The P227 comes suppressor ready out of the box, with threaded bar­rel and high sights. Plus, it main­tains a slim grip, even with 10- and 14-round mag­a­zines.

Gun World - - Contents - By Andy Mas­si­m­il­ian

Not that long ago, find­ing a .45 ACP-cal­iber pis­tol with a dou­ble-col­umn mag­a­zine and a man­age­ably sized grip was dif­fi­cult. There were the Glock 21 and the Para Or­di­nance wide-bod­ied 1911, but the grip on both of th­ese is larger than many can com­fort­ably han­dle— es­pe­cially given the .45’s rel­a­tively stout re­coil that re­quires a tighter, more com­plete grip to con­trol.

Then came Spring­field Ar­mory’s XD, with a much smaller grip. How­ever, some shoot­ers prefer a U.S.-made, met­al­framed pis­tol with­out a lever-type trig­ger safety.

This opens the door for the SIG P227, which is only 2 ounces heav­ier than the poly­mer-framed equiv­a­lent size XD 45 (both with empty mag­a­zines).

SIG makes seven vari­ants of this pis­tol that prin­ci­pally dif­fer with re­spect to grips, sights, slide length and metal fin­ish. All mod­els have a grip frame that can ac­com­mo­date a 10-round mag­a­zine that fits flush to the mag­a­zine well. This ar­ti­cle will ad­dress the P227 Tac­ti­cal, which dis­tin­guishes it­self from the other mod­els be­cause of its threaded bar­rel, suppressor-height night sights and spare 14-round, drop-free mag­a­zine.


The P227 Tac­ti­cal is a full-sized pis­tol made with an alu­minum frame and stain­less steel slide and bar­rel. The frame is made from an ex­truded bil­let (which is stronger than a cast­ing), while the bar­rel and slide are ma­chined from a sin­gle piece of bar stock. The only plas­tic parts on the Tac­ti­cal are the grip and main­spring stop.

Its over­all length is 8.4 inches; and, not in­clud­ing the .7-inch threaded bar­rel ex­ten­sion, it’s nearly the same size as a full­sized 1911. The Tac­ti­cal is a tra­di­tional dou­ble ac­tion/sin­gle ac­tion with a frame-mounted de­cock­ing lever that safely low­ers the ham­mer but keeps the pis­tol ready to fire in DA mode. There is no man­ual thumb safety, but when de­cocked, the Tac­ti­cal can be safely car­ried in a proper hol­ster with a round in the cham­ber, be­cause the fir­ing pin is blocked from mov­ing for­ward un­til the trig­ger is de­pressed.

The Tac­ti­cal and other full-sized P227s use the same slide assem­bly as the P220, but the Tac­ti­cal’s frame is slightly wider to ac­com­mo­date 10 rounds (com­pared to eight rounds in the P220), which makes it more er­gonomic. The Tac­ti­cal has an un­der­cut trig­ger guard that matches the shape of the guard on the P226 X-Five com­pe­ti­tion pis­tol. The frame is slightly shorter than the P220, which places the in­dex fin­ger closer to the trig­ger.

The Tac­ti­cal uses SIG’s Short Re­set Trig­ger (SRT) that re­duces re­set by 60 per­cent over non-SRT mod­els, ac­cord­ing to SIG. This makes fol­low-up shots quicker and more ac­cu­rate, be­cause the trig­ger fin­ger does not need to move fur­ther for­ward to rest the sear­ing mech­a­nism be­fore be­ing pressed rear­ward again.

My pis­tol had dou­ble- and sin­gle-ac­tion trig­ger pull weights of 9.4 pounds and 4.4 pounds, re­spec­tively, mea­sured us­ing a Lyman elec­tronic trig­ger pull gauge. The dou­ble-ac­tion trig­ger stroke was smooth, and there was very mi­nor creep in sin­gle­ac­tion mode and no dis­cernible over­travel.

The Tac­ti­cal uses a one-piece plas­tic grip with molded lugs (most hand­guns use screws) that se­curely lock it to the frame with no wob­ble or chance of screws loos­en­ing or rust­ing. A tool comes with the pis­tol that spreads the grip, al­low­ing it to be re­moved. The sur­face has fine fis­sures for tex­ture that help pro­vide a secure, non­slip hold on the pis­tol but tend to re­tain dust and dirt (best re­moved with a tooth­brush be­fore they lessen the grip’s ef­fec­tive­ness). Other grips from the P227 se­ries made of wood or G10 will fit the Tac­ti­cal.


