SORRY:  This post was corrupted somehow and we lost it.  We are reposting today.  It previously had over 400 views.

 

 

It’s Tuesday and I’m supposed to be at Ray O’Herron’s sometime today to pick up my new Smith and Wesson M&P Shield.  The problem is I’m on the tail end of a bout with the flu (I lost) and with Ray’s being 40+ miles from Champaign I wasn’t yet sure if my stomach was up to the drive there and back.  I tried, made it to the end of the street and decided to wait for Wedneday.  Ray O’Herron’s doesn’t care, even when they don’t require a deposit.  Today, tomorrow, the end of the week, they’re good.  But I’ll probably die an old man who still gets excited and can’t wait to go pick up his new handgun.   And I’m happy about that, a strong enthusiasm for new guns, and other such events is what keeps us alive and happy. 

 

I’m on my way home, 35 highway miles and the blue Smith and Wesson box is sitting on the front passenger seat talking to me:  “open me up, rack my slide, squeeze my trigger, it’s okay..”   And I’m thinking all I need is for a passing car to see me with a gun in my hand and call in a man with gun call.  Wouldn’t that be embarrassing.  All the way home it continues to talk and thankfully by my age I’ve learned patience.  “yoo hoo, here I am, all brand new and still in the plastic..”   I was glad to get home.

 



Of course my wife and family members can recognize a new handgun before I make it all the way through the door and really, all I want is the first 30 minutes alone, to introduce myself and exchange first names.   As I open the familiar blue box my mind goes back to 1980 when I brought home my  first ever new handgun, a Smith and Wesson, a beautifully blued Model 19 with a 6 inch barrel and target sights.  I take inventory, the new M&P Shield with an extended magazine already inserted inside a blue anti-stat bag.  In a side cardboard area is the manual, envelope with fired brass, the 7 round carry magazine, and nothing else.  I slip the M&P Shield out of the blue anti-stat bag and it was love for sure.  I remove the red safety empty chamber indicator, the magazine, and move the slide reward.

 

Smoooth!  I manipulate the slide a few more times before raising the pistol and sighting across what appears to be very nice 3 dot sights while slowly squeezing the trigger.   The trigger is smooth and travels most of the way rearward before breaking with a relatively crisp break.  Wow, is this really a plastic gun?   I hope so, it’s a nice trigger right out of the box.   I repeat the full slide movement and trigger break 3-4 times more and I’m surprised how solid this pistol feels.

 

I pick up the manual and follow the instructions for a full take down using the yellow lever in the mag well.  It’s a bit of a pain because I can’t see it without a light which means I must balance the M&P Shield, a flashlight, and  small screwdriver.   Locking the slide back and using the screwdriver I move the lever downwards, then slide a stiff take down level towards the floor, and then pull the slide back and release.  The slide moves forward and separates from the lower frame.  That was way too complicated for the average gun owner, there must be a better way.  



I pick up the manual and follow the instructions for a full take down using the yellow lever in the mag well.  It’s a bit of a pain because I can’t see it without a light which means I must balance the M&P Shield, a flashlight, and  small screwdriver.   Locking the slide back and using the screwdriver I move the lever downwards, then slide a stiff take down level towards the floor, and then pull the slide back and release.  The slide moves forward and separates from the lower frame.  That was way too complicated for the average gun owner, there must be a better way.


 

There is!   But you won’t read this other method in the manual.  The yellow lever is there to allow take down without squeezing the trigger first.   I’m guessing some consumer safety writer who doesn’t know how to check for a loaded chamber and wasn’t sure what would happen if he squeezed the trigger, so he wrote and wished for a take down method that didn’t require squeezing the trigger first.

 

Well, for those of you who have been through most any of my classes and can check for a loaded chamber  there is a better way.    Make sure the chamber is empty, and squeeze the trigger.    Move the take down level down towards the floor, and now you can move the slide off the frame.  Manipulation of yellow lever not required. Easy as pie.  Who said it wouldn’t pay off to learn to check for a loaded chamber?  In this case it sure does.

 

I ran a solvent soaked patch through the barrel and wiped off the barrel, recoil spring, and lower frame before putting a few drops of gun oil on a patch and running it through the barrel and then used it to wipe all the metal surfaces inside and out.  Two seconds later the gun is reassembled and the take down lever back in its normal position.  Nice!

 

No new carry gun is complete and ready to take to the range without a proper holster.  Maybe several.  I have the new AP IWB model from Contact!Concealment sitting here.  It just arrived.   I also have an inexpensive but adequate FOBUS belt slide.  And on order from Contact!Concealment a made to my personal specifications SOB IWB holster I’ll share with you when it arrives.  The M&P Shield lends itself perfectly to IWB and AP (appendix carry) holsters and a variety of SOB (small of back) models as well.

 

Contact!Concealment isn’t a big company and later I’ll do a full write up on a handful of holsters I had made up to my specifications, and because they’re not a big company they had time to work with me not only on specifications, but design in a few cases as well.  Some friends still working in Tier One units recommended CIC and after my first experience with Bruce Weiler is the owner and right away I felt comfortable chatting with him about my requirements and after seeing and using the first one I knew he’s be supplying holsters for all of my carry guns, for some guns he’ll be making 2-3 of them.  They’re that good.

