Product Review: Sig Sauer P227 Nitron
Have you ever been stuck between appreciating certain features of two different firearms from a particular manufacturer and wished they would just combine the best of both into one platform? For decades, the P226 in 9mm and its many variations have been the flagship of the Sig Sauer pistol line. Boasting extreme reliability, a 15 round magazine capacity, and smooth Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA), the U.S. Navy Seals and both U.S. and international law enforcement have carried this as the primary sidearm. The one shortfall, for many including myself, was that it was not chambered in .45 ACP. Sig Sauer’s original .45 ACP offering was the P220. While all other functions and functionality were the same as the flagship P226, the P220 was limited to an 8-round single-stack magazine. I’ve owned both the P226 and P220 and often wished for a high-capacity, ultra-reliable, DA/SA Sig in .45ACP.
And then, many wishes came true when Sig Sauer introduced the P227 at the 2014 SHOT (Shooting and Hunting Outdoor Trade) Show. At first glance, the Sig P227 looks almost exactly like the P226. In fact, the Sig Sauer web site lists the specifications for both as being identical: Overall Length 7.7in; Overall Height 5.5in; Overall Width 1.5in; barrel length 4.4in; and Sight Radius 6.3in. The P227 also shares the P226’s operating features, such as the location and function of the slide release, de-cocker, mag release, and take-down lever. Both pistols share the same extreme reliability, smooth and consistent DA/SA trigger pull, and solid “built for a purpose” construction. It is even rumored that the P227 will fit into holsters made for the P226 with an integrated light rail. (Click here for the P226 specifications) (Click here for the P227 specifications)
But that is where the similarities end…
First and foremost, the P227 is shipped with two 10 round magazines. At first, this may not seem like such a big deal. How can two additional rounds make this so superior to the 8 round P220? Beyond the fact that 10 is better than 8… Sig is also producing 14 round magazines for the P227. This is a big deal! 14 rounds of .45ACP in a platform of the same dimensions, reliability, and function as the beloved P226. The best of both worlds indeed!
The other discernable design difference between the P226 and P227 is the high-undercut trigger guard. This allows the shooter to gain a more positive strong-hand grip and control recoil. It just keeps getting better.
As soon as I read the press releases from the SHOT show regarding the P227, I engaged in a vigorous pursuit to get hold of one. In March of 2014, the P227 was a rare find in any of my local gunshops. By chance, I found one at Atlantic Tactical Firearms in New Cumberland, PA. My first thought was: “WOW!” The pistol felt great in my hands. I’m 6’2″ with large hands and I tend to over-grip slimmer pistols. When I first picked it up from the counter, it felt like a natural extension of my body. It pointed well and the trigger as well as other features felt exactly like the P226. Although I’m a “1911-guy” at heart, I had been looking for a heavy-duty, no-B.S., high-capacity non-polymer .45ACP workhorse, and the P227 was it. Whereas most firearms purchases require careful evaluation and consideration… this was the rare exception where I purchased the firearm on the spot (I’m a PA resident).
I’ve made numerous trips to the range and fired well over 1,000 rounds through this pistol in the 6 months that I’ve owned it. I can unequivocally state that the P227 lives up to its fine Sig Sauer name as there had not been one malfunction during any of those range trips. After an initial cleaning and inspection, I did not clean it anytime duirng the first 750 rounds fired. I even tried to “choke” it with some “short overall length semi-wadcutter” ammunition, hot +P rounds, and jacketed hollow-point ammunition. Nothing fazed it or induced a malfunction. The P227 is a true work horse!
Since its function is unquestionable, I’d like to talk about how well it shoots. Sig pistols are notorious for having a high bore axis. The line of the bore over the frame is higher than many other pistols which can increase the perceived “muzzle flip.” Not a problem, just something to be aware of. For this article, I tested the P227 with American Eagle 230 grain Full Metal Jacket ammunition at an indoor range. To test the combination of the pistol’s inherent precision with any accuracy I could produce, I conducted five double action 1-shot drills from a kydex paddle holster and limited myself to 2 seconds on a PACT Shot Timer to take the shots at 10ft, 20ft, 30ft, 40ft, and 50ft. The results can be seen in the following photo.
