As a licensed Concealed Carry permit holder, I’ve carried dozens of firearms over the years. Most recently I find myself gravitating towards one of two, almost every day…The new optics-ready M&P®9 M2.0™ Compact and the M&P®9 Shield™ Plus.
While there are many personal preferences that can factor into your decision of what firearm to carry, I highly suggest ensuring that you have what I call, the “Four C’s” covered. For me, the M2.0™ Compact and Shield™ Plus do that and more.
1. Consistency (Reliability)
When carrying a firearm, reliability is essential; not based solely off of reviews you’ve seen or what your friends have said but assessed through personal shooting experience and training. If you’re new to daily carry, it may sound excessive but I like to run a minimum of 500 rounds through a new gun before I consider carrying it. Roughly 20% of those rounds will be defensive rounds. My Shield Plus has just over 1,200 rounds through it, while the new M2.0 Compact has about 650. Both have proven to be extremely reliable and allow me to carry them confidently.
Tip: Even if you plan to add a red dot optic, be sure to become proficient with your iron sights as well. In the event your optic ever fails, you will still be proficient with your tools.
Ideally, you will be the only person who knows you’re carrying a firearm. The goal we all hope to achieve is minimal printing and holster readjusting. With the Shield Plus coming in at only 1.1” wide and 4.6” tall, it’s my “go-to” option for the warmer months where t-shirts are common attire. It doesn’t get much easier to carry concealed than it does with the Shield Plus.
The M2.0 Compact on the other hand, while still very concealable at 1.2” wide and 5” tall, tends to be my cold weather carry choice, since I have it set up with a larger weapon-mounted light and red dot optic. Additional clothing layers, help to conceal the slightly larger footprint. While the additional layers do make it easier, they are not always necessary. Both pistols are easily concealed with the right holster, allowing a basic t-shirt to provide total concealment.
There are a lot of varying opinions about carry capacity, but a consensus among people who daily carry is the more the merrier. Personally, I always like to have a minimum of a dozen rounds. This is another reason I find myself reaching for one of these two for my EDC. The Shield Plus has a capacity 13+1 with the extended magazine and the M2.0 Compact holds 15+1, with only one magazine for both.
I’m a huge fan of weapon-mounted lights and red dots, so the ability to customize my pistols by adding accessories is important to me. Conveniently, the new M2.0 Compact and Shield Plus both have optics-ready models that accommodate lights such as the Streamlight® TLR-7®A and TLR-6®, which I carry on the M2.0 Compact and Shield Plus respectively. There is nothing wrong with choosing to skip the accessorizing step, but I find having the option to add them is always better than not.
Regardless of which pistol I’m carrying; it is almost always accompanied by a handheld flashlight and a knife. With a similar combination of gear, you can be ready to confidently carry your pistol for lawful self-defense. Whether you’re looking for your first EDC gun or looking to replace a current, the M2.0 Compact and Shield Plus are more than worthy of making the cut.
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