Smith & Wesson has been updating and upgrading their lineup over the last year. The M&P 2.0 series quieted previous complaints about texture and trigger. We showed you the new Shield 2.0 in November. The Bodyguard hadn’t been updated and fans of Browning’s .380 ACP began to feel left out. Smith & Wesson heard those cries and has released a handgun that seems perfectly modeled for the non-operator types.
The .380 Shield EZ is aptly named. The pistol has been made easy to operate. Starting with the largest concern for new shooters and those with reduced strength is the slide. While styling looks just like the other M&P 2.0 models the rear of the slide has subtle wings to aid in sling-shot style racking.
The action follows the standard Browning locking system which is a rare find for the caliber. Thanks to the locking system the recoil spring is soft enough that I was able to rack the gun with a finger! I don’t advocate doing that with a loaded gun, but tried it as a test to just how easy the gun is to rack.
The external safety is easy to engage or disengage from either side. The grip safety threw the internet into a frenzy, but deactivation is easy and it serves as simple insurance for those who might carry the gun in a purse or bag. Another interesting feature is in the two included magazines.
The magazines feature a thumb knob like one might find on a .22. While not the most comfortable thing to push on, it does serve to assist in loading. The slide release/lock also feels to be more pronounced than normal. As stated earlier everything about the 380 Shield EZ is easy! The video above provides some more details on the gun.
One more fun note: The 380 Shield EZ is hammer-fired! An internal hammer eliminates any of the negatives about hammer-fired guns and still provides that nice and clean break that we all love about the action. No mush from a striker, no risk of lint or filth preventing the hammer from striking. See the video for how Smith & Wesson managed to fit that system into this new design.
For those of you who love to look at numbers, the specifications below are directly from the 380 Shield EZ product page.
- SKU: 11663
- Model: M&P® 380 SHIELD™ EZ™ Manual Thumb Safety
- Caliber: .380 Auto
- Capacity: 8+1
- Barrel Length: 3.675″ / 9.3 cm
- Overall Length: 6.7″
- Front Sight: White Dot
- Rear Sight: Adjustable White Dot
- Action: Internal Hammer Fired