Did Smith and Wesson Get It Right With The SD VE?

Smith and Wesson seems to have covered all the bases in their striker fired pistol lineup. From the premium Military and Police models down to the Sigma, then back to the SD9 and SD40 VE. It appears they have accommodated as many income levels as possible.


All to put a striker fired gun from S&W in as many hands as possible. All shapes, sizes, and prices now live within the Smith and Wesson arsenal.

The Sigma was pretty popular at first with the first drawback being the cheap feel of the gun when initially handling it. But it was simple, cheap, and worked pretty well.

Except for the universally renounced trigger. In a gun with no options except to pull the trigger, you want that trigger pull to be manageable first through last shot.

Aside from the online blathering and angry exaggerations, the trigger pull on the Sigma comes in at 9-10 lbs. Too long and too heavy. You might as well carry a double action revolver.

Quality Feel Restored From The Original Sigma

While the SD comes back to the middle with quality that can be felt, improving the initial impression of the gun, S&W made the serious mistake of not correcting the trigger pull.

Like a virus, the pull of the Sigma has been spread to the SD VE. Why is irrelevant at this point. The S&W website rates the trigger pull (in Springfield XD fashion) "8 lbs +/-" In other words, not exactly defined. They have been measured at significantly different weights from many users. All are heavy.

A Massachusetts compliant model contains a trigger that comes in at 10.5 lbs. Why not just glue it in place?

Aside from that, the gun has been around long enough now to be proven dependable. It has a better quality feel, is simple in construction (like a GLOCK - go figure), and should run for many thousands of rounds. The sights are clear white dot and easy to quickly align.

The grips of the gun will accommodate a wide range of hand sizes. It fits my medium size hand easily and comfortably.

The gun is what is expected, except for the trigger.

The gun is inherently accurate as it should be, though challenging to shoot consistently without a serious adjustment to the trigger. So, a gun that could have been a big boost to S&W's line carries a blemish in something as simple as the trigger that could have been adjusted to reasonable ranges.

Disassembling the gun is by means of a couple of small take-down levers on the sides of the slide. Moving the slide slightly, pulling down on the levers releases it and allows it to slide forward and off. The guide rod, spring and barrel simply lift out.

Operational levers to release the slide and drop the magazines are in the typical places on the frame.

As far as use of the gun goes, concealed carry, in your car, in a briefcase, by your bed, it will work for just about anything defensive. The important thing to remember about this, like any striker fired handgun, is to stow it in a holster if it is ready to fire.

The appearance of the gun is typical with a two tone stainless slide/black polymer frame combination.

So back to the trigger pull that is the deal breaker on this gun. The SD .40 or .9mm VE is worth owning and using. Now, there are multiple after market trigger systems that can replace the S&W disaster from the factory. If you get the gun, get a trigger system replacement. You'll have a firearm closer to the quality of the M&P line, and even with the addition of the trigger, a good deal less expensive.

Statistics of the basic Smith and Wesson SD9 or 40 VE:Model: SW SD40 VE
Caliber: .40 S&W
Capacity: 14+1
Action: Striker Fired Action
Barrel Length: 4" / 10.2 cm
Front Sight: White Dot
Rear Sight: Fixed 2-Dot
Overall Length: 7.2" / 18.3 cm
Width: 1.29" / 3.3 cm
Weight: 22.7 oz. / 643 g
Grip: Textured Polymer
Frame Material: Polymer
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel
Finish: Two-Tone
The slide has front and rear serrations for gripping.

Bottom Line: Some writers call this a "starter" gun. There's nothing remarkable about this gun or anything to set it apart from other basic striker fired handguns.

But the Smith and Wesson SD VE line of pistols are good quality, dependable guns that can be used with confidence for self defense. That is if you undertake the time and expense to fix the long, stiff trigger. It is a gun that will likely last you for many years, even with heavy use.

And you can get that use for a good $200 less than premium priced pistols.



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