Glock and Smith & Wesson have been going toe to toe for several years in the Law Enforcement market. While Glock has slowly been screwing up their reputation, by fielding new pistols with Metal Injection Molding (MIM) parts, reliability issues from those parts and single stack 380’s that no one has asked for, Smith & Wesson has introduced an M&P line that has been eroding Glocks estimated 65% LE market and a single stack 9mm with the Shield. Now Smith & Wesson is capitalizing on Glock’s failure to answer the Shield in 2014, with a single stack 9mm of its own, and is getting a leg up on a future Glock single stack 9mm. Smith & Wesson has listened to the complaints about the Shield, which was mainly the external/manual safety, and has now released information that the Shield will be available without an external safety.
I am a hardcore Glock fan as most of our readers know. If you have read my articles on Glock, you know my disappointment in the G42, its caliber choice and the issues with MIM parts since 2009. Glock’s failure to maintain its reliability by saving cents on the dollar to go to MIM parts, and its failure to recognize the single stack 9mm market, is really hurting them in my opinion. Smith & Wesson is slowly chipping away at Glock’s hold on the LE and Civilian market. With Smith & Wesson’s announcement on the new Shield, it is continuing to chip away at Glock’s future ambitions in the single stack 9mm market.
The main reason I never really liked the Shield was the external/manual safety. There is nothing wrong with an manual safety but I like to keep all my defensive firearms as close as possible in operation. I think this is where others, who were used to carrying Glocks and M&Ps without the safety, wanted the Shield to mirror the same feature. The Smith & Wesson Shield is relatively inexpensive and have a few years of reliability on them. It looks like Smith & Wesson is winning in the single stack concealed carry 9mm world, now and in the near future.
With the recent announcement of the H&K VP9 Striker fired pistol, Glock might want to rethink what it has been doing over the past five years.
I have only been buying pre 2009 Glock’s for defensive carry and home defense as they do not have MIM parts. Hopefully Glock will re-evaluate the steps it has made in the last five years. For now it looks like the Smith & Wesson Shield is continuing to solidify its place as king of the single stack 9mm’s. Even if Glock comes out with a single stack 9mm next Shot Show, there will still be the MIM part issues and as we have seen with the G42, possibly reliability and part upgrade issues.