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Sig Sauer P220 Match Elite 10mm Review

by G&A Staff   |  October 15th, 2015 0

For years, 10mm devotees have been calling upon the company to produce its popular full-size Sig Sauer P220 classic in the formidable round that’s been the subject of much debate over the last 30 years. The pistol is certainly stout enough to handle the increased pressures that the 10mm has become known for, but the years of silence have been deafening — until now.

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The new SIG P220 in 10mm is a long-awaited model that features a 5-inch barrel to maximize the ballistics of the 10mm round. Increased energy and a longer range over the .45 ACP are the payoff at the cost of felt recoil.

At the 2015 SHOT Show, SIG fans and 10mm fans joined together at the Clark County Shooting Complex just north of Las Vegas to receive everything from SIG Sauer they had been asking for. Not only did SIG unveil four new P220s chambered in 10mm, it also added two 10mm loads to its line of Elite Performance Ammunition.

For those unfamiliar with the Sig Sauer P220 platform, it is the handgun to which the company’s classic P-series owes its heritage. The pistol was originally developed for the Swiss army and officially adopted by it in 1975, but chambered for 9mm. In 1976, the pistol was made available in .45 Auto and designed to best the M1911. It quickly earned its reputation for being one of the most accurate .45s out of the box.

The Sig Sauer P220 operates by a locked-breech, short-recoil action harking back to John M. Browning and has been available in the United States in .45 Auto for the last three decades. As of January of this year, 10mm expands the list of calibers in this platform to two.

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The slide and barrel on the classic P220 and its variants are locked together until firing, utilizing an enlarged breech to lock the barrel within the ejection port.

G&A recently received a Match Elite Reverse Two-Tone 10mm P220 for evaluation. Though the original Sig Sauer P220 had an aluminum frame, all 10mm models feature a stainless steel frame just as the P220ST model in .45. The heavier weight of the stainless frame helps deaden felt recoil, manage the extra muzzle rise and withstand the pressures produced by the hot 10mm cartridge. The barrel is 5 inches in length, which is helpful in extracting the internal ballistics of the 10mm round.

The slide is machined from barstock and features both front and rear slide serrations, the latter located just above the dustcover and almost 2 inches from the end of the slide. The placement of the serrations encourages safe finger and hand placement should you press-check the pistol to verify a round has been chambered. The slide on our test sample is black in color and has been bathed in SIG Sauer’s proprietary Nitron finish. Not that it is really necessary for a stainless slide, but the Nitron finish does possess additional wear and corrosion-resistance properties.

Atop the slide are white-outlined SIGLite tritium night sights organized in a three-dot arrangement. Each Sig Sauer P220 arrives with a test target as evidence of it being zeroed and checked for accuracy at the factory in New Hampshire.

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G&A advocates for the use of rails on handguns intended for defensive purposes but would have preferred a more universal rail system. Many accessories will require an adapter.

The full-size frame is stainless in finish and has a proprietary accessory rail machined into the dustcover for mounting lights, lasers and other accessories. Adapters for this rail are likely available if your favorite accessory is noncompatible, as most aftermarket manufacturers have responded with specialied mounts. While G&A does recommend the use of rails on defensive pistols, we would prefer a universal rail for the greatest compatibility without the need for an adapter.

A large triggerguard accommodates gloved hands with ease, while serrations located at the front of the guard provide a place to rest your support hand’s index finger, should your shooting style necessitate it. A large, stepped takedown lever is easy to actuate while also serving as a positive indexing location to rest your support-hand thumb. All controls are horizontally serrated, to include its large, oval-shaped magazine release and hammer. Finding them is quickly learned, and they are easily reachable.

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Horizontal serrations are given to each control for presenting a tactile surface that becomes intuitve to operate. Vertical serrations on the front and back of the slide serve the same function.

G&A’s Sig Sauer P220 features a traditional double-action (DA)/single-action (SA) design with a decocker. When the hammer is cocked for single-action operation, simply sweep the decocking lever downward to safely drop the hammer. This feature allows users to safely carry one round in its chamber with the hammer forward. Should you need to rapidly fire the pistol, naturally draw it and stroke through its smooth, 10-pound DA trigger pull. If time is on your side, you can also use your support hand’s thumb to manually cock the hammer, resulting in a short, clean, 5-pound trigger pull for more precise shooting. In addition to the decocker, three safeties are onboard, including a patented automatic firing-pin safety block, a safety intercept notch and a trigger bar disconnector.

The frontstrap is moderately checkered. However, most of your control over the pistol will come from the black-and-gray G10 Piranha grips, which are of a textured laminate. G10 is a material constructed of bonded layers of glass-woven fabric that have been impregnated with an epoxy resin binding agent. The result is a very strong, lightweight, weather-resistant product.

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Fieldstripping the P220 in 10mm is unchanged from the classic P-series. Starting with an unloaded pistol and the slide slightly drawn to the rear, rotate the takedown lever 90 degrees to remove the slide forward and off the frame. Remove the recoil spring and then the barrel. Reverse to reassemble.

SIG Sauer has obviously taken a hard look at how customers have been aggressively texturing the grips of its pistols and begun offering similar textures and patterns on these factory grip panels. This quality is especially welcome when shooting a 10mm-chambered pistol such as this, as the texture on the backstrap and grip panels does an excellent job adhering to your hand without being too abrasive.

How does it perform? Put plainly, the Sig Sauer P220 is large, bulky and heavy. While that might sound critical, the weight and size provide for a more enjoyable shooting experience and didn’t leave our hands in pain after chronographing and accuracy testing several magazine’s worth of hot loads. The 44 ounces of weight certainly has an impact on the reduction of felt recoil, as do the full-size grip, beavertail and aggressive grips. A lower bore axis is about the only update we feel could enhance this legendary pistol’s handling, but then it wouldn’t be a Sig Sauer P220.

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The Match Elite is an easy pistol to shoot well. This one shot point of aim at 25 yards with each of the three loads tested. As mentioned, a 15-yard test target arrived with the pistol illustrating five shots inside one ragged hole that measured .6 inch. Guns & Ammo demonstrated that our test pistol is capable of such performance. Our staff benched the pistol at our standard 25-yard test distance and left satisfied with the results. Using SIG Sauer’s new 180-grain V-Crown FMJ, the Sig Sauer P220 produced its best group in our evaluation, a 1.48-inch five-shot group, with an average of 2.60 inches center-to-center. Federal Premium’s hot 180-grain Trophy Bonded JHP sizzled over the chronograph at almost 1,300 fps, besting the speed of the two other loads by an average of almost 100 fps.

The new Sig Sauer P220 Match Elite in 10mm should be a welcome addition to the P220’s heritage. It’s a shooter.sig-sauer-p220-1

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