Reports of distributors and dealers being told to halt sales of Smith & Wesson M&P Shield pistols are flying all over the Internet, leading many to believe a recall is pending.
Fortunately, it appears the problem could be limited. Smith & Wesson has posted a “safety alert” regarding a specific malfunction of the concealed-carry pistols’ triggers.
That being said, the flaw could affect any M&P Shield manufactured prior to Aug. 19, 2013, so it may be present on essentially every Shield ever made currently on the market.
“We believe this condition is largely limited to recently manufactured M&P Shield pistols. However, out of an abundance of caution, we are asking all consumers of all M&P Shields manufactured before Aug. 19, 2013 to immediately inspect their pistols for this condition.”
What’s happening is that in some cases, the pistols’ passive trigger safety is failing to engage even if there is nothing putting pressure on the trigger. Normally the safety would prevent the trigger from getting pulled except when it’s being handled.
In addition, pistols with a stuck trigger safety are not drop-safe.
“Smith & Wesson has identified a condition where the trigger bar pin could damage the lower trigger in certain M&P Shields in a way that may affect the functionality of the drop safety feature of the firearm, potentially allowing the pistol to discharge if it is dropped” explains the Smith & Wesson safety alert.
“Any unintended discharge of a firearm has the potential to cause injury, and we ask that you STOP USING YOUR PISTOL IMMEDIATELY UNTIL IT HAS BEEN INSPECTED AND, IF THE CONDITION IS FOUND, REPAIRED.”
If you have a Shield with this problem, you’re advised to send it back to Smith & Wesson for service. If you’re uncomfortable with performing the inspection procedure Smith & Wesson is asking that you take your Shield pistol to a local M&P certified armorer for inspection.
While the pistol does have a manual safety, the passive trigger safety has a long track record for reliability and safety, and is faster and easier to use in a stressful situation. Because of this, many people opt not to use it. For those people, the Shield effectively has no safety to speak of.
Of course, if you do have this issue with your M&P Shield, Smith & Wesson will repair it for you at no cost including shipping. They are expecting a five- to seven-day turnaround on all service.
The M&P Shield has been one of Smith & Wesson’s biggest sellers ever since they announced it. A slim, comfortable pistol designed for concealed-carry and backup use, the Shield has quickly risen to the top in terms of popularity, in part because they also have a great reputation for reliability.
These guns have sold extremely well and are at peak demand as concealed-carry becomes more and more common across the nation.
While this flaw does not affect their reliability in any way, it’s definitely a good idea to check your Shield’s trigger for your own safety and the safety of others.