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SIG 220 Compact Elite SAO?

Discussion in 'The Sig Sauer Club' started by DennisE, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. DennisE

    DennisE Millennium Member

    Sep 17, 1999
    Treasure Coast, Florida
    Just bought one new on gunbroker! Never heard of it before: Single action only Cimpact Elite. Comes from SIG with a holster and 2 mags. Anyone heard of's not on the SIG site. If you've got one how do you like it? Thanks, Dennis
  2. Erich

    Erich Millennium Member

    Got one a couple of weeks ago - a heck of a deal. This is compiled from a couple of posts I did on it elsewhere.

    As mentioned, CDNN is having a sale on SIG-Sauer P220 Compact Elite Single-Action-Only pistols. I got one delivered for under $600 (last MSRP of this particular gun is about double that).


    This is a 7.79”-long compact version of the P220. The Compacts (sort of modernized P245s) have the short six-round-magazine frame and a slightly shorter than full-sized slide (the Compact barrel is 3.9" as opposed to the 4.25" of the full-sized P220 - this is also the same top end that's used on the P220 Carry). Most Compacts are 7.1" in length and right at 5" in height - the additional length on this one is due to the beavertail that SIG-Sauer has on the Elite (German-made) frame. (Many folks opine that the beavertail is useless as the slide goes nowhere near the hand of the user - I note that being able to point out how the beavertail forced the grip well away from the slide enabled me to set at ease a couple of newbie shooters yesterday. I thought that the beavertail might be somehow vindicated by providing leverage against which the thumb could disengage the safety, but I've not found that's where most of the pressure is during this action.) I was concerned with the beavertail pressing into my front when I bent over as I carry A-IWB, but this hasn't been an issue at all - it presses in a bit when I bend, but is not uncomfortable (and a Remora holster with sweat shield that Alan has in the mail to me will alleviate even that minimal discomfort). It's a great size for carry.


    Other premium features of this particular model are the upgraded aluminum stocks (usually over $100 from SIG-Sauer), steel guide rod (these give this Elite version a bit more weight than the base 31.2-oz. weight of the P220 Compact SAO) and SigLight night sights (6.3" sight radius). (The gun was made in March 2010, and the sights are plenty fresh.)


    Note that the gun is - unlike most SIG-Sauers - single-action only. The trigger is rated at five pounds - I've not had it on pull-gauge, but that feels about right. It's decently crisp, though not extraordinary, and has a shorter reset than I'd have expected from a SIG-Sauer. It came with two six-round magazines with finger rests: I bought two ACT eight-rounders as well and installed a flat baseplate on one of the six-rounders to give me the smallest possible package for carry. (As noted below, I've changed this back for functionality.)


    I have never had an issue with recoil from the higher-than-1911 bore axis of the P220, but I wasn't sure how it was going to work with this smaller gripframe. Turns out that the trigger and the weight of the gun combine with SIG's engineering of the thing to render this into a more-than-decently-accurate and easy to shoot fast little blaster. I'm still working on getting familiar with the reset, but I was really having more fun blasting .45s downrange than I have in a long time. I shot five or six types of ammo - only chrono'd a few before it got too windy and my chrono blew over. :cool: Nothing I shot would not go into one hole at ten yards. Mas (who did three articles on the SAO series in Guns and AH in '07 & '08) has said that he's not found the Compacts to be as accurate as the full-size P220s, but this one sure seems just fine for what it is.

    I only started looking at this gun because I realized that it had all the features that I would be seeking for the .45 I wanted to buy to commemorate my forty-fifth year (like an ambi-safety, which, WHY for the love of God, is for some reason not standard on modern 1911s that all are ramped and throated and ported well beyond anything that the Sainted JMB - may peace be upon him - would recognize?) on a CCO-sized 1911 . . . except that to get those features, I'd be looking at more than double this price. And, not to cast aspersions, but based on past experience of myself and friends, I had concerns that a CCO-sized 1911 might turn out to be something of a project before it was running the way I wanted. I did not want a project. This P220 Compact Elite SAO is everything I wanted for a great price, and is not a project.

    There have been no reliability issues (in about 325 rounds) with any ball or hollowpoints - or any factory ammo at all. In the interest of full disclosure, I note that this gun had three malfs with handloads in about 150 rounds a couple Saturdays ago - one feeding malf when I ran a 255-grain handload (oddly shaped bullet that was never intended for an autopistol) into it from the mag that I'd switched to the flat baseplate (the rest of the mag ran fine if kicky), and two feed malfs with my 200-gr LSWC handloads (P220s used to be held not to like these, but this one gobbled up every one that I fed it) that appeared to be limp-wrist-related when the gun was fired by two newbie women (both of whom were surprised to find that they really liked the gun - heck, I was really surprised that they liked the gun).

