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Old June 22, 2012, 08:39 PM   #1
KyJim
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Don't trust a 1911 for carry? Try this.

I like 1911s. That's what I mostly carry in cool weather when clothing permits. As big a fan as I am of the 1911, I know there are some shooters who don't want to spend top dollar and take a chance of getting a bad one. That happens sometimes With all the various manufacturers making the guns and accessories differently. The answer for these folks might be a Sig 220 Compact Single Action Only. Sigs are known for their "Hell and back" reliability and that should be a major factor for anyone considering this pistol.

CDNN Sports has a number of thes special run guns catalogued for awhile now. I finally broke down and purchased one. This gun has a 3.9 inch barrel, night sights, and comes with two six-round magazines. It will also use the seven and eight round mags and you can get grip extenders to fill in the gap from the top of the extended mag to the bottom of the grip frame. The 220 has a steel slide, an alloy frame, and weighs 31 ounces according to Sig's website. Did I mention it was single action only? That means you can carry it cocked and locked. And, the safety works as a safety should -- up for safe and down for fire.




The ambidextrous safety on the 220 was fairly stiff but eased just a bit after some usage. The stiff safety should help insure it won't accidentally get bumped off while still remaining functional. The slide lock release, however, is stiff enough that it is almost non-functional for quick use. When inserting a fresh mag after lock back, the shooter would be advised to slingshot the slide. The mag catch release is out of reach for my thumb unless I rotate the pistol quite a bit. Again, I have smallish hands and have to rotate a 1911 to hit the release, just not as much.



I compared the 220 to a Sig C3 1911 I have carried off and on for three or four years. The C3 is a CCO-sized pistol (4.25 inch barrel and grip frame shortened by one round). The C3's profile is a bit thinner and a couple of ounces lighter. The grip of the 220 was more hand filling but, surprisingly, trigger reach was very close to the 1911's. That's important to me because I have smallish hands.







The trigger on the 220 was surprisingly good. The trigger is advertised to be five and a half pounds but I would have guessed it to be just a bit lighter. I could feel what I believe is the firing pin block being disengaged and then the trigger breaks fairly crisp. The trigger on my C3 1911 is actually heavier but breaks even cleaner. It's going to be darned near impossible for any carry gun to have a better trigger than a good 1911.

I put a mixture of Aguilla 230 gr, Federal Champion 230 gr., Federal HST 230 gr., and Speer Gold Dot 185 gr. through the gun without any hiccups whatsoever. I had trouble loading 185 gr. Remington Golden Sabers into the magazine. The overall length was just long enough that the bullet barely touched the front of the magazine lip, creating problems loading them into the mag. I'm not sure if the GS rounds were slightly out of spec or if it was the magazine.

I shot all rounds from the 220 at ten yards and kept most of the rounds in fist-sized groups. This is about normal for me shooting rapid fire with a 1911 so I'll give the Sig 220 a thumbs up in the practical accuracy department.


While I won't be tossing my favorite 1911s out the window, I think there may be a place for this pistol in my carry rotation in cool weather. If you've wanted a single action carry gun but didn't want to go the 1911 route, then you should take a serious look at the Sig 220 Compact.


Edited to correct brain fart: CCO grip frame is shortened by one round, not one inch.
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Last edited by KyJim; June 23, 2012 at 10:43 PM.
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Old June 22, 2012, 08:49 PM   #2
TacticalDefense1911
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I had a Sig P220 Elite carry SAO for a while and it was a great gun; just too big for my little hands. They are a very thick gun and the stock grips don't help. The new aluminum grips thin the grip out nicely. The stock trigger is not as good as most 1911's out of the box but its not bad. Its probably similar to a Springfield trigger as I find them to be heavier then most OOTB. Mine was dead nuts reliable and very accurate. I also found the thumb safety to be quite stiff and took alot of effort to engage and disengage. Good gun; not quite a 1911 but close in some respects and wouldn't take much to switch platforms. Sorry for the hijack, just thought I'd add my experience to the pile.


