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S&W M&P Shield EZ 9mm & EZ .380 Review: Easiest Racking Handguns?

Looking for the easiest to rack handgun that also conceals well? We hands-on review the Smith & Wesson Shield EZ 9mm and .380 versions.

We got a hold of the EZ 9mm and EZ 380, took it to the range, and did a comprehensive review. Check out the video above!

If you dig that kind of content, subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube Channel!


With so many polymer pistols out there, it’s hard to stand out these days. But Smith & Wesson has done it with their line of EZ pistols.

The M&P EZ line’s claim to fame is their easy to rack slide, perfect for those of us with compromised grips. 

Does it actually live up to the claim? How does it really feel? We got it out to the range to really put it to the test!

Shield EZ 9mm Vs EZ380 on chains

Table of Contents

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Specs & Features

Both the 9mm and .380 ACP versions of the S&W EZ Shield are very close in specs, but the .380 is smaller… slightly. It’s also much easier to rack and softer shooting, but we’ll get to that.

Here are the quick specs:

M&P Shield EZ 9mm (9mm)M&P Shield EZ 9mm (.380 ACP)
Caliber:9mm.380 ACP
Capacity:8+18+1
Barrel Length:3.675 in.3.675 in.
Overall Length:6.8 in.6.7 in.
Height:5 in.5 in.
Weight:23.2 oz18.5 oz
MSRP:$521$454
Source: Smith-Wesson

As you can tell, there isn’t a lot of physical difference between the two. But the EZ380 is lighter and just a hair smaller.

Shield EZ 9mm Vs EZ380 and tomatos
Shield EZ 9mm Vs EZ380 plus some nice tomatoes
Available Coupons
Available Coupons

Key Features

  • Easy to rack slide
  • Easy-to-load mags – built-in tabs in magazines to help with loading
  • Grip serrations
  • 3-dot sights – adjustable rear sight
  • Models available with and without ambidextrous, thumb safety
  • Visual and physical tactile loaded chamber indicator (TLCI)

M&P Shield EZ: Range Report

Short version — it was perfect. Both in 9mm and .380 ACP, both guns ran and ran. Zero malfunctions or problems of any kind.

9mm Vs. .380 ACP
9mm Vs. .380 ACP

Something that took us by surprise was that the grip safety is actually really well designed. It’s kind of weird seeing a grip safety in 2020, but here we are. 

Thankfully, it worked exactly like it should and simply melted into the background. Even with a soft grip, it still worked perfectly.

Something that really stood out is how smooth and flat shooting both models are, but the EZ380 is especially flat. 

Between how easy it is to rack the slide and how soft and not-snappy the EZ380 feels in your hands, it really delivers for people with compromised grips.

Shield EZ 9mm Vs EZ380 on the farm

It’s also a great option for everyone though. A flat and soft shooting gun is always good to have because it means getting back on target and putting follow-up shots down range faster and more accurately.

Shield EZ: What To Love

The controls are fairly basic but they work well. We wouldn’t be writing home to brag about the trigger, but it’s not bad either. 

Our magazine release was a little… lazy. But the magazines themselves are Amazing! Featuring built-in tabs to help with loading, they work outstandingly well and totally negated the need for a speed loader of any kind.

S&W M&P Shield EZ magazine
<3 these mags!

While the grip serrations give the gun a kind of funky look, they do work great. The entire gun is grippy and helps root the pistol in your hands. 

3-dot sights are standard, but the rear is at least adjustable for windage on both models — so that’s nice.

Who Is It For?

Really the heart and soul of the EZ line are for people with weaker grip strength.

Maybe you just naturally don’t have strong hands or you have a medical condition that compromises your grip or maybe you’re just getting a bit long in the tooth.

Shield EZ 9mm Vs EZ380 and a snake
This snake needs a name, sound off in the comments!

The Smith & Wesson M&P EZ 9mm and EZ380 are perfect for you. Everything about the design really makes it easier and more reliable for you to use.

It also comes in several flavors, models are available with and without a thumb safety and with or without a laser sight.

That isn’t to say you need weaker hands to love these guns. Everyone can benefit from a soft shooting, grippy, well-made gun. Johnny liked it, and he’s got ape hands!

S&W M&P Shield EZ shooting

Shield EZ: Options And Extras 

No new gun is ready for the range without some extras, so don’t forget to grab some magazines and a holster!

Factory magazines are widely available and reasonably priced. And considering you will never need a loading tool with these mags, that helps knock down your total price of ownership also.

27
at Gunmag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Lots of great holsters on the market for the EZ line since this has quickly become a popular option for people. Our favorite comes from CrossBreed, but Brave Response and Hidden Hybrid also have great choices!

