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The new P290 serving wall duty at the SIG SAUER SHOT Show booth sure looks like a SIG. But it doesn’t feel like one. For fans of the brand, the P290’s slimness is startling. As is the sheer diddiness of the 20.5 ounce gun (three ounces heavier than the new Ruger LC9). As for the mouse gun’s nine-pound double-action-only trigger pull (video after the jump), let’s just say that the P290 tethered to the wall is a prototype. I hope. With Ruger’s LCP and now maybe LC9 tearing-up the charts, you can understand why SIG’s chasing sales within the increasingly crowded RSG (Really Small Gun) genre. But SIG’s got a big or should I say small problem: the P238.

Holding the little nine after caressing SIG’s Mustang-clone .380 is like jumping into a Chevy Malibu after stunting and flossing in an AMG Mercedes. Still, if SIG can bring reliability to the RSG market at anything like a reasonable price point, the feel of the thing may not be the P290’s most important attribute. Which is just as well.

When the SIG sample shows up next month, we’ll know what’s what. Watch this space.

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  1. Whoa boy, another mouse gun! These things are going to cannibalize each other’s sales, and I suspect the whole market for them will contract when more shooters discover how harsh they can be to shoot.

    As full-power handguns get smaller and smaller, it’s interesting how the immutable demands of physics and human physiology seem to funnel all these different models into one or two basic design paradigms. Kahrs, Kel-Tecs, Rugers, and Sigs all have to play by the same rules, and these tiny guns have no room for over-engineering or stylistic excess. As a result they all look pretty much alike.

    Antoine de Saint-Exupery said it best: “A designer knows that he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

  2. The new price point from the Sig looks to be around $750. Too much for a plastic gun, I’m out.

  3. Sig may have a pretty prestigious name, but for half the price, I’ll wait until Ruger works out their new LC9 and pick up one of those. And if that goes south, I could get a KT PF-9 for a little over a third of the price. Come on guys, you can’t just make them smaller and slap the company name on, they have to be affordable, too.

  4. So far, nothing I’ve seen appears to be an improvement over my ultra-reliable Rohrbaugh R9S that was one of the 1st 525 produced. It has served me well as a daily carry pocket 9mm for years and still weighs in less loaded than this Sig will be empty — and the R9S is all metal construction.

  5. I held a P290 at the Florida Gun Show in Orlando yesterday for the first time. While I love Sigs, the P290 grip felt too short, too thick, and it seems to be heavy for it’s class. It’s the first Sig Sauer pistol that didn’t feel “natural” in my hand. (I have XL – XXL hands.) I don’t think I would consider buying one until at least two things change: 1. Sig or another company produces extended magazines, and 2. The price significantly decreases.

    Shoot Straight was selling P290’S for $600 at the show. A little over 1.5 years ago I purchases a Kel-Tech PF-9 with brushed stainless slide for about $320 – almost half the price of a Sig P290! There are some who dismiss Kel-Tecs as junk, but they are wrong, at least regarding the PF-9. I’ve never had a problem with my PF-9 – no failure to feed, stove piping, etc., and I’ve shot just about every kind of ammo through it.

    My initial opinion is that Sig is late to the dance, and is demanding a premium price in a crowded field of proven competition. If the P290 has “bugs” that need to be worked out, it’ll be a slow, rough road for Sig Sauer in this very competitive market segment.

    • Hey Caligula,
      Have you shot a lot of PP hollow point ammo through it? And if so what type? Gold dot? Just wondering.


  6. I carry this pistol every day. It is WAAAAAAAY overlooked. It hardly kicks at all. It is accurate. I have have HUGE hands XXL glove size, and I have no problem at all with the tiny grip (for the first time ever). I can shoot it as fast as I can pull the trigger. My ONLY problem is the magazine release. It’s WAY to big. I had to Dremel tool the crap out of the cheapo plastic holster it comes with so it wouldn’t eject the magazine when I sat down in my truck. I need to contact Sig and find out if the mag release is solid metal, so I can grind it down to about 2/3rds it’s size out of the box… maybe they will change it or someone will offer an aftermarket version. No way you could carry it in a leather holster as is. Other than that, it is an awesome weapon… I only half-assed cleaned it and took it out and put over 200 rounds of various ammo through it, no problems at all out of the box. Been carrying it ever since. It is pricey, but I don’t find that an issue with a gun you might need to trust your life with. And I traded my old P239 in on it, so it was only “$300” anyway for a gun half the size and one less round.

