The Smith & Wesson EZ pistol series is arguably one of the most popular sold in America, but you wouldn’t know it from talking to “gun guys.” There are a lot of tacticool types who won’t admit to owning a gun that’s specifically made and marketed to be easy to shoot, like the EZ series is. You can think of the EZ like a moped … lots of fun to run, but you may not want your friends to see you with it.
All that said, Smith & Wesson designed the EZ series for some very specific shooting segments—new shooters and those with hand-strength issues. You might not realize it if you are in your prime, but hand strength challenges can come in a variety of forms. Age-related issues and arthritis are widespread and keep may people from using pistols.
When we have a customer specifically ask about the EZ in the gun store—which happens often, the name recognition is almost unmatched— I first hand them something like a Glock 19. I will ask them to do me a favor and try to rack the slide. Then I ask the to do the same with the EZ. Since the customer just tried to pull the slide back on the Glock 19 almost everyone is amazed at how easily the EZ slide moves back and forth.
The EZ series has options for almost every customer’s budget. To start, the EZ series available in three calibers including .380 ACP, 9mm and 30 Super Carry. The EZ comes with multiple options for sights, like standard white dots, fiber optics, night sights, and even factory-installed laser sights. For those with even more sophisticated tastes, the S&W Performance Center also has options with things like Gold (titanium plating) ported barrels and triggers.
Once we pick our caliber and trim level, the next decision is whether you want the thumb safety or not. Now especially with newer more nervous shooters the thought of more safety is positively looked at. The flip side is that a thumb safety will require more training time to make sure that you learn to flip the safety off every time. Either way, each EZ still comes with a grip safety.
The grip safety on the EZ series means that you cannot shoot the pistol unless you depress the grip safety. The act of properly gripping the pistol automatically turns the safety off and allows you to pull the trigger. Another feature that draws new shooters is the EZ’s long beavertail on the frame, which protects the hand from going up too high on the grip and risking a slide bite.
Moving on to the frame, the EZ has a great texturing that grips onto your hand as you shoot it—without being so aggressive that it wears on your clothing. The EZ has an 18-degree grip angle, which makes for a great natural point of aim.
What’s natural point of aim? EZ! Most people will find that when they make a finger gun and point it like they are going to shoot a target, that angle and the EZ’s point of aim are the same. If you can shoot a finger gun, you can shoot an EZ without any learning curve.
Unlike some of S&W’s other M&P pistols, all EZ series pistols come with a one-piece construction trigger. Since there is no hinge the trigger feels more solid, and the trigger pull feels better with less movement. I find the trigger pulls are reliably in the 5-lb. range. While not a trick competition trigger, it is far from the worst trigger on a pistol.
Another great feature of the EZ trigger is that you don’t have to pull it to take the pistol apart. Once you lock the slide back, you simply turn the takedown lever down, pointing to 6’o clock. Now release the slide and push it forward off the frame. Remove the recoil spring and pull out the barrel and you have field-stripped the pistol for cleaning or maintenance … all without having to put your finger on the trigger, which just makes everyone feel better.
Customers with hand strength issues usually ask for a magazine loader with their guns. It’s not necessary on the EZ; each single-stack magazine features nubs on the follower that make it easy-peasy to load up your magazines. Just push the follower down and the rounds can drop into place with no force.
Once leaded up, the EZ has a tactile loaded chamber indicator. When a round is in the chamber a lever sticks up above the slide, showing you a round is in the chamber. On top of all the safety and usability built into the pistol. The EZ series is manufactured from stainless steel that has an Armornite (Salt Nitride) coating that means the pistol is protected from rust. And while the pistols maintenance needs are low, you should still clean your pistol.
When it comes to faults on the pistol, I have quibbles but find no deal-breakers. Capacity is 8 rounds— how am I supposed to storm the beach of Iwo Jima with only 8 rounds at a time? Well … to tell the truth … the 1911s that GIs used for decades were single stack as well.
Now onto one of my biggest complaints: S&W markets the EZ series as a micro-compact pistol. Even though customers love the EZ-ness of the pistol, most still ask to see the smaller version. The fact is that the EZ is not a micro-compact pistol; it’s a compact. That’s a feature, not a bug. The size of the pistol adds to shootability because the weight and volume of the polymer acts as a shock absorber, devouring felt recoil.
I will make one caveat emptor: The EZ is offered in 30 Super Carry, which is currently expensive and hard to find. It just does not make sense. Maybe one day it will be as cheap and as readily available as 9mm and .380, but until then I will skip.
For me I would have no reservations recommending the EZ pistols. Especially in 2023 these pistols have been out long enough that the accessory market is in full production. For example I can’t think of a single large holster maker that does not make EZ holsters. And why not, since the EZ is such a popular pistol. Combine the reliability with the Smith & Wesson’s lifetime warranty and you have a winner. Maybe that’s the reason for its popularity? After all, if everyone’s too tacticool to carry an EZ, then why do we sell so many? Tell us what you think!
—James “the XDMAN” Nicholas, Mr. UNPewfessional himself
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