I’m stumped, meaning it’s that time again!

As you know, I’m looking at buying a pistol for the Academy, and thought I had my heart set on a particular pistol, a Sig P220R DAK.

However, I ran into a DPS Trooper today at work, and well, I’m waffling. You see, he is issued a Sig P226R in .357 Sig. We had a discussion about it, as gun nuts tend to do when randomly meeting in public, I mean, I honestly think if I met another Texas gun blogger randomly on the street or in a store, we’d spend hours talking and chit chatting’.

Anyway, him and I had a discussion about it, pros and cons, and well, I’m back to square 2. I know I want a Sig for the Academy and I know it’ll have to be in DAK, so at least I’m not back to the very beginning, but other than that, I’m not sure, which is why I’m making this bleg.

I originally wanted to go with the P220 because it’s a single stack .45, and well, as Dad would say, .45s have been putting people graveyard dead since 1911. I believe this is a case where its history speaks for itself.

However, after talking with this Trooper, he shined the light on .357 Sig and got me thinking about my decision. You see, for LE work, .357 Sig is becoming popular and is slowly but surely gaining a bigger and bigger market share of the LE world. Why you ask? Well, simply put, .357 Sig has a lot going for it. It has the ability to punch through automobile glass, car doors, car bodies, barriers such as doors, and still retain enough energy to eliminate the threat on the other side. Something else to consider too, is that on average, a .357 Sig round packs around ~100 ft lbs more energy in a single shot than a regular .45 round, and offers better penetration. Now, when you factor in .45 +P, it shrinks to a dead heat. But, bottleneck rounds (such as the .357 Sig) are inherently more reliable in feeding compared to straight walled rounds like .40 and .45. As an added bonus, if I got a P226 in .357 Sig, to switch to shooting .40 S&W all I’d have to do is swap the barrel. Magazines, springs, etc are compatible between the two. I have 2 pistols already in .40 S&W, so it’s not like I’d have to stock up on .40 S&W ammo.

But, the downside of .357 Sig, is it really hasn’t been proven on the streets like .45 has, which is the big one. The .45 round has a big ole pile of dead perps under it, whereas the .357 Sig may have some, but no where near as large as the .45. Plus, since .357 Sig is still something of a specialty round, it’s harder to come by than regular ammo calibers like .45. I mean again, .45 ACP speaks for itself.

Now that you’ve got that mulling over, consider this, which is P220 vs P226. Operation, DAK trigger pull, etc are all the same, so that’s not a concern. What is, is single stack vs staggered. The P220 is single stack, and can hold 8+1. Yes, I know Sig makes a 10 round mag for them, but they look ugly and are freakin’ expensive. The P226 is staggered, and can hold 12+1. Weight difference is marginal, 30 oz for the P220 and 34 oz for the P226. Everything else (width, length, height) are all the same.

So, any input and/or suggestions are welcomed. I’m interested to see what yall have to say!


13 Responses to “Crossroads”

  1. IMNSHO (you’ve been warned) Stay Away from the 357SIG.

    This round was indeed designed specifically for penetrating auto bodies and glass. DPS chose it just for this reason, their job is on the highway making traffic stops and dealing with crimes on the roadway. They are most likely to have to fire defensively at,in,or around a vehicle. This round is good for that.
    Problem is, the recoil is just ridiculous and has done nothing to improve shooting accuracy at DPS. In fact it has made their shooting scores go down. (Lt Dan Walker now at TSRA formerly TxDPS academy can expound on that)

    Please to read the previously sent lnks on handgun round effectiveness. Basically they all suck and the real key is shot placement. Once you are shooting a main caliber (9mm or above) it really doesn’t matter what you are shooting, it matter HOW you are shooting. More power just allows you to be a little sloppier with your shooting. Is that how you want to approach saving your life?

    As far as the gun goes, what fits YOU best? That will have a huge impact on how well you shoot it and or how much work you have to do to shoot it well. The better the fit, the easier it will be for you to shoot it well. Likewise, with a less snappy recoil you will have less work to do to shoot it well. 357SIG and 10mm full house loads are some of the roughest recoiling rounds because of the snappiness of the recoil. Switching to .40S&W then .45ACP then 9mm decreases the felt recoil respectively.

    So, 1. GUN FIT, 2. Round size and count, 3.Cost & availability of gun/rounds/mags/holsters, in that order.

  2. “IMNSHO (you’ve been warned) Stay Away from the 357SIG.”

    Don’t worry, I’ve always been a fan of not sugar coating things. If you want to say, then by golly come out and say it.

    I woke up this morning, read what I had posted, and thought, what was I thinking? .357 Sig over .45? I’ll just blame typing it at 3 a.m. after being at work at Walmart for 8 hours.

    On the last part, the gun fit is the same, except for the 4 oz difference in weight. All the dimensions are the same for both P220 and P226. P226 is 12 in .40 S&W and 15 in 9mm. P220 is 8 in .45. Cost of the pistol are (suprisingly) the same for both. Cost of accessories and ammo, the P220 mags are ~$10 more expensive. .45 auto in FMJ is substantially easier to find than .40 in FMJ.

  3. Greetings from Fallls County,
    I like what you were saying about .46 ACP being available juat about anywhere that sells ammo. That’s important to keep in mind.

