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Old 04-10-2020, 09:13 PM
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The SD is the earlier premium model with more features, "VE" stands for Value Enhanced, signifying that it's an economy class version which did away with certain features to bring the cost down.

The SD has a Melonite FNC treated Stainless Steel slide and a Tritium Front Sight, whereas the SDVE has a bare Stainless Steel slide with a bead-blasted anti-glare finish and an ordinary white dot front sight.

At one point in time Smith & Wesson offered three different firearms at three different price ranges: The Sigma SWVE which was the economy class pistol, the SD (essentially a Sigma Gen 4 with new look, improved trigger, front slide serrations, a Melonite FNC treated slide, and tritium front sight post) which served as their mid-range pistol, and the M&P which was an newer design which basically combined the best elements of their older Sigma Series with the SW99 which was part of a collaboration with Walther based on the Walther P99, but with some unique features, upgrades, (which have since been carried over to more modern iterations of the P99 and PPQ) and came chambered in .45 ACP which the P99 is not.
However, as time went by and the cost of the M&P went down, the cost difference between the SD and the M&P became marginal at about $50-$75, ergo nobody was buying the SD anymore since an extra $50-$75 got them a higher quality pistol with a better trigger. So Smith & Wesson discontinued both the Sigma SWVE and the SD, took nixed Melonite FNC treatment and the tritium sight, then replaced both with the SDVE.

That being said, S&W still lists the SD on their sight and seems to offer it as a distributor exclusive model, so apparently there is a market fof it, albeit a somewhat niche market which is willing to pay a little more for a premium SD, but not quite enough more to afford the M&P or otherwise just doesn't care for the additional features of the M&P.
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