S&W SD9VE vs Tristar L120


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Kiln
July 7, 2014, 04:43 PM
In a couple of months I'm going to be buying another handgun in the $350 range. I'm torn between grabbing another Tristar L120 (already got one that's great) and a Smith and Wesson SD9VE.

Both are similar in size and capacity. Both are comfortable. Tristar has a better trigger and I already have 4-5 Tristar/CZ mags.

The S&W SD9VE has a lifetime warranty, a poly frame, and an equally good reputation.

I'm pretty stuck so I'm hoping somebody will sell me on one or the other.

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krupparms
July 7, 2014, 07:41 PM
I have no experience with the Tristar & have not heard anything much about it! What I have heard was good. I have alot of experience with the S&W Sigmas &SD9VE series pistols. They have better ergonomics than the Glock. They use early Sigma mag.s . They also use the same sights as the M&P, so you can upgrade it w/ better sights easy. They are very reliable &accurate. The only complaints I have heard was the trigger, which is a easy fix! Plus they come from a company that has great C.S.if you need it. And it's made in the U.S.A.! Those are some good reasons to get one! I have shot quite a number of pistols over the years & find the SD9VE series to be a fine guns & would be happy with one for EDC! Good luck with your choice!

9mmforMe
July 8, 2014, 01:17 AM
I don't know a thing about the Tristar, but the SD9VE is a fine pistol. There is however something to be said about having two or more of an oft used and well liked pistol. Handle the SD9 and see what you think, if you can rent one even better. You already know a good deal about the Tristar so learn some about the Smith and go from there.

breacher
July 8, 2014, 02:04 AM
I had a Sigma 9mm and put a lot of time & work into that trigger but never got it to where I wanted it. Too bad because the grip fit my hand like a glove. Best feeling grip I've ever found. So back to my old standby Glocks.

Ruger has a new basic SR9 in your price range. They deleted the LCI and adjustable sights and maybe some other things and dropped the price.
http://ruger.com/products/9E/index.html

9mmforMe
July 8, 2014, 02:08 AM
FYI, the Sigma series triggers are heavier than the design on the SD9. Around 7.5 to 8 pounds on the SD9. SDs are not Sigmas.

snooperman
July 8, 2014, 10:30 AM
The Turkish made Tristar pistols , like most other Turkish guns I have read about, are good guns for the money. I have the S&W SD9 and it is an excellent value pistol from an American company with very good customer service and a life-time warranty. Go with the S&W and you will have a good striker fired pistol. My SD9 is one of the best guns I have and it frequently goes to the range with me and does duty as my house gun.

Fishbed77
July 8, 2014, 01:32 PM
You could also consider the upcoming Ruger 9E.

Or just spend about the same amount on a very good condition police trade-in Glock 19 and never have to worry about the availability of spare parts, mags, and accessories.

Kiln
July 8, 2014, 04:48 PM
You could also consider the upcoming Ruger 9E.

Or just spend about the same amount on a very good condition police trade-in Glock 19 and never have to worry about the availability of spare parts, mags, and accessories.
I'm not a fan of Glocks. I had one myself (first gen G22) that worked fine and did what it was supposed to but the grip angle was not for me. I'd rather go with pretty much anything other than another Glock handgun.

ClickClickD'oh
July 8, 2014, 05:17 PM
Sigma series pistols are one of the few pistols banned from our company that don't come from one of the ring of fire manufacturers. This came about due to a very odd occurrence while we were opening our New Orleans branch office. While we were doing safety checks on their firearms we noticed that an uncomfortable amount of the were failing the out of battery test. That is, they would discharge with the slide pushed out of battery. After the 4th or 5th failure, we noticed that all the failures were SW9VEs. Every single one that had come in so far in fact. Out of 10 applicants that came in with Sigmas, all 10 failed.

Now, to be fair, we do allow the SD9VE to be used and we have yet to see one fail the test. But I don't trust them. They are after all just a product improved SW9VE. S&W just dropped the Sigma name from the line for pretty much the same reason that Valujet became Airtran.

Take it for what it is, with giant grains of salt, but I just don't trust the things.

Kiln
July 8, 2014, 07:35 PM
Sigma series pistols are one of the few pistols banned from our company that don't come from one of the ring of fire manufacturers. This came about due to a very odd occurrence while we were opening our New Orleans branch office. While we were doing safety checks on their firearms we noticed that an uncomfortable amount of the were failing the out of battery test. That is, they would discharge with the slide pushed out of battery. After the 4th or 5th failure, we noticed that all the failures were SW9VEs. Every single one that had come in so far in fact. Out of 10 applicants that came in with Sigmas, all 10 failed.

Now, to be fair, we do allow the SD9VE to be used and we have yet to see one fail the test. But I don't trust them. They are after all just a product improved SW9VE. S&W just dropped the Sigma name from the line for pretty much the same reason that Valujet became Airtran.

Take it for what it is, with giant grains of salt, but I just don't trust the things.
The SD9VE and the Sigma may be similar but there have been some dramatic improvements over the Sigma series.

rule303
July 8, 2014, 09:52 PM
I voted for the Tristar only because I prefer a metal framed SA/DA in a pistol that size. Both are a good value for the money. The SD9VE is a huge improvement over the Sigma, those things were terrible.

SeanSw
July 9, 2014, 01:59 AM
I have a SD9VE that is a great $300 gun. It's decently accurate and the trigger was fine and it further improved with an Apex trigger kit. It has a short smooth trigger pull leading to a slightly spongy break. It's nothing like a DA/SA hammer fired gun.

