Self-defense is especially important for the less physically able, but what use is the great equalizer of a gun if you have to already be big and strong to use one? While proper technique can help, it’s also easy to forget how to operate a gun properly while under life-threatening stress. Plus practicing at the range is much more enjoyable without having to struggle with running slides or hanging on to heavily recoiling guns. Fortunately, manufacturers have shown increasing interest in designing pistols that are easier to use.
Two years ago, Smith & Wesson released the soft-shooting, easy to operate M&P .380 Shield EZ. This year, they’ve followed it up with the M&P 9 Shield EZ, which maintains many of the same features that made the .380 version popular. The new 9 mm also has an 8+1 capacity, an easy-to-rack slide, a simple grip safety and an available thumb safety. It’s only about 5 ounces heavier than the original and not much more expensive with an MSRP of $479 for standard versions with and without the thumb safety and $575 with a factory-installed Crimson Trace Red Laserguard.
Meanwhile, Walther has gone the opposite direction by releasing its CCP M2 in .380 ACP this year, to match its earlier 9 mm version. Walther features the Softcoil gas technology in these Compact Carry Pistols to reduce recoil and make slides less difficult to rack. With similar dimensions as the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield EZ series, the new CCP M2 in .380 ACP also has the same 8+1 capacity. It has a manual thumb safety, but no grip safety. MSRP is $469.
Both the M&P Shield EZ and Walther CCP M2 pistol lines are capable range, home defense and concealed-carry options, in either caliber available. The best way to find out which is right for you? Shoot them all and pick the one you like best.