Handguns > Semi-Auto

Short & Sweet: The SIG Sauer P224

With a shorter grip frame and a shorter slide than the stalwart P229, SIG Sauer’s P224 is a sweet new model for the “always” role.


In search of a high-tech semi-automatic for concealed carry? There’s no better time to do it, since the pistol industry is fiercely competitive, offering a wide variety of models for every conceivable need. Guns from the major makers come in several chamberings and a variety of operating systems, but today’s design trends involve reduced size and weight. It is also true that the makers work to develop less costly ways to build their products. A lower price point is very appealing when the buyer has a selection of guns laid out on the counter mats of a local gun shop; however, if you look back at what has been tabbed as “new” during the past few years, it has been the size and weight of the guns that so often closes the deal. It seems everybody wants as many shots as possible, as well as some form of safe and simple trigger action, but they want it in an ever-decreasing mass.

It is exactly this criterion that influenced SIG Sauer to develop a new pistol called the P224. A chunky, little recoil-operated semi-automatic, the P224 bears a strong family resemblance to other pistols in the company’s distinguished P-series line. It is a small gun, but not one to be confused with the personal-size, ultra-compact or micro-size pistols that we have heard so much about in the last few years. These skinny-nines are invariably very flat because they have single-column magazines to go with short barrel and butt dimensions. Not so with the P224, which retains its predecessors’ double-stack magazine design in order to fulfill the service pistol role in as small a package as possible. It does that quite well, as well as maintaining the SIG Sauer line’s recognizable features and operational characteristics.

SIG Sauer pistols have existed since the early 1970s as a result of the joint efforts of Swiss and German firms. In the pre-World War II era, the German firm of J.P. Sauer & Sohn made a much-respected pocket pistol called the Sauer 38H, while Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft (SIG) of Switzerland later developed a superb service pistol called the P210. Between them, the two companies brought great design and manufacturing experience to the development of a line of pistols. Made in Germany at the Eckenforde plant, the guns have been widely popular in the United States since first imported here in the 1970s. It is interesting to note that in the past 40 years, SIG Sauer pistols have evolved logically, but remain fundamentally the same gun as initially sold in the Nixon years. Many competing designs cannot make that claim. Plainly, they got it right from the start.

What they got right was a series of semi-automatic pistols with several significant innovations. Initially, the guns came with a machined receiver and unique sheet steel slide. As much as some critics were concerned with the strength of these units, they have an excellent track record in hard service. The development of such cartridges as the .40 S&W and .357 SIG eventually required a machined steel slide, and all SIG pistols now have that feature. Early on, SIG Sauers differed from the rest of the pack in that they locked up in a much different way. Instead of barrel locking lugs being cammed into recesses in the slide, a square breech end of the barrel fitted into a square ejection port. Many other brands now have this feature. Since those early guns came along at a time when double-action/single-action trigger systems were just being accepted in police service, SIG engineers developed an unusual—but very sensible—arrangement. With the hammer down, the first-shot is fired double-action, with the trigger cocking and then releasing the hammer to fire. Subsequent shots are single-action, and there is no manual safety. There is no real need for one on a pistol that is carried hammer down in the same way as a revolver.

The SIG system did include a logically placed decocking lever just above the left grip panel. This is the basic formula for the P-series of pistols that have done so well for nearly 40 years. In recent times, the innovators in SIG Sauer’s engineering department have added a unique, optional double-action-only trigger system known as the “DAK” trigger. The designation is for “double-action, Kellerman” (the latter for the system’s designer), and it gives the shooter a short, smooth factory-rated pull of about 7 pounds, 8 ounces, for every shot. All of the four versions of the P224—the SAS, or SIG Anti-Snag, the Equinox, the Nickel and the Extreme reviewed here—offer the DAK trigger, but the DA/SA Short Reset Trigger is available on the SAS, and the Extreme and the standard DA/SA system is available on the Equinox and Nickel.

SIG Sauer has focused considerable attention on making its pistols more useful to a wider variety of handgunners. That means going after the growing civilian concealed-carry market. It’s one thing to carry a hefty pistol in a strong-side holster on a wide belt. Most of us outside of law enforcement don’t live and work where this is possible, so our carrying is licensed concealed carry, which is another thing entirely. Full-size pistols can sometimes be hidden under casual or business-type clothing, but most handgunners simply want a smaller, lighter, generally more compact handgun. Meeting this trend is a major design influence, and the subject handgun, SIG Sauer’s P224, is a perfect example of the concept at work.

The P224 is available in three chamberings used in both full-size and compact pistols—9 mm Luger, .357 SIG, .40 S&W. Originally, the P226 was a pistol intended for the U.S. service pistol trials. A full-size gun in 9 mm Luger, it was widely used in American law enforcement. Several years later, SIG Sauer came out with a reduced-size gun known as the P228 and, eventually, the P229. The latter was necessary for use with the .357 SIG and .40 S&W cartridges. These two models have been erroneously described as scaled-down versions of the P226. They are better described as abbreviated or shortened versions of the parent gun. The P224 is simply an even shorter version of the P229 and P226 pistols.

SIG Sauer is currently running an ad campaign showing a new P224 lying on a workbench. Adjacent to the muzzle and to the butt, there are the sawed-off sections of a P229. Let there be no confusion, SIG Sauer does not make P224s by literally cutting sections off of P229s. The graphic ad simply demonstrates how much smaller the gun actually is. Specifically, let’s look at some measured comparisons. The P224 measures 6.7-inches long by 4.5-inches high by 1.5-inches thick, while the parent P229 is 7.1x5.4x1.3 inches.


