Writen by Peter Jordan
|What does a polymer Glock fan,
think of the new polymer Sig Pro, also known as the Sig SP2340? Lets find out.
It's fairly common for new models to get snubbed by consumers. After all, it took time for some of our most highly respected pistols to be accepted, such as the original Colt 1911, as well as the early Glocks and Classic Sigs, etc.
Apparently there are two main Sig camps: the Traditional/Classic Sig Fans with their fancy decocking lever, and the new Polymer Sig Rebels. Some people actually think that durable polymer pistols are just plain crap. Well, let's set some things straight.
First of all, whether some people like it or not, there is a very strong mass appeal for well made polymer. Just look at Glock history for an example.
Second of all, unless the Sig traditionalist wants a beloved *antique* from a company that is no more, then he/she better start supporting Sig's decision to market both the classic and new polymer models. It's a vicious competition war out there.
Therefore, next time someone expresses an interest in polymer, despite all of your classic Sig logic to the contrary, then graciously point to the Sig polymer line! Get it! <G>
Sig Arms picked up a healthy SP2340 Federal contract with the DEA, which could have piggybacked to the FBI Glock order if they had wanted to. Other agencies are also beginning to use the new kid on the block. So the Sig future is looking promising.
A Touch of Personal History:
Since 1993, I've been a big Glock fan. I've also dabbled in other brands and models before and after this date. For example: Sig P229, HK USP 40/45, Beretta Brigadier 96, various Colt 1911 models, Ruger, AMT, early S&W 9mm autos, etc.
When the Sig Pro first came out, I wasn't impressed and ignored it. Even the Sig-l Internet group knocked the new polymer kid on a regular basis. I slowly started hearing a few people say some good things about the Sig Pro. At any rate, I decided to take another look.
My corroded Glock mind thought, "Obviously, I like polymer based pistols, since they hold up better than alloy frame pistols in general. And they can be a lot lighter, as well as less expensive." Polymer pistols may tend to feel slightly top heavy when compared to all-metal pistols. But that's very easy to get used to, especially when you find out how well they function.
So I went into one of my favorite gun shops and fiddled with a Sig Pro. The sales person let me disassemble it; he looked pretty bored with me as a customer.
The Sig Pro felt good in my hands, and it really looked good.
I especially liked the modular grips for various sized hands. The rubber grip felt too big in my hand. I can see that pistol grip manufacturers may have fun with this model. Both grips felt very solid and unless you knew it, the grip felt like a permanent part of the frame. By the way, I had to use a wide slotted screwdriver to pop the grip off; that grip is made to stay on once you install it.
When I disassembled the pistol, I was pleasantly surprised. Everything about the pistol is beefed up, like the pins and springs, and it has tight tolerances. The rails are down right awesome; one writer stated that you could hold up a bridge with 'em.
Sig SP2340 Specifications:
Overall length: 7.36"
Overall height: 5.67"
Overall width: 1.34"
Barrel length: 3.86"
Rifling Lead: 14.96/.40 S&W; 15.98"/357 Sig
No. of grooves: 6
Sight base: 5.90"
Weight including magazine: 30.2 oz.
Trigger DA pull: approx. 9.5 lbs.
Trigger SA pull: approx. 4.5 lbs.
Magazine capacity: 10 (12 for Law enforcement)
No Manual Safety on the Sig Pro:
With the 1911 single action style pistol, a manual safety is a *requirement* to carry it safely. With newer types of pistols like Glocks and Sigs, the built in safeties render a manual safety unnecessary. If there were a law to require a manual safety on a Glock or Sig, it would be the height of naivete, and actually, very embarrassing.
But a second reason for the manual safety has arisen. There have been times when a manual safety has saved someone's life from a perpetrator who pulled the trigger and nothing happened. Then again, there are known cases where a manual safety has gotten a person in trouble because he/she forgot to take the safety off.
If you want to think of a manual safety as a security lock, fine. Just remember that it is a simple toggle switch, which can be figured out pretty easily. Are you willing to gamble your life and possibly others, that someone who takes your gun won't know the simple combination to your toggle switch, also known as a manual safety? The better technique is to develop excellent retention and storage skills.
1911 fans have to remember to thumb the manual safety, and Sig owners have to remember to decock the hammer before reholstering. On the other hand, Glock owners, as well as all pistol owners for that matter, must keep their finger off the trigger until they are actually going to shoot, otherwise there are bound to be unintentional discharges.
What does all this mean? Training!
