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View Full Version : Whats wrong with a S&W SIGMA?


mr.hustle
04-30-2011, 4:23 PM
I know its not a glock, its a S&W. But whats wrong with owning one or buying one? Can someone please shed their opinions on this gun? Good or bad.

I need to make a decision tonight.

thanks all.

Ronk
04-30-2011, 4:25 PM
Trigger pull and it's non adjustable, at least that is what the folks at a gun shop told me a couple years ago, and I was also told that the pull is quite high.

InGrAM
04-30-2011, 4:26 PM
The trigger is pretty bad. But it is a good solid gun for HD. Not a good range gun tho. IMO.

Quiet
04-30-2011, 4:28 PM
The early ones were bad.

The current ones are alright. Decent inexpensive pistols. S&W keeps them around as their budget line of polymer pistols.

MoBait
04-30-2011, 4:30 PM
I believe Ruger P95's are in the same price range, check out one of those before you commit to the Sigma. It is a different battery of arms but the trigger is a lot better on the P95 and it is a reliable firearm.

ojisan
04-30-2011, 4:32 PM
The trigger is a long heavy pull very similar to a double action revolver trigger pull.
I think it is a good idea for a home defense gun than may be held in nervous hands when responding to a bump in the night.
The trigger is easily improved with some polishing and usually the removal of the "pigtail" spring, as shown on youtube instructional videos.
It takes practice to shoot it well at the range, old timers who are used to DA revolvers will have few problems adapting quickly.
Very reliable, low cost, I think they are a bargain.

BigfootHunter
04-30-2011, 4:34 PM
There isn't a dang thing wrong with it, but as said above - it isn't a range gun. My dad bought one in 40sw after our house was broken into back in 2000 and it was my first experience with a pistol. Seemed alright to me then, not until I bought my 1911 did I realize what a good trigger could do for a gun.

That said, I've replaced the factory springs with some from Wolff and the trigger got a little better with that. Still a DAO feel, and it is good for HD, but not much else. Might try the SD series next to one at the shop to see if the trigger is any better on those.

Only thing I wish is we would have bought a 357sig barrel for it when we had the chance.

ConfucianScholar
04-30-2011, 4:57 PM
S&W makes good guns, the sigma being the exception. The ruger p95 is in the same price range as the sigma but it's a MUCH better gun.

The guys above say the sigma is not a good range gun and I agree with them, but how can you protect your home effectively if you can't hit where you aim with the damn gun?!
Steer away from the sigma.

CZ9
04-30-2011, 5:07 PM
I dont have much of a problem with them, actually have a few more days till I can pick it up :) But it is a low cost pistol, so things arnt going to be quite as nice on something double the price, but it'll get the job done. Trigger is long and heavy, but the one im getting has a nice break, and seemed like no overtravel. Got to go into it with the mindset the trigger is like a improved revolver double action pull.

InGrAM
04-30-2011, 5:09 PM
S&W makes good guns, the sigma being the exception. The ruger p95 is in the same price range as the sigma but it's a MUCH better gun.

The guys above say the sigma is not a good range gun and I agree with them, but how can you protect your home effectively if you can't hit where you aim with the damn gun?!
Steer away from the sigma.

You can hit where you aim with it. It is about as accurate as my old p89. Not a nail driver but you will hit what you are shooting at, easily.

to Op: What we mean by it not being a "range gun" is that it is not meant for pin point accuracy. You are not going to hit a dime at 25 yards with it.

Check out Ruger like he said. They make good guns for cheap and they are always CA legal. But if you are set on the Sigma don't worry about it. It will do its job and some.

bwiese
04-30-2011, 5:18 PM
Early Sigmas had problems, they are better now - esp new new generation.

However, there's quite a bit of information out there that they were designed to be a shorter-lifecycle gun sold into the basic "I need a nightstand gun" home defense markets and into lower-wage armed security guard marketplaces. These people are not active weekly shooters and prob hit the range at best once every year or so for a limited number of rounds. Estimated life cycle for at least the earlier Sigmas was around 5000 rounds.

