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I recently acquired a Shield 380 EZ. I finally got a chance to get the it to the range today for about an hour or so. Here is my attempt at an abbrieviated range report.

I am a member at my nearby outdoor range, so that is where my wife and I went for a brief shooting session. Weather conditions were cloudy, windy, and cold. I took a total of 3 guns to the range. They were:
-Smith & Wesson Shield 380 EZ (380ACP, 8+1 capacity)
-Sig Sauer P238 (380ACP, 7+1 capacity)
-Taurus PT638 (380ACP, 15+1 capacity)

The 380 EZ was field stripped, cleaned and lubed before ever being fired. I will say the slide and trigger felt a bit rough, even after the clean and lube.

The Sig typically resides in the nightstand drawer. It is well broken in, and is kept clean and lubed at all times.

The PT638 is a new-to me gun, and has been out of production for a few years. I performed a field strip, clean and lube to this gun prior to shooting today as well.

The Sig is a known entity to both my wife and I, but the PT and EZ are a whole new ballgame. I was really curious to see how they stacked up to one another!

The Sig has been perfect since the day my wife brought it home, and it is a tack driver. It ought to be. P238s ain’t cheap! The 3 dot night sights are a bit large for my liking, but they work fairly well, and, well, they ARE tritium sights! Ergos are pretty good on this gun, despite it being full of edges, and straight lines.

I purchased the PT638 "used" off GunBroker. It has a few minor scuffs, but is in really nice condition, overall. The gun is a beast compared to the other two. It is a double-stack design, and as such, is significantly thicker in the grip area. Compared to the other 2 guns here, it’s no light weight either (sorry, I do not have a scale). The sights are of the 3 dot variety, and do a decent job.

This brings me to the EZ. I was surprised to see that the Smith is the lightest gun of the three, but size-wise, it basically falls right in the middle. The EZ, being a single stack fits my medium sized hand (and my wife’s hand too) very nicely, as does the Sig. Ergos are good, and the grip has just the right amount of “traction”. I have high hopes for this gun……..Smith and Wesson uses all of the right buzz words when describing it……light weight, easy to rack slide, easy to load magazine, very low perceived recoil, etc., and those words fit my wife’s self defense needs perfectly.

So let's get to the meat and potatoes of the report, shall we? I am going to break this up into three sections. Shootability, reliability and accuracy.
I brought the other 2 guns to level set and have SOMETHING to compare the EZ to. No other reason, and I won't get into the details of shooting the Sig, because, for us, it simply has been the caddy of 380's in terms of recoil absorbtion and accuracy. The gun just works, and has been 100% reliable and accurate since bullet one.

I won't get TOO much into the shooting details of the PT638 either. After all, this is all about the 380 EZ, right?

Regarding the PT638, my wife could load 10 rounds in the mags ok, but could not rack the slide at all. She struggled with getting a good purchase on the thicker grip, and did not care for the trigger, and said it was too “heavy”. She really just did not care for the gun at all, and eagerly handed it back to me.

The P238 is the wife’s gun. She has had it for a couple of years. She can rack the slide with a small bit of effort, and loads the magazines without too much struggle, the trigger isn’t horribly stiff, and is crisp, and breaks consistently. She shoots the Sig very accurately, and has had no complaints other than her finger gets “tired” after shooting a few mags. I’ll note that my wife has minimal grip strength.

On to the EZ………my and my wife’s opinions are very consistent on the gun, so I will leave my opinions and thoughts out as much as possible, and just provide hers. In a nutshell, the gun is everything Smith & Wesson says it is. My wife was amazed at how easy the slide was to rack. She didn’t really make use of the “ears” on the rear of the slide, but commented those were nice to have if her grip strength worsened over time. She easily loaded the magazines, and with the assist buttons, commented that the task was as easy as loading a 22. The recoil was clearly less than her steel/alloy P238, and I noticed that she came back on target faster than with her P238. She also commented that she appreciated the light weight of the pistol, and for some reason, she found the sights were easier to align than any gun she had ever shot. Personally, I didn’t notice anything special about the sights myself, but hey, whatever works! I will comment that my wife was easily hitting bulls-eyes on her targets, so I was happy. I am not particularly a fan of grip safeties, but my wife actually is, having experience with a GSG 1911 pistol I previously owned. Initially, she was struggling with this one until she moved her grip slightly higher on the gun. No issues after that.

For the P238 and the PT638, both guns were already broken in, and no reliability faults were observed.

The EZ, however, didn’t start out so strong. The gun produced two FTEs, and two Failures to Feed within the first 150 rounds. Oddly, these malfunctions only occurred with my wife (an experienced shooter) at the helm. I experienced zero malfunctions through the remainder of the 270 total rounds. The ammo used was a mixture of PPU, Perfecta, and WB Winchester FMJ brass cased ammo. I really don’t think we’ll have any issues going forward.

I only posted one pic of a target for this range report. I felt that since this post really is about the 380 EZ, target pics for the PT638 and P238 would be silly, so I’ll just briefly talk through that part.

I struggled with the PT638 in terms of accuracy. I found that I REALLY had to focus in order to have decent groups. Anything less than 110% focus, and my groups would really open up. I’m not sure why. If focused, I could get 2.5” groups @ 7 yards. The gun has the traditional 3 dot sights, and it was functioning perfectly, so who knows. My wife did not like shooting this gun, so, she didn’t.

Regarding the P238….these little pistols are widely known to be excellent, reliable, and accurate little firearms. This is well documented, regardless of what site you visit, or review you read. As such, my wife shoots this gun VERY accurately (as do I). She was easily able to duplicate this same accuracy with the 380 EZ. For whatever reason, I could not do quite the same. The P238 is king of accuracy for me.

I set the accuracy target (at the bottom of this post) up 7 yards away, and asked my wife to try her best for a total of 5 rounds with the EZ. I reused this target, but placed a new round orange sticky at the center. Out of the 5 rounds my wife shot, 4 fell within the orange target sticky. The overall group size was right about 1.0”.

The 380 EZ appears to be everything that S&W says it is. Maybe this pistol is for you, or maybe it isn’t. That’s your call. I will say that the functionality of this pistol opens up the option of self defense to many folks that may not have had that option before. For me, I’m damn glad we have one, and my wife is thrilled that she has a pistol that is so easy to use. That is a WIN in my book.


· Premium Member
17,743 Posts
Great report. As a PT-638 fan I will agree that it takes some getting use too. An UpLula will solve the mag loading problem. The trigger is something it took a bit to get used too. It might loosen up if shot a bunch, mine sure has. But if she can't rack it, she can't rack it.

Everybody likes something different. My wife has no problem racking it.
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