The new M & P Shield 380 EZ made by Smith and Wesson is perhaps my favorite gun of all times. And that’s saying a lot, as I own a ton of guns and have shot nearly everything out there. I usually don’t do handgun reviews, but I am making a personal exception for this one. Read on and find out why!
Why I Bought the M & P Shield 380 EZ
The reason is not what you think! I train a lot of ladies, many of whom have never shot before in their lives. Most show up to class or club meetings with firearms not suitable for their needs. At all. It has almost become laughable what some show up with! I quickly decided that I needed to provide them with an alternative firearm that would not only give them confidence but also convince them to dump what they proudly brought to class.
I’m here to tell you that it is not easy to convince any woman that she has spent hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars on something she can never use. Most of us women, including myself, don’t like wasting money. We don’t mind spending our hard earned dollars on things we deem useful, but cringe when our significant others buy completely useless things. Lesson number one: Don’t let any man pick out your conceal carry firearm. While they mean well, they have no idea the challenges we women face! I say with full confidence that 99% of women come to class with a gun that a man has chosen for her.
I am an avid Smith & Wesson girl, fully sans my husband’s opinion. And I own every caliber of the S & W line except the 40 cal, which is a story in and of itself. When I saw that they were coming out with an easy to rack pistol designed especially for women, I had to have it. Most of my students and TWAW (The Well Armed Woman) members struggle with racking the slide in semi autos, and I thought “Bingo!” This is the solution! I could never have predicted what was going to happen next.
M & P Shield 380 EZ: How Great Thou Art
The first time I shot the M & P Shield 380 EZ I thought, “Where have you been all my life?” Aside from my full size M & P 2.0 compact 9mm, I have never been more accurate with my shots. While I have no problem racking any slide, the ease of this one blew my mind! And forget about speed loaders; this gun has follower buttons that make loading the magazine easy for all. Even for those with severely arthritic hands and fingers! If you have trouble loading ammo into the magazine of any firearm, this reason alone should make you consider this gun.
All Smith & Wesson MPs have unique textured grips, and for some reason, they seem to be made to fit my hands. It’s almost like everything about this gun was made custom, just for me! This brought me to a startling realization: this pistol was meant to be my everyday carry gun. As much as I do not want to admit it and do not want it to be, this gun actually has become my EDC. (every day carry) I bought it to use to train new shooters, and now carry it on my body every day.
Ladies Love the M & P Shield 380 EZ
I have watched countless ladies reduced to tears of frustration while learning to shoot. When they reach the “I give up” point, I hand them my 380 EZ. I cannot tell you how much joy it brings to both of us to see them succeed! In fact, I have never had a single student not love this gun. “It’s so easy!” “Look at my target! I actually hit it where I was aiming!” ” I can’t believe how easy it is to load and rack!” And finally, “You were right, it was the gun and not me.” Let me repeat that, ” It was the gun and not me.” Guns are kind of like shoes. Each one fits differently. You need to find the one that fits you.
We ladies have much smaller hands than men, and also are not as strong as them. My husband can’t hit anything with this gun, and that’s ok. He, and most other men, also think that carrying a 380 for self defense is a joke. Tell that to my neighbor who killed a nuisance black bear with one shot between the eyes with “only” a 22!
I have decided that I really don’t care what men, even my mentors who are men, think about me carrying a 380 daily for self defense. The rule of thumb is that a 9mm or above is considered a “suitable self defense round.” What good does it do if we carry “suitable self defense pistols” if we cannot accurately hit our targets?
M & P Shield 380 EZ Cost
Surprisingly, the M & P 380 EZ is very affordable! While it retails at $399, my local gun store sells it for $349. I have also seen it at several gun shows for $349, out the door, including taxes. This is a great gun for women. Even if you use it as a “trainer” gun, never get rid of it. As a matter of fact, never get rid of any gun you buy!
At my house, we have an unspoken vow of not selling guns. Ever. I have only ever sold one gun: a Glock 43. I just hated it, and couldn’t hit the side of a barn with it either. To each his own I guess. I am just not a Glock girl. While I am having “challenges” with my new Sig p365, however, I am determined to overcome them. Lol. No more sales.
M & P Shield 380 EZ Negatives
Well, there are a few. Because this gun is so small and thin, both positives by the way, its magazine only holds 8 rounds. What this means is that you must always carry an extra loaded magazine at all times. One of the arguments against using this gun as your EDC is that the magazine capacity is too small. My other pistols have anywhere from 12-15 round magazine capacities. But they do not conceal as well and I am not as accurate with them.
The other negative is the cost of ammo. 380 ammo is not cheap. It costs nearly $100 more per thousand rounds than 9mm ammo. I can get a thousand rounds of 9 mm target ammo for $190, and the same brand of target .380 ammo is $299 for the same thousand rounds. The good thing is that this gun is very accurate, so you may need to practice less. Better yet, learn how to dry fire practice! Self defense ammo for both the 9mm and .380 is a steady $1 per round.
There is one more potential issue to be aware of. I have had a few ladies struggle with the grip safety on this gun. Personally, I have never understood the point of a grip safety; who can shoot this without pushing it in? Apparently, a lot of people. Maybe because I have had a 1911 .45 cal my entire life this has not been a problem for me, as all of them have grip safety’s. With an adjustment in your grip this problem will disappear. I promise.
M & P Shield 380 EZ: What Are You Waiting For?
Even if you are a sharp shooter, you need this gun. If there is any girl in your life, be it a wife, daughter, granddaughter, mother, friend or neighbor, she can shoot this gun with ease. An added bonus is its size– small, thin, lightweight and easy to conceal. With minimal recoil added in, you can’t go wrong.
Ironically, right in the middle of writing this post I had to pull my M & P Shield 380 EZ in self defense. I took a break to go feed my livestock down at the barn. A nasty copperhead snake was hiding under my hay and nearly got me and my dog. While this gun isn’t the best choice to take out a venomous snake, it did the job just fine!
If you still need convincing, go rent one at your local range. You will not be disappointed. Be safe my friends.