With refinements like a radical dehorning, a DAK double-action-only trigger, tritium front night sight and chambering for the potent .40 S&W cartridge, the SIG 229 SAS possesses everything that an officer or agent could need. And it should. This newest member of the SIG is designed for professionals who carry their guns all day, every day.
But it’s not just a fighting tool—the 229 SAS is built in SIG’s Custom Shop, and it’s easy on the eyes. For example, the pistol has a frosted silver slide that contrasts nicely with its matte black aluminum frame. The Custom shop also outfits each of its 229 SAS pistols with a set of beautiful wood grips that add a splash of color to an already otherwise attractive design.
Despite what you might think the “SAS” in this pistol’s name has nothing to do with the famed British Special Air Services. It stands for SIG Anti Snag, and the name fits. The craftsmen in SIG’s Custom Shop have carefully removed every sharp edge on the frame and slide that might cut the user, an expensive holster, or clothing. This is an extremely important feature for a gun that is carried on duty. You know as well as I do that guns deemed too painful to carry are often left at home or in an office desk.
Of course, the SIG 229 SAS is not the first pistol to be marketed as having no sharp edges. There are a lot of companies that offer the “melt down” option. Most tend to go overboard and the pistols often exhibit less than symmetrical polishing from a heavy hand at the buffing wheel. Believe me, I didn’t see evidence of this on my test 229 SAS pistol.
While every sharp edge was removed, the flats did not exhibit any errant buffing marks. Yet, I couldn’t find any edge on the frame or slide that would cut me or even be uncomfortable if the gun were worn next to the skin—even the take-down lever was perfectly “melted.” With the pistol unloaded I rubbed my hands over it like it was a bar of soap and the only thing that caused the slightest discomfort was the top edge of the front sight, and it was far from sharp enough to draw blood.
SIG builds the slide from stainless steel for corrosion resistance. It is heavily bead blasted for a frosted finish that is less reflective than polished stainless. The front sight is a SIGLITE tritium night sight, and the rear is a standard SIG sight with a white bar.
While some shooters may wonder why SIG would not also put a tritium rear sight on the pistol, this exclusion causes me no concern. The important thing with the front night sight is to reference the front of the weapon. Anyone who trains with this pistol will automatically align the rear of the gun with the front and, besides, the use of night sights is for close-range fighting. It has always been my opinion that, while night sights are a great innovation, it is far more important to be able to see and identify a potential target than to get a perfect sight picture on an unidentifiable object in the murky distance.
For weight savings, SIG machines the frame from a block of aluminum and then hard-coat anodizes it a matte black. The frontstrap has horizontal serrations that are coarse enough to aid in a secure firing grip but fine enough that they won’t catch clothing and possibly reveal what had been a concealed weapon. The smooth frontstrap also means that when the gun is needed the user won’t be grasping a handful of shirt or sports coat that has attached itself to the frontstrap.
SIG’s Custom Shop fits a set of custom wood grips on the 229 SAS. It’s funny just how much the simple grips dress up a gun that we normally see wearing a set of black synthetic grips. Their dark blond color is a perfect complement to both the stainless slide and black frame. The panels have a mixture of stippling and checkering to provide a no-slip grip even when the shooter’s hands are wet. The backstrap of the grips is smooth, another small detail that prevents clothes from hanging up on the gun when worn concealed.
The 229 SAS features SIG’s relatively new DAK trigger system. DAK stands for “Double Action Kellermann.” To answer your question, Kellermann is the Sauer engineer who developed this trigger system.
DAK pistols provide the user with a smooth and consistent double-action trigger pull of about six-and-a-half pounds. The trigger pull is long and the extra leverage is partly responsible for the light pull. Kellermann was able to extend the leverage arm of the hammer from its pivot point, thereby gaining a mechanical advantage, requiring less pressure to cause the hammer to fall and rise.
