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As semi-auto pistols gradually fall off the Golden State’s yes-you-may-buy-one list, Smith & Wesson announced today that they’re now shipping Cali-compiant SD9 VE and SD40 VE handguns (see Tyler’s review of the SD9 VE here). In a circumstance that probably vexes The Nation’s Most Attractive Attorney General, Smith’s SDVEs were certified as A-OK prior to the new microstamping requirements. And as long as you like them as they are – Smith can’t alter the design without re-certifying and having to comply with microstamping – the SDVEs are viable semi-auto options for Revolverfornia gun owners. Press release after the jump . . .

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (February 25, 2014) — Smith & Wesson Corp. announced today that the long awaited California compliant models of the increasingly popular SD9 VE™ and SD40 VE™ pistols have commenced shipping. Available in both 9mm and .40 S&W, the SDVE pistols were approved and added to the California Roster of Handguns Certified for Sale prior to the microstamping requirements. These compliant models provide California residents with reliable pistols at an affordable price.

The highly anticipated California compliant models of the 9mm and .40 S&W SDVE pistols feature a 10-round capacity magazine, tactile loaded chamber indicator and magazine safety. Compliant and approved for sale in California, the new self-defense pistols retain original design elements including a polymer frame with stainless steel slide, two-tone finish, striker-fired action and 4-inch barrel. Each pistol is standard with a white-dot front sight, a fixed two-dot rear sight and an unloaded weight of 22.7 ounces.

The SDVE pistols also have the reliable Self Defense Trigger (SDT™), which provides a smooth, consistent trigger pull and enhances accuracy while providing users with increased confidence.  For optimal comfort and control, the SDVE pistols have been fitted with an 18° natural point of aim and an ergonomic grip with aggressive front and back strap texturing. The Smith & Wesson SD9 VE and SD40 VE have both been built with a textured finger locator, which is placed directly above the trigger guard on the left and right side of the frame. Underneath the barrel, a universal Picatinny-style equipment rail is standard for optional tactical lights, lasers and other popular accessories.

“The new SD9 VE and SD40 VE pistols combine the best of both price and functionality in a reliable, ergonomic firearm engineered for personal protection,” said Mario Pasantes, Senior Vice President of Marketing and Global Professional Sales. “Built to deliver dependability, accuracy, comfort and value, these California compliant SDVE models provide the peace of mind long associated with the Smith & Wesson name.”

A number of high-quality accessories are readily available for the SDVE series and each pistol is furnished with Smith & Wesson’s lifetime service policy.

For more information on the new California compliant SD9 VE and SD40 VE pistols from Smith & Wesson, visit or visit the company’s YouTube channel at for exciting new videos on the latest products.

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    • No. Like Ruger and others, guns that are updated in any way must be recertified. And they can’t pass muster without microstamping. So since no one will make a gun that microstamps, updated guns will fall from the approved California list. Exactly as they intended in Sacramento.

      • Your explanation is correct but not what I was asking. A few weeks ago two manufacturers announced that they would not even bother to do the annual $200 renewal on their firearms–effectively dropping out of the CA new gun market without waiting to upgrade their designs. One of them was Ruger, I am pretty sure. I thought the other one was S&W. But the more I think about it, it was Taurus.

        • Steve, Ruger and S&W did NOT announce that they were no longer submitting their firearms to the California roster – just that they were not going to add microstamping. It would then be up to California to deny those firearms admission to the roster based on the lack of microstamping.

      • Yep. All of their semis will fall off the roster because they said they will not renew them.

        This one was already submitted for review before they announced that.

      • From my understanding, after 2009 all handguns added to the roster required BOTH a loaded chamber indicator and a magazine disconnect safety. Didn’t really notice until I started seeing Sig’s with both last summer. I’m just glad I never had to deal with it.

        • I guess the loaded chamber indicator is to help the mentally handicapped and gangbangers not shoot themselves, but the magazine disconnect safety would make me quite upset.

      • Yep, and it has to be of the rooster comb design.

