SIG P290 RS Enhanced Review

SIG P290RS review

SIG SAUER makes some very reliable, very tough fighting handguns.  I’ve owned a P220 and several P226 pistols.  My final stop in my police career required I carry a P226 chambered in .40 S&W.  It never failed me.  But when it comes to subcompact pistols for backup or concealed carry, SIG SAUER is not the name that leaps to my mind.  I’ve got other guns for that.

Recently, I was given the chance to review the SIG P290 RS Extreme.  The P290 RS series is a diminutive line of pistols that share some of the look and feel of the larger P226 series of pistols.  Yet, they are small and light enough to be carried discreetly from view.  In this article, I will give you my thoughts about this pistol: what I liked, and what I did not.

Update

SIG SAUER discontinued the P290 line of pistols. In their place is a new line of pistols that are extremely popular: the P365. These 9mm pistols offer more ammunition (10+1 instead of 6+1) in a thinner package (only 1.06″ wide) with an improved trigger feel. I’d suggest taking a look at them.

The P290, Generally

The SIG SAUER P290 RS is a polymer-framed, double-action-only (DAO) pistol chambered in 9mm.  The handgun is compact and is clearly designed for concealed carry.

SIG Sauer P290RS magazineThe gun comes with two magazines: a six-round mag and an eight-round mag.  The six-round mag fits nearly flush, but has a small extension that allows for a little extra grip on the gun.  The eight-round magazine extends below the magazine well and has a short sleeve that fits over the bottom of the magazine.  The sleeve can be removed, but when in place, it does not shift or move up and down the magazine body.

With many small guns, you wind up with tiny or nearly non-existent sights.  For all but the smallest of guns, I think this is a mistake, and I prefer a gun to have useable sights.  The P290 RS comes with full-size SIGLITE night sights.  The sights are in a three-dot configuration with tritium vials for low light shooting.  I find the sights are easy to see and use.

Your experience may differ, but I have always found that SIGLITE sights are a bit weak compared to other brands of night sights.  Unfortunately, I found this to be the case on the P290 RS.  In very dark conditions, they were useable.  In low-light conditions, I didn’t think they were bright enough to make much of an improvement over plain white dots.

SIG P290 enahnced sights

The front of the rear sight has a flat front instead of a ramp.  Some folks prefer a ramp as it may be less likely to catch on a cover garment during a draw.  I prefer a flat front so I can perform one-hand reloads or an immediate action drill if needed.  This may be less important to you.

An accessory rail of sorts is under the front of the pistol.  It is not a traditional rail, but rather a hole in the frame designed for a laser aiming module sold by SIG SAUER.  The gun ships with a small rubber plug installed in the hole to prevent debris from getting into the gun.  If you buy the laser, you remove the plug and slide the module into place.

SIG Sauer P290RS

The SIG P290 that I received came with a polymer paddle holster.  The holster is a simple, open top design relying on friction to hold the gun in place.  The paddle is easy to put on, and once in position does a very good job of staying in one place.  The holster is marked “Made in Israel,” and it appears to be made by IMI Defense.

What is the RS?

In 2012, SIG SAUER revamped the P290 line and brought out the P290 RS.  The RS refers to the newer gun’s second strike, or restrike, capability.  The idea is that if a round fails to fire, the shooter can pull the trigger a second time and stands a good chance of the round being fired that time.

SIG Sauer P290 review

I’ve read research in the past that most ammunition that doesn’t fire on the first attempt, will fire the second time the pin hits the primer.  I’m a little dubious of the usefulness of the restrike capability, but several companies offer pistols with this feature.  I can see no downside to a gun having this capability, and its addition should only make the gun appealing to more people.

The RS pistols had a few other changes from the original P290 including:

  • a redesigned grip to reduce the possibility of hammer bite,
  • a redesigned magazine baseplate to include a finger groove,
  • a reshaped magazine release to help prevent unintentional dropping of mags, and
  • a reshaped slide stop lever.

SIG P290 RS enhanced holster

What’s So Enhanced?

