Gun Review: SIG SAUER P210 Target 9mm Pistol

Gun Review: SIG SAUER P210 Target

Josh Wayner for TTAG

I’ve shot some very nice pistols doing this type of work. I have a pretty good idea of what to expect when it comes down to it, and there isn’t a lot separating most gun in terms of general performance. But by far, one of the smoothest, most accurate, and easiest-shooting 9mm pistols I’ve ever had the pleasure of shooting is the one we’re looking at today: the SIG SAUER P210 Target.

The thing is, the semi-auto P210 is a complete departure from the forward-thinking attitude of most modern SIG firearms. Instead of looking strictly to the future, the P210 takes the past and brings it into today with minimal added spice.

Gun Review: SIG SAUER P210 Target

Note the incredible fit and finish on the P210’s low bore axis stainless steel slide, frame and beavertail. It has an adjustable rear and a fiber optic front sights. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

The original P210 has a long history (it began its life as a sidearm for the Swiss military) and is still in active service to this day with several European militaries. It’s a common semi-automatic handgun in Europe, where it has been made in several iterations, including target versions for various types of precision competitions. The P210, with its sleek lines, can almost be thought of as something like our 1911; a design honored by time and service that has always had a high degree of accuracy and many end uses.

The modern P210 Target from SIG SAUER isn’t quite the same as the Euro versions, but it’s damn close in terms of appearance and function. It is less similar to the military versions as it is to the target variants, mostly due to the adjustable sights and wide, funneled checkered walnut grip. Many military versions had simple plastic scale grips, just like most metal-framed military pistols.

I would put this gun somewhere in the middle ground as far as dedicated target pistols and service guns go. I suppose if you wanted to make it more ‘classic’, you could swap out the oversize grip for a military-style version. I’m not sure if surplus grips would fit, but it could probably be done. It should be noted that SIG also makes a version of this gun called the P210 Standard. It has a slightly more “military” appearance, but lacks adjustable sights.

Gun Review: SIG SAUER P210 Target

The nitron-coated slide rails are visible here. They are precision made and are feel slick right out of the box. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

The first thing that we will cover here is just who would want a P210 Target and what general purpose it serves. For starters, for target shooting, it is hella accurate. I have been greatly impressed by SIG’s M17 and P365 variants in the recent weeks and I began to think of them as the standard for 9mm accuracy in their respective size categories. The P210, though, is startlingly accurate, easily printing five-shot groups at 50 yards that measured a mere 2.5 inches off the bench. The mechanical precision here is amazing and it only gets better.

The semi-automatic P210 is a wonderfully shootable gun. Its design, with its five-inch barrel and long 6.7 inch sight radius, makes it very easy to get on target and keep it there.

Recoil is minimal and the cycle of the action is smooth. With its significant weight (36.9 oz) recoil impulse is about like shooting a .22LR. It just goes bang and lightly bounces back onto target. You’d think you had a muzzle brake mounted on the pistol based on how flat it shoots. This makes the P210 great for speed shooting where accuracy (not just hits) is a top priority.

The single action only target grade trigger is light, with a pull weight of a mere 3.5 pounds and breaks as crisply as proverbial glass with very short reset.

Gun Review: SIG SAUER P210 Target

The modern American-made P210 Target model has a solid trigger that resembles that of the legacy model. Note the checkered, squared off trigger guard. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

The only downside to the P210 is its low capacity for the pistol‘s overall size and weight. The pistol comes with two 8-round single stack magazines (additional mags aren’t cheap at about $40 a pop).

I realize that this is a modern rendition of a classic, so don’t jump on me. SIG could have made a variant that feeds from larger capacity magazines since we know that they can certainly pack an impressive number of rounds into the slender P365, but it would essentially be a different pistol at that point.

I tested the P210 semi-auto pistol with hundreds of rounds of various 9mm ammo for accuracy and velocity. I measured the velocity over an Oehler 35P chronograph at a distance of five feet from the muzzle. Accuracy is the average of five, five-shot groups at 25 yards from the benchrest.

Lehigh Defense 105gr CF+P————————-1361fps, 2.25″ (20 rounds)

Hornady 124gr Critical Duty +P———————1160fps, 2.25″ (100 rounds)

Black Hills 115gr TAC XP +P ————————-1203fps, 2.25″ (50 rounds)

Black Hills 125gr HB Subsonic————————958fps, 2.75″ (150 rounds)

Black Hills 100gr HB +P——————————1333fps, 1.75″ (150 rounds)

SIG SAUER 115gr FMJ——————————–1149fps, 3.25″ (300 rounds)

I fired 770 rounds through the P210 Target and had no malfunctions. I didn’t clean it or make any attempt to disassemble it prior to firing it at the range. All the ammo here was fired with little time between, so the gun got not only dirty, but hot.

It showed very little, if any, heat-related accuracy loss or any hint of sluggishness.

Gun Review: SIG SAUER P210 Target

If you’re looking for a classic target pistol, the P210 Target is your gun. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

The most fun ammo to shoot was the 125gr HoneyBadger Subsonic. This ammo made the P210 so pleasing to fire that it hurt when it ran out. It was like they were meant to be together.

