My shooting bud Mike Nason is a police captain, a good shooter and extremely knowledgeable about all things firearms-related. Recently, Mike bought two new, top-line SIG’s, a P210 Legend Target Model with adjustable sight and the new X-Five Match, both in 9mm.
SIG pistols, in my experience, are very well made, reliable and accurate. My P220 in .45 ACP shoots like a match pistol, and every 226 I’ve tried has delivered impressive accuracy for a duty pistol. So when Mike said, “You want to help try out my new pistols?” I had to think long and hard. For about two seconds.
I consider the P210 one of the all-time great pistols. It first appeared in the late 1940’s and has always been made to high standards of quality, beautifully machined and fitted. It’s a single-action semi-auto with a single-stack, 8-round magazine, a slim and comfortable grip frame and manual safety ahead of the left grip panel. Current models have a magazine release button below the safety.
The X-Five pistols are based on the P220 series, with refinements intended primarily for competition. Mike’s X-Five is a recent version called the X-Five Match, made of stainless steel, with 5″ barrel, adjustable rear sight, adjustable single-action trigger, ambi safety, aluminum mag chute and 1913 Picatinny rail. Mike’s pistol is a 9mm; a version in .40 S&W is also available.
Left, SIG X-Five Match. Right, SIG P210 Legend Target Model. As the test targets show
(fired at 25m — about 27 yards) both pistols are inherently very accurate.
Both feature outstanding workmanship and materials.
Yin And Yang
The two pistols share several positive attributes. Both are built to very high standards, made of excellent materials and outstanding, virtually custom-quality workmanship. Both proved completely reliable. Both were very accurate and came with excellent sights. The test targets packed with each were impressive, I assume fired from a test fixture. Handheld over a sandbag rest we could about equal the test targets — but (with some human error thrown in) not every time!
Now about the differences in the two pistols. Some can be seen in the photos: carbon steel versus stainless, single-stack grip frame versus double-stack, 8-shot magazine versus 19 shots, accessory rail versus no rail, position of manual safety and the grip angle.
Other differences are more subjective, though not entirely.
Feel, balance: The slim grip frame, lighter weight and muzzle-heavy balance of the P210 had a nicer feel and balance in the hand. Especially shooting standing, either 1- or 2-handed, the P210 was a joy to shoot.
Operating controls: Magazine release button was the same for both. The manual safety of the X-Five we found much faster and easier to use. Admittedly, we’re both used to shooting 1911-style pistols. One could no doubt learn to use the P210 safety but it’s a stretch to reach in stock form. The X-Five slide release is likewise more accessible.
Trigger: Both trigger pulls were acceptable out of the box. This was one area where I felt the X-Five was decisively superior. The trigger piece itself can be adjusted back and forth on a track to suit different hand sizes. It had a beautiful trigger release with smooth, light takeup followed by a crisp trigger break and a short, fast reset.
The P210 trigger has what might be called a “sliding” pull with considerable smooth creep. Such a pull is preferred by some shooters as they feel it reduces flinching and anticipation. Again, one could likely get used to it and maybe we weren’t the best test subjects. All I can say is I had much better trigger control with the X-Five.
Accuracy: Both pistols are very accurate. Shooting handheld, we generally got better accuracy from the X-Five — not due to any inherent mechanical superiority in parts fit or materials, but to the more controllable trigger.
SIG P210 Legend Target Model shot to the left out of the box but accuracy
was spot-on. Ammo was Black Hills “Blue Box” 124-gr. FMJ.
The Winner Is …
Which do I prefer? My heart says the P210. I like its feel, balance, inherent accuracy and its illustrious history. Not to mention it’s a beautiful pistol. I’d have the trigger pull smoothed up and lightened a bit, and take the time to learn the sliding release. Then I’d get a nice flap-style holster made and have an outstanding pistol for small game and fun field shooting.
In terms of hardheaded reality, the X-Five is superior. Stainless steel construction, complete reliability, outstanding accuracy, ideally-placed operating controls, more than double the magazine capacity, useful accessories such as frame rail, checkered frontstrap, mag loading chute and to top it off a really superb trigger. I consider it one of the finest semiauto pistols currently available, at any price. I guess, like Mike, it’d be best to simply get both.
By Dave Anderson