The SIG-Sauer P230SL: a quick overview

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Dragonfly, Aug 6, 2016.

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  1. Dragonfly

    Dragonfly Member

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    “An elegant weapon…for a more civilized age”


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    Well, maybe the 1970s and early ’80s were not more civilized, but they did give us some cool guns :). I've posted quick overviews of my P7, P9S and Steyr GB and here's my last from that era.

    I saw this little pistol for sale earlier this summer used (but barely, and with original box) at a very good price and couldn’t resist picking it up—I’m sucker for classic pistols from back then. I’d never even seen a P230 before and, other than that they were well-made blowback .380s I didn’t know a whole lot about them. My youngest child (the other shooter in the family) said that it looked like "something a robot cop from the future would use in a movie made in the 1980s"…which was a pretty apt observation. It was a nice evening to take some pictures on the back deck so I thought I’d give you guys a run down on its features.

    My pistol is the “SL” model, which is all stainless-steel, compared with the P230 which has an aluminum frame. Even though it’s all steel it still feels light in the hand, due to its slim size. The sides of the slide are lightly polished while the top is matte—it’s an attractive look. The slide serrations are very sharp and grippy, not uncomfortably so, but enough to get a good grip—which is a good thing as the recoil spring is quite stout.

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    Grips are black plastic, with a very light pebbly texture—I like them, they’re smooth enough to slide your hand easily into a good firing hold, but stay in place nicely when you grip down.

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    There’s a red chamber loaded indicator on the extractor (this is the unloaded position).

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    And the typical (for its time) European-style heel clip mag release.

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    The hammer is quite small, with just a little spur on it.

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    The pistol was supposedly modeled after the Walther PP but one difference is the front takedown lever, instead of the pull-down trigger guard on the PP. The traditional SIG decocking lever is in its usual place, although it’s also smaller than SIG’s full-size pistols. As with the Walther, there’s no slide stop lever.

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    Disassembly is easy…just rotate the disassembly lever down, pull the slide back and pull up, then slide it off the front. The barrel is fixed to the frame.

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    The sights are typical “dot on post” SIG…the rear sight is undercut like the larger pistols.

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    and the smallish front has a red dot.

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    I’m not super crazy about the red, but I’ll keep it for now. It’s not like I’ll be shooting any bullseye matches with it :). Here’s the sight picture:

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    The bore axis is super-low…almost too low. I’ve got small hands and it fits me fine, but the slide is very close to giving me a bit of a bite!

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    So, how does it shoot? It’s the first .380 pistol I’ve ever owned so I’ve got nothing to compare it with, but I was surprised at the punchy recoil from the round. It’s not painful by any means but you certainly notice it—the low bore axis means the recoil is straight back…there’s almost no muzzle flip, despite the super-fast slide action. It’s quite fun to shoot!

     
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  2. bannockburn

    bannockburn Member

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    Dragonfly

    My thoughts exactly!

    Very nicely done review along with some outstanding photos!
     
  3. mesinge2

    mesinge2 Member

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    Great review. I have the DAO P230SL model and its my favorite .380 ACP.


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    Last edited: Aug 6, 2016
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  4. CNobbe

    CNobbe Member

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    Love the pics of these classics. I know a lot of guys/gals who used to carry one as a BUG on duty or off.

    Yes, blowback pistols tend to be a tad on the snappy side but they sure are accurate.

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    One of my all time favorite models. Love the many variable ways that Sig offered this jewel. My personal pick is the rare P230B32 in .32acp with safety and lanyard loop.

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  6. MikeJackmin

    MikeJackmin Member

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    I have one of those P232 police trades from a while back. I always enjoy shooting it.

    Browning Hi-Powers, CZ75s and P230/232s always seem to fit people well.
     
  7. 9 fingers

    9 fingers Member

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    Great post and pics and I agree totally. I found mine last year at a shop up in NY state, almost new condition, case, manual and an extra mag, which is good as they are rather scarce. An excellent .380 and one of my favorites.
    9 fingers
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  8. JohnBiltz

    JohnBiltz Member

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    I had one back in the late 80s early 90s and I liked it quite a bit. This is going to catch a lot of flack but with those small .380s I prefer the euro magazine release on the bottom. Clears your fingers out of the way before you insert the magazine.
     
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  9. golden

    golden Member

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    9m.m. POLICE

    You did not mention that one version of the SIG 230 was chambered for the 9m.m.x18 POLICE round. This was the most powerful round used in blowback pistols made in the west and was very similar in performance to the 9m.m.x18 MAKAROV round.

    The RUSSIAN'S may have copied a GERMAN developed round, called the 9m.m. ULTRA, which was developed in World War II. That ULTRA round is interchangeable with the 9m.m. POLICE from what I have been able to learn about it.

    WALTHER made a modified PP model called the PP Super and MAUSER sold a modified HSc model for it. It was adopted by one GERMAN state for police use, but the rest went with 9m.m.x19 PARABELLUM and the 9m.m. POLICE pretty much disappeared.

    SIG replaced the 230 with the 232 which had an improved safety system and an even better trigger. The 232 is one of my favorite .380ACP pistols.

    Jim
     
  10. 460Shooter

    460Shooter Member

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    Damn classy guns. Wish I owned one. Don't need one though.
     
  11. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    Put 6 mags through my blue P230 yesterday. Trigger is good but not great, and I can barely hit anything one handed. 2 handed I printed a fist sized group at 18 yards offhand, which is about as good as I can do with any pistol.

    I'd like to try a steel framed version. Recoil is sharpish in my alloy one. Slide bites me also unless I consciously lock my thumbs down.
     
  12. usp9

    usp9 Member

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    Recoil isn't all that different between the two models. What I've found helps in softening recoil are the Hogue grips with the finger bumps. These grips are soft and allow a tight grip. May help with the slide bite too...?
     
  13. 1KPerDay

    1KPerDay Member

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    problem is I hate finger grooves.
     
  14. phil dirt

    phil dirt Member

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    Iv'e owned many .380s in the last 40 years, Walthers and Berettas, but the Sig 230SL is by far the best. I particularly like the European mag release. It's a little big for pocket carry, but it's very concealable on the belt or for inside the pants carry. Leave it to Sig to dis-continue it. The people at Sig Saurer should pull their collective head out of their rear. With all of the crappy little plastic .380s on the market the 230/232 is always my choice when I can't carry a bigger caliber. I like the aluminum framed version, too. Did I forget to mention that it's very accurate?
     
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