SIG SAUER’S Classic P225 Re-Born

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No mistaking the family markings here. A classic SIG is reborn.

No mistaking the family markings here. A classic SIG is reborn.

“Everything old is new again”, says the song. Well, I don’t know about everything – but one very nice old thing is indeed new again. The Sig Sauer P225 has been reborn as the P225-A1 and it’s rolling out the door to dealers now.

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=p225

Read more at SIG: http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p225-a1.aspx

The higher bore axis of a SIG might increase muzzle lift a bit, but the P225-A1 manages it well with a stiff flat wire recoil spring, and fantastic ergonomics.

The higher bore axis of a SIG might increase muzzle lift a bit, but the P225-A1 manages it well with a stiff flat wire recoil spring, and fantastic ergonomics.

The people at Sig Sauer have been very busy lately. Seems not a week goes by that there is not an announcement of a new product being rolled out of Exeter, New Hampshire. One that nearly went by without fanfare was the re-issue of the P225, re-born and issued as the P225-A1. There will be a lot of questions about how this pistol fits into today’s single-stack 9mm handgun market. I’ll say this up front – this little gun is pure SIG, and I think there is always room in every market for high quality even if it doesn’t conform to the trend of the day. And the trend today is smaller, lighter, cheaper, and higher capacity. The P225-A1 isn’t going on the top of anyone’s list with respect to those criteria. It’s a single-stack 9mm that holds 8 rounds in the magazine (of which two are supplied with the pistol). Its length is respectable, but its width and height are noticeably excessive by today’s standards. It has the thickness of a double-stack sub-compact without the capacity, and it has the height of a full sized duty gun. But at least it’s heavy…

P225 21The “Why”

So, what does the Sig P225-A1 bring to the table? Plenty. For starters, just pick one up and hold it. The ergonomics, balance, and feel of quality may overwhelm you. It’s a traditional alloy frame, stainless steel (Nitron coated) slide, DA/SA SIG Sauer. Add to that it is a single-stack, which thins the grip nicely. The G10 checkered grips are shaped perfectly for my medium sized hands and the traction is superb. Add the 25 LPI checkering on the front strap and the deeply undercut trigger guard and traditional SIG beavertail and you have a handgun that is a comfortable natural pointer. Fit and finish are superb – even by SIG Sauer standards. And what about that other trend I mentioned – cheaper? If you are comparing the P225-A1 price with most other single-stack 9mm’s on the market, you may experience some sticker shock. MSRP with standard 3-dot sights is $1,122.

P225 22Add the SIGLITE® Tritium® night sights and you’re at $1,236. Wait for the dealer stock to start arriving, and those prices should soften some at street level. But clearly SIG Sauer doesn’t intend this gun to compete with tiny poly-framed pistols (they have the P320 for that). Maybe that’s because when the P225 was first introduced in the mid 1970’s those other pistols didn’t even exist in the imagination. The P225 was created as a miniature P220 in response to demand from military and law enforcement, primarily in Europe. For many years the West German manufactured P225 (and P6) were standard issue. Manufacturing ceased around the turn of the century.

According to SIG Sauer, “the P225-A1 combines the elements of the company’s history with the cutting-edge manufacturing of modern day SIG”. Replacing stamping with modern CNC milling capabilities and computer guided manufacturing tolerances; this really is the re-birth of a classic – not just a re-issue. Bigger, heavier, more expensive than most sub-compact 9mm’s with less capacity? Then who is the target market? Well, last I checked no one was buying a Ferrari for its gas mileage. Quality, reliability, and performance are, for many, worth a premium.

Fit and finish are top quality on the P225-A1. The inlaid medallion in the G10 grips is a nice touch.

Fit and finish are top quality on the P225-A1. The inlaid medallion in the G10 grips is a nice touch.

Whether they are SIGLITE night sights (shown) or regular contrast sights, the SIG sight picture is good and the hardware is all steel.

Whether they are SIGLITE night sights (shown) or regular contrast sights, the SIG sight picture is good and the hardware is all steel.

