My S&W 9mm Performance Center Shield
The Performance Center Ported M&P9 Shield offers discerning shooters premium features including a factory ported barrel and slide, improved trigger, and Fiber Optic Sights.
With the way things have gone in the world, and here in the USA, I decided it was time to have a pistol to carry as needed to protect my Home and Family. After a lot of research, I decided the S&W 9MM Shield was my best choice. I decided on the PC (Performance Center) model for less recoil, better sights and improved trigger.
During my 22 years in the Army, I always smoothed and polished the feed ramps on any weapons I used to reduce FTF (Fail To Feed) problems. I decided to polish the feed ramp on my Shield, and since it does have a stainless steel barrel, I did the complete barrel.
The sites on the PC Shield are a huge improvement over stock, but after shooting it for several months, and then doing some it a night a few times, I decided the Fiber Optics just did not cut it at night. I picked up a set of Trijicon Tritium Night Sights. I got the ones that are Green, and has a Bright orange ring around the front sight that absorbs light at night, and is Very Easy to see during the day.\\
Polishing the Barrel: There are several ways to polish the barrel. This is how I did mine.
1.Remove the barrel, plug the ends of the barrel to keep the vinegar out and soak it in white vinegar for 3 hours, remove it and use a old wash cloth or dish washing pad, and rub the loosened black coating off. Do this a total of 3 times to get most of it off, including in the pores.
2.Use 800 wet dry sand paper, and get all the coating off. Move up to 1200, then 2000 to get it perfectly smooth and no sanding marks showing.
3.Use a good quality metal polish on it, and polish till you have the desired shine. I used Mothers Mag and Wheel Polish. If you have a Dermal tool, you will find this very handy.
Note: When doing the feed ramp, only use the sand paper in the direction of the bullet feeding, and only enough to smooth the ramp, then polish.
I have tried several holsters, and decided on the Raw Dog IWB Holster. It is very easy to put on, or take off, hold the gun very well, are easy to draw you gun from, and make re-holstering the gun easy. I have a few guns stashed around the house, so I do not carry full time. If I did, I would consider one of the Alien Gear holsters that are comfortable, and great for all day carry. They are not the best for short term since they are a little time consuming putting on and takinf off and a tad bulky.
And the Alien Gear Holster
I have tried top of the line 1 1/2 wide, thick leather belts, and they do ok for a few months, then they start saging. The cure to this is a real Gun Belt, that has a thin metal strip secured between layers of leather. These prevent the weight of the gun from causing it to sag, making concealment hard, and not very comfortable.
I have found that Bigfoot Gun Belts offer a very well built gun belt that Will Not Sag, and at a very affordable price. These compare to gun belts costing over $100.
I have researched, and tried several different brands and types of ammunition, and for just plan range shooting, just about any Brass, Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) will work. What ever is available, and on sale at Wal-Mart. 🙂 Now for Defense Ammo, it is very Important. I chose Federal 147 gr HST to be the best choice for the short barrel Shield. It has Great Expansion, and good penetration, Without Over Penetration. It is best to use some range ammo that is close to the same grain weight as your defense ammo. I use 3 different ammo at the range, Wal-mart’s cheapest, Armscor 147 FMJ to go along with my Federal 147 HST Defense Ammo. Using 147 FMJ to train with my 147 HST should give very good training results.
Shooting the Shield can be a little different for some. The Shield is built to be a very effective, comfortable, easy to conceal pistol. Part of this is accomplished by keeping the profile thin.
Some people have a problem with shooting it low and to the left. This can be caused by several things, but the most common, is finger placement on the trigger. With the narrow grip, it is easy to place your trigger finger incorrectly on the trigger, causing you to shoot off center.
If you are shooting left, try putting your finger on the trigger resting more towards the center pad, like the below photo.
Below photo shows the most common cause for constantly missing where you aimed, but your shot group is good.
