Battle of the Concealed Carry Compacts, Smith & Wesson is Winning


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.

S&W Shield no Safety
S&W Shield no 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.

Shield No Safety Option
Shield No Safety Option

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.

Heckler & Koch VP9
Heckler & Koch VP9 Striker Fired Pistol

Final Thoughts:

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.




  1. Hi, Duncan. Great thought-provoking article. The increase in the number of MIM parts is disturbing. I thought S&W was a leader in their introduction a few years ago. Do you have info about how a gunsmith or shooter can determine if any part is MIM or milled from bar stock (forged or not)? And, which Glock parts are now MIM?

    • Robert, It is pretty much common knowledge that Glock is using MIM (Metal Injection Molding) extractors, locking blocks and firing pins. Other firearms manufactures are using MIM as well ( Kimber, S&W) though Im not 100% on what parts they are using. Think of the MIM parts like a lego or model plastic parts, you can see the break/circle mark from the molding.

  2. I own a glock 26. Carried EVERYDAY until I shot the shield. Bought one a week later & the glock is now the bedside gun loaded with a factory 33 round mag. I love my glock but the single stack shield with its great trigger is so much easier to carry on a daily basis. I wish glock would have come out with a single stack 9mm.

  3. MIM parts can be high quality or not. The MIM process itself does not mean the part is not reliable. In fact, many manufactures find that MIM parts out perform milled parts. Since, S&W uses MIM parts on the Shield, it does not make sense to use MIM as a reason. In fact, it seems that the G4 Glocks are proving to last as long or longer than the previous generations.
    I would have preferred that the G42 had been chambered in 9mm rather than .380ACP, but if the lower recoil allows a few more people to carry, then it might have been exactly the right decision for Glock.

    • Lee. The Gen4 have only been around since late 09, only five years. It has taken a few years to work out some bugs. I would not say the Gen4s have the same service record longevity that the Gen2 and Gen3 have. There was wide reporting of the mim firing pin breaking from several departments. I know there are a lot of company’s using mim parts, seams like the glock issues did not come up until the mim parts started being used.

  4. Duncan, like your blog and articles. Not sure why you’re down on MIM parts. My degree is in metallurgical engineering and I’m very familiar with this process. I personally think this MIM stuff is an “internet myth”. Show me the hard failure data that backs up your concern about MIM parts and I’ll change my mind. As for Glock missing the boat on a single stack 9 – i agree with you and S&W was them beat in that arena with the improved Shield. The parts that Glock has been changing out in the production of the 42 (slide stop, trigger housing, & mags) are not MIM parts.

  5. Obvious bias here. I actually own the Shield 9mm and love it, but the G42 was the #1 selling Glock last year. It would be refreshing to actually read an objective opinion.

    • Obviously you did not care to look into our site, or anything about me, the writer. Clearly you are bias and have formed your own opinion of what you think my personal opinion is. If you had taken any time to review any of my previous articles, or look into the site you would know I am the Glock guy here. I only speak from experience of having carried Glocks for over 15 years in law enforcement, government, and civilian life. Apparently you know me better than I do. Please enlighten me on how you know the G42 is the best-selling Glock last year, and since you own one and apparently I don’t own a shield, please tell me what my personal opinion should be. It would be refreshing if you went and got your own damn site so you can express your own bias opinions on the matter. The fact is, this article is so right on target, that this week Glock will be releasing its own single stack 9. Now we will see how both of the 9mm firearms compare together.

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