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Old August 10, 2012, 01:54 PM   #1
DrDox
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New Member, First time Semi-Auto owner, looking for tips on S&W SD40VE

Hello all,

I'm new here and new to handguns as well. I grew up hunting, so I am not completely inept to guns, and have quite a bit of experience with rifles and shotguns.

I just purchased a S&W SD40VE as a home protection device. I was going to go with the Sigma 40, but I liked the trigger pull on the SD better as well as a standard picatinny rail.

Been reading some negative reviews (on the sigma and SD) on various sites, but I know that people are more inclined to write a bad review than a good one.

So, a few questions for some of the more experienced handgun owners, especially if you own a SD40VE.

I have read that there are some feeding issues with this model. What rd would you expect to be the smoothest feed? Someone said that Tula Ammo rds have been working well in this model (feeding properly, ejecting well, etc.)

Also, would anyone recommend the appropriate break-in method for such a gun? Such as - the number of rds to break it in, cleaning and lubing methods & materials, etc.

Basically, I would like some advice on how to get my gun properly prepared and broken in from some experienced semi-auto owners.

I am doing my own reading and research as well, but I know that some people on this forum have experience and advice that would be of great benefit.

Thank you in advance to any who respond and I truly appreciate it.

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Old August 10, 2012, 02:17 PM   #2
DrDox
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Just to clarify, I'm not expecting anyone to "hand-hold" or type out any novel for me.

Quick tips, links to sites... stuff like that

Thanx again.
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Old August 10, 2012, 02:28 PM   #3
Bwbraven
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I suggest to break yourself into the gun. By that I mean to shoot it untill you can consistently Shoot good groupings and are used to triger pull and sight aquisition this in turn will break in the gun. As for rounds feeding the more rounded the bullet nose the more reliable feed rate will be. Full metal jackets will shoot in anything but some have problems feeding hollow points or wad cutters or semi wad cutters. Shoot then shoot some more then clean the gun throughly and use a quality lube when reassembling.

I have the s&w sigma 40ve I had to get used to the trigger on it.
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Old August 10, 2012, 02:38 PM   #4
loose_holster_dan
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first off, i'm sorry your first experience will be with a sigma series (or equivalent). mine was similar as i started out with a taurus. so many people could save themselves a bunch of heartache if they got good advice before making their first purchase.

that being said, congratulations on becoming a gun owner!

like the other gentleman said, become very familiar with your weapon. break it down as far as the manual suggests. if you need assistance, i suggest searching youtube for demonstrations.

after you are familiar with the general workings, practice operation with an EMPTY weapon. this means no magazine in the gun, and you have checked multiple times to verify an empty chamber.

i like to practice target acquisition while watching television. you will creep out your family or roommates, but it's a valuable way to train yourself to quickly acquire targets in your sights.

after you have become good at target acquisition, practice some dry fire drills. some people recommend using snap caps to protect your firing pin, but i don't use them personally very often.

pick a spot on the wall and slowly squeeze the trigger. try to keep your sites pointed at the same place during the entire trigger squeeze. this exercise can be even more valuable if you have a laser. you don't need anything fancy. since you have a rail, get a cheap $10 rail mount laser on ebay. it probably won't hold up to live fire, but it will be good enough for this purpose. as you squeeze your trigger, you will most likely see the laser jump all over the wall. if you practice these things before you ever shoot your gun, you will be starting off better than most other beginners.

if you want to practice reloading drills, i suggest picking up a box of snap caps. put at least one round in each mag except your first one. start with an empty mag in the gun and the slide back. put the other mags on a table or in your pocket. look down the sights of your empty gun. while keeping the gun up at shooting level, press the mag release and let the mag drop (preferably over a short distance or onto something soft). with the gun still at shooting level, reach down and grab a mag, while rotating the butt of the grip 30-60 degrees towards your off hand. keep your eye on the butt of the gun and the upcoming mag as you slide the mag in, still at eye level. turn the gun vertical, and quickly rack the slide and get the sights realigned. you can now do a controlled dry fire. when you rack the slide again, the round will be ejected and the slide will be open. keep repeating this.
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Last edited by loose_holster_dan; August 10, 2012 at 02:51 PM.
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Old August 10, 2012, 02:40 PM   #5
Strafer Gott
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If you haven't a couple of hours dry firing experience, don't expect much at the range.
That trigger pull needs considerable practice to learn. Once you master that trigger, everything else is pretty much cake. Go have a blast.
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Old August 10, 2012, 03:01 PM   #6
DrDox
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Thanks for the advice thus far. Gotta wait till next week to pick it up (waiting on approval from the state).