SIG SAUER’s P210 Target is simply a wonderful piece and it is definitely worth a look for the serious 9mm fan. The P210 shows just how good a job SIG does with their modern technology these days and how a company can honor history while satisfying modern demands.

Armscor ammunition

Specifications: SIG SAUER 210 Target

Caliber: 9mm Luger
Capacity: 2, 8-rd mags included
Barrel Length: 5″ target grade
Overall Length: 8.4″
Weight: 36.9 oz
Safety: Manual
Operation: Semi-automatic, single action only
MSRP $1699 (street price around $1450)

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):

Accuracy * * * * *
This guns just shoots. Period. The adjustable rear sight, easily visible fiber optic front sight and long sight radius make target accuracy incredibly easy.

Reliability * * * * *
There were no reliability issues whatsoever.

Ergonomics * * * * *
The SIG P210 Target fits the hand very, very well (though the grip is on the thick side for small-handed shooters, especially when reaching the magazine release). The nitron-coated slide is slick and the excellent sights are adjustable.

Customize this * *
There isn’t much out there, but it’s not like you need it. This baby has it all.

Aesthetics * * * * * 
This is a truly beautiful gun. The pistol‘s appearance, with its clean, classic lines, combined with easy handling make it a shooter’s dream.

Overall * * * * *
While maybe not the most customizable pistol ever made, the SIG P210 is certainly a top-shelf gun. I loved my time with it and it is truly a joy to shoot.

comments

  1. avatar Unlicensed Bozo says:

    So.. how does it work? I would have liked a short explanation of the internals. Is it a Browning clone or something else?

    A shot of this field stripped might also be nice.
    Otherwise nice article.

    1. avatar Dan W says:

      Standard short recoil. Locking lug on this new one moved to modern position at front of ejection port. Older one had cz style lugs in front of chamber area.

  2. avatar Hody Snitch says:

    There’s one at my LGS and it is beautiful. Expensive as hell but beautiful. I would like to see a comparison of the Sig X-5, this gun and maybe the Walther PPQ M-2 all steel target pistol.

  3. avatar Cea says:

    MIM!
    The thing is full of it. This should not be, for the price Sig wants for it.
    Should be nothing but machined cast and forged steel.
    Just say no, to MIM.

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      How much more are you willing to pay to get forged and machined parts in a pistol?

      1. avatar Cea says:

        Well, I’ve got a Les Baer Premier II for $1725…so, that much. About what the P210 Target goes for.
        You see, I bought three Sig pistols, three consecutive purchases, all at or a bit over 1k each. All had experienced MIM parts breakage at less than 500 rd!!! The P210 line has the same MIM parts…it’s what Sig does now. So, for me, a MIM filled Sig, any model, is worth about $25…or to put it another way, I will never give Sig another dime.

        1. avatar Ky from KY says:

          You know if done right, there’s not much of an issue with MIM. Or are you of the FUDD 1911 Two World Wars group?

        2. avatar MB says:

          @Cea. Chevrolet and other auto manufactures have used MIM (powered metal) connecting rods in millions of small block Chevy 302, 327, 350 engines and those engines cycle millions of times in hundreds of thousands of miles. Properly designed MIM parts are good enough for you to put a thousand rounds thru your gun in your lifetime…

        3. avatar Cea says:

          MB, I know that there are many companies using MIM. Its just that I was burned three times in a few months. All the same manufacturer, all parts broken were MIM.
          As far as a thousand rounds thru a gun in my lifetime, at one time, I was shooting 15k a year. Lately, it is much closer to 4K to 5k a year. Mostly using two to four guns.
          I’ve hand loaded, and shot well over 150k rd in the past 9 years alone.
          I do have several, older German and W. German Sig firearms. All are flawless. They were some of the best, if not the best, combat handguns. Not so much for the latest American made Sigs.

        4. avatar Cea says:

          KY,
          I relate some of my experiences, which offends your fanboy fanaticism, you turn into a child…good luck buddy!

        5. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          OK, you’ve got your reasons and you’re willing to pay for forged parts. That’s cool with me.

    2. avatar CA ST says:

      I’d rather have MIM than Cast, anyday.

      1. avatar Cea says:

        Well then Sig is the right choice for you!

  4. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Eight round magazines are fine for target shooting. Bullseye target shooting rules mean that you’re only going to load five rounds anyway.

    2.5″ at 50 yards? That’s pretty good. Not as good as a S&W Model 52, (which had only five round magazines) but pretty good.

    I shot one of these over the summer and came away very impressed. Not impressed enough to buy this before I find a S&W Model 52-3 for my collection, but impressed enough to “put it on the list to buy and shoot” before I’m too old to shoot any more.

    For the gun nerds, here’s more info from a source on P210’s and their history:

    http://larvatus.com/notes-on-the-sig-p210-parts-diagram-2/

    1. avatar ColoradoKid says:

      I wasn’t aware there was a 52-3. Maybe I need one too?