Now, that doesn't mean the gun fails in 5000 rounds or than when it fails, it blows up or anything like that. It just means on average that this gun is gonna have more issues of some sort that require some addressing way sooner than other guns will require.

I'd bet that the new-style Sigmas from the new Smith & Wesson are quite improved, the triggers are certainly better. [The original Sigma is a product of the old" Smith & Wesson mgmt team that sold out to Clinton admin. [Thankfully, those days are over and S&W is about the most pro-RKBA company I can imagine - including shipping into California, DIRECT FROM FACTORY, various S&W M&P 15 rifles with BulletButton maglocks.]

I do think you are bettah off paying a tad more for a used higher-grade/well-maintained gun from a friend (via PPT) or via consignment, than getting the original Sigma. This probably somewhat applies to the new design Sigma but I'd bet the latter has a better lifespan.

Remember that the first rule of gunfighting is to "have a gun", however. If somehow you're constrained to get only this gun due to price, availability or ergonomics you'll still have a gun that will reliably serve you for basic defensive needs.

510GUY
04-30-2011, 5:23 PM
Is the sigma comparable to a high point ?

bwiese
04-30-2011, 5:23 PM
Is the sigma comparable to a high point ?

No much better.

Kanester
04-30-2011, 5:26 PM
I would also check out a Ruger SR9. Just handled one over at iron sights today, great gun for the price!

Longbow
04-30-2011, 5:33 PM
Good gun, no worries.

The original issues were intended to compete head to head with Glock, so much so that they were sued by Glock. So if you can get a REALLY early one, they're actually pretty good pistols!

As to them wearing out - I know a lot of boat owners who keep them as cabin/tackle box guns, and they hold up extremely well.

Your mileage may vary; you should talk to people who actually own them, not just people who parrot internet blather.

Cheers,
Longbow

510GUY
04-30-2011, 5:36 PM
They seem to go for cheap here on the private sales area, I was thinking of buying one in 9mm for range /plinking use . But from what some of you guys stated about the trigger pull it might not be the best option.

DocSkinner
04-30-2011, 5:44 PM
They are a decent gun - I have a very old .40 (bought used 1995) and it is okay to shoot, especially with the extra trigger weight spring removed. Not my favorite, but neither are Glocks, but I bought it at a time when I could get 15 round mags for it. My preferred is my Browning HiPower .40. and its only designed to be 10 rounds, so that isn't an issue.

Round life - like BWiese said. I also have an old (1983) Taurus PT99 (Beretta knock off) that supposedly was only going to be good for 4000-5000 rounds. I have cranked tens of thousands of rounds through it, including hot hand loads, and it has never even burped.

The story I have heard is that they were aiming solidly at police markets in departments slow to move away from revolvers, hence the extra spring to duplicate 8-10# DA trigger pull, and part sell out for a safe trigger for the banners, etc.

Haven't tried any of the newer ones, but if you like the way it feels and points and it fits your budget, what more do you want out of an affordable pistol?

furyous68
04-30-2011, 5:50 PM
But whats wrong with owning one or buying one?

Nothing.

I'm a second hand 1st Gen Sigma owner. It's a good first gun. Really accurate past 25'? Probably not.

I don't practice for that. But within 25', it does the job. I get +/-6" groupings @ 25'. Besides, if you can get decent groupings with a less than desirable gun, you should have no problems with a better gun when you can afford it.

Now... I'm about to spend $140 to have the barrel & slide ported... I'll let you know how it goes. I don't know if it's worth doing to a $200 gun, but I love the feel of my 21c. The barrel rise is minimal. If it can do the same for my Sigma, then it'll be that much better of a gun!

cnj
04-30-2011, 5:51 PM
I believe Ruger P95's are in the same price range, check out one of those before you commit to the Sigma. It is a different battery of arms but the trigger is a lot better on the P95 and it is a reliable firearm.

This right here.

510GUY
04-30-2011, 6:06 PM
The Ruger p95 is not a bad priced gun either but it looks like it was left on the barbecue grill on accident.