 


This is the Shield in a C!C IWB AP holster on a 110 pound 5’6” females body concealed.   This is what she was already wearing, dog hairs and all, when I decided to take these pictures.  She could have easily wore any number of outfits that wouldn’t show it at all.



 

This is the Shield in a C!C IWB AP holster on a 110 pound 5’6” females body concealed.   This is what she was already wearing, dog hairs and all, when I decided to take these pictures.  She could have easily wore any number of outfits that wouldn’t show it at all.


 


This is the M&P Shield in a C!C IWB AP holster with the tee-shirt drawn up and ready to draw.  Notice the heavy belt clip?  These come in either 1.75 of 1.5 inch sizes and really keep a strong hold on the belt.  The Shield/holster combination is surprisingly thin and the Kydex is molded with fit, retention, and comfort in mind.  Notice her where her thumb is resting?   The back part of the holster raised up further than the handgun goes?



 

This is the M&P Shield in a C!C IWB AP holster with the tee-shirt drawn up and ready to draw.  Notice the heavy belt clip?  These come in either 1.75 of 1.5 inch sizes and really keep a strong hold on the belt.  The Shield/holster combination is surprisingly thin and the Kydex is molded with fit, retention, and comfort in mind.  Notice her where her thumb is resting?   The back part of the holster raised up further than the handgun goes?

 


This is the “Paul Howe” (a well known firearms instructor) mod which is fast becoming popular.   It allows you to remove your weapon from the holster with one hand, which could come in useful in a variety of circumstances.  But where I really appreciate it’s use is when I want to remove my weapon from the holster silently, and with stealth.  There  are circumstances where this capability could save your life and I’m sure you’re thinking of a few as you ready this.  I’ll never have another carry holster made without it.  Notice the M&P Shields scallop serrations?



 


This is the “Paul Howe” (a well known firearms instructor) mod which is fast becoming popular.   It allows you to remove your weapon from the holster with one hand, which could come in useful in a variety of circumstances.  But where I really appreciate it’s use is when I want to remove my weapon from the holster silently, and with stealth.  There are circumstances where this capability could save your life and I’m sure you’re thinking of a few as you ready this.  I’ll never have another carry holster made without it.  Notice the M&P Shields scallop serrations?

 



Notice the two tension adjustment screws?  This is a nice touch.  By varying both screws you can achieve a very nice balance between retention and release.  In this image you can see the 8 round extended magazine is attached.



 


Notice the two tension adjustment screws?  This is a nice touch.  By varying both screws you can achieve a very nice balance between retention and release.  In this image you can see the 8 round extended magazine is attached.




When you first see the white Sharpie writing on the back you’ll want to laugh.  But after you have a few of these holsters you come to appreciate the labeling.  You can also see how well the molding fit and how the holster covers the complete trigger guard.



 


When you first see the white Sharpie writing on the back you’ll want to laugh.  But after you have a few of these holsters you come to appreciate the labeling.  You can also see how well the molding fit and how the holster covers the complete trigger guard.

 



In this picture you can once again see the Paul Howe modification and how well the M&P Shield fits into this C!C IWB AP holster.  This is a very comfortable holster, easy to make a nice controlled draw, silent if you employ the Paul Howe modification.



 


In this picture you can once again see the Paul Howe modification and how well the M&P Shield fits into this C!C IWB AP holster.  This is a very comfortable holster, easy to make a nice controlled draw, silent if you employ the Paul Howe modification.




Most if not all other Kydex holsters I’ve seen have an open bottom which would allow say, a Glock G19 and G17 both to fit in the same holster by allowing the barrel to protrude past the holster.  C!C doesn’t do that.  Each holster is a hand made custom creation for a specific weapon, not a compromise for 4-5 weapons.  Moreover, you notice the extra protection such a fold-in style allows?  These are very nice holsters.   Sorry for the dog hairs.



 


Most if not all other Kydex holsters I’ve seen have an open bottom which would allow say, a Glock G19 and G17 both to fit in the same holster by allowing the barrel to protrude past the holster.  C!C doesn’t do that.  Each holster is a hand made custom creation for a specific weapon, not a compromise for 4-5 weapons.  Moreover, you notice the extra protection such a fold-in style allows?  These are very nice holsters.   Sorry for the dog hairs. 

 



From this view we can see the very nice quality white dot rear and front sight.  They’re metal (not plastic like most of the others I’ve seen) and truth be told I’m a bit reluctant to change them to my standard carry sight.  But I will, I very much believe in all my carry guns having the same sight picture.  We’ll talk more about what sights I use and why in another article.



 


From this view we can see the very nice quality white dot rear and front sight.  They’re metal (not plastic like most of the others I’ve seen) and truth be told I’m a bit reluctant to change them to my standard carry sight.  But I will, I very much believe in all my carry guns having the same sight picture.  We’ll talk more about what sights I use and why in another article.

 



This is the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield MP field stripped and ready for cleaning.   Now that I know we don’t have to use the yellow take down lever disassembly takes mere seconds.  You can barely see the yellow take down level peaking up over the rear safety lever.



 


This is the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield MP field stripped and ready for cleaning.   Now that I know we don’t have to use the yellow take down lever disassembly takes mere seconds.  You can barely see the yellow take down level peaking up over the rear safety lever.  Part 3 will be the last part and will detail how it shoots in a variety of CCW drills.  Look for Part 3 in 7-10 days. I tend to take a long time to evaluate how well a handgun performs.

 

Until next time..