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TTAG Reader Joel Thompson writes:

S&W has re-released the original SD9/40. As you might recall, the original SD9/40 was released with a black, Melonite-treated slide, rear metal sight, and a front night-sight. This was later revised into the SW SDVE, (Value Enhanced), series pistol with a Stainless Steel slide, standard front sight, and a plastic rear sight. Yankee Marshal famously (or infamously) called it the SDVE series “better than a Glock!” and recommended it for the budget gun buyer, or for someone who wants to keep it in their truck or “get-home-bag.” According to the cleric [sic] at Academy . . .

it’s a new Academy exclusive, so you aren’t likely to see a new one at your LGS.

This new/old version has metal front/rear sights equipped with fiber-optics (green/front, red/rear) sights. It also takes advantage of Smith & Wesson’s new proprietary wonder-coat (Armornite-treated slide vs. the Melonite-treated original).

The grip of the new/old SD pistol also has a re-texturing of the front and rear backstraps. The new texturing takes diamond-shape pattern of the original, but the tips are longer and sharper than the original. It is definitely-gripper than the original, but some might find the texture a little too sharp depending on personal tastes. Also noticeably different about the frame, is the removal/reduction of an unsightly seam line that plagued the original polymer mold.

I was unable to test the trigger, the biggest complaint about the original SD and SDVE, due to Academy’s trigger lock policy. The clerk told me that he believed that the trigger was the same as the original SDVE. I will note that if it is the same, then S&W seems to have trademarked the trigger as an “SDT™” trigger on the description. The SDVE store page does not list a trademarked trigger name. So it’s hard to say.

My first gun was an SDVE, and I always lamented not being able to purchase the SD series. It’s worth noting, used versions of the original SD series pistols have generally retained their aftermarket value where the SDVE’s have not. Since this is currently an Academy exclusive, it will likely also retain some value. In any case, those who like the SDVE series, and have always lamented not purchasing the original SD series, here’s your second chance.

Price for a new/old SD at Academy: $349
Price for an SDVE at Academy: $299.

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  1. As a happy SD9-VE owner I just have to say…whatever, now I’ll finally be able to find a damn used melonite SD9 slide like I’ve been looking for for like 3 years. 😀

  2. Well, I have the .40, kinda. Was in my possession for little over a week before my dealer returned it to the factory for me, fail to feed half chamber every 2-3 rounds, “glock bulged” every round thru it, and would drop the magazine about every third mag. Positive side however, for being a s&w glock so to speak, it fits my hand like a glove and is comfortable and easy to shoot, accurate, points naturally, super light weight, and best of all affordable! Hopefully when mine comes back it will be everything I expect, but for now, I’ll stick with my xd45.

        • Both the 5906 and 6906 were great guns. That era of guns was great – before everyone somehow thought the “glock” was something worth imitating. They really don’t make them like they used to. My favorite firearms are from that era. Berretta 92s, SW 59/69 series, Ruger P84s-p90s. Great time, great guns. Now my choices are black, dark earth, or OD green plastic.

  3. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the SD40/9 is a damn fine gun.

    It is not the most refined pistol ever, but it works and the price is perfect for people who don’t have much money to spend on a weapon.

    I’ve since sold mine, but I would have no issue owning or recommending one, again. It’s not a cheap gun, it’s a inexpensive gun – there’s a difference.

  4. Someone is shooting a highpowered rifle off the bridge south of me right now. Dont know who they are dont care, Im not calling the cops.

  5. I have the Sigma ve and just had it to the range yesterday. Boring as hell. Goes bang every time you pull the trigger regardless of type of ammo. Self defense accurate and if the cops take it, meh.

    There’s nothing to hate about the low end S&W budget defense guns. There’s just, also, nothing to love about them.

  6. had a sigma a while back. solid gun. if it was first out of the bag at the range, i’d find i could shoot it plenty accurate despite the trigger.

    trigger was only an issue id try and shoot it immediately after shooting something with a human-grade trigger onit.

    • My first handgun purchase came down to a Ruger p95 or the Sigma. I went with the p95, I just hated the trigger on the sigma

  7. First firearm I purchased was an SD40 in 2012. A few months later I took IDPA/Self defense class at and learned how to shoot. Sold the SD40 after the class, bought a PPQ M2 in 9 for nightstand and M&P 9 with apex FSS/Trigger for competition. The SDT sucked, long gritty take up, stacking and no discernible reset. I did install the Apex springs in the SD but it was of little use. On the plus side it was as reliable as a Glock. It would eat anything without issue including cheap steel cased commie crap. Never a single failure in a couple thousand rounds. I never cleaned it, figured I would when it Malf’ed. Cleaned it right before I sold it.

  8. mehhh, i never really have liked the new SW articulated plastic triggers honestly, but that’s just nit-picking. (But one of these days that nit-pick is going to cost me some coin to slap an Apex in my M&P). One thing it (probably) does have over the G22 that wasn’t mentioned is that you can sling a light off of it without fears of choking up the gun (can’t really be said for my G22. I remains light-less). As far as uglyness, I’d say they are about even.

  9. These were very well reviewed when they came out. I would buy this especially with night sights. The new cheaper ones have some of the crummiest (looking) plastic I have seen on any gun-not including Hi-point or Cobra/Lorcin/JA junk…it also seems very thin. Never heard of any complaints on how they ran though.

  10. Seems to me a more attractive gun than the Goock Gen 4, which isn’t hard, with a terrible trigger. Maybe the SD has a better trigger than the SDVE. Not really my cup of tea. I’d rather have and M&P with the newest trigger or the Apex upgrade.

  11. Guess I should have been a little more proper, mine is the sd40ve and it had issues, enough so that I may ditch s&w altogether unless I end up with a 500 mag, otherwise not too impressed, even after running an m&p .40, felt almost identical in every aspect to the sd40ve other than sights, so I don’t see the reason in the price jack between the two.

