I just read an article* on the reasonably new SIG SAUER P250. The P250 is Exeter's latest model, utilizing an internal serialized chassis surrounded by an easily replaced frame, slide, and barrel, making it a truly convertible pistol. It's a high quality pistol with a multitude of good features and typical SIG SAUER quality. I've handled them myself and they both feel and look good. But they aren't perfect, and like all SIGs they will probably make good service pistols for general issue but will never be the best personal combat pistol due to the limitations of a double-action trigger of any stripe, a long trigger reset. The article I read addressed this specific issue head on, which is a credit to the writer, but then attempted to excuse it, which I don't find excusable. Listen to this:
"The only real complaint concerning the trigger system...is that the reset point is quite long. By no means is this a system that is un-learnable or one that would be detrimental to using the weapon for self-defense, it is simply a characteristic that needs to be learned in order to become proficient."
I agree that one can learn to use a pistol with a long trigger reset, I own SIGs and S&W DA autos, but they are not as fast as, say, a 1911 or a Glock--they simply can't be. The writer makes this situation crystal clear as he goes on to say:
"Combat drills...were a breeze once I learned to stop short-stroking the trigger reset. As my normal carry weapon is another polymer 9mm which has a much shorter reset, I routinely induced malfunctions by not allowing the trigger to reset prior to attempting to fire the weapon in the initial stages of the test. Again, these malfunctions have nothing at all to do with the reliability of the weapon, but instead point to a needed area of training for any user."
"These operator-induced malfunctions are no different from users of the 1911 or P7 series needing to unlearn weapon system peculiarities when using a different pistol. It is simply a manual of arms that must be learned, and a standard that must be trained to in order to efficiently run the weapon."
Well. Methinks he protesteth too much. Is he, in fact, a shooter that can manage to pick up more than one pistol and handle it competently? Or has he put so many hundreds of thousands of rounds through his Glock that he can't shoot anything else anymore? Good grief, if the P250 caused him so many malfs, something is wrong with him, the pistol , or both. Or is he just bragging that he is so in tune with trigger reset that he tried to prep the trigger of the P250 like his Glock (or whatever) and kept screwing it up due to an obviously longer reset. Whatever the situation, there was a problem, and this writer tried to pass it off. Let's talk about it in a way that may be relevant to you.
Trigger reset is important. If you really want the best combat pistol you should choose a pistol with short reset. That means a 1911, a Glock, or one of the other striker-fired pistols so popular today. Ask yourself why all these guns are so popular. Really there are two reasons. Obviously weight is not one I am going to mention, because the 1911 at 40oz unloaded doesn't make it there. No, the two reasons are both trigger-related. Consistent trigger pull is one--every shot you fire from first to last is the same. And short trigger reset is the other. You pull the trigger, the gun fires, and there is just a very short distance in which you have to move your finger forward before you can move it to the rear again for another shot. All hammer-fired double actions fall short in both of these areas. The first shot always requires a long trigger pull followed by short pulls because the hammer stays cocked, and the reset is always long. So, coming back to our example of the SIG SAUER P250, no matter how nice this pistol is in other areas, it is never going to be the ultimate personal combat pistol, and if you're looking for something like that you shouldn't let gunzine writers and gun clerks convince you that it is--and the same applies for any of dozens of other makes and models.
I mention other makes because I'm not picking on SIG SAUER. I still own a couple SIG SAUERs and enjoy shooting them now and then. As general-issue service pistols the traditional double action (TDA) is not dead, and the US government in general still buys a lot of them for both federal law enforcement and the military. Law enforcement agencies often still purchase TDAs because they issue pistols to people who are not gun-oriented and once they graduate from their academy you will never see some of them shoot again except when they are forced to requalify. Sadly those few will never be shooters and TDA becomes the "safety" that should exist between their ears. The same holds true for many many private citizens who are not really interested in guns when it comes right down to it and just want one around the house. But if you are a shooter and want to someday advance to the next level of your own abilities, I really believe triggers are something you need to pay attention to.
The same applies to things like sights, and grips, and of course trigger reach. I used to own a wide variety of pistols because I wanted to know all about them. I was proud of my self-proclaimed status as a "student of the handgun." For some years I have not acquired a sample of every new model that came down the pike, however, because over time a person comes to realize that certain features are just unworkable. For example, the primarily DA-auto makers have done amazing things in making very light DA-only triggers out of what were originally TDA pistols only, but I've come to see them as a creative attempt to close the gap between their DA products and the true short-stroke/short reset triggers of the 1911 and Glock genre. It hasn't happened, and until it does, I'm not going to fill my safe with otherwise attractive offerings from SIG SAUER, H&K, or other makers. Don't let gun magazine writers and gun counter clerks talk you into otherwise attractive pistols if you really want the best personal combat handguns. (30 Oct 09)
* Infinite Possibilities SIG SAUER P250
by Scott Oldham
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