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Old June 22, 2012, 09:44 PM   #3
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Thanks for the comment. I'm not sure I could go with the fuller grips as my hands are also on the small side but the aluminum grips seem to do the job.
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:09 PM   #4
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And, the safety works as a safety should -- up for safe and down for fire.
You forgot to mention one neat feature: the slide can be cycled with the safety engaged, making it safer to clear the weapon.

I'm really disappointed the SAO P220's didn't take off.
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Old June 22, 2012, 10:25 PM   #5
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You forgot to mention one neat feature: the slide can be cycled with the safety engaged, making it safer to clear the weapon.

I'm really disappointed the SAO P220's didn't take off.
Good point on the safety. I knew the safety was set up for that but didn't even test it! After shooting the gun, I'm also a bit surprised they didn't take off more. I guess not enough 1911 shooters wanted to try them and the hard core Sig shooters can't fathom a single action in a working gun.
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Old June 23, 2012, 06:52 AM   #6
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I could probably handle the SA, I just cant stand that beaver tail.

I had a P245 that was DAO (not DAK), and it was a shooter. I actually shot better with it than I did my P220's. I switched to SIG's when I got tired of dealing with the 1911's, and was never disappointed. This was especially the case with the P245. It always ran like a top and reliability never entered my mind, unlike the smaller 1911's Id owned, and for that matter, a number of the full sized guns.

I never really saw the point of the SA versions. I guess SIG was catering to the 1911 crowd prior to their own version of it. I never had any problems with the standard SIG DA triggers, and after getting that P245, would gladly have had them all switched over to DAO if it werent for the cost of doing so.
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Old June 23, 2012, 09:22 AM   #7
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Sadly, SIG's "to hell and back" reliability has gone for a ride in the last five years.

They have become manufacturers of "consumer" guns rather than battle-reliable guns.

A good SIG is a wonder to hold and shoot. Its a crap-shoot whether you can get a good modern SIG.

Go carefully and eyes wide open.
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:23 AM   #8
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KyJim, Great review. I have the Sig P220 Compact as well, but mine is the two-tone SAS DAK version. It is a nice conceal carry pistol, but shoots almost as comfortably as a full size P220 at the range.
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Old June 23, 2012, 12:05 PM   #9
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Sig P220??????????????????

http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/Vie...Item=292926768


Totally different safety, yours is 1911 style, this is regular Sig style.


What did you buy???
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Old June 23, 2012, 12:18 PM   #10
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9mm,

You link to a full sized DA/SA P220. This thread is discussing the SA variant. Two very different guns.
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Old June 23, 2012, 12:25 PM   #11
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rduckwor

I need to disagree I've bought three new sigs in the last 3 yrs and all are 100% + in performance.
And I know several others that have done the same thing.

This Idea of sig not producing quality dependable guns is internet BS!
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Old June 23, 2012, 12:41 PM   #12
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Quote:
rduckwor

I need to disagree I've bought three new sigs in the last 3 yrs and all are 100% + in performance.
And I know several others that have done the same thing.

This Idea of sig not producing quality dependable guns is internet BS!
I'm glad to hear you have had good luck.

Sadly, many have not. SIG is following Kimber down the primrose path.
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Old June 23, 2012, 12:52 PM   #13
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I need to disagree I've bought three new sigs in the last 3 yrs and all are 100% + in performance.
And I know several others that have done the same thing.

This Idea of sig not producing quality dependable guns is internet BS!


+1

My 226 has been flawless running on 3 years now with 2,000 rounds through it.
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Old June 23, 2012, 12:59 PM   #14
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I own several P220's including the SAO compact and the SAO carry. Both have been flawless as have all my Sigs. My new Sig's are equal to my 80's and 90's vintage Sig's in every way. They are still among the very best.


