I think it’s pretty obvious that the bulk of what I do at the shop revolves around all things 1911. There are certainly other guns that I like, enjoy, and use but the 1911 is really the thing I love the most. Sure I build the occasional Hi-Power and I very much love Smith and Wesson revolvers - (fun fact, I have more N-frames than any other gun... like way more!) - but ever since I was a kid the 1911 has been king of all pistols for me.
I’ve tinkered with Smith and Wesson revolvers, done the occasional action job, maybe a few small modifications for friends but I never really wanted to work on them... which seems odd to me considering how much I enjoy them. Tinkering has also extended to other platforms, after all sometimes you just do stuff for your buddies.
Of course every now and then an idea of modifying something different gets presented to you and you say, “yeah that’s a neat gun, I think I’d like to mess with that a bit”. The next thing you know you got one at your shop and l you’re laying it out on the bench figuring out what to do within the context of the gun and your style. Kinda’ like this project...
The SIG P210 is a neat gun with lots of history. This particular gun is one of the US made examples that was introduced in 2019. After getting the gun in the shop, getting a feel for it, and of course taking it apart to see how it ticks it was time to shoot it in stock form. These guns are all steel and come with a decent (or better) trigger out of the box and an outstanding barrel fit. They shoot very, very well... especially considering this is a factory production gun. Standing at 25 yards and shooting 1.5” groups or better was easy... but there was stuff I wanted to change.
I always caution people that gripes and critiques have to be balanced against price, this started as a production gun after all. So while the gun shot very well I did see some areas that could benefit from further modification. First and foremost was the sights... the stock sights sucked, period... and the gap between the front sight and the slide as seen in the stock photo above was present in my pistol as well. So I thought, how about just cutting the slide for a modified Heinie rear similar to what I do on my 1911s. Easier said than done.
As I dove deeper into the pistol I realized the rear of the slide was going to need to be completely re-profiled. So with some basic measurements taken (and without much of a plan) I set it up in the mill and just start carving. Remove a bit of material here... a bit more there... machine a careful radius on this and that... and boom... a new rear in the slide. Of course the aforementioned gap at the front sight had to be remedied so a bit of measuring and machining and the slide now wears a Novak spec’d dovetail sight that I inlayed a gold line into.
I always like the look of the P210, they always looked like a classy gun, but the ‘hooked’ trigger guard on this one was not in keeping with that theme... so round it became. Which is a bit funny to me considering how many round trigger guards I’ve turned into squared on 1911s. The checkering on the front also got a bit of clean up.
The mag-well needed a bevel and the mag-catch got turned into a checkered part.
Wit the new sights and the newly profiled trigger guard established the front of the gun no longer looked organic to me. I didn’t like the square and blocky end to the dust-cover so I changed it too.
From there I further modified the gun by trimming and altering the safety lever and slide stop. Both of these were plagued with sharp edges that could be felt during shooting and their operation. I changed the profile of the thumb safety in an effort to mimic a tear-drop shape and this made it much more useable.
At the back of the gun the beavertail was shortened and I removed the “step” where it met the side of the frame... much more comfortable now. The hammer profile was reduced and rear slide serrations were cut to match the new rear sight. Cutting the rear slide serrations proved to be a bit more challenging than on a 1911 but worth it upon presentation.
These guns have nice triggers out of the box but this one was a bit “mushy” after the initial take-up. I cleaned this one up a bit and got rid of the “mush”, it is now set at just over 3# and it’s equally easy to shoot slow or at speed where holding on tight and jerking the trigger to the rear is king!
Speaking of holding on tight... the gun got a fresh set of stocks that have an overall narrower profile making it easy to hold on to the gun. With all the edges de-horned and a freshly cut barrel crown the entire gun was refinished in a matte black. The entire package pairs up really well with my all time favorite holster the Milt Sparks Summer Special... which I had specially made for this project.
Overall this was a fun project to do. I like stretching out a bit to see what I can do to guns such as this. I think this P210 remains a classic in appearance with some marked improvements making it more useable and enjoyable but in all honesty this will probably be the only one of these I’ll do. I’m glad to have spent the time with this gun... enjoy the photos!