Range Report: SIG P210-6.... - Pistolsmith

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Old 10-21-2002, 01:27 PM   #1
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Range Report: SIG P210-6....

Hello. I'll admit being a real fan of the 9x19mm round and have probably more handguns chambered in that caliber than any other. Though I am also a strong devotee of the .45 ACP, there's just something about the 9mm that I like.

Some years ago, I bought a SIG P210-6 complete with the .22lr slide/bbl conversion. Today's report concerns only the 9mm "version" of the pistol.
It's interesting to note that 20 years ago, I owned a P210-6, BUT at that time that designation referred to the adjustable sight version unlike the fixed sight pistol it is stamped on today!

The Pistol: The pistol used in this report is stock. There has been no gunsmithing or customization whatsoever. Normally, I use a different set of wooden stocks that were advertised as "Danish Police Grips" at CDNN a year or so ago. They're thicker and rough textured and more comfortable for me. The stocks shown and used today are the ones that came on the pistol.

I find no decernible play, either vertical or lateral in the slide-to-frame fit. The trigger's estimated at 3lbs or less and very, very clean. The trigger face is smooth and the trigger, slide stop, and hammer appear hardchromed.

As mentioned, the sights are fixed and they are somewhat smallish. The front sight is serrated nicely and dovetailed into the slide. The rear sight has a "U-"shaped notch, but the curved bottom of the "U" causes no problems. Still, I'd prefer it be squared at the bottom. The thumb safety sets forward of where most are used to and I find it less convenient than that on the Browning HP or the 1911.

Front Sight...

Rear Sight...

You can also see the more forward positioning of the thumb safety as well as the reversed "inside rails" of the P210, a trait that the CZ line of pistols use now as well.

The pistol has a single-stack 8-shot magazine and does have a magazine "safety."

The magazine's held by a spring-formed release located at the bottom of the grip. Unlike some similarly equipped pistols like the HK P7, this one does NOT allow for just being pushed forward and allowing the magazine to fall; the magazine must be pulled from the grip. (For what these overpriced magazines cost, I don't mind.)

The 4.73" bbl is very smooth on both the exterior and interior as clean-up's very easy. IF memory serves, the twist is a bit faster than the usual European 1:10 at 1:9.

This pistol's interior is machined more smoothly than the exterior of many pistols!

In short, the gun's very well-made and the hammer's lightened via cut out areas on the rear of the hammer shank and on the bottom of the spur.


There were some handloads as well as factory rounds fired through this pistol today. I was checking accuracy on some of the handloads and picked the factory rounds as being those often used by folks shooting 9mm pistols. The velocity figures shown are the average 10-shot velocity for that particular round fired from the SIG P210 pistol.

Tested Rounds:


Winchester USA 115 gr FMJ (1242 ft/sec)*
*This is about 100 ft/sec hotter than normal for this round, but it's been quite a while since I chronographed any new USA ball. I don't know if the gun's justing shooting it faster or if it's loaded hotter now. There are no Nato or +P markings on the cases.

Remington 115 gr JHP +P (1291 ft/sec)

Federal 115 gr JHP (9BP) (1173 ft/sec)

Handloaded Rounds:

Rucker 122 gr CFP
6.9 gr Blue Dot
WSP primer
New Starline Cases
LOA: 1.075"
(1132 ft/sec)

Rucker 122 gr CFP (Moly-coated)
Same as above.
(1140 ft/sec)

Rainier 124 gr PRN
Same as above.
LOA: 1.155"
(1090 ft/sec)

Hornady 115 gr JHP (Some old, "Pre-XTP" bullets I had)
6.2 gr Unique
Federal SP primer
Starline Cases
LOA: 1.11"
(1238 ft/sec)

Hornady 124 gr XTP
6.0 gr Unique
Federal SP primer
Starline Cases
LOA: 1.11"
(1280 ft/sec)
Of the handloaded rounds using Unique, this bullet seems to get more ft/sec per grain of powder than either the 115 gr or Speer 124 gr.

Speer 124 gr Gold Dot Hollow Point
Same as above.
LOA: 1.115"
(1191 ft/sec)**
**Note the 111 ft/sec difference in the average speeds of the same weight, but different brand bullets using the same load.

Shooting: I cheated on today's testing. Since the P210's considered a very accurate pistol, I fired all groups except those at 15 yards from a rest, using a two-handed hold. The 15 yard groups were fired standing w/2-hand hold. There is still much human error in these groups.

15 Yards: These groups consist of 5-shots each.

25 Yards: These groups were fired from a rest and while seated. Groups consist of 10-shots each.

I did a few more at 25 yards today since this distance will be a pretty common one for most folks to shoot targets.

50 Yards: These groups consist of 15 shots each.
Fired with the Hornady 124 gr XTP handload....

Fired with Winchester 115 gr Ball....

