Showdown Of Subcompact Strikers: M&P Shield vs. Ruger LC9s
If you're after a subcompact striker gun, two of the most popular candidates on your list will likely be the M&P Shield vs Ruger LC9s. In fact, those happen to be two of the most popular holster models we sell here at Alien Gear and with good reason.
Both of these pistols are slim, light, hold a decent capacity for their size, and aren't too dear when it comes time to fork over your cash. They also happen to be fairly simple and easy to learn to use and carry safely, and not too bad to shoot either!
The Shield is an institution in the civilian market, and the LC9s - along with the Ruger LCR - is one of Ruger's best CCW guns. Each has a lot going for it, so deciding between them...is probably going to come down to you.
Ruger EC9s: Simple And Sinister
The Ruger EC9s, like the LC9 series before it, is a scaled-up version of the LCP chambered in 9mm but changed to a striker-fired system instead of an internal-hammer DAO system.
The LC9s has been discontinued, but the only difference is that the LC9s had dovetailed sights whereas the EC9s has fixed (machined as part of the slide) sights. It has replaced all models of the LC9 in the ruger 9mm lineup.
It has everything you need and nothing you don't. There is a manual safety, integrated tabbed-trigger safety and magazine disconnect safety, a mag release and slide release and that's about it.
You get a 3.1-inch barrel and 7+1 of 9mm in the magazine. Ruger will sell you a 9+1 extended magazine if you want, and all magazines come with a pinky extension.
MSRP is $339, but street prices are lower.
The M&P Shield: The New Standard In CCW Guns
The M&P Shield...makes a strong case for itself on reputation alone. While it isn't perfect (no gun is in the grand scheme of things) it is the standard by which a modern concealed carry pistol is judged. It has nearly everything.
S&W makes dozens of factory options available. Lasers, upgraded sights, Performance Center models, even the new Shield M2.0 line that's just been released, with or without a manual safety...you name it, you can get it. There's a lot of aftermarket support for it too.]
Bear in mind that most Shield pistols you'll find in stores will be the M2.0. The original Shield is all but wholly discontinued.
The Shield is 6.1 inches long, 4.6 inches tall and 0.95 inches wide. The original weighs 20.3 ounces unloaded, the M2.0 weighs 18.3 ounces unloaded.
Capacity is 7+1 or 8+1 of 9mm, depending on whether you select the flush or extended magazine. The latter adds about a half-inch in height. However, unlike the LC9s, it's also offered in .40 S&W. There is also a slightly bigger M&P Shield 45, which chambers .45 ACP.
The Shield starts at $449 MSRP, and is often found for closer to $350. It's in basically every gun store nationwide. If you hunt a bit, you can find it for much less; an M&P Shield 9mm for less than $300 is not unheard of at all.
The accuracy and ease of shooting the Shield belies its small size. People who whinged about the trigger were crying with two loaves of bread under their arm, because the quality relative to price is almost unparalleled by any gun made by anyone, full stop.
Again, it isn't perfect like a 1911 but there may be no better gun for the money.
M&P Shield vs. Ruger LC9s/EC9s
Out of these two striker-fired subcompacts, which is better between the M&P Shield vs. Ruger LC9s? Or, for that matter, the EC9s?
There are a couple of small differences that just might tilt one to one side or the other.
The Shield's sights are a tad taller, but not by very much at all; we're talking about a millimeter or two. However, a lot of shooters find it's enough to make a difference.
That can be fixed by opting for the HIVIZ sight model of LC9s, or buying aftermarket sights if you find you prefer the Ruger. Some people plan to upgrade the sights on a carry gun as a matter of course; some people prefer not to. You'll have to hash that out for yourself. Then again, not everyone loves the stock sights on the Shield, either. With the EC9s, you either can use the sights or you have to get a different gun.2
You might also find you don't like the stipling on the grips. Something about the old-school guns is that you can always swap the grip panels. Don't like the checkering on your 1911? Revolver grips don't quite fit your hand? You can swap them! Don't like how your Shield feels? Get a grip sleeve or get over it, because plastic fantastics come as-is. You may prefer one to the other.
The Shield has a better trigger. Granted, the M&P Shield's trigger is not a custom 1911 trigger. It's not a VP9 or PPQ trigger. In my humble opinion, Ruger's best bang switch is on the Redhawk, which is smooth and non-stacking for easy DA trigger work. But you don't buy a Redhawk for everyday carry (unless you intend on asking someone if they feel lucky) and the LC9s and EC9s can be worked with.
If you're trying to decide whether you like the M&P Shield vs. Ruger LC9s, the best way to do it is going to be to get to a gun store. Handle both and shoot both, if possible. The one that you subjectively like more from handling it, and can shoot most accurately, is going to be the better pick.
Have you shot these firearms? What did you like, and what didn't you?
Let us know in the comments below!