Smith & Wesson released the 380 Shield EZ without much fanfare. From my tabletop examination of the pistol I think this was a smart move. Not because the gun is boring, but because it’s not for those who fall for fanfare. The 380 Shield EZ is perfect as a first handgun, or for those who are more concerned about function than maintaining their mall ninja status.
A locked-breech .380 is not common. This handgun has “easy” all over it from magazine loading to slide operation. Details on that can be found in our first look article. If you’re curious about just how soft it shoots, see the slow-motion video below.
For the rest of the range time the 380 Shield EZ got the standard GBGuns battery. Full-magazine +1 , the popular, “what’s for dinner?” multi-load test, and then a quick grouping of five shots from seven yards.
The “What’s for Dinner?” test includes 13 different loads ranging from 102gr down to 50gr. Steel-cased, aluminum-cased, lead-free, and hollow points are all included in the test. Can a gun locking .380 ACP eat them all? See the test footage below.
So far I’m very impressed with S&W’s newest pistol. Modern .380 defensive loads are arguably just as effective as 9mm, but are generally softer shooting. Though this pistol may be angled at the new shooter, or non-enthusiast who just wants something simple and comfortable I think the new Shield is a serious contender in the single-stack market.
As a suggestion to a friend, or an option for the next 9mm shortage, I recommend the 380 Shield EZ. As an extra-kicker the pistol is hammer-fired! Trigger snobs rejoice. The 380 Shield EZ has something for everyone.
The only catch that I can see is the cost of .380 ACP ammunition. As much as we Americans love Browning, Luger’s round with a case just 2mm longer has become our go-to. Once again ammo cost is not a concern for the occasional shooter. Some could even argue that training with a softer-shooter pistol is worth the extra expense.