Tag Archives: P228

It Came From the 1990s: The Sig Sauer P228

A more compact take on the company’s P226 double-stack 9mm, Sig Sauer introduced the smaller P228 to the consumer market in 1990 and it soon became a classic “fed gun.”

The P228 was a branch of the company’s same P-series guns launched with the P220 in 1975. Using a double-action/single-action system with a safety/decock lever on the left side of the frame, these DA/SA handguns became popular around the globe and were soon competing for both law enforcement and military contracts. While the single-stack P220 was adopted by the militaries of Switzerland and Japan, a 15+1 capacity double stack descendant of the pistol was submitted to the U.S. Army in the early 1980s as a replacement for the M1911.

The P226, Sig’s 15+1 9mm full-sized handgun, a model that was debuted in 1984 and is still in production in New Hampshire today. In general, it has a 4.4-inch barrel, an overall length of 7.7-inches and a weight of 34-ounces unloaded.

Fast forward to 1990 and a smaller variant of the P226 was introduced. With a 3.9-inch barrel and 29.1-ounce weight, the new P228 was a bit more compact while still offering a flush-fitting 13-round magazine. In short, trading two rounds of ammunition capacity for a half-inch overall length, a bit of height, and a quarter-pound of weight.


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Put those German Sigs in the safe

In 1951, arms maker J. P. Sauer und Sohn GmbH relocated from Suhl in then Soviet-occupied East Germany and set up shop in Eckernförde near the city of Kiel.

In 1976, the firm was purchased by Swiss firearms giant SIG, forming Sig Sauer– largely to have an outlet to fulfill overseas orders for guns like the P220 without having to cut through layers of Swiss red tape.

This also led to a huge series of West German police contracts for the P225/P6 handgun.

After that, Sig Sauer came to America, where it has expanded operations in a big way ever since. Today, the U.S. branch of the company employs 2,300 and is responsible for most of the recent R&D.

Meanwhile, the original German branch of Sig Sauer has atrophied to just 130 employees.

By 2021, there will reportedly be -zero- left in Germany.

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Proven handguns for tough times

While your best and most effective bet in the majority of hairy self-defense scenarios (barring something laser-guided or belt-fed) is a rifle– preferably a few different ones in a range of calibers– in a pinch a handgun is better than verbal judo, a pointy stick, or the lid off a can of sardines. With that in mind, I made a list centered on pistols and revolvers that are 1) modern, 2) accept common ammunition, 3) have spare parts that are readily available, 4) proven, 5) are simple to manipulate, and 6) easy to maintain.

Sure, each of these has their haters, but most importantly each type has a huge crowd of fans and users that have kept them in regular production for decades.

More in my column at Guns.com