The aptly named Equalizer is among this year’s newest introductions and one with a bright promise. This isn’t a Shield or Military & Police variant save for Smith & Wesson’s broad naming of M & P handguns. This pistol is a single action concealed hammer (hammer fired) handgun based on the EZ rack handguns. The Equalizer has good features including a grip safety and manual safety. Three dot sights offer a versatile sight picture. The trigger action is decent, good for the price point. The slide is stainless steel but features a black coating. The frame is polymer. The handgun is basically a high capacity version of the EZ rack. It is worth noting the Equalizer isn’t as tall as the EX rack offering good concealment while upping magazine capacity.
The Equalizer features well designed forward cocking serrations. The pistol is supplied with three magazines in ten, thirteen and fifteen round capacity. These steel magazines are well designed and robust in construction. The tapered magazines are easily slapped into the magazine well. The higher capacity over the previous handgun doesn’t result in a larger grip frame. With the ten round magazine in place the pistol is actually shorter than the original EZ Rack, ideal for concealed carry. There are few handguns this size that handle as well as the Equalizer. The pistol is optics ready I did not mount a red dot. The safety lever on my pistol is ambidextrous and positive in operation. The pistol is just slightly over an inch wide at its widest point and weighs only 23 ounces. Despite the compact size the barrel at 3.675 inches long offers good performance with modern 9mm Luger loads. When carried close to the body the black Armornite finish should prove corrosion and wear resistant. An advantage of the Equalizer is that the pistol may be loaded with the safety engaged as the safety does not lock the slide. The grip safety prevents the pistol from firing unless the grip safety is fully depressed.
The magazine springs are stiff. That is a good thing as the magazine must feed a long column of cartridges from full compression to almost no compression. A supplied UP Lula loader gave me an edge when loading these magazines. I loaded the ten round magazine by hand and usually loaded only fourteen cartridges in the fifteen round magazine. The supplied Uplula magazine loader made a tremendous difference in ease of loading. The Equalizer was tested with a wide range of bullet weights. Lightest was 92 grain Fiocchi and the heaviest 150 grain Federal. All functioned well. The Equalizer never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject with the ten and thirteen round magazines. I had a couple of short cycles with the fifteen round magazine. Maybe a break in malfunction? The Equalizer is fast on target and the trigger while not target grade offers a clean reset. Like many Smith & Wesson handguns the Equalizer pistol is designed with a good grip angle providing a natural point.
Recoil is greater than the Glock 19 or SIG P320 size pistols as expected, about in the Shield Plus 9mm range. At defensive engagement distances the Equalizer is fast and effective. I was surprised at how well I was able to connect at longer distance. Using the MTM Caseguard K Zone shooting rest I fired two five shot groups, one with the Black Hills Ammunition 115 grain EXP and the other with the same maker’s 124 grain JHP. This was at 25 yards, long for a light handgun. Each cut a five shot group of less than 2.5 inch, 2.25 inch with the 124 grain load. This gun is a shooter! I think the Equalizer will prove a popular handgun and a good defensive pistol.
- Model: S&W® EQUALIZER™ NTS
- Caliber: 9mm Luger
- Capacity: 10+1, 13+1, 15+1
- Length: 6.75
- Front Sight: White Dot
- Rear Sight: White 2-Dot
- Action: Internal Hammer Fired
- Grip: Polymer
- Barrel Material: Stainless Steel with Armornite® Finish
- Slide Material: Stainless Steel with Armornite® Finish
- Frame Finish: Matte Black
- Barrel Length: 3.675″ (9.3 cm)
- Weight: 22.9 oz.
Average retail less than $500 in my neck of the woods.