The Sig Sauer P-6 Police Trade-in

The Sig Sauer P6, used by the West German police from the late 1970s until the year 2000.

In the 1970’s West German police used a mish-mash of handguns. While some still used the Walther PP in .7.65/.32 ACP, others used 9mm Parabellum in the P1 (an alloy-framed P-38,) The P2, (the expensive but excellent Sig P210) or the P3 (Astra 600.) In 1976 a set of specifications was set out for a new police service pistol. It was to be a compact weapon chambered in 9mm with a magazine holding eight rounds, DA/SA operation and an external de-cocking lever.

At the end of testing three guns were identified as suitable and approved for purchase. The bulk of sales went to the Sig P225, which was given the designation the P-6. Unable to produce these guns in the quantities needed, Sig allied with, and later acquired, J.P. Sauer and Sohns, forming the Sig-Sauer company. Over the course of production some 40,000 P6s were produced, and the gun remained in service with German police agencies until 2000.

Another successful candidate from the police pistol trials was the Walther P5, a substantially updated pistol based on the venerable P-38. While a fine gun in it’s own right, it was not a popular choice for police agencies. No, I don’t know why, though I suspect many felt the barrel was rather short for a gun that was not much smaller than the other offerings.
The innovative PSP, later the P7, was a very good firearm, but it was also very expensive so it was not widely adopted.

The P6 featured an alloy frame with a steel slide, and weighing in at around 29oz. it made for a pretty handy service weapon without being too large for concealed carry. For police use plastic grips replaced the wood grips of the P225. Ergonomics are good, and all of the controls are easily reached by a person with average-sized hands. The gun is very easy to field-strip; simply lock back the slide, rotate the lever above the trigger downward 90 degrees, release the slide and slip it off the front of the gun.

Field-stripped, the P6 is simple with no small parts to be easily lost. The gun uses Browning-style lock-up, but locks on the barrel-hood in the ejection port rather than having separate locking lugs. The full-length slide rails give the gun great accuracy and consistent lock-up.

I have a sentimental attachment to the P6, so when the first police trade-ins entered the US I was quite disappointed that I could not afford one before they were all snapped up. Recently a friend, having forgotten that I wanted one, sold his off and I missed out again. Linda observed my disappointment and immediately went online and found one for me. We picked it up today and I did a little ‘getting acquainted’ shooting.

This particular gun was made in May of 1992, but you wouldn’t know to look at it. There is very little holster-wear, and everything is right and tight. The gun feels excellent in my hand and points naturally. The standard sights are good, a nice blocky front sight with a recessed white dot, and a deep, square rear aperture with a white post underneath. The trigger is very good for a service pistol; I have heard some characterize it as ‘heavy,’ and I can only assume they don’t regularly shoot double-action revolvers. More importantly to me the DA pull is smooth and doesn’t stack. There is some take-up in the single-action trigger, needed to deactivate the firing-pin safety, but the trigger breaks very crisply after that. Reset is not short but is positive and easy to use in rapid-fire and double-taps.

Rapid-fire at seven yards. I wasn’t not much concerned with ultimate accuracy today, just making sure the gun functioned well. It performed flawlessly, digesting a couple boxes of 115gr. hollow-points without issue.
Seven yard double-taps at the ‘body’ and rapid-fire at the ‘head.’ When transitioning from DA to single action the second bullet of the string tended to hit quite low. I’m pretty sure this is a training issue, and as I become more familiar with the gun it will probably get better.

If I had to pick one word to describe this gun it would be ‘smooth.’ Everything moves like greased glass, from the slide to the trigger to the de-cocking lever. Even inserting a magazine is conspicuously slick. Smoooooth.

I adore this gun, and expect it will be seeing a lot of range time in the near future. The gun came with two magazines, and I’ll be picking up a couple more. I’ll be making a holster or two and a mag pouch for this gun, and if it continues to be as reliable as this first outing I fully expect I’ll EDC it when conditions permit.

Michael Tinker Pearce, 12 August 2020

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