Review: The SIG P210 Target

Review: The SIG P210 Target
The graceful SIG P210 pistol has been called "a tactically perfect pistol." The new P210 target is more elegant and has a greater accuracy potential.

Every once in a while, you come across a gun that speaks to you before you even shoot it. The SIG SAUER P210 Target is one of those. This single-action 9mm semiautomatic pistol grabbed my attention when I saw it several months ago at a trade show. I immediately placed an order for one, and I've been enjoying it since receiving it a month or so ago. Its sleek lines, target-style walnut grips, excellent trigger pull, and overall panache make it a special pistol. And its first-rate accuracy makes it even more special.

Features & Operation

The SIG P210 Target has a number of features common to John M. Browning's venerable Model 1911 and a few that are considerably different. For one, the slide is tucked inside the frame, similar to the CZ 75, whereas the classic Model 1911's slide goes over the frame. Many experts believe the CZ 75 style is a more solid setup, which can enhance accuracy.

Unlike a traditional Model 1911, the P210 Target does not use a barrel bushing and its recoil spring assembly is a captive unit, but it disassembles much like a Model 1911 for regular cleaning and periodic maintenance. The P210 Target's controls are located in the same places as on a Model 1911; however, the P210 does not have a grip safety.

The P210 Target disassembles much like a Model 1911, although it does not use a barrel bushing like a traditional 1911. After making certain the pistol is unloaded, retract the slide approximately a half-inch and push the slide stop from right to left out of the frame. Move the slide/barrel/recoil spring guide assembly off the front of the frame. Be aware that the recoil spring and guide are under spring tension and are not attached to the slide. Push the recoil spring assembly forward slightly and lift from the rear to remove it from the slide. Disassembling the captive recoil spring assembly is not authorized by SIG SAUER, and it can be serviced only by replacement. The barrel is removed from the slide by pulling upward slightly and to the rear. This is as far as you need to go for routine cleaning and lubrication.

Similar to the Model 1911, the P210's barrel has a "nose" on the underside that is slotted so the slide stop pin can pass through, locking it securely to the frame. In operation, during the recoil stroke, the slide and barrel are locked together for approximately a quarter-inch of rearward travel. Then the cam slot in the nose on the barrel's underlug, in conjunction with the slide stop pin, cams the barrel down to draw its locking lugs out of their grooves in the top of the slide and separates the two components. Another difference is the P210 Target's locking lug under the barrel is of the Browning Hi Power type with no swinging link.

The P210 Target comes with two eight-round magazines that have seven witness holes and removable floorplates.

The P210 Target's manual thumb safety is located in the same location as on a Model 1911, and when in the "Safe" position, both the trigger and the trigger bar are locked. Although there is an automatic disconnector mechanism, there is no grip safety.

The P210 Target's magazine release button is located in the same place on the left side of the frame as on a Model 1911. As a consequence, the new P210 Target magazines are notched to lock into the catch/release button. When the catch/release button is depressed, magazines, empty or loaded, fall away freely. Previous P210 versions had a European magazine release located at the heel of the grip frame.

The pistol's contoured and checkered target-style grips are comfortable and good looking. They wrap around the frame, leaving the checkered frontstrap open. The single-action P210 design has always been known for its excellent two-stage trigger pull. The sample pistol's pull was smooth and crisp and averaged 3 pounds, 9 ounces.

Speaking of the frame, the new P210 Target's frame is stainless steel with a matte black Nitron finish. The pistol's slide is also stainless steel with a matte black Nitron finish. SIG SAUER's Nitron finish is a thin layer of amorphous "DLC" that creates a hard protective coating and enhances lubricity (slickness). "DLC" is the acronym for Diamond-Like Carbon, and it reportedly does have some of the properties of diamonds. As one writer put it, "Although DLC appears smooth to the naked eye, it actually has the form of a microscopic cobblestone street."

One complaint about the original P210 was that its grip frame's "tang" was too short and often resulted in the hammer coming back to strike the web of the shooting hand each time it rotated rearward during the recoil stroke. The P210 Target's tang has been lengthened much like the top of a custom Model 1911's beavertail-type grip safety. Consequently, the hammer rotates back and into a rectangular notch in the top of the tang.

My sample P210 Target is 8.4 inches long and has a 5.0-inch barrel. It's 1.54 inches thick and 5.25 inches high. It weighs 36.9 ounces unloaded. The magazine well has been beveled to ease the insertion of the magazines.

The sights are a fiber-optic front post and a fully adjustable black rear. The rear sight is recessed into a raised portion of the slide.

The single-stack magazines hold eight rounds, and there are seven indicator holes on each side of the body and removable floorplates. They are marked "P210 9mm" on the left side.

The grip panels are wood with a fine checkering pattern and a satin-like finish. They are target style with comfortable contouring, and they wrap around the grip frame, leaving the checkered frontstrap exposed. The screw is a Torx type.

The two-stage P210 trigger has always been noted for its light pull weight and crisp letoff. In fact, it is a distinguishing characteristic of this magnificent handgun. My pistol's trigger pull weight averaged 3 pounds, 9 ounces.

NOTES: Accuracy is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from a sandbag benchrest. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 12 feet from the gun's muzzle.

The fully adjustable, square-notch rear sight is recessed into a raised area of the slide. Its face is all black with fine horizontal grooves. The fiber-optic front sight is dovetailed into the slide. The rear notch is 0.124 inch wide, and the front sight is 0.142 inch thick. The sight radius is 6.7 inches.

The P210 Target comes complete with two eight-round magazines, a lockable black polymer storage box, a trigger lock, a tube of gun oil, and an instruction manual. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $1,699.

Shooting Results

I put the two magazines that came with the P210 Target to good use firing the first 50 rounds offhand with SIG SAUER 147-grain JHP ammo just to get a feel for the pistol. Then I settled down behind a sandbag benchrest and began shooting five-round groups at 25 yards for accuracy with five different 9mm factory loads. Bullet weights and styles ranged from 115-grain JHP through 124-grain XTP and 135-grain FlexLock to 147-grain JHP.


This pistol produced very good accuracy; its overall average five-shot group accuracy at 25 yards was 2.54 inches. The tightest individual five-shot group I fired measured 1.08 inches. Some reviewers have reported the P210 Target is capable of 2.0-inch groups at 50 yards, but I'm a mediocre marksman, so I consider my results to be very good. Clearly, the P210 Target is a great shooting pistol.

All the ammunition performed flawlessly. There were no stoppages of any kind. Polished feedramps, which promote positive functioning, have always been a characteristic of the entire P210 series. Exceptional accuracy also has always been a characteristic of the SIG P210 series, and the new SIG SAUER P210 Target is no exception. Its accuracy can be beat only by custom-made handguns in 9mm, traditionally a difficult cartridge with which to obtain a high degree of accuracy.

This elegant pistol is destined to be a classic alongside all the previous P210 versions. It exhibits a refined, tasteful beauty, and it shoots exceptionally well.


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