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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just purchased my M&P 9mm Shield a few days ago and can honestly tell you that the slide is so "hard" to pull back that I almost need 'two hands, unlike what the instructions say, which is to "grasp the serrated sides of the slide from the rear with the thumb and fingers of the left hand and draw the slide fully rearward and lock it open by pushing the slide stop with the 'thumb of the right hand" (paraphrased somewhat).

In order for me to pull the slide back or lock it open have to grasp the complete grip with all fingers including the thumb of my right hand, tilt it slightly and put a 'death grip around the 'whole slide wth my left hand while pressing both arms against my stomach pull so hard until I almost get a muscle spasm from the tension (please tell me it will loosen up quite a bit later, or I will assume I have a 'defective weapon). I don't want to end up with arms looking like "Popeye's with big muscles protruding out before I am able to pull the slide with just the fingers and thumb of one hand.
 

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Shoot it. It will loosen up. :geek:
Mine didn't. Its at the mothership right now awaiting whatever fix there is for this issue.

I know they are stiff at the start. But I've handled many others, including several new ones (NIB types) at the shop. None were like mine. I called S&W first, and they sent a new recoil spring. No joy. The new spring was defective. They asked that I send it in. I'm wondering if there is a bad batch of recoil spring components.

But I've been using S&W stuff for over 40 years. I know they will make it right.
 

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This has been brought up many times here and on other forums, so yes most are pretty stiff when they are new. Mine was the hardest to rack of any pistol I have owned. :dizzy: After breaking it down, cleaning and working with it, it did loosen up.

I would break it down and clean it. Take extra to make sure the recoil spring is straight both horizontally and vertically before you put it back together. Shoot it and see if it gets better. If it doesn't maybe a call to S&W would be in order. Good luck.
 

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Mine wasn't too difficult to rack, but almost impossible to get the slide to stay open by pushing up on the slide stop. It seemed it just wouldn't QUITE go back far enough. The recoil spring DOES need to be seated straight. If I put in an empty mag, the slide would stay open if I pulled back hard. I left it open overnight and shot 200 rds the next day and now it's fairly easy to rack and engage the slide stop/release.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Actually I had forgotten to mention that part. I have yet to be able to lock my slide 'open by using the 'Slide Lock as well. With the magazine in and if I pull 'hard enough it will lock 'back. I 'think I am pulling it back far enough to lock with the slide lock, but the slide lock won't move, plus the fact that it is also as hard as 'HADES to move the slide lock to 'unlock it, I have to use 'both thumbs (slightly 'painful on the thumb tips).

Thanks to you and all fellow M&P 'shooters on this forum for your advice. I will contact S&W first to see what they advise in order to hopefully save myself a lot of trouble-shooting only to later find out that the problem 'was in fact on their end.
 

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Double check to make sure the recoil spring is seated correctly.
 

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Actually I had forgotten to mention that part. I have yet to be able to lock my slide 'open by using the 'Slide Lock as well. With the magazine in and if I pull 'hard enough it will lock 'back. I 'think I am pulling it back far enough to lock with the slide lock, but the slide lock won't move, plus the fact that it is also as hard as 'HADES to move the slide lock to 'unlock it, I have to use 'both thumbs (slightly 'painful on the thumb tips).

I had the same problem with my 9mm Shield, I put several hundred rounds through it one day with some friends and its a lot better now. It just needed to know it was loved I guess. :)
 

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Were you able to field strip and clean the gun when you bought it home before shooting it the first time?

If you did, I agree with Rainsong on your second post. That recoil assembly has to be in there just right. That may be why it won't lock back for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't had a chance to fire it at all since I picked it up on the 29th of April. I have just been 'stroking and 'admiring it and trying to make sure the basic 'mechanical parts work. Again its like having a new baby, you don't want to treat it too rough for fear of 'breaking it; heck, I almost gave it a bottle!!!

I called S&W and they want me to send it to them. They basicly surmised that it may be because of the 'new weapon phase it is in, but they had issues with it 'not locking. They sent me a return label and I will ship it to them one day next week.

I told them to look it over real good for me and that I wanted it to work just 'exaclty the way it says in the Owner's Manual; "one hand on the grip with the 'thumb on the slide release and the other hand using only the thumb and 'side of the bent index finger while grasping the serrated sides of the slide from the rear, pull the slide to the rear, press upward on the slide stop with the other thumb while letting the slide move slightly forward thereby locking the slide open (FIGURE 20 in the manual)". So smoooooth they make it look, well, good luck with that one. I tried to put my hands into those exact positions before pulling the slide, when I began to pull the slide back because it was so 'hard to pull, the thumb touching the "slide stop" automatically curled 'out and away from the slide stop in order for me to keep enough resistance on the grip. If you place your thumb 'exactly the way they show in the manual and because you have to have such a 'tight hold on the grip when you begin to pull the slide there is no way that your thumb can 'stay in that exact position, your muscle tightens and your thumb will automatically move from where that slide stop button is. I even had my co-worker try and he has bigger 'muscles than I do, and even he couldn't get a good enough hold without his thumb moving away from the slide stop. They also say to 'not put your hand 'over the chamber when pulling the slide back, I couldn't make that happen either. That was the only way I could grab enough of the slide to be able to pull it, grasping the serrated sides of the slide from the rear 'only just wasn't working for me.

