SIG SAUER P220 Legion: The “Other” Single Stack .45 ACP

What comes to mind when “Metal frame single stack magazine .45 ACP” is mentioned? Most minds will immediately leap to Browning’s 1911. However, another contender is out there that fits this description and has its own stellar reputation — the SIG SAUER P220. The P220 resulted from the Swiss wanting a less expensive/less intensive to manufacture sidearm in lieu of the P210. The P220 was introduced into Swiss service in 1975. The P220 was a bellwether for pistol design with subsequent SIG SAUER and other manufacturers’ handguns copying its tweaking of the Browning locked breech short-recoil method.

VIDEO: SIG SAUER Academy Vice President Adam Painchaud walks through the key features and benefits of the P220 Legion. (Video courtesy of Sig Sauer Academy).

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SIG SAUER modified Browning’s operating system by removing the locking lugs and recesses milled into the barrel and slide; instead, a single lug milled above the barrel’s chamber interacts with the slide’s large overhead ejection port acting as barrel to slide lock-up point. The front contour of the barrel lug cam slot has been cut square to direct counter-recoiling forces up and forward into the barrel itself to reduce stress on the lug.

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The P220 Legion is similar in size to a Commander-sized 1911s and performs out of the box reliably with a high degree of accuracy. Photo courtesy of SIG SAUER.

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SIG SAUER is most associated with their respected line-up of double/single action handguns. The P220’s performance is a major reason for this. The recently introduced P220 Legion continues along this path. The SIG SAUER P220 Legion has received the benefit of upgrades based on feedback from SIG SAUER’s elite professional clients around the world. A weapon with the Legion moniker is intended for customers who rigorously use their gear.

The P220 Legion

SIG SAUER’s plan with Legion members is to foster a brotherhood among its most loyal customer base, while also rewarding customers with exclusive product offerings even beyond SIG SAUER’s own products. Not only is this savvy marketing, but also very productive to customers in terms accessing other companies SIG SAUER has partnered with. To access the Legion all you need to do is call SIG SAUER and provide the serial number of the Legion item purchased. Account login information is given to new members granting access to certain parts of the SIG SAUER website.

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“Legion” is inscribed on top of the P220 Legion’s slide.

What sets the P220 Legion apart from its stablemates in the SIG SAUER line up? P220 Legion’s aesthetics are immediately noticed. Legion Grey PVD coating covers the slide and frame. This is nicely accentuated by custom G-10 grips that have a Legion medallion embedded. These items are not merely idle window dressing — both the coating and grips improve the durability of the P220 Legion.

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Legion Grey PVD coating covers the stainless slide and frame. This is nicely accentuated by custom G-10 grips with a Legion medallion embedded.

After the aesthetic improvements are the ergonomic tweaks. The beavertail has been modified for both higher grip and reduced profile. Along these same lines, the trigger guard has been undercut allowing for higher grip thus greater control when firing, especially when combined with the beavertail work. Aggressive checkering on the front strap/trigger guard area improves grip texture. The front cocking serrations provide greater purchase for cycling the action, clearing the firearm or conducting press checks. A solid steel guide rod adds weight up front where it matters most for feel and natural pointing. Low profile de-cocking and slide catch levers round out the ergonomic improvements.

Lastly, superior sights and custom tuned DA/SA trigger fulfill SIG SAUER’s goals with the P220 Legion. SIG SAUER XRay3 Day/Night sights provide aiming solution no matter light conditions. The Legion’s sights provide a solid sight picture if in a hurry reacting to an adversary no matter light conditions. The sights are also proficient in providing stand and deliver accuracy at distance. The P220 Legion instills confidence with how it stacks hits on targets resulting in jagged hole groups.

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SIG SAUER XRay3 Day/Night sights provide aiming solution no matter the light conditions. Photo courtesy of SIG SAUER.

SIG SAUER’s upgraded SRT (Short-Reset Trigger) was further advanced via polishing and then adding Grayguns Precision Adjustable Intermediate Trigger (P-SAIT). The P-SAIT is created from heat-treated alloy steel and adjusts for over travel. The trigger shape is configured specifically to work with a DA/SA handgun. The P220 Legion comes standard with three 8-round magazines.

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SIG SAUER Elite 230-grain FMJ, 230-grain JHP, and 200-grain JHP were used to evaluate the P220 Legion. The firing was at a relatively steady pace with different shooters running the P220 Legion thru its paces on plate racks, dueling trees, and other drills. The transition from the first round 10 lbs. double action trigger pull to the remaining 5 lbs. the single action went smoother than anticipated. More significant was the change in pull length between first and second round. I am stating this from a predominantly 1911 or striker fired shooters perspective.

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The P220 Legion performed as expected from a SIG SAUER—accurately and reliably with multiple types of ammunition.

P220 Legion’s ergonomics and handling characteristics are quickly appreciated and make a user understand why the P220 as a whole is so well thought of. The full-size grip frame and overall balance of the P220 managed recoil well. It’s not normal protocol to bench test handguns for accuracy due to reliability and quick engagement of targets being more paramount. However, it could not be resisted with the P220 Legion due to the SIG reputation for accuracy and quality control. The SIG SAUER P220 Legion did not disappoint producing 2″ groups at 25 yards. I was left with the feeling I was the weak link in the accuracy equation.

SIG SAUER ergonomics combined with the slide’s track along the entire length of the frame during recoil and manageable .45 ACP muzzle signature allows for a very stable sight picture no matter how many or how rapid rounds are fired. The SIG P220 Legion’s slide seemed to reciprocate on ball bearings it moved so smoothly with the sights tracking smoothly in between shots fired. Subsequent range visits have only reinforced my initial impressions. The modified beavertail’s frame protrusion guides one’s hand to the optimum grip position during the draw stroke and aids in recoil management.

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Front cocking serrations assist in slide manipulations. Photo courtesy of SIG SAUER.

The quality of SIG SAUER fit and finish speaks volumes as to how the P220 Legion obtains such levels of accuracy and reliability. There are no tool marks evident and no lateral play in the slides fit to frame or barrel to slide. The barrel locks up tight when in battery. The P220 Legion easily fits concealed carry, personal defense, and tactical roles. The SIG SAUER P220 Legion is ideal for anyone wanting to capitalize on the SIG SAUER reputation for out of the box reliability and accuracy, while also becoming a member of a group of like-minded people.


  • CALIBER: .45 ACP
  • TRIGGER PULL DA: 10 lbs.
  • TRIGGER PULL SA: 4.4 lbs.
  • HEIGHT: 5.5″
  • WEIGHT: 30.4 oz.

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