The SIG P220ST Is Cool; and now I understand the appeal of the 1911


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P. Plainsman
December 20, 2004, 06:22 PM
Just took my new SIG P220ST to the range Friday for its inaugural 100 rounds. Be patient with my newbie enthusing: this is my first centerfire autoloading pistol.

If this session is at all indicative, the SIG will be a sweet gun. There were no jams or functioning problems in the first 100. Shot right to point of aim with both Cor-Bon 185 gr .45ACP +P JHPs and Federal Hydra-Shok 230gr .45 ACP JHPs, which was a little surprising. On the other hand, plain old Winchester White Box 230gr ball was shooting noticeably off; I seem to recall it printed low.

The recoil characteristics of the .45 ACP are nice, especially in a hefty steel gun like the P220ST. Enough kick to let you know something serious is going on, but totally controllable, even with the Cor-Bon +Ps. I found the .45 ACP to be a little milder than my cherished full-sized .357 Mag revolvers.

Only complaint I have is the DA/SA trigger transition. Found it quite difficult to get hits with that first shot, but then could shoot nice groups at 10-15 meters with the rest of the magazine, shooting single action. I can see where Jeff Cooper is coming from when he recommends simply throwing the first shot downrange fast with the "crunchenticker" and then using serious sighted fire for the rest of the magazine. (Then again, DA revolver triggers are also tricky, and I find it totally enjoyable to put in the time necessary to improve my meager skills with them.)

Anyway, I started thinking, "This SIG is great. Yet it would be good to have a design similar to the P220ST -- a full size, comfortable, stainless steel auto pistol with 7-9 rounds of .45 ACP -- that could fire all of the shots single action. Shoot, that would be the perfect service auto!"

And then it hit me. So that's why all you autoloader guys are so obsessive about the 1911 -- and why some months it seems every cover of every gun mag on the stands is devoted to that same, ineluctable design.

OK, so now I have to get a 1911. Handled two stock stainless SW1911s at two different gun stores this weekend. One felt just perfect -- good trigger, good slide feel, nice grip, positive thumb safety -- and the other was somehow off: stiff trigger, checkering bit the hands. Try before you buy, eh?

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cerberus
December 20, 2004, 06:32 PM
I have four 1911s 3 Kimbers 1 WW1 Colt all 45s next is a Sig 220 :)

Dienekes
December 21, 2004, 03:13 AM
A friend of mine (fellow instructor at the time) took a 220 down to Gunsite for the 250 class some years back. Cooper sort of snorted at it, and suggested that he use an alternate method (perhaps the throw-away first shot or manually cocking it--I forget which) to shoot it. My friend demurred as it was his duty gun and he knew that the agency would not allow these techniques on duty. Cooper told him to do it his way so he stayed DA/SA. By the end of the course he had earned an "E" (expert) ticket and Cooper generously admitted that he didn't think it could be done.

I eventually picked up a 220 of my own. All I have managed to accomplish to date is to make it crystal clear that I had better stick with the 1911 if I want to hit anything with the first shot. (Even better, a wheelgun!)

Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't.

aroshi
December 21, 2004, 04:05 AM
I have a Sig 229 in 40S&W, but...

On the other hand, plain old Winchester White Box 230gr ball was shooting noticeably off; I seem to recall it printed low.

I have GREAT shots with anything other than the cheap-o Winchester white box. One thing I have noticed is that the whitebox has had noticably degraded ammo and sometimes it doesn't feed well in to the Sig chamber. Mic'd the chamber on it and compared to that of my friends' Glock, Walther and others it was about .002" smaller. I can say that's probably one reason why it's a more accurate handgun.

Only complaint I have is the DA/SA trigger transition.

I don't like the long, first DA pull, but it is a safety measure. I'd prefer to have a manual safety and an easier pull, but I chose this one. It takes a little getting used to, but if you're target shooting, cock the hammer first. If it's a defensive pistol, as mine is, I figure that I'll be aimed and tense before taking a shot. That long, harder pull keeps me from having accidents due to misfiring.

