S&W M&P Shield EZ .380 Pistol Disassembly and Cleaning

S&W M&P Shield EZ .380 Pistol Disassembly and Cleaning

Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .380 EZ Pistol
Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .380 EZ Pistol

This article will show you in detail how to disassemble, clean and reassemble the Smith & Wesson .380 Shield EZ pistol. Step-by-step instructions will demonstrate how to field strip (take apart) the gun, clean all the parts and completely reassemble it. Using this tutorial will allow you to confidently perform this task in 15-20 minutes, and quicker once you are familiar with the steps.

If this is the first time you are going to take down (field strip) your .380 Shield EZ, never fear! You will soon see how easy it is to accomplish and you do not need any tools. This firearm is well-designed so anyone can easily maintain their firearm.

Safe & Easy to follow steps

The Shield EZ .380 is also designed to field strip without having to press the trigger. This should not be a concern, since you will TRIPLE CHECK that your gun is unloaded before you even begin, right?

There are some guns, such as Glocks that require the trigger to be pressed during disassembly, which has resulted in negligent discharges in the past. If you properly unload your gun and double check it before attempting to disassemble and/or clean it, you will not have any issues.

However, pressing the trigger at any time other than when you are on the range, sighted in, is a violation of the second rule of firearm safety. The rule is, “Never put your finger on the trigger until the gun is sighted in on a target and you are ready to shoot.”

If you have never tried to take down (field strip) a semiautomatic gun, rest easy as it is not hard or complicated. At least not the Smith & Wesson Shield.

Differences between M&P Shield .380 EZ models

There are a few different models, or versions of the M&P Shield 380 EZ. The differences are in the features that come with the gun. Some models have external safeties, some do not. Some Shield EZ .380 models have a laser sighting system and/or a ported barrel. None of these features change the method of disassembly.

Most guns come apart in a similar way, but different manufacturers have different ways to release the slide, and you should always find a tutorial before attempting to remove the slide from an unfamiliar gun for the first time.

S&W Shield Cleaning Supplies

Here are the supplies you will need to complete the disassembly and cleaning of most semi-automatic pistols. There are lots of different cleaning products, so I will list the ones I have used for years of trouble free results:

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Steps to Field Strip (disassemble) the S&W Shield EZ 380 pistol

Here are links to some of my other tutorials:

How to Disassemble and Clean an M&P Shield 9mm EZ

How to Disassemble and Clean a Kimber 1911

Engage the external thumb safety (if present).

If your model has a manual thumb safety, place it in the “safe” position (up).

shield 380 EZ manual Safety on

Unload the gun

This is the most important step. Eject any magazine that is in the gun by pressing the magazine release button, and then remove the round in the chamber. Be sure to do it in that order! Magazine first, then empty the chamber! Remove any and all ammo from the area.

Shield 380 unload the gun

Repeat Step 1. Verify the gun is completely unloaded

This step is here in case you skipped step number one.

Shield 380 check the chamber
Check the Chamber for Ammo

Remove the slide, the barrel, the recoil spring and the guide rod

Lock the slide to the rear by pulling the slide all the way back while pushing up on the slide stop lever. Check again at this point to be sure there is no ammunition in the gun.

Shield 380. Lock the Slide to the Rear
Lock the Slide to the Rear

Rotate the take-down lever clockwise from the 3 o’clock position to the 6 o’clock position.

Shield 380. Rotate the Take-down Lever to the 6 o'clock Position
Rotate the Take-down Lever to the 6 o’clock Position

Pull the slide rearward which will release the Slide Stop lever and slowly allow the slide to move forward and off of the front of the gun frame. Do not press the grip safety while removing the slide.

Shield 380. Pull the Slide Rearward to Release the Slide Stop
Pull the Slide Rearward to Release the Slide Stop

Shield 380. remove the Slide by Slowly Pulling off the Front of the Gun
Push the Slide Carefully off the Front of the Gun
Remove the slide from the frame
Remove the Slide From the Frame

Turn the slide upside down and Depress the Guide Rod Toward the Front of the Slide to release it from the barrel.

Carefully lift the guide rod and recoil spring out of the slide.

Turn the slide upside down and remove the recoil spring and guide rod

Remove the barrel from the slide.

Carefully lift the guide rod and recoil spring out of the slide.

That’s it for the disassembly of the Smith & Wesson Shield 380 EZ. This is as far as you need to go to give the gun a good cleaning, or to replace the recoil spring. Let’s move on to cleaning instructions.

Shield 380 field Stripped

How to clean the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield .380 EZ Pistol

Clean the feed ramp, inside the barrel and guide rod

Use Hoppes No. 9 or other solvent to clean the feed ramp and inside the barrel opening.

Shield 380. Clean the Feed Ramp and Chamber with Solvent
Clean the Feed Ramp and Chamber with Solvent

You can clean the inside of the barrel in one of two ways:

Method 1. (Easier and MUCH quicker) Run a Boresnake through the barrel several times. For extremely dirty barrels, apply some Hoppes No. 9 solvent to the inside of the barrel with Q-tips and let it sit for a few minutes before running the boresnake through.

Shield 380 Run the Boresnake Through the Barrel a couple times.
Run the Boresnake Through the Barrel a couple times.

Method 2. Using a pistol rod and cloth patches. Wet the patches with Hoppes solvent and using the rod, push wet patches through the barrel until they come out clean. Depending on how dirty the barrel is, you may need a lot of patches.