The Tac­ti­cal is an ac­cu­rate and re­li­able pis­tol. The best fiveshot, 25-yard groups mea­sured 1.4 inches at the cen­ters us­ing SIG Sauer 200-grain JHP and 1.9 inches for both the Free­dom Mu­ni­tions 230-grain HUSH FMJ and Winch­ester USA 230-grain JHP. Other loads with hol­low-point bul­lets were also tested for re­li­a­bil­ity, with no stop­pages for any of the 250 rounds fired.

The HUSH load shot to point of aim, while the SIG and Winch­ester loads printed 1.5 and 3 inches high, re­spec­tively. HUSH also shot at a lower ve­loc­ity (-126 fps) than the equiv­a­lent-weight Winch­ester load. HUSH is made for suppressor use, and this lower ve­loc­ity is by de­sign, be­cause lower ve­loc­ity usu­ally pro­duces less muz­zle blast, mak­ing it eas­ier to sup­press. HUSH also uses low-flash pow­der for night fire, ac­cord­ing to Free­dom Mu­ni­tions.

Han­dling on the Tac­ti­cal is very good, with easy-to-man­age re­coil—thanks to the grip and front strap check­er­ing. The Tac­ti­cal also has a smooth and light enough DA trig­ger stroke to put a quick, fairly ac­cu­rate, first shot on tar­get. More­over, once you prac­tice, tran­si­tion­ing to SA fire with a short, light trig­ger stroke is not a hin­drance. The smooth, medium-width trig­ger face also helps keep rounds fired in DA on tar­get.

SIG Sauer DA/SA pis­tols are de­signed for right-handed shoot­ers, so left-hand op­er­a­tion is im­per­fect—but not dif­fi­cult. To de­cock the ham­mer or ac­ti­vate the mag­a­zine re­lease but­ton, use the trig­ger fin­ger in­stead of the thumb. The mag re­lease but­ton is large, with a bevel to the front just for this pur­pose. To cham­ber a round from a con­di­tion of slide lock, ro­tate the left thumb over the top of the slide.

The fixed, high-pro­file night sights are steel and use tri­tium in­serts sur­rounded by white cir­cles. It’s per­sonal pref­er­ence, but I find the white cir­cles a dis­trac­tion and prefer just a sin­gle dot up front. Nev­er­the­less, oth­ers might like the three glow­ing dots. The rear sight also re­flects glare from the sun but is fix­able with black sight treat­ment, which can be found on­line.

On the pos­i­tive side, the sights are high and durable enough to al­low rack­ing the slide by catch­ing them on a belt buckle or boot if one hand is in­ca­pac­i­tated. They are also dove­tail mounted in case drift­ing is nec­es­sary to sight-in (if you do want to drift, use the SIG sight-ad­just­ment tool or the MGW Sight Pro, rather than the ham­mer-and-brass-punch tech­nique that is im­pre­cise and frus­trat­ing).


One of the more re­cent suppressor de­signs is the Ob­sid­ian 45 from Rugged Sup­pres­sors. The Ob­sid­ian is a mod­u­lar, mul­ti­cal­iber unit that can be used with typ­i­cal pis­tol cal­iber rounds up to .45 ACP and sub­sonic .300 BLK. Us­ing ADAPT Mod­u­lar Tech­nol­ogy, it can be con­fig­ured into two lengths—8.6 inches and 6.7 inches—in only sec­onds.

This well-made suppressor is suit­able for full-auto fire and uses re­mov­able baf­fles made from 17-4 PH stain­less steel through­out, rather than non-hard­ened stain­less steel fol­lowed by alu­minum baf­fles. The booster spring is also stain­less, in­stead of car­bon steel—which will rust af­ter run­ning the can wet.

The Ob­sid­ian can be used with pis­tons made by Si­lencerco, sav­ing the user about $80 when chang­ing to a pis­tol with a dif­fer­ent bar­rel thread. The Ob­sid­ian also uses an O-ring on the pis­ton mount to seal in gas that could leak from a slot­ted pis­ton. Sound rat­ings from Si­lencerShop tests for .45ACP shot dry in full and short con­fig­u­ra­tions are 129.3dB and 137.6dB, re­spec­tively.

