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  1. #1
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Swiss and US Made P210's Compared

    Someone recently asked for a comparison of these two pistols so I said I'd do it is. This will without question be found wanting by some and excellent by others. Unfortunately, when discussing certain firearms (and the P210 is certainly one of those certain firearms) people's egos, biases and wallets tend to get hopelessly entwined with reality. These pistols are expensive and for reasons lost on me, expensive always seems to attract people who wish to own them for nothing more than bragging rights and member length comparisons. Sadly, that's just the way it is. But you won't find any of that in this essay. This is simply what was asked for; a comparison of the two pistols. I won't be discussing metallurgy because I don't care. I have absolutely no doubt both are well made from good steel. That's good enough for me. I won't be discussing accuracy. Both are FAR more accurate than I am and I'd lay money on it they are far more accurate than you too. Who care's which is more accurate when both are stupid accurate anyways?? See above for a description of who cares....I don't. Now, what I WILL say is that I'm an admitted gun snob lite and I prefer the Swiss one simply because it was made by hand in Switzerland. However, I'm not so much of a snob that I won't admit I feel that the US made one is nicer made. Yes, it's probably mostly made by robots and that's probably why it looks nicer. The fit and finish is better and the trigger is too. It also costs a little less than half what the Swiss one will cost you. Give it time though. Eventually they will go out of production and the value will rise steadily. So, even if you feel that the approx. $1400 price tag is high, it will be considered a steal in not too many years, I guarantee it. Alright, enough drivel....lets take a look. This will take a few posts but I'll get a decent start in tonight.

    We'll start at the beginning:
    On the right is a leather holster and shoulder strap made in the early 1950's. This holster and its contents will cost you about $3000 used. On the left is a plastic case marked "SIG SAUER". This case and its contents will cost you about $1400 new.

    Here are the contents of the two:

    On the right is a SIG P210 made in Switzerland circa 1953. On the left is a SIG SAUER P210 made in the United States circa 2018.

    The warning card in the new P210 makes it very clear what the purpose of this pistol is. It isn't made for carry and it's not made for combat. It's made for a nice, relaxing Sunday at the range on a warm summer's day. When seen from the proper perspective, the silly things you'll find on the internet about stocks being too large and triggers too light for carry will make you roll your eyes. It's a plinker folks.

    A couple closeups of the two:

    They certainly look similar and you can clearly see the lineage. Notice that the newer one has improver ergonomics. The hard to reach and hard to manipulate slide release on the Swiss one is horrid compared to the US one which is light and right where your thumb wants it to be. The same can be said of the safety. On the Swiss jobber, it's pretty much a two handed affair because it's in a weird place and it's STIFF, especially when pushing from "fire" to "safe". Again, the US model's safety is light and nicely located. The US model also a thumb magazine release where the Swiss one is located at the heel of the grip. The wonderfully fitted and perfectly checkered walnut grips on the US model don't fit my hands as well as the wonderfully fitted and perfectly checkered bakelite grips on the Swiss one but my hands aren't the same as yours. You may prefer the walnut. Nice idiot mark on the Swiss one....I didn't do that. HAHA!!

    A few shots of the magazines:

    The magazines are not interchangeable. Notice that the new 210 magazine is made in Italy, presumably by MecGar and that the follower is plastic. Pretentious gun snobs will point to these things as evidence of inferiority. Okiedokie.

    Muzzles. Notice that the Swiss one shows machining marks. I LOVE machining marks. They add character!

    Notice too that you cannot see the front of the recoil rod on the new 210. There are many little and some not so little design difference between the two. I'll point them out as we go.

    Front straps and trigger guards:

    Beautiful knurling on the new model and near perfect grip fitment on both.

    Bottom of the magazines:

    Both have metal floor plates but I think the US one is aluminum or some such lightweight metal. I'm pretty sure it isn't steel.

    Rear straps again showing really Schweet fitment of the grip panels on both pistols:

    A side comparison of the grips showing just how much longer the new model is:

    Notice too the reshaped and elongated beaver tail on the new pistol. If you get hammer bite on this clunker, you must have gorilla hands!