67
at Crossbreed

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

We couldn’t make either of these so much as hiccup. They run.  

Shield EZ 9mm Vs EZ380 next to each other

Ergonomics: 4/5

Grip angle is good. Slide serrations are great. Slide lock release? Meh.

Accuracy: 4/5

A sniper rifle it is not. Because it’s a pistol. But it’ll put rounds in center mass no prob. 

Customization: 2/5

LOL. Have fun with that little rail up front. 

Value: 4.5/5

You get a reliable CCW at an affordable price. Solid value. 

Available Coupons

Overall: 4/5

While S&W have had some hits and misses over the years with their autoloaders, the EZ line is solid. We came away with little to complain about and a lot to like.

Thumbs up from us…especially for a first-time gun owner. 

Available Coupons

Verdict

If you want the softest shooting, easiest to rack handgun on the market look no further than the Smith & Wesson Shield EZ line. The .380 version shoots the easiest although both the 9mm and .380 allow much easier slide racking compared to regular concealed carry guns. Reliability is top notch along with high marks for ergonomics, accuracy, and value.

The marketing wasn’t kidding when they named this the EZ line. It actually delivers in each respect and you can tell the designers went out of their way to make sure that it did.

So for us, a big thumbs up.

GunPrime was also nice enough to send the EZ 9mm and EZ380 out to Johnny B, so take a look at his complete video review!

If you dig that kind of content, subscribe to the Pew Pew Tactical YouTube Channel!

What is your take on the S&W M&P EZ line? Thumb safety, no thumb safety, laser, or no laser? Let us know in the comments! For more CCW options action, take a look at the Best CCW By Caliber!

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38 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Dd

    That snake is a "dead ringer" or its "trigger happy" no?

    March 16, 2021 7:40 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bob G

    S&W has issued a recall on this series of pistols: https://www.smith-wesson.com/safety/recalls

    March 8, 2021 7:31 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jacob

    Any recommendations on a trigger upgrade on 9mm EZ?

    December 23, 2020 4:54 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      John W McCarty

      Just smooth it a bit and a drop of oil does it

      May 26, 2022 5:17 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    LindaM

    I have the 380 version and I love it. I have arthritis in my hands so being able to each the by was my prior concern. ✔
    My next concern was having to flip the safety. I use my gun occasionally and didn't want to be in a situation where I fiddled with a safety and bang, I'm dead. As long as you're gripping it right just shoot.

    November 3, 2020 6:51 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Andrew

      So you like the thumb safety or no?

      November 12, 2020 11:02 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Stephen

    Band-it

    September 30, 2020 1:02 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Grant Oquist

    Snake name. EZekiel (Zeke)

    September 19, 2020 9:04 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Cher

    Snake: Pewny.

    September 12, 2020 1:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Don

    Snake Name = Ez slider

    September 12, 2020 1:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    WRV

    Snake = Bob

    September 8, 2020 6:23 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dr. Mike

    Bought the .380 EZ Performance model for my daughter after the Hellcat’s recoil bit way more than expected. It is true, easy to load, easy to rack the slide, recoil like a .22 but highly inaccurate. Rear site has terrible course adjustment and gun kept shooting low and left...... ( no, not the shooter folks, I’m an NRA certified pistol instructor and competitive shooter, also confirmed by an equally competent marksman) sent it back to S&W who replaced the barrel, didn’t touch rear sight and intimated all was well which it was not. ( No target was provided to document accuracy or repair).Totally disappointed with S&W, especially with this higher end model.

    September 7, 2020 12:28 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    olsarge

    I had to give up my beloved 1911 .45 after a broken back and neck left me with nerve damage in my arms. I bought a .380 EZ and after a few hundred rounds have decided I really like this pistol. Mine is accurate and soft shooting. The only problem I have had so far is the magazine release- to make it easy(EZ) to use, it seems to protrude farther than any of my other pistols and doesn't take much force to depress it. I have had the magazine eject twice while carrying concealed (it kind of ruins the 'concealed carry' effect if a magazine shoots out from under your shirt while standing in line). I would suggest finding a holster that covers the right side of the magazine release.

    September 6, 2020 7:32 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Lynn

    No mention of the tactile loaded chamber indicator? As a new shooter, brand new, with OCD I appreciate another thing to double check. I wanted the 9 but couldn't find one so after a couple of weeks I got one of the available 380s. As mentioned it's great because with my arthritis and poor grip strength I couldn't even rack some of the others I looked at.

    September 5, 2020 6:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Daim

    Hartman drill instructor from full metal jacket = snake name

    September 5, 2020 4:08 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    DrPain

    Sir Snakes Alot....

    September 4, 2020 6:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      lmao!