Unlike many other double-action-only autos on the market the SIG DAK offers a multiple strike capability in the event that the primer does not ignite on the first hammer fall. After the first shot is fired, the shooter has the option of releasing the trigger to the intermediate point and having a trigger pull of approximately 8.5 pounds or completely releasing the trigger and allowing a full length reset with a pull of 6.5 pounds.
I found that with practice I could easily manipulate the trigger to get the shorter and heavier trigger pull while doing rapid-fire exercises. The real advantage here, though, is that shooters with smaller hands will be able to fire the pistol more comfortably using the intermediate trigger reset. I have average size hands, and I preferred releasing the trigger to full reset for a lighter trigger pull. Whatever works for you.
Looking it Over
On first glance, you’ll notice that the 229 SAS DAK pistol has a spurless hammer that rests within the frame and slide, in keeping with the snag free design. You’ll also notice that, like many currently popular cop guns, the 229 SAS does not have a manual safety.
Because this particular SIG uses the double-action-only trigger system there is no decocker. In fact, it is impossible to thumb cock the hammer since the weapon cannot be fired in the single-action mode. Though the gun does not possess a manual safety, its long trigger pull requires a deliberate stroke and it stacks just slightly before breaking, which should eliminate most unintentional discharges.
Another safety feature of the 229 DAK is that the magazine must be removed and the slide locked back to turn the take-down lever and remove the slide. The trigger does not need to be pulled to remove the slide. Once the slide is off of the frame, it is an easy matter to remove the guide rod and recoil spring. The barrel can then be withdrawn from the slide. Reassembly is in the reverse order. Fieldstripping the weapon for cleaning and routine inspection is easy, tool-free, and takes just seconds.
Even though I knew the light-and-smooth DAK trigger made shooting the 229 SAS in rapid-fire exercises easy, I did not predict that it would be an easy gun to shoot small groups with. Don’t get me wrong—SIG pistols have a tremendous reputation for mechanical accuracy. I just didn’t think that I’d be able to manipulate the trigger consistently enough to produce groups that I know the gun is capable of. So, it was a pleasant surprise to see the gun produce tiny five-shot groups at 20 yards.
Corbon’s 135-grain Pow’R Ball ammunition produced the best accuracy of any ammunition that I shot in the 229 SAS. It yielded five shots into a group just a little more than an inch. I think that it is particularly noteworthy that the gun handled all bullet weights from 135 grains all the way up to 180 grains with outstanding accuracy. And even though each of these bullets has a substantially different bullet nose profile, they all fed just fine. I fired more than 400 rounds during the evaluation, and there were no stoppages or failures of any kind.
I set up some steel targets at 12 yards and did some draw-and-fire exercises with the 229 SAS DAK. Fobus sent me a paddle holster for the pistol, and I found it to be a secure and comfortable way to carry the Custom Shop SIG. Its pliable plastic paddle was comfortable to wear even during extended pistol drills, and it held the gun securely even during brief sprints.
I wanted to determine if there would be any difference between times when using the intermediate trigger reset vs. the full-length reset. I used a PACT electronic timer to measure the time between the shots. What I found was that there was no noticeable difference in time between shots using the long pull vs. the shorter, heavier pull. For me, it was easier to release the trigger all of the way between shots while it seemed to take a concentrated effort to use the shorter trigger pull. In any event, both trigger pulls produced quick, decisive hits on the steel.
SIG’s new 229 SAS pistol possesses the legendary SIG reliability and accuracy with a number of refinements that make it perfect for professionals who carry their guns 24/7. The gun possesses a beautiful balance and natural pointing characteristics. These design elements combined with its excellent sights and smooth trigger pull make the SIG 229 SAS a devastatingly easy gun to shoot.
Mike Detty is an NRA-certified rifle, pistol, and shotgun instructor. A certified rangemaster and competition shooter, Detty served as an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps and holds a degree in criminal justice from the University of Arizona.