M&P Shield 9mm

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 9mm Vs. New Shield M2.0. Which Shield To Shell Out For?

Since Smith and Wesson has begun rolling out their 2.0 line of the M&P pistols, some people have begun wondering if the new model is going to be better than the old one. Hence, some folks will find themselves pondering whether they should get the M&P Shield vs. M&P Shield M2.0?

Are the differences in the M2.0 pistols SO much greater that they're worth more money?!

Well, the differences are so slight that on paper they kind of aren't, at least if you'd have to pay more for the M2.0 Shield vs the regular Shield. The M2.0 series is really what the automotive industry calls a "refresh" or a "facelift," when a particular make and model car gets a slight revision at a certain point in the product cycle. There are some little differences, but it's basically the same car.

S&W M&P ShieldS&W M&P Shield 2.0

What are those differences? We'll get into that, so let's talk about whether you should get the Shield M2.0 vs. the original Shield.

What's New On The Shield M2.0?

For those unaware, the Shield - and, of course, the M&P Shield M2.0 - is a single-stack subcompact poly-striker pistol. It's pretty bare-bones, but the factory gives you a good number of options. You can choose models with or without a manual safety. You can upgrade the sights, there are Performance Center models...they even offer a few with lasers. The Shield M2.0 is currently offered in 9mm and .40 caliber.

After about 10 years, this gun has practically become an institution among carry guns. Smith and Wesson created the M2.0 series of their M&P poly striker guns with some improvements. What are those improvements?

The M2.0 has a refined trigger, for a smoother pull, crisper break and a more audible, more tactile reset. Otherwise, it's the same hinged striker trigger and integrated trigger safety.

The grip stipling has been changed also, to give the shooter a better grip on the pistol. It's a bit rougher, almost sand-paper like. This gives you better purchase when gripping the pistol.

The machining on the slide is a bit different, with a softer bevel on the slide and some fishscale serrations toward the end of the slide. This is for better purchase for press-checking.

Other than that...literally everything else is the same.

Smith and Wesson M&P Shield M2.0

S&W M&P Shield 9mm M2.0 Specs


  • Overall Length: 6.1"
  • Width: .99"
  • Height: 4.5"
  • Barrel Length: 3.1"
  • Weight: 18.3oz unloaded

M&P Shield 9mm. Rock Solid Concealed Carry. 

The original Shield is one of the most popular concealed carry pistols on the market; we here at Alien Gear sell Shield holsters practically by the truckload.

Why is that?

Well, it's about perfect. The manual of arms is easy to learn, even with the optional manual safety. They shoot very well despite their compact size, and accurately.

You can choose between the Shield 9, Shield 40 or Shield 45, if you don't mind a tad bigger gun to shoot .45 ACP. (The 2.0 is only in 9mm and .40 S&W...for now.) There are a whole bunch of factory options to upgrade to and amazing aftermarket support.

The basic measurements are as follows: barrel length is 3.1 inches. The gun stands 4.6 inches tall, 0.95 inches wide and is 6.1 inches long. (The M2.0 is the same.) Capacity is 7 or 8 rounds of 9mm, depending on the magazine (there's a flush-fit and extended) which is reduced by one round if you carry the .40 S&W version, and by one more if you go up to the Shield 45. It weighs 20.3 ounces unloaded, though the M2.0 is 2 ounces lighter.

The base model comes with 3-dot sights. At the moment, the base M&P9 Shield retails for $449, and the M2.0 for $479. You'll find them for way less in stores; $100 or more off the MSRP is not uncommon at all.

M&P Shield

S&W M&P Shield 9mm Specs


  • Overall Length: 6.1"
  • Width: .95
  • Height: 4.6"
  • Barrel Length: 3.1"
  • Weight: 20.3oz unloaded

M&P Shield vs. Smith and Wesson M&P Shield M2.0: The Decision

In the broad strokes, it's actually pretty difficult telling which you should get between the Shield vs Shield M2.0. It's basically the same gun. They don't even look all that different; the fish-scale serrations are the same...the only external difference is the M2.0 model just has a little bit more of it added at the front of the slide.

Other than that, the trigger group is tuned up a bit.

M&P Shield in FDE with Black Slide

However, there has been a significant development in the fullness of time. If you asked me, I'd get the first-gen Shield. They're still in production at the time of this writing, so you can still get a new one including all the parts and so on. But what is the major difference?

As of now, the first-gen Shield has an MSRP of $367, a discount of $110 over the M2.0 model, which has an MSRP of $479. I have handled and shot both. I will definitely say that the M2.0 is worth buying. It's a good gun. Is it $100+ better than the original Shield? Given the paucity of differences, I just don't know that it is.

The biggest difference is the trigger spring kit, at least between these two guns. The M2.0 has a decent go-pedal, but a custom 1911 it is not. Not by a very, very, very long shot.

Had one to guess, Smith and Wesson isn't going to make the original Shield and other first-gen M&P pistols forever. In all likelihood, they're either in the process of being phased out or will be soon enough. While they are still in production, I'd make hay while the sun shines, so to speak and get the older models for less.

Granted, go handle both and shoot both. If you find you like the M2.0 better, get that one! If you're good with the original, get that one! If you find you prefer the crisp, clean trigger and superior ergonomics of a 1911, then you clearly have great taste in firearms.

The ShapeShift Core Carry Pack is currently available for the original Shield in 9mm and .40 caliber, and for both flavors of the M2.0.

Looking for more gun comparisons? Alien Gear Holsters has you covered:

About The Author

Writer sam hoober