Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm – Small Price, Big Performance

Last Updated on January 6, 2023.

Do you need an affordable pistol for home defense?  Perhaps you're unfamiliar with handguns and want something that is easy to use but don't know where to start.  Or maybe you just need that extra pistol in your collection.  The Smith & Wesson SD9VE is a great option to fill all of these roles.

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The SD9 series was created precisely to be an affordable, easy to use self-defense handgun.  This no-frills model is similar in form and function to most other polymer frame pistols on the market today.  While the low cost may concern some, the fact that it is a Smith & Wesson ensures you are getting a quality firearm.

The SD9VE is a full size, polymer frame, and striker fired pistol much like Smith & Wesson's M&P Series, the Springfield XD line, and Glock models.  It is simple to operate and easy to learn for even the most inexperienced users.  Important features include:

Polymer Frame

The SD9VE's polymer frame has many benefits.  It is light, keeping weight down if you decide to use the SD9 as a carry pistol.

Photo by lokey_firearms

Polymer frames are durable and can withstand countless rounds without any wear or stress.  It is easy to clean, and since it is not metal, there is no threat of rust or corrosion.

Chambered in 9mm

9mm is the most popular pistol caliber on the planet. It is cheap to shoot, readily available and offers low recoil with excellent control.  There are many high-end self-defense hollow point ammo options on the market today.  Hollow point rounds are recommended for defense for their increased stopping power and to protect against over penetration.

16 Round Magazine

Photo by peep541

Self Defense Trigger

The new Self Defense Trigger found on the SD9VE has a consistent weight all the way through the pull to help eliminate jerking the trigger.  The consistent pull also improves accuracy. Trigger pull is rated at 8 lbs which is quite heavy for a striker-fired pistol, but this protects the novice shooter from accidental discharges, both at the range and in defensive situations.

Picatinny Rail

The SD9VE has a standard light rail located on the frame.   The rail accepts any standard weapon light or laser attachment.  Having a light attached to your pistol is absolutely essential on a home-defense firearm.

Textured Grip

The front strap, back strap, and palm swells of the SD9VE's grip have an aggressive texture.  This gives the shooter a firm grip on the pistol and helps to control recoil during firing.  The grip also features an ergonomic design to be comfortable in the hand and allows for natural aiming and easy manipulation of the trigger and slide lock.

Textured Finger Locater

A stripped down SD9VE | Photo by animalmansurvivor

White 3-Dot Sights


  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Capacity: 16+1
  • Barrel Length: 4″
  • Overall Length: 2″
  • Weight: 4 oz (unloaded)
  • Trigger Pull: 8 lbs


Easy to Use

The function of the S&W SD9 is straightforward. Insert the magazine, chamber a round, and pull the trigger.  There are no manual safeties on the pistol.

Photo by vickyscreations72

However, there is a trigger safety to make sure the gun cannot fire unless the trigger is fully pulled to the rear.  It also features a firing pin block safety to protect against accidental discharges in case the gun is dropped.


The SD9 has proven to be extremely reliable. While all guns require a break in period, the SD9 has had little to no issues out of the box.  You should always train yourself on a firearm before relying on it for defense, and the reliability of Smith & Wesson will give you ease of mind knowing you have a dependable gun at your side.

Photo by thejoshwileychannel

Textured Grip Design

In a situation where you may need a handgun for protection you will be full of adrenaline, have sweaty palms, and limited time to think. The grip texture, while aggressive, allows for a positive grip with no slippage. This is an excellent benefit for a defense firearm.


Perhaps the most significant benefit of the SD9 is the low cost. The SD9 can typically be found in the retail market for under $300.  This is an absolute bargain for the quality and features found on this pistol.  You will not be able to find a gun of this quality for that low of a price anywhere else.


Heavy Trigger

The trigger pull is rated at 8lbs, and may reach up to 10lbs depending on the individual pistol.

This is extremely heavy by today's standards, and many familiar with striker-fired pistols may find the trigger too heavy for their liking.  

While you'll never notice the trigger weight in a defensive application, it's not going to be your favorite gun to shoot for fun.

Photo by raykingcreative

Slide Lock Issues 

Some users have reported issues with the slide not locking back on the last round.

From personal experience, this could merely be an issue of resting one's thumb over the slide lock during firing as it takes very little pressure to keep the slide lock from moving.


The SD9, slated as a personal protection firearm, does not come standard with night sights. While this does keep the cost down, I feel that night sights are a must-have for home defense, especially if you do not have a light attached to your pistol.  The slide has been cut to allow for installation of new sights should you choose to spend the extra money.


The SD9 series is extremely impressive for the cost.  No other major manufacturer of pistols is currently making a gun at this price point with this many features or reliability. 

The easy to use design is great for novice users, and experienced shooters will find the controls familiar.

While the trigger pull is heavy and spongy, it won't really matter if the time ever comes when you need to rely on this pistol to protect your home.  Train yourself, attach a weapon light, and rest easy knowing that if you need a high quality, low price pistol for self-defense your SD9 will not let you down.

You can also check out:

Competition and Combat Shooting Comparison

How Striker-Fired Dominated Hammer-Fired Pistols