I tested the Ob­sid­ian in its long con­fig­u­ra­tion. The Tac­ti­cal func­tioned per­fectly with the Ob­sid­ian, and the tall sights al­lowed an un­ob­structed sight pic­ture. The Ob­sid­ian damp­ened re­coil, as well as sound—as is ex­pected from a suppressor.

Point of im­pact did shift 3 inches to 7:00 at 16 yards, but it can be ro­tated to an­other po­si­tion by ro­tat­ing the pis­ton. The Tac­ti­cal also func­tioned when the pis­tol was pointed down­ward and shot with a loose grip; this is a crit­i­cal test of the suppressor’s booster mech­a­nism. The mod­u­lar unit also re­mained se­cured to the body of the main tube—thanks to the O-ring that Rugged uses to keep threads at­tached.

Us­ing the suppressor, I ex­pe­ri­enced a sig­nif­i­cant amount of blow­back on my fir­ing hand but slightly less than when shoot­ing the Tac­ti­cal with a dif­fer­ent suppressor. Blow­back is to be ex­pected with suppressor use, so be sure to wear safety glasses and maybe gloves if it is a dis­trac­tion. Blow­back also re­flects the pis­tol’s de­sign, as well as the suppressor’s—es­pe­cially the tim­ing of when the bar­rel un­locks from the slide and also where the gas es­cap­ing the cham­ber is di­rected. Also, ham­mer-fired de­signs can send more gas rear­ward than striker-fired de­signs due to solid end caps on the rear of the slide.


The Tac­ti­cal is a high-qual­ity build. It is easy to shoot well, is left-hand com­pat­i­ble and han­dles .45 ACP re­coil much bet­ter than other pis­tols. I es­pe­cially like that SIG Sauer in­cludes suppressor-height sights with its threaded bar­rel pis­tols, be­cause other gunmakers in­stall a threaded bar­rel and call their pis­tols “suppressor ready” but don’t in­stall suppressor-height sights.

The spare 14-round mag­a­zine is also a plus for those who carry with a 10-rounder in the pis­tol but want more ammo at the ready. GW


The P227 Tac­ti­cal is de­signed for suppressor use with a threaded bar­rel and suppressor-height sights. Shown is the Rugged Ob­sid­ian 45 suppressor.

The Rugged Sup­pres­sors Ob­sid­ian be­fore use. It is rated for for full-auto, SMGs and SBRs. Rugged backs it up with a bestin-in­dus­try war­ranty.

Above: The front sight is high enough to clear the suppressor tube, al­low­ing for an un­ob­structed sight pic­ture. Note that the golden color of the stain­less steel pis­ton is caused by the pre­cip­i­tate hard­en­ing treat­ment.

The Ob­sid­ian has a .45-plus­inch-width bore, but it can be used on 9mm with ei­ther the .45-inch end cap or, for bet­ter ef­fi­ciency in sound sup­pres­sion, chang­ing to a 9mm cap. The cap un­screws via the pis­ton, which fits the notches shown.

The front strap check­er­ing is func­tional, as is the fis­sured-tex­tured, one­piece grip.

Left: The rear sight is high enough to also al­low one-handed rack­ing of the slide if one hand is in­ca­pac­i­tated.

SIGLite night sights with white sur­round­ing tri­tium-filled vials. The au­thor re­places his with fresh ones af­ter about seven years to re­tain ad­e­quate bright­ness.

Easy dis­as­sem­bly is a hall­mark of SIG Sauer pis­tols: Ro­tate a sin­gle take­down lever to re­move the slide assem­bly, and go from there. Note the clean­ing rod/grip-re­moval tool. Insert­ing it into the mag well and twist­ing spreads the one-piece grip...

For left-handed shoot­ers, a large, check­ered mag­a­zine re­lease can be eas­ily reached with the in­dex fin­ger. Note the beveled for­ward edge that un­der­scores the care­ful en­gi­neer­ing typ­i­cal of the SIG Sauer line.

Lan­yard loops are still in­cluded on pis­tols in­tended for mil­i­tary use. Dat­ing back to the days of mounted horse cavalry, lan­yards (also known as “dummy cords”) are still in use today.

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