Sig P227 Review, Part II

Posted: February 3, 2014 in Product Reviews
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This is the second installment in a detailed review of the Sig P227.  I’m now up to over 700 rounds and have enough experience with the firearm to begin carrying it day-to-day.  I also intend to use the P227 as a primary duty weapon for security work.

I have made two changes to the firearm since the first review.  The P227 now has a Streamlight TLR-1 HL installed (I have a separate review of the light in the Product Reviews page).

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The model I purchased came with the standard 3-dot white sights, so I painted the front sight red for better contrast.  The front sight has now been replaced with a Dawson Precision fiber optic.  The glow from the Streamlight lights up the fiber optic like a road flare in low-light conditions.  I have the Dawson Precision front sight installed on my Glock 20 as well and am very pleased with its performance.

Here are my impressions to date in a variety of categories.

Reliability

Excellent.  This firearm continues to fire everything I load, from 185gr Stan Chen (custom load of Barnes-X) to 220gr Critical Duty to all variety of 230 gr. FMJ.  To date, I have not experienced a single load, fire, or ejection issue such as brass-to-face.

I purposely tried to limp-wrist the P227 to see if I could induce a failure and was unable to do so.

Ejection

Ejection is not without issue.  While I have experienced no brass-to-face or erratic ejections, the ejector is low relative to the ejection port, so there is brass-to-slide contact, as evidenced in this photo.  I did not notice the marks until around 300 rounds.

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The photo was taken under a very bright light at my last cleaning.  The ejection pattern does not appear to be affected in a way that would throw brass back towards the shooter.  I did an experiment at Eagle gun range where one of the RSO’s fired 30 rounds (185 to 230 gr,, HP and FMJ) from a rest.  The worst ejections I noticed were low and straight to the right.  Otherwise, brass ejected high and back-right.

Maintenance

I also noticed some issues with slide and frame marks around 600-700 rounds.  These are illustrated in the following photos.

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The wear was not dramatic, but it clearly indicated unexpected contact between components of the action and the slide.  I showed this to Robert Burke, The Sig Armorer, and he gave the following explanation.  There is a lot of frame-to-side contact in Sigs and the P227 is no exception.  The older, German-made Sigs had two-piece slides (front portion was welded) that allowed flexing of the slide since the metal frame does not flex like modern polymer ones.  US-made Sigs such as the P227 have monolithic slides and virtually no room to flex. Robert indicated that with a new firearm and this type of construction, it was likely that a very tiny offset in one or two of the action components was causing the contact.  He stoned the offending components and then recommended that I use grease instead of oil in the process of lubing the pistol.

Robert’s rationale was that a good grease will do a better job at handling the extra slide/frame contact. I had previously lubed the firearm with Rand CLP.  Robert recommended SuperLube synthetic grease. I’ve now gone through two practice sessions with the grease and the P227 shoots perfectly.  If anything, it now feels better as well, although this is a purely subjective judgement on my part.

I’m passing this along in case you own or are considering purchase of a P227.  Robert Burke is not known as The Sig Armorer for nothing 🙂

I use a silicon cloth on the slide and frame after each cleaning.  The finish really shows fingerprints.  The E2 grips will show signs of accumulated hand oils and dirt.  I clean them regularly with a toothbrush dipped in soapy water.

Shooting

Although the lack of flexing in the P227 leads to more felt recoil, the firearm is capable of great accuracy.  At my most recent session, I let one of the RSO’s at Eagle shoot five rounds at seven yards (in single-action).  He had no prior experience with Sigs and like all the Eagle RSO’s, he is a very good shot.  The half-dollar group of five rounds was no surprise to me.  Afterwards, I was able to put two bullet holes virtually right on top of his middle hole, again in single-action.

But, that’s kind of bull’s-eye shooting and not relevant to SD.  Here are some earlier targets when I was trying to get used to the P227.  I was also in the process of recovering from a rib injury in one case, so I think this represents more of a worst-case scenario for unsupported firing of the P227.

This is one of my favorite targets since the attacker is turned to the side, so the ‘center-mass’ target area is not very wide.  There is no ‘x’ mark or rings or anything indicating an actual target, just like in a self-defense situation.  Do bad guys come with ten-rings painted on their clothing?  Since the target area is dark brown against a black berm, it is not possible to see where rounds impacted, again just like a typical SD situation.

I started at 12 yards with two small strings, aimed at roughly the ‘center’ of the chest area. First trigger pull was DA, all others were SA.  All rounds except the flyer in the low-left were inside a 4″ circle, with no definitive point of aim.  Good gun, bad shooter.

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Next, I backed the target up to 15 yards and shot at the gun, which represents a more definitive point of aim.  These were mostly three-round strings (trying to shoot a controlled triple) with first pull in DA.  Once again, I jerked one low.

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Here is another session of 50 rounds at 15 yards, again mostly 3-5 round strings.  I tried to get a good sight picture between shots yet maintain a pace consistent with needing to get rounds on target fast.

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Well, I won’t be appearing on Top Shot any time soon, but I think this represents the worst accuracy you could obtain with the P227.

There is more felt recoil than my FNX 45 Tactical and the muzzle does tend to flip pretty hard on the Sig.  However, the shape of the grip induces a natural roll-up/roll-back motion as you let the trigger out to reset, so it’s possible to get into a nice rhythm with the gun.  I tend to shoot best when I stay within this rhythm   My occasional negative tendency is too much grip pressure.  When I notice a stray shot, excessive grip pressure or trying to shoot too fast almost always tends to be the cause.

Magazine changes, btw, are an absolute breeze.

Holsters

Holster selection is still evolving.  I spend a lot of time in my car, so I tend to gravitate towards two rigs for any firearm, vertical shoulder and strong-side IWB or OWB.  The shoulder rig that works acceptably for the present since I have the tac light installed is the Kangaroo Carry Air Marshal 3 with the sacrificial seam removed.

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My Air Marshal 3 rig is really worn out from excessive wear and I need to get a new one.  The fit is rather tight and requires a very straight-up draw out of the holster to avoid the firearm rubbing on the edges of the rig and obstructing the draw.  It’s acceptable although the  draw requires practice.

I am using a temporary IWB rig that I will cover in a separate review.  I do have a couple issues with the setup and am actively searching for a good, strong-side IWB or OWB option.

I will post another review once I have the holster situation resolved and make it either through or well into the Texas summer.  At that point, I’ll be in a better position to comment on practical carry of the P227 across multiple seasons.

Thanks for spending part of your day at Texas Gun Show Review.

UPDATE: Part III of this review is now online.

– Diligencia, Vis, Celeritas

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  1. […] UPDATE:  Part II of this review is now online […]