By Doug Larson, Gun Digest
Classics always seem to survive despite changes in style and taste. And the SIG P225 was, and still is, a classic handgun that the Swiss created in the 1970s as a compact companion to the SIG Sauer P220. It was adopted as the law enforcement sidearm by several nations, most notably the West Germans, who designated it as the P6. As time passed, the West Germans transitioned to a different sidearm, and surplus P225s began to arrive in the US.
These single-stack 9mm imports gained a loyal following and were prized by many as a gun for discreet carry even though the striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol trend had begun. Now, as more states make lawful, discreet carry easier, the trend is toward smaller, single-stack handguns. All the major handgun manufacturers recognize this, but not all have a classic like the P225 in their heritage.
Although the original SIG P225 was made only in Europe, the new and improved SIG P225-A1 is made in the U.S. According to SIG, the gun is essentially the same as the P225 but has been made better by the use of the enhanced Short Reset Trigger (SRT), slight changes in design and new manufacturing methods that permit parts to be made to more precise tolerances and standards.
SIG Sauer has developed a reputation for making high quality firearms, but high quality does not come cheaply. So with an MSRP of $1,122–$1,236 with SIGLITE Night Sights, the P225-A1 cannot be classified as inexpensive. However, that is not going to deter those buyers who value high quality, especially in a classic design that has been enhanced by modern manufacturing methods and technology.
This gun is not going to be for everyone. In addition to the price, the trigger action is traditional SIG, with a double-action stroke for the first shot that transitions to single action for following shots. Compared to a single-action or striker-fired gun, the action is more difficult to master, but for those who take the time to train, it is quite satisfactory. A competent shooter can hold his own with a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) handgun against any other shooter of a similar skill level using a single-action or striker-fired handgun.
Unlike striker-fired pistols, the P225-A1 has an exposed hammer. When the hammer is in its resting position, the initial stroke of the trigger retracts the hammer to the cocked position before it is released to strike the firing pin. This first stroke requires more force than subsequent strokes because, after firing the first round, the action of the slide cocks the hammer and prepares it for the next round. Subsequent shots require only a shorter and lighter press of the trigger to release the hammer.
The first double-action stroke on the test pistol measured about 14 pounds, and single-action pulls measured about 6 pounds. The double-action pull was smooth and exhibited no perceived stacking, while the single-action pull had a short take-up, some creep, but a crisp let-off. Reset was distinct and indeed short as is implied by the Short Reset Trigger’s name.
Controls are distinctly SIG. There is no external safety, but the gun has a firing pin safety that prevents the firing pin from moving forward to strike the primer unless the trigger is pulled. There is also a rebounding hammer that is blocked from contacting the firing pin until the trigger is pressed all the way to the rear. Additionally, the gun is equipped with a decocking lever on the left side just forward of the grip panel. Stroking it down when the pistol is cocked safely releases the hammer to fall without striking the firing pin and prepares it for a long, double-action pull. However, safety dictates that when using the decocking lever, the gun be pointed in a safe direction.
The slide catch is located above the left grip panel just to the rear of the decocking lever where it is easy to engage with the thumb of the right hand when retracting the slide. The magazine catch is also located on the left side of the frame at the junction of the trigger guard and front strap. It, too, is easy to reach.
The trigger guard is generously sized and is undercut at the front strap to allow the shooter to get a higher hold on the gun. This will help to control recoil, although with the weight of the gun, the 9mm chambering and a proper hold, recoil is quite manageable allowing for rapid follow up shots.
The alloy frame is nicely finished with a black hard coat anodizing. The two-piece grip panels are black G-10 manufactured for SIG by Hogue. Fastened by two screws on each side, they feature aggressive checkering on the sides and backstrap, and they are inlaid with an attractive silver SIG medallion on each side. The front strap has fine checkering, and most people will find the gun easy to grip firmly for good control.
The gun is supplied with two matte black steel eight-round single-stack magazines with witness holes. The magazines have a steel follower and a polymer base that sits nearly flush with the bottom of the grip when inserted. The magazine well is considerably wider at the base than the width of the magazine and is then tapered to form a funnel. This encourages rapid magazine changes.
The stainless steel slide has an evenly applied flat black Nitron finish. Deep serrations at the rear help the shooter obtain a firm grip on the slide when cycling the action by hand. The slide has the familiar SIG contours that have been around for decades and are pleasing to most eyes, and atop the slide are three-dot sights that are drift adjustable for windage. SIG also offers SIGLITE Night Sights with three tritium dots that glow in the dark, which help solve the serious problem of trying to find the sights in dim light. They are a good investment, especially considering that most lethal confrontations take place in diminished light where predators like to operate.
The P225-A1 received for testing was an accurate gun and proved to be enjoyable to shoot. At 7 yards, a reasonable distance to test a short-barreled compact handgun, groups averaged 1 inch or less, with the best group delivered by Asym Match ammo at .39 inch. Obviously, at longer ranges, groups would widen, partially due to the challenge of aiming an iron-sighted handgun with a short sight radius.
Some observers have questioned why SIG would reintroduce the P225 when the company already makes the P239, which is almost identical and costs about $130 less. The P225-A1 is 1 ounce heavier than the P239, and the guns are about the same size. The grip panels are slightly different, but the controls are the same. SIG obviously believes there is enough demand for the classic design to make producing it a profitable venture. And SIG makes few mistakes, so only time will tell. For more information, go to SIGSauer.com or call 866-345-6744.
SIG Sauer P225-A1
Type: Semi-auto, double action, locked breech
Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Barrel: 3.6 in.
Overall Length: 6.9 in.
Weight: 30.5 oz.
Grips: Black checkered G10
Sights: SIGLITE night sights, or contrast sights
Finish: Nitron and hard-coat anodizing
MSRP: $1,236 (night sights), ($1,122 (contrast sights)
Manufacturer: SIG Sauer
This article is an excerpt from the March 2016 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.