Well, we will see once they send it back how well 'they got it broken-in enough to work as described in the manual, unless there was something else wrong with it. Sure, it will probably loosen up enough at some point, but not at the risk of me getting a 'hernia first. Also, I think S&W should mention in the owner's manual about how hard it may be for the slide to function as demonstrated until it has been broken-in and loosened up, and also give some alternatives on what to do about it 'other than shooting and oiling (similar to what some of you have been mentioning here, such as, locking the slide open for a few days, or taking it apart and cleaning and oiling certain spots, etc., because not all "new" owner's have a computer or access to these types of forums, and simply just don't know. Thank the 'HEAVENS for these forums.
 

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I think I would put a couple hundred rounds through before I sent it off and see if the problem alleviates itself. If it doesn't, send it off. You don' HAVE to put the slide stop up to use the gun. See if after you shoot the first mag if the slide locks open when it empties.
 

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The Shield is a small gun that necessarily has a short, stout recoil spring and limited slide movement beyond the slide lock point.

The manual describes a theoretically ideal way to lock the slide back (at least for product liability lawyers, if not for users), but it is harder than other practical ways to do so.

The method described in the manual involves removing the magazine, which reduces the amount of grip length you can get a hold on, and grasping a limited amount of the slide surface. Both of those factors make it more difficult to lock back the slide.

However, with an empty magazine in the gun, you have more grip length to hold and the magazine's follower will automatically push up the slide lock. Or you can grasp more of the slide without a magazine in the gun and, even if you cover the ejection port, any round that might be in the chamber would drop down the empty magazine well if it could not get out the ejection port.
 

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A couple of suggestions;
Grease (not oil) the tabs and also get grease the grooves that the tabs run in.
With empty gun and mag,pull back on slide while pushing forward on grip.
 

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I'm interested to hear what S&W says. I had these same issues with a new Shield. It did loosen up after a couple hundred rounds, but with four stovepipes and the slide out of battery twice, I sold it. I might try again later, though----I liked the gun.
 

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The smaller guns like the Shield have heavier springs than the full size, it can be difficult to pull the slides back on some of the smaller pistols, the small 40's are the worst, their springs are really stout!

Some companies are coming out with what they call "slide rackers", levers that fit in the slide back plate to assist in cycling the slide, I haven't seen one for the Shield though. I haven't used one, or even seen one except for videos online, so I can't make any kind of recommendation on them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks 'all for your suggestions and tips. Even though S&W sent me a 'shipping label, I decided to do a little more 'trouble-shooting first by allowing a friend of mine who is a range master with the SECRET SERVICE to take it through it's paces the next time he goes to the range which is quite often, as the case may be. He says between him and maybe some of the other team members shooting it, they can probably put close to about 500 rounds through it in-between cleaning and oiling it. Afterwards I will get it back and see how it works for 'me. If after all of that action I still have problems then I will 'definitely send it to S&W for a once over.
 

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500 rds should loosen it up. If the spring is for sure seated correctly and it's still too difficult to rack, I'd send it off.
 

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:realmad:Mine was the same way when I bought it back in March. My first thought, when I tried to rack it out of the box and was "holy crap!" ...There is NO way that I can do this as described in the manual. I felt like an uncoordinated, out of shape weakling! :blushing: Now, after putting over five hundred rounds through it, it is much, much, better and I don't feel quite so weak. :yes
....Now, on the other hand (let's see what kind of comments this gets)....:gathering:
I actually, FINALLY, got to hold and "fondle" (but not shoot) a brand new, never been fired, Remington R51 over the weekend. The force it took to rack this direct competitor to the Shield, was no more than a couple of pounds.:clap: It was amazingly smooth and light. :clap:And unless you've been living under a rock you know that racking force (among some other things) is one of the biggest selling point advantages of the R51....according to Remington. :whistle:
....Don't be hatin'....:fish:
 

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:realmad:Mine was the same way when I bought it back in March. My first thought, when I tried to rack it out of the box and was "holy crap!" ...There is NO way that I can do this as described in the manual. I felt like an uncoordinated, out of shape weakling! :blushing: Now, after putting over five hundred rounds through it, it is much, much, better and I don't feel quite so weak. :yes
....Now, on the other hand (let's see what kind of comments this gets)....:gathering:
I actually, FINALLY, got to hold and "fondle" (but not shoot) a brand new, never been fired, Remington R51 over the weekend. The force it took to rack this direct competitor to the Shield, was no more than a couple of pounds.:clap: It was amazingly smooth and light. :clap:And unless you've been living under a rock you know that racking force (among some other things) is one of the biggest selling point advantages of the R51....according to Remington. :whistle:
....Don't be hatin'....:fish:
Go put a few boxes of full power 9mm defensive loads through an R51 without gloves and report back, that is if, it isn't too painful to type. :laughing:
 

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That was one of the reasons my wife didn't get the Shield for her first gun. The stiff recoil spring was just too hard for her to rack the slide. If my wife ever decides to get a carry gun, I am guessing it will be a revolver because of this issue with small semi-autos. As others have said the spring should loosen up some as you shoot it, the pain is racking the slide until it does get easier for you.
 
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