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I Carry: Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield in a Galco Belly-Band Holster

Welcome to another episode of "I Carry," Shooting Illustrated's weekly video series covering the guns and gear needed to put together a potential everyday-carry kit. Today we have a Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield carried in a Galco Gunleather holster. We're also using a Samson Manufacturing magazine extension, an Urban Armor Gear phone case and an SOG Knives knife.

Smith & Wesson M&P9 Shield M2.0 (MSRP: $479)

Smith & Wesson introduced the M&P9 Shield in 2012, and followed up with the M2.0 version in 2017. This upgrade features aggressive checkering on the grip, new forward serrations for press-checks and an enhanced trigger to address customer concerns on the original model. It’s a solid choice for a concealed-carry firearm for many reasons, not the least of which are its size, weight and caliber choices.

Because of the Shield’s eminently portable size, it’s a great fit for the active concealed-carry lifestyle. If you’re a jogger, cyclist or outdoor enthusiast, finding an EDC pistol with sufficient capacity in a major caliber that you can have with you at all times can be a tough job, and tends to come down to a handful of options. The M&P9 Shield M2.0, with 9 mm, .40 S&W and .45 ACP possibilities, offers a single-stack pistol with up to 9-round capacity depending on chambering.

If you do happen to bring the M&P9 Shield on a run or bike ride, you’ll immediately appreciate the 18-ounce weight and durable slide finish, as well as the nigh-invulnerable polymer frame. Eight or nine rounds of +P power 9 mm are on tap in the Shield, and with the M2.0 upgrades they can be delivered even more accurately than before. Also, it makes a great backup gun if you’re a fan of the M&P series of double stack handguns as well, keeping your manual-of-arms quite similar to your everyday firearm.

Galco Underwraps Belly Band (MSRP: $62)

Carrying your gear while active, especially in the warmer months, can certainly be a juggling act. Galco’s Underwraps belly band helps keep everything together, with ambidextrous pistol contours that place twin durable leather holster pockets on either side of the body. These leather pockets also serve to protect the trigger, often overlooked in belly band type holsters. Two additional elasticized nylon pockets can hold your phone, knife or spare magazine, and a generous hook-and-loop section keeps the belly band in place. This is a great choice for concealed carry when you don’t have pockets, or if the pockets aren’t up to the task of holding all your gear.

Samson Manufacturing Magazine Extension (MSRP: $27.99)

When you’re keeping minimalist kit, every little bit counts, and having something as simple as a plus one magazine extension can make a difference. Samson Manufacturing’s magazine extension for the M&P9 Shield allows an extra round in the magazine, giving eight rounds in a seven round magazine or nine rounds in the factory eight round version. It also offers a full, three-fingered grip without spacers that can pinch. An extra round is good for peace of mind, especially when your gear is minimalist and doesn’t allow for a spare magazine.

Urban Armor Gear Trooper iPhone Case (MSRP: $39.95)

Your smartphone is an essential bit of gear no matter what activity you’re engaged in, so why not protect it with a case that can also help you out? Urban Armor Gear’s Trooper iPhone case is impact resistant, contains oversize tactile buttons for power and volume and features a compartment that can carry your ID, license, credit card and paper money with ease. There’s no need to bring your entire wallet along for the 3-4 items you’ll need on your daily run.

SOG Ultra C-TI Knife (MSRP: $134)

Grams make ounces and ounces make pounds, so when you’re carrying everything at once, any chance to shave weight off is good, right? SOG’s Ultra C-TI Knife has a VG-10 steel blade, a carbon fiber handle and a titanium clip for an overall weight of just 1.3 ounces. The clip point blade is 2.8 inches, and the Ultra C-TI is held firmly open with SOG’s ARC-lock, which allows closing at the slide of a button. If you’re looking for a light knife you can take on your jog, the Ultra C-TI should easily be up to the task.

 

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