I've had both, dumped the P220's kept the 1911's ........... and the P226's
This is a discussion on Sig P220 compared to 1911? within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have had and have shot 1911's on several occasions, I am not found of the grip safety nor the thumb safety, I want to ...
I have had and have shot 1911's on several occasions, I am not found of the grip safety nor the thumb safety, I want to know from owners of the P220 how they compare to the 1911 in accuracy, realiabilty and over all shoot-ability. Did you transition from the 1911 platform or did you start out with the P220.
I also want to know the difference between the P220 and the P220 Elite.
I've had both, dumped the P220's kept the 1911's ........... and the P226's
"There is a secret pride in every human heart that revolts at tyranny. You may order and drive an individual, but you cannot make him respect you." William Hazlitt (1778 - 1830)
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I traded a Norinco 1911-A1 and a Series 80 Colt Combat Commander for a P220 and a P225. For a while I was carrying Sig P226, P228 and the 1911s. I decided to standardize on a single platform and the Sig won. The only reason I bought the P220 was I have a fair bit of money tied up in .45 reloading equipment and supplies. My P220 is one of the older models (1991 model year) and runs like a swiss watch. It is easily as accurate out of the box as any 1911 I have ever seen and more reliable than many. The "Elite" models IIRC have a beaver tail grip and a fancier finish. Some folks like that stuff but I think it is mostly a marketing ploy. Just trying to fix something that isn't broken in the first place.
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I have owned and shot 1911s for decades, and presently own a number of them, both Colts and Kimbers. About 3 years ago I bought a Sig P220ST model and began shooting it. I have been very impressed by the gun in terms of accuracy, reliability, grip feel and overall quality of manufacture. I liked it so well that I later bought a Sig P245, the compact version of the P220. The P245 has also functioned very well for me.
I have a sentimental affinity for 1911s, but I think the Sig P220 is also a classic .45.
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I have a Sig Sauer P220 Carry and a Colt Light Weight Commander....... They are very different pistols. My Sig is da/sa and of course the Colt is SA. There are a couple of reasons why I choose to carry my Sig (and Glock 30sf) over the Colt. 1) The "experts" say when shooting 1911's you need to let your thumb ride on top of the manual safety so as to avoid actually setting the safety during the firing sequence. For some reason, when I held the pistol in this way sometimes I didn't actuate the grip safety and the gun would not go bang.............not a good thing. I know this is going to be taken well by the 1911 fans, but I just don't like the Colt sa trigger pull. There is no take-up whatsoever and I just don't shoot the Colt that well. The dimensions of the Colt and Sig are close.....the Sig is slightly wider and a little heavier (30.5oz for the Sig and 27oz for the Colt), but to me the Colt has more muzzleflip. Final reason why I don't carry the Colt is that I just don't like pistols with manual safeties. I alternate aiwb carry of the Sig and a Glock 30sf. Will occasionally pocket carry a Glock26.
I’ve been a 1911 guy since I was first issued one in 1978 as an MP, probably owned 16 or so over the years. About 7 years ago I got the itch to move to SIGs after shooting a friend’s, so I bought a 220ST, then a P6 (for dirt cheap), I already owned a 230SL. I probably shot about 1K through it doing doubles just to get used to the DA/SA transition. For about 2 years the 220ST was my primary range gun and I shot a couple IDPA matches with it and took a 1 day class
After this I still wasn’t fond of the DA to SA, so back to 1911s. I bought a couple Les Baers and now the 220ST spends most of its time in my safe, the P6 became my truck gun.
IMHO, the SIG is utterly reliable, very accurate, and a great overall pistol, IF you’re going to spend the time (& ammo) getting used to the DA to SA. I had a couple friends out to my place to shoot this week and I dragged the 220ST out, we set up IDPA like COFs, and they both had issues going from DA/SA.
Having said that, IF I had to buy a .45ACP pistol tomorrow, and it must run with whatever ammo I could find, between a 1911 and a 220, I’d buy the 220.
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Tough comparison because they're so completely different. I've owned a war surplus type 1911 since I was 13 (40 years), and have shot a bunch of customs and semi-custom 1911s over the years. I'm a definite 1911 fan, believer, bigot and enthusiast. It's not just a 'classic', it's a fundamentally rock-solid timeless triumph of small arms design that has retained or even increased in popularity over the decades for the right reasons.
I bought a P220 Stainless Elite a few years back, and have shot the 226s and 229s in training at Sig. IMO the P220 is also an incredibly well-designed and well-built handgun. In stainless, the full-size P220 is a fairly massive handgun, and feels far bigger and chunkier that the 1911. I think it's fair to say it's a super-accurate handgun, and especially with some attention paid to cleaning up the trigger a tad, is a pleasure in both DA and SA modes. I have never found the DA first round to be an issue in any of the Sigs I've fired, and have seen little to no impact on shooting performance. I used the big 220 in IDPA CDP division, and never noticed the trigger at all. To me, it's a complete non-issue.
The P220 IS tall in the saddle, with the bore centerline being a full 1/2" further from the trigger than other 45s. While I don't think the P220 makes a great CDP gun for competition, I've not found it sluggish in getting back on target when shooting full-power SD loads such as Speer Gold Dot, etc.