When you get right down to it, none of these trigger systems is better than any other. There are still other trigger styles that I haven't mentioned here. One particular trigger system might seem better to someone simply because of personal preference. But the bottom line is that you have to train accordingly with the particular type of trigger system you choose.
You'll find pistol experts in each of the above mentioned trigger disciplines.
Personally, I like double action systems because they are the easiest to use, for me, under stress. My favorite double action tools are the 3-point safety system Glocks and the 4-point safety system Sig Pros. My favorite DA/SA tool is the Sig Pro. My favorite SA tool is the HK USP since it incorporates 1911 style features, such as the frame mounted manual safety, etc. The main things all these models have in common is that they're well made, they're polymer, and the price is right.
Wow! The barrel is fully supported. For a .40 fan, this is fantastic news. I measured some fired Sig Pro brass (from my initial break-in session -- see below) and was pleasantly surprised that the brass expanded to around .427 to .428, which is fairly close to some of the match barrels I've used in other pistols. As a comparison, my HK USP40 expanded the brass to around .429 to .430 (a little sloppier, but not bad). But my Glock was just plain bad, as in literally bad expanding and trashing the brass to .431 to .432 or so; thats twice as much as the Sig Pro, assuming that new brass measures around .422.
A reloader like myself doesn't want to see over-expansion of the brass, since the brass won't last as long and can be downright dangerous to use, as in kB! (that's kaBoom! or Case Failure in glock-eese; a word coined by the Dr. of Gun World Intelligencia, Dean Speir, famous Gun Magazine Writer and the primary author of the famous Glock kB! Faq). Frankly, even a person that just shoots factory ammo shouldnt want to take a chance with over expanding the brass in a sloppy unsupported chamber; Buyer Beware!
The Sig Pro appears to have an excellent positive slide lock-up. You should not see off center primer strikes or have problems firing out of battery with this model. In fact, the disconnector prevents an out-of-battery discharge.
This pistol is really built solid. The Sig Pro has fewer parts, long lived and flexible polymer, removable one piece fire-control unit for easily switching between DAO or DA/SA, four point safety system, reversible magazine release, modular grips, integral accessory rails, non snag design, beefed up pins, beefed up springs, beefed up slide rails, etc. This pistol is built to be tough, long lasting, and have low maintenance.
The new Nitron impregnated stainless steel slide seems to be a lot better than my old P229 setup. The fact that the Sig Pro costs an average of $200 less than the P229 doesnt hurt either <g> In Fact, My Sig Pro and Glock 35 purchase prices were within $20.00 of each other.
Since Sig wanted to create a new generation polymer pistol, they couldnt just clone their P229, using the same mags, etc. Compromised creations seldom excel! I believe Sig did the right thing to make the best of a new breed. In fact, when you look at the Sig Pro, it is not immediately evident that it is even a polymer pistol --- Yes, it really looks and feels that good.
I heard from one gun writer that the Sig Pro held up very well with some European torture testing.
Mike Boyle mentioned that the DEA tested three SP2340 pistols and fired 10,000 rounds through each one. The SP2340 was subsequently approved for use by DEA agents.
Since the Sig Pro was introduced in June 1998, there has been enough time for a number of holsters to be made available. Ill mention the only ones Im familiar with at the moment, but please feel free to contact your favorite holster company for inquiries. In Mike Boyles article, he mentioned using the Alessi CQC-S (Close Quarters Covert-Snap) belt holster and the Super Slide from FIST. Im using the Blade-Tech belt holster as well as their new UCH IWB (Ultimate Concealment Inside-the-Waist-Band) holsters.
I have found the SP2340 to be quite easy to conceal with various holsters, whether its IWB, shoulder rig, or even a t-shirt holster. If you want something to fit in your pocket, then the SP2340 is not the pistol for your purpose. But it is an excellent pistol for almost any kind of holster you can imagine.
At the Range:
I took the Sig Pro to the range to shoot 250 break-in rounds. The gun functioned flawlessly with 0 failures. Just make sure the pistol is cleaned and properly lubed before firing it for the first time.
I frankly couldn't believe it. Even with its short sight radius, compared to my Long Slide Glock 35, it shot just as accurately, maybe even better. It was common to share the same ragged hole in the target within 21 feet.
Sig Bar/Dot sights:
Ive been using 3-dot sights for years and the Sig bar-dot/dotted-I sights bothered me when I first got my new SP2340. After giving it a fair chance for a few weeks, I grew to like the doted-I style the best. In fact, I found that I had less of a problem shooting with both eyes open since the eyes dont have to triangulate on three dots. I just ordered a Trijicon front night sight so I can shoot better in low light situations.