Starting with a one handed grip, take the firing hand and form a salute, separate the thumb from the salute. The meaty web portion between the thumb and index finger should be seated all the way into the top of the back strap. Wrap the lower three fingers around the grip panels and place the index finger down inline with the side of the pistol. Then allow the thumb to naturally rest on the grip panel (preferably inline with the slide).
For a two-handed grip take the non-firing hand and make a salute, separating the thumb from the salute. Take the non-firing hand thumb and palm and slide it into the open area of the grip panel. Rest the non-firing hand thumb directly under the firing hand thumb (pointing inline with the slide towards the target). Wrap the remaining fingers around the firing hand fingers.
Doing the 2 handed method, which is much more precise, you will need to shift the pistol/wrist alignment slightly, and support the pistol equally with both hands.
Loading the Magazines:
I have loaded magazies for several pistols and rifles over the years, but never have I loaded magazines that were as hard to do, as the Shield. Trust me on this, get a UpLula Universal Pistol Magazine Loader. These will work on any 9mm through 45 cal single or double stack magazines.
Some add on Grips:
Talon has some Great Grips that are available in both granulate and rubber texturer. Yhe rubber ones feel great, but the granulate ones are too agressive for IWB carry. If you order them, make sure you order the ones for your 8 round magazines also.
Take your time installing these, and read the directions a couple of times. Normal cleaning does not harm these, except CLP, which will loosen them up.
Apex kits for the M&P Shield directly replace the factory hinged trigger with a solid aluminum trigger body featuring a center mounted pivoting safety that maintains factory safety values. The kits reduce pre-travel and over-travel by approximately 20%, and provide the M&P Shield pistol owner a smooth, consistent trigger pull that is approximately 2 lbs lighter (based on variations in factory tolerances) with the advantage of a more detectable trigger reset. If you have a Performance Center Shield, you already have a near perfect trigger, that could only be slightly improved by using a Apex trigger unit only, to replace the S&W hinged polymer one.
The factory Recoil Spring seems to be the only possible weak point in the Shields. My Shield is well over 1 year old, and has Hundreds of rounds through it without a problem. Some have had the recoil spring come apart during cleaning. The most common problems are the end deforms at the small end, and allows it to come apart, and where the two springs join. S&W will send you a replacement with no questions. I emailed them, and requested a replacement, that I put in my gun cleaning kit, to have if/when needed.
The 9MM Shield has a 7 and 8 round magazine. The 7 is the flush fitting one, and is the easiest to carry concealed. The odd thing about the 7 round mag, is it uses the same exact spring. This has been causing problems with loading the 7 round mag, and when loaded, the added pressure has caused the spring to become deformed, and in many cases, broken.
The 8 round mag is easier to load, but still rough if not using one of the Uplula Loaders.
If you have a Shield for a Self Defense gun, you really should have a few extra magazines, and have a couple loaded with your Defense Ammo, and a couple for range practice with FMJ in them. These magazines retail at over $35, but if you shop around, you can find them much cheaper on sale. Some places even sale them with Free Shipping, if you buy in quantity.
Replace your magazine internals with multi-spring system that allows the storage of additional round(s) without extending the mag while maintaining proper spring pressure and meeting or exceeding original performance. You can order with or without a new base plate. This allows the option to increase the capacity even more for your carry gun.
Hyve makes a 10 round complete magazine, that uses a S&W 8 round mag and adds there extension to it, and also a +2 base plate that uses your existing magazine. They are both abailable in several colors.
Spare Magazine Carrier:
I wanted a Spare Magazine Holder that was light weight, could be carried in any location or position, and be affordable.
I prefer to have my spare magazine on the opposite side as my carry gun so I can be holding the gun in my right hand, eject the empty mag, and pull the new mag out with my left hand and insert. These Flashlight Holsters are great for this, since they are extremely light weight, will hold a magazine snug, but allow easy removable, and can be secured to your belt at any angle.
These are available everywhere, and I purchased mine at Lowes for $9.
Here are a few photos of mine, with a 8 round magazine in it.