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Thread: Is the Sig P6 viable anymore?

  1. #1

    Is the Sig P6 viable anymore?

    I got to handle a Sig P6 at a local store and I wouldn't mind getting one while they are still readily available. My problem is that at I figure it would cost about $450 to order and transfer one (and then I have to buy mags for it). I can't shake the feeling that that's quite a bit of money for a single stack 9mm of that size, especially considering a glock 19 isn't much more (or less if I go used). I've got several quality 9mm pistols, so while this would be a purchase mostly for the sake of getting a neat pistol, I'd still like it to be something somewhat practical. So my question is is the P6 still a viable pistol for defense/carry use or is it hopelessly outclassed by modern day autoloaders?

  2. #2
    Member derekb's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Moving Target
    I might just be a sucker for single-stack 9s, but I kind of want one.
    I don't understand what's happening, but I have a soldering iron.

  3. #3

    Not to be a smart butt...

    but....I bet who ever gets shot with it will think that it's viable. Point being, if YOU can shoot it well, I think any gun in major caliber is viable.

    IMHO. Unless if you are walking in to a war zone, you should be O.K. !

    AND ....I want one too. I know there was just a blog about not wanting a "neat gun" some where. But Neat is neat..and I want it.

  4. #4
    Member JonInWA's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Auburn, WA
    While their ergonomics are superb, there are a couple of weak points to keep in mind. First, the single-stack 8 round magazine is pretty much at the edge of its performance envelope, and the feed lips are susceptible to spreading over time if kept fully loaded. This creates a problem if using a magazine with spread feedlips as a reload magazine; when attempting to go from slidelock into battery, the spread feedlips affect the angle at which the top cartridge is presented, and can reslt in the round failing to chamber, as it stumbles to a halt before reaching the barrel ramp, creating a very difficult jam to resolve, as the cartridge in this position is still partially in the magazine, precluding easily ripping the magazine out.

    Interestingly, the issue only seems to appear with this initial chambering effort-rounds chambered due to normal slide reciprocation as a result of actual firing are unaffected, making me suspect that slide velocity is a critical part of the equation involved.

    I was a long time SIG-Sauer P225 user; it was my primary carry gun from around 1992-1997, and really liked the ergos and accuracy of the gun. Working with the senior gunsmith at SIG, and some HP White Lab information that he was privy to relating to similar magazine issues, the work-around solutions were to 1) Consistantly rotate any magazines carried at full capacity, and/or 2) carrying magazines downloaded to 6 or 7 rounds, as the HP White research indicated that the reduction in predssure against the feed lips was geometric rather than arithmatic-i.e., the reduction in force applied to the feedlips was far greater than 1/8 for each cartridge downloaded. I choose to load my P225 magazines with only 6 rounds each, carrying the gun in a 6 + 1 load-out, with two 6 round loaded magazines carried as reload magazines in a double magazine pouch.

    After owning my P225 since 1992, and its benefitting from SIG-Sauer's Custom Shop ministrations giving it a superb action, I reluctantly sold it this year, as I realized that I'd only fired it once in 3 years (with another friend who had one), and that the proceeds would be more beneficially applied to a Ruger 22/45 for more frequent life-fire practice as an analog gun to my consistantly carried Glocks (and periodic 1911 forays).

    Second, due to the mechanical architecture constraints of the gun, there is only so much that the action (particularly the DA action) can be tuned and lightened. Basically, you're going to have a fairly heavy DA triggerpull, although it can be smoothed (however, an exquisite SA triggerpull is eminently possible by an expert SIG-knowledgeable gunsmith).

    Third, If you prefer a short trigger, I believe that they've been out of production for some time, so they may be difficult/expensive to obtain.

    Fourth, despite their quirks, the OEM factory SIG magazines are the only recommended magazines for these guns, and they're often in short supply, expensive, and/or difficult to find.