  12. As a lefty in the pistol world, adaptation for righty only pistolas is the norm. My S&W Walther PPK/S comes to mind.
    I was there for the first runs of Sigmas. Great righty thumb groove, sucked for a lefty.
    Have the M&P full size and compact .40 for the ambi features, and even my old 6906 has ambi decocker. Sigh.
    Given the price point, it should sell well.

  13. I’ve been very pleased with my SD9VE, especially after installing the Apex spring kit. Runs like a champ and shoots above its pay grade.

  14. Lol. I’m a “cleric” at Academy, and that’s what we were told (it’s an Academy exclusive). We aren’t supposed to remove the trigger lock, but if you’re going to buy one they (I) will get you a brand new un-handled one out of the safe, or remove the trigger lock before purchase. I always make sure that the customer is 100% satisfied with the firearm before we start the paperwork. If you’re not getting satisfaction talk to one of the guys in the black shirts, and they’ll fix it.

    Tricks of the trade. 😉


    • Academy Sports and Outdoors is spread over pretty much all of the southeast portion of the nation from Texas to Oklahoma to the east coast.

      You got Cabellas and Bass Pro? You probably got Academy too. They are by no means a dinky operaton.


  15. Such a great gun. I love mine, I trust it a much as any other gun I have (including my glocks),Its super reliable. I did a very very light stipple on all the textured areas, to keep it looking like a factory texture.

    • I should also mention that I sold my poor ass quality m&p45 and 40 and kept the sd9ve. Personally, I hate the fit and finish of the m&p line.

  16. I have the “old” SD9VE and I have been very pleased with it. The only change that I have done is to replace the plastic rear sight with the metal one for the M&P. It made no difference as it is made exactly the same but it made me feel better. I like it much better and I think it looks better than my son-in-law’s Glock 19.

  17. The best thing I can say about the SD9VE is that it’s a shining example of why you don’t want to own a cheap pistol.

    • You clearly don’t have one and don’t have a clue. You would probably bash my RIA 1911 also. If they are accurate and reliable, what’s the reason to waste money on guns that gun snobs prefer?

  18. I have to agree with Gordon Wagner, I purchased a SD9 reissue and its the ONE gun that I absolutely regret buying. That gun was nothing but one issue after another after 32 rounds through it. First the slide wouldn’t lock back after the second magazine that came with the gun but I figured OK break in issues. At the 200 round mark all sorts of FTE and stovepipes.

    As the owner of 5 S&Ws this gun is truly a POS. S&W had the gun longer then I did for the first six months and really their QC and service dept. has gone in the toilet. I still have a original Sigma that is 17 years old, was in for service ONCE for a broken extractor and makes this garbage gun look horrible.

    The snob remark is totally a clueless statement, I have a couple of Taurus’s that go boom every time and the Sigma. This junk “gun” had magazines falling out while shooting. After four trips back to S&W after buying a grey/black SD brand new for $325 OTD, the LGS took this nightmare back for what I paid and I used that money towards a P320. (it’s a sweet gun)

    No more new S&Ws for me, they are not what they once were. To compare this assembly line, machine made trash to a Glock is insulting and I am not a Glock fan.

    Defend yourself when the SD jams and the magazine falls out. It’s not what I would call a “self defense” pistol, its more of a large one shot derringer. S&W had four tries to make it right and that’s four too many. They should have exchanged this junk after the second time it was sent back for service but after FOUR trips back it was obviously a lemon and S&W would not step up. At least the LGS stepped up and I ended up with a nice new P320 for $150 more. The magazine hasn’t just fallen out once and it has functioned flawlessly. I trust my life with it every day.

    The S&Ws are CHEAPO guns now, you get what you pay for and S&W isn’t exactly standing behind their products anymore. Old S&Ws=good, New S&Ws=junk.

    BTW: The “Yankee Marshal” gets his guns for free from S&W so he’s not too biased.

    • My original SD9 all black has none of these issues. No issues at all actually. I paid $250 with 4 mags. Pretty satisfied with my purchase.

      • I don’t know if it is the reissues then. There seem to be a lot of issues with them and the SDVEs on YouTube. I escalated this all the way up S&Ws chain and they wouldn’t exchange my SD9 so basically I bought a brand new gun that didn’t shoot and they could care. The one thing that I will definitely say is that the P320 is awesome compared to that SD9. It’s day and night, I don’t even think the M&Ps come close to how nice the P320 is. Sure you pay more but really S&W isn’t exactly standing behind their guns anymore so hope to god you don’t have a problem. Plus if you paid $250 with 4 mags, you probably bought it used. Good Luck getting warranty work if you aren’t the original owner. Their customer service isn’t exactly top notch anymore and they will ask if you are the original owner and they might even ask if you have a copy of your bill of sale stating you bought it new. Plus the 4-6 week turnaround just to have the same problems. I didn’t expect it to be a HK but I did expect it to run thousands of rounds and not start having serious issues at 200 rounds. The magazines didn’t start falling out until after the second trip back for service. I’m glad to be rid of it, seriously I never had a semi auto that would just drop magazines for no reason. I honestly would say that my little Taurus 738 is 7X the gun because the mags didn’t just fall out, hence 7 shots and no stovepipes and double feeds. It wasn’t a magazine issue, the LGS let me borrow two other ones and the same thing. They were the ones after 4 repair trips that said “let us take care of it” and gave me back every cent I paid but I gave them $150 more and got the Sig P320. They waived the transfer fees.
        Smith and Wesson didn’t give a damn and that gun was a real POS.
        That SD9 was a learning experience for me.
        No more new S&Ws in my gun safe ever again.


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