The Tiniest SIG: New P290

27-Oct-10 – 01:58 by ToddG

At the IACP show, SIG put its latest pistol design on display: the subcompact P290. This hammer-fired, polymer-frame pistol weighs just over twenty ounces. Available only in 9mm, it has some sort of DAO trigger mechanism but it is unclear whether it is the much-maligned P250 action, a DAK, or something altogether new for SIG. The specification sheet at SIG’s website lists trigger pull as “N/A” with a very helpful footnote saying that spec is “approximate and subject to change.”

While the gun has a polymer frame, the side panels of the grip are interchangeable. Again according to SIG, this will “allow for customization with aluminum, wood, and polymer and can be engraved with your initials for a true customized pistol (coming soon).”

When I worked at SIG, we had a miniaturized P239 in 9mm prototype that made its way to the back room of our SHOT Show booth one year. The project got scrapped for various reasons, but the company has always wanted to break into the market segment dominated presently by Kahr. It will be extremely interesting to see whether SIG’s newest new product fares better in the marketplace than its previous polymer-framed attempts.

(photo from SIG’s website,

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 40 Responses to “The Tiniest SIG: New P290”

  2. Been waiting for one of the majors to make a PM9 competitor. For the money, Kahr kwality is hit/miss. In the meanwhile, I got a Kel-tec PF9, knowing full well the quality is low, but the customer service is high. A couple of replacement parts in the mail and good to go.

    By Dandapani on Oct 27, 2010

  3. So essentially it’s PM9, Kel Tec PF9 and Walther PPS sized? More competition in that arena can only end up being good for us consumers.

    By Jesse James on Oct 27, 2010

  4. I like the idea, but I wont hold my breath on the implementation.

    By Tom on Oct 27, 2010

  5. I am interested in this, dependent on the trigger. Lets hope they dont screw it up….

    By Nick Drakulich on Oct 27, 2010

  6. Not interested in anything from the current company that is SIG. Make mine a PPS and if somebody could make a backstrap for it with laser…..hello CrimsonTrace?

    By LittleLebowski on Oct 27, 2010

  7. Just not a big fan of little guns. No matter who makes it.

    You can hdie a lot gun in shorts, flip flops and a T-shirt.

    By Sean on Oct 27, 2010

  8. Interchangeable *side* grip panels in a single-stack self-defense plastic-fantastic? Really?

    The whole allure of a single-stack 9mm is thinness for concealability’s sake. This is one thing that Walther gets right IMO, and Kahr and now Sig get wrong. You don’t want to make a single stack gun with a slide and grip wide enough to have a double-stack mag – it’s pointless.

    By JamesF on Oct 27, 2010

  9. Almost Glock 26/H&K P2000SK size with 2/3 the capacity.
    Bigger and heavier than a PM9 with the same capacity.
    I’ll pass.

    By Jody H on Oct 27, 2010

  10. A lot of good comments, guys.

    While I certainly agree that little guns are more a crutch than a need — I’m sitting in a restaurant with my HK45 on under a polo — the market likes them. The “Kahr-killer SIG” has been something that a key SIG instructor has been pushing for many years. He’d even show up to sales meetings carrying his Kahr rather than a SIG and made no apologies about it. Some people simply don’t want to be bothered by the effort needed to set up and use the gear necessary to carry a big gun every day.

    Regarding SIG’s quality, there is no question they’ve taken it on the chin. But it has been five years since the company started down that dark and ugly path. The P250 was already more than a gleam in some idiot’s eye by then and management felt it made more sense to drive forward than start from scratch and get a couple more years behind the curve. In my mind, the P290 is sort of SIG’s chance to show us what direction it’s going in from here on out. If they engineered and build such a tiny 9mm gun that actually runs and runs well, that’s an accomplishment and sign of good things to come, hopefully.

    While the gun may be heavier and marginally bigger in some dimensions than the Kahr, the fact remains that the market has been clamoring for an alternative to Kahr for years. They talk about it on just about every forum. If SIG has a poor reputation for quality, Kahr’s is practically terminal. So if someone can deliver a Kahr-like package without the reliability and durability issues that have plagued them on and off for years, it has a real chance in the market.

    By ToddG on Oct 27, 2010

  11. Interesting Kahr vibe in this thread. While I’ve known of spotty feed issues, this is the first real malice I’ve come across. Also for the small guns generally.

    An older PM9 is my daily carry. I was happy to buy it used from a guy I shoot with so I knew it ran well. A SIG in the same category would be great for competition in the niche. Not that I’d jump ship since I found something that works for me, but new ideas are always nice.

    The PPS gets it distinctly wrong, for me, because it’s not thinner enough for the considerable extra height the barrel runs above the grip. KelTec’s option has a grip shape that feels like it’s trying to jump out of your hand on each shot. It’s thinner at the bottom than at the top. It’s like holding a water worm.

