In 1996, the various German province police forces began to upgrade their handguns. With this, they were left with over 40,000 gently used Sig-Sauer P6's on their hands that thankfully have arrived on our shores in good numbers. With the huge following these sleek mid-size pistols have gotten in the land of the red white and blue, I thought I would go over them for our readers.
The Sig Sauer P6 is the then-West German Federal Police derivative of the Swiss SIG P225 handgun. The Swiss P225 was manufactured in Europe only and as such, you will find that all three main sections, the slide, frame, and barrel, are serial numbered. Introduced in 1975 as a more compact version of the P220 with a push button magazine release (except in Switzerland.) They were very popular with Swiss, Swedish, Canadian and UK (yes some of them carry guns) police forces. When various West German police forces began purchasing the P6 variant in 1978, they became the largest user of the 225 design and the only user of the P6 variant. J. P. Sauer & Sohn made all P6s in Eckenfrde Germany where the P225 remains in very limited production.
The P6/P225 is a double-action, recoil-operated pistol. It has a single stack eight round magazine. Its barrel length is 3.9 inches and overall length is 7.1 inches. Using an alloy frame and a steel slide like most SIG P-series pistols, the P6 weighs in at 26.1 ounces. The difference between the P225 and the P6 is in the weight of the trigger pull (28-pounds!) and in the funky hooked hammer. In addition, pre-June 1989 made P6s have a steeper feed ramp that often will not feed larger (over 124-grain) 9mm JHP rounds reliably.
According to West German police code, the funny looking hook is a Deformationssporn, which means, "deformation spur." This was a requirement of the West German Police for all their pistols, regardless of manufacturer, to alert police armorers if the pistol was dropped on its hammer.
It has been recommended that if you have a very old P6 or one that functions poorly that you replace the springs. This job, consisting of the recoil spring, firing pin spring, and two mag springs can be accomplished for about $20.
Aftermarket accessories for the P6 series pistols are rather limited as the P225 was never a very well marketed firearm in the United States. Many generic holsters that are designed for medium sized automatics such as the Ruger P-95 and Glock 19 are close fits. I carry a P229 for work in my day job and find that the P6 fits very similarly but not perfectly in my assorted 229 holsters. Handgun grips likewise are limited to signature series grips that can usually be found as old stock for about $30-$40.
Magazines are a bone of contention for many P6 owners. Old surplus former German police Sauer-made steel magazines are plentiful for about $25-$30 apiece. Marked "P6" and having characteristic zipper backs, they are quality hard-wearing magazines. They have steel floor plates and followers and with the possible exception of having the spring replaced over time, should last forever. New production Sig Arms factory replacement magazines made OE by Mec-Gar in Italy are still available from Sig's website for $46. Other than these two options, the other magazines made by third parties are troublesome at best and should be avoided.
My personal P6's
As a Sig Academy trained P-series armorer who has worked for an agency that has issued Sigs for the past several years, I have had literally hundreds of P-series pistols pass through my hands and own several. When the first P6s began popping up on the market a few years ago I had to have one. The first I bought for $300 in 2008 that included two mags and a very funky German police holster. I made a few adjustments to the stock pistol that included switching out the super heavy 28# spring for a 17# one, and polishing the feed ramp. This little beauty shot beautiful and smooth. In a CCW role or plainclothes carry, it was slim and effective. You may be one of those who decry that only 9-rounds of 9mm is inadequate, however when compared with a Smith J-frame or a small 380 of similar size, you are still coming out ahead.
Sadly, this first gun shot so good that it soon was the subject of a trade with a co-worker who shot it. He still carries my old gun often and takes pains to rub it in my face.
My current P6 I bought last year for (wait for it) ...$300 and have only made some minor changes. It was made March 1980 and as such is only slightly younger than I am. I have kept the handgun all-original with the exception of a spring replacement and the addition of a set of Sig Pro night sights that popped right on with the assistance of a sight pusher. The handgun was imported in about Good condition with 70% finish remaining and showing a good bit of holster wear as any 'cop gun' with 15 years of service would. However mechanically it was still close to new and I doubt that 1000-rounds have ever gone through it.
As a pre-1989 P6, it has the quirky feed ramp. I could change it out with a new P225 barrel but instead I just found some rounds that work with it such as the 115-grain Speer Lawman +P JHP. The old Sauer slings these accurately and reliably.
If you were in the market for a beautiful, if slightly dated, European sidearm that shoots affordable yet still effective ammunition, you would be hard-pressed to walk past the Sig P6 for something else in the $300-$400 price range.