Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Though I have fired thousands of rounds through SIG Sauer‘s various P-series guns, I have never owned one. The manual of arms, the view from behind, the balance, the general feel, and the trigger have never really “done it” for me. But if I could afford it, I’d buy a P220 Legion today.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

SIG’s P220 Legion Full-Size is available in three flavors: the .45 ACP seen here, a 10mm with a longer slide and barrel, and a single action only (SAO) .45 ACP.

MSRP on the standard .45 and on the SAO .45 is $1,413. Which ain’t cheap. The going rate online is just $1,199, though. Then again that also isn’t cheap. But it sure feels like a bargain compared to the $1,904 MSRP they’re asking for the 10mm, so at least it has that going for it.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

For the premium above the standard P220’s asking price the Legion buyer gets G10 grips, upgraded X-RAY 3 night sights, a slimmer “Elite” beaver tail, undercut trigger guard, more aggressive front strap checkering, a gray slide with front cocking serrations, low-profile controls, Legion engraving, some goodies like a soft case and challenge coin after warranty registration is completed, an extra magazine (three, eight round magazines are included), and an absolutely fantastic trigger. Possibly some extra attention in the fit and finish department, too.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

But first, that trigger. Double action is a smooth 10 lbs. Thanks to relatively slim grips it’s a comfortable reach to that trigger, which feels better on the finger than your typical SIG trigger because it isn’t your typical SIG trigger. The P220 Legion receives an over-travel-adjustable unit from Grayguns.

Single action on this gun broke at around 4.5 lbs, but felt lighter due to a slightly rolling break versus that solid wall and glass rod-like, crisp snap. I’d prefer a crisper break but, for a DA/SA gun, the single action on the P220 Legion is truly excellent.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

But none of the above praise touches on the best part of this trigger: the reset. With SIG’s SRT or Short-Reset Trigger system installed in combination with the over-travel adjustment of the Grayguns P-SAIT trigger bow, the reset is so darn short it’s difficult to even feel the trigger move forwards first. It’s so short that it seems you’ve done no more than reduce pressure on the bow when it resets. “Did it move forwards at all?” It’s that short.

Yes, it does move forward a millimeter or three before that reset click. Again I can nitpick here, as I’d much prefer a stronger “click” that’s more audible and much more tactile. But dang is that short reset fast!

Dan and I couldn’t help ourselves from dumping full magazines on target as fast as we possibly could. The trigger just screams for those sorts of shenanigans due to how little one has to move one’s finger. And the SIG P220 is controllable enough and absorbs recoil enough that keeping all of those rapid-fire hits well within a silhouette and mostly within paper plate size at 7 yards is a complete non-issue.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Firing slowly, offhand, I was able to produce good groups when I didn’t flinch. I haven’t been shooting pistols enough lately and all of a sudden I’ve developed a bit of recoil anticipation, which is exacerbated by a trigger with a rolling break instead of that crisp wall and snap I longingly mentioned earlier. Still, at 7 yards I managed to put three shots through the same hole and only screwed up two of them. I’m fairly certain this pistol was capable of putting those other two a lot closer.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

At 15 yards it opened up as you might expect. Did I mention my right eye is in desperate need of vision correction? [ED: did your dog also eat your homework, Jeremy?] As for the tears below each hole in the target . . . I can’t really explain that.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

I do know the G10 grip panels felt great. They’re grippier and more solid and have a higher quality, maybe “warmer” feel than most polymer. The texture on the Legion’s grips is just right. Grippy and secure without becoming uncomfortable, done in a classic checkering style.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Controls are P-series standard in function and placement, just lower profile than the SIG norm. Seen at the top of the grip panel are the de-cocker in front — press it downwards through a long sweep until it breaks like a trigger and the hammer drops — and the slide stop behind it. Considering one has to push the de-cocker straight down, I’d like it more if it were shaped more like the slide stop and offered a closer-to-horizontal, checkered surface to push down on.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

A forged aluminum frame with long slide rails provides a solid feel and a tighter slide-to-frame fit than with most polymer pistols. The design of the recoil spring, solid steel guide rod, and barrel lug system is what I’d call “traditional.” The SIG P220 does have a firing pin block that prevents the possibility of firing without the trigger being depressed.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

Overall the P220 Legion was extremely enjoyable to shoot. Fun, too, thanks to that ridiculously short trigger pull and crisp combat sights with generous light on either side of the front post.

