FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda

Lou Salseda is a retired LAPD sergeant with 34 years of law enforcement experience. He is the chief instructor of TAC-1 Defensive Firearms Training in Santa Clarita, Calif., and is a consultant for law enforcement training and litigation.

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis

Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and former New York police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.

Product Test: SIG Sauer's M11-A1 Pistol

SIG Sauer's update of the P228 (M11) retains the reliability of its predecessor.

February 08, 2013  |  by Nick Jacobellis - Also by this author

Photo courtesy of SIG Sauer.
Photo courtesy of SIG Sauer.

Even though many law enforcement agencies now carry the P226, P229, or P239 in .40 S&W and .357 SIG caliber, SIG Sauer pistols in 9mm still remain popular. Perhaps recognizing this, SIG produced the M11-A1, an upgraded version of the P228 (or M11 when carried by soldiers).

The M11-A1 is basically a P228 with a blackened stainless steel slide, Sig Lite night sights, phosphate coated internal parts, a set of Sig Lite night sights, a short reset trigger, and a blackened alloy frame. The M11-A1 is also shipped with three high-capacity 15-round Parkerized magazines.

The M11-A1 I tested proved to be an upgraded version of the original P228. While testing the M11-A1, I engaged a TQ19 police qualification target from various CQB distances and had absolutely no problem delivering accurate shot placement including head shots while using 147-grain or 124-grain Winchester or Federal ammunition including hollow-point service ammunition.

During my law enforcement career as a U.S. Customs agent, I carried a P228. Since I retired, I've put plenty of training and service ammunition through at least four different P228s and one M11 and have never experienced a stoppage or malfunction. One of the P228s that I currently carry once served as a Swiss police service pistol. Even though this pistol was made in the 1980s, it continues to function flawlessly.

I purchased the gun from a federally licensed firearm dealer, who added new slide pins, a factory spring upgrade kit, and a new pair of Sig Lite night sights. Despite its age, my used Swiss police pistol has continued to function just as reliably as any of the other P228s that I've field-tested. When SIG Sauer transitioned to manufacturing their slides with a one-piece block of stainless steel, the original P228 continued to be produced with a carbon steel slide.

After the U.S. Armed Forces adopted the 9mm Beretta M9 as the primary personal defense weapon for most military personnel, the Department of Defense selected the P228 as the compact personal defense weapon for selected personnel. This included general officers, military special agents, and naval aviators. With the exception of the finish, the M11 is basically a P228 with a carbon steel slide, a component firing mechanism, 13-round magazines, and an alloy frame. The M11 that I field-tested was another P228 variant that proved to be accurate and flawlessly reliable.

The P228 and now M11-A1 have been the most reliable compact pistols ever made. You should consider it, if you're in the market for a well-made compact 9mm pistol with a tremendous track record for reliable service.

Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs agent and a former police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while serving as a federal agent.


SIG Sauer Enhances Ergonomics of P226 and P229 Pistols

Comments (8)

Displaying 1 - 8 of 8

John Carp @ 4/22/2013 5:00 PM

I've been considering a an M-11A1 for a couple of months now! I own a P226 NAVY and have found it to be one of most accurate pistols I've ever fired, let alone owned. I also own a P229 in .357 Sig that comes in at a close second in accuracy. Both pistols have never malfunctioned! I recently read an article in The American Rifleman, that stated that the M11-A1's are simply P229's marked M11-A1. Additionally, the magazines that I have seen are marked P229-1. P228 or P229, the beautifully functioning pistols are worth the price of admission regardless of the markings!
I am a firearms instructor with my agency and have been exposed to and own many military and LE handguns! You couldn't go wrong with one of these pistols.
Most respectfully

jim tarr @ 2/14/2014 4:10 PM

Got my M-11-A1 a month or so ago started out using cheap Winchester ammo it don't work in that weapon got lots of jams, brass won"t eject went to a better round but still get a few jams, going to run a few more break in rounds through it if it don't get better it's going back to Sig.

