Smith & Wesson SD9 VE Semi-Auto Pistol


Barrel Length
2 Tone
Stock Color
Round Capacity
16 + 1
Gun Weight
22 oz.

Barrel Length
Stock Color
Round Capacity
10 + 1
Gun Weight
22.4 oz.
Barrel Length
CA, MD Compliant
2 Tone
Stock Color
Round Capacity
10 + 1
Gun Weight
22 oz



Smith & Wesson SD9 VE– Smith & Wesson®’s SD9 VE semi-auto pistol operates with a striker-fired action that activates with a 2-piece Self Defense Trigger (SDT) for consistent pull. This pistol has a distinctive 2-tone look with a black polymer frame and stainless steel slide. This S&W SD9 VE handgun has a white dot front and dual white dot rear sight. The grip is textured on the side and has aggressive texturing on the front and backstrap to aid with control. A standard Picatinny rail is under the muzzle and built into the frame for easy accessory attachment. Other desirable features found on this S&W SD9 pistol are front and rear serrations on the slide to aid with operation plus a textured finger locator on the side of the frame above the trigger. It’s designed for easy concealed carry and ready home defense.

2-piece Self Defense Trigger
White dot sights
Picatinny rail
Review: Smith & Wesson SD9 VE


Smith & Wesson SD9 VE Review

Based on the recent TTAG reader survey, it looks like our readers want to read more about budget-minded guns. As your loyal scribe, I aim to please (pun intended). So before you today we have the Smith & Wesson SD9 VE. This fine piece is the lowest priced pistola de plastico in the S&W lineup. You might remember some similar looks from their Sigma range of inexpensively priced pistols.

Having stripped both guns, I can tell you that the guts look mostly the same between the two. And having shot both of them, I can tell you that the trigger woes the Sigma suffered continue with the SD9 VE (worse than your factory GLOCK). Be not afraid though, as the SD9 VE has many redeeming qualities, too . . .

Appearance, Fit and Finish

Comparing an off the rack M&P to the SD9 VE, it’s plain to see that the VE is the “budget” option. You’ll notice things like the stamped sheet metal slide release and plastic guide rod. But you’ll also notice nicely textured grips and very well finished metal surfaces. The SD ships in a cardboard box, but you get two — yes two — chrome-finished magazines that glide smoothly in the magazine well. Not bad for a low-priced heater.

This is a budget firearm with the “budget” in all the right places. I was hard pressed to find any machine marks, mismatched castings, or any other signs of poor assembly. Yes, it has some budget minded parts, but it’s a very functional, solid firearm with a well-designed polymer frame.

Ease of Use

The VE has all the bare essentials. There’s the magazine release right where it oughta be. Slide release is there on the driver’s side, and it has two wee little takedown tabs for cleaning. This gun doesn’t have a manual safety or a grip safety. Although you can get it in a MA legal (10.5 lb trigger!!) or low capacity version if you should so choose. Either way, the VE is the literal definition of point and shoot.

Ease of Disassembly

Takedown is extraordinarily easy. Move the slide back a little bit, wiggle the take down tabs, and slip the slide forward. Remove the recoil rod and barrel, and clean as necessary. I received the gun completely dry, and shot it that way. I also shot it dirty and very lubricated. It shoots fine, so if you’re afraid of disassembly, just keep shooting. Or clean it. The VE just doesn’t seem to care.

Handling Characteristics

Truth be told, I still had that bad Sigma taste in my mouth when I found out S&W was shipping the VE to me. So imagine my surprise when I took it out of the box and found it feels good in the hand. Not only is it comfortable, but it points like an Irish Setter. The front sight has a bright, white dot that makes target acquisition a snap. And the grip angle just seemed to suit me perfectly.

The mag release is easy enough to reach as is the slide release. And unlike the M&P 45C I tested a few months back, the slide release actually works. What about those grips? Well, I have smaller hands and they’re just fine. Those with huge meat hooks might overwhelm it, and if you have tiny hands you might find it too big. No changeable backstraps here, though, so try before you buy.

