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HomeSHTFS&W 9mm Protect EZ Pistol – “Straightforward” to Function

S&W 9mm Protect EZ Pistol – “Straightforward” to Function

SW EZ Light Pose

I first lined the S&W 9mm Protect EZ pistol in 2022, throughout a put up about handguns for senior residents. As a result of its distinctive traits, the EZ made the semiauto checklist, but it surely was actually half of a bigger image.

Now, a 12 months later, that specific pistol has seen extra use. Conclusion: It’s worthy of extra thorough protection. Quite than begin from scratch, I’ll use the earlier put up as a basis. However this one is devoted strictly to the Protect EZ Sequence. May as nicely take a look at its historical past whereas we’re at it.

Debut of the S&W Polymer M&P Pistols

Simply earlier than Smith & Wesson’s polymer-framed M&P pistols appeared (throughout 2005), I used to be granted a possibility for a sneak preview. I greeted it with a yawn, however quickly thereafter, we (my Company) had a possibility to wring out some samples. It turned out these striker-fired pistols did have a number of fascinating qualities to incorporate good ergonomics, enhanced by means of grip inserts of assorted sizes.

The timing was fortuitous since our metal-frame double-action S&Ws had been ageing so, after an intensive T&E session, we wound up buying a number of hundred duty-sized (4 ¼”) M&Ps. They had been an on the spot hit with our workers, though our plain-clothed people hoped for a smaller-sized pistol. This was round 2008.

Growth of the M&P Protect Sequence

Throughout 2012, S&W launched what proved to be a gamechanger for concealed-carry functions, their micro-sized M&P Shields. These small polymer-framed pistols had been shortly delivered to our consideration so, in brief order, extra samples arrived in each accessible calibers; 9mm and .40 S&W. The latter was fairly snappy, however the 9mms we tried (8 +1 variations) had been moderately controllable.

The instance I wrung out additionally proved to be a tack-driver, one thing I’ve observed with different short-barreled S&W semiautos relationship again to a list of D/A Mannequin 3913s. Because it turned out, a predominant disadvantage to the Protect was the pressure required to manually function its slide – an issue for a few of our smaller-statured personnel. Nonetheless, I favored a 9mm pattern a lot that I wound up shopping for it. I’ve since shot the Dickens out of it with nary a bobble, and it’s nonetheless in my possession (as is my trusty aluminum-framed M-3913).

Protect EZ Pistol Introduction

The Protect’s stiff slide little question put the kibosh on gross sales amongst a rising section of handgun purchasers; ladies, in addition to others involved about private safety. Fortuitously, this case was rectified by means of an uncommon new “Protect.” Superficially there are some similarities, however the aptly named “EZ” is mostly a completely different pistol.

SW EZ Four Compacts Pose
S&W’s small pistol line (L-R): M&P Compact, Protect EZ, Protect, and .380 Bodyguard (the others are 9mms). The EZ strikes a pleasant stability of dimension Vs “shootability”. It may possibly additionally accommodate a lightweight.

Protect EZ Pistol Particulars

The EZ first appeared throughout 2018 as a light-recoiling, compact .380 ACP. Designed for “shootability” and simple operation (EZ), the idea was a sufficiently big hit {that a} barely bigger 9mm model quickly adopted. Both mannequin just about eliminates strength-related difficulties frequent to many semiautos. Beginning with the operation of its slide, even the 9mm EZ is a lot extra consumer pleasant than my trusty Protect.

A lot of that is attributable to the EZ’s inner hammer, a departure from as we speak’s striker-fired methods), that gives “simpler” handbook slide operation. Additionally, there’s a set of greedy ears – one other effort-reducing characteristic. The journal can also be nicely conceived. A set of small protruding tabs allow handbook retraction of the follower, eliminating the necessity for a loading gadget. The tradeoff is decreased capability, however the EZ remains to be an 8 +1 pistol, backed up by fast reloads.


S&W put some thought within the security facet. Past the usual inner drop security, the EZ incorporates an odd-looking grip-safety much like that of the well-respected U.S. Mannequin 1911, .45 ACP Authorities Mannequin. The EZ model is massive sufficient to make sure full disengagement from any regular grip place, however the pistol gained’t hearth until it’s depressed.

Curiously, the preliminary M-1911 submissions lacked an exterior security lever. The Military needed one so John Browning obliged. You should buy an S&W EZ both method. The EZs will even hearth sans {a magazine} however a tactile loaded chamber indicator is normal.

S&W Shield EZ Chamber Checks
Comparability of the unique 9mm Protect (prime) to the EZ: Each incorporate a chamber-check characteristic however the EZ’s is tactile. Each are additionally geared up with night time sights – which got here normal on the EZ PC model. The XS Large Dots on the older Protect are an aftermarket set.


