What is the most accurate 9mm Parabellum pistol in the world?
Some gun experts say it’s the German-made Walther P88. Others – particularly Massad F. Ayoob – say it’s the German-made Heckler & Koch (HK) P9S. And still others – probably at least a plurality of the experts – will go with the “Swiss watch” 9mm semiautomatic pistol, the SIG P210.
Well, I don’t expect to settle that debate here and now, especially with the P88 and P9S having been discontinued several years back, but I can at least still give the P210 a fair shake.
A Brief History of the SIG Sauer P210
The original SIG P210 was designed in 1947 and produced by SIG (Schwizerische Industrie Gessellschaft) from 1949 to 2005; during the first eight years of production, it was marketed to civilians as the SP47/8. In 1949, the gun was adopted as the standard-issue sidearm of the Swiss Army. The sidearm held that slot until 1975 when it was replaced by the SIG Sauer P220. Remarkably, the pistol remains standard issue for Danish Defence (Forsvaret).
Eventually the gun was resurrected, starting with the P210 Legend courtesy of SIG Sauer GMBH of der Deutschland in 2010, followed by the P210A’s introduction by American subsidiary SIG Sauer Inc. of Exeter, New Hampshire in 2017, and the P210 Carry in 2022.
The P210A Target version is what I tested for this article. As the manufacturer’s website proudly proclaims: “The P210 Target takes the precision of its 1947 Swiss predecessor and greets it with new sleek, custom walnut target grips, a precision-machined stainless steel slide and frame, and a lightweight target trigger. These updated features pay homage to the original craftsmanship and bring it to a more competitive target shooting level.”
Other improvements include an extended thumb safety that’s been relocated to a position more akin to that of the M1911 and Browning Hi-Power and replacing the European-style butt-heel release with the American-stye push-button.
Personal Shooting Impressions (Mine and a Buddy’s)
My impression of the gun at the time was good but not spectacular. In addition, I, along with my USC and fellow Federal law enforcement veteran buddy “Wrecks” found the butt-heel magazine release extremely stiff to operate. But in fairness and objectivity, to reiterate what I’d noted in that previous review, LAGC is only a 50-foot range, which inherently limited my ability to do a true extensive test of the gun’s long-distance dialing (so to speak) ability, and moreover, LAGC’s specimen had quite a bit of wear & tear on it. (Cue Indiana Jones: “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”
A more recent assessment at the Silver Eagle Group (SEG) in Ashburn, Virginia, whereupon not only was I able to get ahold of a newer and less beat-up rental P210, but I was also able to get it a more genuine test of its accuracy potential, i.e. at 75 feet (25 yards). Quite frankly, I was hoping to book one of SEG’s 150-foot (50-yard) lanes those were booked up.
This time I did all my shooting from 75 feet, with a 50-round box of Speer Lawman 124-grain total metal jacket (TMJ), with the ammo allotment divvied evenly into torso shots and head shots.
It is said that an ideal SA trigger on an autopistol should have a crispness that feels like “breaking a glass rod,” and the P210 certainly met that standard, which definitely helps promote optimal accuracy. At 25 yards, my right-hand/left-eye cross-dominance got the best of me, throwing my first magazineful leftward into the C- and D-zone of the USPSA/IPSC practice target, but after taking “Kentucky windage,” I put 14 out of the remaining 16 torso shots into the A-zone. Moving onto head shots, six missed altogether, 10 took the B-zone, and nine nailed the A-zone box. The misses were definitely MY fault and NOT the gun’s fault.
Joining me for this range outing was my shooting buddy Dr. Murray Bessette, current vice president of education for Washington DC’s Common Sense Society (previously holding a similar position with Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation). Doc Bessette assessed the P210 thusly: “The SIG was one of the nicest pistols I’ve ever shot. The slide mechanism was smooth as silk, and the weight of the trigger pull just right. I found the sight picture intuitive, which aided accuracy.”
Definitely a highly satisfactory shooting experience.
Christian D. Orr is a Senior Defense Editor for 19FortyFive. He has 34 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.