Now about that trigger. It’s problematic for two reasons. First, there’s its enormously long travel. Second, it finally breaks at around 8.5 lbs. It’s a long way to go, and weaker shooters will be shaking by the time they get it to go bang – risky, especially in a home defense situation. I put about 50 rounds downrange before my forearms started aching. That’s when I called Apex and had them send a spring replacement kit. Factor an extra $20 plus shipping into the cost of the gun and you can rock on down the road with a still long, but very manageable six pound trigger pull.


The SD9 VE is intrinsically accurate, but not practically so. I managed group sizes of just a few inches at 7 yards that really started to open up as the firing rate increased. That little quirk is naturally, thanks to the craptastic trigger. Again, fix the trigger and this is a very capable gun for the entry level pistolero.


This gun has been satisfyingly boring on the reliability front. Like Oprah, it doesn’t matter what I feed it, she eats everything. I really wish I had a cool story to tell y’all about double feeds or stovepipes, but I don’t. Dead nuts reliable. I might do an extended test and soak it in motor oil or salt water or pack it with sand to see if I can get it to jam. If so, I’ll let you know. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE


The VE is just a good all around gun. Happy as a range toy, concealed carry piece, or “extra” self defense gun around the house/vehicle. In fact, this is probably going to be my recommendation for someone who wants to get their feet wet with gun ownership. It may be a tad large for summertime carry, but for winter carry with a jacket, you’d be good to go. Or, keep it in your vehicle or nightstand. Hell, for the money you’d spend on a quality 1911, you can keep one in your vehicle and one in your nightstand.

Available Aftermarket Options

From what I’ve read, it appears that Galco, Fobus, and DeSantis are making hoslters for the SD9VE. Extra mags will cost you $41.82 from S&W. Ouch. It also has a picatinny rail for lasers, lights, and all manner of tacticool doodads. I should also mention that Apex makes a spring kit to fix that nasty trigger issue. Have I mentioned it? Okay, perfect.

Favorite Feature

The VE is a well made budget firearm. Its cheap to buy and cheap to run.

Least Favorite Feature

That trigger. Get if fixed before you fire the first shot.

Specifications: Smith and Wesson SD9 VE

Caliber: 9mm
Capacity: 16+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
Frame Material: Polymer
Slide Material: Stainless Steel
Barrel Material: Stainless Steel

Ratings (out of five stars):

Appearance, Fit and Finish: * * * *
I’m dinging a star for stamped sheet metal parts and the plastic guide rod. At this price point, though, you can’t have all the things you want, and I get that. But you still can’t bring pieces like that to the table and hope for a five star rating. Otherwise, fit and finish was superb. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE

Ease of Use: * * * * *
All the control are where they are supposed to be and function they way they should.

Ease of Disassembly: * * * *
You have to do a little sleight of hand to rock the slide back and disengage the takedown tabs. I’d prefer the same system the M&P uses, but again, cost wins out.

Handling: * * * * *
Five stars through and through. The VE is a natural pointer, and feels very comfortable in my mitts.

Accuracy: * * *
Bench rest accuracy is superb, but overall “combat” accuracy sucks thanks to the terrible trigger.

Reliability: * * * * *
I can’t seem to make it fail

Customize This: * * *
$40+ for magazines! Yeesh. Otherwise, your standard fare applies. A couple holsters out there and a rail to mount stuff on. Some internet forums claim that you can mount M&P sights if you want glow in the dark or high viz additions.

