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Meet the 5 Best SIG Sauer Handguns (Picked by Expert with Decades of Experience)

Sig Sauer P938
Sig Sauer P938. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

The 5 Best SIG Sauer Handguns: As our regular readers may already be aware, I’m not the biggest fan in the world of SIG Sauer pistols. Don’t get me wrong, I shoot them well enough, but for whatever reason, I don’t find them as much fun to shoot as my Beretta 92FS/M9, WWI Colt M1911, CZ-75, or my multiple Glocks, all of which give me more of a “Yeah buddy!” warm fuzzy feeling about the group sizes and shot placement.

That said, SIG Sauer is a superbly well-made brand in terms of accuracy, reliability, and durability, and what’s more, I’ve always thought them to be very handsome-looking pistols from an aesthetic standpoint. SIG (Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft) traces its roots back to 1853, so the company must’ve been doing something right this entire time.

So, when 19FortyFive’s Editor asked me to pen an article on SIG’s 5 Best Guns, I was only too happy to oblige. 

5 Best SIG Sauer Handguns: SIG P210 9mm

Might as well start with the crème de la crème of the SIG Sauer handgun line. Dating back to 1949, this single-action autoloader with an 8-round magazine is still considered by many experts to be the most accurate 9mm handgun ever made; some other gun reviewers make the same claim for either the Walther P-88 or the Heckler & Koch (HK) P9S, but those two pistols – fine guns though they were – are long out of production whilst the P210 is still being made, albeit in modified form; the newer so-called SIG P210 Carry model has replaced the slow and plodding European butt-heel magazine release with the faster push-button mag release.

SIG Sauer P210

SIG Sauer P210. Image Credit: 19FortyFive.

SIG Sauer P210

SIG Sauer P210. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

SIG P210

Image: Creative Commons.

The slide ride inside the rails rather than atop them, which at least theoretically contributes to the pistol’s intrinsic accuracy, whilst the slim-frame ergonomics and glass rod-like crispness of the trigger aid practical accuracy. In my admittedly limited personal hands-on experience – as in a measly 50 rounds of Remington Range 115-grain ball – the gun gave me good though not great accuracy … but then again, the mere 50-foot range limitation of the Los Angeles Gun Club (LAGC) facility didn’t really do it justice, nor the fact that this was a beat-up range rental gun. I’d love to get the chance to try this classic piece at 25 to 50 yards someday.

Though no longer carried by the Swiss Army, the SIG P210 remains standard issue with the Danish Armed Forces

5 Best SIG Sauer Handguns: SIG P220 .45 ACP

The 9mm version of the P220 is what initially replaced the P210 as the Swiss Army standard issue, but it was the .45 ACP version of this pistol that gained big-time popularity in the United States, as it combined big-bore stopping power with double-action lockwork. As a review on the Christian Gun Owner website puts it, “The Sig P220 is a company flagship that SIG states: ‘THE ONE THAT STARTED IT ALL.’ You better believe it.”

SIG Sauer P220

SIG Sauer P220. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Sig Sauer P220

Sig Sauer P220. Image: Creative Commons.

Not only did it rapidly gain popularity with private citizens and law enforcement officers alike, it even convinced a lot of old-school dyed-in-the-wool M1911 single-action buffs like John Farnam of Defense Training International, LLC to switch guns.

From a personal experience, the very first .45 I ever fired was a P220, at the aforementioned LAGC, way back on my 15th birthday in August 1990.  

5 Best SIG Sauer Handguns: SIG P226 9mm

Let’s see … SIG’s first foray into the “Wondernine” (double-stack double-action 9mm autoloader) market … the handgun chosen by the Navy SEALs back in 1986 … the handgun selected by the elite British Special Air Service (SAS) to replace their ubiquitous Browning Hi-Powers … good enough for the FBI in the agency’s transition from revolvers to semiautos … yeah, I’d say the P226 easily makes this Top 5 list. 

5 Best Guns for Police Departments

Image of Sig Sauer P226. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Sig Sauer Legion P226

Sig Sauer Legion P226. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

5 Best SIG Sauer Handguns: SIG P229 DAK .40S&W

This was the gun I was issued as an Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) Special Agent from 2009 to 2011. I wasn’t terribly fond of the Double Action Kellerman (DAK) style of double-action-only (DAO) trigger, and neither is Jeffrey Denning of Guns.Com. But the gun was chosen by the agency to replace the Glock, and it wouldn’t have made the cut if it wasn’t of high quality. I lost track of how many thousands of rounds I fired through mine during FLETC training, local duty office quals, and personal off-duty range practice sessions, and I don’t recall the pistol malfunctioning a single time. Accuracy-wise, I scored a 247 out of a possible 250 with it at FLETC, good enough for an Expert rating. And it concealed well enough for plainclothes carry. 

SIG Sauer P229

SIG Sauer P229. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

5 Best SIG Sauer Handguns: SIG P320 AKA M17/M18 9mm

Ah, SIG’s proverbial new kid on the block, comparatively speaking, the gun that replaced the Beretta M9 in 2017 as the U.S. Armed Forces standard issue pistol. Seeing how the Beretta had faithfully served in that role for 33 years, this was no small accomplishment on SIG’s part. In addition to passing the requisite reliability and accuracy tests, the gun earned high marks for ergonomics, as well as modularity and the ability to be customized – the latter two factors have proven hugely advantageous with the M4 carbine – making it a veritable “Swiss Army Knife” of handguns.  

Sig Sauer M17

Sig Sauer M17. Image Credit – Creative Commons.

I carried the M17 as a security contractor in Kosovo. As with the other SIG listed in this article, it gave me merely good though not spectacular accuracy, but the sight picture, trigger pull,  and ergonomics were nice

Agree or Disagree?

Okay, dear readers, do you approve or disapprove of these selections? Should the SIG P225, P228, P232, etc, have made the list instead? Let us know in the Comments!

Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011.  In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.

Written By

Christian D. Orr is a former Air Force officer, Federal law enforcement officer, and private military contractor (with assignments worked in Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Kosovo, Japan, Germany, and the Pentagon).

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Israel Rozemberg

    September 9, 2022 at 12:15 pm

    SIG handguns have long been a favorite of mine, from classic P220, P229 (.40 S&W and 9 mm), all the way to P320 and P365 variants. Although I am still a Glock fan and make it my EDC, these are quality guns that work

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