I was aiming center of mass for each shot by putting the front sight in the middle of the diamond. You can see the deviation between point of aim and point of impact at 10ft and how they converge at 20ft. At 30 and 40 feet, I caught myself rushing the shot because the diamonds got pretty small at those distances… and I was focusing on the target instead of the front sight where it should have been. The 50 foot target is respectable for a 2 second double action shot from the draw.
For the last test, I placed the target at 75 feet and conducted traditional slow fire using the American Eagle 230gr FMJ ammunition.
I consider “keeping it all in the black” at 75 feet (25 yards) to be my personal standard measure for precision and accuracy with a handgun. As you can see, the P227 shooting bulk ammo from the standing position performed very well and kept it all “in the black.”
I then conducted a number of rapid fire drills at 21 feet and remained impressed with the P227’s function and precision. There was noticeably more muzzle flip in the P227 compared to my 1911s, but the ergonomics, high-undercut trigger guard, and recoil system brought the slide and sights right back to the target every time. My greatest friction point was transitioning from the 10lb double action trigger pressure to the 4.5lb trigger pressure required to break the shots.
Using a micrometer to measure the distance from the trigger pad to the backstrap, you can see the trigger is fully forward for a double action pull starting at a distance of 2.856 inches. The trigger is “set” forward for a single action pull from a distance of 2.466 inches, and the “sear break” occurs at 2.216 inches. This is important to know since it requires 10lbs of constant pressure along a distance of 0.64 inches to fire the double action shot. The follow-up single-action shot requires only 4.5lbs over a distance of .25 inches. It is fully manageable, but it takes some time and training to get used to the dramatic transition from Double Action to Single Action in this platform.
- Nearly identical to the fit and function of the P226
- 10 or 14 round capacity of the venerable .45ACP cartridge
- Steel slide, aluminum frame ruggedly constructed for reliability and precision that allows for considerable accuracy
- Ergonomic design allows for recoil management with the high-under cut trigger guard, front-strap checkering, and stippled polymer grips.
- Easy to disassemble, assemble, and maintain with the same five major parts as other pistols (slide, barrel, frame, recoil spring, recoil spring guide).
- Rugged and bright SIGLITE night sights.
- Although heavy, the 10lb DA trigger pull is smooth and consistent.
- No active safety, it is literally “point and click” while maintaining a passive inertial firing pin safety (cannot be fired by jarring the weapon)
- High bore axis contributing to “muzzle flip” and deviation between point of aim and point of impact at close range
- The transition from double action to single action requires time, practice, and patience.
- Sig P227 magazines tend to be expensive with the 10rd mags costing $46.00 each and the 14rd mags costing $69.00 each.
If it somehow has not been apparent in this review, I am very impressed with the Sig P227 and thank Sig Sauer for FINALLY bringing the best of the P226 and P220 into one rugged, reliable, and available high-capacity non-polymer .45ACP platform. In the analysis above, it is clear that the Pros far outweigh the Cons. For me it was the exact Fit and Function I was looking for. As for Finances, the P227 Nitron lists for $1,099.99 MSRP on the Sig web site, but popular dealers, such as Rockwell Arms, list the P227 Nitron for $804.95. (click here)
This pistol is simply a joy to shoot due to its ergonomics and inherent precision. In the spring, I plan on using the P227 for USPSA matches shooting in Production Class. Until then, I trust this pistol enough to keep it as my night-stand gun.
If the P227 meets your personal Fit, Function, and Finances, I very highly recommend it.
Stay safe and shoot straight!
Disclaimer: The data and opinions presented in this article solely belong to the author. The information presented in this article is for your information and consideration only. I purchased the P227 at full retail value and have no personal, professional, or financial connections to Sig Sauer, Atlantic Tactical, or Rockwell Arms.