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RR: XD9SC vs....... P229? Long rant ensues

This is a discussion on RR: XD9SC vs....... P229? Long rant ensues within the SA-XD/XD(M) Range Reports forums, part of the Information category; Hello all, First of all, this is my first posting to the Forum, although I have been an avid viewer for some time now. I ...

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Old 02-01-2010, 05:12 PM   #1
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RR: XD9SC vs....... P229? Long rant ensues

Hello all,

First of all, this is my first posting to the Forum, although I have been an avid viewer for some time now. I have been having a very interesting (and enlightening) experience at the range over the past couple of days and just had to get it off my chest.

In the Beginning...

First, some background. I'm relatively new to pistolcraft, purchasing my first pistol (XD9SC) about 6 months ago with the intention of CCW. My first trip to the range resulted in a pretty consistent picture: 2-3" groupings at 15yd out of the box. In other words, I could hit the inside of a coffee mug with relative ease at that distance, and that had me feeling pretty darned good - especially with a "puny" 3" bbl. Subsequent range trips had me tightening that up as well.

Here are 13 shots @ 15 yds, and, scout's honor, there were no misses:

Enter Phase II

After a few months of familiarizing myself with the "gun culture," getting to know a number of my local aficionados and proprietors, and scouring various online resources, I get an itch that I just can't help but scratch: Sig Sauer. Nearly everything I hear and read tells me that, while a bit pricy, you pretty much can't go wrong with a Sig.

Well, I had a decent bonus this year, and I was generally a good boy, so I broke down and purchased a Sig P229 .40 S&W in Nitron finish and Trijicons. This was followed shortly thereafter by a Milt Sparks VMII, several mags, Hogue G10 grips, and a couple of cases of Winchester White Box. I couldn't WAIT to get to the range now!

P229 Day 1:

I unpack my range bag, carefully placing my P229, XD9sc, and associated paraphernalia on the table. Perhaps it was just my excitement, but I'm pretty sure the 229 made a delightful <schwing> sound as I pulled it from its range bag "scabbard."

After performing the requisite safety checks, I load up my .40 clip, tap and rack, de-cock to experience the delight of a DA first shot, and BANG! Oh, the delightful report of the shot; the clink of the brass hitting the floor; the expiration of my lightly-held breath; the "Hey, you hit my side of the target!" uttered from my fiancée standing next to me.

Wow - not only was I not in my usual center space, but I was a full 16 inches to the right (and down). Even as a brand-new shooter I hadn't had a shot that bad! Okay, I must've closed my eyes or something. Let's try that again. BANG! Okay, now I'm at least on my own side of the paper, but I'm still 4.5" off - and to the left! Sheesh! BANG! 3" high and to the right. BANG! 4" low, centered. BANG! Center hole "bullseye." BANG! Missed the paper entirely.

Repeat this kind of inconsistency through 200 rounds and a whole lotta paper. If I had to put a number to it, I'd say my average grouping for the day was about 8" - no joke! I was all over the paper, and not one bit happy about it.

Feeling dejected, I ask my lovely fiancée if I may shoot "her" XD9sc. I load up 13 rounds into the mag, tap, rack, and proceed to send the lot down the line. All 13 hit, with an acceptable 2" grouping to boot.

First thought: how can it be that my new "Excalibur" - the supposed Mercedes Benz of pistols - be so completely outmatched by my three-inch, nearly-half-priced XD? First pangs of buyer's remorse are setting in...

P229 Day 2:
I have cleaned and lubed both of my babies. I unpack the gear, do my range ritual, and start off with a couple of clips in the XD. Pretty decent - 1.5" to 2" groupings at 15 yards.

Alright, so I'm feeling pretty good, so out comes the P229. Somehow, it doesn't look as shiny today, but I'm excited to give it another go! Twelve shots of .40 S&W Winchester White Box fly down to the paper.

With each subsequent shot, my heart feels heavier and heavier. Four inches left and high, two inches right and high, three inches center and low, one inch left and low... you get the point.

After 100 rounds or so, and almost no discernible improvement in my groupings, the Sig goes back in the bag. I finish off the box of 50 9mm rounds in the XD to lift my spirits and leave the range.


Two key points keep circling my brain today:
  • Wow, that XD is a really great gun!
  • What in the h-e-double-hockey-sticks did I just spend $800 on - not counting the toys?!?

I know that, theoretically, the more time I spend with the 229, the better my accuracy will get. And with some help from someone more knowledgeable and experienced than I, I can probably accelerate that process. But, while it speaks volumes to the out-of-the-box shootability of the XD, my experience here has me totally second-guessing my "love" of this Sig that - by many other accounts - I should have.

I know there are so many individual things at play here - my shooting style, the way I grip the SIG versus the XD, the wind perhaps changes speed and direction every time I pull the trigger with the Sig - but I just feel like I made a bad choice. Not every pistol works with every person, just as not every size 11.5 Nike works with every person, but it certainly makes me wonder if I have made a wise investment.

In conclusion, I wish to impart the following wisdom in the hopes that you, beloved reader, may learn from my predicament:
  • Whenever possible, do not purchase a weapon system without having the chance to try it out first.
  • Don't buy a plethora of expensive accoutrements for a new gun without ensuring that it actually works for you!
  • Don't underestimate the quality of a reasonably priced, sub-compact weapon in the form of a Springfield Arms XD-9sc.

