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Monday, February 10, 2014

Smith & Wesson SD9VE – review




My wife decided recently that she wanted a handgun to carry for self defense, so we started doing a little research and window shopping to try a pick out a good one.  We pretty much decided to go with an auto-loader for magazine capacity, and we talked some about caliber.  We considered both .380 and 9mm.  Many .380’s are more compact and it’s a slightly tamer round than the 9mm, but my wife wasn’t concerned too much about recoil.  She regularly shoots my .357 revolver so she knew that the 9mm wouldn’t be a problem.  Our main concern was the thickness of the grip.  She shot my Taurus PT-92 and found that it didn’t feel comfortable in her hand.  The grip was just too bulky, and her thumb couldn’t reach the left side magazine release button.  She fired my brother-in-law’s Ruger LCP .380, but she felt that it was too small and she was concerned about the stopping power of the lighter round.  So we pretty much decided on a 9mm; it was just a matter of finding one with a double stack magazine that would fit her hand.  A 9mm would have the added bonus of being kind of a family standard round.  I have a 9mm, my son has a 9mm, my brother-in-law has a 9mm, and my son-in-law has a 9mm; so when we get a good deal on ammo we can buy in bulk (no good deals lately).

So we knew that we were looking for a 9mm auto loader with a high capacity magazine.  The next step was to go to the gun shop and try a few on for size.  We tried a Beretta, a Glock, a Sig, a Springfield, a Kel-Tec, and a Smith and Wesson.  The Smith and Wesson SD9VE was the best fit. We held the SD9VE up next to a couple of the other nines and determined that the difference in size was due to the thinner slabs on the grip.  The body of the grip was the same width as the other pistols, so it had no problem holding a double stack magazine. 

The only thing that worried me a little was that, with the exception of the Kel-Tec, it was considerably less expensive than the others.  I didn’t want my wife trusting her life to a junker (although I have never heard of a Smith and Wesson junker), so it was time to do a little inter-net research.

The reviews that I read and watched were nearly all positive.  There were some concerns expressed about durability of the slide guide-rod since it is polymer rather than steel; and several noted that the SD9 has no safety.  But all reviewers seemed to agree that it was a sweet shooter and fed all brands of ammo with great reliability.  I was interested to read that Glock had actually sued Smith and Wesson over the design of this pistol, and I can see why they did.  I held it up next to my son’-in-law’s Glock and it looked almost like a twin.  Glock lost the law suit, by the way.

So here’s the basic info on the Smith and Wesson SD9VE:
The Smith and Wesson SD9VE is a medium size auto loading pistol with a polymer frame and a stainless steel slide and barrel.  The barrel is four inches long.  The SD9VE is chambered for 9mm parabellum.  It has a double stack magazine with 16 rounds capacity.


View holes on the sides of the magazine allow you to see how many rounds are in the mag.  The SD9VE is striker fired so there is no exposed hammer. 
 Every shot is double action, and the trigger has about a seven pound pull.  There is no safety on this firearm.  It will still fire without the magazine inserted.  The SD9VE is 1.5 inches wide, 7.2 inches long, and weighs 22.7 ounces without the magazine.  The sights are fixed with a white dot on the front post and to each side of the rear notch. 
There is a small rail under the barrel that can be used for mounting a laser or light. 
The body of the SD9VE is black and the slide is dull silver-gray.  The slide is deeply textured for easy grip when chambering a round.
The slide release and magazine release are both located within easy reach on the left side of the frame. 


One feature that I particularly like is a small half-moon view port on the back of the chamber that enables you to see, without pulling the slide back, if there is a round in the chamber.
 To disassemble the SD9VE for cleaning; make sure the chamber is empty, pull the trigger to drop the striker, and remove the magazine. 
Pull the slide back slightly, pull down the small pins located on both sides of the slide.
Push the slide forward to remove it from the frame.
 Remove the the slide spring and guide rod.

And, finally, remove the barrel.
My personal impression of the SD9VE is that it appears to be a good solid, reliable firearm.  The price is very reasonable.  Both my wife and I fired several magazines through it.  The trigger pull did not fell too stiff to either one of us, and every round fed without problem.  Magazines transitions were smooth and easy, and accuracy was good.  Of course, this firearm is not nearly as rugged as my all metal PT-92, but we are not anticipating prolonged field carry or huge volumes of fire.  This firearm is plenty rugged enough and plenty reliable enough for civilian defense purposes.  It is a great gun for the money, indeed it is the easy equivalent of guns that cost much more.  I would recommend it to anyone.


