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  1. #1
    Sharpshooter Dave Doehrman's Avatar
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    Aug 2010
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    New Pocket Pistol - Sig P290 vs P238

    For the past 18 months Iíve been carrying a Sig P238 in .380 as my pocket gun. The 238 is accurate, compact and conceals well in my front or hip pocket. The 238 is surprisingly accurate and reliable. I liked my original Nitron model so well that I bought one with the Rainbow Titanium finish when I saw one in the display case. I had no plans on replacing my pocket gun until I got a phone call the other day letting me know they just got in a Sig P290 in 9 mm. I went down to the shop just to look at the new piece and to be honest, I wasnít too impressed just looking at the 290. The 238s are the 1911 style, single action, cocked and locked type handguns. The new 290 reminded me of a baby Glock.

    Once I picked up the 290 and held it for a while , it started to feel a little better than it looked. I compared the physical size of the 290 against my 238 and found they were almost the same size. The first photo shows the 238 placed on top of the 290.








    I decided to buy the 290 to add to my collection and took it home for the initial take down and cleaning. Right away I hated the take down procedure. The slide has to be pulled back almost all the way to the rear for the notch in the slide to align with the boss on the take down lever. It takes both hands to get the slide and take down lever aligned, but then you have to push the lever out with a punch or similar tool. It was difficult to get the lever out without assistance. Once I got the 290 disassembled I was impressed with the design and machining. The barrel walls are quite thick and the front of the barrel has a tapered cone that aligns the barrel with the slide in the closed position. Reassembly was much easier than take down. Inserting the locking pin was much easier than removal.

    I took the 290 to the range and was immediately impressed with the handling and accuracy of the gun. The muzzle flip wasnít bad at all, recoil was manageable and the DAO trigger broke smoothly. I didnít measure the pull on the trigger but it felt clean and crisp. I fired 50 rounds of range ammo and then fired 20 rounds of Federal 124 grain HYDRA-SHOK. The gun functioned flawlessly with both brands of ammo. I shot much tighter groups at 25 feet with the Federal ammo. For a pocket gun, this thing was actually fun to shoot.

    Before I left the range I picked up an Uncle Mikeís #3 pocket holster. Itís not a perfect fit, but it will do until I can find a decent leather wallet holster. Carrying in my hip pocket while driving feels a little different than my 238, but the 238 has the leather backing pad on my DM Bullard holster. The 290 is thicker than the 238, but not by much.





    Overall I was impressed with the new P290. I would still prefer a manual safety on a pocket gun, but encased in a good holster an ND shouldnít be an issue. The P290 only comes with 1 magazine, but the P238s only come with one as well. I still need to fire a couple hundred more rounds through the 290, but the advantages of a 9 mm over a .380 in the same size package will probably convince me to make this my full time pocket piece.
    Home Is Where You Dig It - Khe Sanh 67-68
    http://www.khesanh.com

  2. #2
    Plinker anthony010's Avatar
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    I carry a Crimson Carry Ultra but have been looking for something smaller in a 9mm that would fit in a my pocket or not print as much. Where did you purchase your p290?
    Kimber Crimson Ultra
    Taurus PT1911 AL
    Mossberg 500 HD
    Stoeger O/U

  3. #3
    Sharpshooter Dave Doehrman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by anthony010 View Post
    I carry a Crimson Carry Ultra but have been looking for something smaller in a 9mm that would fit in a my pocket or not print as much. Where did you purchase your p290?
    H&H Firearms in Fort Wayne. They still had one in the display case last night.
    (260)483-9135 ask for Matt

    I don't know, but 21st Century in Bluffton might be a good place to check.
    (260)824-5530

    21st is an advertiser here
    Home Is Where You Dig It - Khe Sanh 67-68
    http://www.khesanh.com

  4. #4
    Plinker
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    what is H&H asking for one?

  5. #5
    Expert rugertoter's Avatar
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    Nice gun. I have not been in H & H in a long time. I read an article on the P290 and it seems to be pretty favorable about the gun. I have not even seen any anywhere else though. The P238 is an excellent piece, but I am with you on the 9mm for more muzzle energy into the intended target. I would probably go with the DAO gun myself. Nice Pictures and good write up on your informal review.
    The unarmed man is not only defenseless - he is also contemptible.

  6. #6
    Sharpshooter 686 Shooter's Avatar
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    Good choice on the 290, I bought one also, my only complaint is, it is so new that I am having trouble finding the necessities to carry, a decent holster, a spare magazine, laser (just kidding about the laser, but I would like to get one). It seems to be a very nice gun, I think I will really like mine. A lot of people have been critical of the Sig's DAO trigger pull, I must be used to it from shooting revolver, because it doesn't feel that bad. I don't shoot a lot of rapid fire, I'm usually very deliberate with my shots, maybe that is why I don't notice the long trigger pull. In any case, I think the 290 is a very good addition to Sig's line of pistols.

  7. #7
    Plinker Nsw550's Avatar
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    Great write up. I like that 290!

  8. #8
    Expert LLDJR's Avatar
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    Very interesting, the side by side looks just like my Kahr PM9 on the P238

    NRA Life Member

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