6 Smith and Wesson SD9VE Problems You May Face

The Smith and Wesson SD9VE is a cheap and reliable self-defense pistol. There are 2 basic models with standard capacity and low capacity supporting 9x19mm Parabellum caliber.

But the SD9VE has some issues that you should know about.

Slide not locking back, difficulty pulling the slide, stovepiping, accuracy issue, striker wearing, and locking up are some common Smith and Wesson SD9VE problems.

In this article, I’ll discuss these common Smith and Wesson SD9VE problems. But first, let’s take a look at some features and specifications of this gun.

Features & Specifications of Smith and Wesson SD9VE Gun:

Smith and Wesson SD9VE Specs
Cartridge9mm Luger
Capacity10/16 Rounds
Barrel Length4.0 Inches
Weight (Unloaded)22.4 Ounces or 640 Grams
Length7.2 Inches
Width1.29 Inches
Height5.5 Inches
SafetyNo Thumb Safety, Magazine Safety
SightsFront – White Dot Rear – Fixed 2 Dot
Common Smith and Wesson SD9VE Problems and Solutions
Smith and Wesson SD9VE

Common Smith and Wesson SD9VE Problems and Solutions

Now that you know about the main specifications of the Smith and Wesson SD9VE, I will tell you about the problems. Let’s take a quick look at the SD9VE troubleshooting approaches from the table below.

Quick Overview of the Problems and Solutions

Problems with Smith and Wesson SD9VESolutions
Slide Failing to Lock BackStretch or replace the magazine spring.
Difficult to Pull the SlideFile the follower.
StovepipingClean the gun properly.
Accuracy ProblemAdjust the sights.
Striker WearReplace the striker.
Locking UpReplace the slide and use brass ammo.

1. Slide Failing to Lock Back:

When the last round of a magazine is fired from the SD9VE, the slide may fail to lock back automatically. Inside of the slide when you pull it, there is a small lever on the inside.

The lever engages with the top of the magazine. When the magazine is in position, it presses on the lever. As a result, it engages the slide.

As a result, you might face this problem. But there is an easy solution.

The Fix:

To fix the issue, take the magazine out from your SD9VE. After that, take the buck plate off and stretch the magazine spring inside.

If the problem still does not go away or reoccurs, try replacing the magazine or the whole magazine. You can buy a magazine spring or the SD9VE magazine from Brownells.

2. Difficult to Pull the Slide:

This issue occurs when you put a fully loaded magazine inside of your Smith and Wesson SD9VE pistol. Although not all magazines have this problem, you might also have difficulty putting the magazine in position.

Sometimes, you have to smack the magazine inside of the chamber. Also, you might need to pull very hard on the slide to load it sometimes. As a result, the topmost bullet in the magazine will have dent marks (Fig 1).

Dents on the Bullet
Dents on the Bullet

The Fix:

You will need some files to fix this problem. But a triangular and a round shaped file along with some 22 or 23 grit sandpaper.

Now, take out the spring and follower from the magazine. Take the spring out from the follower.

There might be some transparent plastic on the back of the follower which is an excess part. File the transparent parts (Fig 2). Also clean and smooth out all of the rough edges on the follower.

Filed and Unfiled Follower
Filed and Unfiled Follower

After reassembling the follower and the spring, push down the magazine a couple of times to break it in.

3. Stovepiping:

Stovepiping is a common issue with the Smith and Wesson SD9VE. This is an issue when the fired cartridge’s case does not fire out of the slide gap even though the bullet is fired.

Not cleaning the gun properly and not holding the gun firmly while shooting is the most common reason for this problem.

The Fix:

First of all, you should always clean the gun after a session in the shooting round. Watch this video on YouTube for a proper cleaning method of the Smith and Wesson SD9VE gun.

You should also practice and get rid of the limp wristing problem if you have it. Tell the gunsmith or some professional at the shooting range to look at your grip while shooting. Holding the gun firmly and straight should be enough.

4. Accuracy Problem:

Most of the time, the accuracy of the Smith and Wesson SD9VE seems to be horrible because of the shooter. But the gun might also have a malfunction or fault.

The sights might become tilted or dislocated. Also, the barrel might have a fault.

The Fix:

Let some other people shoot the gun if you think you have a problem with gripping and aiming the gun. If they shoot correctly, then you have to work on your aiming and gripping.

But if the problem happens with everyone, you might need to adjust the sights on top of the slide. You may also consider replacing the barrel.

5. Striker Wear:

After firing more than 500 rounds, the Smith & Wesson SD9VE striker may start to degrade. The plunger blocks the striker, which may cause galling at the location.

Your gun might shoot, but the pin might stick out of the breech face. It won’t thus force the plunger down.

The Fix:

You should replace the striker of the SD9VE with a new one. Factory strikers might be hard to get your hands on.

So, it will be best if you send your SD9VE to the company or the gunsmith. The problem will go away after the replacement.

6. Locking Up:

The gun may lock up while shooting. As a result, you may not be able to rack the slide.

Sometimes, when the slide of the SD9VE jams, it might be impossible to take it apart. This issue mainly occurs when there is a fault with the slide or when you use the wrong ammo.

The Fix:

First of all, make sure that you are using quality factory ammo. Also, avoid shooting steel-cased ammo with the SD9VE and stick with the brass ones.

If the issue is still present, send the gun to Smith and Wesson to have a checkup on the slide. A slide replacement will fix the problem.

User Feedback on Smith and Wesson SD9VE

The Smith and Wesson SD9VE is a well-known pistol. Many users have used the gun for years with over 5000 rounds and no problems. But some people have had problems from the very beginning.

One user from the Smith Wesson Forum has said that he had a double feeding issue. This only occurred when the magazine had full 16 rounds. His magazine also dropped out when rapid firing.

In this post from the Glock Talk, there are both positive and negative comments on the SD9VE pistol from Smith and Wesson.

Top 3 Alternative Guns of Smith and Wesson SD9VE

Here are some best alternatives for the Smith and Wesson SD9VE:

  1. Glock G19
    – Standard 15 capacity mag capacity with optional 17/19/24/31/33 capacity.
    – Best for concealed carrying and low to mid-range shooting.
    – Double action with 9MM 10 capacity caliber.
    – Great for personal protection and shooting at the range.
  3. Beretta PX4
    – Includes automatic firing pin block with ambidextrous safety.
    – 3 dot sight system and interchangeable backstraps.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What type of grip is installed on the Smith and Wesson SD9VE?

Ergonomic textured polymer grips.

What materials are used to build the Smith and Wesson SD9VE?

Stainless steel barrel and slide with polymer frame material.

What kind of rail is featured in the Smith and Wesson SD9VE gun?

Picatinny-style rail.

Does the Smith and Wesson SD9VE have a lifetime warranty?

Yes. Lifetime service policy.

Are the Smith and Wesson SD9VE still being produced?

Yes. It has been in production since 2012.

What is the feed system of the Smith and Wesson SD9VE?

Detachable box magazine system.

How many color options are available for the Smith and Wesson SD9VE?

The gun has a two-tone finish color.


The SD9VE is a great gun if you are looking for concealed carry. But you face the common issues I have discussed.

Follow the instructions I have provided to get your Smith and Wesson SD9VE problems fixed.

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