Gun Review: SIG SAUER P290

 

Like the Brady Campaign Against America, I’m downsizing. Now that I downsized my home by a couple of thousand square feet I’m all cozy and don’t have quite as much vacuuming to do. My cats are happier because they hate the vacuum cleaner, and I’m happier because I have more time to visit the range. I also downsized my waistline by six inches, and now I can actually tell whether my socks match without taking them off and holding them up to eye level under a strong light. And just to keep the theme going, I’d like to downsize my carry gun from my current compact .40 . . .

Finding the right small gun is not as easy as one might think. The choices have never been greater—or more bewildering. Some pocket pistols are good, some are average and some blow like Nancy Pelosi on a slide trombone. Many of the best compact handguns are not legal for sale in The People’s Republic of Massachusetts. Enter SIG SAUER’s tiny-niney, the P290.

My first impression upon opening the box: what a charming little toy. It’s 5.5” long and 3.9” tall; I can easily cover this pistol with my hand and I do not have large hands. SIG SAUER P290′s under an inch wide not counting the slide stop lever. So it’s quite slender, which is something that I wish I could say about myself. The slide’s black Nitron® finish is as stealthy as an undercover Mossad agent in Teheran. What, you didn’t know that there are Mossad agents in Teheran? See what I mean.

As soon as I removed the small SIG out of its plastic container I realized that the P290 is is a hefty little pistol, evidencing the liberal use of strong steel alongside the obligatory black polymer. The P290 weighs about 20 ounces with its magazine inserted, which is on the high side of light, but still light.

Handling the P290 was, well, curious. The test gun arrived with one single-stack six-round mag. The small capacity magazine shortens the stock to the point where there’s little room for even two of my fingers. My pinky was an orphan. Oh well. As Gunter Grass wrote, life is full of compromises. High capacity rapid fire assault clips are not available, which will please Frank Lautenberg, Michael Bloomberg, Carolyn McCarthyberg and the rest of the willfully ignorant knotheads who think they own the world.

When I saw the SIG P290′s external hammer, I assumed that the pistol is SA or DA/SA. According to the literature, the P290 has a DAO trigger with a nine-lbs. pull. Rack the slide and the SIG’s hammer is pre-cocked, or partially cocked. The hammer stays in that position until the trigger is fully depressed.

Firing the P290 requires a fairly long trigger pull to fully cock the hammer from the half-cocked position, disengage the hammer-block and trip the sear. There’s no de-cocker or external safety. None needed. Partial tensioning works to lighten the trigger pull and the gun’s quite safe. Still, carrying the P290 with a round under even a partially retracted hammer kinda creeps me out. And appendix carry could give an entire new meaning to the phrase “half-cocked.”

Dry firing revealed that the SIG’s trigger has plenty of take-up. It stacks, too. Not like a bunch of stevedores unloading cargo containers, but stack it does. I prefer a two-stage trigger on a carry gun for safety’s sake; the take-up cuts down on negligent discharges without slowing you down in the heat of battle. While I didn’t particularly like or dislike the way the P290′s trigger operated, I appreciated its smoothness.

At first, the P290′s solidly-built six-round magazine was a little stiff to load. The last round thumb-wrestled me until I managed to subdue it. While subsequent full reloads became easier as the springs loosened up, I decided to shoot five rounds to start.

SIG sells the P290 with bright three-dot night sights. Acquiring the target and lining up the shot is quick ‘n easy. The pistol points naturally; there’s no period of adjustment. I simply picked up the P290, shot it and hit what I aimed for. Palm-sized or smaller groups were the norm at fifteen yards. Recoil was the same or less than that of a full-sized 9mm pistol. The pocket pistol returns to point-of-aim as if it had ESP.

When I first started shooting pistols just after the flintlock passed into history, Jack Weaver was an unknown deppity from somewhere on the left coast, the Chapman Stance hadn’t been invented, and the isosceles stance was only for girls. I was taught to shoot one-handed, using a bladed stance with the strong-side leg forward and the weak hand clenched and rested on the trailing hip, making me look like I was ready to duel with Alexander Hamilton.

That old-fashioned stance worked perfectly back in the day, but that’s when we were all shooting High Standard .22s with minimal recoil. Since there’s not a lot of gripping room on the P290, I tried the old technique just for giggles. At one point, shooting the P290 one-handed from the strong side, I managed to put all five rounds in the ten ring from five yards [above]. I impressed myself.

Then I switched to my weak side just for guffaws. As a lefty, I’m as hopeless as Arianna Huffington. With a lesser gun firing left-handed, I’d be happy with a group the size of a manhole cover. What I got was everything in the nine ring. For me, that’s like hitting the lottery without buying a ticket.

The faster I shot, the tighter the groups. I credit the SIG SAUER’s P290′s trigger. When I pulled hard and fast, my point of aim was less disrupted than when I pulled through slowly. At ten yards, I was firing two inch groups and hitting the red. At fifteen yards, groups opened about the way I expected from a pistol with a barrel less than three inches in length. At 25 yards, which is an absurd distance for a popgun, I was on paper but not where I wanted to be.

The only problem: the trigger’s reset point. It’s too far forward, which slows the rate of fire. Otherwise, what I thought would be a problem trigger was no problem at all. Nevertheless, if this pistol featured a five-pound trigger, it would rule the world.

As with life, all was not perfect. I had one FTF using the Russky Brown Bear ammo that I love to shoot because, like me, it’s cheap. When I examined the unfired cartridge, I found that the primer had been properly struck, deeply and in the center. The round just didn’t go bang. There was no hang fire, and no squib. I blame the cartridge, which was obviously a dud. I’ve never had a dud shooting Brown Bear before, but stranger things have happened.

The second failure was certainly magazine related. I fired four of five, but the gun held open and did not return to battery after the penultimate round went downrange. That left the last soldier just sitting there in the dark, wondering where all his buddies had gone. I unlocked the slide, retracted the mag and struck it against my palm, then reinserted it.

