SIG P239 9 TAC, by Pat Cascio

Anyone who is the least bit familiar with the SIG-Sauer line of handguns, knows that they are outstanding firearms, and in demand. The only downside to this is that all SIG firearms are expensive. They are now made in the USA – thankfully – before that, they were made in Germany, and there was a big price to pay for those guns – with import fees, currency exchange rates, and taxes. Now made in the USA, the price came down quite a bit, but they are still expensive. Keep in-mind that you usually get what you pay for, and SIG firearms are precision tools – they are “that” good.

The SIG P239 9 TAC model was a very limited run. The entire line was made from 1996 until 2018 and then discontinued for a number of reasons. Last time I checked, the only P239 9 TAC model was selling for close to $1,100. The standard (used) P239 in 9mm is selling for about $700 if you can find one. SIG jumped in on the concealed carry craze a little bit too late, with this design and with a “dated” design if you ask me. Nothing wrong with the P239 at all. Just that it was – and is – a bit too big for its intended purpose. The US Navy SEALs often carried the P239 in 9mm when operating in plain clothes. So, you know what a great gun it is.

If you compare a P239 side-by-side with a Glock 19, they are almost the same size. However, the SIG weighs in at 29.5-ounces empty and the Glock 19 is about 20-ounces empty. Additionally, the SIG only holds 8+1 rounds of 9mm while the Glock holds 15+1 — or you can insert larger capacity Glock-compaible mags up to 40-rounds these days. So, the Glock has several advantages over the SIG – in lighter weight, as well as holding more than double the number of rounds in it. The SIG has an aluminum frame, whereas the Glock has a polymer frame and that saves a lot of extra weight versus the SIG. The P239 was available in 9mm, .357 SIG and .40 S&W – but the 9mm was the most popular chambering.

The 9 TAC model that I have has SIGLite night sights, as well as a threaded barrel, that can accept a sound suppressor – not that I have one, nor would I jump through the red tape to get one, but its there just the same. The slide has the Nitron coating – tough stuff – but the slide is made out of stainless steel, so not much chance of it rusting. It also has a short reset trigger – and I love this option on SIGs. Most don’t come with this option. But you can have a short reset (SRT) installed on many of the hammer-fired SIGs. With the SRT, after you fire a round, it only takes a very little movement or release of pressure on the SRT to reset it. This makes for faster follow-up shots.

The P239 is a SA/DA pistol – once you load a round into the chamber, you press down on the decocker, on the left side of the frame and the hammer (safely) falls. Tnd your first shot is a long, but smooth, 10-pound double-action pull – all shots after that are in single action – a short and light trigger pull of only 4-pounds. When you want to stop shooting, you simply press down on the decocker, and the gun will revert to the double-action trigger pull.

The barrel on the standard P239 is 3.6-inches long and that’s a fair measurement for many concealed carry handguns if you ask me, the longer threaded barrel is half an inch more in length. The length of the gun is only 6.6-inches, and the height is 5.1-inches. The gun is 1.18-inch wide – less than a 1911. The sight radius is 5.2-inches and that gives a pretty fair sight picture. The two-piece grip is textured polymer and stippled for a great grip. And, since this is a single-stack magazine fed gun, the grip circumference in quite a bit thinner than a double-stack magazine affords. That is a distinct advantage for shooters with small hands.

My P239 9 TAC was “born” according to SIG in 2017, so this was close to the time SIG was about to discontinue this model. When I bought it, it was still in like-new condition. I should mention that the hammer is a bit short (smaller) than that found on other SIG hammer-fired pistols. I suppose that it makes it less likely to catch on your clothing when you draw the gun. I rarely carry this pistol. However when I do, it is in a Craft Holsters leather hip holster. And, if you haven’t checked out their line of holsters, then do yourself a favor, and please do so. They are producing some outstanding holsters at more than fair prices, too.

All I know is, if the US Navy SEALs put their faith in the P239 line, then I have confidence in this gun as well. The SEALs only use the best of the best when it comes to everything. For duty purposes, the SEALs used the SIG P226 for many years, and are in the process of switching over to several other handguns, including the Glock 19 as well as the SIG P320 line.

The SIG-Sauer line of firearms, especially their handguns, are one of the few firearms, I would purchase and if need be, carry it for self-defense or combat, without actually taking the gun out to the range and testing it – to make sure it functioned. I don’t do that with many handguns, but the SIG is one, as is the Glock, Beretta, Ruger, and Springfield Armory handguns. That’s a lot of faith in a pistol.

No doubt, we are still in the worse ammo drought ever – and I expect it to last for several years. I know there are gun shops that have some handguns, but no ammo to sell to their customers – not a good thing. So, with that said, I have cut way down on my testing of firearms – I don’t fire nearly as much ammo as I used to. The good folks at Black Hills Ammunition do their best to keep me supplied with ammo for my articles. However, these days, they are selling every round of ammo they make – every day – nothing on the shelves. So, my selection of 9mm ammo for this article was limited. I had the Black Hills 115-gr FMJ, 124-gr JHP, 124-gr JHP +P, 115-gr Barnes Tac-XP +P and the 100-gr HoneyBadger +P load. However, I’ve fired this SIG more than enough over time, to know it functions with everything I have run through it.

In all, I only fired a little more than 250-rounds in my tests, and that’s about half of what I formerly fired in my handgun review & test articles. My accuracy shooting was done at 25-yards, with a heavy jacket, over the hood of my Dodge Ram pick-up truck – my Dodge Ram. For casual plinking, and I do a lot of that in my tests, I stood shooting unsupported and was easily picking off rocks and tree branches way out past 50-yards – never missed a one.

Here’s one thing worth nothing and that is the “fit” of the slide to the frame of the gun – it “rattles” a little bit – loose! However, it did not affect accuracy at all – the barrel was a tight fit in the slide and that really helps. If I did my part, I got a group down to 2.75-inches, and that was with the Black Hills 124-gr JHP load – not the +P load. The second best was the 100-gr HoneyBadger load and that was slightly under three inches – everything else was just slightly over three inches, just by a hair. Some readers have asked why I don’t post pictures of the targets I shoot. Very simply – anyone can claim a very small group at 25 yards, when they were shooting the target at only 10-feet – so a picture doesn’t tell the truth.

Even though I don’t hardly carry this discontinued SIG P239 9 TAC very much – rarely – I wouldn’t feel handicapped it I did. Or even if I carried it on-duty as a policeman, or in the military as my sidearm. The smaller, and lighter weight of polymer-framed 9mm handguns, simply dealt the 239 its death. It was too expensive, too heavy, and didn’t carry enough rounds. However, I appreciate a fine handgun more than most, and I don’t have to have a handgun that I carry every day in order to appreciate one. By the way, my P239 9 TAC came with three magazines, two are 8-rounders, and one is 10-rounds. The ten-rounders are hard to come by – they are presently selling for at least $100 each. Wow! I’d never pay that for one, but I do have several other 8-round mags as spares for this gun – and I have been fortunate enough to find them at about the listed retail price.

You can’t go wrong with this Compact SIG P239 9 TAC – if it were the only handgun I had, I wouldn’t hesitate to carry it concealed today – I have that much faith in it. In the right holster, and with a spare mag or two – it will save your bacon if it came down to that. So, if you’re in the market for something a little different than all the ubiquitous polymer-framed, double-stack pistols, check out a SIG P239 or the P239 9 TAC – you might just love it.

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