Observations: The pistol is very well-made and is very smooth in its operation. The slide is soooooooo smooth in its operation. The pistol's accurate, much more so than this shooter can wring out of it.

So is it worth the high price one pays to get a new one? (This runs between about $1500 and $2000, roughly.)

I see the answer to that this way:

1.) To me personally, it is not. Don't get me wrong; I LIKE the gun and it works perfectly. Today's zero malfunction rate is business as usual.
However, when one buys into a gun for the long haul, he has essentially bought into a company. SIG thinks a heck of alot of their products. Extra single-stack factory magazines cost around $100 EACH! And they're not gold-plated, just blued! I hate to think what a spare sear, hammer, etc would cost. I bought this gun several years ago when I was financially a bit better off than today; I likely wouldn't pay that price today. One thing I do NOT like at all on the P210 is that its recoil spring and FLGR are captive. I could get the spring off for replacement, but am much more hesitant to try getting this one apart as it'd be expensive to replace if I mess something up...like the rod. With me, it could happen.

Also, this gun "bites" me and does so consistently. For the same reason mentioned above, I'm hesitant to "bob" the hammer spur. Today, for example, I used a cheaper way of avoiding hammer bite: duct tape on my hand. In the future, I'll put two or three layers on as the hammer spur eventually chewed through the tape to my paw. Didn't quite bleed, but the skin's broken in a line as wide as the hammer spur.

That said, I've used this pistol to shoot several critters and it's always done its part. Since I've got it, I'll likely keep, shoot, and enjoy it.

2.) If you have the money or just enough "want to" to save and buy this pistol because you just want to own a truly highest quality arm, it might be worth it; YOU have to make that decision.

That the gun shoots is not a question. I'm not sure which load actually groups best as the error I introduce is so great compared to the gun's consistency, that I might never know, but I DO know this; the thing shoots and shoots well. I will be using more of the less costly cast bullet load shown in targets above as this gun groups that load well.

I really cannot recommend this pistol for defensive use....at least not for me! The thumb safety, while positive in either its "on" or "off" positions, is just too far forward for me to operate without shifting my grip. If you're well-heeled enough, I'm sure you can have an extension added to the safety, but IF the gunsmith messes it up, I have no idea what a factory replacement would cost. All of this assumes that SIG-USA is still importing this gun and handles spare parts! Magazine changes are considerably slowed up by the rather strong, butt-located magazine release.

Perhaps just trying to keep this classic just that, the fixed sights have not been improved. They were spot on insofar as regulation's concerned, but still a bit small to use at speed. For my purposes, it really doesn't matter.

Again, I like and am in awe of this pistol, but were I doing it again, I'd likely go with an STI Trojan or an accurized BHP if I had to squeeze 9mm groups down as far as possible.

So there it is, just my view and observations on a really, really well-made handgun.

....and just for grins, here's the usual "dirt expansion tested" Speer 124 gr Gold Dots recovered from mud! Again, it doesn't really mean anything, but I like to see expanded bullets.

Recovered 124 gr GDHPs fired using the handloaded mention earlier...

Here's the P210 with the "Danish Police Grips" mentioned earlier...

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Old 10-21-2002, 01:48 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2002
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Thanks, You've satisfied my curiosity.
Old 10-21-2002, 01:53 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2001
Location: Richardson, TX
Posts: 1,580

I never got around to doing a write-up of my P210-DK/M49, but my experience was identical to yours. My only real criticism of the thing is hammer bite, I've always found it odd that the P210 (and, for that matter, GI-style 1911s) don't just bob the hammer the small bit necessary, since I think we can all agree that hammer bite is a defect and not a "feature."

Oh, and I agree that the safety is a bit stiff to operate.

Otherwise, the workmanship, accuracy and reliability of the things is really peerless, and even my relatively junky and beat-on P210 outclassed any other out-of-the-box firearm I've seen in every department. It is basically the European, 9x19mm equivalent of the custom 1911 IMHO. That will appeal to some people and not others. 8)
Old 10-21-2002, 03:15 PM   #4
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Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 876
The P210-6 does not hammer bite me, but I am obviously in the minority. A friend shot mine three times, all center hits, and handed it back with the remark "Very nice, but you might ought to wipe the blood off of it."

I can reach the safety, but reloads just about have me whipped. As a (hypothetical) self defense piece, anything I can handle with eight Gold Dots is under control, but if I need more there will have to be a time out.

I found factory adjustable sights - mine came with fixed vonStavenhagen that were off target and loose in the dovetails - but I have the rear all the way down and it still strikes a bit high. I was able to stock up on magazines at $65 to $80 apiece.

Like Stephen, I think it is a fine gun, and don't plan to advertise it for sale, but if somebody comes along with sufficient money, he can have it and I will get something else.
Old 10-21-2002, 06:40 PM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 443
Oh heck your in it this far, just get pistol smith to "do" the hammer,safety and sights, screw the spares this is a forever gun. Wow finally a 9mm I like , of course its single action.

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