The Enhanced version of the P290 RS pistol includes a set of G-10 grips with a green and black pattern.  I find the grip panels to be very attractive and superior to the plain black panels found on the standard version of this pistol.  I believe this is the only difference between the standard P290 and the Enhanced P290.

SIG Sauer P290 RS Specifications

model number tested290RS-9-E-BLKGRN
caliber9mm (9x19)
standard magazine capacitysix rounds
trigger typedouble-action-only
barrel length2.9"
overall length5.5"
width1.1" at widest part
weight (unloaded)20.5 ounces
sightsthree-dot night sights
grip panelsgreen and black G-10
MSRP$613.00

Range Results

Shooting the SIG P290 RS was what I expected.  Recoil was mild, even with +P+ ammo,  and accuracy was very good.  The large sights were easy to find and aligned nicely.  If you have ever shot a SIG SAUER P-series pistol, this gun will feel very similar.

I preferred shooting with the extended magazine in place.  I felt it gave me complete control of the gun at all times.  However, I was surprised how easy it was to shoot the gun with the shorter magazine.  Control was not a problem at all.

SIG P290 enhanced review

I had no malfunctions of any kind with the pistol.

My only complaint about shooting the gun is the DAO trigger.  There is no problem with the trigger or its functioning; it works fine.  I would just prefer to have the DAK (Double Action Kellerman) trigger instead.  The SIG DAO triggers tend to be smooth, but long.  The DAK is smooth, but with a shorter pull.  Having owned SIG SAUER pistols with traditional double-action/single-action, DAO and DAK triggers, I’ll take the DAK every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

SIG P290 RS Chronograph Results

 

Velocity

Energy

Remington UMC 115 gr FMJ

997 fps

253 ft-lbs

Federal 115 gr JHP +P+

1,135 fps

328 ft-lbs

Speer Gold Dot 124 gr JHP +P

1,085 fps

324 ft-lbs

Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr JHP +P

989 fps

293 ft-lbs

Winchester PDX1 147 gr JHP

874 fps

249 ft-lbs

Performance measured with a Competition Electronics ProChrono Digital Chronograph at an approximate distance of 15' from the muzzle of the pistol. All measurements are an average of five shots.

Bottom Line

The SIG P290 RS is a solid pistol.  It is thin and light enough to be carried in most CCW situations and would make a nice backup gun for a police officer or security guard.  The gun was reliable with a variety of ammo, including with several brands of self-defense hollow points.

SIG Sauer P290RS review

I would prefer a DAK trigger on this pistol, but the DAO isn’t awful.  If you like SIG SAUER handguns, and you need something small for carrying concealed, the P290 RS is a good choice.

[Editor’s note: As mentioned at the top of this SIG P290 review, the company no longer makes this handgun. I recommend taking a look at the SIG P365 line of pistols that seem to offer a lot of improvements.]

Disclosure

All of the reviews I conduct include a full disclosure of those facts that may impact my views. If you see a site that does not disclose potential biases, you should ask why.

SIG Sauer P290 for sale

The gun used in this review was a test & evaluation (T&E) P290 provided by SIG SAUER. The gun was a loaner and was shipped back to SIG after my review was written.

In addition to this review, I wrote one on this pistol for Harris Publications (now out of business) for publication in one of its magazines. While the review was different, the substance of the article was the same as were the conclusions reached about this handgun.

No money or other forms of compensation were offered by SIG SAUER to write this article. No requests were made by the company to write a positive review or to change anything in it once it was complete.

This is not a sponsored article.

SIG P290RS holster

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SIG P290RS grip panels

8 replies on “SIG P290 RS Enhanced Review”