Racking the slide again, the round chambered properly. I pressed the button and Five-of-Five flew away to join his pals. The cause of that little fun-fest probably was excess oil or a bit of dirt that impeded the magazine spring or follower. In the defense of the gun, I ran 350 rounds through it with only these two hiccups and no cleaning, before or after.

Why no cleaning? Here are the instructions for field-stripping the P290. “Manually pull the slide until the slide stop notch is aligned with the slide stop tab.” Okay, I can do that. “Retract the slide stop from the frame.” Well, I can’t. Why? Because I was born with only two arms and two hands, that’s why. Forgive me for my handicap.

Take-down seems to be a common complaint among P290 owners, at least on the SIG forum and other gun sites that I explored. I contacted SIG. Tim Butler, Sig’s Product Manager and nice guy sent the following email, to which I’ve added my own commentary in brackets.

Typically removing the slide from the frame gives one the impression that they will need three hands. [Roger that.] The method I found best is to lock the slide to the rear [OK] Place one finger on the right side of the slide lock and press on it while releasing the slide forward. [Done]. Slightly after the slide release you will feel the slide lock line up with the disassembly notch and will push to the left. [Safecrackers will have no problem with this step.]

Once the slide lock is drifted out it can be grabbed from the left and removed for disassembly [Wait, what? Once I release either hand to drift out the lock, the slide lock no longer lines up with the disassembly notch and slide lock removal becomes impossible. So how do I drift it out when I’m holding the pistol with my two other hands?]

I’m sure that P290 owners have figured out how to make two hands do the work of three. For those who are very dexterous and have a drift punch handy, field stripping is no more difficult than vascular surgery. But – how do I say this delicately – field stripping the SIG SAUER P290 is a royal flaming PITA and about as frustrating as an eight-minute lap dance.

The SIG SAUER P290 made me a better shooter and, if not a better person, at least a happier one. It’s a whole lot of gun for such a little gun. Even though I couldn’t clean the sumbitch, shooting that little jewel is about the most fun a person can have standing up. Fun equals range time equals proficiency equals safety. If you need to downsize to a compact gun, SIG says small is beautiful. I agree.

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: Sig Sauer P290
Caliber: 9mm
Magazine capacity:  6 rounds
Materials: Polymer frame, stainless steel slide
Weight empty: 20.5 ounces
Barrel Length: 2.9″
Overall length: 5.5″
Sights: Contrast / SIGLITE® Night Sights; optional custom laser.
Action: Double action only
Finish: Nitron black
Price: $758 msrp

RATINGS (out of five stars)

Style * * * * *
You’re the cutest little thing that I ever did see. I really love your peaches, want to shake your tree.

Ergonomics (carry) * * * * *
Fits easily in a pocket or can be carried IWB. Either way, it’s thinner than a poor man’s wallet and as comfortable as loose shoes.

Ergonomics (firing) * * * *
Barely a two-finger grip, but it lends itself well to the lost art of one-handed shooting. The recoil shy should apply here, where there are no recoil issues whatsoever.

Reliability * * * *
Three hundred and fifty rounds with two fails, both reflecting on ammo quality and cleanliness.

Customize This * * * 1/2
More customizable than one would think. Four major variants are available, including two different slide finishes. No rails, but the Laser model comes with a custom-fitted laser. On all models, the grips can be swapped out for something sexier, if so desired.

OVERALL RATING * * * *
Uncanny out-of-the-box accuracy elevates the P290 into the top tier of subcompact 9mm pistols. A half star was deducted for the frustrating field stripping experience.

92 Responses to Gun Review: SIG SAUER P290

  1. avatarJoe Grine says:

    Thanks for the excellent review. Given its diminutive size, I would have guessed the biggest complaint would be excessive recoil and heavy mainspring. I’ve been seeing a lot of slightly used pocket .380s on the secondary market (Ruger LCPs, etc) and the dealers tell me people (esp. women) return them because they find them difficult load and shoot. The mainspings are usually really stout and many people with weak hands / arms find it difficult to rack the slide on these little pocket semi-autos. I’m assuming that the weight of the P290 perhaps help control the recoil better than some of the lighter offerings in .380?

    • avatarDon says:

      I hear the same thing about people going for tiny pistols as their first gun and then feeling they are not able to manage them confidently. I am coming to have the opinion that these little guns are really better suited for “experienced” shooters, as it seems they take a really refined set of firearms skills to use well and manipulate.

      I notice when I take new shooters out for their first time they can totally handle a SA revolver with brief instruction (except ejecting spent cartridges), and full size DA revolvers. When I teach them the J-frames, the seem to get confused about what to do with the fingers that don’t fit on the grip or how to place their support hand. Once I teach them the “controls” and “sequence” for operating a 1911, they seem to have little issue grasping how to use it, in spite of it being more complex than a revolver (or a DA striker pistol). When we start on small DA striker pistols for some reason most folks seem to get confused and fumbly again, regarding how to hold them, how to position their hands, what to grab on to to rack the slide, and how to grab it, etc. At first I thought all of this was very strange but I’m beginning to see some sense in it.

      -D

      • avatarJoe Grine says:

        Quote: “I am coming to have the opinion that these little guns are really better suited for “experienced” shooters, as it seems they take a really refined set of firearms skills to use well and manipulate.”

        That is my opinion as well. I usually start people off with a .22 LR just to get them to build some confidence. I then move them up to a CZ 83 in .380 ACP (or “9mm Browning Court” as it says on the slide) or a full size Glock 17. I have to admit, I really don’t find those little pocket 380′s fun to shoot at all. My CZ 83, on the other hand, is really nice to shoot, due to the full length grip and all-steel construction.

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          I can back-up Ralph’s assertion: the SIG’s a joy to shoot. No recoil issues to speak of.

  2. avatarRyan Finn says:

    Witty, informative and Steve Miller band to boot. Great job Ralph, thanks.

