SIG’s P227 High Capacity .45

By Wilburn Roberts published on in Firearms

The SIG P series has enjoyed an unrivaled reputation for quality, accuracy and reliability for over 40 years. SIG’s service pistol line has grown considerably since German police trials produced a demand for a reliable, accurate handgun with a simple manual of arms.

Black SIG P227 barrel pointed left on white background

The SIG P227 is a great handgun with much to recommend.

The SIG P220 became a world-class handgun. Highly influential, the 9mm SIG P220 was eventually offered in .38 ACP Super and .45 ACP. The P220 was developed in the high-capacity SIG P226 9mm for the United States Military Trials. The compact P225 single-column 9mm and high-capacity P228 compact were also developed.

Today, there are also polymer frame handguns in the SIG product line. The newest SIG, the P227 handgun, is an interesting development predicted to be one of the most successful SIG pistols yet. For those familiar with the SIG line, the new high capacity .45 is more similar, in my opinion, to the P226 than the P220. Rather than a high capacity P220 .45, the pistol is a .45 caliber P226 in appearance and hand fit. On the other hand, the pistol should stand on its own merits.

The P220 was among the first successful double-action first-shot service pistols. The positive firing pin block pioneered by SIG is now universal for those engaging in institutional sales. In short, these are well-respected handguns. The P220 was chambered for the .45 ACP to get sales in America. The .45 ACP is a respected pistol cartridge; there is no other self-loading pistol cartridge with the wound potential of the .45, tet the cartridge is low pressure and exhibits little muzzle signature.

Many police agencies adopted the SIG P226 in 9mm, although today the .45 ACP is more popular than ever. The P220 is a fine handgun, however, some rightly point to the limited magazine capacity. While SIG has introduced a new 8-round magazine to compliment the original 7-round magazine, the GLOCK 21, for example, offers 13 rounds in the magazine. The GLOCK is larger than the P220 and 14 rounds are appealing.

SIG set out to develop a high capacity .45 caliber pistol that retained good hand fit: This is a tall order but one which the company has filled.

Features of the P227

Black SIG P227 barrel pointed right on white background

The SIG is about to be unwrapped.

Like all SIG P series pistols, the P227 features a double-action first-shot trigger. After the first long press of the trigger, the slide recoils and cocks the hammer for subsequent single-action shots. Accuracy potential is high. The double-action trigger press seems to break at just over 10 pounds. The single-action press, according to the RCBS registering trigger pull gauge, is 4.25 pounds. The pistol’s manual of arms is simple—load, decock, holster, draw and fire.

The pistol is simple to field strip and routine maintenance and cleaning are simplified with this system.

  1. Unload the pistol.
  2. Lock the slide to the rear
  3. Turn the takedown lever.
  4. Press the slide release to allow the slide to move forward off the frame.
  5. Lift the recoil spring guide and guide rod are then lifted from the slide.

The P series has been well accepted in law enforcement and military service. However, SIG recognized a market niche in which it was not competitive. There are 1911 high-capacity magazine variants, and the GLOCK 21 has been successful. A double-action first-shot pistol with a high-capacity magazine would be a popular service pistol if it could be kept manageable in size. The P227 is the result of this project.

Black SIG P226 9mm barrel pointed left on white background

This is the SIG P226 9mm. The .45 caliber P227 isn’t much larger.

The P227 is similar in size to the P226 9mm pistol. The P227 is 7.7 inches long and the height is 5.5 inches. The magazine capacity is increased from 8 to 10 rounds giving the P227 a total capacity of 11 rounds. The 10-round magazine allows a good reserve of ammunition without resorting to extreme bulk and width. The backstrap remains comfortable to grasp and the hand fit is good for most shooters. The fit, finish and quality of the handgun seem high. The fit of the slide to the frame is tight.

The pistol should stand on its own merits; however, comparison is inevitable. The P227 is very similar to the P226 in feel. It is little larger across the width of the frame than the P220 .45. The heft is similar to the P226 pistol. An advantage of the P227 is that those presently issuing the 9mm, .40 and .357 SIG pistols—and wishing to upgrade to the .45 ACP—will find the manual of arms identical.

Black SIG P227 barrel pointed left on white background

The P227 is a purposeful handgun and as with all SIGs, this means excellent.

For agencies considering the high capacity .45 caliber handgun, the SIG P227 has better hand fit than the FN or Glock high capacity .45 caliber pistols. It is true that the competing designs have a greater magazine capacity, but 11 rounds seems adequate for this pistol considering that the first few rounds fired from a defensive or service handgun usually end the fight. An accurate first-shot hit is more important than a string of shots. Just the same, a handgun isn’t very powerful, even the .45 ACP, and follow up shots are at times needed. The SIG P227 offers a good reserve, and a fast backup shot.

In order to test the pistol thoroughly, I felt that a mix of practice, defense, service and +P loads should be used. The cost of this pistol is not insignificant, and the SIG P227 should perform with any quality commercial loading. During the initial firing stage, I drew the pistol from a Don Hume belt slide, originally intended for the SIG P 220. The fit was good.

