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Showdown of the Affordable CCW Firearms

Taurus PT111 G2 vs S&W Shield: Which Is The Better Budget CCW Gun?

For the person looking for a quality concealed carry gun on a budget, two that get brought up a lot are the S&W Shield and the Taurus PT111 Millennium G2. There are some significant differences of course, so choosing between the Taurus PT11 G2 vs. S&W Shield might not be the easiest.

Granted, they have a lot in common. Both are poly-frame striker guns. Both are compact enough for easy concealment. Both are offered in 9x19mm or .40 S&W, though there is a slightly larger Shield .45. The Taurus, however, is a double-stack; the Shield contains only one row of bullets.

There are other differences, of course, but which is the better gun to get for the concealed carrier on a budget? Depends on what you're looking for in a carry gun and, as always, which one you end up liking more. Get out there and handle them!

No Bull: The Taurus PT111 Millennium G2 Is A Solid CCW Gun

The left side of a Taurus PT111 Millennium G2
The right side of a Taurus PT111 Millennium G2

A good number of gun publications and review channels on YouTube have been raving about the Taurus PT111 Millennium G2 for years as one of the best carry guns you can get for under $500. Some reviewers have gone so far to say that it's as good as guns costing 2 or 3 times as much as the G2, which is often found for $250 or less in store. Not "considering;" they say it's as good, full-stop.

What, though, does the PT111 Millennium G2 bring to the table? A whole lot of features without asking much in price.

First, the magazine holds 12 of 9x19mm or 10 of .40 S&W, though the G2 in 10mm Light is designated the PT140 Millennium G2. That aside, it still straddles the line between compact and sub-compact. Said magazines have a pinky extension base pad, so shooters with larger hands can easily get a grip.

The G2 stands 5.1 inches tall, 6.3 inches long and 1.2 inches wide, with a 3.2-inch barrel. Weight is 22 ounces unloaded.

A PT111's Magainze with pinky extension

Standard features include thumb and finger rest dimples on the frame, a "melted" slide for easy drawing, 3-dot sights and a small accessory rail.

The Taurus PT111 Millennium G2's Specs

Controls include a swappable magazine release so lefties can get it on their preferred side, a slide release and a manual safety for those who wish to use one. The takedown levers are Glock-style tabs on both sides of the frame.

The trigger is a bit unique for a striker pistol in that it's sort of a double/single action but is also not. When first cocked, the trigger has about a 1-pound pull until the last quarter inch, at which point it takes about 6 pounds to break. However, a dud round puts it into "double action" mode, at which point it's a constant 6 pound pull for the entire length of pull. Thus, second-strike capability. Kind of cool, huh?

However, there are no changeable backstraps - you get the grip and stipling it comes with. Then again, neither does the Shield.

SHAPESHIFT NOW AVAILABLE FOR TAURUS PT111 MILLENNIUM G2

Take advantage of our 30-day Test Drive

Contrasted With The M&P Shield

How different is the M&P Shield vs the Taurus PT111 G2? Not by much.

The M&P Shield is only slightly smaller, at 6.1 inches long with a 3.1-inch barrel, 4.6 inches tall and 0.94 inches wide. While a bit smaller, it's not by much; about a half-inch short, about 0.25 inches narrower and just slightly shorter lengthwise. It is, however, 3 ounces lighter.

Right side of the S&W M&P Shield
Hinged trigger of the S&W M&P Shield series

Granted, these differences aren't huge, but might make a difference on you. (YMMV) Trigger pull is about the same, though the Shield has S&W's hinged trigger as opposed to a tabbed trigger, which the Taurus has.

The base model Shield also has white 3-dots, but where the Shield and the G2 differ is the options.

The Shield can be had with or without the manual safety; you don't get a choice with the G2.

The Shield can also get a number of factory upgrades such as night sights, FDE finish on the frame, Crimson Trace lasers and Performance Center tuning.

The safety on the M&P Shield
Flat Dark Earth version of the M&P Shield
Performance Center version of the M&P Shield

If you want any improvements to the Taurus, it's aftermarket or bust; the only factory upgrade is a stainless slide.

However, the smaller dimensions does come with lesser capacity, as the Shield is a single-stack, holding 7+1 or 8+1 of 9x19mm (or 6+1/7+1 of .40 S&W) depending on whether you use the flush-fit or extended magazine. Some shooters will find they can only use the larger of the two.

That said, the Shield also commands more in sticker. The MSRP is $449, though you'll commonly find them for just under $400 in many cases; under $300 is not unheard of at all either, even when not on sale.

SHAPESHIFT AVAILABLE FOR S&W M&P SHIELD 9/40
AND PERFORMANCE CENTER

Take advantage of our 30-day Test Drive

Which Is The Better Shooter: Taurus PT111 G2 vs S&W Shield?

Which one is the better to shoot between the Taurus PT111 G2 vs S&W Shield? That's going to be entirely subjective.

The truth about "how well a gun shoots" is that almost all of it depends on you. The better a gun fits your hand, which depends on the shape of your hand, the better it will feel. Also, guns are inherently more accurate than the shooter. If either pistol is shot from a benchrest with mechanical device pulling the trigger perfectly, it will probably shoot cloverleafs. In human hands...accuracy suffers.

Recoil is likewise something that's entirely down to your perception. Actual recoil - the amount of pressure created by the gunshot - is measurable; what you FEEL from that (felt recoil) is something entirely different.

Most reviewers in the shooting press and most owners have found both of these guns to be accurate and very easy to shoot despite the compact size and the weight, or rather the lack of the latter.

Shooting your gun at the range

Which should you get? Well, that depends on what you're looking for in a carry gun or if there's a feature one has that the other lacks. Truth be told, both pistols are compact enough for anyone to easily carry and conceal on the daily. Both pistols are reliable enough to stake your life on.

The Shield does cost a bit more, though by how much depends on an economy of scale. The author hazards to guess the Shield will run you an extra $150, though it could be more. Is that worth it? You'll have to answer that for yourself. Get yourself to a gun store, try them both out including on a range if you can.

On paper, the G2 is the better choice. More rounds, barely any bigger and it's less expensive to buy. However, that doesn't tell you which is going to feel better to you. And the one that feels better, the one that feels closer to an extension of your hand, is the one to get.

To assist in your choice between these two firearms at the range, download our free 8.5" x 11" target and print out as many as you need!

Sam Hoober
 

About The Author

Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.