Friday, June 25, 2010


As I've noted here before, I've been keeping Billy Ray's Sig P250 compact 9mm model, in two-tone finish, off and on for the past few months. We recently went shooting, and were both disappointed in the P250's ROUGHLY 10% RATE OF "FAILURE TO FIRE" (FTF), or what is apparently also referred to as "LIGHT PRIMER STRIKES" (LPS). About 1 in 10 rounds resulted in a misfire, or non-firing cartridge where "pull trigger, no boom" occurred. Bad news in a defense pistol.

Billy Ray, is of course, understandably devastated with this event from his new pistola.

The sad part is that this is a highly accurate and easy shooting pistol. I shot two mags through it, at 15 and 25 feet, shooting 4" groups both times. El Fisho Jr. shot an even smaller group than mine on his first and only mag through the gun. IT WAS DAMNED IMPRESSIVELY ACCURATE, despite the fact I had never shot a DAO semi-auto pistol before. More about this later.

So what a shame that there is some sort of problem with the force of the firing mechanism of this gun.

A quick review of the internet forums reveals this is apparently a big problem with this gun. Even the Sig forum has a huge number of posts, with one sticky'd thread having over a 100 pages of folks often talking about LPS. There all are sorts of theories, ranging from one of several springs needing to be stronger/weaker. Some of the posters blame the ammo, but I've never had a semi-auto EVER have a misfire before where the cartridge didn't go off. I've had feeding jams with varied pistols that aren't around anymore, but NEVER an FTF. In his more limited shooting experience, neither has Billy Ray. Or any of my handgunning friends who I recently discussed this failure with.

I didn't read anywhere where Sig has a fix for this problem, which seems to be occuring to a number of owners of new guns. So if anyone knows let me know in the comments or by my email, which is in the profile and I'd appreciate it. Some blamed the ammo, as I said, and claimed that it wouldn't occur with certain ammo. Having owned and shot a variety of 9mm pistols, I can say they all digested reloads and new shells alike: flawlessly. Some of the reloads jammed when feeding but that's not a misfire of a chambered round.

So at Billy's request and expense, El Fisho Jr. and I will be taking it out this weekend to shoot couple of hundred more rounds through it and see if it happens again. Some claim it's a break in problems but all of my break in problems with pistols have related to feeding from magazines.

My advice is to send it back to Sig, or better yet, go to the dealer where he got it and ask for an exchange on an all steel Sig 229 or maybe a Hi-Power. Billy Ray loves the Hi-Power, and really, who doesn't? For many years in the 50's and 60's and early 70's, it was THE ONLY option for hi-capacity firepower as a back-up gun that the police had. I knew lots of hardcore detectives in the 6o's and 70's who carried a Hi-Power under the seat in a shoulder holster with a couple of extra mags for police situations. Otherwise, they carried a revolver or 1911 as their duty gun, but had a Hi-Power as their gunfighting pistola. Even Serpico carried one of these as a backup gun during his heavy duty undercover law enforcement days in NYC.

I'll let you know how it goes at the range with the P250. The gun is already doomed, as it can't be relied upon in a defensive situation, which is why Billy Ray bought it. It would be concerning if it occcured even in a plinking gun, but with a carry pistol it is, of course, unacceptable.

Reading the internets it appears the Federal Air Marshal (FAM) program has order thousands of the P250 in .357 Sig to phase out the Sig P229 in .357 Sig. The reports don't say how many because the number of FAM's is secret, as it should be. I hope there are FAM's everywhere, but fear that there are not enough. In any event, what a poor choice for a replacement for the P229, which is ideal for LE work.

I have to say that I don't understand the rationale behind using a .357 Sig in the air, instead of a high capacity .45 ACP Glock or the like. If shooting through seats to get perps is a concern, then perhaps a .45 +P could be used, but in any event the huge mass of the .45 and resulting low penetration beyond your target would seem to be the best choice for shooting in a plane. The .357 Sig is just too hot, and I can't imagine a scenario less well suited for either .357 Sig or .357 Magnum as with the old Sky Marshal's program.

Any big, slow bullet will penetrate less than a much faster and lower mass bullet. And who wants to be blowing a hole in the side of an airliner? I've seen those movies where people get sucked out of jets thousands of feet in the air from holes created by gunshots. Haven't you?

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