Smith & Wesson’s M&P Shield EZ .380 Review: Is My Grandma’s Gun Better Than Yours?

Smith & Wesson’s

Smith & Wesson’s small .380-caliber M&P Shield EZ is a personal protection pistol designed to be easy to use – hence the “EZ,” get it? It shines for people less familiar with firearms or with weaker hands. However, that does not mean it is not suitable for seasoned veteran shooters. I think it’s just good all around.

To help me with the review, I brought in the target audience, my mother-in-law, Connie. She has been wanting a semi-auto Smith & Wesson’s pistol for a while, but because of arthritis in her hands, she cannot manipulate most conventional guns. As you can see, this gun worked very well for her. 

Review Contents

Pros & Cons

Pros & Cons Up Front

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ .380 Pistol
From recoil control and shootability to price and reliability, the EZ is a winner for experienced and less experienced shooters. (Photo: Don Summers/


  • Easy to load and shoot
  • Easy to rack the slide
  • Fast, accurate, reliable
  • Easy to carry concealed
  • Light recoil and good grip
  • Low price


  • Other more powerful round options
  • Lower capacity at 8+1
  • Could use more slide serrations
  • Some people don’t like grip safeties
  • Sights could be better

Final Verdict: I’m a fan of this gun for both new shooters, shooters with hand-strength/size issues, and concealed carry. But I think it’s great for all shooters, and I could even take it into competition easily.

Let’s break down exactly why…


Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ .380 Pistol
Even for people with weaker hands or new shooters, the simple truth is that the EZ slide is easier to work. (Photo: Don Summers/

The first thing most people notice is how easy it is to rack the slide. It is a significant difference. Typically, inexperienced pistol owners have trouble racking and locking the slide back because they have not figured out the proper mechanics and/or have not built the necessary hand strength. Junior and smaller shooters as well as those with a hand injuries or disability may just lack the grip necessary to manipulate a standard pistol. The EZ is a solution to this demographic. Connie could not budge the Glock slide, but she had no problems with the EZ.

Glock 19 Slide
Compare the EZ slide to this Glock 19, a pretty standard handgun, and it’s clear what audience the EZ was made for. (Photo: Don Summers/

The slide only has good rear cocking serrations, but they are very aggressive and give a great purchase. I do wish they extended a little bit farther. The last feature on the slide is a visual and tactile loaded-chamber indicator on top. That’s another good addition for newer shooters.