Either way, those are my thoughts. I hope you enjoy the Sig. I love mine.

bigmike45
December 21, 2004, 12:59 PM
Plainsman,

If you are really wanting a 1911 style .45 you might want to look at the SIG GSR. It is a 1911 style SIG that I have heard mixed comments about. I will say that I have held one and.......man what a sweet gun. It will be my next 1911 purchase. I have two other SIG's and love them both. I also have two 1911's of other manufacture that I also love.
I would really like to shoot one and probably will before buying one. Here is a link to the gun:

http://www.sigarms.com/products/gsr.asp

Walt Sherrill
December 21, 2004, 03:31 PM
The mixed comments on the GSR were when the first came out, and SIG was still debugging them. (Which it has done with great thoroughness.)

I have one of the early ones, bought recently. it is a wonderful gun. Reliable, accurate, and nicely done (as you would expect of a SIG.)

Just wish it didn't have that darned accessory rail. Had to get a special holster for it...

Pointman1776
December 23, 2004, 12:29 PM
My first was a Sig P226ST, then P220ST, then CZ's, Baby Eagles, XD's, etc. etc. etc.

Anything and Everything but a 1911...heck no, wouldn't catch me with one...no sir.

Didn't want to spend big $$$ to get a 1911 and then have to spend even more big $$$ to get a hundred-year-old-designed antique the way I expected it to perform out of the box like my Sigs, CZ's, etc.

Then I shot one. Big mistake. Now I'm hooked for life.

I absolutely love my Sigs, CZ's, etc., but I can do things with my Kimber Team Match II out of the box with only a $50 action polishing job that I can't match with my Sig P226 ST or Sig P220 ST which were both perfectly tuned for me by Langdon.

Before I purchased my first handgun, everyone advised me to get a 1911 because even if I didn't buy one at that time I'd end up there anyway eventually. Darn if they weren't right.

I'll never tire of my Sigs, love them too much, like my BMW's...precision engineered German accu-shots. Just sweet-sweet-sweet shooters, fit me like a glove, do everything perfectly, and greet me like an dear old friend everytime I shoot them. Nothing but good times every time.

But, oh my Kimber TMII...(drool)...like Corvettes...made in USA, power, smokin' performance, indisputable results, value that can't be beat, and grins a mile long, all day long, every time I press the trigger.

I'll still break out my Sig for a competition now and then for fun, but my #1 shooter is my Kimber TM II.

The results don't lie...they speak for themselves.

Enjoy!!

dsk
December 24, 2004, 07:44 PM
P. Plainsman-

Get a Springfield WW2 Mil-Spec. For around $400 you'll have your first 1911 and you'll have a good base gun to create whatever you want.

Greg Bell
December 24, 2004, 07:59 PM
Forget it. Don't give up reliability over a training issue. There is no doubt that it takes more time to learn a DA/SA over a SA or a "safe action." A good shooter can overcome the transition problem with practice. Nothing will make an out of the box 1911 as reliable as a 220. Hell, even the top 1911 makers suggest specific rounds. Clint Smith, 1911 guru and training expert says you should only shoot ball!! Give me a break. :barf:

If you are dead set on getting another gun you should probably look into a USP Expert or Glock .45 and put a comp trigger in it. Both of them will solve the training issue and be reliable out of the box.

Of course, SIG is now delivering guns in single action--but only in 40/9 right now. Soon the 220 will get the treatment and the 1911 will have nothing but nostalgia to recommend it.

crucible
December 24, 2004, 09:35 PM
Soon the 220 will get the treatment and the 1911 will have nothing but nostalgia to recommend it.

There's close to a hundred years worth of weapons following the 1911 that no doubt detractors like yourself said the same thing about. Keep dreaming.

(Psst. wanna bet what model still being made at the end of our lifetimes?)

The fact that even you state the P220, a fine weapon btw, is to be made more like the 1911 speaks volumes.

Cruc

Steelharp
December 24, 2004, 09:45 PM
... the 1911 will have nothing but nostalgia to recommend it.

What exactly was the latest "great 1911 killer?"

What a maroon... :p

Greg Bell
December 24, 2004, 10:09 PM
The fact that even you state the P220, a fine weapon btw, is to be made more like the 1911 speaks volumes.


I did not say that the 1911 had nothing going for it. I said that it is an unreliable POS (in general). I like the C&L feature, but I am not at all sure that the 1911 introduced this feature :neener: .

