Monday, December 31, 2012

Review of the Sig 229, 9mm


If you have ever looked at guns on the Internet, then you know that the best gun ever is either the Glock or the 1911. The Glock people rave about the smooth, long, safe trigger of the Glock and its reliability. 1911 people gush about the inherent accuracy of the 1911’s single action trigger, and the overall ergonomics of the 1911.

If you would like a gun that combines the good features of each platform, then a Sig 229 in 9mm is the gun for you.

Now let’s talk about why this is such an awesome gun.

The Trigger

Sig’s traditional DA/SA trigger allows you to have the best of both worlds. The long double action trigger negates the need for any on-off safety. It is also very smooth. Some people spend lots of dollars on their revolvers to get a smooth trigger, and it comes standard on the 229.

The other awesome half of the Sig’s trigger is the single action. It is very crisp, and allows for fast, precise shots. 1911 aficionados lavish praises on the crisp single action trigger. The Sig lets you have that nice trigger pull without having to hit a safety to use it.

The DA/SA trigger also is a great training asset. After you’ve taken a shooting class then you should be doing dry fire practice. The most important sequence of motions that needs to become automatic is drawing the gun and firing the first aimed shot.

With striker-fired guns, and single action guns, the slide has to be racked or the hammer cocked back before the gun can be dry fired again. Firing one shot, then racking the slide is not a good habit to cultivate.

With the Sig, you can draw, aim, fire, re-holster and repeat. You don’t have to rack the slide to reset the trigger.

Some say is that a long trigger pull followed by short ones is inconsistent and a problem for training. However, good training will teach you to pay attention to the trigger reset, which is consistent with every trigger pull in the Sig, just like any other gun.

Operating the Gun

When shooting the 9mm 229, the heavier weight is a major plus. The extra ounces soak up a lot of the recoil from already-low-recoiling 9mm round, making it very comfortable to shoot lots and lots of rounds through.

Sig has a very unique approach to reloading. Many companies manufacture extended slide release levers as drop-in parts for 1911s, Glocks, etc... With Sigs, it’s standard. 

The slide release button sits far back on the grip, within easy reach of your thumb. When you’ve reinserted the new magazine, you can flick the release with your thumb while re-establishing your grip with your support hand. 

Some complain that this design is different from what they are used to, and that their thumb rides the release during shooting. 

However it is possible to grip this gun without resting your thumb on the slide release.

If you like the idea of being able to easily and quickly hit the slide release, and have the crisp single action trigger with no manual safety, it is possible to learn to adjust your grip to a Sig. Most humans can be taught how to drive standard or automatic transmission cars.  If you are considering buying one, don’t let this minor training concern dissuade you.

The sights are designed so that the bullet will land right in the middle of the front sight, making it simple to aim. Just put the sights right where you want the holes to appear, instead of trying to guess how far above the sights the bullet might land.


The rails on the frame and slide come polished pretty smooth from the factory, which makes the slide cycle even with a minimum of oil. It will cycle dry, though it will eventually start malfunctioning. I’ve never tried to bury it or fill it with mud, and then shoot it, but it did function through an all day class that took place inside an Iraq-style dust storm.  Oiling this gun is no great chore.

Also, the Navy Seals use Sig 226s, 229’s bigger brother. That says something about reliability.


Taking the gun apart is as easy as locking the slide back and flipping a lever. The recoil spring and barrel easily come out, which increase the likelihood that the owner will clean and lube the gun more.  For routine maintenance, simply pull it apart, rub a drop of oil around the square locking surfaces on the barrel, a drop of oil at the front of the frame rails and at the back of the slide rails, then put it back together.

This process shouldn’t need to be repeated more than once a month.

A full day’s sweat day-in and day-out doesn't seem to bother the stainless slide and aluminum alloy frame at all.


I can conceal this gun on my body, however I am a 6 foot 3 inch male, with a bit of a gut. With the right combination of belt and holster, I can tuck in a shirt over the top of it. If you’re a smaller frame, you may have fewer options. Using a Galco belly band, makes the gun disappear. Other holster and belt options are available that are more comfortable, but more bulky as well, and so you have to adjust your dress accordingly.


If you are new to gun ownership, or are looking for an enjoyable pistol to shoot, consider the 229 in 9mm. It’s good for a novice to develop good training habits  with, and is a great choice for a multi-purpose gun. It’s not a Glock and it’s not a 1911, but it is a good blend of the best features of each of those guns.

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