Learning about the S&W SD40VE

Discussion in 'Gun Reviews and Range Reports' started by Mechnic, Nov 4, 2018.

  1. Mechnic

    Mechnic Supporting Member

    WooHoo!!! Finally made it to the range with my SD40VE and Apex trigger kit installed.
    BTW, had to take my HTA'd 4095 bullpup also.

    My bottom line with the SDVE series, check your grip. I know this sounds weird, but I adjusted my grip and was able to put rounds on POA.

    So a little back ground first.
    I installed the Apex trigger kit because I was consistently shooting low and left with the first 300 rounds I ran through it. During that first range session I had a friend along. He felt that the trigger might be a little stiff as well. We also worked on his shooting with his pistol. Thus I didn't concentrate as much as I should have to figure this out.
    I really didn't think the trigger was that stiff but heck, ya never know.

    This range trip was a solo run, also checked out a new (to me) range.
    Note to self: 250 rounds is not enough, bring a note pad, a marker and alow more time.
    200 rounds were Blazzer FMJ 165 grn.
    50 rounds were Monarch FMJ 180 grn.
    Distances are a WAG (wild a** guess).
    This shooting complex has several general purpose, pistol caliber only ranges, 40 yrds max with a steel target as well. Most shots were taken at about 25 yards, had to ring the steel quite a few times. :D
    They do have other ranges also, upto 1k yards.

    At the range:
    Starting out, this thing was doing the same thing as last time only worse. Of course I was shooting farther also, go figger. :duh:
    I had been practicing slow fire trigger drills. Making sure that I kept the sights straight all the way through the trigger press and striker release. Even slow release on the trigger with the sights still lined up for trigger reset.
    So what could be the problem through the first 25 rounds?
    Just to take a break from the SD, had to pick up the bullpup and check it out just to make sure the pro-mags worked. That was fun.:bacon:
    Okay, the last pistol I had do this was a 1832 Colt clone. The grip was so small I had to really lock down on it to hit POA. The SD feels good in the hand though, not as good as the 1911A1, but good. Note, the 1911A1 has a Hogue wrap around the front grip on it.
    Change of target, load 5 rounds, concentrate on grip and sights. Bam! better but still low and left. Another 5 rounds, adjust grip and there it is. POI = POA.
    After that I ran reload drills, not counting rounds loaded or spent. Shoot as fast as I could accurately shoot to empty, then reload and again. Did this with the Bullpup also.
    For the SD, groups were large at about 25 yards, hitting minute of bad guy, but the rounds were hitting where I was aiming as long as I kept my grip locked down. The HTA95 Bullpup was giving me head shots on the silhouette at 25 yards, I was having to aim a little low.

    1st target

    2nd target

    3rd target

    All head shots are with the HTA MBS95 bullpup conversion stock with 4095 action inside.
    Have a FireField red dot reflex sight on top. On a previous range trip this combo proved to be zeroed at 12 yards and would shoot high at 15. For these shots I was aiming about 1"-1.5"'s low. Ammo grain weight did not seem to make any difference.

    About the pistol:
    For those that have Glocks or M&P's for example, the SDVE will never have that kind of trigger. The way the mechanics are set up, the SDVE is not supposed to have that kind of trigger. These triggers are much more like...a Hi Point trigger. I don't feel any weight stacking as I press the trigger. There is no discernible "wall" before the break. As you press the trigger, the sear moves the striker back until the sear drops below the striker.
    About M&P's:
    The M&P has a tilting piece in the frame that catches the striker when the slide cycles. As the trigger is pressed, the trigger bar engages this "seesaw" (for lack of a better term). That is the "wall" the operator feels in the trigger. The break is when the "seesaw" releases the striker.
    If you have or get a Smith & Wesson SDVE new, do a lot of trigger drills. When new, the trigger is pretty stiff and needs some wear in. During my time in the U.S. Air Force I did qualify with side arm (Beretta M9), I don't think the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) trigger on the SDVE is as heavy as the Beretta in DA mode.

    Final thoughts:
    The Apex trigger kit is well made and they have installation videos that are very good, at least for the SDVE. I think the sear spring in the kit lightened the trigger too much for this pistol so I'll swap it back out for the original. The Apex trigger will stay in though, to me the geometry of it is more comfortable. My next adjustment/addition to this SDVE will be a grip sleeve/attachment. Maybe the grip is just a little small. I continued to drift left and low throughout this session if I let my grip slip at all.

    Reference for my hand size, I easily span a octave on a standard piano keyboard. No sausage fingers, long and skinny.
    Rerun, TNTRAILERTRASH and Pistolkitty like this.

    TNTRAILERTRASH Supporting Member

    How do you place your finger in there? I have to stick my finger in all the way on my Shield9 to get consistency. Using the last joint of my finger I am all over.

    I heard the original Apex was a better product VS the newer model.

  3. Mechnic

    Mechnic Supporting Member

    I use the pad of my finger. We both know the Shield9 is smaller than the SD. I'd use what works and forget all the professional "opinions". Results are what matters. I do, however, squeeze more with my off hand than my dominant. I get better trigger control that way.

    TNTRAILERTRASH Supporting Member

    My finger placement was learned from shooting the Shield, not by a chart. Only gun I NEED to pay attention to.
  5. Mechnic

    Mechnic Supporting Member

    Seven months later and another 300 rounds, this time with the grip sleeve.
    The grip sleeve helps fill the hand a lot better. The SD now feels more like a service pistol IMO. I was able to also compare my accuracy with the SD against a M&P 40C. I know it's not a really fair comparison but the chance came and I couldn't resist.
    I still have the same problem with the SD out past 10 yards, the M&P however gave me no such issues.
    This is not to say the SD is not a fine piece of equipment. I've had 0 malfunctions that can be attributed to the pistol or magazines. Over the course of this "Learning Experience" the SD has smoothed out a whole lot. This thing has eaten everything I've thrown at it with no complaints.
    During this whole time I've been sporadic with cleaning the pistol, didn't make a difference.
    Reliable workhorse side arm? Definitely.
    I really like the fit and feel, I'm just not as accurate as I'd like to be with this pistol. I can make it hit where I want...it just requires more concentration on grip than I'd like to have in a home defense pistol.

    I haven't tried the heavier recoil spring change with the stainless steel guide rod. What I've found is that, over time, the guide rod will brake the polymer tabs forward of the take down lever. These tabs help hold the take down lever in place, which keeps the slide from coming off the front of the weapon. Smith and Wesson will not repair this. The frame has to be replaced.

    So, in summation, the SD40VE has proven very reliable. Even proven to have some available mods in the after market that make it much more comfortable to shoot. I really like the Apex trigger.
    Compared to the M&P 40C? The SD is not as refined and transfers more recoil to the operator. Unfortunately I haven't been able to adjust to, or adjust this pistol to my better use.
    Those are about the only negatives I have for a $300 dollar pistol that has functioned as well as this one has.
    TNTRAILERTRASH likes this.

    TNTRAILERTRASH Supporting Member

    And the M&P40 2.0 has a much-o nice -o trigger.
    Mechnic likes this.