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Reviews : Arsenal

SIG Sauer P227 Pistol

SIG's new service pistol offers up to 15 rounds of .45 ACP power in an accurate and reliable design.

December 23, 2013  |  by Paul Scarlata - Also by this author

Photo: Paul Budde and Becky Leavitt
Photo: Paul Budde and Becky Leavitt

According to several knowledgeable sources in the firearms and ammunition industry, there is a new trend in law enforcement handguns in which some agencies and some officers are moving away from the .40 S&W cartridge and returning to 9mm and .45 caliber service pistols. When it was introduced the .40 was seen as a "perfect compromise" that provided superior on-target performance over the 9mm and was "almost" as good as the .45.

There are a number of reasons for this switch in caliber allegiance.

The most prominent is the .40's high level of recoil—especially in lightweight polymer frame pistols—which has proven problematic for some officers, resulting in lower qualification scores.

Another reason that some agencies and officers are rethinking the .40 is the improved performance of the new breed of 9mm and .45 ACP cartridges. In the case of the 9mm these new loads have narrowed (some say closed) the performance gap with the .40. In the case of the .45 ACP—whose performance all other pistol cartridges have striven to equal since 1911—the effectiveness of the new high-performance loads now available has moved the bar up even further for potential contenders.

Making a Contender

SIG introduced the .45 caliber P220 in 1977 and an improved version remains in the company's catalog today and has seen use by several law enforcement agencies. While an excellent handgun, in a handgun market dominated by high-capacity pistols, some feel that the P220 has one shortcoming, an eight-round magazine.

Several of SIG's competitors for the police market offer .45 pistols with higher magazine capacity. The Glock G21 and Springfield XD(m) both have 13-round magazines; the S&W M&P, Heckler & Koch HK45, and Beretta Storm feature 10-round capacities; and the FNH FNX-45 holds 15 rounds.

If SIG was to capture a larger share of this market it needed to offer a high-capacity .45 pistol. And that's just what it did earlier this year when it released the P227.

The P227 is available in three models: Full Size, Carry, and SAS (SIG Anti Snag). The Carry and SAS models have overall lengths of 7.1 inches, barrel lengths of 3.9 inches, and empty weight of 30.5 ounces. In addition, the SAS has all edges and sharp corners beveled and dehorned and features SIG's Short Reset Trigger (SRT).

At first glance the P227 looks…well, like a SIG. In fact its external dimensions differ little from the popular P226. And like the P226 it uses a machined steel slide and a lightweight alloy frame.

The P227's slide has a squared-off profile with sharp cut grasping grooves that provide a firm grip when racking the slide to load or clear a malfunction. Front and rear dovetail cuts allow easy removal and installation of different styles of sights, while a large ejection port and rugged extractor ensure that spent cases get out of the way reliably.

The alloy frame has wraparound polymer grips with a skateboard tape-type texture that along with fine checkering on the front strap and (for those who favor that style of grip) the front of the hooked trigger guard ensures a secure purchase even with wet or oily hands or when wearing gloves. A serrated slide release is located above the left grip panel.

While the P227 has an external hammer, in place of any type of manual safety, there is a hammer decocking lever at the top of the left grip panel where it can be manipulated easily by the thumb of a right-handed shooter without changing grip. Left-handed shooters can manipulate the decocker and slide release with their trigger fingers, but this does require moving the pistol around in your shooting hand.

In addition, the pistol has an automatic firing pin safety block, safety intercept notch, and a trigger bar disconnector, all of which require a full stroke of the trigger to overcome.

SIG pistols are unique in that the slide reciprocates on full-length frame rails, which provide complete support for the slide during movement for improved reliability, slide/frame lock-up, and accuracy.

Double Column

The P227 uses a traditional DA/SA trigger. On the pistol I received, there was an 11-pound DA pull, which is a bit higher than factory specs, but the SA pull was spot on at 4.4 pounds. The trigger reset was short and could be felt but an audible "click" would be helpful when making slow, precise shots.

Now we get to the gist of this report, the magazine. The P227 uses a double-column magazine that holds 10 rounds of .45 ACP. Because of this the grip is wider than that of the P220 but the same size as the P226. In fact, the P227's external dimensions are almost identical to the P226, which allows the use of many P226 holsters and magazine pouches. Also to surpass most of the competition, SIG offers the option of an extended 14-round magazine for the P227.

Another nice feature is that the bottoms of the grips are extended and beveled to form a magazine well funnel that ensures smooth, snag-free reloads.

Shooting Drills

Using ammunition supplied by Remington, Hornady, Black Hills, and Federal, I test fired the P227 from a rest at 25 yards. The pistol printed to point of aim and I was able to produce well-centered groups ranging from 2 inches to 3.5 inches in size.

