Friday, September 16, 2011

Quest for the Holy Handgun: Sig Pro 2022

The history of SIG Sauer as a firearms company can be traced back to the 18th century.  It's a history that involves several different iterations of companies, all different kinds of firearms, and a good bit of Nazism thrown in for good measure.

Most of that doesn't really pertain to what we're going to talk about today so we'll skip over it.  The important part is that SIG Sauer has been making fine handguns for 25 years.  Guns such as the P226 have found a home in many militaries over the  years, and (according to SIG) one third of the United Stated police force uses SIG firearms.

With such a quality product comes the cost of producing such a quality product (MSRP of $993.00 for their popular P226) .  Around the turn of the century, competition from relatively inexpensive firearms such as Glock (MSRP $599.00 for the G17) lead to the development of the SIG Pro line of firearms, and eventually, the SIG Pro 2022.

SIG on the cheap!
While the slide and rails are very similar to a regular SIG firearm and metal, the frame of the gun is made of polymer like a Glock.  This helps keep costs down and puts a SIG firearm within the reach of budget-cut law enforcement agencies and prospective buyers like myself who just can't bring themselves to buy a $1000 pistol.

Let's take a look at some criteria and see how it measures up.

Reliability:  SIG Sauer has a very good track record when it comes to reliability.  There are some out there who hate on the SP 2022 because it is a polymer pistol and therefore not a "real" SIG.  That seems ridiculous to me as the benchmark for reliability is the Glock, THE polymer pistol.  The 2022 was reported to have 460,000 rounds put through it during development and testing by users who eventually adopted the pistol for service.  With all that in mind, for me, reliability is a PRO.

Price:  As I mentioned above, part of the reason for developing the 2022 is to lower cost.  The 2022 can be had for roughly $400 new in box.  This includes the gun, a separate backstrap to fit different sized hands, and a magazine.  This puts it a bit below the Glock but any buyer should know that some of SIG's accessories are pretty pricey ($46 for a spare magazine, yikes) so it evens the price out a bit.  Still, in comparison to the other SIG pistols and some other pricier options, price works out to a PRO.

Capacity:  I get a little confused here.  When I read that the 2022 in 9mm had a magazine capacity of 15 rounds, I assumed it was because it was smaller and more concealable than the Glock 17 (17 rounds).  However, when you check out the stats (7.4in x 1.4in x 5.7in for SIG vs. 7.3in x 1.2in x 5.4in for Glock) the SIG is bigger in every way.  What the hell?  What's the point?  If Glock could do it with a smaller pistol, why doesn't SIG have a capacity of 17 as well?  Doesn't seem like a good business decision.  If anyone knows why they did this, please let me know.  Theoretically, 15 should be more than enough to get the job done but 15 loses to 17.  Capacity in terms of a full size 9mm pistol is a CON.

Caliber:  We've gone over the caliber debate regarding 9mm in previous QHH entries.  It's a proven self-defense round, leaves the most room for extra rounds in a magazine, and is the lowest caliber accepted for USPSA competitions.  The 9mm is a PRO.

Carryability:  As mentioned in the capacity section, the 2022 is one of the biggest guns we've looked at so far.  It's also pretty heavy at 29oz.  Compared to the other options out there, Carryability is a CON.


  • Looks:  The 2022 falls somewhere between the Glock and the 1911 in looks for me personally.  It's got that bulky blocky look reminiscent of a Glock but the controls and hammer (absent on a Glock) give it that classic look. 
I personally like it.  There's something about a hammer on a pistol that speaks to me and screams out "PISTOL!".  Also, the accessory rail under the front of the gun adds a bit of a tacti-cool feel to the gun.
  • Customizability:  Speaking of tacti-coolness.  That accessory rail allows for any flashlight/laser that attaches to a picatinny rail to be tacked on to the bottom of the 2022.  The gun ships with an alternate backstrap to fit different hands and you have the option to add on night sights for a little bit more.  Beyond that, SIG doesn't have nearly the aftermarket support that Glock or the 1911 platform has.
  •  History/Track Record:  The law enforcement agencies of France ordered over a quarter of a million (the largest order of service firearms since WWII) 2022s in 2003.  Rock Island Armory put in an order for several thousand 2022s and picked up for use by the DEA.  Not as widely used as a Glock but it seems many thousand professionals trust their lives to the 2022 every day.
  • Safety/Simplicity:  Like the Glock, there is no safety lever or button to keep the trigger from being pulled.  Instead, when the hammer is lowered, the weight of the trigger pull more than doubles from 4.4lbs to 10lbs of pressure.  There is a decocker button that safely lowers the hammer without striking the pin and setting off a round in the chamber.  This allows the user to carry the gun around in a more-safe fashion.  If a gun is carried, it should be carried in a holster that completely covers the trigger guard.  If this is done and you're using your brain and keeping your finger off the trigger, all other safeties are redundant.  At least this is the sentiment prevalent in the firearms community.  I personally think I'd have to carry without a round in the chamber for awhile while I built confidence in my ability to not shoot my ass off.  There's also something to be said about having a safety if there is any chance a kid could get their hands on the gun, however remote and unlikely the chances are.
See that button below the slide release lever just above the grip?  That's the decocker.  
I actually had the guy at Gander Mountain pull this gun out of the showcase and let me handle it.  When I asked about the safety, he reached over and hit the decocker button and the hammer flew down.  I flinched like a little girl, expecting some non-existant round to go off.  It would take some getting used to.

