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First handgun: Sig P220?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by gossamer, Feb 15, 2009.

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  1. gossamer

    gossamer Member

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    Hello all. I'm looking at buying my first handgun. I take my CCW class in a couple weeks. I hope to shoot a few different calibers and manufacturers before I purchase -- provided I can find a range where I can rent a few options.

    I'm right in the "average height and weight" range for an adult male: 5'10'' 150lbs (ish) depends on the season. My hands aren't really small or large, just average. I've picked my top contenders up, held, dry fired, etc..

    I'm looking for handgun primarily for home defense, but also for CCW.

    I've been talking to friends, reading reviews, and going to gun stores.

    So far I've been looking at the Sig P220, Sig P226 (9mm) or the Sig 1911. I've also been looking at the Glock 17 or 21 but I'm not partial to polymer guns. I've also looked at the H&Ks and Taurus.

    I've read some about the DA/SA on the Sig P220 and 226s, saying this can be a problem for some folks, not as "safe." My question is, is this really a big deal? It' seems like the whole point is that this system makes the gun more safe.

    Any thoughts on this particular handgun and this commentary I've read on them is much appreciated.

    Thanks
     
  2. rbernie
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    rbernie Member

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    I always recommend a 9mm as a first pistol for a new gun owner. This recommendation is often seen as "So, you think that I can't handle the manly 45ACP?" when in fact it has nothing to do with latent capability of the shooter and everything to do with economy and cost-effectivity.

    You are a new pistol shooter. By definition, you need practice and instructor-led training. You will be buying and using lots of ammo, and the money you don't spend on ammo should be saved for a couple of basic pistolcraft classes.

    The advantage to 9mm/9x19 is that is is demonstrably effective in a self-defense role and it is also the least expensive round to buy.

    I am partial to the Browning HP right now, although I have P226s and CZ75s and such and would feel comfortable using any of them for self-defense and range work.
     
  3. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    As much as I like the 220 (it is my main carry piece) and the .45 ACP, I have to side with rbernie for the reasons stated: you'll need practice ( and no one, regardless of experience, can have too much practice); practice costs money and the 9mm is significantly cheaper than .45 ACP. A+B=C!
     
  4. franconialocal

    franconialocal Member

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    I'm issued a P220 for duty, but I agree with the above posts.....
     
  5. gossamer

    gossamer Member

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    Thanks for the responses so far.

    All of these choices are dependent on first getting to fire the guns mentioned and making sure it feels right.

    I've been looking at prices for Ammunition and found that there's around 15-25% more in price for 45 ACP than 9mm in (eg 50 ct Winchester FMJ = $25 for 9mm 124gr, $30 for 45ACP 230gr).

    I would certainly like to save money and i know over time this adds up. I guess I don't see 20% more for ammunition as a problem if it's the right handgun for me. I'd rather "buy right" up front and not be looking to get the gun I really wanted in the future just based on saving 20% on ammunition.

    I have imposed a mandate to shoot and practice at least twice a month, and put lots of ammunition through whatever gun I buy. (I never understood the concept of owning a gun and not practicing with it with as much regularity as possible.) This is a self-imposed stipulation of getting one: my perception is if I don't practice, I don't have any business owning a gun; period. There's no such thing as screwing up twice in this discipline. So yes, I do want to be economical, but I don't want to be six months down the road practicing constantly with a gun I'm ready to move on from.

    Thanks again for the responses.
     
  6. Boba Fett

    Boba Fett Member

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    Love my P220. It too is my main carry gun.

    Just get a good holster and use the safety between your ears. For me, I like my carry guns to not have a safety switch (the P220 does have a "safety" of sorts...the hammer is prevented from hitting the firing pin until you pull the trigger). For me, the P220 is a lot like carrying a revolver and I like not worrying about the flipping the safety off. That said, the 1911 safeties are pretty easy to thumb off as you draw...and contrary to what some will say, you absolutely want to have the safety on with a 1911.

    I completely agree that you have to practice. However, the way I look at the cost difference is this:

    1) Go to AmmunitionToGo.com
    2) Look at the bulk prices for 9mm and 45ACP. For our purposes here, let's look at Federal (it's what I buy). In 9mm, 1000 Rounds is $225. In 45 ACP, 1000 Rounds is $369. So the 9mm is 23 cents per round and the 45 ACP is 37 cents per round. That is a 14 cent difference.
    3)Now you have to make a decision. Can you cut some small indulgences out of your life to make up the difference? Don't supersize every day? Maybe bring a sack lunch instead of going out at all? Can you save anything by changing your own oil? Make sure you turn your TV, computer, etc. off when you aren't using them (a friend of mine did this and saved $70 a month on his electric bill).

