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Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield Plus Review [Hands-On+Video]

The Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield Plus brings 13+1 rounds of 9mm to a compact pistol platform. Does it work well, though? Come find out.

With the micro-compact market getting more and more options, Smith & Wesson updated their M&P Shield to offer a 13+1 capacity pistol that was marginally larger than the original.

What was the result? The M&P 9 Shield Plus.

M&P Shield 9 Plus two hand
A great balance between concealability and function

Concealability is often at odds with functionality, so we were intrigued with the upgraded Smith. Naturally, we took it out to the range to run it through its paces.

The results were interesting, and we’ll share our findings with you below along with some specs, features, and overall impressions.

So keep reading!

Table of Contents


Pros & Cons


  • 13+1 capacity
  • Good grip texture
  • Reliable


  • Challenging for large hands
  • A little snappy
  • Slightly difficult field strip

The Bottom Line

The Shield 9 Plus is about as small as you can go and still have an easily useable platform with ergonomic controls across a range of hand sizes…any smaller and compromises begin to occur.

M&P Shield 9 Plus one hand
M&P Shield 9 Plus one hand

That said, Smith did an excellent job with this pistol, making it accurate, easy to use, and wholly concealable.

Specs & Features


  • Width: 1.1″
  • Length: 6.1″
  • Barrel Length: 3.1″
  • Height: 4.6″
  • Weight: 20.02 ounces
  • Capacity: 13+1


  • Flat trigger bow
  • Extended magazine
  • Excellent grip texture

Source: Smith & Wesson

at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons


Smith and Wesson took the M&P 9 Shield and improved it in a few ways. They first increased the 9mm capacity from 8+1 to 13+1.

M&P 9 Shield Plus tabled 2
Range time

They actually made it a little lighter than the previous model, dropping from 20.8 ounces down to 20.1 and the newer version is only slightly wider.

Who Is It For?

This gun is a great option for concealed carriers who want a no-nonsense blend of function and concealability, with good capacity.

Fit & Feel

I’m always a bit hesitant when testing out small guns because I have big hands. Sometimes gun manufacturers keep this in mind, other times they don’t.

M&P Shield 9 Plus extended

Smith did an excellent job of keeping larger hands in mind with this design. The beavertail is deep enough that I didn’t experience any slide bite while operating the 9+.

In addition, the grip texture is an excellent blend of being rough enough to help control recoil without wearing a hole in your garments.

How Does It Shoot?

The 9 Shield Plus provided decent accuracy for its size, even with the shorter sight radius. The model I tested had standard, 3-dot white sights.

M&P Shield 9 Plus sights
The sights were functional

The trigger was a good striker-fired model, with a couple of millimeters travel before a wall, which broke at around 4 pounds on my Lyman digital gauge. Reset happened pretty shortly but was both tactile and audible.

Notably, I had much better control over recoil when I fired with the 13-round magazine. This small but crucial extension allowed my pinky purchase toward the bottom.

The extended magazine, weight, and grip texture combined to allow decent recoil management in such a small weapon.

When I shot with the 10-round magazine, greater grip pressure was needed to tame the muzzle flip. During reloads with this magazine, I’d have to clear my palm out of the way in order for it to fall clear.

M&P Shield 9 Plus accuracy
Three shot groups at 7 yards

That’s strictly about my hand size though, otherwise, the magazines fed and clearly perfectly. It’s good that Smith included the smaller magazine though because people with smaller hands might favor the reduced size over greater capacity.

For me, it isn’t even a debate. Even though the 13-round magazine is slightly bigger to conceal, the added control and accuracy it afforded my big hands was the way to go.

M&P Shield 9 Plus holstered

While not strictly related to shooting, the field strip of the 9 Shield Plus was a little challenging. The takedown lever was so stiff, that I had to use a magazine to disassemble the weapon.

Chances are, this will loosen up with time and rounds downrange.

Finally, I liked the size of the gun for drawing from an AIWB Hidden Hybrid Holster. It had just enough size to establish a good grip.

at Hidden Hybrid Holsters

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

What Sets it Apart?

I found the size of the 9 Shield Plus to fall into that Cinderella category of just right. The size, weight, and capacity were all good and the reliability was superb.

Too much smaller and the gun would be harder to handle — much bigger, it would be more difficult to conceal.

By The Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

This gun ate up everything I fed it, I ran 115-grain Remington UMC and 147-grain hollow points with a grand total of over 500 rounds. There were zero failures.

Ergonomics: 4/5

The 9 Shield Plus did a really good job of accommodating my large hands. I was able to reach all controls without adjusting my grip. However, the 13-round magazine provided the most stable shooting. With the 10-round magazine, my pinky would hang off a bit and I would sometimes need to reestablish my grip after shooting.

Accuracy: 4/5

Standing at 7 yards, I fired 3-round groups at a target. Most of my groups were in the 1.5- to 2-inch range and I found this to be pretty good for the size of the gun.

Customization: 3/5

Other than sights and holsters, there are limited options to accessorize this gun.

Value: 4/5

At an MSRP of $553, the Shield Plus is competitively priced with actual store prices hovering around $499 depending on options. Several packages are offering a $50 rebate at the time of this review.

Overall: 4/5

Upgrades for Shield M&P 9 Shield Plus

Without an accessory rail, the 9 Shield Plus is a little limited when it comes to upgrades. However, you can get products like laser/light combos such as the TLR-6 from Streamlight.

at OpticsPlanet

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

There are a pretty wide variety of holster options to support your favorite style of carry. In addition, there are several manufacturers who make sight upgrades for the 9 Shield Plus.

