by Ben Small
Your protag or perp may need a gun...fast. Chances are that gun will be used. For those of you who know something about pistols, the name Sig Sauer will hold a special place in your heart and mind. Sig Sauers are legendary: The Sig P210, no longer in production, is widely regarded as the most accurate production pistol ever produced; the Sig P220 is regarded as one of the finest .45 acp pistols all time; same with the P226 in .40 or 9mm, essentially a similar design, and the Sig P228 and P229 are carried by the Secret Service, the FBI and the National Park Service. The Sig X-5 and Sig X-6, match versions of the P226 and the P220 Match series are regarded as the new standards in match pistols, on a par with the legendary P210.
But Sigs aren't cheap. Glock carries a much larger market share because they're cheaper, much cheaper; they're polymer based. But even with plastic pistols, the Sig Pro line and the brand new and revolutionary P250 are not only competitive in price with the Glocks, but also in reliability and in the all important "feel." The P250 is special; one pistol convertible to different calibers, size and grip. Amazing. Nobody else's pistols can brag of that. Sig has opened a new door in pistol design, one to which nobody else is even close.
I've got eight Sigs, and here's why: feel, reliability and accuracy; what shooting is all about.
So your protag or perp needs a pistol, and he needs one quickly. What does he look for? How can he tell if his pistol will fire or if it's only good as a hammer?
Flork (real name Scott Folk), whose article on buying a used pistol I'm quoting below, is a gunsmith with Gray Guns http://www.grayguns.com, perhaps the most respected master Sig gunsmithing operation in the world. Flork is a member of SigForum, as is Bruce Gray, owner of Gray Guns. (You may have seen Bruce on various shooting television programs.) You should check out SigForum; it's perhaps the finest gun forum (not limited to Sigs) on the web. http://Sigforum.com SigForum is ruled by folks who don't tolerate jerks, and many law enforcement, military and gunsmiths are active members. You have a legitimate question? Ask SigForum. There are over forty-five thousand members. You'll get an answer quickly. But don't be snide, and be careful about sarcasm. Sarcasm is tolerated where deserved, but newbies best be careful. I lurked before I posted, and that was wise, lest my involvement and comments be viewed as trolling or unwelcome. Legitimacy is what SigForum is all about, and it's okay to ask stupid questions. Trust me: I do it all the time.
Anyway, I was all set to post about a recent range experience I had and what I learned from it that might be of use to writers, but then tonight I saw Flork's post about what to look for in a used Sig, and I thought Flork's comments the more useful to you.
So with all credit due to Flork and Gray Guns, here is what Flork says you should look for in buying a used Sig. (http://sigforum.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/430601935/m/3951014551) I thought Scott Folk's (Flork's) comments were spot on.
The first thing to look at is the Frame rails. These will tell you everything that you need to know about how well the gun has been taken care of. The Following is how the colors of the under side of the frame rails will change as your gun wears.
1) Dull Black - No Wear, perfect finish.
2) Shiny Black - Slight wearing in of the pigment in the Anodizing, this is normal after around 200 rounds.
3) Dark Gold/Orange - The Pigment in the Anodizing is starting to wear, this is perfectly normal and not a problem, the metal is still protected and your frame is still perfectly viable. Most guns reach this phase between 2000 and 4000 rounds.
4) Bright Gold - The pigment in the anodizing is wearing in. Your frame is still protected and your gun is still perfectly viable. Most guns reach this phase and remain static from here on out as long as proper lubrication is used.
5)Light Gold - The pigment in your anodizing is wearing through, your frame is still protected, but you should keep an eye on it.
6) Shiny Silver - This is where you need to start to worry. The pigment in the Anodizing is worn through, your frame is still protected, but you need to monitor your frame rails very closely and make sure they remain greased thoroughly for the rest of your gun's life.
7) Dull Silver - You're screwed. Your Anodizing has worn completely through in the areas you see dull anodizing. From here on your frame is unprotected and it's time to buy a new gun. It may still shoot and function perfectly, but your frame rails will continue to wear at a much accelerated rate.
The next thing to look at is the disconnector tab on your trigger bar. That's the part of the trigger bar that sits up highest in the frame. A factory new trigger bar will have a nice radius across the top, a heavily used one will have a flat worn into it. The best way to check and make sure it's still functioning correctly is to pull the slide back by 1/4 of an inch and pull the trigger, if the hammer doesn't try to fall you're ok.
The Next place to look at is the barrel. You will notice the "smileys" on the barrel on the muzzle end. If you run your finger down the barrel and feel a dip, you may want to have the gun looked at by a professional, the slide should not be abrading the barrel enough to remove any metal at all. The presence of a dip in the metal would indicate that your slide has a burr in it.
If you look at the front of the chamber section at the top of the barrel you will see a ledge that steps down just before the tube part of the barrel starts. The ledge there should be at a clear 90 degree angle, any rolling of that sharp corner would indicate a soft barrel or one which hasn't been lubricated properly.
The slide should also be inspected. The slide lock lever detent on the slide should be looked at for burrs or any rounding on the rear or the notch. A burr sticking out can abrade your thumbs if you shoot a thumbs forward grip. A burr on the slide could indicate a slightly soft slide or that the previous shooter kept their thumb on the slide lock lever. A rounded off notch at the back would indicate an improper heat treat of the slide.
And so says Flork, someone whose opinion I can always count on...