The gun has been utterly reliable, with no part failures and no noteworthy issues with feeding any factory ammo and most of my hand loads.
To ask how it compares in terms of accuracy, that's pretty much impossible to say because to compare to "a 1911" is comparing to a huge family of products from junk slapped together from Chinese parts to hand-built target guns designed purely for accuracy. Again, my unfounded opinion is that any P220 could probably be as accurate as most any 1911, but I don't know that for a fact. Accuracy isn't a concern for me in any handgun I own so I don't pay much attention--any handgun I can imagine owning is probably more accurate out of the box than I need it to be, and is likely to have more accuracy than I will ever discover.
To choose between them, I truly think accuracy and reliability of the P220 is above question, generally. For the 1911, you have to look at specific products. I've seen Les Baers foul-up at IDPA matches routinely, I've 'heard' bad reports on Kimbers regularly and I've heard nothing but glowing reports on STIs, Springfields and many others. I really think you have to handle and shoot the two 'platforms', decide which one you prefer and enjoy the most. If your choice is the 1911, then you have to find the one that you believe is the right one for you. I personally can eliminate everything that looks like a showpiece or is priced over a certain amount, for example--that helped me narrow the field.
Here's my 220 Elite Stainless with tac rail and trigger guard hook removed and with beavertail and hammer reductions. I must say, it's a real pleasure to shoot and is an absolute blast with light loads, especially.
I believe the distinction between the P220 and P220 Elite is that the Elite has the SRT (Short Reset Trigger) and the extended beavertail. I'm not aware offhand of any other differences. Also note that there is (or was) a P220 offered in single action only (the P220 SAO), and Sig also makes 1911s. So, you have some options if Sig is your first choice.
A long time back I stupidly fired a second round after hitting a squib--and this was completely due to my not paying attention to several warning signs. In any case, this error burst the barrel on the P220. There was NO other damage to the gun, and I only took some high-speed debris to the face. While demonstrating the need for me to improve inspection on the reloading bench, it also demonstrated that the gun is solid. I believe it's, without question, a combat pistol the equal of any made. And...it's a 45.
As for the 1911 safeties, I can say from experience that the thumb safety on the 1911 is truly a non-issue for the shooter with even a modest amount of experience. I think the 1911 stands out as one handgun having safeties that actually are, as opposed to many autos having safety 'features' I personally consider simply responses to marketing needs. The grip safety on the 1911 is, to me, simply 'not there'...I've never noticed it whatsoever. The thumb safety quickly becomes as automatic to presentation of the weapon as any other learned procedure, such as holster retention release, etc.
Finally, IMO there are a lot of 1911s out there that are tuned and tweaked and fitted to death. They enable the manufacturer to demonstrate the extreme inherent accuracy of the .45ACP cartridge, but may make reliability and part interchangeability a bit sketchy. That's just my gut feel. I'd beware, in the vast 1911 world, of the fit-and-finish angle...I don't believe we're trying to show off the gunsmith's prowess in the art department, here.
Whew. You ask for a simple opinion...
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Out of the thousands of rounds I've put through my plain jane P220 I have yet to have a single issue with it and it's more accurate than I am. I've spent quite a bit of time with 1911's starting with my dad's Colt he carried in WW2 to Kimbers, Les Baers, Wilson Combat to a Dan Wesson and I've never found a 1911 that is as reliable as any of my Sigs. I do have to admit that I shoot that Wilson better than any handgun I've ever shot.
The SIG P220 SAO is a nice pistol and it does not have a grip safety. It is reliable and accurate, but IMO a quality 1911 is far superior to the P220. And the 1911 is easier to conceal.
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I've got both - the P-220 is the Carry version. I really like my 1911, but the P-220 just fits me better. I shoot it more accurately, and since it's the Carry version it's easier to conceal than my 1911. Both great guns, buy my P-220 gets used a LOT more than my 1911.
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I started out with a 1911, then my next automatic was a Sig 220. The Sig was hands-down more accurate out of the box, and in maybe 10K rounds it has never, ever failed to chamber, fire or eject a round. It gets range use and carried on occasion, but compared to the 1911 the grip is pretty fat and I prefer a thumb safety to a decocker. It's more enjoyable to shoot than my Glock 23, primarily due (I think) to grip angle. I've worked on the DA/SA trigger transition to the point where the first shot isn't a throwaway, but it's still a noticeable difference when operating the trigger. It's a superb gun, it's not for sale, it's one of the ones I'll grab when I have to bug out, but it's still behind the 1911 to me.
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I'll take the 1911 first but the SIG 220 is a really nice pistol. I borrowed one from a lawman bud of mine for six weeks and shot it quite a bit. I could have gotten real used to it with no problems. Some complain about the high bore axis and recoil recovery time. Sure the configuration is "taller" than a 1911 but the pistol is very well mannered with ball equivalent ammo. It is very accurate too.
I like the 1911s safety best and its all-steel construction so would choose it. I wouldn't mind trading into a 220 some day though.
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Honestly this question is a bit like coke or Pepsi. It's a personal taste issue, and they really are two roads leading to the same location. Both originally were military service pistols designed. They now though have tons of models and tweeks. So honestly they just depend on you.
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