2nd Amendment to the Constitution of The United States of America

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

"I ask sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people except for a few politicians."
- George Mason (father of the Bill of Rights and The Virginia Declaration of Rights)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Its a SIGebration!

I posted a month or so back about a bad experience I had using Gunlistings.org to try and buy a SIG Sauer P220 pistol. Why the attempt turned out to be the wrong time, the drive to procure such a pistol remained. I already posted about getting the pistol and some of the reasons why I traded in my Taurus PT845. But why a SIG? I don't know really, they just hold some type of sway over me lately. I always really liked the feel of Greg's P220 when he owned it and wanted to have one myself I guess. Maybe it was the "to hell and back" reputation that SIG has built for itself or the way other SIG owners simply foam at the mouth while talking about their pistols that got me going. George "The Mad Ogre" Hill over at www.madogre.com makes no bones about his love of SIG weapons. When I asked his opinion of them he summed it up like a comparison somewhat like cars. A Chevy may get you where you want to go, but wouldn't you rather get their in a BMW. This is more accurate that it might seem as comparatively priced, a SIG is about the same price difference of lets say a Smith & Wesson as a BMW would be to a Chevy. Where I could pick up a S&W M&P .45 for around $500, a SIG P220 .45 will run upwards of $900 new. Any misgivings about price are usually put aside when you hold them and feel the general quality of their manufacture.

My SIG pistols, P239 .40 on the left and P220 .45 on the right.

I am not going to go into too much detail other than just saying SIG Sauer (formerly SIGARMS) is a Swiss/German manufacturer of among other things firearms. They have a US based operation out of Exeter, New Hampshire which overseas US operations and distribution. They are known for producing very high quality, abet pricey, firearms used by law enforcement and government agencies worldwide. As I stated above with the "to hell and back" comment, they are known for their extreme reliability and toughness. The Navy SEALs switched to P226 pistols when the M9's they were issued reportedly suffered catastrophic failures in the field. Those cowboys have faced off enough Injuns to know a thing or two about what is reliable and what works. I take that as a pretty strong endorsement.

An example of the "to hell and back" reliability of SIG pistols (btw even though they don't show the results, in the show the pistol still fired afterwards!)

Two of their trademark features are a rebounding hammer and decocking lever in lieu of a an external safety. The rebounding hammer utilizes as spring to move the hammer away from the firing pin after striking it to a safety notch from which it cannot move forward unless the trigger is fully depressed. The decocking lever does what its name implies and moves the hammer to the same safety notch without having to pull the trigger and manually ride the hammer forward, which can lead to negligent discharges if improperly done. Other things that set SIG pistols apart from the crowd are full length guide rails for the slide that run the length of the frame and exceptional craftsmanship that permeates Swiss and German manufacturing processes. When other companies were trying to rechamber their existing pistol designs for the .40 S&W round in the early 1990s and rush them on the market, SIG took its time and designed an entirely new pistol around the high pressure cartridge and thus was born the P229. Many of the early ones are still shooting today after thousands of rounds having being put down the barrels with little more than routine maintenance and cleaning. You may pay more for a SIG, but the residual value of these pistols far outlast their competition.

SIG P220 (top) and P239 (bottom). Notice the lack of a decocking lever on the P239 as it's a double action only (DAO) model designed for concealed carry and backup duty.

I did not buy new SIGs. The P220 I bought is a SIG CPO (certified pre-owned) pistol that had been factory reconditioned. I swear it is a new pistol and so has everybody who has looked at it. This thing is sweet shooting and "only" cost me $600. SIG takes these pistols, many former police trades, and puts them through a 5 point check to ensure that all parts meet factory spec. Any part found lacking will be replaced before it leaves the factory for its new owner. You get a "like new" pistol in many cases for what amounts to a used gun price. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

The SIG P220 .45 ACP pistol. Notice the decocking lever directly above the magazine release button and the slide lock behind it to the rear of the pistol, this is a classic SIG setup. Many first time shooters find it hard to adjust to this setup as the safety mechanism on most pistols is to the rear and slide latch above the trigger area.

The P220 only holds 7 or 8 rounds in its single stack mags so I was sure to pick up some extra so I have two 7 round mags and three 8 round mags for it. I also found a used Uncle Mike's Kydex paddle holster for it for $10 that works great!

