Beretta Nano or SIG P290?

We finally got in a couple of the little Beretta Nano’s.  A very slim single stack 9mm.  It’s a striker fired gun, much like the S&W Shield.  For the same price, between the two, the Shield is easily the better gun.

A Beretta Nano 9mm... finally.

Looks like it's missing a part.

The Nano looks nifty at first.  Cool looking lines.  Unfortunately it feels kind of awkward in the hand. The trigger pull isn’t bad… it’s no Sigma, but it’s not good.  I’ll call it average.  But the way the gun points and feels… it’s just… not there.  It’s like the Italians designed it for looks to fit within a very small box, not to be an actual firearm for a human to use.  Italians are great at designing for looks first and foremost.  The only Italians that design for actual performance is Ducati… unfortunately they don’t make guns.

The Germans on the other hand...

So the gun closest to the Nano, the Shield… Shield wins.  Another Striker Fired single stack is the Walther PPS.  Unfortunately Walther continues to struggle for relevance in the market, and I am no fan of the PPS.  Like the Nano, just because you can make it that small – doesn’t mean you should.  Yet it can be done right.  SIG is very close to the same size as the Nano.   And for the love of all that is good and holy in the world… I think the Germans made a better looking machine than the Italians.  Cleaner lines, and it looks like there are no forgotten parts on the gun.

This SIG P290 as pictured does have a higher price tag, but it is coming with Tritium Night Sights and a Laser Module…. two features I rather like on a defensive pistol.  I firmly believe that night sights are not optional on a defensive handguns – they are mandatory.  SIG has great night sights.  The Nano… not so much.  The Laser is a bonus.  The actions of the two guns show a greater disparity of quality.  The SIG is much smoother than the Beretta, it’s like the difference between a night with a Hot Octoberfest Beer Maiden… and the Nano’s Prison Rape by your Cell Mate at San Quentin.  Which one would you want to spend quality time with?

The SIG is much better feeling in the hand, and it has a slide release that is not in the way, obrusive, or awkward in anyway.  It is there, and it works.  Like it should.  You don’t have to think about it.  The Nano’s complete lack of it… What is this?  A Magnum Research Micro Eagle?  Come on.  Kahr hangs a squared off mailbox off the side of their guns – but at least they have them.  The Nano is trying to be slick by leaving the lever off.  I’d rather have the mailbox, thank you.  Beretta needs to look at the SIG to see how it’s done.  Also, the SIG’s texture is superior.  You can grip it and it’s not abrasive… it’s just… grippier.  And it doesn’t snag clothes.  Just like it should. The Nano… not so much.  Oh, it’s snag free.  But it’s also gripless.  Gripless, Pointless… The SIG P290 just makes the Nano seem a cheaper, sadder thing.  It’s a good thing it’s cheaper.  It will appeal to those without the means to appreciate better.  Like a Hi-Point.  In fact, the Nano looks like shrunken an flattened Hi-Point.  The SIG, looks like freaking SIG. A weapon you can trust. It feels like a weapon you can trust.  And they actually shoot very well on top of it all!   I’m sure the Nano shoots just fine… but do you really want to?

14 thoughts on “Beretta Nano or SIG P290?”

  1. You have some good points here, however remember that the chassis is removable so you can utilize completely different grip frames and the sights are easily swapped. I think all of your points except for the trigger pull and external slide stop will be addressed within the next year by BUSA. And possibly even the slide stop.. although that may not be a BUSA thing.

          1. But only one size is available on Beretta’s site. Strange. I guess if a stipling job goes bad you can go back to stock for $39.00. That is funny.

  2. Just as a note, the Sig P290 with Restrike has a much improved trigger feel. I had the original P290, sent it into Sig for the RS “upgrade”. The trigger feels more smooth, definite improvement on the original. My only complaint is the take down. Is it impossible? No. Is it ideal? No, but it is usable/possible after you figure out what works for you when disassembling the weapon. In comparison to my Kahr’s, it feels a bit more comfortable when practicing. Actually having a grip extension on the magazine for the P290 is definitely more aesthetic and usable than the way Kahr does theirs.

  3. I would like to try the 290 RS. That might retire my PF-9 for workplace carry.

    Right now I got a Ruger P-90 in my laptop bag. But nothing in my pockets except a spare mag full of PDX1.

    Nothing against the PF-9 or even Kel Tec. Heck, I still want a KSG but as for the PF-9 there is hardly any “pride of ownership” when I look at it.

    I want to feel something. A SIG would do that.

  4. I picked up a P290 with laser sights and sold my Taurus 709. The Sig is costs more, but I feel that it’s worth it. The Taurus sights were off, but adjustable, Feel was Ok. The Sig, much better feel. The recoil was not a problem. Short barrel on the P290, but it’s for conceil carry. My 45 is for home defense.

  5. I can’t speak to the P290 because I’ve never shot one and I do love the three Sigs I already own.
    The Nano however is not as bad as you make it seem. Most of what you dislike or disparage is strictly opinion.
    Yes, the Nano feels a bit awkward in the hand the first time out but after 50 rounds my hand fit quite comfortably around the grip.
    The quality of the pistol is much better than you give it credit for and the lack of a slide stop does not hinder the clearing process at all.

    1. Not having a slide stop lever is a bonus in my opinion. It is not meant to be a slide release on newer weapons except for 1911s. I do not own a nano but I have a px4 subcompact and love it.

  6. How well does the P290 seem to be designed for handling environmental contamination (dirt, lint)?

    I’d consider one for a backup (my first carry pistol was a Sig, and I’ve always had a soft spot for them), but I always worry when I strap something to my ankle, that it will get dirty and fail to function.

  7. I love my walther pps, night sights are rather dim though.
    I also have a sig 238 , and love the feel of it, but i cant get another
    Slim 9. So i have to keeP the walther

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