Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Shooting the SIG-Sauer P220 w/DAK Trigger System

Hello. It is no secret that my handgun preferences are single-action autoloaders followed by DA revolvers, but not to the complete exclusion of other action types. One "glaring" exception to my "single-action-only" bias remains the CZ-75 Pre-B; another has been SIG-Sauer single-stack semiautomatics. In that family, I've been most pleased with the SIG-Sauer P220.

This P220 was bought in the '90's though I just recently added the Hogue checkered grips. It came with the "green" recoil spring intended for warmer loads. I bought the gun after attending a firearms instructor school at DPS Austin and saw now retired Lt. Reeves Jungkind (of Jungkind Python fame) shooting one at 50 yards. It was an out of the box P220 and his accuracy was exceptional ... to say the least. This one's been stone cold reliable with any and all JHP's. It will not feed handloaded SWC's with over 5 in the magazine, but anything else feeds, extracts and ejects flawlessly. The 3-dot fixed sights were dead-bang "on" for me and the gun has a very nice single-action albeit with quite a bit of slack initially.

While at DPS Austin a decade later recertifying as a state CHL instructor, I struck up a conversation with one of the rangemasters there, a very nice, very Pro-Second DPS Sergeant and asked how the 357 SIG was doing. (No complaints from this man, who is a very proficient shooter and police firearm instructor.) He mentioned that their SIG-Sauers were not DAO or DA/SA, but DAK or "Double Action Kellerman" in honor of the fellow who came up with the system. Essentially, you wind up with a DAO pistol, but one with about a 6.5-lb pull.

I didn't think much more about it.

Recently I handled a few SIG-Sauer P220 .45's in various forms of the gun now offered to the shooting public. One was a DAK action on SIG-Sauer's "SAS" (SIG Anti Snag) model.
I kind of liked it so eventually I coughed up the tariff.

The pistol came with two stainless 8-shot magazines vs. the blued 7-shot magazines I'm more familiar with.

The P220 SAS shown here is stock, just as it comes from the factory. The trigger is of a different contour than my original P220 and quite smooth and short...for a double-action. The "SAS" part amounts to its having no sharp edges, ie: the gun's been "melted" like Ikey Stark's famous "well used bar of soap." I'd have preferred a bit less rounding of the slide's edges, but it is comfortable.

As luck would have it, it drizzled and rained all day. Still I was able to get to the range and shoot at about 10 or 12 yards while standing under a cover.

Ammunition fired included handloaded 230-gr. Remington Golden Saber handloads, as well as factory, Speer 230-gr. Gold Dots, Corbon 185-gr. +P DPX, S&B 230-gr. FMJ, Winchester USA 230-gr. FMJ, Remington UMC 230-gr. FMJ, a 230-gr. CRN handload, Federal 230-gr. Classic JHP, Federal 230-gr. HydraShok, and a few Corbon 185-gr. +P JHP's. I used both of the new magazines (dimpled at the top rear as compared to the plain) as well as an old 7-shot.

There were no failures to feed, extract, or eject. The slide locked back only after the last round had been fired. Magazines dropped freely when released.

Cases were ejected approximately 8 to 10' to my right. After a few shots, it was no problem to get the gun to group well enough, but my shots were consistently 3" to the left. I had noticed that for whatever reason, the rear sight blade appeared off-centered well to the left. Elevation was fine.

Upon returning home, I contacted a local 'smith who has a SIG-Sauer sight pusher and moved the sight to center. I have not shot the gun since doing this but strongly suspect that the "problem" is solved. I'll find out soon.

I sort of like the DAK system for folks not wanting to use single-action for whatever reason. Though not as smooth as a nicely tuned DA revolver, it ain't bad; it ain't bad at all.

There's little doubt (as in none) that I couldn't "double tap" so quickly with this pistol was with a 1911-pattern gun, but in controlled pairs, I honestly don't think there will be any loss of speed. No doubt part of this is from decades of double-action revolver shooting, but I absolutely believethat the DAK is a viable action for quick and accurate emergency shooting.

It is my understanding that some folks have reported problems with some of the newer SIG-Sauer P220 magazines with regard to some cartridges being too long to fit. While the ammunition used today wasn't excessively long, some of it has been mentioned in the posts concerning this problem. I didn't experience it at all. I have no idea if the problem was a single run of magazines or if some lots of ammunition had been loaded longer. In any event, the above-mentioned ammunition worked fine in all three magazines.

In the near future, I'll see how accurately I can shoot this pistol and will chronograph several different loads but I don't expect any significant differences in bullet speeds when compared to my older P220.

So far I'm pleased with the pistol and the DAK action. I fired something less than 300 rounds today, but will get serious with the pistol in the near future.