SIG P290 RS Enhanced 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 traditionally 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 Enhanced. 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.

Fate of the P290 RS

Since I wrote this review, SIG SAUER discontinued the P290 line. You can sometimes pick one up used through our affiliate link to Guns.com.

However, SIG stayed in the compact pistol market with a pistol I think is superior: the P365. They are smaller, lighter and hold more ammunition. While the P290 and P365 are both compact pistols, they are very different and not similar at all. I encourage you to check them out through one of our affiliate links:

Palmetto State Armory
Guns.com

General Details of the P290

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.

the sig P290 used in this review

The 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.

SIG SAUER P290 review

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.

SIG P290 night sights

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 sauer P290 rear sight

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.

SIG P290 with Hornady ammo and magazine

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.

field stripping the P290 for cleaning

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.

SIG P290 holsters

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.

restrike capability demonstrated

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.

P290 with extended magazine inserted

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.

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.

P290 grip texture

In addition to the G10 panels, SIG uses an aggressive texture on the polymer frame to help you hold the pistol. The texture is located on the front and rear portions of the grip. I found it worked well to help lock the pistol into my hand.

SIP P290 grip panel in G10 laminate

P290 Magazines

The P290 shipped with two magazines standard: a flush-fitting 6-rounder and an extended magazine. The extended magazine held 8 rounds and included additional real estate to improve you hold of the gun.

SIG P290 magazines

Original SIG P290 magazines are no longer manufactured by the company. However, ProMag currently makes aftermarket magazines for the pistol. You can purchase a flush-fitting 6-round magazine or a 10-round extended magazine through these affiliate links to GunMagWarehouse. I’ve made many purchases from them, and I am exceptionally pleased with their prices and shipping times.

hand fit with an extended magazine
With the extended magazine, I was able to get a full grip on the pistol.

In these photos (above and below,) you can get a feel for how much hand can fit on the pistol with each magazine seated.

showing the P290 hand fit with normal magazine
With the flush-fitting magazine, my pinky had no purchase on the grip.

Specifications

Here are the specifications on the SIG P290 RS Enhanced:

Model Number Tested290RS-9-E-BLKGRN
Caliber9mm (9×19)
Magazine Capacity6, 8 (extended)
Actiondouble action only (DAO)
Barrel Length2.9″
Overall Length5.5″
Width1.1″
Weight20.5 oz (unloaded)
Sights3-dot night sights
Grip Panelsgreen & black G10 laminate
MSRP$613 (at the time of the review)

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.

test firing the SIG P290 RS Extreme

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.

I had no malfunctions of any kind with the pistol.

sig sauer 9mm subcompact p290 with slide locked back

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.

Ammunition Performance

VelocityEnergy
Federal BPLE 115 gr JHP +P+1,135 fps328 ft-lbs
Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr FTX +P989 fps293 ft-lbs
Remington UMC 115 gr FMJ997 fps253 ft-lbs
Speer Gold Dot 124 gr JHP +P1,085 fps324 ft-lbs
Winchester PDX1 147 gr JHP874 fps249 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.

Alternatives

Since the P290 is no longer manufactured by SIG SAUER, you might be interested in some of the alternatives to it. So, here are my thoughts on a few competitors.

P290 vs Glock 43

It’s hard to ignore the dominance of Glock in the self-defense market. Nevertheless, Glock was one of the last companies to get into the single-stack, subcompact 9mm market.

Glock 43 vs SIG P290

The G43 is a solid pistol, and it is one of the self-defense guns I own. Mine has been 100% reliable without any issue that I can recall. Compared to the SIG P290, the Glock 43 is thinner, lighter and has a better trigger.

I recommend reading my full Glock 43 review here.

P290 vs S&W Shield

In the subcompact 9mm market, the Shield has been a runaway hit. Smith & Wesson wasn’t first to the scene, but they definitely hit. a home run with this gun.

Smith and Wesson Shield home defense shooting

The Shield compares favorably to the P290 in almost every aspect. A 7-round magazine is standard for the Shield (with extended mags also available.) Plus, the gun is lighter, thinner and also has a better trigger.

I also own a Shield and rely on it for personal protection. If you are interested, you can read my full review of the Smith & Wesson Shield 9mm here.

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.

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.

Where to buy a SIG SAUER P290

Where to Buy a SIG P290

As I mentioned earlier in the article, the SIG P290 was discontinued. However, they are still available on the secondary market. I recommend checking this affiliate link to see what is currently in stock.

Last Update: September 30, 2021

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.

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.

GunsHolstersAndGear.com is an independent, for-profit website. I do not charge readers a dime to access the information I provide.

Some of the links on this page and site are affiliate links to companies like Amazon and Palmetto State Armory. These links take you to the products mentioned in the article. Should you decide to purchase something from one of those companies, I make a small commission.

The links do not change your purchase price. I do not get to see what any individual purchases.

I encourage you to leave feedback in the comments section below. I simply ask that you keep things civil. I would prefer this to be a family-friendly site.

10 replies on “SIG P290 RS Enhanced Review”

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.

Where can I get a holster to fit this weapon! Love the way it shoots but cannot find a holster!! SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!!!!! Its for the wife!!

My one EDC is a Beretta PX4 Compact Carry 9mm. I like the mind safety of a longer DA trigger pull for appendix carry. I also like shooting striker fireds, but I carry appendix so it is what it is. I got the SIG P290 RS on sale, also being a 9mm it complements my PX4 also with a DA trigger. Yes the pull is long but I carry 1 up always where I live you have to as it’s a dangerous city, so I’m ok with this. I like the hammer- thumb on when drawing and holstering- safe as can be. No ADs here. I carry 8+1 for 9 of 9mm and another 8 in the spare mag for 17 rounds. I also have the 6 round mag for a total of 23 if need be. Shoots accurate reliable and fun and feels good. Only downer is the long reset but I got used to it. I had a custom Kydex holster made for it. Hope this helps someone.

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