CSACANNONEER
04-30-2011, 6:12 PM
I've had one since '99 and, I've never had a problem with it. While it is far from my goto gun, I'm not planning on getting rid of it anytime in the foreseable future.

bigthaiboy
04-30-2011, 6:16 PM
The Sigma was originally designed as an entry-level combat / LE pistol, not a target pistol. The post-1999 Sigmas are no longer Glock copies. Mechanically the trigger is different from the Glock, the Sigma has a double action only trigger, where as the Glock has a 2 stage pre-set trigger mechanism, so making any comparisons between the two pistols is like comparing apples to oranges. I'll bet you, most of the people who have shot a "friend's" Sigma, or have bought one based on their price, and then complain about the triggers, are not even aware that the Sigma is a DAO pistol.

My advice is: if you don't like heavy triggers, don't buy a DAO pistol.

Apart from the trigger "complaint", the Sigma has decent ergonomics and is generally a very reliable pistol (current generation any way). My only complaint about the Sigma is, for the pistol's price-point, the magazines are quite expensive.

Ub3rDorK
04-30-2011, 6:37 PM
I had one i bought a year n a half ago...it was a POS. The trigger was terrible DA feel...I think it was measured at 8lbs? The mags are pricey too. You could get a trigger job for another $100...or be patient and Just save another $150 and buy an XD or a glock. You'll be a lot more happy. I was in your shoes once, I couldnt wait to be like my friends and have a handgun and I could only spend $300 because thats all I had in my pocket at the time. So IMO Save your pennies and wait.


The Ruger p95 is not a bad priced gun either but it looks like it was left on the barbecue grill on accident.

I have a friend with one...its not that bad, it's a lot nicer than a SW40VE or 9..whichever you choose

Andy Taylor
04-30-2011, 6:38 PM
I have a VERY early one. In fact it is one of the first batch chambered for 9mm. We called them Glock & Wessons. Yes Glock sued S&W over the design of these pistols. S&W changed the design as part of the settlement. It was after this that the Sigma became a budget gun. The first ones were priced about the same as a Glock.
For those who don't remember, or who are to young to have been around at the time, the introduction of the Sigma was almost simultanious with the introduction of the .40 S&W cartridge. S&W introduced the .40 version first, in an effort to get people who were interested in the Sigma to jump on the .40 bandwagon. Well the .40 took off, the Sigma stuck around, albeit changed due to the lawsuit.
In any event a friend of mine was very taken by the Sigma. He had to have one. But he did not trust that the .40 S&W would be around in another few years, or if it did that it wouldn't be some oddball, hard to find and expensive cartridge. Think .41 AE, .356 TSW, .45 GAP etc. When he confirmed that a 9mm would be out in a few months, he put a deposit down, and got one of the very first 9mms.
That is the gun that now sits in my safe. His widow gave it to me when he passed a few years ago.
It is an excellent firearm, having digested well in excess of 10K rounds. I don't shoot it much, because it has a lot of sentimental value to me. However, I have no doubt that it would serve me well if I were to press it into service.

drifts1
04-30-2011, 6:57 PM
Early Sigmas had problems, they are better now - esp new new generation.

However, there's quite a bit of information out there that they were designed to be a shorter-lifecycle gun sold into the basic "I need a nightstand gun" home defense markets and into lower-wage armed security guard marketplaces. These people are not active weekly shooters and prob hit the range at best once every year or so for a limited number of rounds. Estimated life cycle for at least the earlier Sigmas was around 5000 rounds.

Now, that doesn't mean the gun fails in 5000 rounds or than when it fails, it blows up or anything like that. It just means on average that this gun is gonna have more issues of some sort that require some addressing way sooner than other guns will require.

I'd bet that the new-style Sigmas from the new Smith & Wesson are quite improved, the triggers are certainly better. [The original Sigma is a product of the old" Smith & Wesson mgmt team that sold out to Clinton admin. [Thankfully, those days are over and S&W is about the most pro-RKBA company I can imagine - including shipping into California, DIRECT FROM FACTORY, various S&W M&P 15 rifles with BulletButton maglocks.]