  3. avatarTTACer says:

    Between the B&B, the writers, and maybe some manufacturer samples, I would think TTAG could throw down a very could “tiny niney” comparison test.

  4. avatarChris says:

    I’ve had one since they came out, and I freakin’ love it. Only have two complaints with it: one failure to feed (user error loading the mag) and the price. If it wasn’t for my Glock 30 and a customer loyalty discount, I wouldn’t have this gun (I’m also still sore from the $50 per extended mag I paid, but they’re nice to have). In spite of that, I’m glad I picked it up.

    Field stripping it was a pain for a while, but I figured out a way to do it consistently two-handed. Lock the slide back, then grab the pistol by the slide (the web of your thumb should rest in the groove underneath the hammer and your index finger should be touching the extractor). If you’re doing it right, just squeezing your hand should pull the slide back farther. This grip will keep the slide back where you need it to be and let you punch the slide release through.

    Not pleasant compared to my SR9c, but it’s the best way I’ve found to field-strip it.

  5. avatarEric S says:

    The Kahrs and H&Ks have a similar disassembly. It’s easy if you know the trick. Hold the pistol in your strong hand with the four fingers over the slide and the thumb on the backstrap where the web of you hand WOULD be if you were holding it in a firing position. Grip the slide with the four fingers and push with your thumb to retract the slide to the correct position then use your weak hand to remove the slide-stop.

  6. avatarChris Dumm says:

    Now that the reliability issues have been ironed out, this gun shows phenomenal accuracy for a micro-9. (You’re also a pretty good shot!)

    It’s too bad it’s double the price of an LC9, and triple the price of a PF-9. That extra cash could pay for a lot of ammo and range time.

  7. avatarAus says:

    5lbs and a shorter reset? Seems a perfect candidate for the DAK trigger.

  8. avatarEric S says:

    Price seems to be the same between this and the Kahr PM9. The Kahr also has a long trigger reset. I actually don’t mind that since I also carry a revolver, which is DAO with a full travel reset. How about a comparison?

  9. avatarMALTHUS says:

    [A]ppendix carry could give an entire new meaning to the phrase “half-cocked.”

    You have coined an instant classic with this line. :^)

  10. avatarGaryinVT says:

    “Fun” is not what these concealed carry pieces are about.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      And yet it is, because if the gun ain’t fun, you won’t practice with it. (Well,you would. but the average shooter, who practices once in a blue moon, no.) If you don’t practice, you won’t grok the gun. And when push comes to shove, you’ll be pushing your bullets in the wrong direction.

      The SIG SAUER P290 gets it right. Big enough for comfort, small enough to carry, accurate enough to be deadly—in a more than merely adequate caliber. But they MUST find a way to make take-down easier. Without regular maintenance, reliability will become an issue.

  11. avatarJay W. says:

    My LC9 does all of the above (except for the night sights, but XS Sights tells me that I can fix that soon) for half the price plus one more “soldier buddy” in the magazine, someplace to rest my pinky and I can clean it without a follow up visit to the orthopedist or massage therapist. However, I am sure the SIG’s fit and finish is superior.

    Having said that, I very much enjoyed your writing style, so the extra bucks you spent on the SIG was worth every penny to me. Looking forward to reading your next review.

  12. avatarlee n. field says:

    “When I saw the SIG P290′s external hammer, I assumed that the pistol is SA or DA/SA. According to the literature, the P290 has a DAO trigger with a nine-lbs. pull. Rack the slide and the SIG’s hammer is pre-cocked, or partially cocked. The hammer stays in that position until the trigger is fully depressed”

    This makes me wonder if, internally, it’s yet another copy of KelTec’s design.

  13. avatarBen Eli says:

    I’ve handled these before, but never got to shoot it. Looking at pictures with points of reference do not do it justice until in hand. I don’t have big hands, but it is smaller than the chances of Obama joining the NRA, the ATF tracing a weapon, and Kim Jong-Il being able to reach the top shelf all on the same day. It is small.

  14. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    Way to go Ralph! I have kicked myself so many times for not snatching up a Pocket Nine when they were out. I found for the little ones, working dumbells with your wrist, on a bench-rolling to the finger tips and then slowly curling all the weight back up, really helps. Once you can work up to 100 lbs-no problem!

  15. avatarSteel-Breeze says:

    Nice review. Wasn’t the Brady Bill named after a republican and pushed by conservative God, Reagan??

    • avatarRalph says:

      “Wasn’t the Brady Bill named after a republican”

      He was a Republican before he took one in the brain, which made him a Democrat.

  16. avatarMark Frederick Sanderson says:

    I just bought one today and took it to the range. So far so good. I also was puzzled about the take down . . . but I found a solution in that little orange thing that is included with the gun. When you move the slide to the rear, you’ll find that ‘sweet spot’ where you can push the lever out from the right side. Use the orange thing to do the pushing while gripping the slide – it pretty easy and it just pops right out.

    I put 100 rounds of Sperry Lawman 115GR and 147Gr practice rounds. I, like others, had failure to feed issues. I figured out that my rather bad technique caused my thumb to slightly brush the slide. This will cause feed issues and stop the gun dead cold. When changed to keeping my thumbs under the slide – voile – no more FTF!! I thought that the 147GR would cause problems . . . no such luck. Both 115 and 147 gr bullets are n0 problem with this little jewel. I love this firearm – I’m glad I got it instead of the PM9 . . . its additional weight probably helps with a bit with felt recoil . . .

    Mark Sanderson

  17. avatarBryan says:

    How does this takedown differ from that of the SP2022? Or is it the same?

  18. avatarJason says:

    I have had this gun to the range only once so far. I had a difficult time even getting it to fire. I could not unload a single clip successfully without a misload or non-firing round. I was using Winchester rounds at the time which fired without fail out of my S&W. Am I missing something here? Is there a specific round I should be using with this Sig? How frustrating to buy a new (let alone expensinve) gun and not be able to get it to fire reliably. I have not had the chance to get the gun back to the range again, and consequently not chosen to carry the gun as my consealed weapon . . . after all – why carry a gun if it doesn’t reliably fire. I’d love to get some feeedback from someone on this.

