Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220

I once read somewhere that no one finds their perfect gun right away. Inevitably we end up trying new ones and finding features or ergonomics that we prefer over our current set up. I thought I was done with this disease; I thought the days of my wife rolling her eyes over my long-winded explanations of why gun A should be traded for gun B were a thing of the past. If you can’t tell by now, I was wrong. The catalyst happened a few weeks ago when I taught a concealed weapons class where one of the students was utilizing a new SIG-Sauer P220. Upon taking the weapon from him to explain how the decocker worked, something clicked in my mind. At the range he let me shoot a magazine through it and I knew I was in serious trouble. Two weeks later I became a first-time SIG owner . . .

My P220 came in an attractive reverse two tone sporting Hogue grips and 3-dot Siglite night sights. Ergonomically speaking, it feels great in my hands. I don’t have the biggest hands in the world, but everything about the P220’s grip feels good. I’m able to get a nice high grip due to the beaver tail. The angle is dead on and I was able to point very naturally with it. Even with an alloy frame, though, the P220 weighs in at a hefty 39.1 oz. That sounds really bad until you remember that a 1911 typically weighs at around 44 oz and people carry those all the time. All in all, the weight took some getting used to as I’ve been a polymer guy for a while, but I found that everything balanced well and I stopped noticing its porkiness after just a few days.

The aforementioned ergos and trigger are what really sold me on this weapons platform. As Nick mentioned in his P226 review, the decocking mechanism results in your first trigger pull being a longer, heavier double action pull, with each subsequent trigger pull being single action. This function negates the need for any external safety to be deactivated prior to firing, a feature that could save your life in a DGU.

The double action pull has no noticeable grit or stacking with a nice clean break at what SIG advertises as 10lbs. Single action broke cleanly in the 4.5lbs neighborhood with a reset that was audibly and – if this is a word – tactilely noticeable. Some people hate the idea of learning two trigger pulls, I’ll admit it takes some getting used to, but that’s why they invented dry fire practice. After a couple of episodes of Game of Thrones spent clicking and racking I found myself suitably retrained.

I brought a variety of .45 cal to the range with me for my initial test: 100 rounds of Remington UMC 230 gr FMJ, 100 rounds of TulAmmo 230 gr FMJ, 50 rounds of Fiocchi “Canned Heat” 230 gr FMJ, 20 rounds of Hornady 230 gr +P TAP and 20 rounds of Hornady 185 gr Critical Defense. Upon starting my testing I found that shooting is where the SIG really shines.

Accuracy was phenomenal – after some practice I was able to reliably put whole mags into one ragged hole with slow aimed fire. Speeding things up, I could consistently draw, fire and dump a mag into a center of mass sized area. The high bore axis didn’t seem to affect follow up shots as badly as one would think; I felt that I was shooting as fast or faster than I was with my M&P 45c that I have a lot more trigger time with.

During this shooting, the P220 fired, fed and extracted all the ammo with ease. The only hiccup I experienced was loading the TulAmmo into the magazines. These rounds seemed to have a bit longer overall length (OAL) than the other brands and, as such, didn’t load easily. After exerting a Herculean effort to cram all eight rounds in the mag, though, they fed and fired fine. But be warned, it was not fun loading the mags.

Due to the aforementioned weight, CCing this gun effectively necessitates a quality belt and holster, but the size and weight didn’t prove to be the huge detriment to concealment I expected. Being a single stack gun, the P220 sports a relatively slim profile which always helps when trying to exercise discretion. Wearing a CrossTac D Belt I was able to comfortably carry the P220 utilizing both a Dale Fricke Gideon Elite OWB and a Remora IWB. You’ll have to dress around the gun somewhat, but as long as you don’t favor skinny jeans and retro Atari t-shirts from the “young adult” section you should be able to make it work.

I’ve been very impressed by the P220. Yes, it comes at a fairl steep price, but when you start comparing its tight tolerances and craftsmanship to some some lesser priced pistols out there, it’s evident that you’re definitely getting what you pay for. As a concealed carry, home defense and duty gun, the SIG P220 fit the bill perfectly for me. I fell in love with this Swiss/German amalgamation like a nerd lusts for Heidi Klum and I’m never looking back.


Caliber                    .45 ACP
Action                      DA/SA
Trigger Pull DA   10.01 lbs.
Trigger Pull SA    4.4 lbs.
Length                      7.7 in.
Height                      5.5 in.
Width                       1.5 in.
Barrel Length       4.4 in.
Sight Radius         6.3 in.
Weight with Magazine    39.1 oz.
Magazine Capacity     8 rounds
Sights                       SIGLITE Night Sights
Grips                        Hogue Rubber
Frame Finish       Stainless
Slide Finish          Nitron
MSRP                      $1,115


RATINGS (out of five)

Style  * * * * *
SIGs are good looking pistols. Period. The P220 is no exception.

Ergonomics  * * * * *
Slim-ish width, great grip angle and comfortable Hogue rubber grips make it feel great in the hand

Reliability  * * * * *
It plowed through almost 300 rounds without so much as a hiccup or a cleaning

Customizable  * * * *
Grips, sights, trigger kits etc… Not quite at the Glock level of customization but it’s no slouch either.

Carry  * * *
It’s definitely on the heavy side and it’s a full figured girl. Dress her right, though, and you won’t have a problem.

Overall Rating * * * * *
Accurate, reliable and comfortable. It’s all I could ask for in a pistol.


[TTAG’s targets are supplied by Birchwood Casey]