Smith & Wesson is a staple among fans both young and old. For those fans who may be a bit older or have trouble racking the slide the S&W EZ series of pistols has been a godsend, allowing them to operate guns they couldn’t previously. Earlier this year S&W dropped the Equalizer, which EZ inspired riff off their Shield Plus design and since then it’s been a best seller

I got a chance to test out the Equalizer recently at a Smith & Wesson event in Florida and these are my initial thoughts on the gun.

The Design

The nature of the EZ design offers a light racking spring, perfect for those who might struggle with the full power spring of a normal semi-automatic slide spring. The optics cut slide also offers the ability to mount a red dot which can aid in faster target acquisition. 

As its name suggests, this handgun is perfect for that expanding demographic of firearms owners in the U.S. The easy rack slide makes this a great option for people less in stature with weaker hands. 

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

Changing the Culture

I’ve often noticed that many people in the gun industry push revolvers on those who struggle with slide spring tension, when racking a semi-automatic handgun. This always baffled me, because often the revolver has a long and heavy trigger pull, is often chambered in a heavier recoiling round, and offers high bore-axis which can lead to less control. 

When there are semi-auto guns that are easier to operate and offer a host of upgrades comparatively, the choice becomes a lot easier. 

Equalizing Performance

After getting some trigger time on the Equalizer, I was pleased with the experience, which surprised me a bit considering I normally like bigger guns due to how big my hands are. 

The Equalizer offers a slide that is smooth and effortless to rack. I can certainly see the appeal for people with less grip strength. The grip is perfectly textured, not too aggressive, yet tactile enough to maintain control. The magazine comes in three sizes for 9mm - 10+1, 13+1, and 15+1 - which are all impressive considering the overall size of the handgun. 

While I'm not a huge fan of the grip safety it's not a total dealbreaker, the upgraded trigger though is appreciated. (Photo: Alexander Reville/

Besides having an impressive capacity S&W also upgraded the trigger and improved its features with a more traditional striker fire layout. This includes a back face mounted trigger safety (as seen on Glocks) as opposed to the two-piece hinge trigger of the earlier S&W designs. 

In my opinion, the only detractor of the handgun is the back mounted 1911 style grip safety, as I believe it to be a dated design, but even this isn’t a dealbreaker as it’s easy to engage. 

Related - Smith & Wesson Announces New Pistol: The Equalizer

Initial Range Thoughts

Shooting the firearm was a great experience. While I do struggle with smaller pistols, the extended magazines gave me a great purchase on the handgun. It’s slim, yet fills the hand nicely, especially with the 15-round mag inserted. The bore axis is relatively low, and the 9mm chambering is light recoiling, making follow-up shots easy with the reduced muzzle flip. 

I only had the chance to put four mags through the gun since there was a lot happening that day. What I found though in those initial shots was a gun that is smooth and accurate, with an easy trigger pull. The aggressive slide serrations paired with the easier slide tension make this the perfect companion to carry.

In Summary

Overall, it is not a reinvention of the wheel, however, it did bring some efficiency and renewed relevancy to an already trusty design. Smith & Wesson is a great company, with a solid reputation, and the Equalizer won’t disappoint.  Don’t just take it from me though, see what customers have to say about the Equalizer below.


revolver barrel loading graphic