        My M&P was what got them to change it. My LCI is a hole in the chamber you can see brass through. Wasn’t obvious enough. They want bright ass orange.

        You can buy parts to replace the comb with though.

    • Its just like the XD as well. The presence of a cartridge in the chamber slightly lifts the tab as in the pictire.
      One can feel it in the dark for a “loaded check”

        • The point of course being to be SURE it’s loaded when you want it to be. I have a bad habit of ONLY checking firearms to ensure that they are NOT loaded when I want them not to be (e.g., for dry fire); I should check my carry gun to be sure it IS loaded, routinely before putting it on in the morning. I am getting better about this.

    • I actually really like loaded chamber indicators, especially the kind that pop up on the top. It lets me know that I have one in the pipe without doing a press check, and I can tell instantly if I have remembered to rack the slide before putting it in the holster.

      • Yes, my LC9 has one, and I really like it (not as a safety feature, but in confirming your good to go by feel). Now the magazine safety on the other hand….

        • Taurus has em too. I don’t see a problem with them, and it’s occasionally useful. I wouldn’t buy a gun with a mag disconnect, though… if my magazine comes out it means either the gun gets unchambered or I’m in a really shitty situation…

      • Exactly. Going to have to glue a red “thing that goes up” to the top of my guns.

        Sorry I seem so naive. It just seems aesthetically challenged. Just touch your finger to the extractor of a GLOCK, Walther, and many other pistols. It seems simple.

        How, I must know, do Californians check that their revolver is loaded. Let me guess….

    • According to Angus Hobdell in the Nutnfancy CZ video, “It interrupts the passage of the cartridge up the breechface, possibly causing a malfunction.” That’s why they get rid of it on their PROTEK 1 (Angus Hobdell’s carry gun).

      • a glock fan calling a gun ugly? My Sigma, yes it’s ugly, has gone bang every time I’ve wanted it to. So has my son”s. If I needed another semi I would get an sd9ve and save some money and still have a solid gun.

      • Most pistols today are ugly. That’s why we have concealed carry.

        But they generally work well. I’ve seen so many pistols in the last four years with “4 inch barrel, 22 ounces in weight, 7.0-7.2 inches LOA, 15-17 rounds capacity….that a standard is being set in the polymer gun biz. I suppose that’s a mix of “as big as most can conceal” and “as few features as we’re willing to tolerate.”

    • “That California gun looks like a restyled Sigma.”

      In the TTAG review of the S&W SD, the reviewer noted that it pretty much was the same pistol.

  1. Didn’t they already announce this? I thought the original release said that the SDVE series and the CA M&P Shield would not be changed, at least not this year.

  2. Just wanted to say thanks for linking to the review. I’m in no position to buy a new handgun right now, but I had about decided that I had to have a Glock when I did get one. Now I may just save myself a couple hundred bucks. Always kind of liked the “utilitarian” look of the Sigmas and SDVE’s anyway.

  3. If the SDVE is all people in California can buy, okay then, but it would be my last choice when shopping for a semi-auto handgun.

  4. TTAG actually found the SDVE to be a pretty decent pistol in their review, and considering the non-CA roster guns go for barely above $300, it’s a great gun. The extra $200 you save would mainly have been to cover interweb gun forum snootery points.

    • CA variant of the Shield has been on the S&W website for two years already. Doesn’t mean you can find one; S&W has enough trouble meeting demand for the standard model that it probably hasn’t made sense to switch tooling on the production line yet.

  5. i don’t see why they couldn’t leave them on the roster and just not make any changes to them. if there was a change they wanted to make, as long as it wasn’t a safety issue could they not make the change on specified ca approved gun.

    actually, after reading that i understand why these companies got tired of dealing with ca. just take them off the roster and maybe we can get the roster removed. I’m not holding my breath.

    • Now you’re getting into S&W or any other manufacturer having multiple lines of the same product, just for California’s market. That gets expensive.

      • Ahem. They are already doing that. S&W makes specific versions of both the Shield and SD for MA and CA, in both 9mm and .40 (plus a SKU that includes only low-cap mags for the standard pistol).


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