SIG's new 2022 pistol isn't the first sidearm to have a polymer frame, but it's a welcome addition to a new tradition of sidearms that has continued to grow in popularity.
The first semi-automatic pistol to utilize a polymer frame was the Heckler & Koch VP70. A massive, selective-fire handgun chambered for the 9x19 cartridge, its production life was rather short lived. The next "plastic pistol" turned out to be a different story entirely. Unlike its Germanic predecessor, the Austrian Glock 17 was lightweight, compact, and very user friendly. Glock proved the practicality of polymer for constructing frames, magazines, and other pistol parts, and it wasn't long before just about every major player in the highly competitive police/military pistol market was offering a polymer-framed handgun.
SIG Enters the Picture
The Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) was established in 1853 to manufacture railway rolling stock. After World War II, SIG formed a partnership with the German gunmaking firm of Sauer and a few years later introduced a pistol known as the P220, which was adopted by the Swiss army, the Japanese Self-Defense Forces, and a number of Middle Eastern and African armies and police forces.
A few years later SIG designed a smaller pistol for German police trials, and the company's P225 was adopted by a number of German states' police agencies in addition to several other European agencies. After that SIG pursued the American market where most police forces were in the process of changing over from revolvers to semi-auto pistols.
The company's new high-capacity P226 proved a big seller. First available in 9x19, it was later offered chambered for the .40 S&W and a proprietary cartridge with magnum-like ballistics, the .357 SIG. Today, SIG pistols are used by-among others-the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Navy SEALS, U.S. Coast Guard, Ohio Highway Patrol, Rhode Island State Police, North Carolina Highway Patrol, Texas Rangers, and the Michigan State Police.
To address the growing U.S. police market, SIG established a facility in Exeter, N.H., called SIGARMS, which now manufactures the entire line of SIG pistols.
SIG entered the "polymer revolution" with its SIG PRO series of pistols, which combined a stainless steel slide with the company's "Nitron" finish and a polymer frame. This latter assembly was one of the first to feature interchangeable grips that could be removed by simply depressing a catch located at the rear of the magazine well. The SIG PRO had a modular fire control unit that could be quickly switched to provide either a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) or a double-action-only (DAO) trigger pull.
The SIG PRO's popularity with U.S. police agencies grew rapidly, and in 2006 SIG introduced an improved version, the SIG SP2022.
The most notable feature of the SP2022 is that the frame has a Picatinny-type rail to accept tactical lights or laser sighting systems. Unlike many other DA/SA pistols, SIG positions the hammer decocking lever at the top of the left-hand grip panel where it can be depressed with the right thumb without having to change your grip on the pistol. The slide stop is just above this and can also be manipulated easily.
In 2003, France's Gendarmerie Nationale placed an order for 270,000 SP2022 pistols. The following year, the U.S. Army's Tank & Armaments Command placed an order for 5,000 pistols.