Dan, your method sounds fantastic, will definitely be doing that.

Lots of dry firing, field stripping, and get plenty of practice in once it is in my hands.

It does have a considerably long trigger pull, but I'll get used to it after time.

Hoping the ftf problems are rare and that mine will be reliable, but I am excited to have my first handgun.

Is there any "real" concern about the integrity of the firing pin from repeated dry firings?
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Old August 10, 2012, 03:04 PM   #7
loose_holster_dan
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shouldn't be a problem in a center fire.
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Old August 10, 2012, 05:02 PM   #8
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Clean, lube & shoot. Nothing else needs to be done.

I owned a sw40ve for about 5 years. The SD is a Sigma with an improved trigger (6-8 lbs vs. 12 lbs), which was the overriding problem with the Sigma. My Sigma shot anything that I fed it. I kept it properly lubed & cleaned and had no problems with it...well, other than the 2 broken strikers that caused me to send it back to SW twice because they wouldn't simply send me a new striker so I could replace it myself...
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Old August 10, 2012, 05:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Also, would anyone recommend the appropriate break-in method for such a gun?
You shouldn't have to "break-in" a new centerfire combat handgun from a major, quality gunmaker.

Curiously, most of the pistols that seem to need a "break-in period" are expensive quasi-custom M1911's from high-end makers- presumably because they're assembled to very tight tolerances. Some M1911 enthusiasts accuse these gunmakers of going too far in the quest for accuracy, but I digress.

IMHO if your gun experiences more than 3-4 FTFs or jams within the first 500 rounds or so, and you're using quality name-brand ammo (i.e. no gun show reloads!), it needs to be sent back to S&W. I too have heard the horror stories about SDs, but these pistols are new, and I am tempted to attribute the problems to early-production QA/QC issues. I have a M&P9 that I bought 2 years ago; I have fired several thousand rounds through the pistol, and at the risk of jinxing it, the ONLY firing- or cycling-related malfunctions it has ever suffered were caused by 2 handloaded rounds with improperly seated primers.

That said, any gun should be cleaned before it is fired. Most gunmakers soak their products in heavy preservative oil or grease so they don't rust during shipment and storage, and this stuff can be stickier than usual gun oils, potentially causing rapid dirt buildup and functioning problems. Field-strip the gun per the manual, use a lightly oiled rag to wipe off any visible oil or grease, run a wet patch through the bore followed by several dry patches, lubricate per the owner's manual, and reassemble. You should be good to go.
Quote:
Someone said that Tula Ammo rds have been working well in this model...
Be aware that many ranges ban Tula due to the use of bi-metal bullets (i.e. partial steel content). These bullets tend to ricochet, causing sparks and potential shooter injuries, and they are harder on steel backstops and target hangers than conventional copper-jacketed lead-core bullets. Check your local range policies before investing heavily in the stuff!
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Old August 10, 2012, 05:32 PM   #10
DrDox
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Thanks again for all the info everyone!

Truly appreciated!
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Old August 10, 2012, 09:56 PM   #11
Cornhusker77
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Never had the 40, but I do have the SW9VE
I didn't think the trigger was as bad as you sometimes read, and in the 3 1/2 years I've owned it, I haven't experienced any kind of failure whatsoever, but I've only got 700-800 rounds through it.
I'd say just enjoy it for what it is, they are a good gun for what they were intended to be
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Old August 10, 2012, 11:33 PM   #12
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I have three of the 9mm Sigmas and really like them. I have one in the living room which is loaded and chambered with laser sight. The other is similarly equipped loaded and chambered in the bedroom. I really didn't want to unload my SD guns to practice so I bought the third pistol.

