SIG P250

The trend in modern handguns is toward variety. No longer are police, military or civilian shooters content with whatever is issued—one caliber, one size, one action, etc. This is a logical turn of events in that the handgun industry can now address the specific needs and even subjective preferences of just about everyone. Most makers produce several variations of their pistols and have developed ways to tailor the individual gun to the hand size of every shooter. Beginning with the Walther P99 and continuing through the S&W M&P and Springfield XD(M) to the latest H&K P30, makers have come up with plates, panels or other devices that increase or decrease the gripping surfaces to fit the size and shape of most shooters’ hands.
SIG Sauer’s latest design, the P250, goes several steps further by offering a pistol that is efficient for a variety of roles by virtue of its capability of being assembled in five hand size configurations. In police terminology, the new gun can be a full-size holster pistol, a scaled-down mid-size for those who work in civilian clothes or even a subcompact hideout gun for undercover or off-duty work. As if that were not enough, with the right components, each gun may also be configured in any one of four chamberings: 9 mm Luger, .357 SIG, .40 S&W and .45 ACP.
That’s right, a single receiver can be built up with an array of suitable accessory modules into any one of several completely different handgun configurations.
To give you a clear idea of how this all works, we need to examine the frame and fire-control assembly. For brevity’s sake, I refer to the latter module as the “lock.” The lock is the heart of the gun. It carries the P250’s serial number and is, legally speaking, its receiver. It houses the hammer, the trigger and the springs that power both, as well as the slide rails and the solid steel guide block that cams the barrel in and out of battery during the firing cycle. The lock module fits snugly into a grip module, and the two form what we normally think of as the frame in a conventional pistol.
The grip module is a precision-molded polymer shell in the general shape of a semi-automatic pistol butt, including the trigger guard with a squared lower front corner and an accessory rail on the dust cover. On top, there is a cavity into which the lock fits. To adapt the gun to smaller or larger hands, use a smaller or larger grip module. They come in three sizes—small, medium and large for the full-size and compact guns and medium and large for the subcompact. Obviously, the dimensions of each are different. The front-to-back dimension changes, as does the side-to-side. For example, there is about 1/4" difference in the fore-and-aft measurement between the small and large grip modules and 3/8" from port to starboard. They don’t look that different, but the difference in feel is pronounced. A handgunner chooses the gun style and grip size he prefers, then slips the lock into place and has half a gun in his hand.
The gun-building process continues with the slide and barrel modules, which come in three lengths—full, compact and subcompact. Barrel lengths are 4.7", 3.9" and 3.1", respectively. Available in all four chamberings, the barrels require the correct slide to work properly. The slide for the .357 SIG pulls double duty for the .40 S&W. The position and shape of the extractor in the slide’s breech face is different for the 9 mm Luger and .45 ACP but the same for .357 SIG and .40 S&W.
Magazines are caliber-specific, except for the .357 SIG/.40 S&W. Since they are all double-column, capacities are impressive. In full-size pistols, they run to 20 rounds of 9 mm Luger, 17 rounds of either .357 SIG or .40 S&W and 10 rounds of .45 ACP. Even the shorter subcompact P250s give you a lot to work with—12 rounds in 9 mm, nine in .357 SIG or .40 S&W, and six in .45 ACP. Also, while the provided literature does not say anything about it, I believe that using a longer magazine in a short-butt gun would be acceptable in an emergency.
By virtue of this modularity principle, the P250 is a handgun system of great flexibility. A P250 can become a full, compact or subcompact pistol in one of four different calibers and adapted to three different hand sizes. There is even a little more individualization in the use of long or short triggers. Moreover, while SIG Sauer does not mention it, there is nothing to prevent a handgunner from taking even greater advantage of the mix-and-match aspect of the gun by combiningmodules in a non-standard way. For example, of you wanted a hard-hitting gun with a concealable butt section, you could combine a full-size .45 upper with a compact .45 ACP grip module. The short butt hides easier under a sport shirt and the long slide gives you every last bit of ammunition potential, as well as greater sight radius. This business of modularity is not a salesman’s gimmick, but rather a system of tremendous practical value.
For a moment let’s look at the P250 simply as a single gun. The one at hand is a compact .40 S&W with a medium grip module—right in the middle of the P250 spectrum. It’s a molded polymer lower, stainless steel upper, recoil-operated semi-automatic pistol. The gun weighs 26.6 ozs. empty and fits into a 7.2" by 5.1" box that is 1.4" deep. The operating system is of the tilting barrel design, in which the barrel locks into the ejection port as the slide closes into battery.
SIG Sauer was a pioneer in simplified trigger systems, and the latest P250 version is among the best it has ever offered. It has an advanced double-action-only (DAO) mechanism where trigger pressure is the same for every shot in the magazine. Sweeping the trigger through a long arc performs the dual functions of bringing the hammer from down to all the way back, then releasing it to fire. Trigger pressure runs to an average of about 6 lbs. and is quite smooth. There is no manual safety. Since the gun is a DAO, which cannot be cocked, there is no need for a decocking lever. This means that the pistol’s slide is completely free of protruding levers of any kind and the receiver has only a slide lock. There is a pivoting take-down lever, but it is well forward on the left side and out of the way. These features make the pistol easy to handle, which is particularly important in high-stress situations.
The P250 follows the modern trend toward advanced ergonomics. The grip frame of the pistol is the part that contacts the shooter’s hand in the act of shooting and it gets the most design attention. Here, the P250 has the same basic shape as other SIG pistols, which is pretty good. Polymer molds are more compatible with intricate contours that would be difficult to machine out of metal. On the P250, a hammer-fired pistol, there is a beavertail grip tang to prevent the web of the shooter’s hand from riding up high enough to be struck by the hammer in full recoil. Since the gun is a DAO, there is no spur on the hammer and the beavertail can be a little shorter than it would be on other guns.
Just below the grip tang, there is a concave pocket for the web of the shooting hand. Below that, the backstrap curves out and back to form an “S” shaped rear contact surface. It transitions smoothly to the sides of the grip, which have a comfortable grained finish. Both the frontstrap and backstrap have moderately coarse square checkering for a positive grasp. The base of the trigger guard is relieved, and there are grooved trigger finger recesses on both sides of the butt. The rest of the grip frame is typical, with a generous trigger guard and an accessory rail on the dust cover. Finally, note the semi-circular recesses at the base of the grip on both sides. In the event of a Class III (feedway) malfunction, which can freeze the magazine in place, these recesses permit the handgunner to get a good grip on the base of the magazine with which to rip it out of the gun.
The P250 slide is much like earlier guns in the line, with squared and blocky contours. The front sight is dovetailed in place, but the rear sight is fixed due to its role in the slide disassembly procedure. On the sample gun, the sights have the company’s luminous SIGLITE triple-dot system with a square-notch rear and post front. Inside the slide, there is a massive extractor in the breech face, powered by a coil spring. Slides are machined from a block of stainless steel and either blackened or left in the natural color.
Most shooters will probably use the P250 system to build an ideal gun in a single caliber. But for those who live in jurisdictions that permit the purchase of only one gun in a month, this is a way to enjoy the benefits of two or three configurations at the same time.

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