Not like the full-sized M&Ps, the EZ doesn’t characteristic interchangeable grips. Nonetheless, it manages to strike a pleasant stability of dimension and shootability, with a greater than acceptable accuracy. A part of that is attributable to its pre-cocked inner hammer. A real “single-action”, this technique supplies a clear feeling 4 ½-pound set off pull with a definite reset.

Additionally, the EZ’s sight-radius is lengthy sufficient to supply exact sight alignment (the usual EZs have mounted three-dot sights). The barrel measures 3 ½-inches, lengthy sufficient that it doesn’t surrender a lot velocity. The EZ’s empty weight is listed as 23.8 ounces. It lacks the ambidextrous slide-stops of a full-size M&P, however the journal launch will be reversed.

The Efficiency Heart EZs

As soon as the mud settled, S&W launched a collection of catchy Efficiency Heart EZs. Not in a position to withstand, I purchased the instance pictured right here. The inspiration is just about the identical, but it surely does have a number of spiffy options. For starters, the barrel is ported. Marketed to scale back recoil, it extends a bit past the face of the slide for an total size of three.8-inches. The slide incorporates a collection of racy wanting ports that largely simply save a little bit of weight.

Regardless of its coolness, I purchased this PC mannequin primarily for its fiber-optic/tritium Hello-Viz sights. They’re extremely seen in all lighting circumstances to incorporate darkness. And, in contrast to the striker-fired Shields, an adjunct rail is normal all through the EZ line, allowing the simple attachment of a lightweight (or laser).

Being no stranger to a 1911, I opted for an EZ with an lively security. Some think about one an obstacle to a defensive response, however I’ve observed many detractors additionally personal an AR-15 – geared up with a security lever. In case you go this route, in contrast to a “cocked & locked” 1911, the EZ’s slide will be retracted whereas on-safe. In distinction to the unique Protect, its levers are each beneficiant and bilateral. Speedy entry is a non-issue so the important thing to their efficient use boils right down to apply – and constant use of this characteristic.

Vary Report

For accuracy testing, I fired 4 tried and true favorites off sandbags from 25 yards. Some evaluators take a look at pistols of this dimension at 15 yards however, as famous above, shorter-barreled S&Ws can print first rate teams – typically tighter than their full-size family. The EZ additionally has a crisp set off, and my PC model is fitted with set of sights.


Seniors EZ pistol target results
Good accuracy regardless of the shortage of an aiming level: The red-circled group is Federal’s 124-grain AE FMJ. The opposite was produced by 124-grain Speer Gold Dot JHPs. Each masses, fired over a sandbag relaxation from 25 yards, had been well-regulated to the EZ’s Hello-VIZ LiteWave mounted sights.

In the course of the preliminary 2022 take a look at I shot Speer Gold Dot 124-grain JHPs, and Federal American Eagle 124-grain FMJs (see ammo websites for buy choices). 5-shot teams with both load averaged a greater than respectable 2 ¼-inches off sandbags.

Throughout 2023, a repeat take a look at of those masses produced similar outcomes. A further field of Federal’s 124-grain Hydra Shok JHPs did the identical – persistently good efficiency! 

SW Shield EZ shot group results
9 Federal 124-grain Hydra Shok JHPs fired off sandbags from 25 yards. This consultant cluster measured a really acceptable 2 1/2-inches. POI was shut however could possibly be adjusted by drifting the rear sight in its dovetail.

I had excessive hopes for one more longstanding favourite, Speer Lawman 124-grain TMJs, however no such luck. Teams ran an abysmal 4-inches. Two M&Ps available that day averaged nicely beneath 2-inches from the identical field, proving that nothing’s etched in stone (additionally each are fitted with aftermarket Apex barrels).

Sight Regulation

It’s been my expertise that S&W does job regulating their mounted sights. Thus, it got here as no shock that my 9mm EZ shot near its sights at 25 yards with frequent 124-grain masses. Elevation is mounted, however windage will be tweaked by drifting the rear sight in its dovetail (secured by a setscrew beneath the slide).

SW Shield EZ POI Plate
Level of influence take a look at: A full load (9 rounds) of Federal American Eagle 124-grain FMJs fired offhand from 15 yards. No want for any changes. The group fashioned straight atop the EZ’s sights.

Dealing with & Management

The EZ was quick and intuitive from the “prepared” or a holster. Regardless of its ported barrel, the above masses did generate some recoil, a consequence of the PC EZ’s 23-ounce weight. Nonetheless, it was on par with many different compacts. The textured grip helps keep management however, if recoil is a priority, Hornady affords an answer by means of their 100-grain 9mm Lites.

To cut back recoil much more, S&W nonetheless sells .380 ACP EZs. They’re barely lighter variations (18-ounces) of the identical pistol in a lighter-kicking caliber. Hornady has an efficient .380 load to match this selection, too. I can vouch for its potential to develop, having witnessed the outcomes throughout FBI testing protocols.