    • avatarEric says:

      I had the same issue with my P290. Called Sig. They picked it up via UPS. Within 2 weeks I got it back. They had to do some firing pin work on it. Since getting it back I have fired over 700 rds without and failures to fire. I was frustrarted as well, but now that I have it back, I wouldn’t trade it for any other pocket 9mm. It is very accurate for what it is. Compared to my friends Ruger LC9, it is definitely more dependable and accurate. Glad I was patient enough to give Sig a chance to make it right. I have been using Winchester PDX1, Tula 9mm, and Winchester whitebox without any hiccups.

  19. avatarRandy Frantz says:

    This article is full of not funny corn ball time wasting BS. In a review I am looking for information not dorky puns. Just the facts mammmmmm. Paleeeeeez.

  20. avatarJoseph says:

    Personally I find that the cornball is refreshing and helps make it interesting. Reading some of the reviews in regular puplications is like reading Gone with the Wind for the 15th time, unless you’re an engineer it’s dry as sandpaper.

  21. avatarPat says:

    I was on this bandwagon until I saw the MSRP. I paid less for my P229.

    P.S.- Range picture: AFS in North Attleboro?

  22. avatarDaniel says:

    Yep, it’s a pretty tiny firearm and you’re right about cleaning some of these weapons available today. A third hand would be nice. Generally I just use my leg at the 2nd hand, pushing the grip against my leg and holding the slide in position with one hand; use the 2nd hand to knock out the pin. It’s a challenge, but it can be done. When all is said and done, I prefer my Kahr K9 or MK40 (all steel mini’s) to this or the Ruger LC9. Haven’t shot a SOLO, but once I saw it and heard about the ammo specifics, I said; naaa.

  23. avatarGera B says:

    I picked one up today at the Ft. Lauderdale gun show. It’s brand new two tone with the night sights and laser. Came with the box and one 6 rd magazine. I paid $500 firm out of pocket. It is a little smaller than my G27 and only packs 6 of 9mm vs 9 of 40 cal. But I’m already in love with this thing.

  24. avatarJake L. says:

    I find that, after clearing the weapon, it is easy to take apart by locking the slide back, holding it firm with my left hand and just barely releasing the slide with rear pressure onto the slide. From there I grasp it as tight as I can with my left hand until I can see the little notch on top of the slide release and push the takedown pin/slide hold-open out with a pen.

    This is uncomfortable if you do it 10 times in a row and definitely requires some strength, and it’s the same concept as the Kel-Tec P-11, but executed correctly.

    • avatarKris says:

      Thanks for this great input. I just picked mine up yesterday it I was having a heck of a time stripping this little thing. I read your post and it took me 5 seconds. Thanks!

  25. avatarUncle Tom says:

    I guess I’m not doing something right because the trigger pulls back almost to the end of the guard before firing. Far from being a smooth ride till the thing goes Boom. It’s a very long pull. I own a Walther PPQ and Glocks 19 and 26. The Sig 290 is my least favorite and rarely gets shot. It’s a sweet handling and looking weapon….heck even came a builtin laser. No FTF’s or problems, but the trigger’s long pull really distracts negatively. I’ve put 50 rounds in it. Would love to move it on.

  26. avatarMichael J Malaro says:

    Thank you for such a frank and well written review of the Sig 290. I was considering purchasing one at my local gun shop tomorrow. My place has them on sale for $499.00, which includes a free box of Lawman 9mm. As a disabled veteran, with osteo arthritis in both hands, I do not need to wrestle this mini 9mm every time I field strip it for cleaning. Thank you for the honest write up. Michael

  27. avatarRANDALL LEONARD says:

    i bought a p290 sig for a upgrade to the ruger lcp for my wife for ccw. i purchased 3 8 round magazines for it and shot it for the first time in our monthly idpa match. it is now my favorite gun for everything. i have every configuration of pistols and revolvers to play with in most calibers but this is one of my best. great piston. mine was 529 out the door with the lazer and nite sights.

  28. avatarLou S. says:

    First shot sold me!
    The trigger is a bit long but nothing compared to my LC9, which has been a real disappointment. After the Ruger experience I decided to match my P220 Elite with the P290. Sure am glad I did. Exceptional accuracy and easy handling…. what’s not to like!?!?!?!?

  29. avatarRichard S. says:

    I am still up the air on which sub-compact 9mm to buy. I’ve looked at almost all of them. LC9, Sig 290, Solo, Nano. I like the looks of the Nano but I’m not crazy about the long trigger pull. Who has had the best experience with all these mentioned weapons and came up with a most liked?

    • avatarAubrey says:

      Richard, have you tried a Kahr compact? I have fallen in love with my CW40. I can’t wait to try out this P290! Every Sig I’ve shot, has a relatively long trigger pull. I wouldn’t expect this pistol to be any different. I’m a petite woman and require a petite pistol for carry. I have small hands, so grip length isn’t an issue. Though, I do believe the grip on my Kahr is a tad longer. I’d still love to see a .45 cal compact that’s closer to my price range! Yes, I’m aware of the 1911 compacts out there… Again, in my price range [under $1000]. I’ve gotten lucky with my pistols so far [as far as cost]. I paid $200 for my Springfield XD9 and only $350 for my Kahr CW40. I don’t mind previously owned….. At least I know they’re broken in by the time I get em. ☺

      Like I said… Can’t wait to test drive the P290! Great article!

      • avatarRichard S. says:

        I just ordered my P290 w/o the laser sights. I was on SWAT for many years before the advent of laser sights so I guess I’m used to the OLD ways. I’ll be getting the Sig next week and I’ll report back on my findings. I purchased the gun at my reputable dealer for $600. Less than my 1911 but more than my Glock 30. I hope it’s as good as they say it is.