The third Sigma has iron sights without the laser and I dry fire it a lot. My hands are very big and very strong so trigger pull is not an issue for me. The trigger pull is long so I departed from my usual technique of getting a good sight picture then activating the trigger.

As I put the front post on target, I begin the trigger pull. As the front post sits on target and I begin final sight corrections, I am starting the trigger action. When the sights are correct, the trigger is at the release point. I had to develop a whole new rhythm with the Sigma pistols.

In my old days of revolver shooting, we "stacked the triggers" on double action shooting. We made an initial trigger movement and final release occurred when sight picture was correct.

The Sigma manual cautions not to do that because if the trigger pull is interrupted, the trigger mechanism may not fully engage when released. That has not been my experience with the Sigmas but I'll include those words as a caveat.

That's how I learned to live with the Sigma trigger pull. I do something similar with the Glocks. It works if you choose to practice it. I am very proficient with the Sigmas and that works for me.

Flash

Last edited by ROGER4314; August 11, 2012 at 01:14 AM.
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Old August 11, 2012, 12:30 AM   #13
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My Sigma has been great, same for my M&P9 & Shield 9. Accurate & reliable. I will admit to taking the Sigma directly to the range as soon as I walked out of the store, shockingly it did not fall apart when I launched lead thru it.

I'm thinking of adding a SD9VE. IMO, ignore the negative opinions from those that have no hands on experience with the Sigma or SD pistols. Train with your pistol, enjoy, if it does happen to have issues, S&W has a good rep for customer support. Can't speak on that from personal experience cause I've never had to send any of my Smiths in for service.

Might be of interest to you:

http://smith-wessonforum.com/smith-w...ma-sd-pistols/

Looking forward to your range report.
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Old August 11, 2012, 02:10 AM   #14
DrDox
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Picking it up on thursday next week, take a few days to get accustomed to it, give it a thorough clean and lube, then it's range time!

There is an advantage for me with this being my first handgun, this is what I will learn on, and will learn to love it!

The negative reviews I've read are just people griping over a $300 gun not performing like a $1500 1911, which is just silly.


I will report back once some rds have been popped off.

Thanx again everyone.
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Old August 11, 2012, 02:21 AM   #15
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Dox, once you get a few hundred rounds of plinking ammo through it, make sure to run a full 50-round box of whatever hollowpoint you're going to keep it stocked with. Yes, it's basically burning $25, but it's a necessary expense. Since you went with the .40, I like 180-grain Speer Gold Dot and 180-grain Federal HST. 180-grain .40 recoils pretty gently and is an excellent man stopper.

We will expect lots of pics and info You could even do an unboxing! I love those for some reason.
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Old August 11, 2012, 02:38 AM   #16
DrDox
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I'm game for an unboxing, those are always cool.

Good idea on running the rds I will keep it stocked with at home (after some copious plinking), don't want any ftf's or other surprises! Those HST JHP's look like a real stopper alright.

I'll have a full report next weekend, pics and all.

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Old August 11, 2012, 09:36 AM   #17
ROGER4314
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IMO, ignore the negative opinions from those that have no hands on experience with the Sigma or SD pistols. Train with your pistol, enjoy, if it does happen to have issues, S&W has a good rep for customer support. Can't speak on that from personal experience cause I've never had to send any of my Smiths in for service.

I echo that. I wouldn't have three Sigmas if I felt they were junk. Don't be afraid to ask a detractor "Do you own a Sigma?" In most cases, they have never had one, tried one round at a range with a borrowed gun or got their opinion from Internet chatter.

Flash
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Old August 11, 2012, 10:05 AM   #18
DrDox
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@Roger

Agreed. Sound advice.
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:19 AM   #19
"JJ"
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Well I will start with stating the fact that I do not own a SD9VE nor have I shot one.
I do however, have around 3000 rounds through my SW9VE without a problem.
I used mine to shoot USPSA matches I have had a couple of guys with "race" guns question what gun I was using saying "it kind of looks lime one of those Sigmas!".
The gun forced me to do my part correctly! This made me a better shooter in general! From what I have read the SD had a better trigger and everybody loved the reliability and the ergonomics of the Sigma. So S&W combined the two and came out with the SD/VE series.
You purchased a great weapon backed by a great company.