    That said, I don't think that any of these three feed issues were the fault of the gun - the first was the fault of me trying to feed it the wrong ammo (which it ate happily anyhow, once it started loading itself) from a magazine that I'd modified to not have proper support for my hand, and the other two were on the first magazine fired by each of two women who were just getting used to the idea of shooting a semiauto - let alone a small .45 - and happened with bullets that the P220 isn't even supposed to like (but that this one just gobbled up from me - and from subsequent mags from both women). The women both shot this P220 Compact better than they shot any of the six centerfire revolvers I brought for them to try - they had been pretty sure that they were not interested in semiautos, tho now they might be.

    As I mentioned, I only got three rounds over the chrono before the wind blew it over and I put it away.

    7.4 gr. Power Pistol/TVB 200-gr LSWC: M 920.7 fps/ES 24.69/SD 11.83
    Hornady 200-gr +P TAP: M 949.5 fps/ES 18.48/SD 7.74
    Winchester RA45TP 230-gr +P Ranger Talon: M 899.9/ES 14.19/SD 5.56

    Note the minimal spreads and astonishingly low deviations. Accuracy was tight as well - as I mentioned, anything I shot through this gun (including old GI brown-box ball) would make a one-hole group at 10 yards.


    I'm really happy with this gun, and I kind of can't believe the value it represents. I'm carrying it loaded with the Hornady 200-gr +P TAPs, but I'd be happy with the Rangers as well.

    I ran another 150+ rounds through it last Sunday, and chrono'd some others:

    6.5 gr Unique/255-gr Penn RNFP: M 934.4/ES 17.33/SD 6.32
    (STOUT! 1.5" at 10 yds)
    7.4 gr Power Pistol/200-gr Velocity Bullets RNL: M 845.6/ES 29.72/SD 15.68 (not super-accurate)
    7.4 gr Power Pistol/200-gr TVB LSWC: M 892.5/ES 26.38/SD 10.58 (one hole, a bit of the first-round syndrome)
    5.5 gr Bullseye/200-gr TVB LSWC: M 856.8/ES 34.27/SD 13.52 (one smaller hole, still a bit of first-round syndrome)
    Winchester White Box USA 230-gr ball: M 814.0/ES 23.05/SD 9.38
    Winchester RA45TP +P Ranger Talon JHP: M 873.8/ES 19.79/SD 7.54

    Two of the rounds that I chrono'd the week before turned in lower numbers this week, but the spreads and deviations were about the same, and they were within the range one would expect. The 255-grainers, well, I figured out how to make them reliable. I think.

    You see, I'd switched out one of the finger-rest 6-round base plates for a standard magazine base plate. Thought this would make it a little easier to conceal. Well, it doesn't really look like it did, much. And the gun had the issue with the 255-gr RNL last week when using this flat base plate mag . . . the one that didn't afford me quite as solid a grip on the gun. Did the same thing this week, but I'd already fired flawless magazines through the gun using the other short magazine (with the finger-rest base plate) and an eight-round mag. So, when I had a later issue with a slightly out-of-battery feed for a 200-gr RNL handload with the short mag that had the flat base plate, I decided to put the original finger-rest base plate back on the thing. Seems to have resolved all issues. Hmph.

    Anyway, the 255-grainers are pretty serious - the gun's controllable, but you know it's launched something of consequence. I feel like these might do some penetrating, even out of this little gun. Not sure the gun wants to shoot all that many of them, though, and I suspect this loading will be relegated to the Ruger P90 and S&W 625-3.

    Anyhow, I like the SIG-Sauer P220 Compact Elite SAO a whole lot: I'm glad to have another .45 in the stable, and I am absolutely glad that it's this one.

  3. DennisE

    DennisE Millennium Member

    Sep 17, 1999
    Treasure Coast, Florida
    Great review! I paid $659 for mine. Did yours come with a holster? Regards, Dennis
  4. Erich

    Erich Millennium Member

    Yep, but I'm a southpaw, so it's languishing in the closet until I figure out a use for it. I'm sure I have a right-handed friend somewhere who could use a SIG P220 holster - in fact, I just thought of someone.
  5. irontexan27


    Dec 14, 2009
    Congrats on the purchase. I had one for about 6 months, and it was a great gun. Ultimately I traded it off due to my disliking of the alumagrips and beavertail for IWB carry. I love the look of the beaver tail but man, that thing dug away at my ribs.

    Past that, the single action trigger is great and mine was very accurate.

    For what it is worth I traded it for a P220 carry SAS, that I am very pleased with.
  6. austinguy23


    May 3, 2007
    Love the knurling. Is this a special edition it something? When did it come out?
  7. Erich

    Erich Millennium Member

    austinguy, people on Sigforum might know when it was released: sometime after 2008 (since the original SAOs came out in '07, IIRC). As mentioned, it's an Elite frame.
  8. 2740dmx


    Mar 9, 2009
    Thanks for the in-depth review.

    I like the value of the SAO that is being offered, but am holding out until I can afford the P220 compact SAS Gen 2.
    (basically a p245 with a short reset trigger)

    Love your pics and review.
    I have thin hands, and was considering trying the flat base plate swap...sounds like maybe it didn't make too much difference in concealibility?

    The old 245 base plates are a tad bit shorter than the 220 compact, so you might consider those as well...