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Sorry, keypunch error. 52-2. (just had to correct myself typing 53-2).

        The differences between the 52 and 52-1 was to remove the double-action capability from the trigger. The change from the 52-1 to the 52-2 was mostly in the extractor. There’s nothing ‘wrong’ with the first 52 series, but if you’re going to pony up the bucks, you might as well get the variant with the improvements.

        Don’t get me wrong – the P210 is a nice pistol. The original “Swiss” P210, in some of the variants, is a wonderful target pistol. What people need to remember is that there were many variants of the P210

        The S&W 52 is a tad more accurate, and you can shoot lighter-recoiling rounds in the 52, because it was designed to work with light .38 Special full wadcutter loads – we’re talking like 650 to 800 fps loads.

        I’ve seen “Swiss P210” pistols go for double what you can find a Model 52-2 for – and more. I saw a Sig P210 in .22LR (the original P210’s were available in .22LR, 9×19, .30 Luger and some other chamberings I can’t remember now) sell for $7500 this summer. The originals are not high-dollar target pistols any more – they’ve moved into the realm of collectable guns, with prices to match.

    2. avatar Philthegardner says:

      Didn’t Josh just review a Devil Dog 45 1911 that did 1.5″ groups using cheap Armscor ammo? I have always looked up to the 210 as being a paragon of accuracy and frankly, seeing it do those groups seems like a letdown in comparison to a product made by an upstart company.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        At 25 yards, yes.

        This is the thing: Most people test the accuracy (precision) of their handguns at 25 yards.

        Target pistols are rated at 50 yards. Getting a sub-2″ group from a pistol in a rest (and you really should be using a Ransom rest for these tests), at 50 yards requires some attention to details of design, machining and fitting that most handguns never had to start with.

        The S&W Model 52 was tested, at the S&W factory, to throw down a 2″ group or less at 50 yards with the canonical 148 grain wadcutter load. A no-$$$-spared 1911 can achieve under 2″ at 50 yards, that’s true, and it has been done many times. It isn’t typically done cheaply.

  5. avatar canuck_in_ca says:

    How does it compare to say a CZ Tactical Sport?

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      both sao, the sig is 8oz lighter, half an inch shorter, 1/4″ less barrel length, holds twelve less bullets and isn’t discontinued.

    2. avatar LCinDenver says:

      It doesn’t. The TS has a longer sight radius, far higher capacity, better trigger, more aftermarket support.

    3. avatar Dan W says:

      I shot one next to my Shadow 2, would take the CZ hands down, even ignoring capacity. Maybe the Sig has a slight advantage in bullseye, but no one there was good enough to find out.

  6. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    The want is seriously strong with this gem…
    Tied for first with a P-7 M8

    1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

      Tom, I hear you. Buying a Glock 43 and 19X next week before the Blue Label deal runs out. After that a Sig P 210 is the last 9mm on my “have to own list.” Got my P7M8 and a Novak built Hi-Power. Even a Beretta 92FS. I have to hold my nose when I pick it up, but I only paid $200 for it. As for the review, not bad at all. Sig can keep those target grips and even sights. I would prefer an original, but at that price I’ll take it. 8 shots is not a problem. $40 a mag is less so. Wait till you buy spare mags for a P7M8. $100 a pop.

      1. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

        Wait! I forgot. After my cousin gave me a Sig P 220 I decided that I want an early Sig P 226.

  7. avatar Hannibal says:

    Capacity aside (boy there’s a lot of unused room there!) that thing is god danged beautiful.

  8. avatar thomaspaine says:

    Like most recreations of a classic its a total rip off. Naturally they cheapened everything they could. The frame is cheap cast steel. The internals are brittle junk MIM cast parts. The fire control unit is not a lift out tung and groove system like the original but is laughably held in by a nickle and dime hardware chrome plated Phillips head screw (the ultimate insult)

    Looking at the authors accuracy its not close to the average accuracy of the original made guns. My original P210 will easily out shoot what he tested.

    If it where not for the outrageous price I would not be so condemning of the gun because after all at least its not made of modern junk plastic and stamped sheet metal.

    1. avatar thomaspaine says:

      I forgot to mention even the magazine has been also cheapened, it no longer has a groove stamped in the follower for strength and it no longer is made of stainless steel either but a cheesy flat soft piece of metal. The body of the magazine is not a continuous welded seam either rather its made like other sig mags which are folded over and then spot welded together. It makes me retch when I look at it.

  9. avatar James Wilson says:

    Nice gun. Shame it’s made by Sig USA

  10. avatar Mad Cow says:

    Is there any reason for not testing some heavier for caliber loads? I know that shoving a buch of ammo through a gun for review is costly, but if you can shoot some of the boutique 100-105 gr loads in, adding in a box of 147 gr FMJ or defensive rounds shouldn’t break the bank. I’ve seen a lot of reviews where the heavier loads gave improved accuracy, so I would consider not checking something heavier a bit of an oversight. Otherwise, I appreciated the review.

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