Smith & Wesson released a new model to directly compete with the P365XL and Hellcat Pro. Smith and Wesson is certainly a bit late to the game with this one since the P365XL and Hellcat have been out for a while. While S&W has the Shield Plus with additional capacity, that seemed to just be a retrofit of a decade-old gun to use as a stop-gap measure until they had a complete new gun. If you look at the side profile of the Shield Plus you probably couldn't tell the difference between it and the original Shield. The Shield Plus works, but it seems like pumping 'The Big Guy' up with methamphetamines to keep him lucid enough to answer some pre-rehearsed questions. You see the capacity and size and think "This isn't too bad" but when you look closely and compare it to other guns you also realize there's far better options. So it makes sense that Smith & Wesson would come up with a new gun, the Equalizer.
The Equalizer is an interesting gun because it has a 3.675" barrel and a 1" thickness which is comparable to the P365XL and the Hellcat Pro. It's also optics ready and nice slide serrations for a solid grip on the slide. If you look at the top of the gun it almost looks like a midsize handgun, but the grip design was certainly carried over from the Shield EZ.
The magazine capacity and height are where it gets interesting. This gun comes with 3 magazines: (1) 10rd, (1) 13rd, and (1) 15rd. Height with the 10rd magazine is 4.5" compared to 4.2" on the 10rd P365 non-XL and 4.0" on the 10rd Hellcat. Height with the 15rd magazine is 5.25" with the 15rd magazine compared to 5.2" on the 17rd magazine in a P365 or 4.8" with the 15rd Hellcat Pro. Smith and Wesson does not list the height with the 13rd Equalizer magazine, but it will likely fall right in the middle around 5". From those numbers you can see that it loses out to its competitors in the height department by about 1/4" when using the same capacity magazine. That's not a huge difference, but in this market where the highest ratio of capacity to size is king the gun does fall a bit short. Or in this case, long...
That's not to say you shouldn't buy one because it's still very competitive and loaded with features. It also has a large standard rail section which is missing on the P365 and it has squeeze grip safety that's a popular feature on the Shield EZ. We haven't received our first delivery yet, but the slide actuation is as light as the Shield EZ it will also be a huge benefit. If you're a fan of Smith & Wesson you will finally have a gun worthy to compete with SIG and Springfield in this arena and if you're a first-time shopper for a carry gun in this market segment you have more options to find a gun that best fits your needs.