Who developed the Sig-Sauer P220 family?


4v50 Gary
June 26, 2003, 05:45 PM
Guys, I have one fellow who says he came up with the concepts that were utilized in the Sig. He combined the features of different guns and showed them to a Sig rep. He makes a very convincing argument but I need more info.

Can anybody get me the "official" Sig line on this?

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June 26, 2003, 05:54 PM
Does he also claim to have been in Switzerland when he did this?

June 26, 2003, 07:54 PM
A lot of the P220 designs were taken from the original Sauer 38H, which featured the side lever decocker.

The 220 was developed to replace the 210 for Swiss police/military issue.

June 26, 2003, 10:09 PM
Huh. I always though SIG merely used JP Sauer and Sons as a way to get around Stitzerland's exportation laws at the time.

June 26, 2003, 11:10 PM
The P220 was developed jointly by SIG and Sauer and Sons as a replacement for the Swiss army's P210. The P210 was considered too expensive to produce so the Swiss wanted a replacement. The P220 entered service in 1975 with the Swiss army.

Unless your friend was working for either SIG or Sauer and Sons he's probably full of air.

4v50 Gary
June 26, 2003, 11:16 PM
He claims to have worked on it in America and showed the concepts to the Mr. F. P. Hochuli of Sig. As to the elements of the design:

The safety was taken from the Sauer M38 H. Who designed it originally for Sauer is unknown.

Take down lever. Taken from a cheap Spanish .25 of the 1920s.

Since the gun had an aluminum frame, a steel barrel unlocking block was needed. An unlocking lug like hat used on he 1911 would work harden and destroy an aluminum frame. The Sig's unlocking block was partially inspired by the French MAB PA-15 (uses a rotating barrel like the Beretta Cougar but the important thing to remember is that there is a a steel block that absorbs the force).

DA trigger - no shortages of design in 1968. Mauser had one in the HSc and Walther had one in their P-38. The idea was to link the hammer to the trigger so it could be cocked and tripped. That the linking mechanism be stamped so as to keep cost down was the important feature.

The barrel of the Sig has a square locking surface that mates with the slide. This was inspired by the Webley M1905 autoloader. Advantage is that the machined locking lugs on the slide & bbl were eliminated.

To demonstrate the feasibility of the concept, the DA feature of a Walther was hacksawed and welded to a Browning frame (for high capacity) and mated with a MAB slide and barrel assembly (for the locking block).

June 26, 2003, 11:43 PM
I'll bite.

How old is your contact?

Does he speak German?

How did he hook up with the people at SIG?

Does he have any technical training?

June 27, 2003, 12:08 AM
Is your friend claiming the MAB PA-15 had an alloy frame?
Cause I carried one for years and they not only have a steel frame, it is massive.


June 27, 2003, 12:19 AM
I recall when the gun was introduced as the BDA, but do not recall the year. For a long time I had an original copy of the "Guns & Ammo" that ran the premiere story. Seems like was Charles Askins who did the evaluation, and he was suitably impressed.

Forward thinking handgunners generally were, with a notable exception- Col. Jeff Cooper. Cooper saw it (and still does) as the answer to a question that does not exist. Anyone who has read three gun magazines knows that Cooper is perhaps the chief proponent of the 1911 Colt. For a couple of decades I sang this one-note song myself, and then I sort of rediscovered the design. I had shot a BDA ages ago, but they were rather expensive by contemporary standards, and scarce as hen's teeth where I grew up- which made them even more expensive. The glut of police trade-ins following the mass LE switch to the Glock solved this problem for me. They are now available for a shade over $400 from various sources, and I liked my first one so well that I made the mistake of letting my wife shoot it... well heck, anything that nice should be owned in pairs, and the second one should be here next week. We'll be "gettin' Siggy with it" big time after that. I've got about two 3-pound coffee cans of reloads ready for the exercise.

I corresponded with the good Col. a couple of years ago, and wrote that I felt the Sig enjoyed some advantages over the beloved Colt. He was unmoved, and his opinion remains unchanged. I believe he thought I was a dolt for even suggesting such a thing. I defer to his experience and wisdom, and I certainly would not suggest that he doesn't know his handguns. But the Sig works better for me, and I have used them both extensively.

Whoever actually conceived the design certainly has my respect and admiration. This is, in my opinion, the finest service .45 extant. Box-stock Sig 220's are superbly accurate, as good as all but the finest match-built 1911s you'll ever find. The difference between the 220 and the 1911 is that the 220 works with boring reliability, and needs virtually nothing in the way of bolt-on accessories. It is dead-simple to operate, and not prone to breakage. It has everything except nostalgia going for it.

JP Sauer & Sohn have been importing fine handguns for a good long time. In the 70's-80's I owned a half-dozen or so of their Hawes Marshall centerfire single-actions, and they were superbly-made and accurate revolvers. It certainly comes as no surprise to me that their autopistol design from that era would be just as good.

Ala Dan
June 27, 2003, 12:48 AM
ME! (Laughing Loudly He-He-He)

Really, I don't know; but its a good question.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

4v50 Gary
June 27, 2003, 01:15 PM
Dunno if he speaks German. The discussions along w/show & tell of the hybrid was done right here in the USA.

Regarding the MAB - it's the steel locking block that was wanted from it.

Can anyone confirm the position of F. P. Hochuli as the Arms marketeer for Sig back in the '60s? Anybody got any old Guns 'n Ammo, American Rifleman or any other contemporary source (Gun Digest) they can flip through?

4v50 Gary
June 29, 2003, 12:59 PM
Harley, any info?

max popenker
June 30, 2003, 05:11 AM
well, at lest the firing pin safety for P220 was patented by someone Walther Ludwig of SIG (Swiss), in 1973 (US pat No. 3724113)

i think that the general design of the P220 was a joint wenture of both SIG and Sauer.

Jim K
July 3, 2003, 11:15 PM
As was noted, most of the design features were already in use and patents had long expired. Anyone can design a gun on paper or even make a working model, but unless they can patent specific features, anyone can use the same ideas, with or without knowledge of anyone else's work.

Without being too cynical, I doubt that either SIG or Sauer would need to steal ideas from a free-lance designer. I think the guy probably will have to join the millions of folks who have invented a carburetor which gets 200 miles per gallon and which was suppressed by the auto makers or the oil companies (or the Bush administration, or the Democrats, or the Republicans, or the Jesuits, or the Jews, or the Rockefellers, or the ACLU, or the KKK, or the NRA, or the Baptists, or ..... OK, you get the picture).


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