28 comments:

Ro Gal said...

This gun is a sleeper. I have both 9mm and 40 and they are reliable and inexpensive. The Honda Accord of firearms, so go ahead and get the BMW of guns Glock if you want to spend an extra $150.

HighHorse said...

The S&W SD9VE is an excellent value, performs beautifully with no failures and is very much worth the money, $369.00 in my case, and worth much more. Will ALSO purchase the SD9VE WITH the thumb safety. Excellence for an Excellent price.

bahrelius said...

I just bought this as my first handgun. I've done some pistol shooting but not much. Most projectiles I've shot have been shotguns and bows (I own both). The first day at the range was shocking. I was surprisingly accurate and precise with this pistol. After 100 rounds the center 3 inches of the target were all gone and there were about 10 holes around the rest. If a newb (who knows how to hold a pistol) can shoot this, about anyone can. It is definitely a keeper and can't be beat for the price. It'll be my concealed carry when I complete that course.

nolaman said...

I have owned this pistol sd9ve for about one year. I installed the apex trigger kit and it improved the pull. I have probably run 400 rounds and it is very reliable. Compared to the Glock 19, I would pick the sd9ve and keep the difference. It is a better value all around.
Good luck

PWR said...

"Of course, this firearm is not nearly as rugged as my all metal PT-92"

With all due respect, I think this comment has no bases in fact. The SD9VE may very well be every bit as rugged as a PT-92. Isn't the Glock mentioned in the article every bit as rugged as a PT-92?

Otherwise great article. Thank you.

Jim Lee said...

I have a vintage Polish Radom 9mm made before WW II. It is a fun gun to punch paper with but replacement parts are literally non-existent! I wanted another 9mm to enjoy and shooting one now is cheap. I found the S&W SD-9 VE for $299.00 at Academy. What the heck! I took it home inspected it, dropped in a little lube and headed to the range. Not bad but a “looong “trigger pull. I found out about the APEX kit and bought one off Amazon for $21.00. About 30 minutes of careful dis-assembly & reassembly using the APEX “youtube” video and it was back to the range. Big difference! I put one of the little red laser sights on it, "boresighted" it for about 30 feet, and headed back. More fun than a barrel of monkies!
I would recommend this pistol for a new shooter or a seasoned veteran shooter! It has a good feel and handles well. The only other beef was the take-down release. Like my Glock and many others I want to know “Why in the hell can’t manufactures make it protrude out of the slide further?” It is a pain to take it down for cleaning. Once the slide is off it only takes minutes to clean, lube, and re-assemble.

HighHorse said...

Have the SD9VE which Should Really be titled: SD9VP(Value PACKED).
Nozzle Tube squirt a few drops of CRC Power Lube, Which All Guns Crave, right into the trigger Module Following to the firing pin and rear of the gun ALONG with lubing the recoil guide.
Work the trigger Thoroughly and Voila! you now have a 5.5Lb Pull Trigger.
The Gun is Wonderful and am waiting for the SD9VE to come out in ALL Black; will get a Second one PRONTO!Comes with the California Compliant LCI(Loaded Chamber Indicater), a LifeSaver
Well Done Smith&Wesson!!

AL Mendez said...

This gun is awesome! After a year and several thousand rounds, not one issue at all. Ate every single low priced piece of garbage ammo I could feed it like a shark. I upgraded the sights, trigger springs, and added a stainless steel guide rod which made this gun all the more sweeter. I recently saw the sd9 VE for $299.00. (An amazing price). At this price without adding a thing, you will have a reliable American made gun than in my opinion can give a $500.00 plus Glock a run for its money. Do not overlook this gun if your in the market for a home defense weapon, or even a carry gun. The SD9 VE won't let you down.

Mike Escarsega said...

It a very good gun i have one i put in over 200 rounds into it whene i got in no problem at all i carry conceal and i wound not carry anything else

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sam nop said...

The gun is a good gun I installed an apex trigger kit on and it shoots a lot better plus trigger pull is way lighter than that 9lb I have no issues with this amazing gun well worth the money

Debby Alexander said...

just got one and was surprised at seeing a gap between the slide and the frame above the slide release about 1/22in by 2 inches. you can see through and out the other side of the gun. called SW they said not to worry. this appears to be a nice opening for sand, dirt etc to go straight into the guts of the gun. ant thoughts on this?