Gun Review: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size .45 ACP

Jeremy S. for TTAG

My well-used loaner ran through a bunch of 230 gr Armscor FMJ plus a box of Remington hollow points without a hitch. The railed aluminum frame and right-sized grips with quality texture made for a controllable .45 ACP. I’m now really excited to shoot the 10mm P220! Though with its 8+1 rounds in one hand and my GLOCK 20SF’s 15+1 rounds in the other, the choice of which to carry isn’t an easy or straight-forward one.

While certainly not cheap, the SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size is accurate, fast, reliable, and feature-rich. It’s a fantastic pistol.

Specifications: SIG Sauer P220 Legion Full-Size

Caliber: .45 ACP (as tested) and 10mm
Capacity: 8+1 rounds (3 magazines included)
Slide: Stainless steel, coated Legion Gray
Frame: “Alloy,” coated Legion Gray
Grips: Black G10
Weight: 30.4 ounces
Length: 7.7 inches
Height: 5.5 inches
Barrel Length: 4.4 inches
Sight Radius: 5.7 inches
MSRP: $1,413 ($1,904 in 10mm)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
The SIG Sauer P220 has been in production since 1975, and it has earned its reputation for solid reliability. My loaner gave me no reason to question that.

Accuracy * * * *
With target sights instead of combat sights and a crisper Grayguns P-SAIT trigger break I would have shot tighter groups, as the P220’s mechanical accuracy exceeded my abilities on this day.

Ergonomics * * * *
Grip size and shape work very well for my hands. Shooters with smaller hands may have some difficulty reaching all of the controls and the trigger after being de-cocked may be a farther reach than ideal. I’d re-design the de-cocker lever. Yes, I know the rolled-top sheet metal de-cocker has served SIG well for decades, but they can do better.

Customize This * * * *
One benefit of a time-tested design is aftermarket support. There’s no shortage of replacement parts and accessories for the P220, including barrels, sights, grips, trigger work, magazines, controls, and more. Though, with the Legion, you’ve already paid for nice sights, a great trigger and upgraded grips so I doubt too many folks will go swapping them out.

On The Range * * * * *
This thing’s fun, but it’s deadly serious at the same time. It’s fast, accurate, and reliable. A heck of a .45. Or 10mm.

Overall * * * * 1/2
There’s a reason SIG is still making — and still selling! — this 44-year-old design. It’s a rock-solid gun and the Legion series upgrades take it to another level with an amazing trigger and great grips.

comments

  1. avatar burley says:

    Holy cow! A gun review?!?!

    1. avatar Jeff in CO says:

      Yeah, I just had the same reaction. Jeremy’s reviews have always been my favorite, so it was good to see a new one. It seems like since RF left, there’s not the same content. Lots of reposts and stuff, but the reviews like this that made TTAG great are pretty much nonexistent.

      1. avatar tom schweikert says:

        thanks good explanation ive never seen that though. i guess i dont shoot much paper

      2. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        Sorry guys. It isn’t due to any sort of shift in editorial direction. TTAG wants to do as many reviews as humanly possible. I’ve just been swamped with my “real job” plus Black Collar Arms, Jon Wayne Taylor has been super busy with work, and many of our Staff Writers’ stories are similar. Everyone just got really busy and Dan keeps things running and keeps the content flowing and that’s a very full-time job so he can’t produce much review content himself. And between going to the range on a couple occasions to shoot hundreds of rounds, shooting some accuracy groups, shooting and editing photos, and writing it all up, etc etc., they’re extremely man-hours intensive.

    2. avatar Weapon Of War says:

      Yes, and it’s not even a 9mm!

  2. avatar Logan says:

    Better off spending a little more and get a Dan Wesson Valor instead

    1. avatar raptor jesus says:

      Better of spending a little more and getting a Dan Wesson Guardian instead.

