Review: SIG Sauer P220 Combat TB

posted on July 13, 2009

The SIG Sauer P220 Combat TB is a striking handgun. Its two-tone look is not the result of combining a stainless slide with a polymer frame like so many modern semi-autos, but rather an anodized barrel, action and slide mated with a Flat Dark Earth alloy frame and stock (Flat Dark Earth is the military name for the unmistakably tactical, greenish-brown color also found in infected sinuses).

The color palette might be the first thing to catch your eye, but the threaded barrel is what caught mine. Suppressor manufacturers should thank the folks at SIG for making this gun available to civilians. Every time I handled the gun, from a cursory inspection to preparing it for photography to shooting it, I wanted to stick a suppressor on the barrel. After all, that's what those threads are for. Without a suppressor, they seem lonely and functionless. If, like me, you have yet to fill out the voluminous paperwork required to obtain one, the P220 Combat TB is likely to get your savings in line so you can pony up $200 for the ATF compliance fund. You may be able to get your significant other behind the project if you point out the sad and lonely state of the naked barrel threads.

That's not to say the P220 Combat TB requires a suppressor to make it a great handgun selection. Far from it. SIG makes superb-quality firearms across the board, and has spared no detail in making this an accurate, easy-handling and fun pistol. In case the threaded barrel didn't give it away, the gun is tactical from head to toe. Chambered in .45 ACP, it's clear this gun is meant for business, though it makes for pleasurable shooting as well. It has a 1-inch rail section for mounting a light or laser. A large segment of the slide's rear is deeply serrated for added purchase when chambering a round or checking the chamber.

Though not as deeply serrated, the hammer is easy to manually cock for those who prefer a single-action trigger pull, but is easily and safely decocked using a lever on the left side of the stock for carry. The magazine release and decocking lever are easily reached without changing the shooting grip, as is the slide catch.

The sights on the P220 Combat TB are impressive. They are high, for aiming over a suppressor, and include tritium inserts for low-light visibility. It took precisely zero seconds to get used to acquiring the high sights. In fact, I found the prominent front sight among the easiest to quickly pick up upon the draw-a major plus. They may look odd, but these tall sights a huge benefit in a stressful situation and a fine aiming tool at the range.

Trigger pull measured 9.75 pounds double-action and 4.5 pounds single action and was crisp in both modes. What's more, the trigger guard is large enough to comfortably accommodate the pudgiest fingers, even when encased in a tactical glove. There'll be no hang-ups or snags. Serrations on the trigger guard's front provide adequate purchase for those who prefer to rest the weak-hand trigger finger there during shooting.

Disassembly is simple. Drop the magazine, clear the chamber, rack the slide so its catch activates, press the disassembly lever down 90-degrees and gently release the slide. Pull the slide off and, using the thumb and forefinger, depress the guide rod forward just a tad until the spring compresses enough to remove the rod and barrel. It makes for easy cleaning after a long range session.

The P220 Combat TB comes with two magazines; an eight-round with a pad that fits flush into the gun the way you'd expect such a magazine to fit, and a 10-round variant with a hard, rubber grip extension that extends about an inch below the stock. Even with the 10-round magazine equipped, the gun doesn't look overly clunky and it handles very well. For those seeking extra capacity in a .45 ACP, the P220 Combat TB offers one of the best looking and behaving models I've shot. It's important to remember that this pistol was not designed to be a concealed-carry gun. It is a duty pistol, and with its tactical accoutrements, it is a special duty pistol through and through. Therefore, the 10-round magazine's added weight and bulk are not bugs, but features.

Accuracy was excellent, befitting a SIG tactical pistol. All three loads fed flawlessly and shot accurately both from the bench at 25 yards and from a more realistic self-defense distance of 7 yards standing. The high sights were an absolute dream, making me look like a better shot than I am in reality. The only downside to the gun for me is its grip circumference, which is a tad thick for those of us with small hands. If you can palm a basketball, however, you probably won't even notice.

As mentioned, this is not a gun you should plan on carrying concealed. High sights lend themselves to snagging on the draw or on re-holstering. It is also a fairly large handgun, which some folks will find both difficult to conceal and on the heavy side. But if you want a tactical handgun for home-defense or just need an excuse to go out and finally buy that suppressor, the P220 Combat TB is the gun for you.

Manufacturer: SIG Sauer; (603) 772-2302;

Type: Recoil-operated; semi-automatic

Caliber: .45 ACP

Capacity: 8+1; 10+1

Frame: Alloy

Slide: 7.2 inches; stainless steel

Finish: Flat Dark Earth frame and grips; Nitron slide

Barrel: 5 inches; hard-chromed, Nitron; threaded

Rifling: 6 grooves; 1:16 LH

Grips: Polymer; Flat Dark Earth

Sights: High profile; SIGLITE Night Sights

Trigger Pull Weight: 9.75 pounds double-action; 4.5 pounds single-action

Length: 8.3 inches

Width: 11⁄2 inches

Height: 51⁄2 inches

Weight: 31.7 ounces (w/magazine)

Accessories: 10-round magazine w/extension

Suggested Retail Price: $1,286


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