I do think you are bettah off paying a tad more for a used higher-grade/well-maintained gun from a friend (via PPT) or via consignment, than getting the original Sigma. This probably somewhat applies to the new design Sigma but I'd bet the latter has a better lifespan.

Remember that the first rule of gunfighting is to "have a gun", however. If somehow you're constrained to get only this gun due to price, availability or ergonomics you'll still have a gun that will reliably serve you for basic defensive needs.

Regarding the 5000 round estimated life cycle: I think your speaking of the SW380 & SW9 models. Those model numbers had slides that were made from a zinc metal. They were smaller single stack compact Sigmas. Both are discontinued. I have the SW380, holds 6 rounds of .380. Has been absolutely reliable with NO malfunctions for the last 15 years.

D-Man
04-30-2011, 7:01 PM
I have an older S&W Sigma SW40VE and the trigger pull was terrible on it. Get in touch with Frank Smith at LSG Mfg and tell him. With Smith's lifetime warranty he fixed the trigger from about 14 pounds down to 7 pounds for free. Great guy to talk to. Google his name and you can find him and all you need to do in order to ship him the firearm. My Sigma is now my backup carry gun and works wonderful.

sequoia_nomad
04-30-2011, 7:05 PM
Pro: Good price, lots of folks love them so they must have something going for them.

Con: Terrible trigger. Long, spongy and,.... terrible. Also kinda goofy looking and disproportionate, in my opinion.

Danhood
04-30-2011, 7:13 PM
They are very reliable guns. The triggers are rough out of the box and have a extra "lawyer" spring on them. You can do your own "fluff & buff" and make the tiger much smoother. You can also pull the pigtail spring and lighten up the trigger too. Wolf springs also makes better triggers for them.

A little extra work and you will have a nice home defense gun at a good price.

BigfootHunter
04-30-2011, 7:16 PM
Also, no one's brought this up I don't think, but if you don't mind me asking - why do you have to know by tonight? It's my experience that trying to make a decision like this fit into a tight timeframe is a mistake, especially if you aren't sure of what you want.

I'll have to check out that LGS guy, thanks for the tip.

Rudolf the Red
04-30-2011, 8:23 PM
They are an unbeatable deal. I like mine alot. I even shoot USPSA with it.

DevilDog1988
04-30-2011, 9:53 PM
I bought one and shot it for the first time today. I have the 9mm one. Not very accurate and the trigger is kind of stiff. Breaking in was a little rough, I used pmc ammo. Had about 5 jams out of 150 rds. Did have decently tight groups but the wind was rocking my target. Paid 350. I give it a 6.5-7

morfeeis
04-30-2011, 10:28 PM
I believe Ruger P95's are in the same price range, check out one of those before you commit to the Sigma. It is a different battery of arms but the trigger is a lot better on the P95 and it is a reliable firearm.
I loved my P95, a tank of a gun.........

Z_SprizL
04-30-2011, 10:55 PM
You get what you pay for... I would save my money for a Glock or M&P, but if you can only spend $300 and can't wait, then buy a Rem870 or Moss500 shotgun and be happier with your purchase. For my first firearm I almost bought a sigma 40 (glad I didn't listen to the guy at Turner's),but ended up spending more money for a Walther P99 AS and I'm happy I did. IMHO get a Glock then you'll be able to easily find aftermarket upgrades.

Target19
05-01-2011, 2:57 AM
It works.
I don't like the feel of it though.

Brown Rock
05-01-2011, 9:49 AM
Estimated life cycle for at least the earlier Sigmas was around 5000 rounds.

I read that was for the 380 Sigma's. S&W made the slide out of pot metal.

Shenaniguns
05-01-2011, 10:13 AM
Nothing.

I'm a second hand 1st Gen Sigma owner. It's a good first gun. Really accurate past 25'? Probably not.

I don't practice for that. But within 25', it does the job. I get +/-6" groupings @ 25'. Besides, if you can get decent groupings with a less than desirable gun, you should have no problems with a better gun when you can afford it.