SB 116 21 CC Shield EZ
S&W’s Protect EZ .380 in primary type. Tons in frequent with the 9mm model, in a softer-shooting pistol. Be aware the absence of an optionally available security lever.


No stoppages to report with my 9mm, taking pictures with both hand and a free or agency grip. Additionally, constant ejection patterns, no deformed circumstances, and solidly struck primers. I stretched it to 200 rounds between cleanings (bulk ammo websites to buy your individual).

Holsters, And many others.

I began out with a primary Comp-Tac holster, fashioned from Kydex and it’s labored nicely sufficient that I’ve caught with it, rigged for OWB keep it up a sturdy belt. A spare journal slides into an open-topped pouch with sufficient clearance to permit for its protruding finger tabs, one thing value checking.

Sb 116 89 SW EZ Holster Gear
Comp Tac’s EZ 9 Holster suits normal EZs or Efficiency Heart fashions. Be aware the situation of the journal’s loading help buttons relative to the pouch. Loads of clearance right here.

After all, we have to be certain of our goal. For the time being, my EZ is provided with a small however vivid O-light Baldr Mini, which additionally has a built-in laser. Up to now so good however, if it quits, I nonetheless have the brilliant set of night-sights for insurance coverage. This method presently serves as a bump-in-the-night handgun largely because of this (secondary to a 9mm AR). The QD gentle/laser unit repeats its zero, so I merely detach it when the EZ is carried in its holster.

All-Necessary Upkeep

SW Shield EZ Frames
The Protect EZ (prime) is hammer-fired, proven right here un-cocked. The unique Protect is striker-fired. The small yellow dogleg arm is its sear deactivation lever, flipped ahead to allow disassembly. Each are geared up with exterior security levers however there’s a substantial distinction of their sizes.

Periodic disassembly is a part of the cleansing course of however is typically skipped with “fiddly” designs. Fortuitously, disassembly of the EZ is about as simple because it will get. Flip the disassembly lever and the slide meeting will be drawn off the body for routine cleansing (the recoil spring is captive on the information rod).

Not like many striker-fired designs, the set off doesn’t have to be pulled. S&W’s M&Ps circumvent this by means of a sear deactivation tab, however the EZ’s hammer-fired system fully eliminates such considerations. Mine shipped with a helpful cleansing equipment and clear instructions. Observe them and also you’ll be good to go – with high quality ammunition.

SW EZ pistol stripped
EZ disassembled for routine upkeep. Clear the pistol, lock its slide open and rotate the takedown lever 90 levels. Then merely dismount the slide meeting. The barrel and information rod will be simply eliminated.


An 8 +1 pistol won’t appear too reassuring these days however, in contrast to some higher-capacity opponents, the EZ’s magazines are simple to prime off. Additionally, its ergonomics shouldn’t be discounted. Regardless of a complete assortment of M&Ps, I discover myself reaching for my EZ as a result of it simply feels “proper”.  A primary three-dot sight model retails for $521.

S&W lists the PC variations at $643. My older Protect began out as a primary model, however I wound up investing in a set of aftermarket night time sights. The EZ’s sights are mounted in dovetails so comparable upgrades are attainable, however the PC model is nice to go as is. In any case, real-world costs typically run decrease.

SW EZ Unboxed
The Protect EZ 9mm PC because it arrived. No extras required apart from carry gear. Good cleansing equipment, too!

Parting Photographs

Nonetheless, since “extra” is mostly deemed advantageous, S&W not too long ago launched a higher-cap model of the EZ, the Equalizer. It weighs the identical however boosts capability. Past a flush-fit 10-shot journal, two prolonged varieties enhance capability to 13 +1, and 15 +1. Like most different S&W’s, these pistols can be found with or with out exterior security levers for an MSRP of $599.

Which begs the query: Do you really want an exterior security? My older Protect has one, but it surely’s small and troublesome to entry. As famous above, like a 1911 Authorities Mannequin, the EZ fires from a cocked hammer – the rationale it’s slide is less complicated to control (helps delay unlocking).

Out of sight, out of thoughts, I assume. Not like an unique 1911, the EZ does characteristic a firing pin block (drop security) and the grip security remains to be there – though nobody I do know carries a 1911 off protected. Which takes us to S&W’s latest CSX with an exterior hammer – geared up with a non-optional security lever.

FYI, the centerfire EZs are an offshoot (pun meant) of S&W’s hammer-fired M&P .22 LR Compact pistol. The rimfire lacks a grip security however has at all times had a thumb-safety, and it capabilities almost identically. As a result of rimfire ammo is way more inexpensive, this shut cousin could possibly be the ticket to significant apply.

Lastly, for more information about handguns normally, right here’s a hyperlink to Handguns: A Purchaser’s and Shooter’s Information:


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