SIG Sauer P220

SIG Sauer P220

SIG P220
Original production SIG P220, features a "heel-mounted" magazine release. Two views of the same Morges castle museum.
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin West Germany
Service history
In service 1975–Present
Used by See Users
Production history
Manufacturer SIG Sauer
Variants See Variants
  • 800 g (28.22 oz)
  • 1130 g (39.86 oz) stainless steel
Length 198 mm (7.79 in)
Barrel length 112 mm (4.4 in)

Action Recoil
Feed system 6-round (compact "CCW" models), 7-round (flush to grip), 8-round (current extended basepad for full size P220 models), or 10-round (extended with sleeve) detachable box magazine (in .45 ACP); 9-round magazine in other calibers with the exception of .22lr conversions utilizing a 10-round magazine.
Detail of the controls and parts on a P226, which are identical to most variants of the P220: 1. Ejection port/locking lug, 2. Rear sights, 3. Hammer, 4. Takedown lever, 5. Decocker, 6. Slide stop, 7. Trigger, 8. Magazine release (on some P220s this is located at the bottom of the grip).

The SIG Sauer P220 is a semi-automatic pistol made by SIG Sauer. Designed in Switzerland by what was then SIG Arms AG, it is manufactured in Eckernförde, Germany, by subsidiary J.P. Sauer und Sohn GmbH. It uses the Browning linkless cam short recoil action of self-loading with a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger mechanism. The P220 was the basis of what is now a large family, including the P225, P226, P228 and P229 pistols, which are in service in the armed forces and police of many countries.


  • History 1
  • Design 2
  • Variants 3
    • P220 Rail 3.1
    • P220 Carry 3.2
    • P220 Compact 3.3
    • P220 Combat 3.4
    • P220 ST 3.5
    • P220 Classic 22 3.6
    • P225/P6 3.7
    • P245 3.8
  • Users 4
  • Images 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


The SIG P220 was developed for the Swiss Army as a replacement for the SIG P210, which had been developed during World War II; in service it is known as "Pistole 75" (P75). For development of the P220, SIG collaborated with J.P. Sauer & Sohn of Germany, thus, the P220 and all subsequent pistols from SIG are properly known as SIG Sauer pistols.

In 1975, Switzerland became the first nation to officially adopt the P220 as the "Pistole 75" (P75) chambered in 9 mm Parabellum. Other nations to adopt it for military use include Japan and Denmark though only to special forces. It was succeeded by the SIG Sauer P226.

Upon completion of their military service, commissioned officers of the Swiss armed forces can obtain ownership of their P220 service pistols by paying an administrative fee of thirty Swiss francs.[1]


The P220 operates by the locked breech short-recoil method pioneered by Sauer 38H before World War I. After chambering a round, the hammer will be cocked, so for safe carriage the hammer drop is actuated with the thumb, dropping the hammer in a safe manner. The P220 also introduced a firing pin block safety which is activated by the trigger mechanism—similar to the one used in the Colt M1911's Series 80 pistols. The pistol may now be holstered, and can be fired without actuating any other controls. The first shot will be fired in double-action mode, unless the user chooses to manually cock the hammer. Double-action trigger pressure is measured at approximately 12–14 pounds, with subsequent shots being fired in single-action mode with a lighter trigger pressure of approximately 6 pounds. There is no separate safety lever to manipulate; the hammer drop is the only manual safety device. As with other double-action pistols such as the Walther P38 and Beretta 92F, some training is required to minimize the difference caused by the different trigger pressure between the first double-action shot and subsequent single-action shots when the hammer is cocked by the rearward movement of the slide.


The original SIG P220 had a 'heel-mounted' magazine release located behind the magazine well, but a design revision on newer SIG P220s moved the magazine release to the left-side of the grip, behind the trigger. The P220 was then later modified again with a redesigned slide, grips, and other minor changes to the frame. Even more recent was the addition of a Picatinny rail to the dustcover as standard. The major difference in slide design, between the older model SIG pistols and the current production, is that the older model slides were stamped whereas the current production models are milled on a CNC machine. The stamped models have an end piece at the muzzle end which is welded in place, to complete the slide. Additionally, the older stamped slides feature a removable breech block. This breech block is pinned to the slide with two hollow roll pins, one pressed inside the other, with their split ends opposed. The newer milled slides are a one-piece unit and do not have a removable breech block.

The SIG P220 also comes in P220R and P220ST versions. The base and R models have an aluminium 9 mm, .38 Super (a rare model), and .45 ACP. However, all modern P220 variants are only available in .45 ACP or, as of January 2015, 10mm Auto.[2] Until recently, all SIG P220s were DA/SA and featured a de-cocking lever (and no external safety) just forward of the slide catch.

This has changed with the introduction of DA only, DAK, and SA only models. The DA only and DAK models do not have a de-cocking lever or safety, and the SA only models only feature an M1911 style external safety. SIG has also introduced the SAS (SIG Anti-Snag) model—which is dehorned, has no accessory rail, and is designed for concealed carry—and the Elite model, which includes the new short-reset trigger, a beavertail grip, front strap grip checkering, and front slide cocking serrations.

