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Reviews : Arsenal

SIG Sauer P290 Subcompact Pistol

Small enough to hide but powerful enough to use in a fight, this subcompact offers many options.

July 14, 2011  |  by Paul Scarlata - Also by this author

1. Raise pistol and fire six rounds on target. "Head" shots only.

2. Raise pistol and double-tap target. Perform a combat reload and repeat. This drill was performed three more times and on the last run the pistol was fired with an unsupported grip.

3. Raise pistol and fire six aimed shots on target. Perform a combat reload and then repeat. 

First Impressions

By the end of the day, Vince and I had run about 300 rounds through the P290, which allowed us to make the following observations:

The P290 pointed naturally, the sights were excellent and, once we had the measure of the trigger, we were able to put rounds where we wanted them. And while the trigger pull smoothed out somewhat by the end of our shooting session, the staging was still present.

Because of its short grip, frame recoil control was not what one would have hoped for and I actually found the pistol more comfortable to fire with an unsupported grip. While the front and rear straps and grip panels are aggressively textured, we both felt something else was needed.

When I expressed this concern to a SIG representative I was informed that future plans call for the P290 to come with a spare eight-round magazine with a sleeve that approximates the external contour of the grip. Such magazines will provide a full, three-finger grip without compromising concealability to any degree and significantly improve recoil control in the bargain.

The magazine release projects out rather far from the frame and unless you consciously hold the thumbs of your shooting and support hands away from it, it can be activated accidentally, dropping the magazine down far enough to where the slide cannot pick up the next round. Shortening or rounding off the button would cure this problem without adversely affecting reloading speed. Lastly, the magazines proved difficult to load to capacity and by the end of the day Vince and I had pretty sore thumbs.

I found the P290 to be a well-made, simple-to-operate, and concealable pistol but, as with most new designs, there remain a few bugs to be worked out of it. Knowing SIG as I do, I'm sure we will see this happen in short order.

Paul Scarlata has served as an auxiliary police officer and is a frequent contributor to POLICE.

SIG Sauer P290 Subcompact Pistol

Caliber: 9mm Parabellum

Action: Double action only

Overall Length: 5.5 inches

Barrel Length: 2.9 inches

Height: 3.9 inches

Width: 1.1 inches

Weight: 20.5 ounces

Construction: Slide: Nitron finished or stainless steel  Frame: Polymer

Magazine: 6 rounds, single-column box

Sights: Front: Blade with white dot

Rear: Dual white dots

Grips: Polymer

Features: Optional integral laser sight, optional night sights, carrying case, spare magazine, removable aluminum and wood grip panels, lock, owner's manual

Price: $758 ($828 with laser)

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Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

Gary Wilson @ 7/14/2011 7:56 PM

Thanks for the article. Informative and no wasted words. The P290 can't get much smaller, and Sig is always a winner.

Nice handgun, but not worth trading for my .40 P239 SAS.... the P290 is an inch shorter, 9 oz and 1 round lighter (2 rds if it were the 9mm).

Surely a worthwhile purchase, but the lack of a 'double-strike' could certainly be frustrating if it didn't go 'boom' the first strike.

Ron @ 12/26/2011 4:26 PM

Great article! I have had the p290 for three months and love it! As always there are minor things I would change which you listed, but which took me owning it for weeks to find out: it would be nicer if the grip was alittle longer and fatter with distinct palm swells, ( I know it's designed for cc-but would 5mm make that much of a difference?), The mag is hard to load making me want to skip loading the last round, The trigger pull is heavy and hopefull will improve with more use. Otherwise it's a high quality firearm and one that you what to pick up and shoot!

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