The “How”

How does it perform? I set out to the range several times with this pistol and that question in mind. For starters, I didn’t need any new gear. My SIG Sauer branded Serpa holster for the P220/P226/P227 did just fine. The P225 fits in it and even engages the retention catch. For a mag carrier, a single-stack pouch (i.e. 1911 or P220) works. I proceeded to feed all manner of 9mm ammo to this little gun, from high end defensive rounds to bargain bin bulk buys and steel cased. For good measure, I threw in some of my own hand-loads that I shoot competitions with. Malfunctions? This little Siggy had none. Hundreds of rounds downrange and the biggest problem I had was keeping the magazines full.

The P225-A1 fits nicely into my SIG SAUER holster for P220/P226.

The P225-A1 fits nicely into my SIG SAUER holster for P220/P226.

Concealed carry? It ‘just’ fits into this N82 compact IWB holster.

Concealed carry? It ‘just’ fits into this N82 compact IWB holster.

As mentioned, this is a traditional DA/SA pistol with decocking lever. It truly is just a smaller version of the P220 in most every way. Unlike the very heavy double-action pull of the original P225 (at over 12 lbs. usually), the new version offers a silky smooth first pull rated at 10 lbs. My trigger gauge verified that is just about dead on at ten. The single-action pull is spec’d at 4.4 lbs. and I measured it at closer to 5 lbs. on average. All copies of the P225-A1 come with the SRT (short reset trigger) enhanced action. Not everyone is a fan – but I am.

High quality magazines functioned flawlessly. Two are provided with the gun.

High quality magazines functioned flawlessly. Two are provided with the gun.

With a reset of around 1/16” and no creep at all, this gun puts double and triple taps on target easily. At the widest point (de-cocking lever) my caliper confirms this gun is 1.260” thick. The slide itself is just about an even inch. Magazine ejection is powerful, owing to a healthy magazine spring and strong follower. The mags included with my copy of the P225-A1 are Mec Gar all steel construction.

The finish is dull and flat, except for the follower – also steel – that is smoother. Loading the eighth round is not a problem. An unexpected bonus is a generous magwell that is carved out between the G10 grips. It appears that the mainspring needed more length than the magazine did, and that space was used to bevel out a nice feeding channel. Speed loads are pretty easy, even with the straight magazines. The magazine base plate is polymer and latches into place just about flush with the butt of the gun, making for a clean look and a snag free bottom edge. Finishing that out, the entire gun is rounded, or “dehorned”, to prevent snags. Even the ejection port top openings are nicely sloped fore and aft.

Depending upon holster configuration, this is a very viable carry gun. I have a N82 IWB original compact holster that accommodates the P225 just about perfectly. The concealed carry challenge with this pistol will be that tall handle wanting to print. An FBI forward tilt of 15 degrees will help with that. For those who do opt to carry the P225-A1 as their EDC solution, it is a highly reliable handgun with a strong double-action first trigger pull and no external safety to manipulate. There is also no magazine disconnect safety. Many men and women in uniform carry a SIG P2xx as a duty weapon, and for them a smaller thinner version with an identical manual of arms can make an attractive backup or off duty choice.

Carrying a reload is a viable option with the thin single-stack. Thin enough that you can realistically carry a reload.

Carrying a reload is a viable option with the thin single-stack. Thin enough that you can realistically carry a reload.

Feeding a fresh magazine into the magwell is fast and easy.

Feeding a fresh magazine into the magwell is fast and easy.

Accuracy

Shooting a pistol with less than 4” of barrel (3.6” in the P225-A1) at 20 yards rested and getting consistent groups of around 2” or less with five shots tells me that the P225-A1 has also inherited good accuracy from the family tree. For the test, I selected four different ammunition types/brands. Two are the “family label” in both ball ammo and wide mouth hollow point. Both are branded “SIG Sauer Elite Performance”. The hollow point also bears the V-Crown TM insignia which is the duty/defense round. Also in the mix were Speer Law Enforcement Gold Dot and PMC Bronze FMJ. This evened things out to 2 tests with FMJ and 2 with defense JHP loads.

P225 19

For those who look down their noses at “bargain” priced ammunition, you might be interested to learn that the PMC Bronze produced the best group of the bunch. The Gold Dot had the widest spread, but still less than 3”. Both SIG loads held consistently on just each side of the 2” mark, and I continue to be amazed by the semi-wad cutter type holes punched by the V-Crown ammo. The P225-A1 clearly likes a six O’clock hold – and it’s very accurate. My off-hand shooting produced the same conclusion and continuously ate small ragged holes in the center of my targets at 7-10 yards.

