By R.K. Campbell
The SIG P250 is an attempt by SIG Sauer at an inexpensive double action only pistol to compete with the Glock and other similar handguns. While SIG quality remains evident, the pistol is often compared to the more expensive SIG products rather than its lower priced competition it’s intended to compete with. The SIG P250 is offered in a number of popular calibers including the .40 Smith and Wesson and .45 ACP as well as the 9mm pistol used in this evaluation. The original version in 9mm was introduced in 2007 followed by other calibers. The pistol is a locked breech design that uses the standard SIG type lockup. There are no locking lugs; the pistol simply butts the barrel hood into the ejection port for lockup. The lower section of the barrel uses angled camming surfaces. The pistol features a novel modular design. The primary component of the SIG P250 is a stainless steel action assembly that includes the primary firing group, the ejector and the slide rails. Top ends (slide and barrel) may be changed and even the grip frame may be changed by use of an axis pin and disassembly module. In other words it is possible to have a full size service pistol but to convert to a compact type pistol with the simple change of a slide and frame. The P250, in an effort to be everything to every shooter, is also fully ambidextrous. This is important not only to the left handed shooter but to those wishing to be able to fire the pistol tactically with either hand. The pistol is a low maintenance design that field strips easily and offers good reliability and a predicted long service life. In common with most modern designs the pistol offers a rail for mounting various combat lights and laser apparatus.
The primary advantage for the modular design is found in the three module version. There are small, medium and large frame sizes. The slides are also offered in similar fashion. Odd arrangements such as a short slide on a long frame are possible if not practical. Caliber exchange kits have some utility. As an example, a defensive shooter may prefer the hard hitting .40 caliber cartridge but use the 9mm conversion for inexpensive practice. All of the caliber and module changes may be accomplished without the aid of tools. As for the operating system, the P250 uses a double action only trigger. The trigger requires a full press of the trigger to cock and drop the hammer. This is a true double action design that is best handled by allowing the same motion and time in pressing the trigger and allowing it to reset. In this manner excellent shooting may be done with the relatively smooth trigger action. The test pistol turned in a smooth trigger break of six pounds without noticeable creep and modest backlash. There is no manual safety, only safety features including the long trigger action and a positive firing pin block or drop safety.
The test pistol is the 9mm version with the 3.8 inch barrel. This is a relatively compact pistol that is not difficult to carry or conceal. The pistol was supplied in a lockable plastic carrying box with two 17-round magazines. The fit and finish appear good and the magazines seem to be well made of good material. Magazines are a critical part of the pistol. It is asking a lot for a pistol to feed from full compression to almost no compression. Aftermarket magazines are not recommended for service use. The magazines should be SIG Sauer designs and SIG Sauer produced. (They prefer to be called SIGARMS these days.) The P250 features well designed three dot sights. The front sight is adjustable with some effort and the rear sight may be bumped to one side or the other with a brass mallet. A slight complication exists in the use of the newer pistols as various redesigns render the early magazines incompatible with new designs. There are also subtle differences in the grip frame and rail design. Be certain to insure that you are ordering the correct magazine and module for your individual piece.
The SIG grip frame is comfortable and fits most hands well. The trigger action is smooth and the sights come to the eye quickly in a natural motion. Recoil is unexpectedly light. The 9mm does not recoil as much as the .40 or .45 but just the same with +P loads recoil can be snappy. The P250 is a controllable and comfortable pistol to fire and use with any 9mm Luger loading. Our first firing impressions were gained with inexpensive remanufactured ammunition. We used a quantity of Black Hills brand remanufactured loads in a number of weights. The most accurate proved to be the 124 grain; however, most of the three hundred rounds expended were used in firing at reactive targets at moderate range. Accuracy was not an issue. The P250 is an excellent close quarters defense pistol, coming on target quickly and affording an accurate first shot. Control l is good. Rapid double action pairs are not difficult. For accuracy testing the pistol was fired off a solid benchrest at twenty five yards. For this test, we used the Black Hills 115 grain FMJ in the remanufactured line, the Fiocchi 123 grain FMJ, and also the Black Hills 115 grain EXP, a defensive load using a JHP bullet. Accuracy was more than acceptable.
Five shot group, 25 yards
Fiocchi 123 grain: 3.5 inches
Black Hills 115 grain FMJ: 3.8 inches
Black Hills 115 grain JHPEXP: 3.0 inches
The shortcoming of the 9mm compared to the .45 is wound ballistics. While the rules of physics cannot be changed, there are some loads with better performance than others. Among these are the personal defense loads offered by Black Hills Ammunition. The EXP or Extra Power load is not a +P but rather about the hottest load possible without venturing into +P territory. Some pistols will malfunction with the extra slide velocity of the +P and others wear more quickly. The EXP load offers good wound ballistics in standard pressure territory, but it is faster and more effective than the common standard pressure loads. The Black Hills TAC load uses the Barnes all copper bullet. This is a special load well worth your consideration if good penetration is needed. The TAC load proved accurate and reliable and boasted relatively low recoil. The Black Hills 115 grain +P breaks nearly 1,300 fps from the SIG P250. This is an excellent all around personal defense loading that gives the 9mm shooter a fighting chance with the best possible combination of velocity, expansion and penetration.
We also tested several interesting loads from Hornady Custom Ammunition. While the FTX is getting the most attention these days the XTP offers impressive performance. For those interested in good control and penetration, the 124 grain XTP breaks less than 1,100 fps but expands to .50 caliber and penetrates well over twelve inches in gelatin. Marksmanship will do the rest.
Carrying the P250
We have tested a holster extensively crafted by JM Custom Kydex. This holster has been used for several months with the SIG P229. The P250 proved to be an adequate fit, although we strongly recommend that the holster be molded for the individual handgun. This holster offers good comfort, real speed and good retention, all you can ask of a professional grade concealed carry holster. With good support gear the P250 seems to be a suitable service pistol, with reliable function, good to excellent combat accuracy, and good ergonomics. The pistol is also relatively affordable – an important consideration in today’s economy.
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