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Traditional Downsizing: SIG Sauer P224 Review

by Frank W. James   |  February 28th, 2013 1

The SIG P224 is a throwback in terms of creating a smaller, easier to conceal self-defense pistol. James likes the fact that it retains an aluminum frame, not plastic.

For the past several years the term “downsizing” has had ominous connotations for most every industry and its employees. While the people running the company make claims to the stockholders about improved efficiencies and increased profits, the people below them who are responsible for making the big gears turn know all too well what the unofficial implication of the term means. Someone, often many and multiple someones, are soon going to be on the unemployment line.

Here, in this instance, however, I use the term not in such a negative manner, but as a means to describe the SIG Model P224.

Unlike many of the newer additions to the reduced size, lighter weight concealed carry pistol market, this new pistol from SIG, the P224, is a throwback in more ways than one to the more traditional means of creating a smaller, easier to conceal self-defense pistol.

They have mechanically “abbreviated” it and by that I mean the main features on this pistol are the shortened slide and the reduced grip length when compared to SIG’s classic pistols like the SIG P226, whether the latter pistol was chambered for the 9x19mm cartridge or the .40 S&W/.357 SIG round. Another more traditional aspect of the SIG 224 is the fact it is an all metal gun and not one made from a polymer compound.

These characteristics are not the norm today and to really appreciate them, a brief examination of this pistol’s heritage will offer an explanation why I think it is worthwhile.

SIG’s Classic Pistols
I’ve long been a fan of the SIG P226 in 9x19mm. My personal SIG P226 is an aged one having been made in West Germany—it says so on the right side of the slide—and was imported into the USA when SIG was located in Herndon, Va.—marked on the left side of the slide. That was a long time ago. This gun has digested a large number of rounds over the decades and years, but to be truthful I have absolutely no idea as to how many.

It was sent back to SIG for an overhaul a few years ago that was needed more in terms of cosmetic enhancement as opposed to any true mechanical overhaul. I’ve owned the gun for more than three decades, so I can say with honesty that I’m familiar with the design, its operation and it remains one of my favorite 9x19mm caliber semi-auto pistols.

Yet, it is also a dated design because my old SIG P226 features the two-piece mandrel slide as opposed to the one-piece examples machined today totally from stock at the SIG plant in Exeter, N.H. Additionally, as sweet as the double action/single action trigger pull is on my personally owned P226, it is not the latest in terms of what’s being offered to those in law enforcement or those civilians needing a personal protection handgun.

That would be the “DAK” trigger system like that found on the test SIG P224. DAK in this instance stands for “Double Action Kellerman,” with Kellerman being the man responsible for this new-age SIG trigger system.

One of the reasons why I’m a big fan of SIG’s Classic line of semi-auto pistols can be traced directly to the shape of the trigger found on most any SIG pistol using the traditional double action/single action trigger system. I’ve learned the hard way that pistols featuring a safety blade in the middle of the trigger face have a tendency to wear more than blisters on my somewhat fore-shortened trigger finger during intensive high round count training sessions.

In fact, it gets worn raw and being the wimp that I am, I migrated to a pistol that was accurate, held up well to extensive use and didn’t remove layers of skin off the trigger finger pad during high round count training sessions. In many ways, the smooth SIG trigger face reminds one of the well-tuned double action revolvers that I cut my teeth on during the majority of my shooting career and it’s easy on my trigger finger.

The DAK trigger found on the sample P224 is just an extension of that success, but it was designed with a more real world application as opposed to those of us who routinely punch holes in brown cardboard with pistol fire. The DAK trigger system changes things from the traditional SIG layout in that there is no tab or lever at the front of the left grip panel to safely drop the hammer when shooting is completed and the firearm remains cocked.

That’s because it is a version of a commonly seen double-action-only system, but here the system relies upon a somewhat lengthy trigger pull. It’s not difficult to manipulate nor could it be classified as heavy, but the situation does get somewhat complicated when you add in the reduced grip length of the SIG P224 into the equation because there isn’t a whole lot for the shooter’s hand to grasp and control during that lengthy trigger pull.

As for the management of the trigger pull, I found that slowly staging the double-action DAK trigger yielded the best groups in terms of accuracy, but for me that took exceptional concentration because I am so used to the old trigger system.

Still, like my much beloved SIG P226, the trigger face is smooth and attention has been paid all over the gun to remove any sharp edges so its outside surface and edges fall into that “well-worn-bar-of-soap” category that so many manufacturers of concealed carry pistol claim membership in, but few really understand the secret handshake that comes with it.

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