SPRINGFIELD, Mass., April 12, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Smith & Wesson Holding Corporation (NASDAQ: SWHC), parent company of Smith & Wesson Corp., a U.S.-based leader in firearm design and manufacturing, today announced the introduction of the company's newest polymer pistol with the unveiling of the M&P Shield™. Available in 9mm and .40 S&W, the new M&P Shield delivers the professional-grade features found in the M&P Pistol Series, in a slim profile. Smith & Wesson President and CEO, James Debney, said, "The introduction of the M&P Shield demonstrates our commitment to developing new products designed and built to meet professional standards and backed by our reputation for innovation and quality. The M&P Shield, available to both professionals and consumers, delivers simple operation and reliable performance, while adding another high-performance option to our company's broad line of M&P firearms." The M&P Shield utilizes an extremely thin, lightweight, high-strength polymer frame with a black, Melonite® coated stainless steel slide and barrel. Both models are standard with a 3.1-inch barrel, which contributes to an overall length of 6.1 inches and an unloaded weight of 19 ounces. The accuracy of the pistol has been refined with a white dot stainless steel front sight and a white two-dot stainless steel rear sight. The M&P Shield retains familiar operating features including a simple takedown lever, flat profile slide stop, magazine release, and thumb safety. For improved firearm control, the M&P Shield is standard with a fixed textured backstrap and additional texturing at the forward portion of the grip. An extended trigger guard allows for operation with or without gloves. Internal features of the new M&P Shield mirror the standard M&P Series. Its stainless steel internal chassis reduces flex while providing a stable shooting platform and its low-bore axis helps maintain ease-of-use and a comfortable feel. A passive trigger safety prevents the pistol from firing if dropped and a sear release lever eliminates the need to press the trigger in order to disassemble the firearm. A loaded chamber indicator is located on top of the slide. The M&P Shield is shipped with both an extended and flat magazine offering the ability to customize the length of the grip. The 9mm M&P Shield offers an 8+1 or 7+1 magazine capacity while the .40 S&W M&P Shield is standard with either a 7+1 or 6+1 magazine capacity. The M&P Shield will also be introduced in a California-compliant model. Both the 9mm and .40 S&W M&P Shield have an MSRP of $449 and are available now. As an added bonus, Smith & Wesson has worked with the industry's top holster, laser, and after-market sight manufacturers so that owners can immediately personalize their M&P Shield with high quality accessories that are immediately available from various providers.