The SD9 from Smith & Wesson combines appealing elements of the company’s Sigma and M&P series in an extremely affordable package.
I don’t know what it was, but there was something about Smith & Wesson’s SD9 (Self Defense 9mm) pistol that appealed to me from the first time I saw photos of it. The SD pistols (SD9 and SD40) were obviously well thought-out. The frame shares a similarity to the S&W Sigma pistol in terms of grip angle, though it feels slimmer. The dustcover rail is of the “universal” format as opposed to the proprietary nature of the Sigma’s rail. There are roughened pads in front of the slots for the takedown lever on both sides of the frame. These are handy to show new shooters where that pesky trigger finger needs to go when the sights aren’t on a target that one can lawfully shoot. As for the pad on the non-trigger finger side, if you shoot with a thumbs-forward grip the support side thumb rests on that pad.
The slide is nicely sculpted with grasping grooves fore and aft. The rear sight is made with a flat on the front to allow slide manipulation using the rear sight against gear or a table. The rear sight also has a pair of painted white dots visible to the shooter. The front sight has a white-outline around the tritium insert. A night sight only up front is a good idea in my judgment. The eye tends to be drawn to the closest bright object—an observation made by fellow writer Dave Spaulding. The focus belongs over the muzzle, which is the most important marker in the close range environment of the diminished light gunfight. While sized similarly to the Glock 19, a “compact” pistol, the SD9 magazine holds 16 rounds. The magazine tubes are metal and the magazines supplied were bright and shiny, as if they’d been nickel-plated.
The slide stop is on the left side only and is fairly large, reminiscent of the Sigma unit. Takedown is familiar. First, unload. Remove the magazine and put it aside. Rack the slide briskly and lock the slide open. Check condition visually and physically. Let the slide forward, point it in a safe direction. Check the chamber again, by sight and feel. Then, with the muzzle covering a safe direction press the trigger. The striker will be released and come to rest.
Control the slide with one hand pulling back around ¼ of an inch. Pull down on both sides of the takedown lever—the sawtooth steel protruding from both sides of the frame. Let the slide forward easily and remove it from the front of the frame. Pull the back end of the recoil spring forward and lift up, removing it from the slide. Lift the barrel from the slide. That’s as far as you need to go for regular maintenance.