        • avatarAubrey says:

          Can’t wait to hear about it. I don’t intend on getting anything with a laser. It’s more expensive than it’s worth IMO. Although, it’s just as intimidating to a home invader as the racking of a 12GA. Besides, it takes up too much space. It would make it more difficult for me to carry.

        • avatarTom D says:

          Hope to hear about it soon as far as the laser its not to big. Its contoured for just this pistol, mine came with a holster made for the Pistol with the laser mounted. The store I got it from had only one there and one at a few other locations. Thats why I jumped on it quick. They usually have a compact 1911 For $499 (Citadel, Has some pretty good reviews for the price). I like the grip surface on the P290 alot it seems to grip back and the choice of a 6 and 8 rds mag along with the holster/Night sights make a nice package for the price. I’m Left handed, the holster is righthanded. Might sell it.

      • avatarMike M says:

        Aubrey,

        I am previously owned, and broken in already if you want me.

  30. avatarTom D says:

    I Got the P290 For $499 With a Laser and 2 mags a 6 and 8 rd w ext. I was a little upset the 1st group was shooting about 14 inchs low/left from POA at 15 yds after about 30 rds it came up to POA. I got to about 40 rds and the laser starts to shut off after every round at about 50 rds it lost its zero by about 12 inchs high. By the way the POA was changing using the siglite (Iron sights). It’s Groups are now higher then POA after another 100rds( Strange thing is the group is moving up and to the right but is still about a 3 inchs at 15 yds). I noticed that the slide is loose and tilts side to side a little and there are uneven wear marks on the muzzle end of the barrel. I own a P229 its a great gun slide to frame fit is still tight after 1500rds Sig makes a great gun but I think that i might have gotten a oops send it anyways Pistol. My local sporting goods store was good about sending it back to Sig to have it looked at and repaired. I hope that when I get it back its as good as its supposed to be. I’ve been shooting for 30 yrs with 8 in yrs in the military 4 of those as a armorer and 4 yrs in Law Enforcement and have never had a Pistol act the way this one has. I guess I was lucky.

    • avatarRichard S. says:

      Thank you for posting your review. I just ordered the Sig 290 for 600! without the laser. I retired from law enforcement after only 36 years. I was on SWAT for many years before the advent of the laser and chose not to get one for this gun. I hear both good and bad comments about the laser. I reside in Florida and do not have an FFL. How did you manage to get your 290 for only $499 !! Wow, that was a great price. I’m starting to have 2nd thoughts about the 290. I like carrying my P220 and was hoping for a similar quality gun. I hope I didn’t make a mistake by ordering this weapon.

      • avatarTom D says:

        No I Dont think that all P290 are like mine. Sig produce’s a great Gun in general. I Like alot about it and there are so many good comments that i’ve read about it. The grip on it is great it can handle +P just fine. The laser is from a vendor made for Sig. I got mine at Academy Sporting goods here in Texas they are a chain store. They have one I know about in P-Cola in the panhandle. I think that Sig will take care of it and get it Right. I think after you get it broke in you will be fine. Good luck

        • avatarAubrey says:

          I’d have to agree with Tom. I don’t think this is a normal occurance for any Sig.
          I also think the price has to do with location as well. In Michigan, I can find a P290 w/o laser, locally for under $600. But I’m sure that has some to do with our economy. A new pistol is a “luxury item” in the eyes of many. Out west say… Same pistol might be found in a local vendor for $625 w/o laser.

          Don’t get me wrong, I do believe Sig has a set cap for any vendor, but it’s up to the vendor to decide how much over their cost they want to charge as long as it’s under that said cap.

  31. avatarRichard S. says:

    Okay…..I just sold my children, half my house and my cars. I am now going to walk down to the store to buy my Sig since I now have the money for it.

    • avatarAubrey says:

      Aw! The P290 is still far less expensive than a 1911. ☺

    • avatarTom D says:

      Got My P290 Back yesterday and they inclued the target and the end of the box from the test rounds. The group was about 2 inchs at 10 yards so it looks good. I Have to take it to the range so I can start to carry it. Still I think it is a good package for the price. Still waiting on the laser to get back it had to go a different place for repair. I can’t find a left handed concealment holster for this pistol with the laser.

  32. avatarJason says:

    I just picked up my 290 for 549 came with 8 rd and 6rd mag and laser. At first fire i found the trigger to be a lot longer then i was used to but after 200 rds i really found the reset and love it! Just went and got my conceal and carry permit cant wait to carry it. If anyone is looking for one i have found a few on http://www.gunauction.com for 400 or around that price you need to find an ffl near you to have them sent. really enjoy this little gem!

  33. Just bought mine. Saw it and had to have it. Paid $499. Came with a hard case, laser, extra clip with a built in grip extension ( makes gripping much better) and a holster. Gun does fit in the holster with the laser attached. It was a little frustrating to install the laser since the slide had to be removed. Two person job unless you have a third hand. Very compact for carrying.

    • avatarRichard S. says:

      Wish I lived where you are. I was given the price of $635 without the laser. I told them to forget it. I think I’m going to get the Ruger LC9 afterall. I love the Sig but I have to think of food where my family is concerned. Good luck with your new gun.

    • avatarTom D says:

      Taking the slide off is a bit of a pain. I found a way that works for me and it’s not the way sig recommends but it works. Let me know how it shoots mine does not seem to like 115gr ammo. When I got it back from Sig they included a target and the end flap off the ammo box they used it was 124gr. The target showed a good group about 3 inchs at 10 yards. Still waiting for the laser to be returned to me. Sig told the manager from the academy sporting goods store early April, so I’m waiting.

  34. avatarJake L. says:

    I’ve found that Winchester NATO 9mm works best in my P290. It cycles the slide fast enough that I don’t even notice the recoil. And as for the trouble some people are having in disassembling their gun, look at my old post on this article; you should ALWAYS be proficient in taking apart and cleaning your weapon by yourself.