The basic magazine for each of the three models has a different length and a floorplate that is roughly flush with the bottom of the steel tube. The flush-fitting short magazine holds 10 rounds of .40 S&W, and the longer P229-type with bottom collar takes 12. It is possible to use the longer magazines in the shorter guns. With that in mind, SIG Sauer sent the sample pistol, with a P224 and a P229 magazine, and the latter had a collar around its base that filled out the butt to about the same shape as a P229 pistol. Either a P226 or P229 magazine will fit into and function in the short-butt P224. I tried all three types in my sample P224 with no problems. For daily carry, the short magazine would be more easily concealable; but more shots on tap might be a good idea when trouble is on the way, so the longer magazines could be carried as spares. For shooting, the longer magazine is superior in that there is far more gun to hold.

The gray Hogue Extreme G10 stocks are finished with a modernistic checkering pattern. Controls are the same as found on other P-series pistols. Since the sample came with the Kellerman trigger option, there was no decocking lever in place, but the slide lock, magazine catch and takedown lever are on the left side of the gun. Sights fit into dovetails in the top of the slide and feature a system of three-dot tritium highlights. The Extreme’s finish was an all-business dull black.

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19 Responses to Short & Sweet: The SIG Sauer P224

Mike Perkins wrote:
September 06, 2013

Nice Gun, I cant complain about the price as I won it from Sig Sauer in January's contest!

TGugs wrote:
March 25, 2013

Sig's like Kahr arms have become much to $$$. Where the .357sig version? High bore axis..snappy. P228 still reigns supreme out of the entire lineup.

Richard wrote:
February 21, 2013

Got my P224 feb 16. Put 175 rds of 40 cal through it. One or two FTF's but you do have multiple strike capability. I believe that was a break in issue. Awesome accuracy and great quality feel. Waiting for my smart carry holster. I have a P238 using smart carry ingenious holster. If it as good with the P224 I Will be in concealed Carry heaven

Dennis wrote:
February 15, 2013

I just picked up my P224 today. It has a nice weight and feel to it, not too heavy but it lets you know it means business. Love it! Paid about $900 for it, Rockwell Arms.

Jennie wrote:
February 11, 2013

The P224 runs about $999.98. My husband AND I bought one EACH. Yes it is a little pricey but as the old saying goes "you get what you pay for". The shorten magazine can pose a problem in control but once you practice and get to know it you will be very happy. One person asked about the night sights. It does come with the glow green night sights and boy do they glow. Very easy to use in complete darkness. On the other hand the weight being somewhat heavy according to some and the smaller size in conjunction with the recoil in my opinion is easy to handle. Being only 5'1" and 102lbs with carpel tunnel and tendinitis I have not had a problem handling the new sig224 and proud to say I own 2. Having the wrist issues was one driving factor the slide is easy on my wrist. After all what it the point of owning a pistol if you cant use it!

GC wrote:
January 30, 2013

rockwellarms.com $914

Stan Bernard wrote:
January 29, 2013

I own a 226 40, 226 9mm, 229 9mm, 938 9mm and 238 in 380. I can say without a doubt SIG is expensive when compared to most factory guns but they are the best in that category. Custom guns can run 50[%] more than SIG. Price a nighthawk etc. the range I go to has an old gunsmith ace shooter. He puts 2' groups at 21 feet with my 238 as does a young range officer .

skyler wrote:
October 20, 2012

this gun is a little pricy but Sig has always had a high msrp but sell less in store

bootman wrote:
October 18, 2012

No thanks...I think I will stick with my Colt Defender 45 and my Ruger LC9...I I am going to pay that it is going to be something besides Sig ...anybody can tak a saw and cut a gun down ...Glock did it w/the G26!

Mohd Firdaus wrote:
August 31, 2012

How much this price

C.R. wrote:
August 18, 2012

I find it interesting when so many are fixated on the MSRP! Who pays that high price? I sure don't--this gun will sell for around $900! Of course for those foolish enough to pay a higher price and state tax--then you of course will pay more!

Dominic Cavalucci wrote:
June 21, 2012

I own the 229, the price on the P224 is a joke when compared to the competition, this is in the "very close use" catagory. + or - accuracy greater than 3 inchesis is not required. Sig lighten up.

Duke Akbar wrote:
May 16, 2012

Since it's so new, I may very well be wrong, but you can probably get this for more like $900 to $950. I own a P220 Carry Elite, which has a similar MSRP, but that's about what I paid for it. And unless I accidentally skipped over part of the review, he didn't mention that the P224 comes with stock night sights and SRT just like the Elites do. I'm more than a little turned on by this one...

Eric Lopez wrote:
April 25, 2012

WAY OVERPRICED... so many other competitors out there offering great alternatives.

Eric Lopez wrote:
April 25, 2012

I agree david... I think i will stick with the 229.

David Watko wrote:
April 17, 2012

Love Sig pistols, but this one is the priciest yet

Steven wrote:
April 05, 2012

I keep hearing about the 224, when will it be available. And also on the Sig web site is a 938 heard little about it.

John wrote:
April 04, 2012

WOW, talk about price skock.

Rick wrote:
April 04, 2012

Looks a lot like the Beretta Mini-Cougar. Its length, height, width, and weight are very close to the Mini-Cougar.