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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Out of all the choices out there why would I pick SIG SAUER for a top choice? Definitely not for the price, but then you pay for what you get. When choosing a defense pistol, I advise people in one direction. No, not brand. I tell them to look at what law enforcement, military, and government agencies carry. There is a lot of testing involved in making their choices. After all, those side arms are meant to protect the lives of those carrying them. That’s the key we should look at. If those agencies trust a particular pistol to protect the people that protect us, there is a good reason for that trust.
Take for instance the D.E.A. When they went shopping for a new side arm for their agents they wanted a few key things. They wanted a mid sized pistol with a good grip and they wanted it in .40 cal because a lot of their women had trouble handling a .45ACP. That should be a simple request right? The problem was all the manufacturers they were familiar with at the time didn’t make such a pistol. On top of that they weren’t willing to make a .40 S&W just for them.
When they brought it up to the folks at SIG SAUER they got a different response. At that time Sig only made the Model P220 in .45 ACP but they took on the challenge. Because of that we now have the SIG P229. It is a fantastic mid sized pistol with a very comfortable grip and can be had in 9mm, 357 SIG, and .40 S&W. Both 375 SIG and .40 S&W calibers take the same magazines, so just swap out the barrel and either one can be shot.
SIG’s motto is “To **** and Back Reliability” and they mean it. Their frames are aircraft grade aluminum that has been anodized for strength. All their slides are stainless steel, even the anodized slides. If the salesman tells you the only stainless steel on the gun is the one with the stainless finish, don’t listen.
The SIG barrels have the most lock up points of any manufacturer. That does wonders for accuracy as well as their reputation. They have a well founded reputation when it comes to accuracy. I’ve shot their .45 ACP and was very impressed with it’s accuracy and tame recoil for its lighter weight.
Let’s talk safety for a minute. There are some guns out there that, with my small children in the house, I wouldn’t have in my house. Typically I like to have an actual locking safety like on the Springfield 1911. SIG pistols are one of those exceptions to my rule. Here is how I got there. SIG engineered a four part layered approach to their safeties.
(#1) All semi autos have a disconnector. That assures that the gun can’t be fired until the trigger is fully pulled.
(#2) Externally the SIG has a de-cocker. Most de-cockers cam the firing pin out of the way and let the hammer fall. Not SIG. Their de-cocker is spring loaded to maintain hammer and sear contact. They do this because of another internal safety. Once the de-cocking lever is depressed the sear is forced into a captive half notch, called a safety intercept notch (#3), in the hammer. Once there the hammer has no way of reaching the firing pin. You would have to destroy the gun for the hammer to get any closer to the firing pin.
(#4) Another layer of safety is the firing pin lock. Until the trigger is pulled fully to the rear, the firing pin is unable to move because of the thick steel pin in the way. So, you can start to see SIG’s layered approach to safety. If one safety will do, think what two or three in a row will do.
For concealed carry I think the P229 is as close to double/single action perfection as one can get. The light yet strong frame cuts the carry weight down. The barrel is only 3.86 inches yet still offers quality accuracy. The grip is shorter than its full size brother. Total height is only 5.35 inches. I am also impressed that it is offered in .40 S&W. If I strayed from my .45 ACP, it would be to the .40 cal. This is why I give the SIG SAUER P229 five out of five stars as a carry gun of choice.
 

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Thanks for the review on the SIG. I wanted to address one point that you brought up that I didn't agree with:
howlingwolfarms said:
I advise people in one direction. No, not brand. I tell them to look at what law enforcement, military, and government agencies carry. There is a lot of testing involved in making their choices. After all, those side arms are meant to protect the lives of those carrying them. That’s the key we should look at. If those agencies trust a particular pistol to protect the people that protect us, there is a good reason for that trust.
I have a hard time with this logic. If you look at military and law enforcement weapon history you will find that it is mainly based on function and cost. After all this is a capitalist society. More often than not, firearms are chosen because they fulfill a minimum list of requirements and the company bidding for the contract offers the lowest cost. There is so much penny pinching and bureaucracy involved in federal and state organizations that it makes me sick. These organizations are not as beneficent or thoughtful as you make them out to be. For instance, the US military took the Beretta as it's sidearm. Was it the best choice at the time? Not even close. Was is reliable? Not unless you mean the reliability of frames cracking after only a few thousand rounds causing serious injuries. Granted, the design of the Beretta has been fixed since it was first introduced and it is generally a good gun - but it wasn't the best when is was originally adopted.