Montana Gold 230-grain JHP

Black SIG P227 10-Round Magazine on white background

The SIG P227 10-round magazine represents the minimum size for the capacity- 10 .45 ACP Pumpkin balls!

I loaded the magazines with a handload comprised of the Montana Gold 230-grain JHP and enough WW 231 powder for 850 fps.

  • The pistol came into the hand quickly
  • The trigger was smooth
  • The sights well designed for rapid combat shooting.
  • The pistol never failed to feed, chamber, fire or eject during five magazines of this loading.
  • At 5, 7 and 10 yards, the combination of a good hand fit and a smooth double-action trigger gave good results.
  • X-ring hits came easily.

Fiocchi 230-grain FMJ

  • This is a traditional ‘hardball’ loading that burns clean and gives good accuracy.
  • Firing offhand at 10 yards, I placed a full magazine into 4 inches as quickly as I could fire and reacquire the sights after recoil.
  • The pistol is controllable, with the recoil feeling straight back.

Liberty Ammunition Frangible

I also fired the last of a number of Liberty Ammunition frangible loads. Despite the light weight and high velocity of these loads, both function and accuracy were good.

Winchester 230-grain PDX

The next load is a credible all-around defense loading with much to recommend.

  • The Winchester 230-grain PDX offers an ideal balance of expansion and penetration.
  • I fired these loads rapid fire at 10 yards with good results.

Speer Gold Dot 200-grain +P

Finally, I loaded two magazines full of a credible +P loading.

  • The Speer Gold Dot 200-grain +P has given good results in a number of .45 ACP handguns.
  • These +P loads gave a harder push, and the SIG proved controllable and accurate.

At normal personal-defense ranges, the SIG P227 gave a good accounting of itself.

25-yard, five-shot group

SIG P229 on bottom and SIG P227 on top on a barrels to the right white background

Compared to the SIG P229 .40 caliber, below, the P227 isn’t an overly large handgun.

Continuing to attempt to give you reports with a good mix of ammunition, I moved to bench rest testing. Taking every advantage, carefully aligning the sights and controlling the trigger, the following results were achieved at a long 25 yards.

Load Group
Fiocchi 230-grain FMJ 2.0 inches
Speer 230-grain Gold Dot 1.75 inches
CORBON 185-grain JHP +P 1.8 inches

During the test period, the SIG’s handling was deemed excellent. In short, this is a reliable, accurate and useful handgun well worth its price.

As a service pistol, home defense pistol or go anywhere do anything handgun, the P227 is a formidable option.

What is your favorite feature of the SIG P227? Will you be adding this to your gun cabinet? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Comments (56)

  • Stephen Miller


    Excellent pistol! I am a Sig fan anyway but this gun is perfectly balanced and extremely accurate. You may have to save your nickels and dimes for awhile like I did folks but it is well worth the money. I feel more comfortable with a 45 for home defense and the hi-cap is just icing on the cake. This gun will be “under the pillow” from now on.


  • Bull


    Purchased my P227 when it first hit the shelves. Although I have owned several handguns most in 45 cal., I have never owned a Sig before this one. For MANY years I had been searching for that perfect (to me) 45acp. Will begin with the fit, from the beginning the Sig felt like putting on my favorite pair of old leather work gloves. Every aspect of the fit was “right”, very comfortable to the hand. The sights are excellent, easy to pickup (got the option with the nitrium night sights), out of the box they were dead on at ten yards. The grips are textured and although not smooth they feel good, just enough texturing to facilitate a good firm grip. After the first 1k of rounds, break in period for me to the gun, I was consistently shooting an average of 2.5″ groups w/o rest, on a good day under 2″. A good hand load and my go to load, is using a Speer 230 gr bullet at .2 gr under the max load in the book, using IMR powder and CCI primers. Don’t know if it’s my fortunate luck or not but I have not had even one single hang fire or ejection problem in over 10k rounds, simply AMAZED when I think on that still.

    It is by far the most simple takedown of any handgun I have ever owned, even simpler than the 1911’s. takedown, clean and back together in under 5 minutes w/o hurrying.

    I found Nirvana and have stopped my search for my “perfect” 45 acp handgun, this will be the first weapon I reach for if ever a need to “bug out” comes

    It is NOT my primary, everyday carry gun only because of its size, but if I am carrying to a place where the threat whether real or perceived is heightened it becomes my primary w/o hesitation.

    My primary carry is a Ruger LC in 380 w/ red dot laser because of two important factors, first – size it fits in my pocket w/o bulging. Second – accuracy at ten yards and less I can consistently put 7 rounds in a 4″ group at close to rapid fire.

    Hope my take and info helps someone.


  • Chris


    Will Sig make a CA compliant P227? I hate that CA has so many regulations and restrictions.


  • Mac the gun (forget the knife)



    Doesn’t sound like your friend was the problem. In my limited experience, limp wrist is more of a problem, generally speaking, for women and not bigger men. You choice for a gun smith sounds like a good one.


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