Carry gun - P220 or 1911?


July 6, 2008, 08:35 PM
I'm still trying to decide on a new sidearm for carry and some shooting classes.

I prefer to pick one system and stick with it. Right now I have a few Remington 870s, and a bunch of K and J frame revolvers. I carry the 4" K-frames 95% of the time, IWB. The shotguns serve bedroom duty. I'd rather have a whole pile of the same gun, and be able to run them well, then a bunch of different guns that I'm not very good with.

I really like the revolvers but I want to try a semi auto again. I don't really care if I get a 9mm or a .45 (but it will be one or the other, not considering any others). I'm more concerned about thickness of the gun and reliability. I won't get another glock, I can't stand the plastic frame or the trigger.

Right now I'm looking at either a Sig P220 or a Kimber TLE II, both with night sights and no rail. This gun will be carried on weekends and taken through a few shooting schools. I will be buying a second .45 shortly after the first, with a light rail (the reason I'm straying away from the revolvers I love: After a few 2am trips through the house with a pistol, flashlight, and a phone to get to my daughter's room during breakins, I realized that I don't have 3 hands).

Both pistols feel great in my hand. I like the trigger and the slimness of the 1911, but after owning a terrible 1911 that jammed a lot, I don't quite trust the design (I know that there are reliable 1911s, I'm just not used to them being so). I know how reliable Sig P220s are, and I like how soft they shoot. I'm not used to the DA/SA trigger, but could get used to it and don't mind learning to make it work. The only reason I don't already own the P220 is it's width, or the way I percieve it as a wider pistol.

So, which gun would be better for IWB carry and shooting school? If someone tells me that the P220 carries nicely IWB I'll probably run right to that, but I keep going back and forth and really need help making the decision.

If you enjoyed reading about "Carry gun - P220 or 1911?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
July 6, 2008, 08:37 PM
As a Sig fan, I say P220. I've said it before... The P220 is the 1911's heir-apparent.


The Lone Haranguer
July 6, 2008, 09:11 PM
SIG makes a SAO version of the P220, which - based on the one I handled and dry-fired - would be my choice. It is only available railed, though.

July 6, 2008, 09:19 PM
P220, hands down. It's reliable, accurate, and double action. No, double action is NOT a safety feature; it's a speed feature.

The 1911 will require a break-in period, gun smithing, more testing, and more BS than it's worth.

Never mind that every 1911 owner on these forums has a gun that never fails. You should buy one of those.

And, yet, I still like 1911's. They're fun and look neat. But they really can be a pain.

July 6, 2008, 09:22 PM
P220. They are good to go right out of the box, unlike most 1911's. They also have no safety to deal with, and most all the P series SIG's work the same, so there is no transition when you go from model to model, unless you change trigger types.

Billy Shears
July 6, 2008, 09:28 PM
The P220 will require a break in period as well. You should never carry any semi-auto until you've put at least a couple hundred rounds of your intended carry load through it. Sure, a modern autoloader from a reputable maker like SIG-Sauer should feed most anything, but even the best manufacturers turn out lemons every now and again. You don't want to wait until your life is on the line to find out you got one.

If you get a good 1911 from a maker like Kimber or Wilson or Springfield Armory, you really shouldn't have any more reliability problems than you'd have with the P220. Buy what you like shooting and carrying better.

And I've got two 1911s that never fail. :D

July 6, 2008, 09:32 PM
As an owner of both Sigs (p229,p250) and 1911s, I carry a 1911 over 90% of the time. I think the unreliability of 1911's is greatly overstated and mostly the fault of bubba-smithing and trying to save a few bucks on magazines.

1911's, as a rule, are just fine out of the box. The worst mine ever needed was a quick tweak on the extractor, which I did on the firing line at the range in less than 5 minutes. Everything has a break-in period or prove-out period. I don't know why the claim they need gunsmithing out of the box, unless you want to change something. Actually, being able to change something is one of the perks of a 1911.

There's a reason why the best of the best shoot and carry 1911's more than anything else.

But what you really should do is try shooting them side by side and see how they stack up next to each other in YOUR hand. Try to find a gunshop/range that rents.

(For anyone who doesn't believe that any of my half-dozen 1911's aren't reliable, you're welcome to shoot any and all of em; S&W, Kimber, S.A., Daly, Colt, and a Fusion/Essex handbuilt. Several have been modified, several are almost bone-stock.)

July 6, 2008, 09:34 PM
For me personally the SIG without question. I am a little hesitant though with current production as it seems that guy from Kimber is hurting QC a bit like he seemed to hurt QC at Kimber.

An older SIG P220 for me though without a second thought.

July 6, 2008, 09:36 PM
While of course you should make sure everything is working before you carry it, I have yet to have a SIG that required a break in. They all worked right out of the box and required nothing to do so but ammo in the mags. SIG's in general, do not require the break in and fiddling that most of the 1911's today seem to.

The last 5 Springfields I bought required work right out of the box just to function properly. I''ve also owned Kimbers that were problematic. If your going to go the 1911 route, get a Colt.

July 6, 2008, 09:36 PM
I have to laugh at these "break-in periods". If that's the case, what makes it a break-in period? I've seen at least one of every type of gun I've ever owned fail for one reason or another: holding it wrong, bad mags, something wrong with a part or a frame, bad ammo, wrong ammo for the gun, you name it. Yes, even Glocks and every other "goes bang every time" gun out there...

