While SIG SAUER pistols are often the choice of Federal law enforcement and U.S. Military personnel, the company also enjoys significant and well-earned popularity among civilian shooters. Those interested in concealed carry and personal protection have a newly redesigned pistol to consider, the SIG P290RS.
This sub-compact, hammer-fired, double-action-only, semi-automatic, short-recoil-operated pistol is chambered for the 9 mm Luger cartridge with six-round magazine capacity. SIG SAUER has made several improvements over previous iterations of this model, most significantly a restrike capability, thus the “RS” designation. The pistol has a full double-action design so that each squeeze of the trigger will cock and release the hammer for a full strike on the firing pin. This allows for an easy double-strike capability in case of a light primer hit or a hard primer.
Other new features include an extended beavertail frame, minimizing the risk of hammer bite or slide interference, a reconfigured slide stop/release, a smaller and redesigned magazine release and a finger extension magazine base for a firmer hold.
The sample pistol’s stainless-steel slide was black Nitron finished, but the gun is also available in its natural stainless coloring. There is an external extractor on the right side of the slide but no loaded-chamber indicator. The white three-dot sights are dovetailed into the slide and are drift-adjustable. SIG SAUER also provides different height front and rear sights for elevation adjustments. The test pistol’s sights were centered for windage and fired just slightly below point of aim at the 7-yard aiming distance.
As befits a discreet defensive pistol, the P290RS comes standard with SIGLITE Night Sights, which are visible in low-light conditions. While there is no accessory rail on the dust cover, there is a rubber plug that is easily removed and accommodates an optional integrated laser module.
The pistol does not use a barrel bushing but instead the front of the nearly 3-inch carbon-steel barrel is flared to create a tight lockup with the slide’s front. The guide rod is polymer and features dual-nested recoil springs as is common with many sub-compact pistols.
The pistol’s frame is constructed of black polymer. The frontstrap, backstrap and the side panels feature aggressive texturing for increased purchase. The grip panels are interchangeable for a custom appearance with the easy removal of a cross pin. Several options are available including different colors as well as wooden panels. The bottom of the magazine well features cutouts to make magazine removal easier should it be necessary.
The double-action steel trigger is extremely smooth with only a slight takeup and measured an average of close to 8 pounds, 8 ounces on the sample pistol. The steel, triangular-shaped magazine release is on the left side of the frame. An extended, fully functional steel slide stop/release on the left side of the frame locks the slide open after the last round or on an empty magazine.
Two magazines are included, the standard six-round magazine with a very slight finger extension polymer floor plate and an eight-round extended magazine with a wraparound polymer finger extension that provides a full-size pistol handhold. The extended grip on the eight-round magazine also matches the texturing pattern on the grip panels.
There is no external mechanical safety, but the P290RS does include a firing pin safety block that blocks the firing pin from any forward movement unless the trigger is depressed. An internal disconnector also prevents the hammer from falling and striking the firing pin unless the slide is completely in battery. The pistol does not have a magazine disconnect safety.
Disassembling the P290RS is simple. First ensure that the pistol is unloaded by removing the magazine and clearing the chamber, then retract the slide until the slide stop tab and slide notch are aligned. The slide stop can be removed by pressing on the opposite side of the stop pin until it clears the barrel underlug and then allowing the slide to ride forward off the frame. The slide stop does not need to be completely removed in order for the slide to be taken off from the frame. Once the slide and frame are separated, the non-captive recoil spring, guide rod and barrel can be detached.
The SIG P290RS fit the hand well and was very controllable and easy to fire on the range. Accuracy testing conducted at 7 yards proved it was capable of producing respectable groups, especially given its intended use. The smallest group measured a scant 0.73 inches, while the largest went to 2.44 inches. There were zero malfunctions during the evaluation phase.
With the P290RS SIG SAUER offers an affordably priced 9 mm Luger handgun that is optimally sized for concealed carry, yet it gives up nothing with regard to the quality and performance shooters have come to expect from the New Hampshire gunmaker.