M&P Shield EZ and PHLster Enigma? Here’s What You Need To Know

Can you use the PHLster Enigma system with the Shield EZ?

Short answer: Yes you can. You would need to purchase the Standard Enigma, add a compatible holster from the Fit Guide, and assemble it yourself according to the instructions. There are several holster options listed in the Fit Guide, so be sure to choose one with the features you prefer. If you’re not sure what kind of holster you need, try the one from JM Custom Kydex.

If you are new to concealed carry, just keep in mind that the Shield EZ is a large gun, and not every body type can conceal it well. If the gun takes up more than about 35% of your available concealment space, you are in for a challenge. Watch the video below about concealment percentages, and then check out the resources at the end of this article for help with your concealment.

Why don’t you make a pre-assembled Enigma Express for the M&P Shield EZ?

Short answer: We don’t like disappointing people.

The Shield EZ is a perfectly fine gun for shooting at the range, but the people who are most likely to purchase it for concealed carry (petite women) usually have a hard time concealing it. It’s a struggle bus gun. It’s basically the same size as a Glock 19 — which is huge relative to the torso size of the average person trying to carry it.

Because most folks who buy the Shield EZ are new to concealed carry, they are often disappointed with the concealment they can achieve when they try to wear it with their normal wardrobe. We make the Enigma Express for those WOW factor guns — the ones where you put them on and can’t believe how well they disappear. The Shield EZ isn’t that, not for most of its market segment.

Tabletop comparison photo from, a fantastically useful site. Bookmark it – it’s handy.

People purchase the Shield EZ because they want a gun that’s easy to rack. That’s perfectly understandable. Slides can be hard to rack, especially if you’re new to shooting, or if you have physical limitations. Unfortunately, most new shooters are never taught how to rack a slide with the correct technique, which leads a lot of folks to assume they “need” a lite racking gun when they really don’t. Racking a slide is largely a matter of technique and confidence. Most (not all) people can successfully rack a regular 9 mm slide when using the correct technique. And in fact, after shooting the Shield EZ for a while, many people find they can “graduate” to a regular gun.

That said, even with the best technique, not everyone will be able to rack a slide. There’s certainly a valid market segment for lite racking concealed carry guns. If you need one, and you’re struggling to conceal the Shield EZ, you may want to take a look at the Sig Sauer P365-380 instead. It’s easy to rack, light recoiling, and way easier to conceal, especially on a petite frame. Check out the photo below for a size comparison.

Note how much shorter the grip is on the P365-380. It’s also slightly curved to reduce printing. Photo from

Shouldn’t I carry the gun I shoot the best?

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with carrying a large gun if that’s what you are comfortable and proficient with. Just plan on making some major wardrobe concessions to conceal well, and keep in mind it’s likely to have a negative effect on your physical comfort and range of motion. We have a ton of resources to help with that, but there’s only so much you can do – you can’t fight the laws of physics.

Carrying large guns requires knowledge and technique. Realistic expectations are key. With the right skills, you can make the best out of even a difficult gun. Expect to take some time and experiment at home with different techniques – it’s not an easy road, but you’ll learn a lot along the way. Consider these resources:

Basic Concealment Mechanics – learn how to find your Concealment Sweet Spot, and how to reach your maximum concealment potential with each gun you try. This foundation is crucial when you’re pushing the limits of what’s possible for you to conceal.

Concealed Carry Comfort – Pay careful attention to the “boundaries” chapter, as you’ll need to watch your boundaries to make a large gun comfortable.

Join the PHLster Concealment Workshop group on Facebook. Once you get in, do a group search for the keyword “EZ,” and you’ll see tons of examples of how other folks have made it work (or not). The Workshop is a large group, and you will see a lot of different body types represented.

Do you need extra holster length?*

*If you’re carrying a longer-muzzled gun or a revolver, adding extra holster length may not be necessary for you, but for short semiautomatic guns, it’s often helpful.

Guns with short muzzles can be top-heavy and difficult to conceal comfortably. To solve this, some holsters have extra length added to the muzzle end. Like the keel on a boat, the extra muzzle length helps balance the holster, making it more comfortable and easier to conceal. This is especially true if you have a bit of a belly, which tends to push the grip out more and make the muzzle dig in.

Note that while extra muzzle length reduces grip printing, it can increase muzzle printing, which can be a concern with lower carry positions and tight fitting pants such as leggings or yoga pants. 

Learn more about the Keel Principle here.