    In obtainable 9×19, in the size category, the PM9 still leads the pack. In the opinion of some guy on the internet.

    By aczarnowski on Oct 27, 2010

  12. Kahr guns are feast or famine.
    If it runs, it runs great if it doesn’t you are stuck with a paperweight.
    Combined with their erratic, inconsistent customer support it’s a crap shoot.
    Luckily both my CW9 and my PM9 run great.

    Sig on the other hand has been consistently mediocre for the past few years. Their pistols are all “off” to one degree or another. Fit, finish, durability and reliability are all in a sad state right now.
    Back that with the “old” H&K USA level of customer service and you have a guaranteed loser.

    Until Sig boots their current management and overhauls their business I won’t be beta testing any of their pistols.

    The P290 is a nice concept, but I have $100 that says it flawed… very flawed.

    By Jody H on Oct 27, 2010

  13. aczarnowski — I wouldn’t say it’s malice. But Kahr’s reputation is, as folks have said, spotty. And as Jody points out, their customer service isn’t exactly known for being best in class. But obviously there are plenty of satisfied Kahr owners, and no doubt most of them have guns that run well enough to meet their personal expectations. Nonetheless, the market has been clamoring for an alternative and now it will have one.

    By ToddG on Oct 27, 2010

  14. All of my Kahrs have been good, including the E9 that I have owned for more than ten years but they do have a spotty reputation. What makes it harder on these little guns is that the shooter has to really learn to run them well or they are useless. Much less margin for error than on a full size gun.

    By marshalldodge on Oct 27, 2010

  15. To JodyH and ToggG and the gang on this thread,

    Wow, I am glad I read this post. I was about to purchase a Sig Nitron Carry .45 instead of a XDm .45. I waffled back and forth about striker fired versus good old single action. Decided I would go with the Sig. Now JodyH says Sig quality is poor. The ones I have seen and shot were several years old but fine firearms. Any suggestions? If I am still trying to figure out whether to buy the XDm and a 1911 style pistol, ideally with a 4 inch barrel and full size slide what company should I consider? Kimber? Springfield Armory? What models? Please give me your opinions, gusy

    By Galen Gentry on Oct 28, 2010

  16. Speaking of the P250… This past weekend I was shooting with a gentleman that had just bought one in .40 S&W. It had many,many FTE’s, and an assortment of ammunition brands and bullet weights were tried, with no luck in improving reliability. Other shooter chimed in, and suggested he apply a witches brew of 2 lubricant types and lithium grease to strategic locations in the pistol. Eventually, the weapon with withdrawn from service and the shooter finished the class with a S&W .38 special revolver (that worked every time). The shooter was upset, and I think he had visions of using the P250 as a $350 boat anchor. My PT M&P 9 never missed a beat on 1,000 rds fired during 2 days.

    By FM on Oct 28, 2010

  17. it’s very interesting seeing the difference in views on pistols from you guys and us Canucks. Up here, with the exception of LE, we can’t even get guns of that size anymore, and of course, we can’t carry. However that said, I do have some small experience carrying in places I was allowed to, and a full size pistol was never an issue for me. Although I can see why a small, more concealable pistol would be advantageous in some situations. All that said, the selling points SIG is hitting on in this pistol, seem to actually be missing the mark. Bigger, heavier, and less capacity. Sounds like a marketing team dropped the ball on this one. Oh and I bet price is going to be higher too.

    By Rob Engh on Oct 28, 2010

  18. PASS. If you need a gun, you’ll need a GUN. Congrats to Todd for toting the HK in “real life”. My bug is a Rohrbaugh R9. I daily carry the Glock 27 in appendix carry with NO problems at all (in the Texas summer heat). Why anyone would place their life in the hands of “spotty” is beyond me.

    Rob Engh – So sorry to hear of your Canadian incarceration. At least they let you play hockey!?

    Todd – My shaggy will be here in just 2 more weeks. Man, it’s like having your very own space shuttle built. Seems like FOREVER!

    By Stephen on Oct 28, 2010

  19. The allure of a small single stack 9mm still exists, but the more I mess around with gun location the less I want to purchase a tiny gun that isnt as nice to shoot.

    By Tom on Oct 28, 2010

  20. yeah there is something wrong with my Canadian identity, I am not a hockey fan. Don’t watching friends play, but beyond that, no interest. Football either (CFL or NFL). If it isn’t shooting, it isn’t on my radar honestly.
    I would be interesting, once this thing hits, to see a side by side comparison of it and other small guns.

