By Duane A. Daiker
Sig Sauer is well known for making excellent pistols in a wide variety of sizes and calibers. Until recently, however, there was a noticeable hole in Sig Sauer’s traditional double-action pistol line-up—a double-stack, high capacity .45 ACP. The new P227 solves that problem and offers ten-round capacity with a grip size that still fits most hands. Sig’s ergonomic grip design puts a high-capacity big-bore pistol within reach for those with average size hands.
Sig Sauer developed the P220 in 1976 as a standard issue sidearm for the Swiss Army. Originally, the P220 model designation included variety of calibers. In recent years, however, Sig has limited the P220 designation to pistols chambered in .45 ACP. In that caliber, however, the P220 was only offered in a single-stack configuration, with a capacity of 8+1 rounds. The P220 was very close in size to a Commander-size 1911, with the same capacity.
The new P227 is a step up in size from the P220, utilizing a double-stack magazine for increased ammo capacity. With the standard flush-fit magazine, the P227 has a capacity of 10+1 rounds. However, Sig also offers an optional 14-round extended magazine.
Using a double-stack magazine makes the P227’s grip thicker than that of the single-stack P220, but not much thicker than double-stack Sig pistols in other calibers. If you compare the P227 to the well-known P226 double-stack 9mm pistol, the difference is not particularly noticeable. The P227 has a marginally larger grip circumference, but doesn’t really feel any larger in practical use.
The slight increase in perceived grip thickness is attributable to the “E2 Enhanced Ergonomics” improvements that Sig introduced in 2010. The E2 improvements incorporate a deeper curve to the back strap that reduces the surface area of the grip and reduces the grip circumference. The frame also has a deeply undercut trigger guard to keep the hand high on the grip and reduce the trigger reach. As a result, even shooters with smaller hands should be able to shoot the P227. Certainly if you are comfortable shooting a P226, the slight grip size increase of the P227 should not be a problem.
The P227 is a traditional double-action/single-action semi-automatic pistol with a de-cocking lever. The de-cocking lever safely lowers the hammer to return the pistol to double-action mode when desired. The long and heavy initial double-action trigger pull negates the need for a manual safety lever, while still providing a high level of safety against an unintended discharge. Once in single-action mode, however, the trigger has an excellent four-pound pull weight. With a short, light and crisp single action trigger, the P227 is fast and accurate.
External controls include a frame mounted de-cocking lever, a slide catch lever, a magazine release button and a take-down lever. There is no external safety lever, and none is required in this classic design. As you would expect, Sig has declined to incorporate any type of integrated pistol lock into this classic pistol design.
The P227 is available with SIGLITE night sights. I love the sharp sight picture of Sig’s 3-dot night sights, and the tritium glows very brightly. The rear sight has a flat front edge to assist with one-handed slide manipulation, which is a feature I appreciate on a fighting pistol. I wouldn’t personally feel the need to upgrade the sights on this gun. You can get the P227 without night sights and save about $90, but I believe the SIGLITE sights are worth the additional expense if you care about such things.
The factory grips are subtle and understated, with just a small logo at the bottom. The texture is like fine sandpaper—rough, but not overly aggressive. The grips are crafted from a single piece of polymer and snap on the gun without the need for grip screws. Sig includes a plastic tool (with an integrated cleaning rod) to assist in removing the grips.
Disassembly is simple, requiring no tools and no tedious lining up of holes or twisting of barrel bushings. Like all double-action Sigs, you simply lock back the slide on an empty pistol, rotate the take-down lever one-quarter turn, and the slide assembly comes off the frame. After a quick removal of the recoil guide and spring, the barrel lifts out. You simply reverse the process for quick and easy reassembly.
Shooting performance for the P227 was very impressive. I am a fan of Sig’s double-stack pistols, and the slightly thicker grip of the P227 was absolutely no problem for my large hands. The relatively high grip position keeps the gun from twisting in the hand, even under the strong recoil of the .45 ACP cartridge. The ergonomic design of the P227 makes it one of the softest shooting .45 caliber pistols I have ever tested.
The P227 functioned perfectly over the course of several hundred rounds of various types of ammunition, including Federal’s 230 grain round nose target load and Winchester’s PDX-1 bonded hollow-point load. The PDX-1 performed very well, and would be my choice for personal defense ammo in this pistol. I wouldn’t expect any less than exceptional functioning from a double-action Sig pistol. This basic design is time-tested and just works. The P220 is known for extreme reliability, and the P227 should be no different.
Accuracy was very good, and rivals any pistol in its class. Firing the P227 with support at 25 yards produced groups averaging around two inches with premium ammunition. This type of accuracy goes beyond “combat accurate” to just plain “accurate.” Sig has perfected the balance between good mechanical accuracy and reliability—finding the sweet spot for both. If you are a fan of the traditional DA/SA action, and need the extra capacity of a double-stack pistol, you will be hard pressed to find a pistol that performs any better.
The P227 has very similar external dimensions to Sig’s well-established P226, so the P227 will fit in most any holster made for the P226. Given the popularity of the P226, that opens up hundreds of holster options that already exist today. This is a huge advantage over other new pistols on the market.
The Sig P227 comes with all the features described above and two 10-round magazines, all packed in a hard-sided plastic lockable case. The pistol retails for $1,085 with night sights. Of course, there are polymer-framed double-stack .45 ACP pistols on the market for hundreds of dollars less. The P227 is a bit more expensive, but the Sig Sauer commitment to quality is clearly evident in this gun. The initial pain of a high retail price is easily forgotten over decades of reliable service. All P227s are manufactured in the United States, and carry a lifetime warranty.
The P220 has a long history of excellence, and I expect no less from the P227. The P227 takes the P220 to new levels with extra magazine capacity and only a marginal increase in grip size. If you are in the market for a high capacity .45 caliber pistol, it would be hard to do any better than the P227.
The author would like to thank Winchester (www.winchester.com) and Federal (www.federal premium.com) for providing ammunition for testing. All shooting was done at the Southern Exposure training facility in Lakeland, Florida. (www.southernexposuretraining.com).