Thanks for tuning in, and happy shooting to all!
XD-9sc | Sig P229 .40 | Sig P226 .357SIG | Sig P250c 9mm | Sig P238
St. Louis, MO
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:17 PM   #2
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The P229 is a fine pistol, but I prefer (and carry) my XD9SC. By the way, welcome to the forum.
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:23 PM   #3
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Hum, I to prefer the XDline, I think Sig got their name from the German made guns not the newer one's! I would say trade that for a XD45 Compact plus a little cash!
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Old 02-01-2010, 05:31 PM   #4
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Good story but sorry for the results. Noting yet has out shot my Xd's and would put them up agaiant anythingin same caliber. Oh, Welcome to the board!

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Old 02-01-2010, 07:25 PM   #5
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this is my educated guess as i have both the sig 229(.357 sig) and the xd 40.

the higher pressure round can create certain "anticipatory" movements in your shooting stance you may not be aware of, even though you seem to be allowing for it

shoot the sig off a sandbag to make sure you are not the problem.
also make sure the sight, tirjicon or not, is adjusted properly.

if those 2 situations are met to your satifaction, you may be correct.
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Old 02-01-2010, 09:54 PM   #6
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first off .40 tends to really shake people up that are used to 9mm, try having someone slip a snap cap somewhere in the middle of a mag and you'll find if you have a flinch. next your finding the difficulty of switching platforms, it takes some time to adapt to a new gun, ergonomics are very different between the sigs and xds. whole reason I carry an xdsc is because I bought (and built up) a xdm as a range toy, got used to the SAO trigger on it and had to work harder to maintain accuracy with (at the time) my daily carry HK p2000sk with DAO (LEM) trigger. If your p229 is a DAK (sigs DAO) then your also struggling with the longer trigger pull, the gun is every bit as accurate you just have to work harder to get the accuracy out of it, any defect in your technique will show on the target, the up side is if you learn on a DAO and switch back to the xd's SAO trigger you'll find your shooting improved. and I gotta say I agree with who ever mentioned that the older sigs are better, I've seen a noticeable drop in quality in the newer sigs, I have 2 older sigs and one newer out of the sigs custom shop, great guns. I like my xd and xdm, wouldn't say they are better than sig though.
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Old 02-02-2010, 04:08 AM   #7
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Welcome to the forum BlockDaddy21..
That is quite a dramatic first post..

The XD9sc is a great pistol, I carried one for 2 years.
My Sig pistols are more accurate and run better than my XD pistols did.
I say did, because I sold all 4 of my XD pistols..
Also I've bought 3 NIB Sigs in the last 2 years, no problems with any of them..
The 40cal may have something to do with your issues, I don't care for the 40cal round as a whole.
If you want to make that 40cal P229 more accurate, buy yourself a P229 357sig barrel for it.
You can even use your 40cal mags for the 357sig round.
I think you might like the 357sig round better, since your shooting a 9mm well.
357sig will have less flip up recoil that you have with the 40cal.
The difference in the trigger types may contribute to your issues as well..
Is your Sig DA/SA?
Do some safe dry firing with your Sig and get accustomed to the trigger.
And good luck........

And kudos to bel970...........
The HK LEM trigger is probably the best carry trigger, on the best polymer gun..IMHO
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Old 02-02-2010, 08:50 AM   #8
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Thanks for the feedback, everyone. To answer some outstanding questions:
  • The 229 is the standard Sig SA/DA setup. While most of my shots were done SA, I did try a number of shots DA. Interestingly enough, some of my most accurate shots (albeit still inconsistent) were made DA.
  • I had been dry-firing the heck out of this thing and thought that I'd given myself a pretty good platform before going to the range. I'm guessing the problem is me, and it's going to be a result of anticipating the shot.
  • I was thinking about 357SIG, but most everything I've seen says there is more muzzle flip than 40, not less. I'm definitely going to have to try that one out for myself!

Again, thank you all for your replies. For now, I'm just going to get back on the horse and get some more range time (including with a sandbag). Hopefully it'll work itself out with practice.
XD-9sc | Sig P229 .40 | Sig P226 .357SIG | Sig P250c 9mm | Sig P238
St. Louis, MO
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:51 PM   #9
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for me there is very little differance between the 165gr .40 and the 125gr .357 sig, at least for felt recoil if your standing next to someone shooting .357 if feels a little differant, bit of a shockwave or something, it drives my dog nuts and she goes after the muzzle but doesn't seem to mind .40 though. I think the 180gr .40 has a bit more snap. the fact that you seem to be shooting better in DA would suggest that your flinching, the DA pull tends to hide the break point in the trigger so you don't know when to anticipate the recoil and your flinch doesn't effect the shot. you may also need to work on your finger placement. try pulling the trigger very slow, make the pull last 3-5 seconds, light pressure slowly increasing, this helps to hide the break point and over time you will become desensitized to the point where your flinch will be under control.

and it will work it's self out with practice, it's nothing a few thousand rounds can't fix.

I do love the p2000sk and the LEM, mine is the DAO model so always hammer down (unlike the p2000 LEM). it never misses a beat even after going to the bottom of the river 2x (I fish a lot). not as smooth as the DAK but much more adjustable, had it down to 4.5lbs but didn't like how it loaded up before breaking, 5.5 felt much better. just wish HK would ditch the plastic triggers.
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Old 02-02-2010, 09:59 PM   #10
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And this is why it's a GREAT idea to shoot a gun before you buy. I'm know that Sig makes great guns, but if I was that bad a shot with a Sig, I'd get something that I was a better shot with.

When I first started (a little less than a year ago), I shot a 1911, BHP, Glock, HS2000, Kahr, P3AT, Colt 1903 and Sig. Most of them were 9mm except the 1911 and the P3AT. I really liked the BHP and 1911. I was most accurate with and liked the Glock and HS2000, and was least accurate with the Sig.

I've actually found that it's easier to be accurate with an XD than an XDM, but I'm getting that under control. It's amazing how different these guns can be to shoot.
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