expected, only slightly more than my Baby Glock, and it won't take long to adjust to. I found that the slide lock is further back than you would think, so you ladies will need to work on acquiring the skill to overcome the tight spring. But it is definitely within your grasp. I really liked the magazine release. It drops fast and smooth. The single stack mags are available in both 7 and 8 round capacities, and I recommend stocking up on as many as you can find. Get ready to put your name on a waiting list for them, too.
I know that when you carry small guns you give up something --- either firepower, round capacity, or accuracy --- but I have to say that the Shield minimizes all these shortcomings. It truly fills the gap between the "pocket gun" and all their problems, and compact guns like the Glock 26. And with the Shield, you get a striker-fired gun with a good trigger reset that costs half the price of comparable "slim" models like the Kahr PM 9. The only thing that I want on this gun and that I can't get is after-market night sights, made specifically for this gun. But I've waited this long to come this close to my perfect carry gun, so I can wait a little longer. After all, I need to work on that whole "patience is a virtue" area of my life.
Psalm 33:20 "We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield."