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Reviews : Arsenal

SIG Sauer P250 Subcompact Pistol

For the SIG enthusiast, this powerful concealed carry pistol is a dream come true.

November 17, 2012  |  by Nick Jacobellis - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of SIG Sauer.
Photo courtesy of SIG Sauer.

Back in the mid-1980s I was one of the first members of the U.S. Customs Service in Miami to buy a 9mm SIG P226. I liked that 226 so much that I soon bought three more SIGs, a pair of 9mm P228s, and a P220 in .45 ACP. But what I really wanted was something that SIG Sauer did not make, a subcompact handgun chambered in a substantial caliber that would fit inside an ankle holster. That meant even though I carried a SIG as a primary service handgun, my backup guns were a five-shot Smith & Wesson .38 Special revolver or a .380 subcompact. 

I mention this because I want you to know that I have long desired a subcompact SIG pistol in a substantial caliber for use as a backup gun or concealed carry firearm. This will explain to you why I was so excited to hear that SIG would be making a subcompact version of its revolutionary SIG P250 convertible pistol.

A Convertible Pistol

Despite the fact that the SIG P250 is a departure from my beloved SIG Classic Series pistols, I like the overall design.

The main selling feature of the SIG 250 design is that the trigger assembly or the "fire control group" is the actual serial-numbered part of the pistol, not the frame or the slide assembly. This translates to the end user being able to easily install the fire control group into different frames to make different sizes of pistols. Naturally, if you wish to go from a subcompact to a compact or a full-size, you also need to purchase a new slide assembly that includes a different size barrel, a recoil spring, and a magazine.  

The potential for customization with the P250 means that you can select the perfect frame size that provides the best reach to the trigger and the nicest grip or ergonomics for your hand size. In addition, you can purchase different frames and have them shipped through the mail without having to sign a federal 4473 because a frame is not a gun.

You can easily use the fire control group from one SIG P250 to build a different size or caliber pistol. Naturally, this feature is ideal for a law enforcement agency or a security force that wants to issue pistols to its personnel with frames that fit each officer's individual hand sizes. The interchangeability of parts can also help individual gun owners who wish to train other members of their families to operate and use the same SIG 250 pistol.

But all of this customization can also have a down side. 

The first time I test fired a SIG P250, SIG sent me a pistol with the wrong size frame. As you can imagine I was not a happy camper when I found myself ejecting the magazine under firing conditions because the thumb on my strong hand kept engaging the magazine release button when this pistol recoiled.

This problem was easily resolved. Once I was able to test fire the same size of SIG P250 with a medium frame installed I was able to shoot this pistol with flawless reliability, even though I did not like the "seemingly" long DAO trigger pull. More about that in a moment.

One thing I really like about the SIG P250 Compact and the P250 Subcompact is their overall size.

In addition to its Transformer-like design, the SIG P250 Subcompact has some excellent features. For example, it comes with SIG's excellent night sights. I am also very fond of the well/grip design, which is cut out a bit on both sides toward the bottom to make loading and unloading magazines a very easy task.

Getting Used to It

I wanted to answer one overriding question when I took the SIG P250 Subcompact to the range: Would it make a good backup or concealed carry weapon for today's law enforcement officer?

That question turned out to be tougher to answer than I imagined.

I cleaned and lubed the little SIG P250 test pistol and took it to the range. There, I loaded the primary and backup magazines with an assortment of high-quality Winchester, Federal, Speer, and Magtech ammunition and started sending rounds down range at a TQ19 Police Firearms Qualification Target. 

The results were not good. But I quickly came to believe that the problem was with me and not the gun.

Before test firing the DAO P250 Subcompact, I had been field testing a large number of double-action, single-action DA/SA SIG pistols, several single-action 1911s, as well as various striker-fired pistols from Glock and Smith & Wesson. In other words, the long revolver-like trigger pull on the DAO P250 Subcompact was giving me fits.

After two range sessions with a SIG 250 Compact and two range sessions with a SIG 250 Subcompact, my accuracy was not improving. In fact my worst range day with any SIG Classic Series pistol was better than my best day firing a SIG P250 variant.

I’m not trying to blow my own horn, but I'm not a bad shot. Just before I started testing and evaluating the SIG P250 Subcompact, I qualified on a POST Law Enforcement Firearms Qualification Course with my DA/SA SIG P220 Compact Pistol in .45 ACP, my DA/SA SIG P239 in 9mm, and my DA/SA SIG P229 in .40 S&W caliber and achieved a 250 out of 250. So it disturbed me to no end that I was not as good of a shot with the DAO SIG P250 Subcompact test pistol.      

But I continued testing this pistol because there are many things that I like about it, and I wanted it to shoot well. In fact, other than my problems with accuracy, my only complaints about the SIG P250 were that I prefer the SIG DA/SA trigger and even the SIG DAK trigger system over the SIG P250's DAO trigger system.

I knew this pistol could shoot better than I was shooting it. I also knew from experience that practice does make perfect, and if I hung in there, I would get better with this gun. At the very least, I was hoping to keep all of my rounds fired on the paper target.

During my third range session, my accuracy started to improve. I engaged a TQ19 target from the 7-yard line.  After firing 12 rounds of 124-grain 9mm Magtech FMJ training ammunition, I inspected my target and saw that I had put all of the rounds inside the small rectangular size box in the upper chest area of the target. OK, my rate of fire was not fast, but I was finally getting the hang of the P250 Subcompact’s DAO trigger.

Next, I stood about 30 feet away and fired another 12 rounds of 9mm 124-grain Winchester and Federal FMJ training ammunition at the same target. As you might expect, my group opened up a bit, but all of the rounds fired were still in the scoring portion of the target. While standing near the 25-yard line, I dumped another 10 rounds of Federal 124-grain 9mm Personal Defense hollow-point ammunition into the same target. The results were seven hits, and the three rounds that were considered misses were on the target but were outside of the scoring area.

Even though I did not execute any combat reloads or time myself while running through this rough example of a qualification course, I ended up with 31 out of 34 rounds fired counting as hits. I learned two things: The SIG P250 Subcompact is a very accurate pistol and you can teach an old dog like me new tricks.

Because I had the patience to shoot this pistol on a third occasion, I became proficient enough with it to recommend the SIG P250 Subcompact to anyone who carries a larger size SIG P250, a SIG Pistol with a DAK trigger, or some other DAO service pistol. I also believe the SIG P250 Subcompact would make a good undercover gun. In addition to being very comfortable to shoot and flawlessly reliable, the SIG P250 Subcompact has excellent night sights, is easy to disassemble for cleaning, and is very comfortable to carry. More importantly, the SIG P250 Subcompact is accurate, and I believe anyone who maintains his or her firearms proficiency should be able to use this pistol to successfully engage a man-sized target at reasonable CQB distances with confidence. 

Nick Jacobellis is a retired U.S. Customs Agent and former New York police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.

SIG Sauer P250 Subcompact Nitron Rail Specs:

Caliber: 9mm

Capacity: 12 rounds

Action: Double-action only

Trigger Pull: 5.5 to 6.5 pounds

Overall Length: 6.7 inches

Barrel Length: 3.6 inches

Height: 4.7 inches

Overall Width: 1.1 inches

Weight (empty): 24.9 ounces

Sight Radius: 5.5 inches

Sights: Siglite night sights

Grips and Frame: Polymer

Slide Finish: Nitron

Price: $521

Tags: SIG Sauer, Firearms Reviews, Subcompact Pistols

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Comments (13)

Displaying 1 - 13 of 13

Ed @ 11/26/2012 5:26 AM

I found the trigger on several samples I tried to be brutally bad. Long, spongy, and inconsistent. Maybe Mr Jacobellis has more time, patience, and ammunition than I do, but this was a real deal-breaker for me.

The 250's modular design may make sense to those in foreign countries or less free states where the number of firearms one can own is restricted, but to me the horrific trigger more than justifies the added cost of a smaller dedicated off-duty/CCW handgun.

Driverx @ 1/2/2013 7:32 PM

Sig make a great pistol, it's also nice to see smoother lines blending away the sharp corners along with simple controls... But...

Is it to much to ask for?!?!? Can we get a compact pistol with an overall length of 6 inches, a height of not more than 4.5 inches, No wider than 1 inch. Either a true double action only with repeat strike ability or a striker fired short pull trigger with a trim 1911 placed safety. Can it come with at least a tritium front sight... Ambidex- Mag release and slide release and smooth rounded edges... A 10 round magazine for 9mm, at least 8 for 40S&W, and 6 in .45 acp (or even 10mm)

PLEASE

Tom @ 1/29/2013 10:25 AM

Ed's description is very bizarre. Not trying to pick a fight but I have read countless comments speaking about how good the double action trigger is. It is like a finely tuned Smith & Wesson revolver but perhaps a bit longer. This very deliberate Looong pull turns out to be a wonderful safety feature for a carry gun. It is quick to learn and the pistol is accurate but a little slower working the long pull. This would not be a good IDPA match where Glock is king, but makes a very good carry or general purpose pistol. I own the sub compact and compact models in different calibers and ergonomics are excellent and bullets go exactly where aimed. They are all great handguns.

Ed @ 2/14/2013 6:38 PM

I own a 250 Compact in .380 and I intend to buy a sub compact conversion kit in 9mm. I love the trigger. It reminds me of a good S&W revolver trigger. It didn't take me long to master & I can now capably rapid fire the gun. Not bad for $385.