ETA: I just wanted to add that while I love the P220's and P226s etc. I am not a big fan of some of the recent models. Nor do I think much of Sig's marketing approach. It's just a personal thing. Rainbows and diamond plates belong in children's books.

Last edited by Manson; June 23, 2012 at 01:13 PM.
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Old June 23, 2012, 04:00 PM   #15
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I loved the P220 I had. Sold it to a good friend. I still visit it .

While I always wanted to try one, I guess I never wanted a SAO P220 to buy one. To me that is the real of the 1911. I always like the P220 for what it was to begin with.
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Old June 23, 2012, 06:59 PM   #16
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9mm,

As BryanP mentioned, the link is to a 220 with the SA/DA trigger, the more traditional 220 variant. CDNN Sports had a run of single action only Compacts made. The full size 220s have also come single action only.

Quote:
Sadly, SIG's "to hell and back" reliability has gone for a ride in the last five years.
rduckwor --Are you referring to the more traditional Sigs like the 220 and 226 or are you referring to the newer offerings like the 1911 line and the P238? I know these latter offerings had some teething issues.
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Old June 23, 2012, 07:48 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyJim
The C3 is a CCO-sized pistol (4.25 inch barrel and grip frame shortened by one inch).
The original Colt CCO was a hybrid, mounting a Commander (4-1/4") slide and barrel on an Officers ACP frame, which has a slightly shorter grip and one less round of magazine capacity. The difference in grip length is, however, nowhere near one inch. Measured perpendicular to the rails, the difference is 0.3625 inches. Measured along the axis of the magazine well, the difference is 0.3838 inches. In other words, of an order of magnitude of about 3/8 on an inch, not one inch.
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Old June 23, 2012, 08:13 PM   #18
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Very good post KyJim.
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Old June 23, 2012, 08:16 PM   #19
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Sadly, many have not. SIG is following Kimber down the primrose path.
The P238 appears to be a real mess from a reliability standpoint, but other than that, I've yet to see any noticeable uptick in problems with the brand.

Yes, the guy who ran Kimber runs them now. Beyond that, I can't see where this comes from.
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Old June 23, 2012, 08:19 PM   #20
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Manson said:

Quote:
Rainbows and diamond plates belong in children's books.
Well put. Sig should stop with that marketing tactic and get back to basics. That said, I do own a reverse-twotone Sig 1911.
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Old June 23, 2012, 10:41 PM   #21
KyJim
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The difference in grip length is, however, nowhere near one inch.
You are absolutely correct! I meant one round and had a brain fart. Thanks for the catch. I'll correct in the first post.
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Old September 15, 2012, 11:10 AM   #22
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The SIG P220 SAO, SIG P220 Carry SAO and the SIG P220 Compact SAO pistols were guns I desperately wanted to like. I remember my first P220 and thought it would be the ultimate pistol if it were single action only.

The problem is the safety is not in the correct location. It was impossible to shoot with my thumb on the safety. The safety was also a bit narrow and a bit stiff. These two factors resulted in the occasional failure to disengage. The gun and I parted ways after a brief, 500 round affair.

The solution to all this would be to move the ledge down approximately 3/8" and widen it slightly. The grips would have to be relieved.
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Old September 15, 2012, 12:24 PM   #23
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Quote:
Manson said:


Quote:
Rainbows and diamond plates belong in children's books.

Well put. Sig should stop with that marketing tactic and get back to basics. That said, I do own a reverse-twotone Sig 1911.
I don't particularly like the "New Age" finishes either-but some apparently do. However, as evidenced by your post, you can get more "traditional" finishes from Sig-as you did. I see nothing wrong with offering choices to the consumer, especially when it comes to something as subjective in nature as types of finishes.
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Old September 15, 2012, 12:43 PM   #24
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Give me that frame in a 9mm or even a .40 and I'm sold. I've already got a reliable 1911.
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Old September 16, 2012, 01:52 AM   #25
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ive been tempted to pick one of those up from cdnn myself. I like everything about it except the 6 round capacity.
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