At the end of every year, Shooting Illustrated staff gathers to consider guns and gear released in the past year and determine which one is worthy of the title, "Women's Innovation Product of the Year." To qualify for the award, the product in question must be available to the public, must have been tested and either met or exceeded our testing-and-evaluation protocols and offer a unique value to women shooters in particular, whether by innovation, affordability or other stand-out qualifications. For 2019, SI staff chose the Smith & Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ as its Golden Bullseye Women's Innovation Product of the Year.
Though the M&P380 Shield EZ isn't designed for women exclusively, obviously, the handgun is designed with a few features that tend to benefit shooters with less hand strength in general, all elements hinted at by the pistol's "EZ" moniker. The gun's selling points are that it can be easily racked, easily loaded and easily cleaned. The larger size paired with the lower-recoil .380 ACP round makes the gun easy to shoot as well.
All of these elements led Shooting Illustrated contributor Barbara Baird to laud the M&P380 Shield EZ as a "myth buster" in her July 2018 review of the gun here:
"It’s a myth buster, the Smith & Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ. You know the myth. Guy goes to buy his “girl” or an aging parent a personal-defense gun and chooses something—small. Small in caliber and small in stature, because “fill in the blank.
Here’s how the scenario then plays out. Said guy takes girl or dear old dad to the range to try it out and put some lead on some targets and lo and behold, the recipient hates the gun. The muzzle flips, the recoil smacks and if it’s a semi-auto, the new owner might have problems racking the slide. The notion that a small gun will be the perfect fit is most often a myth.
Then, there’s this explanation: “Well, it’s not really a gun for target shooting, so you have to feel the pain.”
And then, the gun never gets taken to the range again and sits in a box, or worse yet, in a bedside safe or holster somewhere—out of sight, out of mind, out of practice.
Enter the new Smith & Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ, built to address the concerns of those with arthritis or small hands, and new shooters."
The Smith & Wesson M&P380 Shield EZ features a magazine capacity of 8 rounds and retails at a suggested price of $399.