Overall Rating: * * * *
Writing for TTAG has made me kind of a snob when it comes to firearms. But the SD9 VE brought me down a notch. Here’s a dead nuts reliable gun that’s a pleasure to shoot for a touch over three bones. It has one glaring flaw in the trigger — but that’s easily remedied for $20. At that price, you really can’t afford not to buy one. Or four. I’m impressed and I hope the SD9 VE is a big seller for Smith & Wesson. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE

REVIEW: Smith & Wesson SD9VE Pistol


In the early 1950’s, Smith & Wesson was resolute to obtain a weapons contract with the U.S Army for semi-auto pistols, which consequentially led to a new division of their business. The result was the Model 39, and S&W has been revolutionizing the handgun market ever since. One of their more impressive innovations was the SD/Sigma Series, which were constructed with synthetic components, but were phased out and eventually replaced by the SDVE Series in 2012.

Smith and Wesson was confronted by legal issues when the SD Series debuted because of its design’s similarity to the Glock 17, which is a remarkable gun in its own right. The new and improved SDVE Series is as slick and sexy as it is durable and ergonomic. Overall, it’s a great gun to own for shooters of all experience levels who want reliable protection and easy handling. To see how it compares to other Smith & Wesson semi-autos, check out our reviews of the M&P and 500 Magnum. Oh, and welcome to our Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm Pistol Review!

Smith & Wesson SD9VE Pistol Specs

Model: S&W SD9 VE Std Capacity.
Caliber: 9mm.
Capacity: 16+1.
Safety: No Thumb Safety.
Action: Striker Fire.
Barrel Length: 4″ / 10.2 cm.
Overall Length: 7.2″
Front Sight: White Dot.
Rear Sight: Fixed 2-Dot.
Grip: Textured Polymer.
Weight: 4 oz. / 635.0g.
Barrel/Slide Material: Stainless Steel.
Frame Material: Polymer.
Slide Finish: Satin Stainless.
Frame Finish: Black.
MSRP: $389.00.
Purpose: Personal Protection.
Smith & Wesson SD9VE Pistol Build

The SDVE Series took the best qualities of its polymer-framed predecessor, filtered out the crap, and evolved into what is now a high-ranking budget firearm. Because of its polymer frame and plastic grip, it weighs in at lightweight 22.7 oz., but don’t let that cause you to doubt its durability. The stainless-steel slide and barrel, and the Smith & Wesson lifetime service policy attest to its resilience. The texturized grip feels great, but to guarantee that it would handle comfortably they added a finger locator and improved the aggressive front/back strap texturing. The SDVE series has standard and low capacity options as well as a .40 caliber variant. Many users prefer Smith & Wessons chambered in .40 to be better; check out our ammo guide to find out why.

One of the things that really grinds my gears is when gun retailers simply parrot the supplier’s flattering rhetoric. I came across several sites and supplies praising this gun’s new Self Defense Trigger (SDT). This is nothing but ostentatious babble. They say that this innovative trigger provides a smooth, consist pull from the first round to the last. In reality, this trigger is a travesty. It has a heavy pull, and after firing a few dozen rounds your forearms will be aching. The SDVE’s are built well, but the “new and improved” SDT is its Achilles’ heel. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE

The good news is that it’s not un-salvageable; for $20, you can buy yourself an Apex Tactical Spring Kit. For a reasonable price, you will transform your gun into the effective and reliable machine it was meant to be. When it comes down to it, Smith & Wesson did a great job building and designing the SD9VE’s. Even with my disdain for the trigger, the quality of materials, ergonomic handling, and reliable performance outweigh all the imperfections.

Smith & Wesson SD9VE Pistol Shooting & Performance

The way the SD9VE’s shoot depends on the trigger; if you replace the trigger you can rely on its accuracy, but if not, why haven’t you replaced the trigger yet? There’s no way around it. Right out of the box, its accuracy is subpar, especially once the firing rate is increased. For a gun that is marketed as a self-defense weapon, I can’t imagine how or why Smith & Wesson allowed a pistol with this kind of accuracy to be sold with their namesake and reputation on the line. One of the only performance improvements they made to these striker fired pistols was reducing its recoil.