As a comparison, I like the double-action 'safe action' trigger system on Glocks. But once again, I was pleasantly surprised with the Sig Pro. The first double-action trigger pull seemed light, smooth, and crisp, approx. 9.5 lbs. When the adrenaline hits the blood stream, I can't tell the difference between a 2-lb. trigger pull or a 20 lb. one. The single-action trigger seemed light and crisp, at around 4.5 lbs.
The initial Glock trigger pull has a lot of slack until you get to the tension point; From there, it feels pretty much like a single action trigger. With its short trigger reset, you don't have to let the trigger out very far to squeeze off the next shot.
In contrast, the Sig Pro has a nice smooth double action trigger pull that is very easy to master. The single action mode feels fairly similar to a Glock, in the sense of having a short trigger reset. In other words, Sig did a great job.
Trigger Lubrication Tip:
I noticed that my .40 2340 had a very crisp trigger while my 357 Sig 2340 trigger felt a little gritty and stacked up at the end of the trigger pull. I took the grip off to see if it looked dirty. Nope. (If it were dirty, I would have swished the frame around in some paint thinner, dried it, and relubed it.) So I pulled out some Tetra Lube, which penetrates very nicely into the surface. I lubed up everything in the grip area as well as the long trigger bar. I put the pistol back together and the 357 Sig 2340 now has a nice crisp, trigger pull.
Mike Boyle timed some double taps at an IPSC target set at seven yards. The goal was to shoot as fast as possible and still get the rounds into the coveted A-zone. Mike shot ten double-tap pairs and was able to fire from Weaver Ready in .85 of a second, with a .21-second split between shots on the average. Performance was equal or superior to other pistols chambered for high performance cartridges.
If you are used to riding your thumb high, you'll have to change your style when shooting the Sig Pro. The thumb should ride below the slide stop and decocking lever so you don't gouge yourself, or cause a jam.
I was amazed again. The felt recoil was less than my Glock 35, even though they weigh roughly the same. The Glock felt like it had a bit more vibration and twist during the firing sequence. On the other hand, the Sig Pro felt very solid and had a bit more muzzle rise, although it returned to position instantly. So in this case, I'd say that the higher bore axis of the Sig Pro is a moot point.
Sig Pro in 357 Sig Caliber:
From another perspective, Mike felt that the 357 Sig, which averages 38,000 psi, is no more abusive than the .40 S&W. He qualifies the report as sharp, somewhat similar to a 38 Super, but not quite as distracting as a .357 Magnum revolver. Mike also felt the SP2340 will prove to be one of the better bullet launchers for this round.
If youre not a dedicated pistolero, or dont want to put up with the extra 357 Sig full power jolt, you might just want to look at the new Sig Pro SP2009 in 9mm Luger format. Or, and I think very importantly, you can also use lightly loaded 357 Sig rounds, which I often do at the range, to emulate the mellow 9mm Luger round, for the purpose of saving my hand from getting sore from shooting a few hundred rounds.
Yeah Baby! The extremely efficient, bottlenecked 357 Sig is so "flexible" that it can be downloaded to feel like a typical 9mm round or it can be juiced up to a 357 Magnum equivalent, according to exterior ballistics, using bullet weights from 90 grains to 150 grains!
Some typical Full Power velocities using one of my favorite 357 Sig powders, Alliant Blue Dot, from a 4" barrel (barrel measurement includes chamber):
(Obviously, a longer 5" barrel or more, can increase velocities substantially. Maximum SAAMI psi for the 357 Sig is rated at 40,000. Since the case is more beefed up than the .40 S&W case, the maximum pressure is not an issue.)
If you would rather compare pistols, then Mike said the SP2340 can produce slightly tighter groups with less perceived recoil than the P239, and is just as accurate as his P220 in 38 Super.
Mike sums it up nicely: "Even when firing the high energy .357 SIG, felt recoil was negligible. You know youre shooting something with a little more pizzazz than a 9mm, but when one considers that external ballistics are on par with a .357 Magnum, felt recoil transmitted to the shooting hand is mild indeed. In fact, push is definitely less than our P239 .357 SIG we used for comparison. There is a more pronounced muzzle flip than a 9mm for example, but this is easily managed. With a proper grip and stance, this should not prove to be much of a handicap to a seasoned shooter."
The SP2340 Magazine:
The first generation SP2340 magazine had a tendency for the base plate to come off. Sig fixed this problem. The second generation magazine holds together nicely and thats the current version as I write this review.