    So as I see it, price shouldn't be a restraint for most of us. And if you really want to start saving the bucks, look into reloading. I'm currently collecting the spend Federal brass from my trips to the range. I'll either invest in my own reloading kit or just send the brass off to one of the online reloaders for a discount.


    One final thought, make sure you shoot the P220 or at least a 45ACP pistol. For me, it seems like the 9mm out of my Baby Eagle kicks more, but I am more accurate with it. The 45ACP out of my P220 seems to kick less, but I haven't developed the accuracy I'd like with it. I'm not bad, but I would like a tighter group than I'm currently making. Just need more practice is all...only put about 550 rounds through it so far (500 of Federal and 50 of the Winchester RA45T that I use as my choice of carry round). So make sure you like the feel of the 45ACP and don't have any difficulty controlling it (I imagine you wont).
     
    Last edited: Feb 15, 2009
  7. rduckwor

    rduckwor Member

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    Great idea.

    Make sure you shoot a 1911 platform as well. SIGs tend to have the bore axis a bit higher than the 1911's and this can make a difference to a shooter.

    9MM is certainly a bit less expensive to shoot with than 45ACP. However for either of the SIG "P" series pistols, you can buy them initially as a 22 cal pistol with the option to convert to the heavier caliber later on or you can buy the 22 cal conversion kit for your SIG for about $300.00. This allows you to shooter dirt cheap 22 rounds using the same trigger/frame/firing chain as the heavier caliber pistol. Great for practice and acclimating to the DA/SA system of SIG's. You can get 22 cal conversions for the 1911 platform as well, but they tend to be a bit more expensive.

    Good Luck.

    RMD
     
  8. gossamer

    gossamer Member

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    I'm also considering the Sig 1911. I've read only good things about it and it's in my price range. And, as someone told me, "The military taught millions of people to shoot one defensively, you should be able to figure it out."
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2009
  9. Blowby

    Blowby Member

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    My first CC is a P220 and I decided to chose the firearm that felt comfortable and one that was accurate in my hand. Everyone will have a different choice in a gun that feels "right" so make sure you try the ones on your list. The cost is really pennies per round and if you feel the more expensive option will place the shot where it needs to be then pay now in ammo so you don't pay later with a gun that was cost effective.
     
  10. benzuncle

    benzuncle Member

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    gossamer, I own 3 Sigs: A P220 Compact (my 1st Sig), a P239/357Sig and a Mosquito. All three are DA/SA. They are perfectly safe to carry. All three have a decocker, mag release and slide release in the same position. The 22 conversion might be a very good compromise. I have rented a Sig 1911 and found it to be just fine. (As you might imagine, I really like Sig Sauer handguns.) If you want to buy just one and are concerned with the price of ammo, the Mosquito, a brand new one, would be a good option because of the aforementioned controls being the same. Switching to a larger caliber, 9mm, 45acp or whatever you choose would be a very easy transition. I recently sold the Mosquito because I reload my own ammo and am not really interested in shooting a 22lr. But the Mosquito performed very well. And I really did like the feel in my hand and of course those controls. The money from the Mosquito helped to buy the P239. (I had the privilege of firing a U.S. Sky Marshal's older model P229/357Sig and was very impressed with this caliber. LE officers that carry the 357sig are very sweet on it. To me, it shoves very much like the 45acp as opposed to the snap of some other calibers.) Good luck with your deliberations and upcoming purchase. I hope you will let us know what you end up with.
     
  11. tbtrout

    tbtrout Member

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    P220 was my first 15 yrs ago. If it fits you and ammo price is not a concern, enjoy it. It is a great pistol.
     
  12. Dan Crocker

    Dan Crocker Member

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    Sigs are great guns. I learned to shoot on a P228 and it still holds a place in my heart as one of my favorite pistols. You can't go wrong with a Sig (or a Glock, XD, Kahr, or any major maker!) The other posters are correct; a 9mm is a good place to start. And with good hollowpoint rounds, the 9mm is a perfectly adequate defensive round. The P220 is a fantastic weapon, and I can't recommend one high enough if you are going that route.
     
  13. PO2Hammer

    PO2Hammer Member

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    I'll recomend a 9mm as a first gun for sure. The P226 is a great gun, I've owned two.

    The P series Sigs are some of the safest guns you can own. With the hammer down you have no worries.

    Right now you can buy a P226 or P220 frame with a .22lr conversion on it, then buy the 9mm or .45 upper later at a discount.
     