Debby Alexander said...

I bought on line and had no chance to inspect. might not have purchased if knew about this gap.

Sensible Survival said...

Debbie,
My wife's is the same. Never noticed it before. We have had this firearm for several years and it has never been a problem; never miss-fired. Haven't noticed any unusual amount of grime when cleaning.
Hank

Unknown said...

I figured its probably to help vent grime. It's a pretty simple design so I couldn't imagine that being a problem. That's what's great about this and glocks their simple and reliable.

Mike Outlaw said...

I figured its probably to help vent grime. It's a pretty simple design so I couldn't imagine that being a problem. That's what's great about this and glocks their simple and reliable.

Tom Demick said...

I own this gun and absolutely love it. I too have installed an Apex trigger kit. I've put well in excess of 3,000 rounds through mine without a hitch. Sweet shooter and great ergonomics. It eats all ammo I feed it including my reloads.

Bk95 said...

I have the SD9VE as well and I love it.I have added the Talon rubberized grips and the Apex trigger.Omg what a great gun after adding those two things.

Bk95 said...

I have the SD9VE as well and I love it.I have added the Talon rubberized grips and the Apex trigger.Omg what a great gun after adding those two things.

Unknown said...

Just bought my first gun s@w sdve 9mm got it for a steal at 300 never been fired other than the test bullet this gun is amazing for the price i would def put it against any 9 on the market sweet gun very comfortable to hold and carry very accurate.

Unknown said...

Just bought my first gun s@w sdve 9mm got it for a steal at 300 never been fired other than the test bullet this gun is amazing for the price i would def put it against any 9 on the market sweet gun very comfortable to hold and carry very accurate.

Roy Hacke said...

Just bought my first gun s@w sdve 9mm got it for a steal at 300 never been fired other than the test bullet this gun is amazing for the price i would def put it against any 9 on the market sweet gun very comfortable to hold and carry very accurate.

Roy Hacke said...

Just bought my first gun s@w sdve 9mm got it for a steal at 300 never been fired other than the test bullet this gun is amazing for the price i would def put it against any 9 on the market sweet gun very comfortable to hold and carry very accurate.

Dalton Quigley said...

I just got one of these SD9VEs and took it straight out of the box to the range. I was very impressed with the accuracy and reliability of this firearm, after 100 rounds of the cheapest ammo i could find and not a single feed problem. Again, I fired this without any additional lube or oil and it worked great. As for the trigger pull I have long fingers which give me an advantage because the pull is quite long, however the trigger pull was not too heavy and was not as grainy and dreadful as many reviews that I have read make it out to be. All in all you won't find a better 9mm for that kind of a price. Thank God for Smith & Wesson

psjostrom said...

Love love my sd9ve just headed cerakoted black. Looks awesome

psjostrom said...

Love love my sd9ve just headed cerakoted black. Looks awesome

Fred Moore said...

Mild dissenter here. I bought the SD9VE new. Yes...it is inexpensive, but it is plastic. It should be. Accuracy is ok, certainly not top of the line and a better trigger would help. Sure it is easy to clean, but most auto's are with the exception of a Ruger MK lll. I did enjoy the double stack mags, but they are overpriced. Ok--I'll admit that it is an ok gun for the money, but after about a year, I tired of this "starter gun" and I traded it in. I could not get past the plastic frame, the plastic rod, and working an action that always felt like the slide rode on sandpaper. if someone says it has an acceptable trigger, their exposure to triggers is limited.

I think I am correct in remembering that this is a clone of a Glock, and S&W got sued over it. Gotta pay those lawyers.

My carry gun is a Sig 938, and my range gun is a 9mm commander sized 1911. I love shooting 9mm. The difference between the action and trigger on the 1911 and the SD9VE. Is remarkable. The 1911 trigger makes me soooo much more accurate, it is astonishing. I guess you get what you pay for. I wanted more.

Bottom line.....would I buy another? Probably not. Would I recommend it to a friend? Maybe to a cash strapped person that just needed a gun for the nightstand.

Sorry. Just my experience.

PS: I'm a registered Range Safety Officer and NRA instructor.

Unknown said...

I also have a vis p35 and youbare correct that the parts are far few and when found are ridiculous