Smith & Wesson Model SW40VE
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Smith and Wesson Sigma SW40VE Handgun
After the Smith and Wesson Model SW40VE was first introduced in 1994, there were some guns that had issues with jamming. Fortunately, these issues have been resolved for a long time now. This Smith and Wesson Sigma SW40VE pistol review will focus on the later generation of pistols that have been sold in recent years. In 1996, newly revised grips were released that added to the comfort and control of this gun. If you are looking at buying a used gun, then be aware that some of the earlier pistols had some issues with misfeeds and jams. Just don't let that "old news" (past history) distort the fact that this is now a very good pistol. If you are buying a pistol from brand new stock, then you should not have to worry about any of this. This is just mentioned for those looking to buy a used one. Generally speaking, if you buy a used Sigma SW40VE with the accessory rails molded into the frame, then you should be OK. These rails/slots started appearing around 1999 and are made for attaching accessories such as a tactical light or laser sight. It's real obvious to see the slots molded into the lower, front of the thermoplastic frame. If you don't want to worry about any of this, then just buy a brand new one. The price on a brand new Smith and Wesson model SW40VE is quite reasonable anyway.
RELIABILITY: This Smith and Wesson Sigma SW40VE pistol review will be based on a collection of feedback from many different users. First of all, for those worried about jamming, let's just say that many SW40VE pistol owners have shot THOUSANDS of rounds through their pistol without problems with jamming. So, right out of the box, most people find that this pistol performs very well. You will find that some experienced gun owners will recommend taking any brand new pistol and breaking it down for a good cleaning. After a thorough cleaning and light lube (NOT too much oil), many have found this simple preventative maintenance can help many auto pistols work even more reliably. Occasionally, new guns can have residue left over from manufacturing or just have too much lube applied from the factory. Cleaning this out and lightly lubricating critical areas can make things work more smoothly - especially a brand new semi-automatic gun that has not yet been broken in.
ACCURACY: Many owners have found the Sigma to be a good, accurate pistol. As with any hand gun with a short barrel, you can not expect it to shoot with the accuracy of a long barrel rifle or revolver. It's just a simple issue of ballistics and physics. A longer barrel will yield better accuracy. But, for it's intended purpose (short range defense) the Sigma SW40VE does a good job at getting the job done. Many people have reported good accuracy and stated that they would stake their life on it as a concealed carry self defense pistol. And that's the real issue here.... the Sigma's 4" barrel was not designed to be a firearm used for hunting wild game at long range! This is all very obvious to most gun owners, but occasionally you get someone inexperienced that expects a compact, concealed-carry type of pistol to shoot as accurate as a high powered hunting rifle. If you set your expectations accurately, then you will get a more accurate assessment of a gun's ability. The overall message is that the Sigma 40 is plenty accurate in the hands of a competent shooter. Obviously, no gun (no matter how good it is) can make up for an inexperienced shooter.
ERGONOMICS: The 18 degree angled grip was specifically designed to provide a very comfortable and natural hand position while shooting the Sigma. The one area of the Smith and Wesson model SW40VE pistol that many people complain about is the heavy trigger pull. Some people have found that this heavy trigger pull can make them pull the gun off target while squeezing the trigger, and they say it affects their accuracy. This is something that many people have gotten used to with practice. This heavier trigger pull is not by accident. To reduce the chance of an accidental discharge, the trigger pull is purposely set to require more force. This is not an area where Smith and Wesson will likely want to change anything because of safety and liability issues. Keep in mind that after some use, as the parts wear in to each other, the trigger pull can smoothen out on it's own. Also, it is a fairly simple matter for an experienced gunsmith to work over a gun to lighten the trigger pull. Most people can get use to the trigger pull as is.
VALUE: At the time of this writing, the MSRP on a Smith and Wesson Model SW40VE is $482. Actual street price can be much lower than this. Many people have purchased their pistol for between $300 - $400. Some people have even gotten great deals along with factory rebates and picked up a Sigma SW40VE for around $300 - which is a very good price for this gun! Comparable pistols made by Glock or other manufacturers can cost much more.
CONCLUSION: There will always be people around that will find something to complain about on just about any gun. For some people, only the most expensive brands will do. If that's the case for you, then fine. Each person is entitled to spend their money however they see fit. There is some truth to the old saying "you get what you pay for". HOWEVER, the issue is how much more are YOU willing to pay for small incremental improvements. If overall value and "bang for your buck" is important to you, then you might want to consider the Sigma. With everything in mind (good reliability, accuracy, price), this Smith and Wesson Sigma SW40VE pistol review would consider this handgun to be a good buy.
UPDATE: Unfortunately, Smith & Wesson phased out the SW40VE, but fortunately S&W now offers the SD40VE in its place. The SD series is very similar to the SW series of handguns, with the advantage of a slightly better factory trigger and some better sights on the SD models. The good news is that the price is still very reasonable with an MSRP of only $379, and often times you can find street prices quite a bit lower than that. If you prefer to get an SW40VE, you can still find them for sale used (and can often get them at a very good price). When shopping for a used SW40VE, just be sure to get a later production model as described above.