S&W Nerfs the Model SD: Introducing the Model S&W SD40 VE

In video gaming the word nerf means a changes to a game which reduces the effectiveness of a particular element of a game. Often game designers “nerf” guns which are more powerful in the hands of players than they had intended.

S&W has just nerfed the S&W Model SD9 and SD40. When this gun was launched in 2010 it was a premium-budget self-defense gun. The company took the budget-priced S&W Sigma and gave it a slightly more modern frame with rail, a black melonite finish, tritium night sights and an improved trigger. It retailed for $530, about $150 more than the Sigma.

Smith & Wesson have just announced a new generation of the SD9 and SD40 saying “… we have taken the best features of the SD and Sigma pistols and evolved them into a new generation of firearms that meet our customers’ requirement in terms of both functionality and price.”.

What they actually did was remove some of the premium features from the SD9 and SD40, the melonite finish and tritium night sights and drop the price. The SD9/SD40 now retail for just $10 more than the old S&W Sigma.

The Model SD’s old price made the S&W M&P, priced only slightly more, a much better deal. At the new pricing, the Model SD is a better deal than the old Sigma. It is time for S&W to deliver the coup de grâce to the Sigma, a pistol never much liked by the gun community.

From the press release …

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (June 1, 2012) – Smith & Wesson Corp. today announced that it has unveiled two new handgun models designed to assist with self protection and home defense needs. Chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W, the new Smith & Wesson SD9 VE™ and SD40 VE™ semi-automatic pistols combine value with enhanced features that deliver top-grade performance into a reliable option for both home and personal protection uses.

Mario Pasantes, Smith & Wesson’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and Global Professional Sales, said, “With the introduction of the new SD9 VE and SD40 VE pistols,

The foundation of each SD VE pistol is based on a lightweight polymer frame, designed to deliver in the areas of comfort and durability. On the stainless steel slide, the SD VE pistol features a distinctive two-tone finish along with aggressive front and rear slide serrations for improved firearm handling. Among the key features found on the Smith & Wesson SD9 VE and SD40 VE is the Self Defense Trigger (SDT™). Providing a smooth, consistent trigger pull, the SDT design helps to enhance accuracy while providing users with increased confidence. To further aid in accuracy, the SD VE is standard with a white-dot front sight and a white two-dot rear sight.

For optimal comfort and control, the SD VE pistol has been fitted with an 18° natural point of aim, 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 SD9 VE is available with either a 16+1 or 10+1 round capacity while the SD40 VE is standard with either a 14+1 or 10+1 magazine capacity. Both pistols have an unloaded weight of 22.7 ounces and a slender width of 1.29 inches. With a 4-inch barrel and an overall length of 7.2 inches, both models are fully compatible for personal protection or home defense measures. Each pistol comes with two magazines and the Smith & Wesson lifetime service policy.

Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


  • Samopal

    It’s about time, this is what they should’ve done in the first place. The Sigma and M&P are selling like hotcakes but the SD isn’t because it’s priced right in between them, like a middle ground nobody wanted.

    I’ll make a confession, though. I’ve always kinda wanted a black Sigma…I always thought they looked good. I’ve never understood why the discontinued the black version until this article; I didn’t know it was a cost-cutting measure.

    • I guess I agree. I’d rather pay a little bit more for the interchangeable grips of the M&P. I didn’t see the point of the SD. Melonite is good, but I do understand what they’ve done there, filling a niche for a quality but less expensive semi-auto pistol.

    • Teknix

      I also wanted a black sigma so I painted my sigma with black gunkote and baked it….looks great and the paint hasn’t worn at all in ~2 years that I’ve had it.

  • Why the unnecessary videogame lingo? This isn’t even really a nerf. A nerf would be something like switching to a lower quality barrel because they felt like the accuracy was too good for a gun in that price range.

    In videogame terms it would be called a rework, since they cut the price as well as the specs. A nerf is generally a purely negative.

    • Frank

      It doesn’t have a melonite finish or night sights. That’s a downgrade.

  • Is it replacing the SD line all together, or is it just replacing the Sigma line?

    • I don’t think they are selling the old SD pistols.

  • BryanP

    It makes perfect sense to me. The price was too close to the M&P series before. This way they can drop the Sigma name entirely and keep going with a slightly improved budget line under the SD name.

  • Raoul o’Shaugnessy

    AH, I remember the Sigma…and some of the lesser names for it…

    As I recall the joke was “SIGMA = Smith Impersonating Glock Made in America”

    Smith should just drop the Sigma altogether and go with the home run they’ve already got – the M&P.