      September 4, 2020 6:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    kaschman

    slim jim for the snake

    September 4, 2020 6:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      lol, I like this one!

      September 4, 2020 6:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    MRK

    The term, "windage adjustment", refers to moving the sight to adjust POI, even if what you are really adjusting for is not wind. Might be a misaligned front sight, for example.

    September 4, 2020 2:29 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bob

    How about a few words describing the ammo used during the writeup? FMJ only? HP? Mfgr and Grains size? Thanks.

    September 4, 2020 11:07 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Rickster

    Snake = Trigger

    September 4, 2020 8:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jim Streicher

    I'm very happy with our 380EZ. I say "our" because I bought it in June 2019 with my wife in mind: she has severe arthritis in her hands, yet is able to rack the pistol with ease and really appreciates the soft shoot. For us, this is a self-defense gun, so ease of use (especially for her) is the most important consideration, and our drills at the range find us grouping center mass every time. Another big plus for me is the ease with which it can be concealed; I EDC at my right kidney where my Glock 17 leaves a distinct profile through a tee shirt (so I've taken to aloha shirts which aren't as comfy).

    September 4, 2020 4:43 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael

    I have both the regular 9mm EZ and the performance Center 9mm EZ. Love them both, although since getting the performance center EZ, I haven't shot the regular one much. I keep the regular one as my carry and my PC 9mm EZ at home on my night stand for now. Does Johnny want to loan my Performance Center EZ for a review?

    September 3, 2020 8:39 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Dr. Mike

    Beg to differ with you ..... first bought a new Hellcat for my daughter but recoil bit a little too much so kept it for myself and got her a .380 EZ Performance model.
    I found magazines to feel “tinny” and unbalanced in loading rounds. It is indeed soft shooting however mine was highly and disappointingly inaccurate. The rear sight has a Micky Mouse very course adjusment, frustratingly difficult to dial in. Despite doing so, gun kept shooting low and no, it wasn’t the operator. I am an NRA certified pistol instructor and competitive shooter and for the sake of fairness, had another shooter with similar skills get the same results. I returned the pistol to S&W and they replaced the barrel. I have yet to retry it but for a performance model from their custom shop I was very disappointed. Gun feels like a cheap stamped out version and I caution those that might be interested not to be seduced by these exaggerated accolades. There are better choices out there.

    September 3, 2020 8:12 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mo

      I beg to differ. My wife has the Performance Center .380 and it is everything and more. Nothing exaggerated in this article. Great gun all around.

      September 5, 2020 8:19 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Deborah Pennington

    Snakey Pew

    September 3, 2020 7:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Javier Antonio Quinones Ortiz

    Snake=Triggy

    September 3, 2020 7:22 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Wes D

    I bought my wife the .380 before everythingwent to shit. She has arthritis in her hands and she is a small woman and didn't like the recoil of a 9mm. A lot of people bitched about it but I reasoned to them that if she doesn't want or is afraid to shoot it then she WON'T shoot it. With her gun she can drive tacks with it. Great guns!

    September 3, 2020 7:09 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tim

    Snakes name should be “Trigger.”

    September 3, 2020 5:56 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Phili Webb

    Are these legal in Commifornia?

    September 3, 2020 5:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      They are not on roster :(

      September 3, 2020 6:10 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Shepherd of Fire

      Only if you have parents out of state (it can be gifted to you, direct line lineage) and it would be an FFL transfer to your local dealer so you can pick it up after 10 days.....or if you have a law enforcement friend and they don't exceed their department policy for number of firearms transfers or whatnot....or you are willing to pay 1600$ for a used 300$ polymer framed gun on consignment or PPT.
      You can legally have off roster guns, but dealer

      Basically, if you are a noble and not a peasant. So, if you are like me, then no.

      September 4, 2020 11:05 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    jawalton

    I bought both models. Nice to see that other folks come to the same conclusions I have. Love both, highly recommend both, as you have done. That pleases me because I find your information honest and always enlightening. If it does not get high marks from PEW PEW, I do not buy. No matter the product. Thanks for being there.

    September 3, 2020 5:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Yogi

    Rear sights adjustable for windage? My opinion, if you need to adjust for wind you are using the wrong gun! Short barrels mean close distance. At those type of distances a hurricane force wind should not affect the shot!

    September 3, 2020 5:24 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Dale

      Yes ....so true...lol....

      September 4, 2020 2:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      MRK

      Yogi, the term, "windage adjustment", refers to moving the sight to adjust POI, even if what you are really adjusting for is not wind. Might be a misaligned front sight, for example.

      September 4, 2020 2:30 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Susan M. Voss-Crossette

    Thank You for your Excellent review
    Susan AZ

    September 3, 2020 5:07 pm
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