  3. avatar MyName says:

    “As for the tears below each hole in the target . . . I can’t really explain that.”

    Very slight downward angle of bullet path at contact with the paper coupled with no backing surface. Result, the top of the hole is cut a nano second before the bottom and the paper is pulled at the bottom by the little bit flattened to the nose of the bullet.

    Oh, also, nice gat – me likey.

  4. avatar Bing Crosshair says:

    The sales people at my LGS tell me that the Legions have issues with the finish. I’ve also seen quite a few in the used section. While it could be that someone needs the money, I wonder if it’s because they’re not worth the extra cash.

    1. avatar MattV says:

      The Legion pistols did have issues with finish, but Sig corrected that a couple of years back. I have the same pistol with literally over 1000 draw/return to holster (kydex) with NO wear visible. I agree with the review, and I did a TON of research prior to buying this pistol. Another person mentioned a DW would be better, but I like not having a safety and the first round single action pull is OK by me. I have a couple 1911’s and while nothing really compares to a great 1911 trigger, the P220 Legion trigger is 95% of the way there.
      One thing not mentioned in the review is that Sig Pistols are zeroed at 25 yards and use a “combat” hold which may take a little getting used to if you have never shot a Sig before.
      I do carry the P220. Yes it is a big, heavy gun, but I’m 6’4″ at 235# so it isn’t so bad.

    2. avatar raptor jesus says:

      Sold my 229 Legion for a 229 Elite (half the price).

      Why?
      – Regular size trigger instead of the “intermediate” trigger, which I liked better. Same short reset.
      – E2 grips which I liked better than the Legion grips
      – Same sights
      – Full beavertail instead of reduced beavertail
      – Better finish

  5. avatar Hoyden says:

    Sig P226 Extreme. The pistol I most regret selling.

    Arguably the favorite of all the newbies I took to the range.

  6. avatar Dave the Smaller says:

    I have an issue with Sig and their customer service which just about precludes my buying the P365 which I really want.

    I’m the original owner of a P220. I have sent it back to Sig because it shoots super low—not just me, but other shooters as well—only to be told that “it’s within spec.” I know all about how they have combat sights, etc. I just think they don’t want to own up to the gun being off. The sights are 8 and 8.

    Any one else love/hate Sig’s customer service?

    1. avatar Lost Down South says:

      I had EXCELLENT customer service with Sig.

      Short story:
      – Bought a SP2022 on discount years ago when they were almost discontinued.
      – Years later, bought a threaded Sig brand barrel on discount.
      – GUN WOULD NOT go into battery. Called Sig, they sent me a release/takedown lever(didn’t fix problem)
      – Sent me a shipping label. Sent gun to the custom shop. They fitted the new barrel, shipped it back in under 2 weeks, and threw in a barrel thread protector. Cost to me: $0.00

      They earned my business.

      1. avatar TXRabbit47 says:

        Had same flawless service from Sig. No matter what the question(s) I’ve had, even phone service has been spot on. Likewise, the rehab job on a used P226 resulted in “…why didn’t I send it to them sooner”.

      2. avatar duroSIG556R says:

        Indeed. Sig customer service is most excellent. HK’s customer service on the other hand, now that’s something to complain about.

    2. avatar rosignol says:

      Had the mainspring fail on a 522, they sent me a replacement part gratis.

      No complaints here.

    3. avatar raptor jesus says:

      I’ve had nothing but fantastic experiences with Sig’s customer service.

    4. avatar Paul says:

      I sent mine in for a broken slide. I took the aftermarket grips off. I got it back in 9 days with new rosewood grips. I’m a fan.

  7. avatar Paul P says:

    I have had my Sig 220 Equinox and 220 10mm and both are super accurate and easy shooting. Nope, they are not going anywhere. It would be a trade I would regret….

    1. avatar tom schweikert says:

      wow is that 10mm a handful?

  8. avatar USARSA says:

    I really like Sig pistols, and the P220 is my favorite. I own 3 of them, 1 being the older version made in Germany; alas, none are of the Legion variety.

    I intend to buy a P220 Legion but I think it’s going to be the Single Action Only version. While I like the standard DA/SA system, I want to see how the SAO compares to my 1911s.