Now... I'm about to spend $140 to have the barrel & slide ported... I'll let you know how it goes. I don't know if it's worth doing to a $200 gun, but I love the feel of my 21c. The barrel rise is minimal. If it can do the same for my Sigma, then it'll be that much better of a gun!


If you're happy with 6" groups at 25 feet under controlled conditions you should look into formal training and an easier to shoot gun since you will shoot worse under stress and don't always have the option of picking your time or distance.

tbhracing
05-01-2011, 10:50 AM
Whats wrong with the Sigma? Everything.

furyous68
05-01-2011, 12:34 PM
If you're happy with 6" groups at 25 feet under controlled conditions you should look into formal training and an easier to shoot gun since you will shoot worse under stress and don't always have the option of picking your time or distance.


Who said I'm happy with it? I'm still learning to shoot it. Trying to un-learn bad habits I picked up in stance, grip, etc. 6" groupings are my average. I've shot a few 3 & 4's.... as well as some 8's & 10's :eek: Hey... everyone has their bad days at the range. I don't CC or UOC, so my main concern is being able to protect from "home invasion". If you saw the layout of my house (small), then you would know why I only practice @ 25'... which would be the longest shot I'd have to make! LOL

I was able to fix the feel of my trigger by taking down the trigger group , polishing the sear, and replacing the inner spring with a much lighter one (think ball point pen spring). It feels much smoother now.

furyous68
05-01-2011, 12:36 PM
Whats wrong with the Sigma? Everything.

Ever actually owned one or are you just passing along hearsay?

Group 4
05-01-2011, 12:47 PM
The new generation Sigma was my first polymer gun (I bought it 3 years ago). Last year I bought a SA XD9. Though I prefer the Springfield for range shooting, I wouldn't hesitate to use the S&W in a real world defense situation. But if you aren't accustomed to a real double action revolver-type pull (or don't want to learn) stay away from the S&W. The Sigma is no range-Queen. It's a a home defense gun first and foremost.

runninrebel85
05-01-2011, 11:34 PM
Good home protection weapon, good range weapon. Everything S&W makes is quality from handcuffs, to revolvers, to calibers. But I just don't put my life on their polymer pistol. On a budget? Go with Ruger.

Steve1968LS2
05-02-2011, 7:32 AM
They seem to go for cheap here on the private sales area, I was thinking of buying one in 9mm for range /plinking use . But from what some of you guys stated about the trigger pull it might not be the best option.

The trigger pull is ok for defense.. just not great for precision target shooting.. I might try some of the YouTube tricks, but for defense the harder trigger is, in some ways, better.

I bought a stainless .40 for $200 (came with three mags) used off the forum here. It's my dedicated truck gun so it lives it's live locked in a car vault and I shoot it every 6 months or so.

At $200 I'm not going to cry if the truck is stolen.. burns down or whatever. It's there just in case and I don't miss its absense from my safe.

supersonic
05-02-2011, 10:07 AM
The fact that they are still being made!:p (couldn't resist)

duc748bip
05-02-2011, 2:45 PM
Make it short, Smith and Wesson want a polymer framed gun...got lazy and reverse-engineer a glock, did a horrible job. Because they think PD will buy anything with a S&W trademark on it, they still put it on the market. If you don't care about corporate policy and intellectual property rights, as a gun it will go bang if you pull the trigger. Certainly not the worst gun on the market but its pretty below average.

bigthaiboy
05-02-2011, 3:00 PM
Make it short, Smith and Wesson want a polymer framed gun...got lazy and reverse-engineer a glock, did a horrible job. Because they think PD will buy anything with a S&W trademark on it, they still put it on the market. If you don't care about corporate policy and intellectual property rights, as a gun it will go bang if you pull the trigger. Certainly not the worst gun on the market but its pretty below average.

As I said in my last post in this thread, post-1999 Sigmas are not Glock clones. Your statement may apply if the OP planning to buy a pre-1997 1st Gen Sigma, which was the model that led to S&W settling millions of $$ with Glock, and being forced to make changes to the Sigma.