Steve Deen @ 3/11/2014 9:13 PM

Picked up a M11 a month ago at my local shop for 729 plus tax (6%) . Normal price was 889. It came with 3 mags ,case and lock. I have over 1000 rounds through it so far and haven't had any problems. All ammo ran fine including several hundred rounds of wolf,tulammo, brown bear and silver bear. Very accurate and easy to shoot. I wasn't sure about almost 800 for a handgun but I can honestly say it was well worth the money. I highly recommend trying one out if you get the chance. I have seen a couple on Gunbroker go for less than 800.

Joe Gurgui @ 12/15/2014 9:53 PM

I just purchased an M11-A1 last week (Dec2014). This is my third Sig Sauer, the other two being the P229R 9mm and the P224SAS 9mm. My two older Sigs have about 2,500 rounds through them in the last year any have always functioned flawlessly with both cheep target FMJ ammo as well as +P rated self defense JHP ammo. Not the M11-A1. Shooting my new M11-A1 on Sunday (12/14/2014), I had three failures to extract spent cartridges from the chamber within my first 200 rounds in this gun shooting Remington UMC 115 grain FMJ ammo. I had zero failures, however, shooting 50 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 124 grain +P bonded JHP ammo. My other two Sigs ran flawlessly using the same ammo on the same day. As with all my pistols, I had field stripped, cleaned and lubed the M11-A1 prior to use. This was to be my EDC pistol, but given that its my first and only Sig to ever malfunction (not to mention range rental Sigs I have used without any failures), the M11-A1 leaves a lot to be desired for me.

Joe Gurgui @ 1/8/2015 6:58 PM

Got my SIG Sauer M11-A1 back from SIG last week. SIG serviced it and replaced the extractor spring (under warranty). Went to the range and ran 400 rounds of Remington UMC 115 Grn hardball target ammo through it flawlessly. I then ran 50 rounds of Speer Gold Dot 124 Grn +P JHP through it for good measure without any problems. It looks like my initial FTE problems have been fixed. I also just put a set of E2 grips on - way better - huge improvement.

wood-dawg @ 3/19/2015 9:11 AM

got my new sig m11 a1 today and the first thing i did was take the gun apart and clean it inside and out, i used a needle oiler for the fine hard to get places like the sear etc. i ran abot 250 round of american FMJ's throug the gun back to back and man it rocked with no problems at all just like my p226 which has stamped steel slide.
I ran 50 rounds of plus p in the m11 a1 /229 and that ammo rocked as well so the jamming issues above are unfounded when you maintain your equipment.

Thomas Enlow Jr @ 2/21/2016 3:57 AM

I bought my M11 a month ago, although it has functioned flawlessly and is accurate, it has far more muzzle rise than any of my Glocks or M&P's, magazines are expensive the gun was 879.00 plus tax.. with the first shot equal to an untamed revolver double action Ruger... I can honestly say it's not worth the money and compact it isn't...

Pete Bertil @ 4/23/2016 1:06 PM

To wood-dawg: What do you mean by "unfounded" jamming issues. The writer clearly explained the M11-A1 in question had been detail stripped, cleaned and lubricated to the same degree as two other SIG Sauer pistols prior to said FTE failures. All three pistols were running the same ammo during the same shoot. Only the M11-A1 jammed. Furthermore, you're ignoring the writer's statement that the pistol was sent back to SIG for warranty service and was repaired. The fact that your own M11-A1 suffered no malfunctions is great for you, but it hardly disqualifies another owner's claims. Are you just a SIG fanboy who won't tolerate anything short of high praise from all regarding a weapon which you too have chosen to employ?

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Politics Trumping Tactics: [Don't] Sit Down… You're Rocking the Boat
Elected officials have one underlying goal that informs and influences all their other...
Foot and Hoof Patrol: Meaningfully Connecting Cops and Citizens
Foot patrol is the essence of community policing—officers on foot create opportunities for...

Police Magazine