    Fifth, if you're getting a P6, be aware that you're likely getting a gun with a heavier triggerpull than the commercial P225, due to the heavier mainspring specified by the German Police. Additionally, the P6 sights are most likely to be black-on-black, as opposed to the von Stavenhagen bar-dot configuration, or 3-dot configuration seen on most SIG-Sauers; that may or may not be an issue.

    Sixth, the blueing applied to these guns is just that: blueing (or K-Kote, a polymer coating over the blueing). The guns are simply less impervious to the environment that are guns with more modern molecularly-bonding finishes/metal treatments. The same applies to the magazines.

    Lastly, even though the P225/P6 isn't a boat-anchor weight-wise, they simply are heavier (and often bulkier) than contemporary polymer guns-which can be found offering lighter weight, greater magazine capacities, more weather/environmentally impervous, and with equal if not superior ergonomics.

    At one point, I owned, used, and carried all 3 of the successful guns of the 1970 German Police Trials-the SIG-Sauer P225/P6, the HK P7 PSP, and the Walther P5. My favorite, and longest owned was the P225. They were all admirable guns in their own right, but over time they did become superceeded by other more modern guns, such as Glock and subsequent HK efforts. While they're all certainly very viable as self-defense guns, there are simply more modern, more durable, and more operationally reliable guns available today, in my opinion. I'm not necessarily suggesting that you shouldn't get and use a P6/P225 (or a HK P7 or Walther P5, for that matter), just be aware of the trade-offs likely to be involved in comparison with more contemporary pistols.

    Best, Jon

  5. #5
    Dot Driver Kyle Reese's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Central Virginia
    Thank you for your very informative post, Jon.

    Sent from my ADR6400L

  6. #6
    Thank you for that information Jon. That helps a lot.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JonInWA View Post
    the feed lips are susceptible to spreading over time if kept fully loaded.
    Now, this is something I'd never heard of regarding Sig magazines.

    While I have rather little experience with the P225/P6, we used P226s, P228s, and P220s for enough years for this to have manifested itself; and we never saw it, period. The older "zipperback" seven round magazines for the P220 would crack occasionally, usually at the right rear corner... but they would continue to feed reliably for quite some time after this occurred.

    And I know of three P225s that are carried/used regularly, by knowledgeable "gun guys". They have never complained of it. Not doubting you, Jon; but this is very curious.

    So one wonders if this was simply an idiosyncrasy of the small single stack magazine?


  8. #8
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    Off Camber
    Quote Originally Posted by LSP972 View Post
    Now, this is something I'd never heard of regarding Sig magazines.
    It goes back a long way, at least with the 225, Ayoob mentions it here (Page 67 (bottom) to 68 (top)):

    Quote Originally Posted by The Gun Digest Book of Sig-Sauer: A Complete Look At Sig-Sauer Pistols / Massad Ayoob / 2004
    I have yet to see anyone who was not having serious feed reliability problems with this gun. According to one competitor who had researched this matter thoroughly with the SIG warranty repair department while dealing with his own P225 woes, the problem is traceable to the P225s magazine feed lips. Only a minute spreading of the feed lips under hard use is required to cause rounds in the mag to simply not feed. Happened to me, happened to him, happened to another hapless P225er I watched struggling with his gun at a match.
    Last edited by JV_; 03-08-2012 at 08:35 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Dallas, TX
    I would be reluctant to choose a carry platform that I couldn't easily get a duplicate or even triplicate (sp?) for. So if you're going to get one, plan on getting a couple more PDQ. On the other hand, if you go with a G19 or something, you can add more of them as time goes by. Or if somehting happens and you only have one, you can head down to the LGS and get another one the next day and all of your holsters, mags, etc. are ready to go.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    SW Louisiana
    I've got a P6 and when they were being imported so cheaply I handed out a number of P6 for party favors for folks, and I like it about as much as I like any Sig. It is quite viable and not outclassed by other guns for the purpose of self defense. However, given the fact that spare mags are REALLY hard to find and expensive when they are found, I think I'd look elsewhere, particularly at that price.

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