I then belted on a Gould & Goodrich Belt Slide holster and ran the P227 through the following series of offhand drills:

• At five yards, draw pistol and fire five rounds on target's "head" with an unsupported (one-handed) grip.

• At five yards, draw pistol and fire five rounds on target using supported grip.

• At 10 yards, draw pistol and fire five rounds on target. Reholster and repeat three times.

• At 15 yards, draw pistol and fire 10 rounds on target, slow aimed fire.

The Gould & Goodrich Belt Slide holster positioned the pistol for a smooth draw. It would be my choice if I were to use the P227 for concealed carry.

Except for the first round fired in DA mode at the head, all the .45s I sent downrange went just where I wanted them to. Recoil control and the pistol's ergonomics allowed fast, accurate follow-up shots.

The location of the slide release took a bit of getting used to, but aside from that, the only complaint I can voice concerned the magazines, which proved a bit of a trial to load to capacity. A magazine loading tool is a good idea when loading this high-capacity .45.

I did not experience a single malfunction with the pistol despite the fact that I discovered when I cleaned it after hundreds of rounds that there was not a drop of oil on it.

For those officers, or departments, who feel a .45 ACP caliber service pistol would best suit their needs, I believe the new SIG Sauer P227 might be just what you're looking for.

Paul Scarlata has served as an auxiliary police officer and is a frequent contributor to POLICE.

SIG Sauer • P227

Caliber: .45 ACP

Capacity: 10 rounds

Overall Length: 7.7 inches

Barrel Length: 4.4 inches

Weight (unloaded): 32 ounces

Height: 5.5 inches

Width: 1.5 inches

Construction: Steel slide; alloy frame

Finish: Slide: Nitron; Frame: Black anodized

Magazine: Double column

Trigger: DA/SA

Sights: Front: White dot; Rear: Square notch with white bar

Grips: Wraparound polymer

Extras: Accessory rail, spare magazine, extended 14-round magazine (optional), SIGLite night sights (optional), cleaning rod, padded carrying box, cable lock, owner's manual

Price: $993 ($1,085 with night sights)

 

Shooting the SIG Sauer P227

AMMUNITION                                      GROUP (inches)          VELOCITY(fps)

Remington 185-grain Gold Saber       2.8                              947

Hornady 220-grain +P Critical Duty    3.0                              962

Federal 230-grain Hydra-Shok           2.8                              879

Black Hills 230-grain FMJ                    3.3                              792

Note: Group size is the average of three, five-shot groups fired from an MTM K-Zone rest at 25 yards. Velocity is the average of five rounds measured 10 feet from muzzle.

Tags: Firearms Reviews, Duty Pistols, SIG Sauer

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Comments (23)

Displaying 1 - 23 of 23

GAPP @ 12/27/2013 5:19 PM

Nope, Still a big gun with a high muzzle to hand ratio and non ambidextrous controls and is a "fat"gun. Better off using the .45GAP round on the 226 frame, at least you get to a wider market. Even GLOCK finally woke up that there are people out there with different size hands and a high proportion are left handed. SIG designers need to read up on current trends in the firearms world, the same old ideas is appearing in their SMG designs too.

Skippy @ 12/30/2013 2:20 PM

AND......... The price is a joke! Quite honestly Sig, H&K should be forced out of business because they believe that over pricing their firearms will give people, (LE Agencies/LEO's) the impression that they are superior firearms compared to Glock, Springfield, S&W and so on. And yes magazine capacity is very important, but lets be honest; price is far more an issue then some of us may want to admit. In 19 years in Law Enforcement I have yet to see or hear of an incident that Sig or H&K saved a life over the other pistols. I know this is off topic but it needed to be said because the author failed to mention the cost.

Mark @ 1/9/2014 8:21 PM

I just finished reading Paul Scarlata's article on the Sig P227. I like almost any new gun I have to disagree that a 2" or 3" group at 5 to 15 yds is acceptable. I shoot a Wilson Combat 1996 A2 and it groups 1" rested at 25 yards. I've always worked in a rural area and in doing so I have always have practiced shooting at long range just in case I need to fight back to my vehicle. I practiced a lot at 100 yds and I was able to shoot my intended target offhand 8 out of 10 times aiming, plus the misses almost hit the target, try that with a pistol that shoots a 2 or 3" group at 15 yds.

I hear every excuse in the world why the 1911 design is not acceptable for police work but not one word of it is reasonable. All pistols have some type of safety and the 1911 has 2 safety features that have to be released or engaged before it can be fired, a Glock only has a trigger safety that cannot even be felt when it's able to fire, etc...

