Smith & Wesson this week announced a new version of its “micro 9″ M&P9 Shield Plus 3.1 that comes with a 13+1 mag (which is comparable in capacity to the vaunted old Browning Hi-Power in a much smaller frame) and a factory slide cut for micro red dots. Sure, S&W could have just released the Shield Plus with an optics cut when it debuted earlier in the year– like Ruger did with the MAX-9– but where is the fun in that?
Further enhancements from past Shield models include a flat-face trigger and an optimized grip texture designed for concealed carry. It ships with two magazines: an extended 13+1 round magazine that adds to the overall grip length and pistol height, as well as a flush-fit 10+1 round magazine. The pistol features the M&P hallmark 18-degree grip angle, which S&W argues lends to a more natural point of aim, therefore helping to better manage recoil, and get back on target quickly.
For those keeping count at home, Ruger (MAX-9), S&W (Shield Plus), Taurus (G3C TORO), Springfield Armory (Hellcat OR), and Sig Sauer (P365 XL and P365 SAS) all now have optics-ready double-stack 9mm micro compacts that offer at least a 10+1 capacity in a gun roughly the size of a Glock 43. Meanwhile, Glock’s smallest answer to the micro-9 trend is the G43X MOS, which is only slightly larger.
Talk about the golden age of carry pistols.
Anywhoo, more in my column at Guns.com.
Taurus announced the new micro-compact semi-auto pistol, the GX4, in May, billed as an 11+1 shot 9mm that was roughly the size of a traditional .380 pocket gun that had half the capacity. The specs of the polymer-framed striker-fired handgun– 5.8-inches long with the small backstrap installed, about an inch wide, and 4.4-inches high with the flush-fit magazine inserted– put it in the same boat as the Ruger MAX-9, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat line.
I’ve been kicking around the new Taurus GX4 over the past couple of months, having run some 500 rounds through it, and have some things to say about it.
The 11+1 shot Taurus GX4 is definitely compact. Micro compact, you could say.
Taurus is looking to take on the big boys with its new micro pistol, which is designed to deliver maximum concealment without sacrificing capacity or ergonomics – the GX4.
Getting the specs out of the way, the 11+1 shot 9mm is the size of popular .380 “pocket guns,” using a 3.06-inch barrel to tape out to a maximum 6.05-inch overall length. The gun is slender, at just over an inch wide, and it is 4.4 inches high at its tallest. The unloaded weight is 18.6 ounces. Fully loaded with 12 rounds of 147-grain JHPs, I found my test gun to hit the scales at 23.9 ounces.
Compared to other recently introduced micro 9s, such as the Ruger MAX-9, Sig Sauer P365, Smith & Wesson Shield Plus, and Springfield Armory Hellcat, the GX4 is a dead ringer as far as size goes. Plus, its flush-fit mags hold one extra round over the Sig or S&W’s comparable magazine while being on par with the Springer and one less than the Ruger.
However, where the GX4 cleans house is the price: $392. That’s the MSRP, meaning that “actual” prices at your local gun store will probably hover closer to “Three Fiddy.”
More in my column at Guns.com.
Every 25 years or so, handguns catch a big developmental wave. For instance, the last one prior to modern times occurred with the “Baby” Glocks of 1994, when the company debuted subcompact 10+1 shot pistols to make the most of the federal assault weapon ban. Those guns proved so successful that Glock now makes a subcompact model in all of their calibers– including the only company that makes a 10mm Auto pocket gun– while others have increasingly tried to imitate, duplicate or one-up the concept.
This brings us to 2018 when Sig Sauer brought their new “micro-compact” P365 to SHOT Show. Even smaller than the Glock G26 but with the same magazine capacity, it was a smash. Since then, Springfield Armory has brought their Hellcat to the market, with much the same concept, as had Taurus with the G3C.
Well, on the same day this week, both Ruger and Smith & Wesson announced their own separate P365/Hellcat/G3C competitors, the MAX-9 and the Shield Plus, respectively.
Ruger’s new MAX-9 Pistol, which, importantly, is optics-ready for under $500.
S&W M&P Shield Plus
Here is a snapshot of who they stack up when it comes to specs:
As for how they compare against each other in real life, the jury is still out on that one.