January 16, 2009

SIG Sauer P220 .45 ACP


The P220 is available with options that can put the MSRP upwards of $958, but our P220 was the blued base model. Available options include night sights and a nickel-coated slide. The special K-Kote finish is no longer available.

The combination of the white dot on the front sight and the white vertical line inside the rear notch offers fast sight acquisition. If you feel more comfortable with tritium sights, a set of Siglite night sights will cost an extra $100 if sold as original equipment. Send your slide to Sigarms and the factory will install a set of Siglites for $195.

The P220 measured 7.8 inches high, the tallest of the Sigarms pistols. Its single-column magazine allowed for a narrow grip. The frame was a light aluminum alloy, but the plastic grip panels wrapped around the backstrap so cleanly you could almost mistake this gun for a polymer model. The exposed frontstrap lacked lines or checkering, and the base of the grip was flared slightly, with this contour flowing into the basepad of the 8-round magazine. All controls were mounted on the left side of the frame, including the crossbolt magazine release. The shooter’s right hand thumb had easy access to the slide release mounted just above the grip and the nearby decocker. This gun does not have a true safety like the Ruger pistol. The decocker causes the trigger to operate in double action.

The P220’s slide was roll-formed from sheets of carbon steel, and Sig inserts the breechface as a separate piece, forming a carbon-steel breechblock insert. Cocking serrations appeared at the rear of the slide, and the extractor was mounted internally and held in place by the breechblock assembly. A roll pin, visible from either side of the 220’s slide, secured this unit.

Removing the top end was simple. With the gun empty and the magazine removed, first lock back the slide. Then rotate the breakdown lever 90 degrees. The lever sits on the left side of the slide above the trigger guard. Slide the top end forward and off the frame. Remove the guide rod by compressing the multifilament recoil spring and lift out the barrel. This is a linkless assembly supported by a locking insert inside the frame. Full-length frame rails keeps the reciprocating motion true. As the test progressed, we noticed the rear edge of the frame rails were being polished by the slide’s motion.

sig arms p220

Courtesy Gun Tests

SIGARMS P220 .45 ACP, (NEW): Buy It. SIGARMS P220 .45 ACP, (USED): Our Pick. Many shooters will prefer the simplicity of this design. The P220's performance was among the most accurate and consistent we've seen. The pre-owned gun is an incredible value.

We thought the double-action trigger on the Sigarms P220 was much better than the Ruger KP345PR’s action. As the Sig’s trigger reset after each shot, the trigger’s forward travel was short and consistent.

The results of our rapid-fire transition test bore out the superiority of the P220. During dry fire, the grip seemed uncomfortably thick front to back. But the P220 put 19/20 185-grain FMJ rounds in the A zone, with one shot at the desired elevation but left of the point of aim. These were the rounds fired from low ready, with the first shot double action and the second shots fired after transition to single action. The 10 head shots on the Hoffners target were scored four in dead center, two hits high, and four shots left. This was one of the best performances we have seen from a TDA pistol in this drill.

From 25 yards, we fired our benchrest shots single action only. Our best single group came with the 185-grain FMJ rounds, but the difference was negligible. All three test rounds landed five-shot groups that measured an average of 2.4 inches.

Because new Sig P220’s can be too pricey for many shooters, we also tested a less expensive factory reconditioned P220. The pre-owned program by Sigarms gives public access to guns turned in by law-enforcement personnel, and those guns are serviced as necessary by the manufacturer to bring them to nearly new condition.

The resulting price break is substantial. The new P220 is $800 MSRP; street prices of used P220’s we found were around $600.

The only limitation is availability. Sigarms can only sell as many guns as they receive for reconditioning and resale. Available calibers and optional features such as night sights was simply luck-of-the-draw. The most popular models for resale are those guns that are the most popular with the police. This means that .380 ACP models will be scarce, as will smaller-framed P239s. But there is a healthy flow of full-sized P220s, P226s, and mid-sized P229s.

single column magazines

courtesy, Gun Tests

Single-column magazines are usually trouble free and foolproof when compared to double-column models. The Sigarms magazines (front left) were topped with a polymer follower, and the Ruger magazines used a split metallic follower (front right). Each design held 8 rounds, and both the KP345PR and the Sigarms P220 ran flawlessly.

Our pre-owned P220 came with standard sights, just like our new test gun. The used P220 came in a black case marked Law Enforcement; otherwise, we saw few signs of wear or other dings that would mark the gun as a used product.

Therewith, we put the used P220 through the same battery of tests as the new P220. The used gun’s double-action trigger pull was 1 pound lighter. Compared to the new gun, the pre-owned gun’s trigger response was very close in terms of consistency, a judgment borne out during the rapid-fire transition test.

