Competitive Shooting

Review: SIG Sauer P210A Target

Review SIG P210A

There are very few handguns I hold in the greatest esteem, a head and shoulders above the others. A well-made 1911, the Hi-Power and the CZ 75 are among these.

I certainly have respect for the SIG Sauer P-series service handguns. For some time I have wished to own a SIG P210 9mm pistol, but finances and opportunity have not met.

Most modern introductions are polymer frame, striker-fired handguns. There are plenty of inexpensive 1911s and when someone introduces a top-quality pistol, it seems to be on the 1911 pattern.

The new SIG P210A is an exception. This is a steel frame, single-action 9mm with a single-column magazine. It isn’t similar to most handguns and it defines excellence and accuracy.

No, it isn’t exactly like the original P210, but then, the Les Baer isn’t like the original National Match. The P210A is well worth its price.

SIG P210A Side View
This is a well-balanced, attractive and accurate handgun.

SIG Sauer P210A History and Development

The new SIG is made in America. This is interesting, as the original SIG was made in Switzerland by Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft, while the majority of handguns marked SIG were manufactured by agreement with JP Sauer of Germany.

The double-action system and frame-mounted decocker of the P220 were pioneered by the JP Sauer 38H, so JP Sauer had more than a little input into the design of the SIG Sauer P-series.

When SIG built their plant in New Hampshire, this marked the P-series manufacture in yet another nation. It might be said, the new pistol is Americanized.

I don’t think any of us complained when SIG changed the P220’s magazine release from a heel to a push button and produced the American version, but I am certain some will complain concerning the P210A’s detail changes.

SIG P210A Rear View
The sight picture is excellent.

The P210 replaced the Luger and a short-lived SIG design as a Swiss service pistol and served from 1948 to 1975, when it was replaced by the SIG P220 9mm.

The Swiss placed a premium on accuracy, and the P210 delivered. The pistol was designed by noted designer Charles Petter.  Petter was responsible for the French 1935 as well.

While often criticized as an odd and underpowered pistol, my experience with the 1935 is that it’s a miniature P210 in most regards. The pistol is very accurate.

I once undertook a loading project with the 7.65 French Long the 1935 chambers. The result was a super-accurate pistol that fired a cartridge more powerful than most .32 H&R Magnum loads.

But that is another story. The P210 chambered the much more powerful 9mm Luger cartridge — which the Swiss had large stores of.

The pistol was immensely popular in a nation of shooters and was widely used in target competition.

SIG P226
The modern P-series is reliable and accurate, however, the P210A is more accurate than the P226.

The new pistol differs mechanically from the original P210. SIG Sauer pioneered a system in which the barrel hood butts into the ejection port for lockup.

The P-series are famed for accuracy. The P210A uses this system rather than the P210’s locking lugs.

The pivoting trigger is basically the same, while the pistol features an elongated grip tang for greater comfort. A great improvement is the new frame-mounted safety.

The original P210 features a safety behind the trigger and just in front of the grips. This isn’t a fast or tactical system. The new safety is better suited to personal defense use.

Unlike the Swiss and German P210 pistols, the new P210A, while not inexpensive, will be affordable for many of us. CNC machinery makes for real precision.

The pistol is stainless steel, a big plus, with the stainless covered in black Nitride finish.

Original SIG P210
The original safety isn’t the best designed for combat use.

SIG Sauer P210A Features and Specifications

The P210 is a thinner and better-balanced handgun than the images portray. It is lively in the hand. It isn’t a lightweight however, at 37 ounces and 8.4 inches long.

My pistol is a fixed-sight version. This suits my tastes well. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and the front post is dovetailed in place. They feature a white, three-dot setup.

The front strap is nicely checkered and the grips are nicely finished. The checkering adds up to excellent abrasion and adhesion.

The combination of an ambidextrous safety and extended slide lock makes for greater speed in combat shooting, and the new beavertail grip tang makes for more comfortable shooting compared to the older design P210.

The grip design keeps the pistol centered and the sights come to the eye naturally as the pistol is grasped. The new lockup for the ramped barrel makes for excellent accuracy as the firing tests prove.

Since the P210 features reversed frame rails, with the slide riding inside the frame, racking the slide could be more difficult than some pistols.

Properly designed cocking serrations riding on a raised boss in the slide make for excellent leverage. The slide is well-fitted, there is no lateral play at all.

In common with the Petter designed P35 and the Tokarev TT33, the P210 features a modular trigger design. The hammer, mainspring, sear and disconnect are in this unit.

The trigger press is a smooth 3.8 pounds without any trace of creep, grit or backlash. The trigger is among the outstanding features of this handgun.

SIG P210A Safety and Beavertail
Note the upswept safety design. It is an ergonomic design that offers rapid manipulation.

For the firing evaluation, I chose loads from SIG Sauer. Their full metal jacketed loads are affordable, accurate and clean burning. I used 115, 124 and 147-grain FMJ loadings with good results.

Here were the averages of two five-shot groups at 25 yards:

Ammo Group
SIG Sauer 115-Grain FMJ 2.2 Inch
SIG Sauer 124-Grain FMJ 1.5 Inch
SIG Sauer 147-Grain FMJ 1.4 Inch
SIG Sauer 147-Grain MATCH 1.0 Inch
SIG Sauer 124-Grain V-Crown JHP 2.0 Inch
SIG Sauer 147-Grain V-Crown JHP 1.25 Inch

The SIG Sauer Elite V-Crown loading offers an advanced hollow-point. The balance of expansion and penetration is excellent. The V-Crown is usually quite accurate.

I included the SIG P365 load. It is rated +P, and the P210A is plenty strong for these loads. I included a number of handloads using 124-grain hard-cast bullets over WW 231 powder for 1050 fps.

SIG V Crown Ammo Box
SIG’s V Crown loads offer excellent performance.

The pistol is delivered with two magazines. I ordered another to make range work easier. Beginning with the handloads, I faced man-sized targets at seven and 10 yards.

The pistol comes on target quickly and offers excellent hit probability. The pistol simply hangs in the hand and stays on target. It wasn’t difficult to quickly empty the magazine into the X-ring.

Speed loading is easier due to the funnel formed by the pistol’s grips. If you don’t think the P210A is a suitable combat pistol — shooting results are a counterpoint.

Conclusion

The pistol is fast into action, mild in recoil and demonstrates excellent hit probability. But it is also a superb target handgun.

I fired the pistol from a solid benchrest firing position, firing five-shot groups with loads ranging from 115 to 147 grains. The pistol is capable of 1.0 inch, five-shot groups at 25 yards.

I achieved this goal at times, but for the most part, the service grade loads printed five shots into 2 inches. The pistol is more accurate than I. The SIG P210A gets a clean bill of health in every category.

What do you think of the SIG Sauer P210A? What’s your favorite target pistol? Let us know in the comment section below!

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