S&W Performance Center M&P380 Shield EZ
Performance Center M&P380 Shield EZ is the newest creation from Smith & Wesson. Building on the foundation of the M&P 380 Shield EZ the performance center steps it up with premium features aimed at the custom firearm consumer.
Originally introduced in 2018 the M&P 380 Shield EZ is a single stack 380. Designed to be easy to rack with lighter recoil spring and slide texture to help aid this. Additionally, the 8+1 magazine is easier to load as well with an easy load button. This allows you to pull the spring down making it easier to insert the rounds in the mag. The last feature that sets this M&P apart from the rest of the line up is the grip safety. All of these features add up to a pistol that is easier for those with weaker hands or disabilities.
Enter the Performance Center
While the original 380 EZ was a simple affair designed to appeal to the concealed carry market, the Performance Center (PC) at Smith & Wesson took the EZ in a completely different direction. The PC added a number of features that include:
- Ported Barrel
- Lightening Slide Cuts
- Flat Face Aluminum Trigger
- Enhanced Aluminum Grip Saftey
- Performance Center Tuned Action
- HI-VIZ Litewave H3 Tritium Sights
Of course, the PC model maintains all the features of the base model. Easy to rack the slide, easy-load magazine, etc. The barrel on the PC model is slightly longer at 3.8″ to add the extension past the slide with the barrel port. This should aid in muzzle flip on a caliber that is already how low recoil.
The lightening cuts in the slide to reduce weight are aggressive. With the addition of the aluminum trigger and grip safety, there is some added weight over the polymer version. However, with the lightening of the side weight between the two remains the same at 18.5 oz.
The two biggest upgrades for most users are the, improved trigger and HI-VIZ sights. The sights alone are $135 if you were to buy them separately. The trigger is a marked improvement over the factory trigger. If you test the PC version beside the base model there is no comparison. The new trigger is crisper and smoother than the original EZ.
By this point, if you aren’t convinced to step up to the Performance Center version Smith & Wesson also includes a cleaning kit for free. The Performance Center-branded Tipton Compact Pistol Cleaning Kit includes bore brushes, a cleaning rod, and related accessories to clean the pistol after use. While this doesn’t seem like much, to the new shooter that doesn’t have 5 different cleaning kits laying around this is a nice value add.
The Performance Center M&P 380 EZ is offered in 3 colors to suit your style, gold, silver, or black. Personally, the gold is a bit over the top but will appeal to some that want to make a statement. The silver shows that this is not a standard factory EZ while not adding too much flash. I suspect most users will opt for the black if they intend to concealed carry.
The base model has an MSRP of $399 while the Performance Center upgraded EZ runs $502. With only a $103 difference between the base model and a Performance Center M&P 380 EZ. The sights alone are worth more than $100, combine that with all the other extra features why would anyone consider the regular M&P 380 EZ?
Jeremy Mallette is co-founder of International Sportsman, and an avid hunter and outdoorsman. His father taught him to shoot at age six, and he received his first firearm at age eight — a 1942 Colt Commando .38 special revolver. Jeremy enjoys collecting unique firearms, and shooting them.