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Additional Thoughts on the “Pocket” 9mm Shootout

This past Sunday, Sean from NCGunBlog.com, Ben, and I all met at the Wake County Firearms Education and Training Center to put the Springfield XDs 9mm, S&W Shield, and Walther PPS up against each other. The three of us talked about the shootout on Episode 68 of the podcast, but as the week has went on I’ve come up with some additional thoughts on the three pistols:

  • Grip: I found while shooting the three pistols, the S&W Shield, and the Walther PPS wanted to jump around in my hand a bit more than the XDs. They may have had a little more recoil, but I think it really came down to the grip texture on the XDs which really gets into your hand. I don’t have the PPS here, but here’s the XDs grip next to the Shield. Notice the Shield is textured a little on the front strap, but it’s not enough to do anything.
  • Ambidextrous Controls: Both the Springfield XDs and the Walther PPS have ambidextrous magazine releases at all times. The S&W Shield has a reversible magazines release, just like the fullsize M&P line. Unfortunately the Shield does not have an ambidextrous slide release like it’s bigger brothers, and neither do the XDs and the PPS.
  • Added Confidence: After the XDs began having issues with any cartridge loaded with Hornady FTX bullets (Critical Defense, Critical Duty, TAP FTP), I actually began carrying ball ammo in the pistol when I carried it. Not ideal, but it beats harsh words and a sharp stick I guess. Since the shootout, I have a renewed confidence that the XDs will reliably feed and fire Remington Golden Sabre 124gr +p JHPs, and the Federal Hi-Shok 115gr JHPs and I went ahead and ordered some Golden Sabres for carry.
  • Interchangeable Grips: Both the XDs and the PPS come standard with interchangeable back straps, but just like the slide release on the M&P line, S&W decided not to put interchangeable back straps on the Shield. Unfortunate, because I think the Shield could benefit from a little extra grip (not to mention that it’s a lot less daunting to stipple a $2 back strap than a $500 pistol).

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. Do you think that the overall width led to some more jumping around of the Shield over the XDS as well or would a good stippling job make them negligible?

    • Nah, the overall width is pretty negligible between them. The somewhat egg shaped grip on the Shield, and the lack of any finger grooves or meaningful texture allows it to slip in my grip more than the others.

  2. The Shield does NOT have a reversible magazine release.

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