P220 Rail

The P220 Rail (or P220R) is effectively the same as the P220, but comes with an equipment rail located on the forward end of the frame of the firearm for accepting accessories such as a weapon light or laser sight. While the provided rail is similar to the Mil-STD-1913 Picatinny rail design, as implemented by SIG for this gun it has a proprietary cross-section form that conflicts with some early design Picatinny-compatible equipment. The P220R with its rail has become the standard configuration of the majority of recent and current production P220s.[3]

P220 Carry

A new P220 with a shortened barrel (3.9") and slide, but a full-sized frame. It is available in double-action/single-action (DA/SA), single-action only (SAO), and DAK double-action variant. All models with the exception of the SAS concealed-carry version come with an accessory rail.

P220 Compact

A new P220 variant recently released. It comes in four versions: Blued with beavertail, stainless (two-tone) with beavertail, blued with rail (no beavertail) and stainless with rail (no beavertail). It features a shortened slide, and a compact frame and has a capacity of 6+1. It is possible to use the 8-round magazines of the P220 Carry which will give it an 8+1 capacity. Adapters are available to cover the portion of the magazine which protrudes from the bottom of the grip.[4] It is essentially a replacement for the discontinued P245, and is meant to address complaints about the P220 Carry's full-size frame in a concealed carry pistol.

P220 Combat

The two "Combat" models, the P220 Combat and P220 Combat TB (Threaded Barrel), are available in DA/SA only. Their frames are colored "Flat Dark Earth" in compliance with the Combat Pistol program. The Combat model comes with night sights, a Nitron-finished slide and barrel, phosphated internals, and a Picatinny rail. The TB model features an extra 0.6" on the barrel, and external threads to accept a suppressor. The P220 Combat is chambered only in .45 ACP, and is supplied with one 8-round magazine and one extended 10-round magazine.[5][6]

P220 ST

A version of the SIG P220 handgun made by SIG Sauer with a reversible magazine release, stainless steel slide, and stainless steel frame. Changing to a stainless steel frame from the lighter alloy frame normally used is meant to reduce felt recoil. The ST models are typically bare stainless (all "silver"), though SIG Sauer has produced Nitron finished (all "black") ST versions for police department trial and evaluation (T&E) guns.

P220 Classic 22

This model's primary purpose is as a practice or range pistol. The Classic 22 model replaces the typical stainless steel centerfire slide assembly with a lighter aluminum rimfire slide chambered in .22 LR. The Classic 22 also has a different barrel, guide rod, and recoil spring than the larger caliber models. It incorporates the same Receiver (firearms) and operation as centerfire P220 models. The Classic 22 model is available as a stand-alone firearm or as a conversion kit to an existing centerfire P220. Likewise, conversion kits (the Sig Sauer X-Change Kits) exist to convert a .22 LR P220 into .45 ACP.[7] The conversion can be accomplished by field stripping the firearm and replacing the slide assembly and magazine—a process that can be accomplished in minutes.

The Classic 22 use a 10-round polymer magazine in lieu of the steel magazines used by the centerfire models and conversion kits.

The P220 Classic 22 should not be confused with the Sig Sauer Mosquito .22 LR pistol. The Classic 22 is a full-sized P220 while the Mosquito is modeled on the P226 but is 90% of the size.[8] Another difference is that the Classic 22 is manufactured by SIG Sauer while the Mosquito is made under license by German Sport Guns GmbH. The size difference means that the Mosquito cannot be converted "up", and full-size SIG Sauer pistols cannot use the Mosquito's slide assembly.


SIG Sauer P225
SIG Sauer P225 Pistol
Type Semi-automatic pistol
Place of origin Germany
Service history
Used by See Users
Production history
Designed 1970s
Manufacturer Swiss Arms AG (formerly SIG Arms AG
Unit cost 3625€[9] (note that this is for a special edition pistol, since the normal P225 has been largely discontinued; a used P6 can be found for about $400 in the U.S.[10])
Variants P6 (West German police variant)
Weight 740 g (26.1 oz)[11][12]
Length 180 mm (7.1 in)[11][12]
Barrel length 98 mm (3.9 in)[11][12]
Width 1.3 in[11]
Height 5.2 in[11]

Cartridge 9×19mm Parabellum
Caliber 9mm
Action Mechanically locked, recoil-operated (DA/SA or DAO)
Feed system 8-round magazine
Sights Bar-Dot configuration

The SIG P225 is a more compact version of the SIG P220. The Swiss Army was looking for a new pistol and the SIG P210 was too costly to manufacture. The Swiss Army wanted a cheaper semi-automatic handgun, that would still provide excellent functionality and a double-action trigger. SIG, in cooperation with a German arms company, J.P. Sauer & Sohn, developed a new pistol, the Pist 75 (as it was known in the Swiss Army service). The 9mm SIG-Sauer P220, debuted with various new and inventive features. It utilized a single column magazine holding eight 9 mm rounds and had a 3.9 in. barrel.