P225 13
P225 14

P225 15
P225 16

Ergonomics

As already mentioned, this pistol is an ergonomic dream – at least for this shooter. The 9mm cartridge allows for a shallower grip (back to front) which allows for a shorter trigger reach. Add to that the pronounced undercut at the base of the trigger guard, and you have a very comfortable grip and good trigger control. The G10 grips provide superior hold even when wet. In its tradition, SIG has left the bore axis high on the P225-A1. This does increase muzzle rise a bit compared to some other designs, but the flat-wire recoil spring helps to minimize that, as does the SIG grip angle. If you’re a fan of gripping with the support hand index finger at the front of the trigger guard you may be disappointed that the guard has been angled to semi-square and left smooth. Standard controls include the aforementioned de-cocking lever, slide stop/release, mag release, and takedown lever. All are located on the left side of the pistol, and only the mag release can be reversed. The controls are intuitively located for Sig users, and have been held close to the frame to minimize thickness and snags. The magazine release button is, like most Sigs I’ve ever operated – excellent. I can depress it without a grip change, and it engages smoothly without any resistance.

The trigger guard is semi-square. Not as squared off as the original, and no serrations for a finger hold.

The trigger guard is semi-square. Not as squared off as the original, and no serrations for a finger hold.

The P225-A1 is one of the most comfortable handguns I’ve ever shot, but if you’re a thumbs forward shooter like me you’ll need to decide where to put that forward thumb. The takedown lever is a tempting rest but I always fear I’ll ride the slide, so I tend to tuck my thumb just below.

Conclusion

The SIG Sauer P225-A1 as a rebirth of living heritage is spot on. If you’re willing to spend a grand for a single-stack 9mm that might be too big to carry concealed comfortably, then look no further. Lest that sound negative, I gladly stand in that category. Some guys I know are into fine watches and will spend insane money on them, whereas I’m more a Timex guy. So if you can’t justify spending 2x the price of other single-stack 9’s, that is understandable too. But given the quality and performance of the P225-A1, I would go so far as to call it “well priced”, considering the realistic street values. Is the P225-A1 filling some void in the market, or giving SIG a competitive product where they had none? I don’t think so. I think the P225-A1 is being resurrected because it can be – and because enough people will want one to make it worth doing. Seems like reason enough to me.

Buy one on GunsAmerica: https://www.gunsamerica.com/Search.aspx?T=p225

Read more at SIG: http://www.sigsauer.com/CatalogProductDetails/p225-a1.aspx

Field strip is simple and typical SIG Sauer. The only notable detail is the use of a flat wire recoil spring, instead of the traditional twisted-pair round wire type.

Field strip is simple and typical SIG Sauer. The only notable detail is the use of a flat wire recoil spring, instead of the traditional twisted-pair round wire type.

A serious single stack.

A serious single stack.

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • Brock January 7, 2017, 7:54 pm

    The Sig Sauer P 225 is one of the most impressive handguns on the market. Quality, conceal-ability, and extreme shoot ability make the Sig Sauer a preferred handgun for executives, security officials, police officers, court officials, and anyone who appreciates the finer things in in life.

  • DMD May 17, 2016, 3:50 am

    Is new 225 A-1 avail in 2-tone and wood grips? Or only in 2-tone with blk grips or all black with wood grips? Pls advise. DMD

  • ron roth January 21, 2016, 5:31 pm

    I was just wondering if the new magazines with this gun will function with the original P-225 pistols ?

  • Jeff Wise December 17, 2015, 9:20 pm

    One basic question: How does this pistol differ from the tried & true P239? It looks basically the same, has the same 8-round magazine capacity (in 9mm), has the same barrel length (3.6 inches). So what’s the difference and why does the new P225-A1 cost so much more than the P239? Just asking because I’ve owned two P239s (a 9mm and a 40 cal) and both were outstanding pistols. Thanks.

    • Justin Opinion December 18, 2015, 12:07 pm

      Jeff – I don’t think it differs much at all from the P239, aside from some cosmetic and ergonomic differences. The P239 was more purpose built for concealed carry as a backup gun, so it has softer lines and rounder edges. Comes down to personal preferences really. Faced with such conundrums, I usually wind up with both. 🙂

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