I opened my email this morning to a new product announcement from Smith & Wesson; a Performance Center version of the Military & Police (M&P) Shield.
I can see where the fiber optic sights might be an improvement on a gun designed for concealed carry (I’m still considering them). I know lots of folks who install improved triggers, even on their carry guns. But I have to wonder, how many people actually want a defensive pistol with a ported barrel and slide?
Yes, I know it will help reduce recoil and faster follow up shots are a good thing in a self-defense situation. On the other hand those ports will also allow substantially more crud into a firearm that is carried on a regular basis. Sweat, lint, grime, dust and all sort of other nastiness seem to find their was into my non-ported firearms without these six big slots for stuff to work its way into.
Then there is the issue of muzzle blast. Muzzle blast that will now be vented up and to the sides every time you fire the weapon. Take a look at the photo included in the announcement and tell me what you think the effect will be on your vision in low light encounters (as most are). Now think about a really close encounter with a bad guy (as the frequently are) where you are having to index the firearm along your side and think of the blast that will now be redirected directly into your midsection. I can think of all sorts of close quarters situations where having the blast redirected up and to the side would be at best unpleasant and at worst downright dangerous.
So, what the heck were they thinking over at the Smith & Wesson Performance Center?
Maybe something to do with the one of new competition classes the IDPA recently announced…
That’s my bet anyway.