How To: M & P Shield EZ 9mm Function & Safety Check

How to Perform a Function & Safety Check: Smith & Wesson M & P Shield EZ 9mm Pistol

I am going to show you in this article how to perform a function and safety test on the Smith & Wesson M & P Shield EZ 9 mm pistol. This will also work with the M & P Shield EZ .380 handgun and most (not all) semi-automatic pistols.

Anytime you clean the gun or take it apart for any reason and put it back together, these quick tests will help make sure all the functions and safety features are working.

How to Clean an M&P Shield EZ 9mm Pistol

The Smith & Wesson User Manual does not include these tests, at least the one I have does not. These are basic checks for many semi-automatic pistols that can help you spot a problem or safety concern before you use it with live ammunition.

There may appear to be a lot of steps, but in reality, this entire process can be completed in under 2 minutes once you do it a couple times. Basically you are just confirmng the basic operation and safety features (these will differ depending on your particular model).

GUN PARTS

AMMUNITION

SHOOTING GEAR

*Affiliate links. kydexowbholsters.com may receive a small commission at no cost to you if you use these links. We greatly appreciate you and your support!!

Items needed to complete the Function & Safety Tests.

The only item you will need is a set of dummy rounds or “snap caps”. These are artificial cartridges in the caliber of your particular firearm (9mm for this tutorial). They are the exact size and shape of live ammunition but are safe as they are only made of plastic or aluminum and contain no primer, projectile or gunpowder.

Here is an Amazon Affiliate Link if you are interested in purchasing Dummy Rounds.

Dummy rounds are useful for this test as well as practicing manipulations and drills at home without any danger of firing real bullets.

Dummy rounds
Dummy rounds

See Article: How to Use Snap Caps & Dummy Rounds

Shield EZ: Features

The Smith & Wesson Shield EZ is available in several different models. Each model has a few things that may differ from your particular model.

M & P Shield EZ Optional Thumb Safety
M & P Shield EZ Optional Thumb Safety

For example, your model may or may not have a thumb safety. If it does, you can test it with this tutorial, if not, just skip that part.

Steps to Perform the M & P Shield EZ Function & Safety Tests

Safety Notice: We will be pressing the trigger during these tests, so it is critical that the gun is UNLOADED.

Unload the gun

The very first thing, as always, is to make sure the gun is completely unloaded. 

  1. Verify that there is no magazine in the gun.
  2. Verify there is no round in the chamber. 

Also make sure there are no live rounds anywhere in the immediate area so you can’t accidentally get a round in there and have a negligent discharge

The rule is to remove any magazine first, then check the chamber. Repeat at least once.

A common cause of accidental discharge is checking the chamber first, then discovering there is still a magazine in the gun. The chamber may have been empty when you just opened the action to check it, but could have loaded a NEW round from the magazine when you closed it! 

ALWAYS check the chamber AFTER removing the magazine. And always check TWICE. (yes, this happened to me years ago)

Remove the magazine from the gun
Remove the magazine from the gun.
Verify there is no magazine in the gun.
Verify there is no magazine in the gun.
Lock the slide back and verify there is no round in the chamber.
Lock the slide back and verify there is no round in the chamber.

Trigger check

Now we will ensure the trigger is working properly. It is not necessary to insert a magazine into the gun for this test.

Close the slide, point the gun in a safe direction, get a good firing grip on the gun, safety off (if applicable), press the trigger. you should hear a “click” as the firing pin is released. Rack the slide to reset and press the trigger again. you should hear another “click”.

After racking the slide to cock the firing mechanism, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger.
After racking the slide to cock the firing mechanism, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger.
Rack the slide to reset, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger again.
Rack the slide to reset, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger again.

Thumb safety (external safety) Check

If your gun model has a thumb safety, we will check it now. You will not need a magazine for this test.

Verify the gun is unloaded, rack the slide to reset the trigger. Place the thumb safety in the “safety on”, or “up” position. Pointed in a safe direction, press the trigger. The trigger should move back but no click should be heard.

Press the thumb safety down into “fire” position, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger. The gun should “click” as the firing pin mechanism is released.

Rack the slide to reset the trigger, push thumb safety up into safe position
Rack the slide to reset the trigger, push thumb safety up into safe position.
Hold the gun in a good firing grip, point in a safe direction and press the trigger. Should NOT get a click.
Hold the gun in a good firing grip, point in a safe direction and press the trigger. Should NOT get a click.
Flip the thumb safety down and off.
Flip the thumb safety down and off.
With a good firing grip and pointed in a safe direction, press the trigger and it should click.
With a good firing grip and pointed in a safe direction, press the trigger and it should click.

Grip Safety check

This test will verify that the grip safety feature is working properly. The lever on the back of the grip is the “grip safety” and must be pressed firmly in order for the gun to fire. This is a feature that can help prevent the gun from going off if the trigger gets pressed when the gun is not intended to be fired.

First, reset the action and make sure the thumb safety is down and off. Hold the gun making sure NOT to depress the grip safety, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger. The trigger should move but you should NOT hear a “click”.

With Thumb safety OFF and grip safety NOT depressed, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger. It should NOT click.
With Thumb safety OFF and grip safety NOT depressed, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger. It should NOT click.

Now hold the gun properly, depressing the grip safety, point the gun in a safe direction and press the trigger. This time you should hear the “click”.

Now, with a proper firing grip on the gun, point in a safe direction, press the trigger and you should get a click.
Now, with a proper firing grip on the gun, point in a safe direction, press the trigger and you should get a click.

Slick Lock Open Test

This test will make sure that the slide will lock back when you fire your last round and the magazine is empty. You will need simply to insert an empty magazine into the gun and simulate firing the gun by racking the slide. The slide should automatically should lock back. This is because an empty magazine is designed to lock the slide back so that you know the gun is empty.

Insert a verified empty magazine into the gun.
Insert a verified empty magazine into the gun.
Rack the slide briskly to the rear and the slide should lock back.
Rack the slide briskly to the rear and the slide should lock back.

Slide Cycle Test

This next test will make sure that the extractor and ejector are working correctly. We will take some dummy rounds also called snap caps and load them into a magazine. We will insert the magazine, chamber a dummy round and simulate firing the gun by manually racking the slide until all the dummy rounds have been ejected. At this point the slide will also lock back to indicate an empty magazine.

Load 5 dummy rounds into a magazine
Load 5 dummy rounds into a magazine
Insert the dummy round magazine into the gun.
Insert the dummy round magazine into the gun.
Rack the slide to load the first dummy round into the chamber.
Rack the slide to load the first dummy round into the chamber.
Rack the slide briskly 5 times to simulate firing the gun. All 5 dummy rounds should eject and the slide should lock back.
Rack the slide briskly 5 times to simulate firing the gun. All 5 dummy rounds should eject and the slide should lock back.

That completes the Smith & Wesson M & P Shield EZ 9mm Function and Safety Check. If your gun passed all the tests, you are good to go. If you has any issues, you may need to take the gun to a gunsmith or contact Smith & Wesson to get it checked out before you use it.

VIDEO: M & P Shield EZ Function & Safety Test

Please leave any comments or questions in the comment section below.

Leave a Comment