I havent shot either but I have a couple of friends who bought the Windicator years ago, and 1 who loves his S&W SD9. So this is all hearsay. Take it or leave it. My friends are experienced shooters though and both have multiple handguns to make comparisons to.
I've heard that the Windicator.357 is a butt to shoot at the range because of the heavy trigger weight and sharp trigger style. I've also heard the ejector rod wears out pretty quick with hot rounds, which takes the fun out of shooting a .357 for me. If I'm gonna shoot a hand cannon I want it to blow my hair back! I also was told that the cylinder jams up easier than most .38spl/.357.
The SD9 has an 8lb trigger weight which isn't exactly ideal for most shooters, but you can have the trigger changed out for around $40. And even without trigger work, looking at my friends gun the trigger design is more forgiving than the windicator, no sharp ridges, plus you don't have to wear your thumb out on the hammer. That's what I hate about revolvers with sharp triggers and heavy trigger pulls. You end up with a sore trigger finger AND thumb. And IMO a range gun should be all about comfort and ergonomics. But then again jamming bullets into magazines doesn't exactly feel good on your thumb either.
If you switch out the trigger on the SD9 you'd have a great range gun. I haven't heard any reliability issues with it, unlike most of the Sigma series which I personally think are horrible.
As far as self defense, a lot of self defense is about personal preference. What do you as an individual shoot the best and what are you most comfortable with. (With 38spl and larger that is) I personally would prefer the SD9 after trigger work because its set up for point and shoot and comes with 2 16 round mags and 9mm recoil is easier to manage.
The problem is once you get the trigger work done you've probably spent over $400 total on the gun, and IMO there are a lot of much better options for 9mm at that price point.
Of course, the trigger pull is smooth so if you don't mind the heavy weight you would be fine.
If you are a brand junky and just like S&W, IMO pretty much all of their .357/38spl models are awesome!
.357 over penetration issues can be overcome with good JHPs. 9mm doesn't exactly have a stellar reputation for over penetration itself. So don't worry about comparing the calibers and ballistics beyond finding the best SD JHP you can buy for whatever gun you end up purchasing. Both will stop a bad guy in his tracks if you shoot him enough times in the right places.
"...it is ...ALIVE!!!"
Last edited by DeltaF; 09-01-2013 at 08:47 PM.