    1. avatar Bucephalus says:

      I couldn’t agree more! I have a Legion 226 SAO that makes me look good at the range. The trigger is flat awesome with a reset exactly as described here. I thinks it’s worth every penny I paid for it.

    2. avatar Miner49er says:

      Twenty years ago had a West German P220 in nickel, very fine pistol, accurate and slick action.

  9. avatar possum says:

    So many guns and so little cash, I would definitely like to own a Sig.

  10. avatar David Robinson says:

    I have the Legion 229 SAO and absolutely love it ! The trigger is incredible and rivals my 1911 trigger . Reset couldn’t possibly be any shorter . The 220 SAO is my next purchase .

    1. avatar raptor jesus says:

      Your 1911 trigger has a whole bunch of creep and slop before it breaks?

  11. avatar George from Alaska says:

    Have had a 220 .45 German made, bottom mag release for about 30 years… love it.
    Have a newer 220 .45 in FDE with threaded barrel, bought used but in perfect condition.
    Just last year stumbled across a slightly used Legion P220 in 10mm. I have an FFL and this was offered to me with five total mags and about 300 rounds of various 10mm ammo for way less than my dealer cost, providing you can find one in stock – which I couldn’t. Apparantly the first owner thought it was too heavy. It is heavy, being all steel – at least in my version, but the combination of trigger, sights and the weight make it seem to me that I’m shooting stout 9mm loads. My .40 and 45 Sigs definately have way more muzzle flip than this beast. I love it, bought Sigs custom IWB holster on sale at their site. I’m only 5’10” and it must be the holster because this gun just disappears and is not felt poking into me anywhere. An added bonus is that Sig 10 round P220 45 mags fit perfectly into the 10mm. You can easily fit 11 rounds of 10mm but about 30% of the time the first round has feeding problems if you don’t rap the backside of the mag on the shooting bench… I’m not going to agonize about that one extra round as the 10 round mags makes your gun 10+1 of real ammo, but if anyone knows a fix let me know.

  12. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

    ” …and a single action only (SAO) .45 ACP.

    Hold on here –

    A model in single-action?

    The shooter must manually cock the hammer for each shot?

    (If true, that makes it safer for appendix carry…)

    1. avatar MJP says:

      Single action only means the gun doesn’t have the ability to cock the hammer by pulling the trigger . The gun is like a 1911 . You can carry it with a round In the chamber and with the hammer cocked then put on the frame mounted safety . To fire just push the safety down to disengage and squeeze the trigger and fire semi automatically just like a 1911 .

  13. avatar Chapsx says:

    Got the 10mm and the 9mm Legions. Love the triggers and have had -0- issues with either.
    I think kydex is the ruin of any finish.

  14. avatar Paul Millard says:

    Keyholes in a paper target are a sign the round was tumbling. Occurred with both ammos used. Unless I was taught wrong, if other ammo doesn’t fix this, the factory must.

    1. avatar Cletus says:

      Those aren’t key holes. If the bullets aren’t stabilized the bullet holes will be oblong if the bullets are wobbling or you can even get holes where the bullets hit sideways if they are tumbling. If the author had put a cardboard backer on the paper target, all of the holes would have been perfectly round.

      1. avatar The Grey Man says:

        Cletus is correct! Shooting paper that’s flimsy causes this…

  15. avatar BobS says:

    What ever happened to the P227, just like this single-stack .45ACP P220 but with double-stack accommodations for 10+1?
    They grew the line to various finishes and trim levels, both 4.4″ and 3.9″ barrels, and now it’s disappeared from their lineup.

    I was wistfully hoping they might someday release a Centimeter P227, maybe even with a 5″ barrel like their Centimeter P220s and 1911s.

    1. avatar raptor jesus says:

      They killed it off.

      They’re killing off most of their metal guns and trying to push their plastic garbage on us.

  16. avatar Charles says:

    I have 3 P220s. One is a German made unit with heel mag release, one is a standard unit, and the other is a Stainless Elite. The stainless has night sights, short reset trigger, beautiful wood grips, and full stainless construction. I love it. If I grab a pistol to shoot for fun, I grab it.