Bill @ 3/10/2013 8:23 PM

I own a 250 chambered in 45 acp and I love it. The dao trigger took a little getting used to but it's light enough to make up for how long it is. As far as accuracy I was impressed with it right out of the box it is a tack driver. I would recommend it do anyone that is willing to take some time and learn the trigger.

Jaime @ 4/9/2013 6:16 AM

I own a p250, 0.380 cal, 15 rds and 3.6" barrel (yes, 3.6" barrel), it´s perfect, light, precise and reliable. I shot 200 rounds per week and have had no problems, always with Remington ammo, 9mm short. I see no reason why many people go to a drama by the DAO. Is excellent like CCW, as well considering I'm not a big guy. I write from Peru and here only the armed forces or police can use weapons of 9 mm Luger or higher. The 9mm short (0.380) is the largest caliber allowed for civilians so this type of weapon is excellent for self defense.

David @ 10/6/2013 7:59 PM

The thing I end up telling everyone (when the subject comes up) is that, if one is expecting a 1911 trigger, or a DA/SA type, such as the Sig P226, for example..... then you will be disappointed. Apples and oranges. The P250 is a different animal. Those who like and are used to DA revolvers, tend to like the P250. Those who are open minded enough to make the effort to get used to the P250, usually end up liking it.

I find it unique, innovative and quite enjoyable. Mine is accurate and absolutely reliable. I very much like the simple design (easy maintenance). At the low price point, I consider it a bargain.

Travis @ 10/28/2013 1:10 PM

My two cents.....the P250 is an awesome gun! Do I have accuracy issues? Yes. Have I had a few jams? Yes i have. But I will say that winchester 40 cal ammo feeds through the gun like butter with no problems, so I will stock up on that. I love the design, love just the way it looks, rather beastly. it was between the P250 and the Glock 23 and the P250 won the day at least for me. I HATE the glocks. The grips feel horrible

Barry @ 1/10/2014 8:38 PM

I purchased the .40 P250 sub-compact about three months ago and finally had a chance to take it out and test drive it. I absolutely love this gun. It's a great CCW to have with me all the time. My only issue is I have bigger than most hands and I am trying to find and extended mag for the gun, but guess I'm not the only one as wherever I look they are all sold out or on back order. Once they come available I'm going to buy 2-3 of them just to make sure I have them on hand. The gun shoots great and I would highly recommend it. The biggest plus for me was the ability to make it left-handed friendly unlike the Glocks who seem to hate left handed people.

Rick O'Chet @ 1/20/2014 12:48 AM

Best DAO pistol on the market. Period. Amazingly accurate, never a single issue with reliability. Some people just don't know how to shoot DAO, but it's not SIG's fault.

Pat Slevin @ 4/5/2014 2:28 PM

Personally like striker fired guns best but this gun for a DAO is the best handgun I've shot.
No problem hitting what I'm aiming at, it's best if I stage the trigger first but I can sweep through the trigger pull and hit well.
I think it would be a good CCW gun, that trigger has just enough hesitation to keep someone from pulling the trigger when they really might need to wait that extra instant.
Muscles do funny things when a person is under extreme stress. This pistol in the compact variation fits my hands perfectly and recovery from recoil is no problem at all.
I love the night sites that came on it and it's the best value I've ever had in a pistol. The price was so low I'm embarrassed to put it here. If any of you bought one or saw one for sale at Palmetto State Armory you know what I mean.

Father @ 5/22/2014 1:43 PM

It was weird shooting at first... But... Aftera mag or two i did fine. Obviously not as smooth as a da/sa sig but it is a bit more "intentional". Not having fire revolvers much (never owned one but have fired off a few .357mag, .38 spec & .44mag.) I can get the job done wrll with my p250.

LVGeorge @ 6/12/2014 10:00 PM

The Concept of owning a quality, modular, Sig Pistol like the Sig P250, for about +/- the $500 mark is simply amazing.

With the Sig your getting quality, reliability and the versatility of the guns modular capabilities in caliber, size, backstraps etc.. And, some of our shooter friends actually like, no prefer the DAO trigger of the P250, so, there, after all of this flexibility, some still dont like the trigger pull. OK, So, we're all a little different but we'd like to own Sigs if we could, even if the P250 is a Polymer gun.

So, what do you do if you cant shoot the P250, due to its Trigger characteristics? Well, if you haven' yet heard,, and I only recently found out,, Sig came out with another affordable Pistol, in the modular style optionsas the P250.

Check out the New, Sig Sauer P320! I understand the P320 comes in two frame sizes, the Full and Mid size, with modular features and with a 'Striker Fired, 'Glock-Like Feel' Trigger pull.

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