The magazine is labeled for both .40S&W and 357 Sig. An empty magazine drops free very cleanly. But, if you load up the magazine and rack the slide, the magazine is no longer drop-free in the strict sense of the word. Reason: the next round on top of the magazine "can" slip forward slightly. It doesnt matter if you bang your loaded magazine to seat the rounds first. I called Sig Arms and they bluntly told me this is an engineered feature. It does not adversely affect the cycling of the Sig Pro.
For an IPSC shooter, not using a drop free magazine is anathema. The Sig Pro is not a true IPSC pistol with a 2-3 lb. single action trigger pull housed in a lightning fast trick holster. While IPSC isnt great for learning life saving tactical skills, it is good for practicing speed and accuracy, as well as having lots of fun.
My drop-free Glock magazines are more like drop-slow magazines. So I usually reach up and rip the Glock magazine out when I press the magazine release. Because of the Sig magazine feature mentioned above, you have to rip the Sig Pro magazine out as well.
For IDPA tactical shooting, you usually shoot until the slide locks back or you do a tactical reload. In this kind of defensive practical/tactical shooting, a drop free magazine is not critical.
After breaking in the Sig Pro at the range and breaking it down for cleaning a few times, it becomes a lot easier to work with. The pistol is kind of tight when you first get it. I have to admit that I sure miss the traditional takedown lever of the classic Sig's. Apparently, because of the mechanics of how the barrel cam works, Sig engineers opted to use the more common slide catch lever takedown method used by many other auto pistols.
In order to take down the pistol for maintenance, you have to take the magazine out and lock the slide back. This pretty much forces even the most dense owner to look into the chamber to make sure it's empty --- I like this safety feature a lot.
Another complaint from the Traditional Sig owners is that the decocking lever on the Sig Pro isn't as nice as the one on the classic models. Well, "I know you are, but what am I?" Classic or not, the Sig Pro decocking lever works fine, especially after it is broken in. In fact, the Sig Pro may be a little more snag free because of its recessed decocker and slide catch lever.
I don't have any chronograph data on the Sig Pro yet. So I'm quoting from Sig Pro SP2340 articles written by Walt Rauch and Mike Boyle. In Walts article, his last paragraph states: "Both calibers [357 Sig and 40 S&W] performed at a high accuracy level as shown in the accompanying tables and were very pleasant to shoot. In fact, I found the .40S&W version to be the most accurate polymer-frame handgun in .40 caliber that I've shot to date."
(Charts Note: 5 shot groups at 25 yards)
As an aside, I may eventually order 5" - 5.25" 357 Sig/.40 S&W barrels, so the pistols will just barely fit into the IPSC box. Then I can more easily make Major Power Factor with lower pressures. A Bar-Sto rep told me that he already is working on prototype Sig Pro barrels in standard and extended lengths --- expect Sig Pro barrels from Bar-Sto this summer, '99.
If I understand the current IPSC rules, I'd have to shoot the 357 Sig in the Minor Power category for the Limited Class. But If I can make Major in the Open Class, I'm good to go. Currently the only exception I know of is that the 357 Magnum can shoot Major Power in the Limited Class, even though it's smaller than the minimum 10mm size bullet. Since the 357 Sig has the external ballistics of the 357 Magnum, then maybe, eventually ..... :)
Why consider a Sig Pro:
The Sig Pro/Sig SP 2340 is the smallest, big pistol that you can pleasantly shoot full powered 357 Sig and .40 S&W ammo through, without being concerned about recoil, as well as providing excellent accuracy and durability. I take my hat off to Sig Engineering.
A new generation polymer pistol is here, and it's a Sig Pro. Sig Arms summed it up well when they said the following about the new polymer Sig Pro: "Its the only polymer-frame pistol good enough to be a SIG".
Addendum (SP2340 Versus P229):
I've had two P229's. But I like my Sig Pro better. Why:
Yes, I still love the classic, flexible P229 with its amazing take-down and decocking levers. May the classic Sigs and Sig Pro polymer line live in peace <g>
Guns & Weapons for Law Enforcement: "New Sig Arms sig pro .357SIG" by Mike Boyle; 1999 Law Enforcement Equipment Guide.
1999 Annual Handguns: "A Radical New Sig" by Rich Savage; magazine displayed until April, 1999.
American Guardian: "Sig Pro SP2340" by Walt Rauch, April, 1999.
Sig Arms Product Portfolio, 1999.
Writen by Peter Jordan
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