By Payton Miller, GUNS Magazine
Photos By Joe R. Novelozo
Despite Jeff Cooper’s curt-yet-quotable dismissal of double-action autos as “an answer to a question nobody asked,” the DA 9mm service pistol category has managed to include plenty of iconic specimens over the years. The Beretta 92, CZ 75 and, of course, SIG’s P226 come to mind.
To me, the P226 has a permanent place in the top tier of all 9mm autos—traditional DA/SA, DAO or single action. This is probably a bit of nostalgic bias on my part—the best 25-yard group (rested) I ever shot with any 9mm was with a P226. It was dead-reliable, fit my hand and proved easy to operate. Not as easy as a striker-fired pistol, but pretty easy. The controls—slide lock, magazine release and safety/hammer drop were all easily accessible. The only drawback? It was—and still is—on the pricey side.
But the newer SP2022 costs considerably less (roughly half), and has garnered an excellent reputation among various European LE agencies—notably in France. The SP2022’s polymer frame also buys you 5 or 6 ounces less weight than a P226. The curb weight, unloaded, is 29 ounces.
Not surprisingly, the pistol is also chambered in .40 S&W, a cartridge experiencing a precipitous decline in popularity over the last several years. I’ve heard explanations for this ranging from the “re-adoption” of the 9mm by major LE agencies to the burgeoning popularity of ultra-compact and micro-sized CCW autos in which a .40 simply generates an unacceptable level of recoil.
Our test pistol came with a proprietary synthetic holster cut for
OWB carry. Each SP2022 comes with an alternate set of smaller grips.
Little big gun? The 3.9-inch SP2022 rates as a “compact” in
company terminology, yet its 29-ounce weight makes it exceptionally
comfortable to shoot.
So, we went with the 9mm version. Although the 2022 rates as a “compact” in the SIG size menu, there’s more than enough gun there to tame any 9mm offering out there.
In SA mode, the trigger broke at 5 pounds and was smooth and clean once the considerable slack was taken up. The DA trigger broke at the advertised 10 pounds and was very smooth—one of the more manageable and consistent DA triggers we’ve seen. The DA reach was easy for me (much easier than my old CZ 75) and I don’t have huge hands.
Our particular test sample sported a black Nitron finish, but it can also be had in stainless/black polymer 2-tone or the currently popular Flat Dark Earth. The SP2022, of course, sports the now-obligatory integral light/laser rail. It also comes with a smaller-size alternate grip and a nifty Kydex holster.
Since our sample pistol had to comply with California’s “Approved for Sale” requirements, we were restricted to 10-round magazines (the pistol comes with two). But rest assured, if you reside in friendlier confines, 15 rounders will be available to you (if you opt for the .40 S&W version, you’ll have to settle for 12).
I tried a couple of magazines starting off with DA on the first shot and experienced very little transitioning hassles to the SA pull. If I wanted to take a precise shot at longer distances, of course I’d opt for SA, but at what some folks refer to as “real world” yardage, DA wouldn’t be a handicap. I then tried several magazines full 1-handed, staying double-action all the way by hitting the hammer drop after every shot and doing things what I initially assumed would be “the hard way.” But it turned out to be not so hard after all. Maybe all my time with DA revolvers wasn’t wasted!
The SP2022 was very comfortable to shoot—recoil, even with the more energetic stuff, was negligible. Of course, practically any service-size 9mm (polymer or no) is going to be more controllable than any current compact specimen, but with this one, the difference was fairly negligible.
Overleaf: The SP2022 9mm with SIG’s new Foxtrot1 Weapon Light
aboard makes for an outstanding defensive package.
The textured grips (left) are comfortable and provide first-rate traction.
In DA mode, the trigger is an easy reach for short fingers. And even for
traditional DA skeptics, it’s smooth and easy.
From the muzzle end are the front sight, muzzle, guide
rod and integral light rail on the polymer frame.
The 3-dot sights are easy to acquire and played no small role in
our on-target results. Both are dovetailed in for windage adjustment.
One caveat: The extended slide lock, right above the safety/hammer drop lever, is easily accessible for short-thumbed shooters. Perhaps a little too easily accessible as far as I am concerned. I’d caution against keeping either—or both—thumbs too high up. I did at first and managed to occasionally queer the last-shot lock-open feature until I got my mind right. I guess you can have too much revolver time after all.
Our ammo menu was fairly extensive and included Hornady’s Critical Defense, Custom and American Gunner, CCI’s Blazer Brass, SIG Elite V-Crown and HPR JHP. Bullet weights ranged from 115 to 147 and the pistol functioned flawlessly with everything. And the SP2022’s “just under 4-inch barrel” gave ample evidence of the 9mm’s efficiency in shorter barrels during chronographing.
The best 25-yard groups came with CCI Blazer Brass 115-grain FMJ and, not surprisingly, the “house brand”—SIG’s Elite V-Crown 124-grain JHP. But virtually everything was more than acceptable at that distance. Things got a bit less tight once we got into the 147-grain subsonic stuff, but since we only had two such flavors on hand (Hornady Custom XTP and CCI Blazer TMJ) I wouldn’t care to form any hard-and-fast opinions about general bullet-weight preferences the gun may—or may not—have.
Disassembly: Takedown is fairly simple. Remove the magazine. Ensure the
gun is unloaded. Retract the slide so the forward notch engages the slide
release. Push out the slide-release lever from the opposite side. Separate
the frame and slide. Remove the spring/guide rod assembly. Remove the barrel.
Assemble in reverse order.
To revisit Jeff Cooper’s quote about DA/SA service autos, it helps to remember his experience with them up to that point had most likely been with “bring-back” Walther P-38’s and first-generation S&W Model 39’s and 59’s. This current SIG is far more tractable as far as the double-action trigger goes.
On the whole? The P2022 represents a very well-done option to the current striker-fired DAO autos all the rage today. Our 9mm specimen proved very accurate and had an exceptionally manageable double-action trigger pull. Although I’ve always been a fan of the P226, the P2022 provides the same performance you need in a service pistol. And for a considerably less-hefty price tag.
Shooting Facilities provided by: Angeles Shooting Ranges, 12651 Little Tujunga Rd., San Fernando, CA 91342, (800) 499-4486, www.angelesranges.com.
Top 25-yard performers included CCI Blazer Brass 115-grain TMJ (above)
and SIG Elite 124-grain V-Crown JHP (below).
SIG’s venture into weapon lights is a hit, with a versatile
light capable of generating variable levels of brightness.
Got a Light?
If you’ve been paying attention to SIG SAUER lately, you’d know the company has diversified its product line considerably. Besides pistols and semi-auto carbines and rifles, they now have their own optics, suppressor and ammunition lines.
One new item we were able to try out on the SP2022 pistol was the Foxtrot1 Weapon Light, a streamlined, rail-mounted flashlight featuring a white LED with a 2-hour run time at 200 lumens on a single CR123 battery. The Foxtrot1 can be set to generate 100, 200 or even an ultra-bright 300 lumens depending on the situation.
We tried it out in Thomas Mackie’s workshop in dim light and found it to be extraordinarily effective. The on-off switch was easily accessible and at “high beam” the effect would be disorienting, to say the least.
Maker: SIG SAUER
72 Pease Blvd., Newington, NH 03801 – (603) 610-3000
Type: DA/SA semi-auto
Caliber: 9mm (tested), .40 S&W
Capacity: 10+1 or 15+1 (9mm)
Barrel length: 3.9 inches
Overall length: 7.4 inches
Weight: 29 ounces
Construction: Polymer frame, stainless steel slide
Sights: 3-dot, Price: $543