Rod and patches
Pistol rod and cotton Patches
Apply Original Gun Oil or solvent to the patch
Wet a Patch with Original Gun Oil or Hoppes No. 9 Solvent
Repeat until patch comes out clean
Push the Patch Through the Barrel the Same Direction the Bullets go. Repeat with new patches until they come out clean

Be sure the barrel and feed ramp are nice and clean.

Shield 380 Be sure the Feed Ramp is Nice and Clean
Be sure the Feed Ramp is Nice and Clean

Use Hoppes Number 9 solvent & a rag or spray with Birchwood Gun Scrubber to clean the recoil spring and guide rod assembly. Wipe any remaining solvent off with a micro fiber cloth or paper towel.

Clean the recoil spring and guide rod assembly

Clean the gun frame

Use Hoppes #9 solvent and a paper towel or cotton swabs to clean all surfaces of the frame, especially the rails where the slide contacts the frame. On the M&P Shield and other guns that have a polymer (plastic) frame, do not get Hoppes No. 9 solvent on parts that are not metal.

Clean all metal parts of the frame
Apply Hoppes No. 9 Solvent or Original Gun Oil to all metal parts of the Frame and scrub with a brush or paper towels.

The fastest, most thorough way to clean a polymer frame is to spray it down with Birchwood Casey Synthetic-Safe Gun Scrubber or equivalent. After using either cleaner, use a micro fiber cloth or rag to wipe any excess solvent off of the frame.

Use Birchwood Synthetic Safe Gun Scrubber to clean the Frame.

Clean the Slide

Use Hoppes No. 9 solvent and a cotton swab or paper towel to clean all surfaces on the inside of the slide, especially the areas that contact the frame rails during operation.

Apply Original Gun Oil or solvent to the slide and clean with soft brush
Apply Hoppes Solvent or Original Gun Oil to the slide and scrub with a brush or wipe with a paper towel.
Quicker Cleaning by spraying the slide with Birchwood Casey Synthetic Safe Gun Scrubber
Quicker Cleaning by spraying the slide with Birchwood Casey Synthetic Safe Gun Scrubber

Wipe the slide down to remove the dirt and solvent.

Wipe the slide down to remove the dirt and solvent

Once all the parts are clean, we need to lubricate the moving parts with Original gun Oil or other quality gun lubricant.

Lubrication of the M&P Shield 380

Using a quality lubricant such as Original Gun Oil, Slip 2000, apply just a few drops to the following (manufacturer recommended) areas:

Frame:

  • Rails (all areas indicated in pic below)
  • Moving parts in trigger control area
Shield 380 Frame Lubrication Points
Shield 380 Frame Lubrication Points
Shield 380 One Drop of Oil on Each Lubrication Point
One Drop of Oil on Each Lubrication Point

No need for more than a few drops. The oil will move around on its own and coat the necessary surfaces.

Reassembly of the M&P Shield 380 EZ Pistol

This part is very simple once you do it a few times.

Install the Barrel and recoil spring into the slide

Set the slide upside down and put the barrel into the slide.

Place the barrel into the slide


Then place the recoil spring assembly on top and press on the end so it fits in the groove on the barrel as shown in the picture.

Place the barrel into the slide

It should look like this:

Barrel and slide proper positions

Install the slide on the frame.

Then line up the slide with the frame and slide it on.

Line up the slide with the frame and slide it on
Line up the slide with the frame and slide it on.


Continue to push the slide rearward, being careful not to depress the grip safety lever on the back of the grip.

Continue to push the slide to the rear
Go slowly here to make sure the slot is lined up or you may scratch the slide.

Push the slide all the way back and engage the slide stop lever by pressing upwards until it lock the slide in place.

While holding the slide all the way to the rear, engage the slide stop lever by pressing upwards.
While holding the slide all the way to the rear, engage the slide stop lever by pressing upwards.

Rotate the take down lever counter-clockwise to the 3 o’clock position it was in at the beginning.

Rotate the take down lever back to the 3 o'clock position.
Rotate the take down lever back to the 3 o’clock position.

Push the slide all the way to the rear and the slide stop will disengage.

Move the slide all the way to the rear again and the slide stop lever will disengage.
Move the slide all the way to the rear again and the slide stop lever will disengage.
Allow the slide to return to to the closed position.
Allow the slide to return to to the closed position.

Allow the slide to move forward into the closed position.

Work the slide back and forth several times to be sure it operates properly, and to allow the lube to spread into all the areas that move

Shield 380 Work the Slide Back and Forth
Work the Slide Back and Forth

Shield 380 Wipe down with a Microfiber cloth
Wipe down with a Microfiber cloth

Shield 380 Gun Cleaning Complete
Gun Cleaning Complete!

Wipe down the outside of the gun with a micro fiber cloth or other soft cloth to remove excess oil and fingerprints.

Ok, you are all done! That was a lot of steps but they are easy and you will fly through next time!

Lastly, you can test the functionality of the gun by taking some dummy rounds and loading the gun with them. Now make sure a round is ejected every time to rack the slide to the rear.

The gun is now fully assembled and ready for another day at the range!

Here are all the Supplies you need at Amazon:

Thanks for letting me walk you through the cleaning and disassembly of your Smith & Wesson M&P Shield 380 EZ. If you have any suggestions, recommendations or other comment, please leave it in the comment section below and I will usually reply within 24 hours.

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