    Disassembly of the P290 is only slightly more annoying than that of a CZ-75.

  35. avatarWes says:

    All I can say is wow ! Bought a Sig p290 for CCW, have a Glock 27 , Ruger Lc9, and Kahr Cm9 and XDS. Of all compacts I have owned and fired, this little beauty shoots as good as any of them, me and my wife both are shooting 2″ groups @ 10yds. And less than 3″ groups @ 15yds. not bad for DAO! I will add though we only get this accuracy with high end heavier bullets, such as the Federal white box Navy Spec-ops 147 gr JHP, and Remington Golden Sabre 147 gr. JHP.The Field stripping was an issue before much practice but once I found the sweet spot not so difficult. We were able to find the gun at a large retail store for $499.00. It came with a flush mount clip that is 6 rds and an extended one that gives you a full size grip with 8 rds.A nice hardshell case, and paddle type side holster much like a fobus, that is great for CCW. I will say this if you buy this gun for a CCW you will not be sorry, overall it is the best true compact DAO I have ever handled! I would give it a strong 4.75 out of 5! Hope this helps guys !

    • avatarRichard says:

      Wes….Comments like those by you, have greatly influenced my decision into purchasing a P290. I thank you for helping me make up my mind. I also want to greatly thank Jason for his idea of purchasing the P290 from Gunauction.com. This was truly a fantastic piece of advice and I highly recommend this auction site to everyone out their. I finally purchased the P290 from this auction web site. It was less expensive from this web site than from my local dealers. I will be picking up the P290 next week. However, I purchased a bunch of 115 jhp ammo before I read about using 124 or 147 grain ammo. Hopefully, I won’t have the same feeding problems with the ammo as some of you have had. My next purchase will definitely be either 124 or 147 gr. I thank everyone for their wonderful insight regarding this weapon and the ammo. I will let you know how my weapon shoots with the 115 gr ammo. Thanks again to everyone for their advice….. which I wisely took.

      • avatarJake L. says:

        The 115 grain ammo should work fine, it just doesn’t feel quite as good for my P290 as the heavier rounds. You’ll feel more recoil and the slide will cycle slower, but probably won’t compromise any reliability.

  36. avatarAaron says:

    I just purchased my Sig p290. I have not fired it yet. I paid $476 plus $15 shipping and it came with: 6 mag, 8 ext. mag, night sights, laser, and holster. (Holster is functional enough) The breakdown took a second to figure out. The orange plastic breach stop thing that came with mine (new) is the perfect length when you flip it sideways to hold the slide (your third hand) open if you have to punch out the stop. (I used a pen.) I would assume that was by design, but maybe it’s just a sign that the universe wants me to own and be happy with yet another gun. So far so good. Thanks for everyone’s input!

    • avatarRichard S. says:

      Aaron,
      You scored a fantastic deal on that gun. Same gun down here sells for $699 and up. With the laser and the eight rounder it would come to over $800. I got mine, thankfully, on gunauction.com for $512 + $15 s/h. The gun shoots GREAT. But (always a “but”), hold onto the gun real tight when you let that first round loose. It has a heck of a kick. But, (again), after going thru the first mag, you get used to it and I am very happy with the gun. Good luck.

  37. avatarAaron says:

    I found my p290 on gunbroker.com. The same seller is letting them start in the 3′s with no reserve. I purchased 2 within 48 hours for less then $500. Both NIB, 2 mags (one extended), w/ laser, holster, and sig night sights. Shipping was $15. I’m very happy with the build and will be putting rounds through it in 2 days.

  38. avatarChris W says:

    I just bought my p290 and love it . Most accurate small pistol I’ve shot. Still trying to master the disassembly . Thanks for the higher ammo gr tip I will be trying that out. Has anyone else had a problem with the extended mag popping out and being really hard to clip in? I have to slap it in every time. Will not just push in like the regular mag. Anywy love my p290 so far though sounds like I could have got it a little cheaper. Paid $635 and I ordered a IWB w laser holster from holsterpro.com . I’ll let u know about that when I get it.

  39. avatarChris W says:

    I just bought my p290 and love it . Most accurate small pistol I’ve shot. Still trying to master the disassembly . Thanks for the higher ammo gr tip I will be trying that out. Has anyone else had a problem with the extended mag popping out and being really hard to clip in? I have to slap it in every time. Anywy love my p290 so far though sounds like I could have got it a little cheaper. Paid $635 and I ordered a IWB w laser holster from holsterpro.com . I’ll let u know about that when I get it.

  40. avatar202s says:

    Just an FYI, there are 2 generations, Sig P290 and Sig P290 RS. It appears the lesser priced ones are the generation 1 Sig P290. The RS has a “restrike” trigger and some other minor differances. Is the RS worth the extra $200. You’ll have to decide. Either way the Sig P290 is the best cc gun out there in my opinion.

  41. avatarRandyM says:

    I just bought the Sig P290 today. I was also frustrated by the difficulty in field strip. Until I found the solution at another website. Now it’s easy: Unload, remove magazine, lock back the slide. Put the gun in your left hand with fingers over the top of the slide and thumb around the back strap. With left hand fingers, pull back slightly until you hear the click, then with right hand punch out the slide stop pin from the right side of the gun. Pull the slide stop pin the rest of the way out. Ease the slide off the front and it’s disassembled. Now I’m ready to take it to the range and then clean it afterward. Really looking forward to firing it.

    • avatarJohn Sucilla says:

      RandyM previously said:

      “I just bought the Sig P290 today. I was also frustrated by the difficulty in field strip. Until I found the solution at another website. Now it’s easy: Unload, remove magazine, lock back the slide. Put the gun in your left hand with fingers over the top of the slide and thumb around the back strap. With left hand fingers, pull back slightly until you hear the click, then with right hand punch out the slide stop pin from the right side of the gun. Pull the slide stop pin the rest of the way out. Ease the slide off the front and it’s disassembled. Now I’m ready to take it to the range and then clean it afterward. Really looking forward to firing it.”