A new German police standard, in the mid-1970s, prompted SIG-Sauer, Heckler & Koch, and Walther to develop new pistols that met the standard: the Walther P5, the SIG-Sauer P225 (known as the P6) and the Heckler & Koch P7. (In addition, Mauser had a design that never went into full production.) Each German state was free to buy whichever pistol it wanted to. Initially, the P220 was submitted; the P225/P6 was created to conform with the mid-1970s West German police requirements for its standard service pistol. The SIG-Sauer P225 was the least expensive (due mainly to the inventive design) and received the majority of the orders. To be able to manufacture that many handguns, SIG acquired a controlling interest in J. P. Sauer & Sohn in Eckenförde, Germany to manufacture parts for the P220. This is also where all P225s were manufactured. The only difference between the P6 and P225—the P225 (which was adopted by US civilian law enforcement) has a lighter trigger pull, whereas the P6's trigger pull is heavier. The P225 has tritium fixed sights; P6s had fixed sights only. Genuine P225s manufactured for the West German Police will have a "P6" stamp on the right side of the slide. A new police standard was adopted in Germany in 1995, and the P225 is in the process of being replaced. German police pistols can be identified by the hammer, which has small "ear" or "hook". According to section 7.7 of the German manual, the cutout is the Deformationssporn, which means “deformation spur”. This was a requirement of the West German Police for all their P6 pistols, to alert police armorers if the pistol was dropped on its hammer. Many of these surplus German police pistols have been imported into the U.S. recently. Because of its compact size, the P225/P6 is quite readily usable for concealed carry. In U.S. states where standard capacity magazines were prohibited, the P6/P225 was usually in high demand.


The SIG P245 variant is chambered only in .45 ACP (hence the name) and was developed primarily for the US market as a civilian's concealed sidearm, or as a police backup weapon. The SIG P245 has a reversible magazine release giving the user the choice of operating it with their left or right thumb. It normally takes 6-round magazines, but can also accept the 7-, 8-, or 10-round magazines designed for the P220. A grip extender is available for use with these longer magazines. One of the major differences in construction between the P245 and the P220 Compact is that the P245 was only built using the older stamped steel slide design with a removable breech block.

The P245 is no longer manufactured by SIG, having been replaced by the P220 Carry and, more recently, the P220 Compact.


  •   Switzerland: Standard service handgun of the Swiss Army, designated Pistole 75.[17] The P225 is also used by various police forces.[18]
  •  United States: The P220, among other pistols, is used by the Park Rangers of the National Park Service and some local police departments, such as the Irvine Police Department.[19] The P225 is used by various police departments.[18]
  •  Uruguay[20]
  •  United Kingdom: P226 SIG Pistol (L105A1, L105A2 and L106A1) Variants of the P226 SIG Sauer pistol have been procured as a replacement for the Browning pistol in some units and as a Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for use in Afghanistan. The L105A1 is the original P226, the L105A2 is the railed version and the L106A1 has an improved protective finish.
  •   Vatican City: P75 (P220) is used by the Swiss Guard.[21]
  •  West Germany: P225 variant was used by the West German police as the P6.[15]



  1. ^ Stefan von Below (19 October 2007). "Ein Gewehr kostet 60 Franken und fünf Kreuze".  
  2. ^ "New From SIG SAUER: Four New P220 10mm Pistols". Retrieved 2015-08-24. 
  3. ^ "'"P220 page from ' Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  4. ^ "XGRIP : Sub-Compact Handgun Magazine Adapters : Product List". Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  5. ^ "'"P220 Combat page from ' Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  6. ^ "'"P220 Combat TB page from ' Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  7. ^ "Product page for the P220 Classic 22". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  8. ^ "Mosquito product page". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  9. ^ Price list 2009, page 107 (PDF)
  10. ^ "J&G Sales". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  11. ^ a b c d e "Remtek Arms site". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  12. ^ a b c "Modern Firearms article on the P225". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  13. ^ "Canadian Forces Military Police Branch Weapons". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  14. ^ Jones, Richard (2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009–2010. Jane's Information Group. p. 896.  
  15. ^ a b Miller, David (2001). The Illustrated Directory of 20th Century Guns. Salamander Books Ltd. ISBN 1-84065-245-4.
  16. ^  
  17. ^ [4]
  18. ^ a b "Modern Firearms – SIG-Sauer P225". Retrieved 2012-03-03. 
  19. ^ "National Park Service Firearms Announcement". Retrieved 2012-12-04. 
  20. ^ Gander, Terry J.; Hogg, Ian V. Jane's Infantry Weapons 1995/1996. Jane's Information Group; 21 edition (May 1995). ISBN 978-0-7106-1241-0.
  21. ^ Moore, Malcolm (11 June 2008). "Pope Benedict XVI sets up anti-terrorist squad". The Daily Telegraph (London). 

External links