Today Smith & Wesson officially released news that they are ready to begin shipping Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm handguns that have no manual thumb safety. This is great news for folks that are interested in a compact but powerful defensive handgun that is sized for convenient concealed carry.
I have been thrilled with the S&W Shield from its release except for one quality, the thumb safety. The safety on the Shield is unnecessary. The handgun has a trigger safety; a firing pin block and a reasonable weight trigger pull just like other Modern Striker Fired handguns. The difference is most of those other guns that are bigger cousins to the Shield have no manual thumb safety. In my opinion, they are built like they should be. Simply! Even the full size M&P pistols are available with no safety.
The safety was a deal breaker for me. In addition to being unnecessary, it was also so stiff and so small it was all but impossible to use. I typically advised students that owned and carried M&P Shields to carry the handgun with the safety turned off. It seems simple enough to just go this route, but there is a worry. What if that hard to use safety, the one you haven’t trained with because you pretend it isn’t there, somehow gets activated. Yeah. That is what we call a bad day. But it seems like a farfetched possibility.
Jonathan Faucher has spent some time training with Safety Solutions Academy when we have courses in the NE. On Jonathan’s second time attending an SSA Critical Defensive Handgun course he took it the way students really should. He carried his actual carry gun instead of the larger easier to shoot range gun that most students bring. Jon also carries in an unorthodox way. I’ll leave that to your imagination.
In class we talked about the possibility of accidentally activating the safety. We discussed it was a long shot but a bad deal if it happened. It was sometime on day two when it did. Jon took some serious steps to keep it from happening again including a holster specific for his unusual mode of carry and resolved to accept the risk.
Jon does a good job of keeping in touch like a lot of my students do and last week he let me know that during training (thank goodness) it happened again. It was a few minutes later that he sent me an image of the M&P Shield spec sheet that he had seen in a forum. I passed the image to my good friend Richard Johnson at Guns Holsters and Gear and he started his usual deep investigation. At first we were convinced that it was a rumor and then Richard got a call from Smith & Wesson.
The rest is history. Or about to be.
Read the rest of the scoop here at Richard’s site and if you aren’t following him you are crazy. There is a reason I gave this info to the sleuth.
Start talking to your dealer about your new 9mm single stack Smith and Wesson M&P Shield with no manual thumb safety now. They should be shipping immediately.
Finally the right single stack 9mm has hit the market. I was really hoping it would be a Glock but in the end it really doesn’t matter. My guess is they will be vying for silver in the New Year.