When you wanna go big, and I mean big, the P220 is here for you. This big, beastly, 45 ACP pistol comes from a Swiss-German conglomerate, and today we are reviewing the old-school cool pistol straight out of West Germany.
Sig P220 Specs
- Caliber 45 Auto
- Overall Length 7.7 in
- Height 5.5 in
- Barrel Length 4.4 in
- Weight 30.4 oz
The Swiss P220
SIG designed the P220, but the German firm J.P. Sauer and Son would produce and distribute the pistol. This started the famed SIG Sauer brand we all know and love. The original idea was to develop a service pistol to replace the SIG P210, a pistol that had been serving since 1949. By 1975, Switzerland’s 9mm variant of the SIG P220 saw adoption.
While the P220 is mostly known as the 45 ACP SIG, it’s been produced in a ton of different calibers, including 9mm, 7.65x21mm Parabellum, .38 Super, and of course, 10mm. The P220 would replace the single action only P210 with a double-action / single-action design that featured a decocker.
The P220 went on to be sold as the Browning BDA in the United States but eventually was sold under its proper name, the P220. Over a short period of time, the P220 went from a heel magazine release to a standard button magazine release. The design change was a welcome one by American shooters who were never partial to heel-type magazine releases.
As double-stack 9mms took over, the P220 became increasingly known as a 45 ACP firearm. SIG’s own P226 offered a double-stack 9mm option, and the P220 kept up with the most popular 45 ACP pistols in its single-stack configuration. Plus, America still really loved the 45 ACP round, and the SIG offered an M1911 alternative. Thus, the P220 became the 45 ACP pistol we all know and love.
Sig P220 Features
1 DA/SA Trigger System
2 Three Dot Sights
3 Single Stack Magazine
4 Aluminum Frame
SIG P220 Gun Models
The P220 In Action – Our Take
Let’s start with what I think is obvious. The P220 is far from modern, it feels and is dated, but it’s still a bit pricey. Most SIG all-metal pistols aren’t well known for their budget-friendly price point. They can be quite pricey. A single stack 45 ACP is a tough sell in a world where the Glock 21 and P320 in 45 ACP both exist.
It’s a weapon for collectors and enthusiasts of SIG pistols. The P220 can be a tough sell outside of that environment. My particular model is an older model with the West German stamp, and the rough finish and old design helped me acquire a P220 on the cheap. Classifying the P220 as a budget or value-filled firearm is tough to do.
The P220 might not be the best value, but it’s still a damn fine pistol. The P220 is quite accurate. Impressively so. Even my old P220 prints tight groups and makes headshots at 25 yards completely possible.
Heck, Ernest Langdon used a P220ST to win the CDP title at the 2003 IDPA National Championship, and he won it so hard the organizers introduced a new weight rule to prohibit the use of the P22ST. Keep in mind this division was ruled by 1911s, and the SIG beat ‘em.
Blasting away with the big fat 45 ACP rounds is a ton of fun. Hitting a variety of gongs in various sizes was super easy. Like any DA/SA gun, the longer double-action trigger pull can affect accuracy, but the P220s are ultra-smooth and quite crisp. After that initial long trigger pull, the single-action kicks in, and you get a delightfully short trigger pull that’s super crisp with a short reset.
The big, thick grip offers you a nice comfy grip for dealing with recoil. I feel less recoil with the P220 than a 1911. I think the larger grip spreads the recoil out a bit more and creates a more comfortable gun. That big thick grip will be a turn-off for those without the hands of a Swiss lumberjack, but for me, it’s outstanding.
A big heavy all-metal frame and a thick grip make the P220 quite shootable. Controlling the weapon’s muzzle rise and recoil isn’t tough to do. You can drive the gun between targets and fire the weapon rapidly without losing control.
Simple and Easy
Ergonomically the thick grip isn’t for everyone. Combine the thick grip with the long reach to the double-action trigger, and some with small hands will feel challenged. I have huge hands, and it fits me just right.
What doesn’t fit me just right is the slide lock. Big hands mean I have big thumbs, and those thumbs pin down the slide lock. This renders it a pain in the bum when the slide fails to lock to the rear after the last round is fired.
Where SIG has always shined is in the placement of their decocker. It’s right where the thumb of a right-handed shooter sits. To decock the gun, it’s pressed downwards with your thumb in a very simple and natural motion. Spinning up a reload isn’t tough, with the placement of the magazine release being just right for thumb access.
The gun chugs along with whatever 45 ACP I toss in it. This is one of the few 45 ACP guns I currently own and probably the one I enjoy shooting most. I’ve shot standard 230-grain FMJ loads, 180-grain JHPs, steel-cased ammo, and more without a single problem. My P220 is ancient and seemingly beat up but still goes bang whenever I squeeze that trigger.
SIG P220 Pros and Cons
- Easy to Control
- Awesome DA/SA trigger
That thick grip soaks up recoil and makes it very easy to shoot. The gun bucks a bit, but not too much, and shooting fast and straight make it an awesome option for practical shooting.
The P220 is a big, hard-hitting, and extremely reliable weapon. It’s a heavy hitter, and it always goes bang.
The ergonomics are fairly solid. Some may be turned off by the thick grip, and I don’t care for the slide lock’s placement. Overall, it’s plenty easy to use.
It’s a tack driver of a gun. It’s so much fun ringing tiny gongs consistently with a handgun.
A single stack, 45 ACP gun that costs upwards of a grand and isn’t a custom piece can be a tough sell. From a practical standpoint, it’s a tough sell when compared to other modern 45 ACPs on the market.
SIG P220 Ammo
SIG P220 Starter Pack
SIG P220 Upgrades and Accessories
If you’re going to pick up the SIG P220 or another pistol that suits you more, you may also want a few accessories to complement your purchase. Here’s our picks for some extras;
SIG P220 Accessories
SIG P220 Review Video
Below is a great video we’ve found for you showing the process to field strip your SIG P220 ready for cleaning. Check it out below.
SIG P220 Links and Manuals
Looking for more info on the SIG P220? Or did you lose your manual? Don’t worry we’ve got you covered. Check out our links below:
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