    If you ask 10 knowledgable gun nut about what you shouold carry you could get 10 knowledgable, well thought out answers. I think you did it right the first time. Weigh the pro’s and cons and make the choice that’s right for you.

    I would make one other suggestion. See if there is a range that has both weapons available to rent. If you can find one, try ’em out. But carry what you think is best, not the other guy. You have the gun smarts to make the choice yourself.

  4. Hard cold facts about SIG guns.
    1) Nobody has ever won a major national championship with one. People can whine about the various shooting games all they want, but ultimately they all test speed and accuracy — and the SIG designs, with the long heavy trigger pull and the hand placed too low relative to the bore axis – don’t cut it when it comes to speed and accuracy.

    2) One of my assistant instructors is a DPS trooper who is an excellent shot. Marine Corps rifle team, rifle competitor, combat vet w/ a Purple Heart from service in Iraq. He carries an STI .40 in his “bailout bag” because “I can shoot it so much better than I can shoot that SIG they make me carry”.

    3) If you don’t understand how to evaluate whether a gun fits your hand or not, you shouldn’t be choosing a gun yet.m Here’s my article on gun selection

    For the vast majority of shooters that I teach, the SIG guns have a grip that is too wide and a trigger reach that is too long.

    • KR,

      What pistol do you recommend then that fits my requirements that isn’t a Glock?

      4″ barrel or greater
      Full size only
      9mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP
      Double Action Only

      That’s why I originally was going to go with a Sig P220R in DAK, it met all the requirements and wasn’t a Glock.

      What do you think of the USP in LEM?

  5. Springfield XD, XDm or S&W M&P.

    I am assuming the ‘double action’ requirement is from the academy. The idea behind that double action requirement is the assumption that it’s more important for you to carry a gun that is idiot-proof (long heavy trigger) than it is for you to carry a gun that facilitates you shooting with speed and accuracy. God Bless Gaston Glock, who figured out that cop bureaucrats were too technically ignorant to figure out that his gun is not really a double action gun. The striker is partially cocked which is why the Glock trigger (and the XD and M&P triggers that followed) has a much shorter, lighter pull than traditional double action guns. Don’t spill that little secret to the admins at the academy. They either know and are perpetuating the lie as a way to allow you to have a gun with a good trigger, or they don’t know and shouldn’t be educated.

    The SIG DAK and USP LEM are much longer, heavier trigger pulls than you will get on a Glock, XD or M&P… and they will be much harder to shoot as a result.

    If I had to live with a stock gun with no gunsmithing, I would go with the XDm as my first choice, and M&P as my second.

    If you are morally opposed to a polymer framed gun, you need to get past that and join us in the 21st century. Even Clint Smith at Thunder Ranch, the last 1911-centric instructor in the industry, now carries an XD .45. The war ended 10 years ago and polymer, striker fired guns won. They won on match day and they won in the purchasing contracts of law enforcement agencies. Look up top polymer gun shooters like David Sevigny on youtube. There aren’t videos of guys running the SIG DAK or USP LEM guns to that level. That should be a big clue as to what guns are worth carrying and which are not.

  6. No opposition to polymer framed guns here. As a matter of fact, of the 3 pistols I own, the 2 that I purchased are polymer framed (Glock 23 and H&K USP).

    Yes, the double action requirement is from the Academy and not myself. What the Academy did, was call up all the LE departments in the ten county area and see what they issued to their officers. A majority of them issued the Glock 22, but the admin of the Academy said they couldn’t tell the cadets they only had to get a Glock 22. So, in cooperation with several of the larger departments in that area, they came up with that list of requirements.

    If I was buying a pistol for the academy, I’d buy a Springfield, STI, or Para-Ord 1911 in .45. The department I’m going to work for will let me carry a 1911, provided I can qualify with it.

  7. So they don’t consider the Glock to be double action?

    Para LDA would beat SIG and H&K on my list.
    It’s a 1911 variant with a true double action trigger system.
    P18-9 LDA first choice
    P14-45 LDA second choice

    I was a diehard 1911 guy for a long time. Finally switched to polymer for these reasons:
    1) XD trigger w/ gunsmithing is as good as 1911 trigger
    2) Higher capacity
    3) No manual safety – isn’t an issue until you get into one handed gun manipulation, particularly with “weak” hand. Lost the Polite Society match one year over a stage that required weak hand shooting, and I kept bumping the ambi safety on my 1911 back on because of my weak hand grip. That was the last straw for the manual safety.
    4) Ambi mag release – again not an issue until you are doing one handed gun work. Not good to carry a gun you can’t run with your non-dominant hand.
    5) Lighter weight

    The P14-45 is a brick compared to the XD 45 with similar capacity.

  8. Then I would ask about XD and M&P or look at Para LDA.
    If you like 1911’s the XD is the polymer pistol for you.


    • Para Ord is out, they don’t consider them to be a “reputable” manufacturer.

      XD service and XD tactical models are okay, I don’t know about the S&W M&P though. I know the Houston PD switched to XDs, though I haven’t heard any reports back on their performance.

  9. M&P is very respected, very popular with tactical trainers and competitors.

  10. […] for the academy As I’ve blogged about in the past, I’ve had trouble trying to decide on what pistol I wanted for the police […]

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