In a market where competition reigns, we, as consumers, can choose what is best for us as individuals - as opposed to subscribing to what some government organization chooses for it's masses. Choosing a firearm is a personal project, a quest (if you will) that each responsible firearm owner takes seriously.

I have always told people, if you don't know which gun you want, you're not ready to buy. You, and only you, can decide what brand and model suits your needs. Do your own research, go feel-up the guns, get intimate and then make your final decision. Don't just buy what the clerk likes or what the LEOs or military use - quite a few of them hate their standard issue firearm.

Just on a side note, I grew up loving the SIGs. I had a few airsoft versions and SIG was top of my list for when I was going to get a gun. Then one day I went shooting with a friend and her SIG kept throwing shells all over the place. I mean, some went left, some went right, but most went up over her head - and a couple even went into her face - oh yeah... the feel of hot brass caught between your eyelid and safety glasses is a wonderful thing. I went to the range and rented a SIG 229 and the same thing happened to me - multiple brass shells hitting me in the face - that's when SIG was crossed off my list. Now my SIG experience may be abnormal, but most every other handgun I have used had a consistent ejection trajectory (I prefer to the right).

Just my two cents. I appreciate HowlingWolf for taking time to do a review on this gun, it was well done regarding the technical specifics and safeties.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I agree with a lot of what you said. Perhaps I should have been more clear. I should have said that they pay attention to the sidearms they by themselves for duty carry. For instance I think the Glock has its place but not as a newbie's first pistol. Too many safty concerns.
Having been in the military I know what you are saying about the Beretta. A fine pistol but not for hard core military applications. We all wished they hadn't change what wasn't broken with our 1911's.
As for your experience with SIG. It sounds like you have ejecter problems. Out of the hundreds and hundreds I have worked on and with I have never heard of an unstable ejection trajectory like that. If she still has the P229 and it is still doing that tell her to get it checked out.
 

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I agree with the fact that Glock for not being the "First" pistol for anyone. I think you need something with more "Manual" safeties so you can lear safe handling and how to handle a firearm correctly. DON'T GET ME STARTED ON TEH BERETTA....LOL Enough said about that one. As for the 1911... What were they (The military) thinking of by going away from something that is VERY proven and going with the 9mm? Why do the SEAL's carry the Sig P226??? BECAUSE ITS GREAT. Ok, I'll get off my soap box. Thanks
 

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Excellent review. Like you said, you shouldn't buy a pistol just because every cop on the street is packing it. Economics has a bigger impact on those decisions than quality or reliability does. But the fact that Sigs are carried by 10's of thousands of LEOs and they still have a relatively good track record certainly says something.

Personally, my experience (and those of my brother who is LEO) with Sigs haven't been terribly positive. The biggest problem seems to be accuracy. The Sig has been, by far, the least accurate pistols I've shot. I've put them on a bench and still ended up with a wide pattern. Granted, this level of accuracy rarely has much of an impact in a typical gun fight.

My brother HATES is Sig (P226 in .40, I think), but it's duty issue and he has no choice. He's begging his chief to re-evaluate their weapons because he personally feels less safe with it on his side than about any other pistol he could choose.

These are, of course, just our experiences and are likely not typical.
 

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The first handgun I bought was Sig Sauer P229 .40 cal. It felt good in my hand, although it seemed to be really stiff and sort of hard to manipulate. I kept until I tried a H&K USP Compact .40 cal. I traded my P229 for it and I don't regret it.

When it came time to go through the Police Academy I bought a Sig Sauer P226 .40 cal. and it too felt great in my hand. I really enjoyed it and it was a lot better than the P229 I previously had. It was quite a shock to go from my P226 to a Department issued Beretta Cougar 9mm, can you say "P.O.S." Fortunately the Cheif later allowed us to carry something other than the Beretta.

The only thing I didn't like about the Sig was that it seemed to rust a little on top of the barrel. I cleaned it the same I did as my Glock and H&K and they didn't rust at all.

I have since sold my Sig and my two H&K's and I have stuck with Glock. Although, I am tempted to check into the Sig P226R DAK and P229R DAK. One of the reasons I sold the Sig was because it didn't have a light rail.