In fact, one might say that an entire industry has sprung up to make the 1911 more like the 220--reliable that is. :evil:

The Glock Safe action is not more common because it is better than the Single Action, it is more common because it is easier to train clods with. The same might be said for the DA/SA versus the SA system. It is easier to learn to shoot a SA accurately than a DA/SA. However, as recent competition results have shown, an expert shooter can shoot either well. However, much like the automatic transmission, the market sinks to the LCD.

All I am saying is this, the 1911 is a piece of crap. Why is this controversial?

Steelharp
December 24, 2004, 11:39 PM
All I am saying is this, the 1911 is a piece of crap.

Blasphemy! (Visual of me tearing my robe open) :D

Yeah, a lot of shooters feel like this. To each their own, I say. I won't chastise you vehemently, as others might. I have never had a single reliability issue with any of my box stock Colts, ever, with anything. I will ask this, though. What other piece of machinery has been around since 1911, and remained in basically an unchanged state? Sure, there have been mods and improvements, but how many things, with blueprints from a century ago, are still as usuable and popular?

BTW... the correct pronunciation of SIG (in Switzerland, the homeland) is NOT as the first syllable of cigar; it is pronounced as three syllables, one for each letter: ES-EE-GAY.

Greg Bell
December 25, 2004, 02:22 AM
BTW... the correct pronunciation of SIG (in Switzerland, the homeland) is NOT as the first syllable of cigar; it is pronounced as three syllables, one for each letter: ES-EE-GAY.

:D :D :uhoh:

:D

dsk
December 25, 2004, 04:20 AM
I did not say that the 1911 had nothing going for it. I said that it is an unreliable POS (in general).

If it's so unreliable then why did it remain the official US service pistol for over 74 years?

There are 1911's, and then there are wannabes. Don't confuse REAL 1911's with the cheap garbage like MIMber and Para Ordinance.

Greg Bell
December 25, 2004, 04:57 AM
MIMber

I almost spewed my hot chocolate on that one.



If it's so unreliable then why did it remain the official US service pistol for over 74 years?



Alas, no more. The hand-axe was surely man's best weapon for thousands of years...but we have moved on.

chickenfried
December 25, 2004, 05:53 AM
DA/SA :barf:

mmike87
December 25, 2004, 12:25 PM
Practice the double action shot. There is NO reason - NONE - to simply throw the shot away. I have only been practicing the DA first shot extensivley for the last month or so and I have already gotten to be pretty decent - decent enough to where it's not a throw away shot.

The smooth trigger in the SIG makes a good DA shot possible, with practice. Even with a 1911, you have to practice thumbing off the safety after drawing the gun, which I found to about equal in terms of difficulty with the DA first shot of the SIG, as silly as that sounds. Remembering to flip that safety off still requires practice!

Check out this link:

http://www.craigcentral.com/fearnot.htm

A good article by Ernest Langdon on the DA first shot.

45R
December 25, 2004, 12:43 PM
I agree with MMike87. Why carelessly throw a round down range........with practice one can easily smack a man size target at 25 yards.

Andrew Wyatt
December 25, 2004, 02:00 PM
You'll notice that only one manufacturer makes the sig 220.

if i started up six companies that made unreliable sig 220s the 220 would have a bad reputation, too.

boogalou
December 26, 2004, 02:41 AM
There is no doubt that it takes more time to learn a DA/SA over a SA or a "safe action."

Yeah, thats what we need, a pistol design that makes it harder to shoot well! :what:

Nothing will make an out of the box 1911 as reliable as a 220.

I guess you could generally say that nothing will make an out of the box 220 as accurate as a 1911 either. But then again, maybe both statements need to be a bit more specific. :rolleyes:

rick newland
December 26, 2004, 09:56 AM
I love Colts, have seven of them. The company I work for won't let me carry a Colt so I carry the Sig 220st. Their course of fire was mostly draw and shoot two shots in two seconds. The targets were set at 3, 7 and ten meters. The whole qualifaction course I shot the first round double then the single action second shot. I shot a 300X300 score. I have no complaints. With the 220 most of my time on the range is shooting it in the da mode, in real life that is how I'm going to have to use it.

nick89302
December 26, 2004, 02:11 PM
Es-Ee-Gay only applies where they speak German. :neener:

I have five SIGs, all classic P-series guns with standard DA/SA triggers. I have no problems with the transition. Most people make the mistake of pulling the trigger on their DA first shot too slowly and trying to "time" where the trigger breaks with when they have their sights on target. It's just a trigger people, just pull it! Quickly, smoothly. Remember: front sight, press. It's that simple. If you want to get good, go to the range sometime and shoot every round DA. All it will take is one or two trips. I usually break in my new SIGs by just shooting them DA with SA just a few times to check for function.

dsk
December 26, 2004, 02:41 PM
Alas, no more. The hand-axe was surely man's best weapon for thousands of years...but we have moved on.

Certainly we replaced the M14 because it was equally obsolete? The government has "moved on" to lighter, cheaper weapons, ones that the average recruit or draftee can handle with minimal training. The 1911 was designed to kill enemy soldiers, not be resistant to some bored doofus in a squad tent wanting to practice quick draws on his buddies. The guys who are currently out there actually shooting at live people have been grabbing up all the remaining M14 rifles and 1911 pistols they can get their hands on.

I'm certainly not saying the 1911 is the ultimate handgun, because it isn't. Give me a reliable alternative like an HK USP or any SIG and I'll gladly take it. But to call the 1911 obsolete speaks of ignorance. And again, I'm talking about REAL 1911's, not the poorly-made copies being sold today that simply look like them.

P. Plainsman
December 26, 2004, 09:42 PM
Second range trip with the P220ST.

Focused more on the DA trigger this time. I could get 7- and 8-ring hits at 15 yards with slow, deliberate, sighted pulls. Treated it like my GP100...

Flash sight-picture DA presentation drills ("first shot!") made it harder to get hits, but that's true (for me) with a good revolver as well. More practice, as always, is indicated.

The SA part of each magazine again showed excellent accuracy potential. I stick with my initial impression: this gun is regulated to shoot stout defensive loads. Again, a box of Cor-Bon 185gr +P hollowpoints shot right to aim, provoking a grin. A box of Federal American Eagle 230 ball ammo shot low -- better than the Winchester White Box ball from my last outing, but still low.

One malfunction of sorts. With the slide locked back after shooting dry, I ejected the mag, inserted a fresh one (hollowpoints), and tried to use the slide release to chamber the first round. Gun locked up tight, with the hollowpoint lodged well south of the feed ramp. Took a few minutes of slide manipulation to get the magazine to drop and clear the jam.

While this was a severe, incapacitating jam (and did prompt a few uncharitable mental comparisons with the Colt Python sitting handy on my bench), I am reluctant to count it against the SIG. It is relatively hard to think of a good reason to chamber the first round the way I did, short of a disabling wound to one hand -- which nevertheless would still have to permit one to recover a spare mag and seat it, in order for the procedure I used to become relevant.

More experienced and trained THR members (that's most of you) will have to weigh in on the significance of this jam.

Otherwise the gun was 100% again.

Lastly, while ich kann deutsch as well as the next 'merican who took a few years in college, I don't propose to start referring to my gun an "ess-ee-gay." ;) ("A what"?)

Have been known to refer to a friend's VW as a "fau vay" from time to time.

dsk
December 27, 2004, 03:38 AM
It shouldn't have jammed like that. While most folks will recommend pulling the slide back to chamber a round, you should still be able to chamber using the slide stop in an emergency. Was the ammunition reloaded? .45ACP brass that's been reloaded too many times can actually end up with a slightly oversized rim. The result is a slight case of rimlock and a tendency of the round to nosedive during feeding.

P. Plainsman
December 27, 2004, 11:43 AM
No, it was factory ammo -- those Cor-Bon 185gr JHPs. I had previously chambered the first rounds in that magazine a few times (practice); otherwise they were new.

As many have noted, the P220ST has a rather stiff slide spring. On one hand, you would think that the strong spring and heavy slide would push forward with enough force to coax any recalcitrant round into the chamber. On the other hand, if the slide pushes forward too hard and fast, it might crash the round into the inside wall of the gun prematurely, before it has time to raise up out of the magazine and come up to the sloped feed ramp. It looked like that's what happened to my gun.

Sheer amateur speculation.

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