      Thank you, than you, thank you, RandyM!!!! That worked right off the bat, first try. I have been trying to field strip this little b*tch for two days now and none of the other suggestions worked until I read yours! You rock, dude! I owe you a beer or 12. I’m going to the range now too since I was able to apply the “factory lube” from the little tube provided by SIG (the gun does NOT come lubed from the factory so let that be a warning to you other newbie P290 owners out there. However, they are test fired at the factory so I presume the lack of lubrication is only for some initial “break in”.

      As for that damned laser that comes with it. That really pissed me off. I’m going to have to send the laser back to SIG for a replacement because there is no way on Earth that the little short friggin screw they supply to hold down the battery cover is never going to catch the female threads so I can lock it down. I can push the cover down flush with my fingers and turn a screwdriver until the cows come home but it won’t catch a thread. Has anyone else had this problem???

      • avatarJohn Sucilla says:

        So I took the Sig P290 back to Gander Mountain today, where I bought it. They replaced the laser with one from another gun they had in stock. They saw what I was complaining about, that the female threads for the battery cover door were stripped. They also went the extra mile and installed the laser on the gun for me. I hadn’t expected that, I could have done that myself but it was really nice of them to do it without being asked. They were out of 9mm ball so I went to our areas biggest gun store and picked up 50 rounds. If I get the chance tomorrow I’ll take the P290 to our local range and see if I have any failures to go bang like some of you are complaining about.

  42. avatarTnsong says:

    Does anyone know if they make a cheaper 147gr bullet for targets? Just wondering.

  43. avatarTPmyBH says:

    Just picked up the P290 at Academy Sports here in San Antonio last week and it was purchased while I was on my way to pick up fishing tackle. It’s sleek, comfortable to hold (more so with the extended mag) night sights and a laser. Wow. Not bad for a “hot deal” that put me spending $510 out the door. On sale for $479 plus tax. A buddy brought a P238 to the range recently and I put about 50 rounds through it with a feeling of disbelief on how smooth and beautiful the action was. I figured if SIG can put on a show like that for a mouse gun this must be in the same vein. Even if it was half as smooth as the p238 I would be happy; extras to boot. I haven’t made it to the range yet, only practical application will be the verdict but it has caught my attention already. I own an LC9, I have carried it for a year and had the same problems as other people with light firing pin strikes on expensive frangible self defense rounds from DRT and found out it was a batch of bad Wolfe primers, and new rounds were sent to me. I will put them to the test with a shoot house and moving targets (that’s how we do in Texas) and produce an update. But if the price is right, you’re in the market and you come across one of these SIG’s with all the goodies I say pick it up.

  44. Ola! Ralph,
    In addition to your post I was wondering, I just bought sig p250 compact in 40 and I didn’t research it as complete asi thought I did. I thought I was getting what I thought was a p229. After seeing some horrific reviews I’m hoping someone with trigger time on it has a decent opinion on it. It’s a great looking gun I will test mine out soon but TIA.
    Good Job!
    To win 200% bet game

  45. avatarJay Leman says:

    -I just picked up a Sig290 here in Central FL, price was $495 for LEO’s/ret. LEO’s.
    That free right-hand holster threw me a curve as well. Luckily, I have an ambidextrous small gun-carry rig made by VersaCarry that fits perfectly, including the laser. I had this rig for my former personal gun, a S&W 3954. It works for left/right/inside trouser/outside trouser-great idea from a young Texas lawman.

    • avatarRichard K says:

      The Sig P290 is a great gun but, take into account a few things that I discovered. Hold the gun tight before you shoot. Although it is only a 9mm, it has some kick. ALSO… IMPORTANT…watch your grip, until I made myself more aware of how I hold the gun, I accidentally ejected the magazine when my thumb was took high on the grip. It even happened when I pulled my gun from my pocket holster. So, be wary of the magazine eject button. Fun to shoot and gives greater punch than my LCP. Enjoy. Rich

  46. avatarSteve L says:

    Mark Sanderson “nailed it” for me with his take-down trick, the orange shipping safety “thingy” so thanks for that… and I bought mine at a discount from a new owner.

  47. avatarDaniel says:

    Just picked up a P290 this afternoon; the 2nd Generation with the base plate finger grip, 8rnd mag, laser and extended beaver tail. Fits the hand very nicely with the 8rnd mag and the finger extension on the 6rnd accommodates two fingers in comfort. I was reading a lot about how tough it is two take this model down on line. Wow, I must be superman, first try, in about 2 minutes or less, not even reading the manual, I did it with two hands, no tools other than those provided at birth. Push the slide back and hold it in position with one hand, while resting it on your leg or other suitable service (I like the leg) then use the index finger of the right hand to push the pin through; Voila! Same way I take down my Kahr MK40. Haven’t shot it, since I just got it this afternoon, but I had to write about the take down so many experience. The first time, the pin was tough on my Kahr, so I used a dowel rod to push the pin, it hasn’t needed it since that first time. I see the P290 being no different than a 1911. I’ll write again once I shoot it, maybe tomorrow evening . . . Happy Holidays everyone : )

  48. avatarDaniel says:

    Hmmmm . . . . I am getting a Sour taste from Sig Sour. My 2nd Sig and another pile of . . . well here’s the deal. I cleaned it up from all the packing protectant, did not over lubricate anything. First two shots, did not fire on the first strike; took two hits by the hammer to ignite. The six round magazine will not take six rounds. I even tried 3 different brands of ammo, so it isn’t like some cheap junk ammo issue. I shot Blazer Brass, Sellier Belot and PMC, all FMJ. I also brought my Kahr K9, all steel similar size. All I can say at this point is, Kahr stays on duty, Sig stays home till further trials are done. I shot about 90 rounds through the Sig, I’d say there were about 10 double strikes needed (Kahr didn’t need any). The Kahr was more accurate as well, and the magazines are easier to load. So, at this point, Sig is fighting for its’ life to remain in my life. I have a P232 as well, and it also has had a problem with misfires since day one (3yrs ago). It has become better over time, but it was newly cleaned today and fired. I thought it might actually be over its’ personal problems, but as I was about finished firing off the last of 75 rounds, it decides to misfire on 3 rounds out of the last 14. Another issue with the P290, with the standard 6 round magazine, when I hit the eject button, the magazine binds against my hand and I have to pull it out, if I don’t change my grip on the gun. The 8 round extended magazine definitely appears to be the way go with this gun, but if it continues to misfire next time out, it will be going to its’ maker for evaluation. I’m going to try my Uplula loader and see if I can get 6 rounds to fit in the 6 round mag now. I seriously doubt it’s going to work, but we shall see. After what I experienced, I think I know why these were on sale for $300 off suggested list price. PS – it’s actually easier to disassemble than the Kahr K9; the Kahr spring is stronger and the take down pin fits much tighter.

  49. avatarTom says:

    Wish I knew who the author was. Very well written. Very objective, very funny and creative. Gun review = funny+creative. That is a formula I don’t believe I’ve seen before. Nice work. If you have other reviews, please shoot me an email and link.

  50. avatarDaniel says:

    Back with an update, and it isn’t with a smiley face : ( This is still a weapon I could not recommend as reliable. I’ve gone through about 300 rounds and it still does not fire all the time on the first try, though it has improved some. In addition, the standard (smaller) magazine will not always allow full capacity to be loaded, or the slide to be racked if it is full to capacity. The extended magazine is fine and makes the weapon much easier to hold onto. But there is still the misfire issue. My Kahr K9 beats this hands down in all aspects except price and the M&P9C beats it except for in size. Sig has not impressed me at all. I will be calling them on my next day off work; I’ll fill you in on what transpires in the near future.

  51. avatarDaniel says:

    Funny that you ask; I am going to call them this morning before I leave for work. The 6 round mag still will not allow me to rack the slide when it is fully loaded. I am now able to get the rounds in more regularly by hand though. It works if the slide is back and you insert the mag, but not with the slide closed. I’m planning on asking them to send me an extended mag in replacement for the 6 round standard. I don’t like the shorter mag anyway. If it had a beavertail type finger extension floorplate on the 6 rounder, then it would be okay, if it would work. Last time out on January 30th, it only needed a re-strike on 1 (or 2?) round out of about 75. It’s accurate, shoots nice, but I’ll say this: I picked up an M&P Shield 40 the day before and brought it with as well. Two issues, 1 FTF, 1 FTE, I tightened my grip and zero issues after that. Both the standard and extended mag work fine and it is much nicer to hold. Size wise, the M&P w/ext. mag is the same height as the P290 w/ext. mag and it is about 1/2 an inch longer. I was blown away with the accuracy of the Shield and my ability with it on my first outing. I shot the P290 after the Shield and being a 9mm, it was considerably less snappy, but the Shield is not bad at all for being a 40. I’ll let you know what Sig says about my issues once it is resolved.

  52. avatarDan Ess says:

    Haven’t taken the P290 out since I last wrote. I did call SIG and they sent me a new 6 round magazine that actually takes 6 rounds like it should. Since I bought the P290 I acquired an M&P Shield 40 (after being on a waiting list for 9 months!). The P290 might very well be going up for sale if it continues to have failures to fire. Sig says they’ll take it back if I have issues, so I guess I’ll take it out next week when I go to the range. Still may put it up, even if it is fixed. I’d feel better selling a weapon that works correctly.

  53. avatarDan Ess says:

    Finally made it back to the range with the P290 & P232. Looks like the P290 was just in need of break in, to get out of the need for using the Re-Strike capability. Ran off 40 rounds without needing it. Prior to this, I never ran off that many rounds without needing to use re-strike at least once. The P232, still has the problem though. Too bad, I like the way the P232 feels much better and I shoot it more accurately. The P232 needed re-strike 3 x’s out of 28 rounds fired.

  54. avatarFreddie B says:

    My Keltec P11 is similarly sized but a bit thicker with more capacity (10 + 1). It is one of the ugliest looking guns out there, with no finish whatsoever, but it is reliable as a rock after thousands of rounds through it. Same long travel trigger issue as the P290 and you can get it for about $250.

  55. avatarEd S. says:

    Have owned and used my P290RS for about 2 months. Probably about 250 rounds through it. I did not clean it until after about 200 rounds. No FTF or FTE. I only use my 8 round clips (I have 3). Once I got use to the smaller size, I enjoy shooting this gun. P290RS with laser, 6 & 8 round clips, hard plastic holster, lock and cable and hard case, $500.00. No complaints or problems.

  56. avatarJames says:

    Got P290RS (with laser) for $404, free shipping to FFL from FireArmsForYou.com. It cost me $20 for FFL. Just installed the laser and checked with boresight. It seemed to be spot on. Will find out how well it shoots this weekend. I really like the textured grip and feel. I agree with other posters that the trigger is a very long pull.

  57. avatarJohn says:

    Good review- my father just bought one for concealed carry- nice looking pistol- you are right on about loading the mag, and breakdown. There is a youtube video on how to hold the slide with one hand over the top- works great.
    They have higher cap mags now with a two finger extension on the mag- makes it feel like a full sized gun when you dont need it to be sub compact.
    Havent had a chance to fire it, but as soon as the weather warms this weekend we are looking forward to it. Got winchester ammo for .32 / round at gander mountain- almsot half what .380 and 38 special go for. So we can afford to have fun with it.

  58. avatarJR says:

    Mossad in Tehran. Thats a good one.

    How about Israel trying to sink our USS LIBERTY and killing.wounding 200 US Sailors in 1967 and then Lying about it? With ‘friends’ like these….
    Good review.

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