If someone asks me what kind of a gun they should get I first find out what they are going to use it for, how much are they willing to spend, and other needs they feel are important to them in a gun. I then suggest they go to a Gun Store that has an indoor range and that rents guns and try different guns to see what they think.

If they ask me what I carry or like, then I tell them. Generally the only time I name guns by name is when I tell them of guns I think they should stay away from.
 

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I try to tell students "The best gun for them to have is one that goes bang everytime, one that is comfortable and one that they can afford." I also tell them to get a GOOD HIGH QUALITY firearm. Generally one that is carried by LEO/Military as it is proven, Meaning they have worked on some "bad dudes". Ok, I'll be quiet now. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
apollosmith said:
Excellent review. Like you said, you shouldn't buy a pistol just because every cop on the street is packing it. Economics has a bigger impact on those decisions than quality or reliability does. But the fact that Sigs are carried by 10's of thousands of LEOs and they still have a relatively good track record certainly says something.

Personally, my experience (and those of my brother who is LEO) with Sigs haven't been terribly positive. The biggest problem seems to be accuracy. The Sig has been, by far, the least accurate pistols I've shot. I've put them on a bench and still ended up with a wide pattern. Granted, this level of accuracy rarely has much of an impact in a typical gun fight.

My brother HATES is Sig (P226 in .40, I think), but it's duty issue and he has no choice. He's begging his chief to re-evaluate their weapons because he personally feels less safe with it on his side than about any other pistol he could choose.

These are, of course, just our experiences and are likely not typical.
I have to admit I have mostly shot the .45ACP. However I found it to be extreemly accurate. Ofcoarse this was one I had personally maintained and checked out previose to shooting it. As for your experence with them. All I can say is it was unfortunate that you got one of the few that needed to be sent to the armorer right away. I believe something wasn't right, possibly a factory defect or some other problem. Im a believer that if the pistol doesn't feel right the moment you pick it up you wont shoot it very well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Hunter said:
The first handgun I bought was Sig Sauer P229 .40 cal. It felt good in my hand, although it seemed to be really stiff and sort of hard to manipulate. I kept until I tried a H&K USP Compact .40 cal. I traded my P229 for it and I don't regret it.

When it came time to go through the Police Academy I bought a Sig Sauer P226 .40 cal. and it too felt great in my hand. I really enjoyed it and it was a lot better than the P229 I previously had. It was quite a shock to go from my P226 to a Department issued Beretta Cougar 9mm, can you say "P.O.S." Fortunately the Cheif later allowed us to carry something other than the Beretta.

The only thing I didn't like about the Sig was that it seemed to rust a little on top of the barrel. I cleaned it the same I did as my Glock and H&K and they didn't rust at all.

I have since sold my Sig and my two H&K's and I have stuck with Glock. Although, I am tempted to check into the Sig P226R DAK and P229R DAK. One of the reasons I sold the Sig was because it didn't have a light rail.

If someone asks me what kind of a gun they should get I first find out what they are going to use it for, how much are they willing to spend, and other needs they feel are important to them in a gun. I then suggest they go to a Gun Store that has an indoor range and that rents guns and try different guns to see what they think.

If they ask me what I carry or like, then I tell them. Generally the only time I name guns by name is when I tell them of guns I think they should stay away from.
At least the Cougar had a covered barrel. That exposed barrel is one the M9's biggest problems.
 

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Hunter, what was it that you did not like about your Cougar. I like mine, its accurate, reliable and fits great. I know that some are critical of the slide mounted safety levers, but what do you mean when you say P.O.S.?
 

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althor said:
Hunter, what was it that you did not like about your Cougar. I like mine, its accurate, reliable and fits great. I know that some are critical of the slide mounted safety levers, but what do you mean when you say P.O.S.?
For one thing I the gun was very heavy for being a compact size handgun, it was more prone to rust and not just mine but others as well, I didn't like the trigger, we had to use gun lube on the slide and in the grooves on the barrel so the barrel could rotate and function as the system is intended. If we didn't use lube, the gun would malfunction close to half the time.

One of our Offiers did qualification shoot in the winter and the lube he had gummed up in the cold and caused the gun to jam. I know this isn't the gun's fault per se, but I feel it does go back to the gun needing lube to operate.
 