However, a friend also has a SD9VE that functions flawlessly but has proven less accurate than mine and is sighted in terribly from the factory. They could not qualify (5 easy shots at 5 yards) to use our indoor range because the gun shot so low and left that he failed. Swapping guns told a different story.

I have no experience with Tristar but for the price, warranty, parts availability, and customer service I would take the S&W. Mine does car duty and might move up to ccw during the winter months.

9mmforMe
July 9, 2014, 02:40 AM
Easy fix for your friend. Is he going to send it back to Smith and let them make it right? Mine shoots dead on center.

frankiestoys
July 9, 2014, 08:10 AM
I had a Sigma I took in on a trade and now I know why ... Sold it and have no regrets .I know that they have been improved but it would have to be an intirely different pistol for me to even consider .Last year I bought a C100 and I have really grown to like it for its overall performance and value 500 rds zero issues . Its a nice copy I may even look at their models

MrWesson
July 9, 2014, 11:18 AM
Even a CZ clone is better than the improved sigma.

9mmforMe
July 9, 2014, 05:31 PM
frank: What were the problems with the gun? Remember the SD9 is not a Sigma...and there are many changes. The basic appearance is similar, but that was never a problem...so how much change do you want?

Mrwesson: Why do you say this? Do you own one? fired one?

frankiestoys
July 9, 2014, 05:48 PM
Well the one I had was "used" I felt that the trigger was poorly designed, very long and not very smooth .I ran about 150 rounds through it with a half dozen or so failures the pistol itself felt cheap ... I know its polymer and all but so is my SR9c . If it were a decent pistol Smith would not have redesigned it. They really could have done better especially for a company that's been making pistols for so long I own several of there revolvers intact I carry a J frame daily. The Tristar is a winner right out of the box and I know its a copy but wasn't the Sigma using some of Glocks ideas ?

9mmforMe
July 9, 2014, 06:54 PM
Oh yeah...Smith was copying from Glock and many did dislike the trigger. Many, however, liked their Sigmas a good deal. The changes have made the SD9 quite a different pistol from the Sigmas. Smith was sued by Glock and had to pay them royalties, I believe. This new pistol is more Glock like though and that aint bad, the ergonomics are much better and the price makes this gun a winner in my book.

B!ngo
July 10, 2014, 04:03 AM
I just wrote up a longer explanation (much though not all from direct experience) in a similar poll asking whither VE or RIA 1911. My answer there was VE 9 and here is is a more strongly VE 9. But I don't want to restate it all.
B

snooperman
July 10, 2014, 08:39 AM
Mr Wesson, The CZ clones are excellent buys but comparing the CZ platform to a Striker fired Glock clone is like Apples and oranges. Have you fired the SD9? I own both CZ and SD9 and like both. They are completely different hand guns. If you like one platform over the other , that is fine. The S&W SD9 is one of their best sellers , and for good reason. They are an excellent value in a crowded striker -fired pistol market and are extremely reliable with a wide variety of ammo.

snooperman
July 10, 2014, 09:44 AM
That said, of the two guns ,, the Smith has a much better customer service with a lifetime warranty from a well-established American company that has been here for than 150 years. Compare that to these import companies that come and go with poor customer service and support and you can see the real value in a pistol like the SD9. Tristar, EAA, SAR, and other importers do not have a very good track record to say the least.

lincen
July 10, 2014, 11:31 AM
I agree about the reasons to buy the S&W but my reasons for buying Canik's or TriStar pistols was more about steel over polymer and DA/SA over striker fired.

Even though I have three Turkish handguns, my advice to someone buying only ONE low cost 9mm would be to buy the S&W.

9mmforMe
July 11, 2014, 08:58 PM
Looks like opinions run pretty close. OP, have you made a decision yet?

Kiln
July 12, 2014, 05:24 AM
Nope. It'll be next month or so before I can actually grab one or the other. The poll did end up close. I know the Tristar is excellent but if I have issues I've read that their CS is not great. The Smith is a great gun but the triggers seem to be a consistent complaint.

I'm still undecided. I'm going to have to find a SD9VE to dry fire to decide if I can stand the trigger. I've got CZ's and XDM's with great triggers so I may be too spoiled to enjoy an 8lb DAO pull.

9mmforMe
July 12, 2014, 07:19 PM
Apex trigger kit drops that down to about 5.5 pounds...and the kit is only 30 bucks I think. Good luck! And let us know what you get.

stonecutter2
July 14, 2014, 05:14 PM
I vote SD9VE.

I had a later generation SW9VE and I liked it very much. My trigger was long (it was, after all, a Sigma) but pretty smooth, it never hiccuped with anything I fed it, and I thought it was more comfortable in my hand than a gen3 Glock.

When gen4 Glocks came out, and I held one, the grip was just smaller enough to win me over. Passed the Sigma on to a friend for a good price...kinda regret it.

So, anyways, the SD9VE bears resemblance to the SW9VE in many ways, but I could see instantly the various improvements made to it that S&W implemented based on feedback. I have no doubt that the SD9VE is a fine firearm for the money, and S&W learned a thing or two from the Sigma issues.

snooperman
July 14, 2014, 07:34 PM
The Aug-Sept issue of handguns magazine has an excellent article on the Tristar P 120 pistol. Nice gun with a nice price.

xjsnake
July 14, 2014, 09:26 PM
SD9VE. It's a great gun for the money and mine has been absolutely flawless other than it's a bit slick in my hand.

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