A Wilson is pricy but what's your life worth?

thomas benson @ 1/21/2014 8:33 PM

for the 1911, too much maintenance for a reliable gun for most people. For the Sig, You want the gun, buy one, too price? Get a glock, M&P, or XDM, still to pricey? Your probably on the wrong site, but go get a Hi-Point. The fact is that some people (myself included) are right handed, and have no interest in shooting a pistol 75+ yards, get a rifle. Also I am sure that the author of this isn't sitting there all day every day just shooting long distance with the same gun. Anyone that has any experience with guns will tell you that if you use a new gun, you have to get used to it before you get super proficient with it. You like your gun, stick with it, but don't get online just to bash the competition.

Todd A @ 1/30/2014 9:15 AM

I brought on and it is a great weapon. Let a friend use it for a shooting comp
and he did great with it, with never have shot it or any like it before.
I am right handed and I have shot it with both hands with no problems.
Price was right for a great weapon. Sure I like to save money when I can, but we my life on the line, I do not mind paying for dependablity. I would recommend this weapon to anyone. I agree that it takes time to get more proficient with it my grouping have got better every time I shot

Joseph @ 2/1/2014 5:53 PM

I would rather have an eight round P220 or 1911 that feels good than any pistol that holds 13 plus and feels like your holding a brick with the edges filed off. That being said hitting your target with one round is better than 100 misses.

Justin @ 2/6/2014 6:07 PM

A "fat gun"?! It's based on the p226! You do know this is a double stack 45acp right? I'm buying one for sure. I love my p229 with its decocker in 40s&w. 45acp is just easier to get when ammo is scarce so I'm stepping up to the P227. The price bothers you? The ergonomics bother you? Get a different gun! Too many people haven't shot it yet comment on it. If you haven't put a couple hundred rounds down the pipe, how do you know you don't like it? I know several lefties that shoot sigs and with little to no training they prefer to use the trigger finger to operate functions.

Gerald Mattern @ 2/8/2014 1:55 PM

I purchased this weapon as a replacement for my P220. The size of the grips feel right for my hands and I didn't have to purchase a new duty holster as it fit the Safariland 0705 I carried my P220 in. As for the price, I paid $830, including the sales tax so all I can say is shop around and get a quality weapon for a reasonable price.

RD @ 2/12/2014 5:36 PM

I carried the P220 in the late 1970's * 1980's.Yhen Sig came out with the 1911's. I carry a traditional 1911 Tacops. Great 1911. I was able to get a new P227.Also a
great 45 cal. gun.Both guns are very accurate & work great. As a retired Officer I still carry either or and love them both. I must admit that while I love the P227 I always did and will favor the 1911 over all.

YGBSM @ 2/17/2014 12:29 AM

Anybody seen to 14 round mags yet?

YGBSM @ 2/17/2014 12:32 AM

Sorry, my thingers got going too fast. Has anyone see or heard of 14 rd mags available for the P227 yet?

Powderman @ 2/18/2014 7:08 AM

Just put one of these on layaway. I am primarily a 1911 man, and have carried one on duty and off for many years. My 1911 is an accurate and dependable handgun. Still, when I picked up a P227 for the first time, it was love at first grip. It just felt right to my hands--granted, I have fairly large hands--but the pistol sat right. JUST right. The sights were easy to pick up quickly, and I tried some reloads with the 10 round magazines--smooth and easy. I'll pick it up within a week or so--I found a great bargain--someone purchased the pistol, maybe fired one magazine out of it, and traded it off for another gun. This one has all the factory goodies and the box and manuals--$700.00 out the door. I plan on testing it with some ball ammunition, some of my competition reloads, and a box of 230 grain Gold Dot, which is my issue ammunition. Still looking for the 14 round mags at a decent price, though.

frank wood @ 2/19/2014 8:13 PM

sigsauer makes good products, but now days sig firearms are basically playing catch up to everyone else, sedcondly in the last 5 years a lot of police agencys including mine have switched to other companies due to the cost of their pistols and rifles.
sig needs to price their products in line with everyone else unless they want to let glock and smith and Wesson to boil them over, I use to own several sigs but now I only have 1, the rest are the poly wonders.

Doug @ 2/20/2014 10:12 AM

I just wounder how many people are complaining about the P227 that has not fired one yet? I am average hand size and the P227 handles and shoots fine for me and had not shot a pistol for around 10 years, And not 150 rounds later i am shooting clay pigeons at 25 and 50 yards with NO PROBLEM. Again have not shot any pistol really for 10 years to speak of.

Doug @ 2/20/2014 10:17 AM

I did pay around $800.00 for the NITRON P227 W/night sights if it matters out of the box.

JayL @ 2/22/2014 8:21 AM

I have been salavating over this new P227 since reading several articles on them and seeing the ad's over and over. yesterday I finally found on in my area, (not an easy task as most of the smaller gun shops don't seem to have them yet) I drove 40 minutes to Tampa from Clearwater and they had several of each variation. I have NOT yet gotten it to the range, but will soon. I will say so far I really like it a lot! the grip feels great and the overall quality is great! today I was working on finding a kydex holster and mag carrier for it, none of the outfits seem to have the exact mold as yet, but I am thinking the P226, or P220 will fit it? anyway, I know I paid less than the average, but more than some of the qoutes I see on here, but I am happy with the price at 919.00 for the 3.9 barrel W/nightsites! even though I have yet to run some ammo thru it I would reccomend the gun!