I’ve had probably 80 or more handguns over the years. Mostly Glocks, HK’s, Sigs, XD’s, Kahrs, FNH, Smith & Wessons, and various other brands. Last summer I found a great deal on a pre-owned Smith & Wesson M&P Shield in 9mm and had to have it. It came with a holster and 5 mags. My wife and I went to the range with it and we couldn’t shoot it worth a damn so I sold it. So this week I was at a local gun store and they had a pre-owned Sig P290rs 9mm with laser and 3 mags, and the SIG paddle kydex holster for a good deal. It looks like new. Anyway. I took it to the range a couple days ago and WOW!!! I was so impressed. It was incredibly accurate for such a small gun. To give you an idea. I’m 6 feet 2 inches tall and weigh 250 lbs. Just to get used to it I only used the two shorter 6 round mags to practice, and not the longer 8 rounder. This way it forced me to get used to the better to conceal short mags. At first I was hesitant whether this would be accurate for such a small gun. I shot the target at 15 feet to get used to the gun and I was hitting dead center every shot. At first I thought I was totally missing the target on follow up shots, but it turns out my grouping was that tight. I shot it without the laser at first and the Sig sights are awesome. Then I tried it with the laser. It took about 15 minutes to get the laser dialed in, but once it was aligned it shot amazingly accurate. I did actually prefer shooting it without the laser better (as you have to use your finger to activate the button, and in a hostile situation you may not have time, or reaction to activate it). I have a couple Glocks with Crimson Trace lasers on the grips and they seem to be much more accurate, and you don’t actually have to think about pushing any buttons to turn them on or off since you use the grip to activate them, although I need to give this one more range time. I think this gun is a keeper for those times when I can’t carry my Glock 26 Gen 4. This Sig will be a great appendix, or ankle carry gun. I currently have 4 other Sigs in my collection right now and this one will be right there with the others for quality and ability to hit the targets on point.

Totally agree with your assessment. Enjoyed mine from the get-go, no failures with ANY ammo and accurate. Yes, LONG trigger pull and reset, not a deal breaker by any means but when/if there is as upgrade, especially on reset I’m in.
Tip, you can buy rubber erasers at any office supply store. Get the hardest ones. Trim them to fit the bottom of the magazine base plate. Drill a hole through it to line up with the hole in the mag bottom. Super Glue pad to bottom of mag. Instant pinky rest.

I am a female who carries concealed and have this gun in particular for nearly six years and absolutely love it. I have had a couple of name but nothing major and nothing that the restrike didn’t take care of. I love this gun and would recommend it to anyone and everone, male or female, when I’m not carrying it on my person I’ve got in my backpack as my backup to my Smith & Wesson M&P 40c, which is my other love.

Thanks for the positive reinforcement had mine for a couple of years and have not have time to take to range.

Ive owned and still do most of the small single stack 9mm pistols on the market . I find the smaller pistols much easier to conceal and carry all the time regardless of the season or clothing . Most all have reasonable accuracy for what they are intended (10 yds or less) . But the Sig 290 RS has impressed me with the most consistent accuracy and total reliability regardless of the ammunition it was fed . I have over 1000 rounds thru my 290 without a failure and it still marches on with weekly range use . I carry this pistol daily and it is tank tough . The trigger pull has improved with constant use and I don’t even notice the DAO pull and reset . The 2nd strike capability has been appreciated when using range ammo . At 25 yards the little pistol can deliver consistent head shots on the range targets . I actually shoot this pistol better than my striker fired little guns . I would recommend the pistol to all looking for a small dependable carry pistol . PS the factory supplied holster is worthless .

This was the last gun I purchased going into retirement as a peace officer in late 2012. I bought it direct from a sig law enforcement representative along with a 238 for a smaller gun for summer. I have shot for qualifying now every year since with this one and I can see no reason to change. It is a bit heavy but shoots the issued Rangers fine, and carries well in a inside the waist holster. It is not perfect as it is heavy in dress pants or shorts and has a double action revolver trigger pull. But that is okay for me as that is what I carried for over 15 years before we switched to autos. Overall this gun fits what I do very well and i will be keeping it around. Hope this helps someone

Like the above comments are saying, the gun is very accurate and dead reliable. The DAO trigger does take some getting used to, but once you do it’s not that bad of a trigger. The long reset is what folks are going to struggle with at first, but keep shooting it and you’ll become accustomed to it. This gun works well for hip or appendix carry but is a little heavy for ankle or pocket carry (20oz before you load it.).
Sig Sauer makes some fine weapons and the P290s followes that tradition. I bet my life on it.

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