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Certain Army personnel carry Sig 9mm's also, P228's I think. Mostly MP's carry them because they are smaller than M9's. I do agree with the "What were they thinking" sentiment some have expressed about retiring the 1911, but I have had some good experiences with the M9. I have shot M9's as an assigned weapon and in military competition, and never had a malfunction. My biggest gripe with them is the DA/SA trigger pull. From an accuracy standpoint, having two different trigger pulls is a pain. Combine that with the barrel rattling around in the slide, and it takes a pretty good shooter to produce accurate results with this gun. The rumor a while ago was that the Army was going to return to .45 for duty weapons, and SOCOM was searching for an appropriate platform. Now I understand that the intention is still to go back to .45, but the whole project has been postponed. Just like how we all thought the HK XM8 was going to replace the M16-series, but now it appears that is not the case.
 

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I agree with you on the trigger pull... Try to leave it the same and consistent with every pull of the trigger. I carreid the M9 in the AF as an SP (MP). It was thick in the grip, to long and of course the trigger. The only people in th eAF that I know of that carry the Sig are OSI and the SPECOPS guys. I also heard that the .45 ACP was coming back to ALL Dept. of Defense and that it was on hold. Hope they get this figured out. Just something nice about the bigger bullet. Don't get me wrong, I have 2 9mm's, 2 .40's and one .45 ACP. Love them all but just something about that big chunk of lead.
 

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Hunter said:
althor said:
Hunter, what was it that you did not like about your Cougar. I like mine, its accurate, reliable and fits great. I know that some are critical of the slide mounted safety levers, but what do you mean when you say P.O.S.?
For one thing I the gun was very heavy for being a compact size handgun, it was more prone to rust and not just mine but others as well, I didn't like the trigger, we had to use gun lube on the slide and in the grooves on the barrel so the barrel could rotate and function as the system is intended. If we didn't use lube, the gun would malfunction close to half the time.

One of our Offiers did qualification shoot in the winter and the lube he had gummed up in the cold and caused the gun to jam. I know this isn't the gun's fault per se, but I feel it does go back to the gun needing lube to operate.
Wow, your experience is different than mine. I have yet to experience a failure. I have only used breakfree clp to clean and lube and it has worked flawlessly. I've had mine since 1995. I can't say how many rounds I've put through it, but it has been plenty. No hint of rust either and I've carried IWB for 11+ years almost daily.

I figured that there must be something though because a whole bunch of Highway Patrol stamped models were sold to the public. I figured that departments changed their minds.

I do find myself wanting something with a constant trigger pull rather than a DA/SA and have plans to get an XD as soon as I can get approval if you know what I mean. But I don't find it to be all that different from other DA/SA guns I've shot. I've wondered if the reason they didn't catch on was this very issue.

For a long time I thought I just had to have a SIG. I eventually got the opportunity to shoot a 229 in 9mm but it wasn't all I imagined it to be. In fact I found it to be just a little awkward in my hand. I still want one though, just like I want one of everything else out there... (except maybe a Lorcin, etc...)
 

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Nice set of reviews so far! I have a Sig P229R with the Heavy slide, short reset trigger, beavertail, night sights, and thin aluminum grips in a .40 SW. This is my first firearm and I have had it for almost a year now. I think it is an excellent chose for many reasons. Being new to firearms, I was very impressed with the safety reviews of the Sigs. I like the heavy double trigger as a first line, but appreciate the supper fast response of the short SA trigger as well. The beavertail has very helpful for me to learn to keep a nice high grip without getting bitten by the slide and the gun is VERY accurate; also helpful for someone learning. The rosewood grips it came with were beautiful but much to thick for my hands so I put the ultra-thin black aluminum grips on and it is perfect. Also, out of all of the different handguns that I rented and demo'd (9mm, .40, .38 spl, .357 Magnum) this was the model that I consistently picked as my favorite time and time again. Also, it has 12+1 rounds of .40 S&W; for self defense I am using 165 gr. JHP which is a very respectable amount of firepower. It fires every single time; I have NEVER had a misfire with any type of ammunition even the cheap bulk reloads I get for practice.

It is not easy to conceal, so I usually wear it openly although I am planning on trying an IWB soon.

All in all, this is an ultra-dependable, accurate, safe, heavy-hitting, confidence-inspiring pistol. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested.
 
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