My top choice for autoloading pistols are Glocks. However when money is not a dominant factor I have become enamored of Sig Sauer pistols. (With night sights they start around $1000, vs $600 for Glocks.)
Shown here are four classic DA/SA pistols chambered in 9mm (but also available in .357 SIG and .40 S&W). On the left are the full-sized P226 German and P226 Scorpion, with standard 9mm magazine capacities of 15 rounds. On the right are the mid-sized P229 Elite Dark and M11-A1, with 9mm magazine capacities of 13 rounds. All have SIGLITE night sights.
Top Left: The P226 German is hard to find here since Sig has been making pistols for the U.S. market at its Exeter, New Hampshire facility for years. Apparently the German plant uses some different methods to manufacture the slide. Practically I can’t see any differences with a standard P226. This specimen also features Hogue anodized aluminum grips, which are my personal favorite.
Top Right: The P229 Elite Dark adds a beavertail frame, SRT trigger, Hogue aluminum grips, and front cocking serrations to a regular P229.
Bottom Left: The P226 Scorpion is a P226 Elite finished in Flat Dark Earth. Grips are Hogue G10.
Bottom Right: The M11-A1 is a P229 built for the military. It features the Sig Anti-Snag (SAS) frame and phosphate-coated internal parts to increase corrosion resistance.
The common attractions of this line of pistols are the following:
- They are available with Sig’s Short Reset Trigger (SRT), the best factory pistol trigger I have ever tried.
- Their metal frames and slides fit and run like a fine watch. Trigger aside, there’s something sublime about the feel and finish that sets them in a class above guns with polymer frames and triggers.
- They have no manual safety, which I consider an unnecessary complication in a defensive pistol.
- Reliability is top-notch, as their numerous contracts with the most demanding government buyers attest.
I went into the DA/SA trigger system in detail in my recent post on the Sig P239. To summarize: The pistol is carried loaded and decocked. The first trigger pull is a long but smooth ten-pound double-action that first cocks and then releases the hammer. The DA trigger pull is the pistol’s “manual safety,” which can also be “disengaged” by manually cocking the hammer. From that point until the pistol is manually decocked the trigger has a precise 4-pound break with minimal overtravel and reset.