So there we have it: 3 PROs and 2 CONs.  The pros and cons don't really tell the story of my opinion in this case though.   

I have a confession to make.  I came into this series with a clear ranking of pistols in my mind.  It played out like this:
  1. 1911
  2. SIG 2022
  3. Glock
My main reason for starting out this hole series of posts was to justify my purchase of a 1911.  After comparing just the four pistols I've done so far, my bias for both the 1911 and .45ACP cartridge has completely dissolved and if I were to make my decision today, my ranking would work out like this:
  1. Glock - Even if I still thought .45ACP was the be all end all, why get a pistol with an 8 round capacity instead of one with a 13 round capacity.  Even better since 9mm is enough IMO and gives you 17 rounds.  Add to that the reliability of a Glock and it has definitely taken the lead.
  2. CZ-82  - Cost alone keeps this above the other two.  Getting a gun and practicing with it by shooting 1500 rounds for the same price as just buying another gun makes you a better shot and better prepared.  
  3. 1911 - I had an infatuation with the 1911.  I still kind of have a gun-crush on it.  It is the gun that helped win both World Wars and served our military for 100 years.  It's a classic design.  That's the issue, its too classic in my eyes.  I still want one someday but I don't think it's the right first gun for me.
  4. SIG 2022 - Like a Glock but... not better.  Bigger, heavier, lower capacity, less customization options, more expensive accessories, and doesn't have the legendary ruggedness that the Glock does.  There isn't much in my mind to recommend it that isn't available elsewhere for the same price.  I think alot of SIG's reputation is made on their pistols that cost twice as much.
I think the more we go along, the more I drink the Glock kool-aid. (As I'm sure you can tell since I'm comparing everything to it as we go along.)  Honestly never thought I'd say that but it's won me over more and more as we check out more and more guns.  I'm still not done though.  We'll look at a few more and see if anything can knock Glock from the top of the mountain.  A Ruger pistol was suggested awhile back so I'll pick out one of those next and we'll see how it matches up.  After that, I might do a revolver, just for poops and giggles...  

Any other guns you would suggest or would want to learn more about?  Also, any thoughts on the SIG?  Is there something I'm missing that catapults it above the rest?  Let me know!


Clif said...

I once shot a Walter PPK and enjoyed the experience. It felt very nice in my hand and I thought it was easier to aim than the heavier .45 we were also shooting that day.

I'd be curious to see how it fits into your lineup.

Anonymous said...

Sunday's Journal Star newspaper,Bass Pro ad..
Taurus 917,9mm-19rd= 349.00...fixed sights?

Mark said...

Clif- I'm a Bond nut so I think a PPK QHH would be in order. I'll put it on the list.

Anon- Holy crap! Thanks for tipping me off to that. That's basically a clone of what our military uses right now but with a better capacity. I must now do obsessive research, expect an entry on this one next, I need to see how it stacks up.

Anonymous said...

BassPro is also having a promo's for the 22nd-25th.On the 22nd and giveaway's with purchase for the first 200 customers will be a small tackle box with a gift card,random value from 5 to 100 dollars.If you did get lucky,that would really help bring down the price of a gun.
Regular price is 479.99 on sale now 349.97 w/gift card?
p.s.,did ya see my tips on sept 12th? NorthTrail pond was really hot early this year,but I think it's getting raked over pretty bad already.My son and I,plus a friend was really tearing them up earlier on the fly gear.Big red-ear/hybrid gills and some nice bass.Wish they had more strick regs on small public ponds...Oh them while you can.