The other SIG I picked up is a used P239 DAO in .40 S&W. It is a smaller pistol than the P220, still uses 7 round single stack mags so it is thinner than a double stack pistol. It is primarily issued as a back up or CCW weapon. It is a double action only (DAO) model which means I don't get a decocking lever with it. I sold my S&W 637 for it (more on that later) so I basically replaced a .38 double action pistol for one in .40 with 3 additional rounds and better accuracy. Compared to the .38, the trigger pull on this gun is about 10 pounds and smooth as butter. I can pull it without moving my sights much, and I am still getting used to it. I will get better with practice. As a CCW piece with no external safety it is just as well anyway. I got it for $400 and have been told that it was a good price for a SIG in its condition so I am happy with it as well (lets face it, SIGs make me happy). Like the P220, the P239 was a former law enforcement weapon, the box had a property tag for "State of Ohio Parks Dept" (whomever that is) and it even had a property receipt where the last owner turned it back in. Unlike the P220 it was not a CPO gun and it shows. It obviously has been "around the block" and has definite signs of wear. I did not notice it in the store but the slide rattles quite a bit without a mag inserted. A bit of googling and I found that this is common with 239s that have a couple of thousand rounds through them. People who have owned the pistol from round 1 to round 5,000 that have reported this say it has no impact on accuracy or reliability so I can live with it, especially as I bought it for a ranger/holster gun to begin with. It is about the same size as my M&P 40c with the exception that the handle is about 1 1/4 inch longer. With the magazine inserted, it fits just about perfect in my hand. I came with three 7 round mags. I have to buy a holster for it, probably a Versaclip from Custom Carry Concepts again once Rich gets off the road with his day job in September.

My SIG P239, formerly property of the State of Ohio. You can see obvious wear marks on the barrel in the ejection port area. Despite the wear, it still shoots as it should.

The P239 (left) and P220 (right) stripped down for comparison. Disassembly entails simply removing the magazine, locking the slide to the rear ensuring the weapon is clear, rotating the take down lever 90 degrees, and easing the slide off of the pistol. Notice that the 220 uses a double wound spring while the 239 has a flat recoil spring.

The P239 barrel (left) next to the barrel from the P220 (right). Other than the obvious size difference, you can notice the visible wear on the P239 barrel that did not go through the CPO inspection in contrast to the barrel from the P220 that did.

Shooting both of these pistols is very enjoyable. SIG quality lives up to its reputation on the firing line. Both shot good groupings although on both the shot placement is different from my point of aim. Both come with a "dot the i" type sight arrangement where you place a white dot on the front post on top of a white bar on the rear site to aim. I am still getting used to it. No biggie, I plan on getting Trijicon night sights on both of them shortly. Still, very, very happy from the first 1oo rounds through both. Recoil is very manageable with both pistols and the grip angle is about right for me.

My first 2 magazines with the P220, the two "flyers" at 7 o'clock are the first double action pulls from each mag. I am still getting used to them.

SIGititus: (def) A condition affecting firearm owners of SIG handguns in which the desire to own additional models and shoot them constantly overwhelms all other desires in the individual (see also Mosinitis).

Yeah, I got the bug now. Not a good prognosis either. I mean hell, I even got a hat! But don't cry for me and my affliction, together - and with the help of a local range - we can find a cure.


Kevin Delaney said...

You do have a sickness.... I'll keep you in my prayers! lol

Jim said...

Nice setup! Looks like you're doing just fine. Is that the 239 I saw you checking out at Vances? BTW, it's Jim, Ronin from WTA, the other guy not from Utah lmao.

Huey148 said...

It is indeed the SIG from Vance's, the 220 I picked up at the Powder Room.

Huey148 said...

By the way, love the "Ronin" handle, and its a sweet movie to boot

Brigid said...

Nice write up!. It must be SIG week as I did one as well on my old standby. I've had it for 5 years and it's the only pistol I've ever had that has not had a misfeed with factory ammo. (it didn't like my lead bullets from the last reloading batch though, but at up the copper ones I did).


dragon9874 said...

NICE! love 'em ...

dragon9874 said...

sweet write-up, love 'em myself...