Small easily concealed pistols have become some of the best-sellers in the firearms market. These pistols are designed for civilians who have concealed carry permits, but they are also being marketed to cops as off-duty and backup tools.
However, in order to make these pistols so compact, many manufacturers have chosen to chamber them for the .380 ACP cartridge. Which has its drawbacks as a combat round.
That's why we are now seeing a wave of new subcompact pistols chambered for the more powerful 9mm cartridge. An excellent example of these small but powerful pistols is the new SIG Sauer P290.
Lots of Options
While at first the P290 appears to be a downsized version of the company's P250 Modular pistol, it is in fact a completely new and simpler design intended for one purpose alone: concealed carry. Accordingly SIG has reduced its dimensions to what might be considered the barest minimum for the 9mm Parabellum cartridge.
Let's begin our examination at the top and work our way down.
The slide is made from machined steel and features a square profile reminiscent of the P250. Buyers have a choice of a Nitron finished or stainless steel slide. The top of the slide is adorned with large, easy to see three-dot sights and Tritium night sights are optional.
A large extractor ensures positive extraction of spent cases while a generously sized ejection port ensures they get out of the way quickly. Square cut grasping grooves make it easy to retract the slide to chamber a round, or clear a malfunction, even with wet hands or if wearing gloves.
As is almost standard operating procedure today, the P290's frame is made from polymer although it differs from its contemporaries in one way. The polymer grip panels are removable and SIG offers replacement panels in either aluminum or wood for those who might care to personalize their pistols.
The pistol is fed via a six-round, single-column magazine, the base plate of which has swells on both sides to allow the shooter to pull it out of the grip if necessary. The trigger guard is of generous proportions, and the magazine release button is located in the "proper" position for easy manipulation.
SIG offers the P290 with the option of an integral laser sight that can be mounted in front of the trigger guard and is activated by ambidextrous buttons on the sides of the sight body.