    By Rob Engh on Oct 28, 2010

  21. My primary CCW is currently a Glock 26 with a factory +2 (12+1) in a Dale Fricke Archangel appendix IWB.
    Rather than carry a spare magazine I carry a Kahr PM9 in my pocket.
    The baby Glock magazines are a bitch to fish out of a pocket or mag carrier so the PM9 is my “NY reload”.
    There is a time and place for pocket 9’s, but it’s in the BUG role not as a primary.

    Back to Sig.
    I’d have zero problem going back to my mid-90’s P225 or P228 as a daily carry pistol.
    They worked.
    There is no way I’d buy a Sig after the Kimber rejects took over the management.
    Sorry Sig… rainbow colored “custom shop” pistols that jam and break aren’t my thing.
    You know… kind of like the “custom shop” Kimbers.
    The current management ruined Kimber and are doing their best to ruin Sig.

    By Jody H on Oct 28, 2010

  22. I love enlightenment.

    By Rob Engh on Oct 28, 2010

  23. Those of us who work in a “required dress code” environment (No untucked shirts, or open long sleeved shirts, no jacket) need something to carry in a pocket or ankle holster. An IWB holster doesn’t work in any place where you have to bend or stretch a lot. The 9s have always been just too big until now.

    By Bob H on Oct 28, 2010

  24. Galen, none of the above. Stick with what you have. If you MUST have .45, the M&P or the HK45. Please erase all XD thoughts from your mind.

    By LittleLebowski on Oct 28, 2010

  25. Its nice, but its still not as light as it needs to be to successfully fill the requirements of that market niche

    By Gunmart on Oct 28, 2010

  26. I’m glad to see more competition in the 9mm carry gun market but personally not interested in this pistol. My wife and I will keep or 26/19’s for now.

    I find the bottom photo extremely disturbing as I bet it has the 250’s trigger system due to the lack of trigger when showing the grips are removable. Maybe reading to much into it thou.

    By pennzoil on Oct 28, 2010

  27. From what I’ve been hearing about SIG these days, I’d be opting for an older P239 for a single stack 9mm. Course my expeience is very limited (understatement from hell, so far I’ve got 2k or so rounds of trigger time [total] on a P229 9mm, Glock 19, and a 5″ Wilson 1911 .45 that a friend was so kind as to let me shoot) so I’ll defer to the experts on this.

    By Will on Oct 28, 2010

  28. This little gun is just not striking me as something I want to buy till I know it’s dead nuts reliable.

    I never found mid sized glocks to be that hard to hide, even in corporate wear, so I guess SIG isn’t marketing this gun toward me.

    By Mitchell on Oct 29, 2010

  29. Todd,

    Can you expound on the mini P239! That sounds like a real winner for the Sig traditionalist! Approximately what size was it? Do you think they will in fact bring it out?

    By Dave on Oct 29, 2010

  30. Yea the P239 is a great shooter but a lot of weight to lug around all day for the fire power in 9mm. Also pricey for SIG to manufacture. Glock will never ever come out with a single stack due to the BAFTE point system for imports, unless they start genuine domestic production–like Taurus did for their .380. Sig needs some original ideas. This is at least an attempt in that direction. Problem is Keltec; they have dominated this space and their pistols are really sub grade overall but ok for the price. However, take one look a the Ruger LCP runaway success (at the higher quality point and slightly higher price) and you can see that Keltec is not so desirable given their mediocrity. The PF9 could go down for the count if someone would just do it at a higher quality point in the high teens weight; however, this Sig doesn’t look like that gun due to the 20.5 ounce weight. Hell a Taurus PT111 in titanium comes in at under 19 ounces (on the scale) with mag (12 rounder). Now that’s light and makes the P239 look like a massive porker at just under 30 ounces. Let’s hope Kahr gets some competition with this gun because they are pretty overpriced and pretty uneven in quality control.

    By P30man on Oct 30, 2010

  31. Todd, I’ve read you comment several times that Sig pistols in general aren’t made to the same standards that they used to be. Can you say more specifically what has changed? I’ve read other people say they’re using cheaper parts and MIM parts and so on and that overall refinement has gone down. Does this include the old P series guns? Is that right? Is it more than that? Thanks.

    By JasonR on Oct 31, 2010

  32. From a reliable source:

    In production: no (not even close).
    Availability: SIG hopes to have it by the end of First Quarter 2011 (Think after Shot show here to see how many orders come in.)
    Price: Unknown, Kahr PM9 Price?
    Trigger Reset: Shorter than the P250–but how short?

    Now we can just wait.

    By P30man on Nov 3, 2010

  33. I’ve got the following Sigs: P226 Blackwater Tactical – 9mm, P239 – .40S&W, P229 Elite Dark – .40S&W. I regularly shoot all of the pistols and carry either the P229 or 239 on a daily basis. I can conceal the P229 under a tucked polo shirt (using a Galco Skyops holster). Granted, I’m not doing acrobatics at work but I do stand, bend, stoop, and sit throughout the day without exposing my pistol.

