A year after its introduction, SIG’s smallest 9mm gets some meaningful design changes.
The guns I call “slim-nines,” 9mm carry pistols made thin and ultra-compact, are a hot item today. SIG’s entry is the P290. I first saw it in the fall of 2010 at the IACP (International Association of Chiefs of Police) conference. It was introduced in January 2011 at the SHOT Show.
Some concerns showed up in its first year in the field. There were reports of occasional misfires. Because a lot of buyers were fans of traditional double-action SIG SAUER pistols, they didn’t appreciate the fact that like so many striker-fired autos, these new guns wouldn’t let you just pull the trigger again if you got a misfire, one SIG exec later informed me. The folks at SIG SAUER in Exeter, N.H., came up with a few other tweaks that could be wrought on the P290, too.
As a result, the redesigned P290RS was introduced one year after the original P290, at the 2012 SHOT Show. It’s not another option; it’s a total replacement of the older gun.
The trigger mechanism is the defining new feature—but not the only one—on the P290 RS. The suffix in its designation stands for Re-Strike. Tim Butler, SIG SAUER’s Product Manager at the Exeter, N.H. plant tells me the change involved a redesign of trigger bar, sear, and hammer. The result is a long, conventional double-action-only trigger stroke. The trigger goes much farther back before sear release than on the first iteration, but has proportionally less backlash.
The obvious advantage is the re-strike gives an immediate second “shot” at a recalcitrant primer in the event of a misfire. Some don’t see this as a big deal, because they follow it if a bad round failed them once, doesn’t get a second chance, and their preferred response to a “click” instead of a “bang” is a fast “tap-rack-assess the situation in front of you.”
An absolutely undeniable advantage of the P290RS over its predecessor, however, is that it’s much more friendly for dry fire. Instead of having to interrupt your trigger pulling practice by breaking your hold and retracting the slide between dry “shots,” the P290RS owner can roll the trigger continuously.
By Massad Ayoob
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