Not that long ago, finding a .45ACP-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, metal-frame 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 a 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.It overall length is 8.4 inches, and not including the .7- inch threaded barrel extension, it’s nearly the same size as a full-sized 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 has 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 single-action 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 a high-quality build. It is easy to shoot well, is left-hand compatible and handles .45 ACP recoil much better than other pistols.”
The Tactical is an accurate and reliable pistol. The best five-shot, 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 hollowpoint 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, transitioning to SA fire with a short, light trigger stroke is not a hindrance once you practice. 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 night sight 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 also are 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.)
“SIG Sauer DA/SA pistols are designed for right-handed shooters, so left-hand operation is imperfect—but not difficult.”
Suppressor Fire With Obsidian
One of the more recent suppressor designs is the Obsidian 45 from Rugged Suppressors. The Obsidian is a modular, multi-caliber 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.
“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.”
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.
“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.”
Point of impact did shift 3 inches to 7:00 at 16 yards but 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.
Group Size (inches)
Mean Velocity (fps)
SIG Sauer 200-grain JHP
Freedom Munitions HUSH 230-grain FMJ
Winchester USA 230-grain JHP
Note: This is the average of five five-shot groups fired at 25 yards using sandbags and measured center to center. The velocity was measured 15 feet from the muzzle with an Oehler 35 chronograph.
Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel: 4.9 inches; threading: .578×28 inches
Overall length: 8.4 inches
Width: 1.5 inches
Height: 5.5 inches
Weight: 32 ounces (unloaded)
Sights: Fixed SIG Lite, three-dot tritium
Action: SA/DA with decocker
Finish: Nitron for slide, black hard coat anodized for frame
Capacity: 10+1; 14+1
Bore size: .45 inch
Calibers: Full-auto rated for pistol up to .45 ACP; .300 BLK sub sonic
Overall length: Standard: 8.6 inches with ADAPT module, Short: 6.7 inch
Width: 1.375 inches
Weight: Standard: 12.8 ounces with ADAPT module; short: 10.7 ounces
Construction: 17-4PH stainless baffles, piston and mount; aluminum tube; stainless booster spring
Editor’s note: A version of this article first appeared in the August 2017 issue of Gun World Magazine.