    Front sights.

    Rear sights:

    Just look at the Quality of that Swiss cross!! MMMM MMMMM GOOD!!

    That's it for tonight. I'll be back to pick this up in a day or two.

  2. #2
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    Picking up where I left off.

    Let's look at the slide stops. Nobody ever seems to look at these little thingees. With many pistol designs, the oft-ignored slide stop is really the only thing holding the whole contraption together. It's like a magical little key that keeps everything in one piece. It's the glue that makes everything stick together as a unit so that it doesn't go kaplooey. get the idea. Here are the magical key slide stop thingees:

    You can easily see that, on the backside, they are very similar in design. On the front side, the old Swiss one looks really neato with its exquisite checkering but it's pretty non-user friendly compared to the new model. To be fair, the Swiss one pictured is the early type. SIG quickly figured out that it was lacking in the ergonomics department and replaced it with a more user friendly/traditional design that had a protrusion for your thumb to catch. It was still too short though. The US one has rectified this long standing problem and is darn near perfect.

    Let's take a closer look at the slides for a moment. Here, we see them removed from their slides but with the barrels and recoil assemblies still in place.

    At first glance, they look pretty similar. They ride inside the frame rather than straddle it. Anyone who is familiar with this setup knows that it is a key ingredient in the legendary accuracy these pistols are known for. The Czechs, smart cookies that they are, employ this feature on the CZ75 too. We can see that the camming cuts on the bottom of the breach are nearly identical to each other too.

    Let's look at them from the bottom:

    Again, one just looks like a newer version of the other.

    One really nice upgrade the new 210 has added is the firing pin safety. In the picture below, the US model is on the top:

    Notice the little pin sticking down on the US model is absent on the Swiss one. This is the firing pin safety. I shouldn't need to explain how and why this makes a pistol MUCH safer as you should already know.

    Comparing the ejection ports, we can start to see that the new SIG locks up differently than the old SIG.

    Now, I am fully aware that pretty much everyone reading this is already aware of the fact that they lock up differently and I'm not here to debate which is better. The fact is....they do the same thing (lock the action) but go about it differently. If you don't know what I'm talking about, it will be abundantly clear when we look at the barrels later. I will say that I prefer the elegant curves of the Swiss ejection port to the blocky and industrial look of the US one. Notice the machining lines on the Swiss slide compared to the absolutely flawless perfection of the US one. As I said when looking at the muzzles, I actually like machining marks. They give things a certain organic look and remind you that a human being employed his hands and put a lot of time into crafting this part all those years ago. His craft is frozen in time, a window to the past. But there is something to be said for the perfectly smooth look of the US one too. It reminds you that man has harnessed technology and employed it in such a way as to revolutionize the way we produce things, surpassing with electrons and silicon what man can do with his own hands; the same hands that produced the very machines which now achieve a level of perfection that he could not on his own. In this way, it is a window to the future. It boggles the mind I tell you!!

    Ummmm….okiedokie. It's pretty obvious that it's late and my mind is drifting into weird philosophical places soooooo I'm finishing up for the night. Actually, I'm always strange. The truth is, the frames are next up and there are a lot of pretty pictures to look at so this is a good stopping point. See you in the next post!

  3. #3
    Senior Veteran
    scottz63's Avatar
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    Outstand post as usual! Keep them coming! Thanks.
    14EH AIT Instructor-PATRIOT Fire Control Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

  4. #4
    holescreek's Avatar
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    In the fifth photo of the second instalment, bottom slide, is there a broken part where the recoil spring screws in? It looks like it in the photo.

  5. #5
    Senior Veteran Combloc's Avatar
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    That's a smear of Swiss automatenfett grease. I noticed that too when I was going over the pictures and thought "I should have wiped the grease off that first."

  6. #6
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    I agree entirely about the machining marks on the older one. I also tend to prefer the look of its design details better, but then I tend to like vintage stuff. Both are well out of my price range, so its great to see the in depth review

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