Modern Firearms - SIG-Sauer P220
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SIG-Sauer P220 pistol (Switzerland)


Early SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in 9mm. It is same as Swiss service Pistole 75, and has a bottom magazine release.

Early SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in 9mm. It is same as Swiss service Pistole 75, and has a bottom magazine release.

 

Early SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in 9mm, right side view.

Early SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in 9mm, right side view.

 

SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in .45ACP, with

SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in .45ACP, with "American" style magazine release at the left side of the grip.

 

Recent production SIG-Sauer .45ACP P220 pistol with semi-custom

Recent production SIG-Sauer .45ACP P220 pistol with semi-custom "Equinox" finish and accessory rail.

 

The most recent version of the .45 caliber P220, with Single Action trigger and ambidextrous frame mounted safety; the version shown is the P220R carry SAO, with shortened barrel and accessory rail.

The most recent version of the .45 caliber P220, with Single Action trigger and ambidextrous frame mounted safety; the version shown is the P220R carry SAO, with shortened barrel and accessory rail.

 

Early 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 pistol partially disassembled.

Early 9mm SIG-Sauer P220 pistol partially disassembled.

 

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Trigger: Double-Action

Caliber: 9x19mm Luger and .45ACP; also .38 Super and 7.65mm Luger (both obsolete)
Length, overall: 198 mm
Barrel length: 112 mm
Weight unloaded : 800 g (aluminium frame)
1100 g (stainless steel frame)
Capacity: 8 rounds (7.65mm, 9mm. .38) or 7 rounds (.45)

 

The SIG-Sauer P220, often considered as the best “out of the box” .45 caliber double action pistol, started its life as the 9mm Pistole 75, the new double action sidearm for Swiss army. Developed during the early 1970s by the famous Swiss company Sweizerishe Industrie-Gesellschaft or SIG in short, this pistol was intended to replace the extremely accurate, but overly expensive SIG P210 pistol then in service with Swiss and some other armies. The pistol was indeed a very promising design, but strict Swiss laws severely limited the export of war materiel, so SIG decided to move the manufacture of its newest pistol abroad. For this reason SIG Holdings AG in 1976 acquired significant stocks of the J.P. Sauer & Son Company, which was located in Germany, and during the late 1970s started the manufacture of the SIG-Sauer P220 pistol in Germany. 
The P220, as with most of its later siblings, was an instant and continuous success. Adopted by the Swiss and Japanese armies, and by a large number of European police organizations, this pistol also rapidly found its way into the USA, first thorough the Browning Arms Company of Utah, and, since the mid-1980s, through the SIGARMS Company of New Hampshire. Initially made in four calibers, today the P220 is manufactured only in .45 ACP, as its 9mm version has been largely replaced by the SIG-Sauer P226, a pistol of similar size but with a larger magazine capacity. Today the P220 is made in a number of versions which include both “service” and “sporting” modifications, the latter often fitted with extended barrels, compensators and adjustable sights. Service versions may have the Picatinny rail for accessories, as well as double-action or double-action-only triggers. Since the 2006, the PP20 also offered with Single action triggers and also in "Carry" configuration with shortened barrel. The P220 also could be made with an aluminium frame and steel slide, or with both frame and slide made from stainless steel. It is worth nothing that a high-capacity version of the .45 caliber P220 was developed during the early 1990s for the US market. Apparently designated P221, this gun was effectively killed by the so-called “Assault weapons ban”, the infamous legislation that limited the magazine capacity of civilian arms to 10 rounds, which was enforced in the USA between 1994 and 2004.

The SIG-Sauer P220 is short-recoil operated, locked-breech pistol. The locking is of modified Browning type, where the barrel engages the slide with single large lug entering the ejection window. The unlocking is controlled by a cam-shaped lug under the barrel, which interacts with the steel insert set into the aluminium frame. The slide is made from sheet steel by stamping and forming processes, with the separate breechblock pinned into the rear of the slide (machined slides are available on some current production .45 caliber models). The standard trigger is the double-action type, with an automatic firing pin block safety and a frame-mounted decocking lever. Double action only modifications do not have a decocker. Most recent SAO (Single action only) versions have ambidextrous non-decocking safeties located on the frame, which allow for "Cocked & Locked" carry. Magazines are single stack, with the magazine release located on the heel of the grip on early  versions, or at the base of the trigger-guard on the .45 caliber versions made for the US market. The standard sights are fixed, with high contrast inserts, and the rear sight is dovetailed to the slide.

How to field- strip (disassemble) P220: 1) remove the magazine by pressing the magazine release button; 2) check that the chamber is empty; 3) pull the slide all the way back and lock it there with the slide stop; 4) rotate down the disassembly lever, which is located at the left side of the frame, above the trigger; 5) release the slide and carefully push it forward, and out of the frame; 6) remove the return spring assembly from below the barrel; 7) remove the barrel from the slide.
Reassemble in reverse order.