  14. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    my default carry Sig is the 220 and my teaching pistol is a 220ST so i'm a little bias.

    a 9mm is a great place to start because ammo is a bit cheaper, recoil is lighter (makes a difference when you shoot 1000 rounds during a 3 day class) and the mags are easier to load (staggered mags have less tension than single stacks)

    i think the 226 is a superior as a HD pistol, but find the 220 easier to CCW...but i do have a 228 that carries well. i'd advise against any 1911 as a first gun, it just requires more of it's owner than the 220 or 226.

    a few folks have mentioned the .22lr conversion kits offered by Sig. but they've only touched on what a great deal it is. if you buy a 226 or 220 with the conversion kit installed, the price is about $500 and you get a coupon to buy the full sized upper, within a year, for about $300...so you're almost getting the conversion kit for free.

    on the safety issue: i've never heard of a DA/SA being less safe. i've heard of the DA being harder to master than a SAO or DAO trigger. it is really only a matter of training as there is no difference in speed between an acurate first shot
     
  15. gossamer

    gossamer Member

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    9mmepiphany:
    Can you tell me what makes the 226 a better HD choice? Are you talking about the 226 in 9mm or another caliber? And what makes the 220 a better CCW?

    Does it have to do with size or capacity? I was always under the impression that the 220 was good for HD because there is less likelihood of over penetration from 45acp.

    I'm still learning and just trying to correct any preconceptions and bad advice -- the web is loaded with both :)
     
  16. Jason_G

    Jason_G Member

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    Hey gossamer. The Sig P-series are all excellent pistols. The P220 is the best shooting SA/DA .45 out there IMHO, and I would be happy to carry one. They are absolutely great pistols. As far as 1911s go, I would look at some other options besides Sig. That's not to say that they aren't good, but there are a whole lot more options you might also want to consider. Dan Wesson and Colt to name a couple.

    Jason
     
  17. high voltage

    high voltage Member

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    I carry a Sig P220 in SAO, it is perfectly safe to carry in condition one. It shoots great, but like everyone else says it gets pricey. I can more easily afford to shoot my Glock 26 B.U.G, Whatever you get practice and get training, hell spend more on training than on your pistol. There is a lot more to it than going to the range every other week, once you get to the point where you can shoot a nice group out to 15yrds you'll definitely want to learn more. I'd say get whatever gun you like and learn it. DA/SA would be a good choice as there is no external safety selector to train yourself to flip down as you present the pistol, but to each his own there. Good luck, and shoot straight!
     
  18. panzer426

    panzer426 Member

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    I love my P220, it is my main CCW. In really hot Texas summers I do tend to carry my Glock 19 more often though, due to lighter/thinner clothing.

    I learned to shoot with 45's, and I prefer the recoil of 45 actually. 9mm recoil seems more snappy to me. I taught my wife to shoot using my P220 and the Glock 17 she picked for herself. She prefers the Glock because it fits her hand a lot better, but she doesn't have a preference between recoils of 45 and 9mm...she feels the difference but doesn't feel that the 45 is more difficult.

    It boils down to which fits you best.

    Where are you located? I'm in Denton, north of DFW. If you are nearby, come to the range with me and you can try out my P220, Glock 19 and my wifes Glock 17.

    Edit: brand new, yeah they are pricey (worth every penny but pricey) in the $1,000 range. You can easily find used in great condition for around $500 though.
     
  19. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    i like the 226 better for HD because, if i have to get up and check the house at night, i'm not likely to pickup extra ammo at the same time. having 16, or 18, rounds available in the gun expands my comfort zone. :p that might seem excessive, but a home invasion is seldom a solo endeavor. :neener:

    i am speaking of the 226 in 9mm. i carried mine for a number of years on duty and it was very dependable and comforting. i put a set of Hogue grips (non-finger groove) on mine and loaded it with Ranger 127gr +P+ JHPs. i tried an issued 226 and 229 in .40 and didn't like the sharper recoil and slower followup shots :eek:

    i prefer the 220 for CCW because it is flatter. i carry OWB because i have back issues with IWB holsters. you have alot more latitude of when to deploy your gun as a private citizen...you get to pick and choose if/when to draw and shoot. i feel capacity is less important in this situation.

    if you're concerned about penetration in HD, you should get a 5.56x45 (AR platform) or a 5.45x39 (AK platform)

    i hope this helps...and all makes sense :scrutiny:
     
  20. SwampWolf

    SwampWolf Member

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    Because it's a single-stack (flatter) is exactly why the 220 is my choice for a ccw. I've found that I can carry the 220 comfortably in an IWB holster. I opted for the "Carry" model because it's a little shorter but I'm not so sure it's shorter enough to really matter over the standard version.
     
  21. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    a shorter barrel/slide don't affect concealability when worn IWB because it's...inside your pants. the major factor in carry will always be the lenght/width of the butt frame. here's an old pic of my CCW 220

    [​IMG]

    the 228/229 actually conceals pretty well. there's just a good balance between the slide lenght and butt lenght.

