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My new M&P Shield 9mm Compact pistol slide is very difficult to operate. I've cleaned and oiled it with no change. My hands are fairly strong and I just barely get it done. My wife can't operate it at all. Is this a normally difficult to operate gun? Any ideas?
 

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Normal...ever shield i had felt like they put elevator springs in it...even mags...now the regular compact is fine...shoot it break it in...45 shield to me is hardest

Sent from my LM-X210(G) using Tapatalk
 

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Yes they are stiff just shoot it and push back overhand slide while pushing forward on grip.
 

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As the gun gets smaller and the barrel gets shorter the return spring gets stiffer. This is because the spring has to dissipate the same amount of energy but in a shorter distance. With use the spring may be a little lighter but not by much. It shouldn’t because if it does it will not be dissipating the rounds recoil energy and could damage the gun. Just part of owning a small semi-auto pistol.
 

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As the gun gets smaller and the barrel gets shorter the return spring gets stiffer. This is because the spring has to dissipate the same amount of energy but in a shorter distance. With use the spring may be a little lighter but not by much. It shouldn’t because if it does it will not be dissipating the rounds recoil energy and could damage the gun. Just part of owning a small semi-auto pistol.
That is not true for all small pistols. My SIG P238's are super easy to rack. On the other hand, I had a Bersa BP380cc which was quite a bit larger than the SIG's I own now and it was much harder to rack the slide.
 

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When considering guns of equal caliber it is pretty much true. The original poster was asking about 9mm specifically. The Sig 238 is a .380 cal not a 9mm. The .380 cal is a much smaller and weaker cartridge than a 9mm. That is why it can have a weaker return spring than 9mm pistols. That is why many people go to .380 cal pistols. It’s no magic just physics.
 

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The alternate slide racking technique that JB59 suggests above should do the trick for you.

Most people use a weaker set of muscles in their arms to pull back the slide over the frame. This works with pistols that don't have much resistance to overcome, but is not the way to approach slide racking.

The better way is to use the stronger muscle groups to push the frame under the slide while you hold the slide stationary. It takes a bit of time to do this consistently and properly, so training and correct practice are your friends.

Decent article: https://www.ammoland.com/2016/04/how-to-rack-a-pistol-slide/

Most semi-auto firearms must cycle using one technique or another to delay unlocking the breech when they get to 9mm Luger and larger / more powerful ammunition. It is possible to make guns that will efficiently operate with unlocked breeches .380ACP (9mm short/kurz/corto) and smaller.

Only a small number of pistols try and operate 9mm Luger from unlocked breeches (HiPoint) and they generally turn to massive slide weight.

The Shield in 9mm uses a very stiff two stage compound recoil spring and a breech locked by the engagement of the chamber end of the barrel and the slide ejection port. It's designed to take some delay before that lock can be overcome by the slide moving back against the stiffest portion of motion in the recoil spring.

Famous designers like Mauser obsessed for years over unlocked breech designs for 9mm Luger pistols, and they generally failed in the market place because of unreliability. The shield is, in my experience, a reliable firearm.
 

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When considering guns of equal caliber it is pretty much true. The original poster was asking about 9mm specifically. The Sig 238 is a .380 cal not a 9mm. The .380 cal is a much smaller and weaker cartridge than a 9mm. That is why it can have a weaker return spring than 9mm pistols. That is why many people go to .380 cal pistols. It’s no magic just physics.
And THAT is exactly why I compared my 238's to the Bersa .380 which was the same caliber and a larger gun, but much harder to rack! I did not compare it to other caliber guns.
 

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I had this problem with an XD Mod 2, 9mm. My wife couldn't rack it at all and even I had to put a lot of effort into it. I was told to just shoot it and it would loosen up. I did and it didn't and it got to the point that it just wasn't enjoyable to shoot because of how hard the racking was, so I traded it away. Because of the XD experience, I've now learned to judge the rack before I buy a pistol and compare it to my Beretta 92FS. If it's harder to rack than it, I know I probably won't enjoy shooting it, no matter how well everything else is. As it was pointed out earlier in the thread, it won't get much easier than it is out of the box. This is one reason my wife and I like shooting our S&W .380 EZ, because it is so easy to rack and it is fun to shoot.

Mike
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thanks for the detailed reply. I've been to the linked site and am trying out the new technique. It is definitely easier. Thanks again for taking the time.
Jack43
 

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Wow. I really, REALLY wish I would have joined this forum before getting my new Shield 2.0 9mm - which I picked up Tuesday. I may end up getting a revolver for the Mrs, as she will never be able to rack this thing. I thought I had nerve damage or something. Good info here, though. So I'll dust off the weights, get some spring grips and tennis balls to squeeze. I turn 69 next month, so I may end up trading over to another pistol that is a little easier to work. :)
 

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My wife had some trouble with a couple of semi autos. While she is still not a natural she is much better after I showed her hand over top and most importantly .. push on the grip frame and push back on the slide. Hand over top is great but add pushing on the grip as you push back on the slide makes it a even easier. Try using both hands in opposite directions and you should be good to go.
 

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Thanks. Actually, I've just been downstairs practicing. Even when I get the slide locked open, the slide release button takes some effort. The little rascal does not want to move much, and I have to do the overhand to take some pressure off the slide, then it'll close up. That said, this is a brand new pistol, and I have yet to properly clean and lube it per the instructions. This is the first weapon that I've owned since leaving the Army in 1976. ;)
 

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There are certainly a ton of ways to do things but I almost never use the slide lock to release the slide and teach new shooters to sling shot.

In reality you dont need to lock the slide open manually either.

Try this
Load your mag. Snap caps if you are just practicing...

With the slide still closed insert the mag with a bit of force so it locks in place. Now while holding the grip high with your right put your left over the top with your thumb facing in toward you. Grip the area of the rear serrations. Now push foward with your right and push the slide back with your left. Now you are using the larger muscles in both arms instead of depending solely on hand strength.

Keep doing it until the slide locks open on the empty mag. Drop the mag and insert another with a snap cap or 2 and once again push forward on the grip and back on the slide and forget the slide lock.

Its not the right way or wrong way just another way.

I like using gross motor since an emergency may limit fine motor and rhe slide lock on my semi autos are tiny flush things
 

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These small 9mm pistols use compound recoil springs which are designed to intentionally resist unlocking in order to slightly delay the slide enough for the pressure to fully drop in the chamber, then they provide slightly less resistance so that the case can be jerked from the chamber in extraction and ejection.

The technique for racking these slides that I mentioned in my earlier response works because it relies on stronger muscle groups to open the chamber. it can sometimes help to verify that you have an empty magazine, then insert it into the gun prior to racking open the slide. This should automatically engage the slide lock so you don't have to try and operate the slide lock control with your thumb. Then release the magazine and drop it from the gun.
 
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