    I’ve got a minimum of 2,000-round through each pistol and have experienced less than five malfunctions overall – all imediately cleared with proper operator procedures. Note that all of the malfunctions were during what many oeprators consider to be the “break-in” period for each of my pistols. I’m confident that any of my pistols will function as needed during a lethal force event.

    I don’t see the quality/standards problems that others are describing above. My primary complaint about each of my Sig pistols? They don’t come, factory equipped, with a solid steel guide rod.

    To Galen Gentry: Get the Sig P220 Carry. A friend of mine carries one on a daily basis. He’s got approximately 1,500-rounds through it without any malfunctions. I also recommend either the P229 or P239 in .40S&W.

    By dan_w on Nov 3, 2010

  34. I’ve got several Sigs. Never had any problem with any of them.

    By Steve on Nov 4, 2010

  35. I have owned and shot many sigs. I had a older model p220 that I picked up for a song and a dance. At the time I thought about using it as a Duty Weapon. So, with the cheap gun I went outside of town and beat the *!#* out of it. Caked it in mud, threw it, filled it with sand, I even threw it in a puddle then ran over it with my truck! The sig ran without a hick-up. I ended up buying a new p220 the next day and have never had a problem. Nor with any sig I have bought since then. I trust my life to them! (Just so you won’t kill me for abusing the gun, I only got it for $200)

    By Mark on Nov 4, 2010

  36. well guys here in ca (ugh)we are at the mercy of the people who make our laws ccw- open cary none of this will be ok to do in ca- the gun clubs here tried to do a open cary in a park with familys and bbq then cary to a starbucks just freaked out the police- ill have to die or better yet move to a gun friendly state in order to have the right to defend myself or family– but anyway the old 90s sig 9 mm p226 still shoots a 2 inch pattern at 75 feet after all these years and no ware or anything else so did i just recieve a one in a million gun or what- (happy with my sig)

    By ronald romano on Nov 5, 2010

  37. This little 9mm sounds like an excellent backup or hideout gun. I’ve got the TCP, .380, and while it’s a fine little gun, a 9mm would definatly be better(anc cheaper to shoot) than a .380.

    I only hope SIG has a finger rest option on the P290. These little guns need that. It’s the only complaint I have with the TCP. The mag system just makes it hard to have a spare mag on you and you don’t have as much hand purchase on the gun as you could have.

    If the P290 works out (and is in stainless format) I just might retire my last Smith J .38 to the safe!

    By Paul on Nov 10, 2010

  38. It appears to me that the new SIG is only marginally smaller than the Walther PPS. The Walther has been around for a while and is for me a trusted and accurate design. The SIG is going to have to be in the field and preform flawlessly to compete with the Walther (which I own and trust completely). I’m not sure SIG isn’t too late to this game.

    By Chimbarazo on Nov 20, 2010

  39. PPS is still a bit too large overall for firepower; the 9mm can be made smaller. I’ve taken to the glock 26 at nearly the same weight. The PM9 is the obvious target that should be aimed for. But truth be told the PPS blows away the PM9 and likely the Sig for shootability.

    By P30man on Nov 22, 2010

  40. my 709 slim has been 100 percent so far. What do you guys think of it?
    How does it compare dimensionally?

    By Russ709 on Dec 9, 2010

  41. I recently purchased a Sig P290.

    When I took it to the range I was shooting 18″ low @ 20 FEET! Sent it in to Sig and they said there is nothing wrong with it. I was told that I need to use a technique called “cover the target”.
    What I want to know is WHY they marketed this handgun with a “tritium” glow in the dark sight (and it DOES) and then told if I use the “tritium” sight I will not hit the target!
    I shot 2 other guns and used 4 different kinds of ammo on this trip to the range and I had no problem using the installed sight on the other two guns to aim. My other two guns are a Glock 26 and a Springfield XD sub compact. The best of the bunch is DEFINITELY the Springfield. Unfortunately it is also the bulkiest and the heaviest of the three.
    In order to hit the center of the target I had to hold the gun at about a 15 degree upward angle so I am certain that the “cover the target” technique will also be unsuccessful. By the way, there is NO WAY to consistently hit the target when have to hold the gun at a 15 degree upward angle. I have only had one gun company that provided a gun that could not be aimed with the attached sight and that is Thompson Center. The Omega I purchased 3 years ago had a peep that could not be lined up until I purchased a NEW front sight that was a full 3/8″ higher than the original.
    I should get the Sig back this week but I had to pay $55 for shipping due to the fact that there is “nothing” wrong with the gun. It will be interesting to see if they changed something without telling me. If they did, I will be sure to let you know!

    By Bruce on Apr 16, 2012

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