The thing I like about this gun is its simple sight and safety combo, which make firing as simple as point and shoot. Another highlight of the SDVE series is its typical S&W unwavering reliability. Owners of the SDVE should have no worries of their gun malfunctioning or deteriorating over time. Bottom line is: fix the trigger and you’ve got yourself a great home defense weapon. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE

Smith & Wesson SD9VE Pistol Magazines, Sights & Safety

The SDVE magazine system is tremendous. For a weapon of this value, I was shocked how well the mags operated. The standard-capacity version has a 16+1-round capacity for SD9VE and 14+1 for SD40VE, but for those looking for something less, the low-capacity version holds 10+1 for both calibers. Smith and Wesson graciously ship the SDVE’s with TWO chrome-finished mags that glide smoothly (not to mention the easy mag release).

I love the simple and elegant sights that S&W put on the SDVE’s. They are dovetailed, white dot sights that make target acquisition a breeze. I think these sights are great for all shooters, especially for those that aren’t as experienced or accurate. Having a good sight system is particularly important on this gun when you have to factor in the horrific failure of a trigger. Smith & Wesson also designed this gun with a standard Picatinny-style rail, which means additional sight options for those of you who want a little something extra. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE

The safety features of the SDVE’s are very interesting. This gun wasn’t engineered with a manual or grip safety but is nonetheless reliably safe. As much as I have bashed the frickin’ SDT trigger, its one saving grace is the safety features it adds. The SDT trigger system prevents the firearm from discharging unless the trigger is fully depressed, even if the pistol is dropped. Otherwise, it’s just point and shoot, making it the ideal gun to have in a self/home defense emergency.

Smith & Wesson SD9VE Pistol Assembly

In my experience, Smith and Wesson’s handguns are generally straightforward to disassemble and put back together; the SDVE is no exception. Taking apart the SDVE is relatively simple. First, pull the slide back a tad, next, you may have to wiggle the takedown tabs to remove them, and then slip the slide forward. Finally, remove the recoil rod and barrel, and clean as needed. In general, I’m very anal about keeping my guns clean; but surprisingly, the SDVE seems to avoid building up gunk, so I can’t imagine needing to disassemble/clean your firearm that often. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE

Smith & Wesson SD9VE Pistol Accessories

Smith and Wesson engineered the SD9VE to be self-sufficient in the sense that accessorizing it would be superfluous. It’s meant to be small and concealable, so adding attachments only takes away from its ideal usage. The main accessory that I recommend buying is a quality holster. There are plenty of companies out there that manufacture worthwhile holsters, but I’d take a look at Fobus and DeSantis first. They are reliable companies with great reputations.

Buying an extra magazine from S&W could empty your pockets, but that’s mitigated by the fact that each SDVE comes with two mags out of the box. If you’re partial to accessories, don’t forget that these pistols are built with Picatinny rails, so adding lasers, lights, sights/scopes is still an option. The only accessory that is a must is a tactical spring kit to fix that damn trigger, go out and buy one; even before you shoot your SDVE. Smith & Wesson SD9 VE

2018 Update

2018 has been a relatively quiet year for S&W, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t make a few nice additions to their catalog. Regarding the SDVE series, Smith & Wesson now offers several models outfitted with HI-VIZ fiber optic sights. When it comes to fiber optic sights, few companies have proven their excellence quite like HI-Viz. Their new and improved LITEWAVE technology promises increased durability and enhanced visibility – in other words, these aren’t just any ordinary fiber optics!


Overall, Smith and Wesson did a great job with the SDVE Series. With over 150 years of experience, Smith and Wesson has made yet another reliable semi-automatic handgun that can offer a sense of security to its owner. Although it was designed to be an evolution of prior guns that failed, it’s still not perfect. But for a budget handgun, you’re getting a great gun for the price. It has superb handling, decent accuracy, great aesthetics and components, and is American-made. The SDVE is surprisingly fun to shoot and a pleasure to own. If you’re looking to beef up your home security or looking for another concealable carry weapon, you should definitely consider the SDVE Series.


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