In the late 1970’s, SIG SAUER contracted with Browning to produce their P220 pistol as the Browning BDA, and it caught the imagination of American shooters. The Huntington Beach, Calif., Police Department adopted it for their officers, and the die was cast: there was at last a .45 auto (that so many street cops wanted) that was double action and would be acceptable to police chiefs (many of whom were scared to death of issuing a cocked and locked 1911).
SIG listened to Yank cops (and civilians) who didn’t care for the butt/heel magazine release of the original P220/Browning BDA, and the result was what was called then the P220 American, which had a 1911-type push button mag release.
Ever since, the P220 .45 has been popular in America among cops and armed citizens alike. From the beginning, it proved remarkably accurate and, thanks to its relatively straight-line feed, remarkably reliable. As SIG found ways to build even better pistols, the P220 gained a forged slide instead of the “folded” style of the original German-made gun, and production was transferred to the American factory in Exeter, N.H.
The one complaint the company got was in reference to the single-stack magazine. The P220 mag originally held seven rounds; the company redesigned for eight, making it a 9-shot pistol, counting the round in the chamber. The trend was still toward higher firepower though.
SIG listened, and 2013 saw the introduction of the latest evolution of the P220 series .45’s: the P227. Its tapered magazine holds 10 .45 ACP cartridges in standard configuration, and the company offers a 14-round extended magazine. Counting the round in the chamber, this brings the firepower “up to speed” in the double-stack .45 ACP market, where the 13+1-round Glock 21 seems to be the current sales leader.
The P227 has a traditional double-action first shot with subsequent shots fired single-action.
The P227 has a generous accessory rail on the frame for lights and lasers.
The easiest way for me to say it is, “If you’ve held the P226 with E2 (“Ergonomics squared”) grip configuration, you’ve essentially held the P227. If you’ve shot the P220 .45, you’ve pretty much shot the P227.” I honestly can’t distinguish the P226 E2 from the P227 with my eyes closed by feel, and the always-controllable recoil of the P220 remains the same in the larger capacity P227 .45.
But about that double-stack magazine—if you noticed it’s remarkably similar to the .45 ACP P250 double-action-only SIG SAUER with polymer frame, well, that’s not exactly a coincidence. It seems SIG engineers saw no need to reinvent the wheel. My friend Chuck McDonald slightly modified some P250 .45 mags he had, and voilà—they worked fine in his new P227, with which he is extremely happy.
Next, testing and specs