    BTW: if you like the slimness of the 1911, you can get a similar "feel" by adding the Hogue Extreme Aluminum grips to the 220. they even help the 226 point better
     
  22. crebralfix

    crebralfix member

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    The SIG P220 was my first handgun. It was just fine. I took my first concealed carry shooting test with it and shoot a 48 round hole with two fliers. It's a really good platform for combat shooting.

    Stop overthinking gun safety. It's really quite simple. Many folks never really get over thinking their carry gun "will go off by itself"--you can see it play out here daily. A bit of logic and understanding of your pistol's design goes a long way to alleviating the "it'll go off!" mentality. Regarding SIG, Glock, HK, and most other modern guns: they usually have at least one internal safety. Anything advertised as having a firing pin safety means that there is a physical block preventing the pin from moving forward until the trigger is pulled.

    If you follow the gun safety rules, you won't put your finger on the trigger until ready to fire. If you're holding a criminal at gun point, then your finger should be on the frame up until the point you decide to shoot. The "Glock problem" with NDs is really a shooter problem, but people want something to blame and guns don't talk back. A SIG 220 is not going to discharge unless you pull the trigger.

    The heavier double action trigger pull can be a problem for some shooters. The solution is to dry fire frequently. Frequent practice with any gun is important, but don't get stuck on platform. Know how to shoot any gun competently...you may have to pick it up and use it.

    The 45 ACP cartridge is just fine for a first handgun. The secret is in the cartridge's "push" with less snap. It's extremely accurate and VERY easy to reload. In fact, I find it to be very forgiving and there are many recipes available. The wide case mouth makes it easy to place bullets in the case...try that with 380 Auto bullets with any sort of speed.

    There are many 1911 afficionados on this forum. Don't let them convince you that a 1911 is the right choice for you. Granted, they ***can*** be very good handguns. However, they really do require some skill to keep running. The elephant in the room is that it really is a crappy design, but don't tell the afficionados that. The cartridge doesn't have a straight shot into the chamber and the "bouncing" into the chamber causes all sorts of problems in guns that are not in spec according to the original design (and most guns deviate from the design. There's a whole industry around the 1911 platform for a reason). But...shhhhh...keep it quiet since they'll get all offended.

    http://www.10-8performance.com/id8.html

    http://www.10-8performance.com/id9.html

    Back to the SIG and carry. Consider the overall height of the gun. Tall guns, including the SIG P220, are more difficult to conceal because the grip will tend to stick out. A shorter grip will give you more "slop" in your movements and affects your wardrobe choices. This is why you'll notice a large number of small guns in the store: they're easy to conceal. One of the great balances in shootability, concealability, and capacity is the Glock 19/23/32. Take measurements on this gun from the top of the slide to the bottom of the grip (and bottom of the magazine-- 1/4" difference). Now compare to the SIG P220:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The new eight round magazines add another 1/4" to the SIG P220's height (without sights). This is something to consider since the flat based seven round magazines are no longer available.

    http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=416180

    http://www.tacticalunderground.us/forum/viewtopic.php?t=6529
     
  23. crebralfix

    crebralfix member

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    As for SIG P220 vs P226 vs P229...pick the caliber you like and get the appropriate pistol.

    The P229 is a tack driver. It's a bit shorter in the barrel and grip for concealability and capacity is pretty good.

    One drawback to the SIG and HK platforms is the cost of the magazines. They're up to $40-45 or more. Factory magazines are the way to go; be VERY careful with third party magazines.

    SIG now offers 22 Long Rifle conversion kits. I have one for the P220 and it works great with quality ammunition. If you get a SIG, I recommend you get:

    22 LR conversion
    Several spare 22 magazines
    5 factory mags in the appropriate caliber
    1000 rounds of practice ammo
    200 rounds of defensive ammo
    Lots of CCI Mini-Mag 22 long rifle ammo

    Just factor all that into the purchase. SIG has an offer going where you can get a regular caliber slide for a good price if you get one of their full guns in 22 Long Rifle. I think for around $900 you get both slides and frame. Separately, a new P220 costs around $750-800 and $315 for the 22 LR kit. It's a pretty good deal.
     
  24. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    besides the calibre issue, wouldn't it be more appropriate to compare the Glock 19 with a Sig 228/229
     
  25. gossamer

    gossamer Member

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    THIS is very appealing to me. It's one of the smartest things I've seen yet. Tons of practice in the smaller caliber, but still have all the upconversion to practice with too at the same time.

    A VERY good idea, thanks to all of you who mentioned this.
     
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