  7. I’d roll with a Ruger if you don’t have the money for a Sig, I know many people like Kel-Tec, but I do not. I’ve held and shot many Kel-Tecs, and aside from feeling and looking “cheap”, I’ve seen them jam randomly over the years. Although, I must say this, my buddy the other day took his Kel-Tec P3AT out of a drawer that it had been sitting in loaded for THREE YEARS untouched, and dumped the mag into a fence post in his front yard (I live in Wyoming, this is not uncommon, lol) without a single problem. So… who knows really, huh? But I’ll tell you this, I’m almost 40 years old and have shot almost every firearm made and hundreds of thousands of rounds… I’ve even seen a clean AK-47 (AKM, actually) jam… although it was a mag problem. NONE of my semi auto rifles or pistols have ever jammed… well, once I read you could stick a 14th round in a Browning Hi-Power 13 round mag, which I did, and it it jammed, but that pistol has NEVER jammed before or since (this was in the early 90’s)… trust me guys, buy good quality weapons… Ruger makes the best firearms for the money if you ask me, I keep an almost 20 year old Ruger GP100 .357 magnum in my nightstand, and have for well… almost 20 years. I think I got it in 1994. Never had a single problem. Even if you are rich, Ruger is a great option… I love Sigs, but I’d carry a Ruger into the gates of hell, and they’re at least half as much. They always get overlooked for some reason… I have a 1975 or 76 Mini-14 that still rocks for what it is…

  8. LOL! ANYWAY… my original point was the Sig P290 is an AWESOME pistol. Aside from it’s mag release. Night sights from the factory, and standard Sig cut outs, so you can put whatever you want on there… I’ve never shot a pistol this small and just loved it… Fat? Maybe. Heavy? Maybe. Does it try to pull down my pants? No. But Sig gets it right… the grips, the sights, the weight… try and find one to shoot, you’ll get it, lol…

  9. I used to agree with you about Ruger’s quality…however…since Bill Ruger Jr. retired and the company changed hands, they have gone downhill. As a long time supporter of Ruger (and still own 3 ruger rifles, 6 ruger revolvers and a old p85 9mm) I went out on a limb to try out the much hyped LC9. I purchased the LC9 this past May and after a thorough cleaning I was excited to try it out. After two magazines of federal ammo, I had several rounds failure to fire. After racking the slide I inspected the FTF round and it had a very light primer strike. This happened about every 4 or 5 rounds and happened with three different types of premium ammo. I sent it back to “mother ruger” and they assured me it would be repaired quickly. After two weeks I got it back and again went to test fire after cleaning it…first few rounds went boom, then….click…no boom! Called Ruger and sent the firearm back to them a second time…this time it was listed as a priority and after a few conversations with various managers, they offered to destroy my pistol and build me a brand new one. I agreed, trying to give them the benefit of the doubt. Almost a month later, I received a brand new LC9 that was surely going to function flawlessly…….or NOT. second round from the second magazine failed to fire and produced the same light primer strike that had occurred the previous two times. I called Ruger again and as you can imagine I was fairly heated…they immediately offered to refund my money (which I am thankful for, though I would not have accepted less). Still to this date, they have not been able to explain the problem. They continue to ask what ammo I am using and whatever ammo I tell them…Federal…remington…etc, they say that the gun doesnt prefer it. I say it is unacceptable. Truly a shame. I guess any ruger’s built by the old company may still be fine but anything post 2006, I would take a cautious approach before spending the money.

    Heading to a gun show this saturday to pick up the P290! Sometimes you just get what you pay for. LC9 may be fine for some but even one malfunction with a carry pistol is too many times for me to ever bet my life on it.

  10. I’ve carried a North American .380 and shot the small Kahr and Kel-Tec…I actually wanted the extra weight, both to absorb recoil and to steady a slight tremor in my hand…and the gunshow price for a new P-290 laser last week was $529 plus tax and background check…I was out the door with one I hadn’t planned to buy. Factory tritium nite sites and a laser too, pocketable and comfortable in arthritic hands, or seems like it ought to be. … Comes with a Fobus type hardshell holster that fits the mounted laser and all.

    A thinking gentlemans’ or ladies’ pocket pistol…

    Haven’t been to the range yet, but looking forward to it.

  11. 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.

  12. I bought the sig p290,and have fired about 300 rounds .I love this little pistol.Very tight patterns ,and just feels great in the hands.Price not bad for a weapon you can really depend on.No problems with it at all.50 yards is nothing for this little beauty,holding 2”.More I shoot it the better the trigger gets.Over all ,looks, shoots,feels great. Sig has really hit a home run.I was S&W man,but not after shooting this dream.I know you dont purchase a sub for long range but I cant wait to try it at longer distances.

  13. I love the Sig P290. I use it as a ankle carry back up while in duty. Over 600 rounds and counting with no problems. If I have to go to a back up gun while working things have gotten really bad. In really bad times I’m not trusting a Ruger or a 380, like the G-42.

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