If you're wanting an easier disassembly and fewer parts to deal with, then get the Sig 220.

If you don't mind the aforementioned factors and want a single action trigger, then get the 1911. You'll be fine either way. But won't you be pissed if you get a Sig 220 and have a few malfunctions? Don't worry about those.

It's not a "break-in period". It's you getting to know the gun. That's all.

July 6, 2008, 09:43 PM
Since I quit carrying (and selling off) my 1911's, and 15 SIG's later, I havent yet had a malfunction. And we're all well acquainted. :)

The Reverend
July 6, 2008, 11:25 PM
For me, it's a no-brainer...

1911!!! The 1911 is much thinner, thus more concealable. Can't take away from the 220 though, phenom of a pistol!

July 6, 2008, 11:43 PM
I like the Sig P220.

July 6, 2008, 11:45 PM
I own a P220 and have never had a malfunction of anykind. I own a Para Ordnance P-14 and have also never any kind of malfunction. The P-14 holds almost twice as many rounds as the Sig, which is nice. If your choices are the Sig and the Kimber, you can't wrong either way.

July 7, 2008, 12:16 AM
Sig 220 it is the only pistol I own.

July 7, 2008, 12:22 AM

July 7, 2008, 12:42 AM
My personal piece? A SIG P220R Carry Elite SAO.

Sweet, sweet pistol. 1911 is a fine item, for me the SIG is finer.

Rock solid reliable, takes down in seconds without tools, accurate beyond reason, GREAT trigger, light weight, light recoil...etc., etc.

No contest.


July 7, 2008, 11:01 PM
On duty I carry a Sig P220 (great gun) because I have to, off duty I carry a Kimber Tactical Ultra II (another great gun) because I want to. Both have, for me, been extremley reliable (and both have been shot regularly). See what works best for you and good luck with your decision.

Ala Dan
July 8, 2008, 12:39 AM
I have carried both, a West German SIG-SAUER P220A and one of several
1911's that I own. Reliability with MY 1911's is a non-issue; as all have
performed flawlessly, time after time again. However, if I knew that I
were still searching for fugitives whereas a gunfight might errupt; I
would hope I was armed with MY .45 ACP SIG-SAUER P220A~! :scrutiny: ;)

July 8, 2008, 08:14 AM
Another vote for SIG. I own 3 SIG's including a P220. My P220 is such a reliable accurate pistol it is without peer in my collection.

July 8, 2008, 08:17 AM
Is it really a mechanical break-in period? Or is it a mental break-in period? In some cases, it's both such as with the 1911. In other cases, it's only the latter.

My 220's get a "mental" break-in just to make me happy and because I enjoy shooting. The three 1911's I had required actual testing since they didn't function well between rounds 1 and 1,500. If a gun won't work after 1,500 rounds AND has been to at least one gunsmith, then I dump it. This has happened three times to me...and I want a 1911 (looks like I'm getting a Colt XSE this weekend...yay!!!)

But I "work" with SIGs and Glocks. I flirt with 1911's and revolvers :)

July 8, 2008, 09:17 AM
I own both the P220 and a number of 1911's.

All have been 100% and each is the other's equal when it comes to reliability.

The P220 is a bit wider in the hand, but since I added Sig's "Slim" grips for the P220, that difference is now mute.

Pick whichever makes you giddy when you hold it in your hand.

July 8, 2008, 09:50 AM
It amazes me what most 1911 guys consider normal to make one of those things run. But if you get a mil-spec 1911, it probably will run, all the time, with no break in. I know my XD45 hasn't needed anything but shooting.

July 8, 2008, 03:30 PM
My Kimber Pro Carry II has been smooth as silk since I got about 200 rounds through it. It has been very tight. It had a few issues when I first got it, but I did nothing more than oil it and keep firing it.

I have Wilson magazines and they have been problem free. When I add more magazines, I'll either go with Wilson or the Kimpro Tac mags.

I've seen the 220 and it looks very interesting as well, but the 1911 is the only handgun that I have experience with.

July 8, 2008, 03:38 PM
Either one can be outstanding.

I would base it mostly on which I shot better.

July 8, 2008, 08:32 PM
The P220 is a bit wider in the hand, but since I added Sig's "Slim" grips for the P220, that difference is now mute.....moot


July 8, 2008, 08:56 PM
I am a die hard 1911 guy and have been for years. However, about a year ago I decided to give my Sig 220 six months of daily carry to change my mind. The experiment lasted 4 months and I was back to my 1911's. For me the 1911 just sits right in my hand, and I was so ingrained to disengage the thumb safety that after 4 months of carrying and practicing with the 220 I was still swiping at a nonexistent thumb safety. I have since resolved to quit screwing with what I know works and stick to the 1911's.

July 8, 2008, 11:32 PM
1911 for me . My Kimber didn't need 500 rounds just good mags , Theirs suck.
That said Dan Wesson Bobtail better pistol and carry.

evan price
July 9, 2008, 01:01 AM
If you are used to revolvers a Sig DA/SA trigger will seem natural to you. You can carry it decocked and ready to fire, just like a revolver.
I own several Sigs, carry the P220 when I can get away with it, and do not feel undergunned. The West German bent-slide guns with internal extractor are without peer.

If you enjoyed reading about "Carry gun - P220 or 1911?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!