The modern Smith & Wesson company has thrown its considerable weight behind the M&P line of polymer pistols. Frankly, the play seems to have been a good one as the original guns have been commercially successful and, in my experience, the new M2.0 guns are a nice improvement on the original.
However, the company quietly makes a considerable amount of sales on a lesser known and cheaper striker-fired pistol: the SD. The SD9 and SD40 (and their variants) make a significant addition to the company’s pistol sales if prior earnings calls are to be believed. Exact numbers are not known, but guns have been mentioned by company representatives multiple times over the years.
The current base models SD9 VE and SD40 VE feature a black polymer frame with a satin stainless finish on the stainless steel slide. These are striker fired pistols and are very similar to the company’s older Sigma pistol line. (For those that are wondering, yes the SD series will run Sigma magazines without any problem. I’ve tested this for folks who have asked previously.)
The base models carry a suggested retail price of $389. I’ve put several thousand rounds through my original SD40 with zero problems. Although the trigger leaves something to be desired, I feel that is an excellent defensive handgun for anyone on a very tight budget. (FYI – I also have the Walther Creed, another sub-$400 handgun, and it is also proving to be very reliable. Although more clunky looking than the SD series, it has a much better trigger.)
Currently, Smith & Wesson is offering greater variety in the SD line to include additional frame and slide colors. The color combinations include a flat dark earth frame with a black slide and a grey frame with a black slide. Both of these guns are available in both 9mm and .40 S&W. They share the same MSRP as the base guns: $389. There is also a Academy exclusive model that has a grey frame with a more subdued stainless slide. This gun adds HI VIZ fiber optic sights and has a suggested retail of $419.