Wayne Miller @ 3/6/2014 6:38 PM

I've carried a P220 G2 SAS for a year and just purchased the P227 full size with NS. Both are suburb weapons. The p227 gained 1/2 inch on barrel and grip, but the accuracy and comfort of the full grip more than made up for the very slight increase in size, not to mention the increased ammo capacity. I'm not knocking 1911 one bit. The high to medium end are smooth as silk and usually more accurate than the shooter. They were designed and built for combat. There is something about being able to carry loaded with DA to minimize opportunity for unintended discharge. I'm a fan of the p227, but let's recognize that all firearms are tools, and you need to pick the tool that will get your job done.
Wayne

DanfromTexas @ 4/1/2014 2:29 PM

I own and have fired about 500 rounds with the P227. I also own and fire the P226 MK25 (Navy Seal version). I could feel the difference in the grip but only slightly. I thought the finish on the grip of the P227 made up for the only slightly larger grip. I use both as a concealed carry about once or twice a week switching among several other of my favorites. I am adamant about not carrying unless I feel comfortable with it, can hit what I aim at, and feel secure in the safety functions. On my first vist to the range at 25 yards it only took about 15 shots to move into the acceptabe grouping area (all my other carries are 9mm). I have to say that I have complete confidence in the P227. It is both accurate and 100% reliable. I would bet my life on it and I hope I never have to do so. My other favorite carries are a CZ P-07, FNX-9, Steyr M9-A1, and a Glock 19. I will be carrying the P227 more from now on.

alex @ 4/4/2014 6:41 AM

i dont really see tje advantage of it over a p229 in 357 sig that holds 12 rounds. of an arguably better choice of ammo. i guess they saw an oppertunity to make a "high capacity " .45 acp and went with it just to getmore sales.

Tucson_Jim @ 4/11/2014 9:03 PM

The SIG P226 and Baretta both beat the Colt 45 ACP in the small arms trials of the 1980's, in all categories including reliability. The 1911 is a 103 year old design, anyone who doesn't believe that firearms designed to be manufactured with modern techniques, and omitting the additional tolerances of a removable muzzle bushing, is living a WWII John Wayne fantasy. Only a competition 1911 costing twice as much will be more accurate than a standard, off-the-shelf P226 or P227.

Those bragging about their 1" groups at 25 yards are encouraged to try the same with a production P226 or P227. The fit and finish of a SIG are typically impeccible, the trigger like glass, and the fact remains, the US DoD has weapon designation numbers for the Baretta, SIG P226 and P228... but, not for any Glock, S&W, or Springfield Armory Incorporated pistols.

I'll take the SIG purchased with my own money, over a pistol chosen by some two-bit politician, during dinner with an escort paid-for by Glock.

Steve Hauck @ 4/15/2014 7:29 PM

In addition to H&K and Sig charging too much to convince people that they are sooooo good, maybe Porsche and Mercedes should lower their prices too.
It really isn't proven that German machines are really really good so they are just being fancy right. Remove thy head form thy selves rump please.
While S&W is really good, a simple look see shows that a Springy XDS is better made than a S&W shield for carry...it just is what it is. You can torture the hell out of H&K without detriment to performance or reliability. If you don't want to pay for the bitterness, then don't and save yourself some money. If you do want the ultimate in machinery, isn't it nice to know you can find it for whatever price it commands? Stop being a hick.

Bob @ 4/17/2014 3:27 PM

The problem is that they arn German machines... they are made by a new firearms company in the USA named SigArms and recently renamed to Sig Sauer. They are not the same by a long shot. The US quality control is horrible. I have personally shot two different 227s with 4 different magazines. Both were sent back prior to my firing with problems. Both still fail to lock back on the last round with multiple shooters. Yet I have been told the department refuses to look at another option and wants to go with this firearm.

R.Drew @ 4/17/2014 5:45 PM

I purchased my first P227 about three months ago. Upon test firing it for the first time the second shot went into the hole of the first shot. I'll admit it was only at ten to twelve yards but I just had to hear it go bang. A month later I bought a backup
P227. Also have a P226 Navy which prints groups that I can cover with a city cents
piece. I have carried a P220 ever since the late 1970's. Early 2000's bought a two tone reverse 1911 Sig. All my Sig's are tack drivers. All are totally reliable. Wouldn't
trade them for anything else. Yes there are other good reliable guns out there also.
I prefer my sigs. But that is just me. Stay safe.

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