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Meet the SIG Sauer P225: SIG’s Forgotten 9mm Gun Is Excellent

Image Credit: YouTube Screenshot.
SIG Sauer P225 A1 Version

SIG (Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft)Sauer, a German-Swiss firm tracing its roots back to 1853, is one more the most prestigious gunmakers in the world, and rightfully so. In 2017, its P320/M17 won the bid to replace the Beretta M9 as the U.S. Armed Forces standard-issue sidearm (a title Beretta had held for 33 years). Its P226 9mm pistol is the choice of elite units such as the U.S. Navy SEALs and British Special Air Service (SAS). And its P229 DAK .40 S&W has been used by big-name entities such as the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE; one of my former employers). 

But there is another member of the SIG Sauer semiauto pistol family that, whilst maybe not in the proverbial realm of “black sheep of the family” or “unloved redheaded stepchild,” is, comparatively speaking, the forgotten gun of the bunch (or ‘lost in the shuffle,” if you prefer): the SIG Sauer P225 9mm. 

SIG P225 Early History and Specifications

SIG Sauer designed their P225 series in 1978, three years after the P220 (which is still arguably the most popular traditional double-action [TDA] .45 ACP semiauto pistol in the world). Normally this would be where I quote an advertising blurb from the manufacturer’s official webpage, but since, alas, the P225 is no longer listed on the company’s website, I shall instead cite an April 2017 gun review by Gun Digest’s Doug Larson: 

“[T]he SIG P225 was, and still is, a classic handgun that the Swiss created in the 1970s as a compact companion to the SIG Sauer P220. It was adopted as the law enforcement sidearm by several nations, most notably the West Germans, who designated it as the P6. As time passed, the West Germans transitioned to a different sidearm, and surplus P225s began to arrive in the US…These single-stack 9mm imports gained a loyal following and were prized by many as a gun for discreet carry even though the striker-fired, polymer-framed pistol trend had begun. Now, as more states make lawful, discreet carry easier, the trend is toward smaller, single-stack handguns. All the major handgun manufacturers recognize this, but not all have a classic like the P225 in their heritage.” 

The original P225 was discontinued in circa 2005, but in 2015 SIG came out with the P225-A1. Improvements and enhancements included the enhanced Short Reset Trigger (SRT), a milled slide (as opposed to the stamped slide of the original), and an option of a threaded barrel to accommodate a sound suppressor.  

Barrel length is 3.6 inches, overall length 6.9 inches, height is 5.2 inches, width is 1.26 inches, and weight is 30.5 ounces. Standard magazine capacity is 8+1 rounds. 

Reportedly the gun is still in use by the Royal Canadian Navy and Canadian Forces Military Police, as well as various Swiss police forces.

Fellow Gun Writers’ Impressions

In their highly comprehensive 1986 book “The Gun Digest Book of 9mm Handguns,” Wiley Clapp and the late great Dean A. Grennell (R.I.P.) spoke highly of the original SIG Sauer P225 in terms of accuracy, reliability, and ergonomics. More recently, longtime gun writer Stephen A. Camp provided this evaluation on his Hi Powers and Handguns website: “I like the P225.  It is not the best vehicle by which to exploit the ballistic capabilities of the 9x19mm cartridge, but it still provides bullet speeds compatible with expected 9mm performance. They’re easy to carry.  Though certainly not a pocket gun, the piece will easily drop into a large overcoat pocket and with a proper belt holster they are comfortable to carry for long periods…The P225 will not be replacing my Browning Hi Powers but neither is it a pistol I’m anxious to be rid of.” 

As for the more recent P225-A1, the aforementioned Mr. Larson praised it as “an accurate gun and proved to be enjoyable to shoot.”

Personal Shooting Impressions/Range Report

 As a personal testament to the comparative Stateside rarity of the SIG P225 relative to its more famous cousins (no pun intended), I’ve come across only one rental range specimen in my lifetime, that being at the Los Angeles Gun Club in Downtown L.A. during my teenage years in the early 1990s. (Yes, I’m that freakin’ old; don’t let my dashing youthful good looks fool ya.) 

So, one fine day during that time period, I went ahead and rented LAGC’s P225, since I’d heard and read so many good things about it, purchasing 50 rounds of the range’s full metal jacket (FMJ) “hardball” reloads (for the life of me, I don’t remember if they were 115-grains or 124-grains in bullet weight) along with a BT-5 silhouette target.  

I recall liking the ergonomics and the trigger pull in double-action and single-action alike, and the reliability being 100%. As far as practical accuracy and “fun factor” –I did most of my shooting at 21 feet, with a magazine’s worth at the range’s 50-foot backline for good measure – it gave me a feeling of “adequate, but not great.” Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa, this was very much in line with my much written-about personal history with SIGs, i.e. wherein they’ve left me somewhat subjectively underwhelmed, my objective acknowledgement of their high quality notwithstanding (the SIG Sauer 1911 Scorpion being a noteworthy and very enjoyable exception).  

But hey, going back to that subjectivity vs. objectivity factor, I can still recommend the P225 as an excellent choice of compact self-defensive pistol on the used gun market.             

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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).