The SIG P210 is a remarkably rugged and durable handgun. Accordingly, the following checkup list is mostly applicable to Danish military m/49 variants likely to have been used with surplus submachine gun ammunition:
- Cracks at the junctures between the frame and the rail housing, fore and aft;
- Cracks at the junctures between the slide and the dust cover, fore and aft;
- Cracks inside the muzzle end of the slide, around the muzzle of the barrel;
- Wear on barrel and slide coupling lugs;
- Wear and cracks in the firing pin plate;
- Chips in the extractor hook;
- Eroded breech surface;
- Peened or eroded firing pin tip;
- Cycling wear on the muzzle end of the barrel;
- Peening inside the frame, from contact with the dust cover at the end of the recoil cycle; and
- Dings on the sights.
The function check includes:
- A tight barrel lockup with no play at the muzzle in battery;
- A tight fit between the slide and the frame, with nil play in battery;
- Smooth slide cycling, returning into battery under recoil spring tension alone;
- Smooth hammer cocking and trigger pull; and
- A correct double pull transition, with the hammer returning to full cock upon releasing the trigger before the sear breaks.
The correct configuration is checked as follows:
The SIG SP 47/8 is primarily distinguished by its frame forging with a vertical front tangent of the trigger guard. (Attention: some early P210 variants, observed running into the SN P55XXX range, used the same frame pattern.) Other distinguishing characteristics include:
- polished finish;
- slide marked “S.P. 47/8 SIG.” and numbered underneath the breech;
- guide rails milled down at the muzzle;
- firing pin retained by a transverse pin;
- no half-cock “safety notch” on the hammer;
- numbered first pattern hammer actions with a horizontal shoulder at the outer bottom of the rear wall, mating with a corresponding cutout in the frame;
- a flat checkered one-piece slide stop;
- rounded safety lever pad with grooves on upper and lower flats;
- lanyard loop;no
- milled trigger; and
- grooved wooden stocks with a smooth back.
Swiss military SIG P49 pistols are classified as follows:
1. Ausführung, 1949-1952; satin polished; fire blued stock screws; first pattern hammer actions; slide stops have flat checkered thumb pads; safety levers have thumb pads with a smooth edge and grooves on their upper and lower flats:
- 1. Lieferung, 1949, from A100001 to A103200; no half cock notch on the hammer;
- 2. Lieferung, 1950-1951, from A103201 to A107210; no half cock notch on the hammer;
- 3. Lieferung, 1952, from A107211 to A109710; hammer with a half cock notch.
2. Ausführung, 1952-1975:
- 4. Lieferung, from A109711 to ~A120500; brushed slide finish; sandblasted frame finish; most slide stops have flat checkered thumb pads; mostly first pattern hammer actions; some safety levers have thumb pads with a smooth edge and grooves on their upper and lower flats:
- 5. Lieferung, from ~A120500 to ~A213110: early slides have brushed finish changing over to sandblasted finish; sandblasted frame finish; second pattern hammer actions; all slide stops are forged and have grooved thumb pads with a curved profile; early slide stops are unit construction with a Rockwell test dimple; late slide stops have press-fit pins.
On military P49 variants, the frame, the slide, the barrel and the hammer action should all be numbered en suite. The hammer actions of the first three deliveries that comprise the glossy polished first KTA series should bear the last four digits of the full serial number that appears on the frame and on the slide. They are also distinguished by a horizontal shoulder at the outer top of the rear wall, mating with a corresponding cutout in the frame. This shoulder is omitted on pistols in the subsequent series; accordingly, later hammer actions may be retrofitted to earlier pistols, but typically not vice versa. This retrofit, with unnumbered hammer actions containing hammers with secondary half-cock notches, is often found in the pistols of the first series, originally equipped with single-notch hammers.
The original design of the slide stop specifies integral construction milled out of a single piece of steel. This construction is retained in the second model of the slide stop with a curved thumb pad, distinguishable by a Rockwell hardness test mark on the side flat, atop the pin. The next issue features a two-piece construction, with the pin staked into the forged lever of the same curved profile. This construction can be detected by inspecting the surface of the slide stop under magnification, for evidence of a finely fitted circular gap about 4.4mm in diameter, located on the outer surface of the slide stop lever, and traces of tool marks inside it. Later on, a cast lever replaced the forged part. This construction can be detected by observing the finely cast sandblasted external surface of the slide stop lever, free of tool marks that characterize its predecessors, with a finely fitted circular gap about 3.7mm in diameter on the outward flat, and minute traces of casting flash inside it. See Vetter, p. 175. The final variation features a relief cut inside the lever on the collar that retains the pin, matching a reinforcing rib on the frame. This type of slide stop is the only one that fits late production frames, distinguished by the presence of the reinforcing rib.Almost all P210 variants were hot salt blued. Evidence of refinishing includes pits, scratches, and dings under the blue finish. The P210 hammer, trigger, and slide stop are finished in the white, as are the hammer action internals, i.e. trigger bars, sears, and double pull levers. The controls become patinated in use. Care must be exercised to avoid scratching the frame when removing or replacing the slide lever. A scratch appearing on the frame under the slide lever attests to negligent maintenance. Cold blue touchup is often used to disguise the scratch, and can usually be identified by a characteristic chemical smell.
Early frames were milled out of steel forgings. Starting from SN P97601, they were gradually replaced by frames CNC milled out of bar stock. An easy way to tell the difference on standard weight frames is by looking under the slide rail housing. If it is faceted, the frame is CNC machined; if it is curved, the frame is forged. Rare variants include a few polished P210-6 pistols were with the sport trigger and hammer action, and a trigger stop. One such batch bears serial numbers in the early P300XXX sequence, built both on forged and CNC milled frames.
Early P210 hammer action casings were milled out of steel forgings. A cast hammer action housing made by Grünig and Elmiger gradually replaced the forged part around the SN range of P311XXX onwards. The forged military proofed firing system components were phased out in the early Eighties production, and in the Nineties, milled forging were gradually replaced by MIM components.
All comments and corrections will be warmly appreciated and gratefully acknowledged.
In the foregoing spirit, I offer my readers the following Swiss military and commercial handguns:
The photos are huge, so click on the thumbnails two or three times. Combat veterans and active duty military and law enforcement personnel will receive a 10% discount from the listed prices. The first “I’ll take it” will trump all prior tire-kicking.