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Quit watching YouTube videos of self proclaimed geniuses and take an actual class from a pro. You will be glad! Read the actual manual and not someone else's interpretation. I've seen a lot of screwed up interpretations, I'm assuming you have enough sense to properly interpret it yourself.
@CitizenX gave the answer.

Getting training is not about learning how to shoot your gun at the range or in competition but how to fight with it and save your life. Isn't that the purpose of having a self defense firearm? Training will teach you how to manipulate your firearm in such a way that if you practice enough will become automatic and could save your life. Once you learn these techniques you must continue to use them when handling your firearm whether you are on the range, dry firing in your home, in a competition or in a fight. Not doing so will only introduce bad habits that can get you killed in a bad situation. Using the slide stop as a slide release is just one of those bad habits.

Edit: Speaking of pros, here is a video of Clint Smith who owns Thunder Ranch giving instruction on malfunction drills. Part of those drills demonstrate loading the weapon and to clear a malfunction, (essentially one in the same) notice how he does this in the second half of the video. Training yourself to do this automatically will help you when you are under severe stress and in a really bad situation.

 

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Shields are really stiff out of the box. Shoot it at least 500 rounds and it will start to loosen up and all operations will be easier. I have 2 Shield 2.0 versions with upwards of 2000 rounds through them and they work very smoothly now. The slide stop works easily as a slide release, the slide moves easier and they shoot better. Just get out and shoot.
 

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EDIT: I did a search on YouTube and other users are saying the same thing that the slide release lever is very stiff and hard to press down to release the slide. They fixed the problem by filing down a part of the lever. See YouTube video link:
I dont have shield but have mp 9 full size and slide release was very stiff too when i bought it. I read that it just needs to be broken in by about 200 rds. I went to the range and fired 200 rds and the release was so much better. hopefully this works for you. have fun
 

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Now that the slide release issue has been addressed, the mags are stiff the first few times you load them. Leave about 5 rounds in them and the spring will loosen up a little. It was a ***** to load the first couple times, but now they load like butter...
And... welcome to your new Shield. Love mine.
 

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Casey 415 and others with this issue. You can easily correct your problem with the slide being difficult to lock back. My Shield 9 came with the Slide Lock Lever not completely finished at the point where it fits into the detent in the slide. The notch in the slide. I could clearly see that during the machining process a small amount of metal was left on the back edge of the SLL interfering with it smoothly engaging the slide cutout. As far as the mechanics of the gun being tight. It is the tightest pistol I've ever owned and after 970 rounds it is still tight, but has gotten smoother. So file the back of the SLL and shoot the heck out of it.
 

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I just received my new S&W 9mm Shield. I haven't fired any rounds yet, I'm simply practicing racking and locking the slide back and dry firing it with dummy bullets for now. It's hard for me to get to a firing range at this current time and I would have to drive 1 hour away for the nearest range.

I have noticed a few things that I'm puzzled about, can anyone help shed light on this?

1) When I rack the slide back (with or without a dummy bullet in the mag), the slide only sometimes lock back into place. Most of the time, the slide simply slides back and then goes forward if I release it. Shouldn't the slide always lock into place if I pull back the slide? I noticed that if I jiggle the lever (see attached pic circled in red), then the slide might lock into place sometimes when pulled back. Is this normal?

2) When the slide is finally locked into place, I find it takes an extreme amount of thumb pressure to press down on the lever (see pic circled in red) to release the slide to go forward again. I mean seriously, it takes a large amount of force to press down on the lever to release the slide to go forward into place again. I am not a weak male, I'm young and healthy and work out with weights every day. Is this normal behavior for the slide action?

3) When I insert rounds into the supplied magazine, it takes a rather large amount of pressure to insert each round inside. Is this normal?

My only experience with semi-automatic pistols are a Sig Sauer 228 (and Colt Mustang 380) that I purchased 30 years ago, but sold awhile back. That old Sig 228 was silky smooth compared to my new Shield, and I didn't even shoot the gun much. When I racked the Sig slide back, I seem to recall it would lock into place every time reliably, not just sometimes. Plus the Sig release lever was very easy to press down to release the slide to go forward. Inserting rounds into a Sig magazine was also easy.

So based on my limited experience of only comparing my old Sig 228 9mm to my new current Shield 9mm, my Shield feels quite a bit stiff and rough. I'm especially concerned that the slide doesn't reliably lock back into place when I pull the slide back. I'm almost regretting buying the Shield and sort of wish I got another Sig instead. Can anyone shed some light on these questions?

Please see attached picture of the release lever circled in red that I'm referring to for unlocking the slide. View attachment 17345
So that's a Cerakoted frame?
I know a few people who own Shields with the Cerakoted frames and slides that complain about the same thing.
IMO I would send it to S&W and make them fix it. Most of the ones that came with the FDE frame with built in laser had the most issues.
Everyone I know sent theirs back and it was returned with a new frame or slide.
 

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So that's a Cerakoted frame?
I know a few people who own Shields with the Cerakoted frames and slides that complain about the same thing.
IMO I would send it to S&W and make them fix it. Most of the ones that came with the FDE frame with built in laser had the most issues.
Everyone I know sent theirs back and it was returned with a new frame or slide.
Damn; Glad I only have “1.0” black ones...
 
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