As for break in, most manufactures claim 500 rds as the magic number. In my opinion the "break in" allows the innerds of the weapon to establish a bond, if you will, with each other. Sort of find a groove. This also, in my case, helped to smooth the trigger pull just a bit. I would also say it might have lightened it as well but I think my finger just got buff!
During my "break in" period I bet I dried fired mine 1000 times! I did the dime on the slide trick while dry firing to try to stable my trigger pull also.
For ammo I would suggest Federal FMJs in the 100 round box from Walmart. At $20 the price is right and quite a few of the 3000 rounds were with the Federals without a problem. The FMJs will be great for practicing, break in and will feed well also.
I can't help with the Tula Ammo. Never tried it.

Make sure to read the owners manual when you get the weapon. It will tell you how much lube to use and exactly where to put it. The new "plastic" guns like to run with a lot less lube.
You may also search youtube for reviews. They will usually show the proper take down of the weapon and give any tips.

Good luck and I look forward to the pics!!
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:30 AM   #20
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i owned the sw40ve for about a week. i only shot it for one day. put 100 rounds through it. no failures, i just thought it felt junky and shot terrible. i've never owned another sub-$500 gun except bersa and taurus (sold both), so maybe that's the issue. i felt the bersa was fine for the price point. the taurus was even worse than the sigma. i know you can get a hold of a much better gun for $400 if you are willing to get something used. a whole new world opens up to those who are willing to go to $525. i've never shot the ruger sr series, but i've heard it is far superior at that price point.
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Old August 11, 2012, 11:28 PM   #21
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Don't shoot your gun right out of the box. Learn the tear down and in the process clean and lube the gun. I use oil in the pivot points and grease the rails.

I have a Sigma 9mm with over 1000 rounds through it all with USA made ammo. Not one hiccup.
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Old August 12, 2012, 10:18 AM   #22
DrDox
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The dime on the slide technique sounds good. Going to combine that with my target acquisition and dry firing. Been reading the owner's manual online (gotta wait till Thursday to pick it up).

Also, been practicing breaking down my buddy's SW40VE, since it breaks down in the exact same fashion as the SD40VE.

All in all, I'm looking forward to learning on this weapon and getting proficient with it. Thursday can't come quick enough!

Thanx for the tips everyone and for welcoming a new member. Cheers!
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Old August 13, 2012, 10:27 AM   #23
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Just remember to pay attention to your mechanics when you go to the range with your new SD. Even though it has a lighter trigger than the 12lbs Sigma trigger, you still can get the "low & left" effect. The stiffer the trigger the more apt a shooter is to jerking the gun when applying the pressure needed to shoot. The normal outcome of this for a right handed shooter is low & left. A light trigger tends to alleviate this phenomenon but a heavier trigger magnifies it.

As the trigger gets stiffer it's natural to try to compensate for it by jerking the gun to the side & down. Just make sure you pull straight back and let the gun fire on it's own. If it surprises you then you have done your job. My wife tries to manipulate the gun by forcing it down as she anticipates the recoil & thus shoots extremely low. There is some jerking to the left, but her main problem is shooting so low because of the recoil anticipation, not low & left because of a stiff trigger. Both are problems, but bad trigger mechanics are easier to over come than recoil anticipation. I've been fighting that with my wife since she started shooting.
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Old August 13, 2012, 11:43 AM   #24
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I used to own a .40 sigma. Never had any kind of failure, though the trigger wasnt great. Overall it was a pretty good gun and i sometimes actually regret getting rid of it.
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Old August 16, 2012, 11:03 AM   #25
DrDox
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Just picked it up, went through the manual and did quite a few tear downs. Took some pics for you all, will post them up shortly.

After that, gonna clean it up and lube it up with some Hoppe's. Then start with my dry-firing and get accustomed to my new and first handgun.

Gonna wait a few days for the range, after getting quite familiar with this weapon. Will post a range report once it's done.
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