In the 1970s, SIG Sauer introduced one of the most reliable handguns the world has seen. The P220, and its later variants, gained an excellent reputation for accuracy, reliability, and durability by passing many difficult institutional test programs. The P220 sprang off the P225, P226, P228, P229, and other handguns. The original .45 caliber P220 remains a popular handgun. While SIG offered a handgun with comparable capacity to the 1911 .45, the pistol was eventually perceived to be at a disadvantage compared to the Glock 21 and HK .45s with their high capacity magazines. SIG introduced the P227 to counter this shortcoming.
With the new smaller grip and redesigned frame, the P227 is among the best designed .45 high-capacity pistols. The pistol is more of a variant of the P226 9mm handgun than the earlier P220 .45 and clearly may stand on its own merit. The pistol is available in full size and carry variants. My example is the SIG Anti Snag (SAS) version.
The overall length is 7.1 inches with a barrel length of 3.9 inches. Empty, the weight is 30.5 ounces. The pistol is custom quality with night sights and SIG’s short reset trigger. SIG pistols have sometimes been at a disadvantage in competition due to what is seen as a slower single-action trigger reset. This variant has a reset stated to be 60% faster than the standard SIG pistol.
Coupled with the short trigger issues is trigger reach, which is also addressed. Sharp edges have been given the de-horning or melt treatment. Overall, this is a desirable concealed carry handgun with much to recommend. Writers sometimes focus on minutiae at the expense of the big picture. However, with the SIG, there isn’t much not to like.
If there is anything I will jump on like a terrier on a rat, it is function failures. The SIG has proven to be very reliable. As all new SIG pistols are compared to the heritage before them, SIG engineers have their work cut out for them, and the new pistol is a worthy alternative to the still in production P220.
The front and rear sights are tritium night sights giving the piece a 24-hour defensive utility. The slide is the typical SIG, a square slide with cocking grooves that give the user plenty of purchase. The pistol locks up by butting the barrel hood into the frame. There are no locking lugs. Angled camming surfaces serve to lock the barrel foot.
A generous ejection port ensures positive ejection coupled with the SIG heavy-duty extractor. The frame is aluminum alloy providing the light weight. My example features a Nitride finished slide and anodized frame.
The polymer grips offer plenty of purchase. When firing, adhesion and abrasion are good. The grips are not quite skateboard types, but they are comfortable when firing. If you are sweating or your hands are cold, the grip remains good. The controls are typical SIG with a handy de-cocker in front of the left hand, grip panel, slide release that falls readily under the thumb, and a positive magazine release. For most hand sizes, no shifting of the grip is required to activate these controls.
The pistol features an exposed hammer. The trigger is pressed, and a drawbar transfers energy to the hammer both cocking and dropping the hammer. The slide then recoils and cocks the hammer for subsequent single-action shots requiring only a short trigger press. Like all P series pistols, the SIG P227 SAS Gen 2 features a positive firing pin block that locks the firing pin in place unless the trigger is pressed fully to the rear.
The action is smooth at 11.5 pounds double action and a relatively crisp 4.25 pounds single action. The magazine is a 10-round double column magazine. Since the magazine is tapered and the magazine well generous fast reloads are possible.
The pistol was lubricated along the long bearing surfaces, barrel hood, and cocking block before firing. The SIG has full length contact with the frame rails and slide, making for excellent accuracy potential. The SIG P220 has consistently proven the most accurate factory .45 caliber handgun I have ever fired.
I was curious to see how the abbreviated grip and barrel of the P227 compact fared. With a SIG, you spend more time in the labor of checking the piece out for all of the accuracy you can coax from it. You give the slide a few extra taps and are more careful. The SIG is a hors d’oeuvre on the table compared to ordinary fare. The grip isn’t larger than the SIG P226, so hand fit was not a concern.
The initial firing was accomplished with Federal American Eagle 230-grain FMJ loads. I began firing at man-sized targets at 7 and 10 yards. Results were excellent. The hits were centered on the target in double-action fire. In single-action fire, the groups were good and tight as I fired as quickly as I could regain the sight picture.
Recoil is a straight to the rear push, and the pistol is comfortable to fire. Magazine changes are rapid and smooth with the tapered magazine and generous magazine well. Going fast is possible, but the goal is to hit the target. You can light up the drag slicks and start smoking, but with the .45 and service loads, you may find you have a raging bull by a single hair of its tail if you do not use the proper technique.
I fired several drills with the SIG and then elected to fire for accuracy. As a carry load, I consider history, proven performance, and reliability. The Federal Hydra-Shok is among the most proven and widespread service loads available. From the SIG SAS, the load clocked at 804 fps and an average of three 5-shot groups at 25 yards turned in 2.25 inches. This pistol isn’t as accurate as the P220R it is replacing, but more than accurate for most chores. The Gorilla Ammunition 230-grain FBI load places the greatest emphasis on penetration. A five-shot average with this load averaged 780 fps and 2.5 inches. This is better than service grade even with the full-size pistols. This will be carried in the spare magazine. Overall, the SIG P227 SAS Gen 2 is a superior pistol with nothing left to be desired. It is a fine carry gun you can reasonably bet your life on.
Do you own a SIG P227? How does it compare to the SIG P227 SAS? Would you prefer the Carry version or SAS with SERT Trigger? Share your answers in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooters Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.
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