  17. avatar Sean G./The Rookie says:

    Mmmm…me like! Me like!!!

  18. just like a 1911 with their wonderful single action trigger. thats why i dont buy hammerless pistols

  19. avatar JOHN R Bowie says:

    I’m sold on Sig’s in general, P220/45 in particular. I have several made in W.Germany, Germany, and assembled in USA. I have outfitted my 4 children, son-in-law with them so we all have the same mags. I have done the same with P938’s, just before they released the P365 (damnit). I have Sig 556R’s, 556 Pistol, 556 Carbine, and my dear sweet 716. Only problem I ever had with a Sig was my little P232 in .380, while cleaning, I dropped a spring which went into another dimension, probably hiding under a piece of Kryptonite. I called Sig, even tho P232’s are no longer produced. the rep found me one, mailed it to me, all for free. The only thing I am dissatisfied with is they no longer carry parts kits for 556’s since coming out with the new 400 which is not on a par with the 556 (my humble opinion). In short, I love my Sig’s. I have never had any issue with any of them, I wanted a few parts kits for just in case. And, this was a great review.

  20. avatar Mac says:

    I experienced quite a bit of firing pin drag with my p220 legion — something that shouldn’t happen with a $1400 pistol. Sig can keep it.

  21. avatar coagula says:

    I picked up one the beginning of this year… I love this pistol. Paired it with a sig threaded barrel and waiting for my Osprey to get out of jail. This is probably one of my favorite pistols I own… it is between this and my M9A3 Berretta.

  22. avatar Neil says:

    Love my P220 combat (full size). Great trigger (but not as awesome as the legion).

    Recoil anticipation? That is 45 ACP baby! It takes a little range time, but then you get through it.

  23. avatar raptor jesus says:

    The Elite actually has a full beaver tail, the Legion has a reduced beaver tail to help conceal it.
    Because that’s gonna make a real difference trying to conceal a brick like this.

    Although, yes, I have concealed my P220 under a suit jacket, with the shortened 7-round magazines.

  24. avatar Inidaho says:

    If anyone gets a chance, fire the P226sao legion, 9mm. I have at least 7000 rounds thru mine. No finish issues. I have a want, versus a need, to try the P226sao in the red dot. Sig only offers it as a barrel/conversion exchange for 500 to 700.00.

  25. avatar Adam says:

    I’m a Sig fan boy. My first was a W. German P228 I bought new in 1989. Still one of my favorite shooters. I’ve also got a Stainless Match Elite (5″ barrel). It’s heavy, but it is so much fun to shoot. I’ll probably pick up a German P220 soon.

  26. avatar Eric Siluk says:

    I have a Sig P220r S/DA full size Equinox made in 2006. It has the German frame and I assume American slide; though no indications denote it. I’ve run just about every type ammo through it. I have never had one failure to feed fire or eject…ever. Out of the box it is as accurate as any of the …well I’ve shot all the comparable combat pistols besides a CZ and it its the most accurate for me. Likely due to the way it fits my particular hand and it’s excellent fit and finish for being a true blue combat pistol. I have replaced the wood grips with G-10 and added the legion style, larger green dot tritium site up front. It may hold 7+1 and have a higher bore axis than a Glock, but I just hit everything I aim at and it never fails even under tough outdoor conditions. The only thing I would appreciate is checkering on the front of the grip handle. I’ve thought about having it serviced when I add an srt trigger (Not the Legions Grey/gray, whatever). I have hard no complaints about any “rolling trigger break” except with the Grey/Gray SRT. Other than a possible checkering/refinishing of the front grip on the frame I just haven’t found anything as accurate and dependable. It may just be my hand, but I have thousands of rounds through aftermarket Glocks and out of the box HK’s and plainly see it as the finest out of the box combat pistol in the world. If I need 13+1 rounds I can reload (thousands of hours of pr=timed practice under my belt) or bring an AR-15 if things are going to be that post apocalyptic urban warzone. Final thought (though I have not tried a CZ), a 2006 P220R put together in their custom shop with a bigger night site and better G10 grips as the best combat pistol on Earth. Period. …in MY particular hands anyway.

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