Modern handguns can be very expensive. Many of today’s most popular models feature European engineering and military, police, or competition pedigrees. While it can be appealing to have the same handgun that is used by an elite fighting force like America’s Delta Force, Germany’s GSG-9, or Britain’s Special Air Service, such prestigious firearms can have a high price and provide a tad more capability than an average citizen needs for effective personal or home protection. When it comes to defensive firearms for the home, I feel that the average citizen can be well served by a simple, reliable, firearm that is accurate, easy to handle, and comes in an effective caliber. For my home defense handgun, I chose the Smith & Wesson SW9VE (also known as the Enhanced Sigma).

At just over $300, the SW9VE is an attractively priced 9mm semi-automatic pistol with a black polymer frame and stainless steel barrel and slide. The SW9VE fits all of my basic criteria for a home defense weapon, but actually goes beyond that. First of all, the SW9VE pistol is very simple. It has only three external controls. One button drops the magazine from the pistols grip. Once you’ve loaded the magazine, depressing a lever along the slide, closes the pistol’s breech and loads a round into the firing chamber. At this point, the pistol is ready to fire. There is no manual safety. A safety built into the trigger ensures that the pistol fires only when the trigger is pulled. In addition, the trigger has a long and fairly heavy pull to ensure that a round is fired only intentionally. Bullets are fired when an internal striker hits the round. There is no hammer to cock or to inadvertently snag on clothing. When the gun is unloaded and must be disassembled for cleaning two small recessed buttons below the barrel just forward of the trigger must be simultaneously slid downward so that the slide and barrel can be removed.

The lack of extraneous controls helps make the Enhanced Sigma a very smooth and streamlined package. This makes the SW9VE worthy of consideration by people with concealed carry handgun permits and the ability to conceal a full-sized handgun. Interestingly enough, I own a Glock 17 and a S&W Sigma. These guns are virtually identical. Both shoot equally well. If you field strip them both, you will be stunned how alike they are. My opinion is save the money and buy a S&W Sigma and not a Glock. Glock makes a great gun, but it is no better than this Smith and Wesson Sigma series 9mm.