What We Carry: M&P Shield #3
Did we tell you about carrying the M&P Shield? Oh, we did? Well, here we go again. It is hard to overstate the popularity of the M&P Shield, from Smith & Wesson, as an everyday carry gun. Since we make a trigger – actually, THE trigger – for the Shield, there is nothing shocking about the fact that it would be carried by people here at Apex. But being carried by so many Apex employees is a bit surprising since we also offer triggers for Glocks, and the standard M&P models. Regardless of the popularity of those guns, the Shield is the clear ‘King of Carry’ here at the shop. And this is a look at our third Shield in this series. When Tim, who is our QC Supervisor, decided it was time to get a carry gun he started doing some research. He looked at both the Glock 19 and the M&P Shield. The Shield, besides being an accurate gun, was a better fit for Tim from an ergonomic standpoint. When people look at which gun to carry, so often what you hear are arguments based on allegiance to a particular brand. Sure, there is mention of capacity, and certainly reliability, but the main thrust is "you should carry Brand X" as if any other choice is invalid. Rarely does the key point of focus seem to be on ergonomics, which is odd considering we're talking about something that will be carried on your body for the majority of your waking hours each and every day. In Tim's case, ergonomics was a key decision point in selecting the Shield. That doesn't mean the Glock 19 isn't a good choice for an everyday carry. It just means it wasn't a good choice for Tim. And yes, we know that the 19 is not analogous to the Shield. The better comparison is the Glock 43, but Tim wasn't interested in that model. Again, personal preference is paramount. The appeal of the Shield has a great deal to do with the pistol's slim profile. The smaller the form factor of the firearm the easier it is to conceal – obviously. But when carrying a gun, not only do you have to take into account the width and sizing of the pistol but also the added width that comes from the holster you select. Tim carries his EDC in a Model 135 Bianchi holster. The Model 135 Suppression is an inside the waistband holster designed for both comfort and deep concealment. It is made from a combination of leather and synthetic material. The body facing side of the holster features a foam and anti-microbial mesh outer which helps prevent odor and germs from accumulating. Kind of an important feature in a state where temperatures reach close to 120 degrees in the middle of summer. Of course, the primary feature of this particular Shield is, well, what’s under the hood. There is a school of thought, populated mostly by old curmudgeonly men, that says, “you don’t need to upgrade you trigger. You just need to train more and learn to shoot the stock trigger.” This ain’t the school we attend. Why would you ever, when put in a position of having to defend your life, want to be fighting the trigger? If or when that day comes, you want every conceivable advantage. You’re not there to fight fair, right? So, when it comes right down to it you want a crisp, clean trigger. One that allows you a smooth trigger stroke without the grit and creep that’s found in a stock, factory trigger. And that, friends, is why Tim’s Shield is ‘running Apex under the hood.’ The Apex Action Enhancement Trigger and Duty/Carry Kit for the Shield replaces the safety plunger, the sear and that – how do we way this without being impolite? – not-so-popular hinged factory trigger. With the Apex components you get a trigger whose performance is simply a night and day difference from the factory configuration. And you bet this includes the Performance Center models as well. Honestly, don't take our word for it just because we are the reigning authorities on the Smith & Wesson striker-fired pistol line. Ask any of our customers. Or better yet, find a buddy that has one in his/her gun and take it for a test drive. You will come away with the realization that the trigger is the last thing you need to worry about in a confrontation. In other words, when upgraded to an Apex trigger you can now fight the fight and not the trigger. One last point on the ergonomics, and this is worth considering. Tim carries his Shield in the 8+1 configuration of the factory extended mag with the flush fit mag 7+1 capacity mag as his backup. This gives him a larger grip, and thus more control from the start, should he have to ever draw his firearm in a personal defense situation.