Review: M&P Shield Plus Performance Center


A few weeks ago we were able to test the new and exciting Smith and Wesson M&P Shield Plus 9mm.

This high-capacity variant of the well-known and very popular Shield compact pistol demonstrated excellent performance.

I have also been able to test-fire the new and interesting Shield Plus Performance Center pistol.

This is an elevated Shield Plus if you may, with many good features. The grip and frame are the same, while the slide and barrel are longer.

With a four-inch barrel, the Performance Center pistol generates a bit more velocity, on the average of 50 fps according to the ProChrony, over the 3.1-inch barrel Shield Plus.

The real advantage is in practical accuracy and handling.

The pistol’s main advantage is an excellent set of fiber-optic sights, as well as the longer sight radius.

Since the grip and frame dimensions are the same as the other Shield Plus, the pistol isn’t difficult to conceal.

Purchase a Galco Stow-N-Go inside-the-waistband holster and you are good to go with concealment.

The longer slide and barrel will be buried in the trousers and easily concealed with a light garment.

The original Shield and the new Shield Plus are not hard kickers.

The new pistol, however, is a downright light kicker with a little extra weight up front.

I think this pistol has a great deal of appeal to those that wish their carry gun to double as a house gun.

For home defense, a little more barrel and sight radius coupled with lower recoil is good to have.

There isn’t anything quite as versatile as this pistol with its 13-round magazine, fiber-optic sights and easy handling.

The Performance Center gun has two more ounces of stabilizing recoil-dampening weight.

The pistol is lighter and faster handling than quite a few competitors.

A rather nicely outfitted tool kit is provided with the Performance Center pistol.

Gun Cleaning Kit
A very nice tool kit is included with the Performance Center Shield Plus 9mm.

Standout Feature: Mag Capacity

Magazine capacity is a huge selling point.

The slim-line nine usually holds six to eight cartridges, with greater capacity available with extended magazines.

Nine rounds of 9mm Luger is a good reserve of ammunition, greater than a five or six-shot .38, and much more effective than a .380 ACP pistol, yet not much more difficult to carry.

The new Shield Plus is modified to take a flush-fit 10-round magazine or an extended 13-round magazine.

The grip circumference isn’t any larger than the original Shield. You can do wonders with a polymer frame and modern technology.

This is quite an example of modern CNC design and manufacture.

M&P Shield Plus Pistols
The Shield Plus 9mm is a winner in either variant. The Performance Center gun is worth the extra tariff. The standard Shield Plus is a great all-around pistol.

Other Features and Specs

I have repeated much of the introduction of the Shield Plus above.

There is also a good bit of new information to talk about with the Performance Center gun.

The trigger on the original Shield Plus tested features a smooth, crisp 4.5-pound trigger compression.

The new pistol from the Performance Center breaks at 4.6 pounds, no surprises here. The flat trigger design is a very good one that I find useful.

Amornite coating is also a feature of the Shield Plus Performance Center pistol.

Disassembled Shield Plus
The Performance Center model disassembles as easily as any other Shield.

How It Fires

Getting down to the business of test firing the pistol, I found a handy, light and good shooting pistol. The Shield Plus handles well.

The Performance Center pistol, with its additional inch of barrel, handles even better than the standard Shield Plus.

There is no discernable slowing of the draw. The pistol gets on target quickly.

The balance is such that the pistol travels between targets quickly and smoothly.

The fiber-optic sights make for a great deal of difference in fast shooting.

Get the bright sights on the target and press the trigger straight to the rear and you have a hit. Speed loads are brilliantly fast.

I am unaware of any pistol this size that offers such fast handling and real speed in combat shooting — the Performance Center Shield Plus is that good.

Fiber-Optic Front Pistol Sight
A bold front sight aids accuracy.

Load Considerations

Any 9mm Luger handgun should be reliable with a wide range of ammunition.

I proofed the Performance Center Shield Plus with the Hornady 100-grain XTP Lite, a load intended to provide good performance with light recoil.

The Hornady 115-grain Critical Defense is a proven loading offering a good balance of expansion and penetration.

Finally, wishing to proof a +P loading, I tested the Hornady 124-grain XTP +P in the American Gunner line.

The pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject. Recoil control is good, although the +P loading did exhibit more push back.

As for accuracy, this is among the most accurate guns I have fired this size and weight.

Five-shot groups of less than two inches at 15 yards are the norm. This is a sharp-looking and nice performing pistol well worth its price.

What do you think of the M&P Shield Plus Performance Center? Let us know in the comments below!

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