    • Samopal

      Why drop the Sigma? It’s one of S&Ws top-selling pistols. They’re doing quite well in the ~$300 full-size pistol range.

  • Jeff Smith

    You can say goodbye to the SIGMA. The reduced trigger pull of the SD series is worth well over the extra $10. I’m not sure of the exact difference, but I believe the SIGMA is +/- 14 lbs and the SD is +/- 9 lbs. Someone please correct me if I am wrong on that.

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m certainly looking forward to picking up a clearance sale SIGMA! I regularly see them on sale for around $275 or so. I imagine that they will drop to around $200ish in the near future. If so, I’m definitely buying one.

    • Sian

      The Sigma’s trigger pull is so bad that you could improve it by taking it out and giving it a few whacks with a hammer.

      Look, if you’re doing any shooting with a Sigma, after about 100 rounds you’re gonna want a trigger job. At that point, you’d have saved money just by buying a SD VE.

    • Samopal

      Close enough, the stock trigger in a Sigma is 12#

    • Jeff Smith

      Sian, I would like a cheap handgun to just play around with and keep in my truck. Something in that price range ($200) would fill that role nicely.

      Samopal, Thanks for the correction!

      • Hi-Point pistols fit that bill.

      • Jeff Smith


        I have considered a Hi-points. While you never hear anything good about them, they will take a beating. If you haven’t seen it, check out the Youtube videos from “Iraqveteran8888” where they torture test one. They can really handle some abuse! Also, the price (around $150) isn’t bad at all. But, I have heard that they can have some feeding/ reliability problems. If I can find a clearance sale SIGMA for just a little more, I would much rather go with a Smith and Wesson.

        That being said, I really want one of their carbines! A little 9mm carbine seems like it would be fun to play around with.

  • Brian in Seattle

    Funny, I just got a 2012 S&W catalog and noticed the SD line was missing. Sigma is in there. What the hell.

    • Brian in Seattle

      Upon further perusal of the catalog, the M&P 357SIG is missing. So is the M&P45 kit with the threaded barrel. As for the SD pistols, I prefer the black finish guns. The two tone makes them look like a Taurus. If S&W really wanted to improve the SD line, they would re-work them to accept M&P mags.

  • El Duderino

    I fired a friend’s Sigma at the range one time. I’ve had better trigger pulls on squirt guns from the mini-mart. Made my Glock 34’s trigger seem like a tuned 1911’s in comparison.

    It was, is, and always will be a non-enthusiast gun for people who by definition don’t know any better, the Kia hatchback of handguns. If some psycho was trying to bust into your house I’d still rather have a Sigma than nothing. But thankfully I have some better guns to enjoy and defend my family with!

    • DGR

      With all due respect this isnt a Sigma, this is the SD.

      • El Duderino

        Well the discussion has been on both guns. The SD is now a warmed-over Sigma, do you expect a drastic difference between the two? S&W learned the hard way that positioning an inferior gun just a small notch below the M&P was a loser. M&P doesn’t have a great trigger but it’s lightyears ahead of the Sigma/SD.

        Apples to apples comparison.

  • mlk18

    As a big M&P fan I could not help but buy an SD9 when they first came out. It is a very capable gun and an absolute improvement in every way to the Sigma series (which is not as bad as some of the internet commandos would try and make you believe). Then Apex Tactical came out with a trigger spring kit (which will also work on the new SD9 VE) and it went from very capable to just short of amazing. The trigger is very smooth now with a short travel, clean reset and weighs about 6lbs. Very similar to a stock Glock trigger. I like my SD9 so much so I put away my M&P9C in favor of it. The SD9 was only slightly longer in the grip buy had a thinner profile and better shooting characteristics. I am excited to see the SD9 series is still alive and well and I will be adding on to the stable soon.

  • Cameron

    You’re going down the dangerous path of blaming a gun for what people do. Careful there.

    The economy is rough, and has been for a while. For every criminal or cheapskate who buys a cheap gun, there are ten lawful citizens who can’t afford a dollar more but still want to protect their families.

  • Charles222

    Ok, had to lol at “available wherever fine malt liquor is sold.” Nice one.

  • LCB

    I own a Sigma 9VE and I like it very much. The trigger pull is not a problem for me, but maybe I have stronger than normal fingers???

    Will I get another carry weopon someday…probably. But the Sigma works for me now, when I can’t afford another gun.

    Let the flaming begin…

  • Netforce

    Aww, heck, I actually it’s the NERF toy gun.