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Date Posted: October 12, 2011
Sig P210 Legend: As good as the original?
Lance Kilgore
Hitstory of the SIG P210: In 1935 the Swiss Army set out to the replace the aging Luger Parabellum 06/29, which had been in service since 1900. After several trials they decided to base the design on Charles Petter's Modèle 1935 pistol. In 1937 SIG acquired a license for Petter's system in order to develop a replacement for the aging Luger and After testing various experimental models, the P210 entered service in 1949 with the Swiss army. Not long after that it became known as the worlds most accurate production semi-auto pistol.


The original SIG P210 was a single-action pistol, with a magazine capacity of eight rounds of 9 mm, 7.65 mm, or .22 Long Rifle, the current Sig Sauer version only offers 9mm.

Both firearms have a frame-mounted manual safety that blocks the trigger, deploy a 120 mm high quality barrel and are considered to be very durable and reliable. The slide and frame are machined from blocks of steel, which making production costly compared to recent pistol designs, that are manufactured of pressings and welds. The hammer action is built into a removable assembly for easy maintenance. The slide rides inside the frame rails, rather than outside as in the traditional Browning pattern. This latter feature mimics the frame-to-receiver interface of its predecessor in Swiss military service, the Luger pistol, allowing for a very tight fit between the slide, barrel, and frame without compromising reliability. This construction feature contributes to the unusually high accuracy for which the SIG P210 is known.

Noted differences between the Swiss P210-6 and Sig Sauer P210-9:

Swiss P210-6 shipped with a 50-meter test target typically showing a group of five to ten shots in a cluster under 2" in diameter.

German P210-9 ships with a 25-meter test target typically showing a group of five shots in a cluster just under 2" in diameter.

Swiss P210-6 has a small beaver tail that was reversed down; causing the hand to be pinched by the hammer - at times drawing blood.

German P210-9 has a much improved ergonomic beaver tail that is properly designed to protect the hand from hammer pinch.

Swiss P210-6 included the European mag release located at the bottom rear of the grip. This prevented unwanted mag release but made mag changes slow and cumbersome.

German P210-9 includes the American mag catch on the side of the firearm. It is well placed and easy to use, at the same time keeping the mag secure when holstered.

A few other changes Sig Sauer incorporated into the gun are: The heavy frame model is standard (I prefered the lighter framed 210-6), a smooth safety lever (again I prefer the serrated safety the 210-6 offered), modern square sights (then why ship a 25 meter target, not the 50 meter the original came with) and the new highly resistant QPR coating.

Both pistols have similar shooting characteristics, but after owning and shooting 6 of the original SIG produces P210s', I am not convinced the quality is the same between the two guns. The slide and frame fit on the Swiss version is a work of art where as the new German gun appears to have a production look to it. I cannot fault Sig Sauer for this, in todays market duplicating the Swiss SIG would be cost prohibitive.

Being a huge Swiss SIG (Schweizerische Industrie Gessellschaft) fan I was very excited, but skeptical, to hear the Sig Sauer was going to re-introduce the P210-9 pistol. Except for the Heavy Frame I am very impressed with the quality and workmanship of the German copy and would not hesitate owning one. It appears this gun will be accurate, reliable, and durable for many years to come. (Notice I did not include "as the Swiss SIG")





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