The used 220’s drill results were nearly identical to the new model’s tally. We counted 18/20 rounds in the A zone when the used gun was fired in transition from double to single action. One shot hit to the right, and one shot landed high. The single-action-only shots to paper target’s head showed 4/10 holes in the middle, with four shots low and two shots high.

Elsewhere, slide-to-frame fit appeared to be every bit as tight as on the new gun. But results at the 25-yard line varied from those fired by the new P220. The used gun shot slightly worse overall, mainly because of the 3-inch groups fired with the 185-grain FMJ rounds and the 230-grain JHP rounds. But the used gun shot the best groups in the test with the Federal Hydra-Shok 165-grain JHP ammunition.

Was this because the gun was originally built for the law-enforcement market, thus was predisposed towards the Federal Hydra-Shok ammunition? After all, this round was originally developed for law-enforcement use and is very popular with federal, state and local agencies. We won’t speculate, but the results clearly show the Sigarms pre-owned gun could shoot with the right ammo.

Comments (9)

I traded in my Springfield Armory 1911A1 on a new Sig Sauer P220 in .45 ACP. It shoots great and feels substantial in the hand. I did replace the factory grip with a Hogue grip (personal preference). This is not a gun for concealed carry, especially for a person of my size. For that, I definitely prefer the Glock 27 or Sig Sauer P239 in .40 S&W. Even though I do not regret buying the P220, I do miss my 1911 and plan on replacing it when finances allow.

Posted by: Independent_Voice | February 12, 2009 10:51 AM    Report this comment

The P220 is an excellent choice in .45s.
They may be too big for some people to conceal but they are otherwise an outstanding firearm!
Reliable and accurate.

Posted by: Mikarome | January 30, 2009 1:57 PM    Report this comment

I purchased a new Sig P220 SS in 2006. It has the Crimson Trace Laser grips and Sig nite sights but the P226 SS fills my hand better. I do not like the single stack magazine well. I do not like how polymer feels in my hand so I'm kinda stuck with the Sig design. I'm a former machine gunner so weight doesn't bother me.

Posted by: JWallace | January 22, 2009 5:51 PM    Report this comment

I own and carry a p239 in 9mm and have owned it for about 6 years now and have fired over a 1000 rounds through it of various makes and weights of bullets and have never had a failure to feed or stove pipe or jam no matter how fast i've shot it. And i guess if a sig is good enough for the navy seals it's good enough for me, love this gun and of course this is just my opinion as i do own or have owned other makes and models of guns,smith,ruger,berretta,taurus,etc. the sig by far is my favorite.

Posted by: Jeff H | January 20, 2009 10:43 AM    Report this comment

I bought a used P220 .45 ACP from Sig- had been refurbished by them. The dealer and I thoroughly looked it over, barely could tell it was used. I love shooting my Glocks, Para Ords, and others, but I carry a Sig (P239, .40 Cal). The only reason is I'm a little old fashioned and I like to see, and feel, the trigger mode. I am way past where the DA/SA trigger is a problem. In fact, I like the DA first shot because there won't be any "accidental" first shots from it. I don't claim to be right, or smarter than others, this is just my personal preference, especially since I've never had a quality issue w/ a Sig either.

Posted by: Thomas B | January 18, 2009 1:53 AM    Report this comment

I have both a Glock 21 and a Sig P225 (P6). I passed on the Sig 220 because of the size and weight.

Granted, the Sig P220 will probably outlive your great-great grandkids, but Glock is lighter to carry, and the P225 is much easier to conceal. Which is why my wife stole it from me.

Actually, the Glock 21 was a bit too big, too, so I bought a Glock 36, also in .45, but a lot smaller, 6+1 capacity. I figured that even though the 21 has a 13+1 cap, if I can't solve my problem with two 6 round mags and one in the pipe, my time is probably up anyway.

Posted by: Gaviota | January 17, 2009 9:23 PM    Report this comment

I own a P225 in 9mm, sigle stack 8+1. Fits well in the hand due to narrow grip. Did they also make a P220 in 9mm?

Posted by: Robert J | January 16, 2009 11:45 AM    Report this comment

I own a P220 chambered in 9mm in like new condition. It is an older gun, as the p220 is not currenly made in 9mm. It fits smaller hands well due to the single stack and holds 9+1. My shooting experiences are highly positive with excellent accuracy and no misfeads, jams or other promblems.

Posted by: rprock | January 16, 2009 9:00 AM    Report this comment

I own a Custom Shop 220, you're right on this is a fine weapon, However when I go on Duty I still reach for my Glock 21.

Posted by: johnlaw | January 15, 2009 10:32 PM    Report this comment

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