Field Strip & Reassembly

Final Verdict

I was impressed with the 9 Shield Plus and can’t imagine the task of keeping a gun small (but useable for a wide range of different-sized people) while increasing capacity was an easy thing.

M&P 9 Shield Plus tabled 2
M&P 9 Shield Plus tabled 2

Smith & Wesson pulled it off. While the gun might have fewer accessories available, the only misgivings I had were a somewhat challenging takedown and a missed opportunity for forward serrations.

All in, the 9 Shield Plus is an absolutely solid performer and a great value for the price.

What do you think of the Smith & Wesson M&P 9 Shield Plus? Let us know in the comments below! Also, be sure to check out our 12 Best Concealed Carry Guns for even more options.

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15 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    I realize this is an older thread. However, I just received my Shield Plus in 9mm. I already own 2.0 Pergormance center 40. I have to say, this 9mm is no less snappy than my 40. I guess I just need to get used to it.
    One more thing. The mag release sticks out further than my other M&P's. I hit the mag release on my third shot and thought I had a misfire, at first. Another thing to get used to. If not, I'm sending it to Smith and Wesson to see why. It definitely sticks out more than my 40 PC.

    February 14, 2023 2:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have the performance center plus. It came with Crimson Trace red dot. I love it. Zero malfunctions. I agree with it being harder to breakdown. I use a magula loader because of hand strength from years of manufacturing work. Sometimes it’s a little tricky getting the last round in but a good hard push down from the 12th round resting and I can get the last one in. I’ve only run a couple hundred rounds of target ammo and a couple hundred self defense rounds to see what would feed through it. Hopefully the mags will ease up.

    October 26, 2022 7:46 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Recover Tactical SHR9 Rail Adaptor for addition of a rail to this handgun. MIE Productions or White Hat Holsters both make very nice kydex holsters for this handgun after you add a TLR7-Sub light to the rail. MOS cut slide FTW to add a red dot.

    April 30, 2022 2:24 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    james gullo

    I bought one a few months ago. At the range it shot left and low. My range buddy fired it and same thing. When I first bought it, I disassembled, cleaned and lubed the gun, but never thought to check the sights. The rear sight was so far off you didnt need calipers or even a magnifier to see it. How does it leave the factory like that?

    April 29, 2022 9:51 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David R.


      October 1, 2022 5:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        james gullo

        Adjust it myself? Like I should have to on a new firearm in 2022? If you bought a new Toyota and it pulled to the left, I wouldn't tell you to be a big boy and go get it aligned. The dealer should never let it leave the lot in that condition. I expect better from a major gun manufacturer to check something as basic as a rear sight before getting through the quality control department.

        October 4, 2022 7:25 pm
        • Commenter Avatar

          If you find a gun……a brand new from the factory gun….with perfectly adjusted sights, I’d love a picture !

          January 11, 2023 9:17 pm
          • Commenter Avatar
            james gullo

            My new Canik has properly aligned sights. My 25 year old HK USP 40 has properly aligned sights. Even my EZ .380 came from the factory with good alignment. Why The Shield Plus was so far off is anyone's guess. My point is that it is something that the buyer should not have to worry about.

            January 14, 2023 12:09 pm
        • Commenter Avatar
          William Bohannon

          I take the fifth on the ground it my incriminate me. I’am still upset the assholes took beautiful revolvers, and put a free-kin
          Hillary Hole on them! Smith & Wesson continues
          To loosel a large portion of business
          Each year because
          Of the idiot that made that fine
          Tiger put. Theirs under the damn grips!

          January 22, 2023 9:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I'll add myself to all the other comments confirming there is a manufacturing problem with the magazines, especially the 13 round mag. I use the Ula mag loader and have to put my palm on top and bear down to get round 12 in. I NEVER can get round 13 in, no matter how hard I try. It's not seeming to get any better with use. The take down lever is super stiff as described. Other than those two negatives, and they are big, to me, the gun shoots well with the Holosun 407k. Overall it is still a good conceal carry firearm.

    April 29, 2022 2:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Edward Kennedy

    I bought two of these, the last with the 'bug out bundle' of a carry bag and three extra 13 round mags (it typically comes with a 10 round and a 13 round).



    April 28, 2022 6:43 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Greg Hodge

      I hear you! I bought the first generation and the mags were jacked up then too, along with some other problems, including a cracked frame in less than 100 rounds. Some things never change. No more S&W for me, EVER!

      April 28, 2022 7:04 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Robb W

        I got on that bandwagon when I saw a guy walk into the local store with a “brand new” s&w shield that had a crack in the SLIDE just behind the extractor left/right. I told myself right then and there I would continue to buy GLOCKs.

        April 28, 2022 8:52 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      I got the 4.1" Performance Center Plus last year and have had Zero issues with it...except I bought a second 13 round mag from another online shop and I am too having issues with it. I can't get more than 11 in it. The mags that came with gun have had no issues though.

      April 28, 2022 7:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jay Campbell

    Bought one almost a year ago. I agree with the review, especially the part about field stripping. Certainly more snappy than a full-frame 9mm, but offers great conceal ability. The grip is great with the 13 round mag; ok with the 10. I’m 6’-1” so have what I’d call medium hands. The biggest complaint I have is the slide stiffness, a bit of a problem for people who might have a slight hand disability. But, that’s common with a striker-fired weapon.

    April 28, 2022 5:26 pm
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