How to Choose the Best M&P Shield Holster
The best M&P Shield holster depends on the variant, how you intend to carry the weapon, and whether the pistol has a laser, weapon-mounted light, a combination of the two, or an optical sight.
M&P Shield M2.0
The Smith & Wesson M&P series consists of several variants, including the Shield, Shield M2.0, and Shield Plus. All pistols in the Shield series have stainless-steel barrels and slides treated with the Armornite finish for corrosion resistance.
M&P Shield M2.0 Variants
The Shield is the Micro-Compact variant of the M&P handgun series. The M2.0 is the second generation and features several ergonomic improvements. Shield M2.0 pistols are available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP.
M&P 9 Shield M2.0
The M&P 9 Shield M2.0 is chambered in 9mm Luger and has a 3.1” barrel, an overall length of 6.1”, a height of 4.6”, a width of 0.95”, and a weight of 18.3 oz. The single-stack magazine has a capacity of 7+1 or 8+1 (with an extended base plate). The Shield is available with or without a manual thumb safety catch and your choice of either white three-dot combat sights or night sights.
M&P 40 Shield M2.0
Chambered in the .40 S&W cartridge, the M&P 40 Shield M2.0 has the same external dimensions as its 9mm counterpart, but the .40-caliber variant weighs 18.1 oz. and has a magazine capacity of 6+1 or 7+1.
M&P 45 Shield M2.0
In .45 caliber, the M&P 45 Shield M2.0 has a 3.3” barrel, an overall length of 6.45”, and a height of 4.88” (with a flush-fit magazine). Despite the increased caliber, the frame width is still only 0.99”. However, the most notable difference is the weight — 20.5 oz. or two punches heavier than the M&P 9 Shield.
M&P 9 Shield Plus
As a result of competition from high-capacity compact handguns, Smith & Wesson introduced Shield Plus. Instead of a 7- or 8-round single-stack magazine, the Shield Plus fits ten rounds (+1) into a package roughly the same size as the standard Shield M2.0. You also have the option of an extended 13-round magazine for increased firepower.
The Shield Plus is 1.1” in width (0.94” minus the controls), and the pistol is heavier at 20.2 oz. If you’re looking for the best M&P Shield Plus holster, our M&P Shield holsters are interchangeable, as the critical dimensions remain the same.
Kydex IWB and OWB M&P 9/40 Shield
Our Kydex holsters use a thin-walled (0.08”) shell, which is lightweight (3 oz.) and low profile, allowing you to take full advantage of the Shield’s Micro-Compact frame size. All of our Kydex holsters provide adjustable and passive retention for quick-draw versatility.
The M&P 9 and 40 variants are ideal for concealed carry inside the waistband (IWB) and can use the same holster. Our IWB holster is also compatible with the Massachusetts-compliant weapon.
In searching for the best holster for M&P Shield 9mm pistols, the emphasis is on concealability — the holster you select should hold the weapon close to your body to minimize printing. In the 9mm and .40-caliber variants of the Shield, the height is only 4.6”, ensuring that the butt won’t protrude excessively when wearing a covering garment.
Kydex IWB M&P 45 Shield
The M&P 45 Shield is also suitable for IWB carry, but you’ll need a dedicated holster for this pistol, as its external dimensions are sufficiently different to prevent interchangeability.
IWB carry isn’t the only option available for compact handguns. Our Kydex outside-the-waistband (OWB) holsters for M&P 9 and 40 Shield pistols use a paddle design to attach securely to the gun belt. As a result, if you need to detach your weapon quickly, you don’t have to remove your belt. As with IWB, you’ll need a separate holster for the .45-caliber variant.
Crimson Trace Red/Green Laser
Smith & Wesson offers its M&P Shield M2.0 with an integrated Crimson Trace red or green laser. A laser can increase target acquisition at close range, especially when firing from retention under low-light conditions. As the inclusion of a laser changes critical dimensions, we take that into account by molding a Kydex IWB holster specifically for this variant, in addition to an OWB option.
We also sell a holster that fits that system if you have an M&P Shield with a Crimson Trace LG489G laser, complete with an activation switch on the front strap. We also sell a holster that fits that system.
Laser and Light
A laser can help you aim your weapon under dimly-lit conditions, but a light-equipped handgun can help identify and illuminate threats in the dark. The Streamlight TLR-6 attaches to the trigger guard; therefore, it’s compatible with weapons that don’t have accessory rails, such as the M&P Shield.
Our Kydex and leather holsters, in both IWB and OWB configurations, have full sweat shields to protect the gun against corrosion. Increased clearance is necessary if you want to carry a handgun for competitive target shooting or self-defense that uses an optical sight, such as a micro red dot (MRD). Carrying an optics-equipped M&P Shield requires an IWB holster specifically cut for that profile.
Leather M&P Shield 9mm Holster
If you’d prefer the classic look and feel of leather, consider our Independence IWB and OWB holsters.
While the M&P Shield is a lightweight firearm, the IWB Independence holster uses two evenly spaced belt clips to ensure the weight is well distributed on your gun belt. Heavy-duty stitching and vegetable-tanned cowhide construction hold the weapon securely in place and won’t deform due to regular use.
Like our IWB leather holster, the Independence OWB benefits from the same durable, hand-molded construction and full-grain leather. The difference is that the OWB holster uses a reinforced leather belt loop in the front and a PVC-coated ballistic-nylon belt loop in the rear. The rear tail fin helps keep the holster and gun close to your body, so you can still conceal your Shield despite the OWB method effectively.
However, we design our leather holsters to fit the M&P Shield pistols in their standard configurations. These holsters are not compatible with laser, flashlight, or optic-equipped firearms. You can order one of our IWB leather holsters for the 9mm and .40-caliber variants, but you’ll need to select one of our Kydex holsters for the M&P 45 Shield.
The Best M&P Shield Holsters in Kydex or Leather
If you choose to carry an M&P Shield in 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP, you need a holster that’s safe, durable, and accessible. One of the essential attributes of a holster is retention, which is why the holster you select must be molded to the specific dimensions of the firearm you intend to carry. This includes lasers, lights, and optics.
We The People Holsters supply M&P Shield holsters in Kydex and leather to suit several calibers and feature variants.