For 158 years, Smith & Wesson has been meeting the needs of legally armed citizens in the area of self-protection and home defense. S&W started out making a tiny .22 rimfire revolver meant primarily for defensive use. In the ensuing decades, they have produced revolvers and semi-automatic pistols that have become standards for civilian, law enforcement, and military use. From the 1870s until WWII, the company was known for its small, hinged-framed revolvers in .32 and .38 S&W. In 1950, they introduced the Chief’s Special, which has become a concealed carry classic. Then, as semi-automatics became more popular, in 1955 S&W introduced the Model 39, a double-action pistol in 9mm Luger that spawned a whole family of second and third generation models.

Built For Self Defense

S&W recently announced plans to produce a line of semi-automatic pistols designed with personal protection and home defense in mind. Designated the SD (Self Defense) Pistol Series, production SD handguns recently became available and I requested a test gun for evaluation in .40 S&W caliber. Both the SD40 and 9mm SD9 offer a variety of features that address home and personal defense applications. According to Tom Kelley, vice president of marketing for S&W, “The new SD9 and SD40 pistols combine the best of both price and functionality in a reliable, ergonomic firearm engineered with one specific goal in mind—self-defense.”

In fact, the SD9 and SD40, with MSRPs of $459 fall well below the price of a similar sized M&P semi-auto or SIG Sauer P250 Compact. They are in the same ballpark price-wise as other popular mid-sized pistols like the Glock 23 and Ruger SR40. In a move to make the SD Series compatible with your particular jurisdiction, S&W has an SD9 with either a 16+1 or a 10+1 capacity and an SD40 with a 14+1 or 10+1 capacity. My sample of the SD40 sported a full-capacity 14-round magazine.

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