SIG Sauer is well known for making double-action pistols. These high-quality firearms are in heavy use by the military, law enforcement, and civilians. SIG offers the same basic pistol design in a variety of sizes and chamberings, from 9 mm to .45 ACP. Until recently, however, there was a noticeable hole in the company’s traditional double-action pistol line-up—an increased-capacity .45 ACP. SIG recently solved that problem with the new P227.
The company developed the P220 in 1976, originally to serve as the standard-issue sidearm for the Swiss Army. Since that time, the P220 and its many variations have been put in service around the world in a variety of chamberings. In recent years, though, SIG has limited the P220 designation to pistols chambered solely in .45 ACP.
The P220 in .45 ACP is very close in size to a Colt Commander, with the same capacity. Although the venerable 1911 design has set the standard for .45 ACP semi-auto pistols for 100 years, some applications are not well suited to its single-action trigger-firing system. The P220 is an excellent alternative for shooters who prefer a traditional double-action, semi-auto pistol of similar size.
The new P227, however, is a step up in size from the P220, utilizing a double-stack magazine for increased ammo capacity. With the standard flush-fit magazine, this means a capacity of 10+1 rounds. Addition-ally, SIG also offers an optional 14-round magazine that extends a bit beyond the grip frame.
A double-stack magazine makes this pistol’s grip thicker than the single-stack P220, but not much thicker than SIG’s double-stack pistols in other chamberings. In comparing the P227 to the well-known P226 double-stack 9 mm pistol, the difference is not particularly noticeable. The P227 has a larger grip circumference on paper, but doesn’t really feel any larger in practical use.
The marginal increase in perceived grip thickness is a function of the highly regarded “E2 Enhanced Ergonomics” improvements that de-buted in other SIG pistols in 2010. The E2 improvements incorporate a deeper curve to the backstrap that reduces the surface area of the grip and reduces the grip circumference. The frame also has a deeply undercut trigger guard that helps keep the shooting hand high on the grip and reduces the trigger reach. Even shooters with smaller hands should be able to handle the P227. If you are comfortable with the ergonomics of the P226, the slight size increase of the P227 should present no problem on the range or off.
Of course, the P227 is a traditional double-action/single-action, semi-automatic pistol with a decocking lever. The decocking lever safely lowers the hammer to return the pistol to double-action mode after loading, or any time after firing the pistol. The long and heavy initial double-action trigger pull negates the need for a manual safety lever, while still providing a high level of safety against an unintended discharge. Once in single-action mode, however, the trigger has a very manageable 4-pound pull weight.
All P227s incorporate SIG’s excellent Short Reset Trigger (SRT). The SRT has an exceptionally short return travel before the reset, with a very noticeable click. With a short, light and crisp single-action trigger, the P227 is as fast and accurate as any pistol in its class.
External controls are limited to a frame-mounted decocking lever, a slide stop, a magazine-release button, and take-down lever. There is no external safety lever. For those not accustomed to SIG Sauer pistols, the slide stop is much farther to the rear of the slide than most pistols—and could be confused with a thumb safety lever at first glance. This takes some getting used to, but I actually find it to be a better location for releasing the slide with your firing-hand thumb—so long as you are right handed. SIG has, thankfully, declined to incorporate any type of integrated pistol lock into this classic design.
The P227 comes standard with Siglite night sights. I have come to appreciate the crisp sight picture of SIG’s 3-dot night sights, and the tritium glows very brightly. The rear sight has a flat front edge to assist with one-handed slide manipulation, an important feature on a fighting pistol. Upgrading sights is often the first thing I do to a new pistol, but the factory sights are excellent. You can get the P227 without night sights and save about $90, but the Siglite sights are well worth the added expense.
This pistol’s factory grips have a professional and understated appearance, with just a small logo at the bottom. The texture is a bit like fine sandpaper—rough, but not overly aggressive. They are fashioned from a single piece of polymer that wraps around the backstrap. The frontstrap has some texture lines cut into the alloy frame to ensure good purchase all the way around. Interestingly, the grips snap in to install and no screws are used. SIG includes a plastic tool (that also doubles as a cleaning rod) to assist in removing the grips. Using the tool is not strictly necessary, but makes grip removal a bit easier.
Although there will be plenty of aftermarket offerings for this pistol, the factory panels are worthy of such a quality semi-automatic. If you do choose to upgrade the grips, the
pistol frame has all the necessary holes. You have the option to install traditional two-piece grips with just the addition of the appropriate grip screws and bushings.
SIG uses top-quality materials throughout the pistol, including a stainless steel slide and lightweight, aluminum-alloy frame. The entire pistol is finished with a wear-resistant black Nitron coating for further protection from the elements, and is designed to last a long time.
Disassembly is very simple, requiring no tools or tedious lining up of holes or twisting of barrel bushings. Like all double-action SIGs, you simply lock the slide rearward, rotate the take-down lever one-quarter turn and the slide assembly comes off the frame. After a quick removal of the guide rod and spring, the barrel lifts out. You simply reverse the process for reassembly.
Shooting performance of the P227 was very impressive. I like SIG’s double-stack pistols, and the slightly thicker grip of the P227 was absolutely no problem for my large hands. The pistol is easy to grasp and control, because the relatively high grip position keeps the gun from twisting in the hand, even under the strong recoil of the .45 ACP cartridge. The ergonomic design of the P227 makes this one of the softest shooting .45-caliber pistols I have ever tested.
The pistol functioned perfectly over the course of several hundred rounds with a variety of ammunition brands and types. I would not expect any less from a SIG pistol. The P220 is known for extreme reliability, and the P227 should be no different.
Accuracy was very good, and rivals any pistol in its class. Firing the P227 with support at 25 yards produced groups averaging around 2 inches. SIG has seemingly perfected the
balance between mechanical accuracy and reliability—finding the sweet spot for both.
The P227 handles well, and feels good in the hand, with all of the exterior controls easy to reach and operate. However, when trying to do quick magazine changes, the P227 really shines. The gaping hole of a magazine well in the double-stack frame is an easy target, and speedy reloads seem effortless.
The P227 is a world-class performer in the realm of .45 ACP pistols, and SIG’s first double-stack .45 ACP. If you are a fan of the traditional DA/SA action, and need the extra capacity of a double-stack pistol, you will be hard-pressed to find a pistol that performs any better.
Although the P227 is a large handgun, it can certainly be carried concealed. A real advantage with this new model is holster compatibility. The P227 should fit most holsters made for the railed P220R and P226R. Given the popularity of its same-sized predecessors, hundreds of holster options already exist today; an advantage over other new pistol designs on the market.
Of course, if you want a slightly smaller carry pistol, SIG also offers the P227 Carry, which shortens the barrel to 3.9 inches. I have not had the opportunity to shoot the Carry model, but I suspect a half an inch of barrel doesn’t really change the pistol’s virtues in a meaningful way.
The SIG P227 comes with all the features described above and two 10-round magazines, all packed in a hard-plastic, lockable case. The retail price with night sights is the same price as the P220. Of course, there are other polymer-frame, double-stack, striker-fired .45 ACP pistols on the market for hundreds of dollars less, but you get a lot of value for your money. The SIG Sauer commitment to quality is clearly evident in this handgun, and the initial shock of a high retail price is easily forgotten over decades of reliable service.
All P227s are manufactured in the United States and carry a lifetime warranty plus the company’s reputation for excellent customer service.
The P220 has a long history of excellence, and the P227 will certainly follow the same path. The P227 takes the P220 to new levels, with extra capacity and only a marginal increase in grip size. If you are in the market for a high-capacity 45-caliber pistol, the P227 should be on your short list.