We have all known about the SIG Pro (SP) SP2022’s for several years but for some unexplained reason it is always forgotten. I have always looked at getting one, because of their reputation, quality and very low price point. In the early 2000’s I owned the older SP2340 in .357sig, so I had some experience with the SIG Pro polymer framed guns. Recently the SP2022 has become even more competitively priced with added features. I could no longer pass the SP2022 up and when I ran across a deal on a SP2022 in Flat Dark Earth (FDE) I jumped on it, to get back into SIG SAUER’s. I have always liked the look , feel, and performance of the Classic Line of SIG SAUER handguns.
Even though I am known as a Glock guy, SIG’s were really the first firearms I fell in love with. I have owned several over the years, that unfortunately I no longer have. When I went to the police academy I used a P229, that my parents bought for me, and years later a P245 and a P239 were my favorite off duty carry weapons. I found myself carrying the P245 over my many Glock’s. This is a long review and if you are looking for a quick hit piece this is not it. I want to give you all the information I can about the SP2022.
I feel the SIG Pro’s have always been thought of as second best in the SIG firearms line and they do not really get the recognition they deserve. They are commonly referred to as the “Poor Man’s P226 or P229”. Now, everyone talks about the P250 and P320 as SIG’s polymer framed revolution. The fact is, the P250 has not done well at all in law enforcement testing or trials and is one of SIG’s poorer performers in their line-up. The P320 has yet to be fully vetted in the firearms world. Since the P320 is basically a P250 in a striker fire design, I’m not holding my breath on it being any better. The SIG Pro’s are the first polymer framed SIG’s and the SIG polymer revolution happened almost 20 years ago. All of the SIG Pro’s have always had a very good reputation and have actually served in military and law enforcement units over the last two decades. The SP2022 is the second generation of the SIG Pro Line and is at the peak of the SIG polymer framed firearms.
Personally, over the last several years (almost a decade) SIG’s quality has not been that great and I can no longer justify getting into another Classic P- Series Line at their very expensive prices. SIG has cut a lot of corners to save money, sacrificing quality in the Classic Line and their price still remains very high. This is where the SIG SP2022 comes in; You get the general look and function of the Classic SIG’s, but with a polymer frame. I think, if you want to get a SIG, the SP2022 is arguably one the best SIG’s out there, especially for the price. In some cases it is more than half the price of the Classic SIG Line. I personally think out of SIG’s polymer framed offerings, the SP2022 is the best, with a proven (service & reliability) design you should look at.
The SP2022 is a direct descendant of the SIG Pro 2340 & 2009. The SIG Pro Line was introduced in 1998 with the SP2340 and in 1999 the SP2009 model. The SIG Pro’s were released to compete with Glock and the H&K USP firearms. The SP2340 was chambered in .40 caliber and the new at the time .357sig. The SP2340 was released first to compete in the competitive U.S. law enforcement polymer market of the late 90’s. The SP2009 was release shortly after and chambered in 9mm. If you look hard into the SIG Pro, you notice it is the first polymer framed firearm with interchangeable grip/back straps, (1998). Something that is all the rage and a must have on new polymer handguns now. In 2002 the French National Police (Gendarmerie), the French Army and Foreign Legion were looking at new service pistols. The SIG Pro was modified slightly and the 9mm version was adopted by the French. SIG was awarded a 20 year service contract for the new SIG Pro and the French ordered 250,000 of them. The SIG SP2022 was born, the model number reflecting the 20 year service contract ending in the year 2022. In 2005 the SP2022 started to make its way into the U.S. market and the older 2340 and 2009 were slowly discontinued. The SP2022 can currently be found in 9mm, .40 S&W and the very hard to find .357sig.
Now, let’s look at all the things that make the SP2022 an extremely good firearm; for the money, for the features, for the first time buyer, someone on a budget, home defense and for the experienced shooter.
The SP2022 can be found consistently under 450.00 dollars, but the features and accessories you get with the SP2022 are something you need to pay close attention to, when looking at the price. SIG has bounced back and forth in recent years with only supplying one magazine with firearms. They are slowly reversing that process and two magazines are starting to be included again. The SP2022 is sold many places with different accessories and features. Sometimes you are getting an extremely good deal on the SP2022, (as in my case), and sometimes not so much. Pay attention and ask what is coming with your SP2022. With some SP2022 models you only get a cardboard box, one (1) magazine and contrast sights with the firearm. I have seen the SP2022 going for as low as 350.00 dollars. At those prices you had better give the SP2022 a serious look.
If you have had the older 2340/2009 or some early SP2022’s, you will notices some minor differences and changes in the newer SP2022’s. The new SP2022’s have a 1913 Picatinny rail, external extractor and loaded chamber indicator. These three features are not found on the older 2340/2009 models. As the SP2022 has been upgraded and modified over the years, older SP2022’s have mismatches of these three features.
Slide & Frame
One very nice thing about the SP2022 is the solid stainless steel Slide. It is machine cut from a solid block of stainless steel. The slide has a smooth even SIG FDE Nitron® finish. This slide finish is more of a burnt bronze color. The slide is rounded on the edges across the top, front and back. The slide serrations are generous and allow you to get a sure grip on the slide when racking the firearm.
The FDE Frame is a little darker than Magpul FDE, it is a lot closer to Patriot Brown in color. The Frame and frame rails are very robust. SIG has built a thick and ridged design with the SP2022. The polymer of the frame is very thick. It does not bend or flex like other polymer framed firearms. The frame rails are very robust as well. The lock up of the frame and slide has a very slight wobble it in and is not as solid as the full frame rails of the Classic Line SIG’s.
Barrel & Guide Rod
The Barrel on SP2022 has traditional rifling and is precision hammer forged. The barrel has the new Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) or Diamond Like Coating (DLC) finish that is slightly matte gray. The barrel hood is also finished with the PVD/DLC finish. After firing close to 1000 rounds it looked like it was starting to get the classic, “SIG Smile”, barrel chatter marks on it. After cleaning and whipping it down, the barrel showed no wear signs or marks. The older SIG blued and Nitron barrels always seemed to wear heavily with chatter marks and on both sides of the chamber, but the SP2022 barrel once again had no signs of wear in these areas, so far. The PVD/DLC is a nice touch on the SP2022.
The barrel and guide rod have an interesting lock up that is different than other SIG’s. The barrel has a dimple in it for the guide rod’s matching nipple to lock into. This is a nice feature that locks the guide rod firmly to the barrel.
The only things on the SP2022 that are polymer are the frame and surprisingly the guide rod. With all of the controls; Magazine Release, Trigger, Slide Catch Lever/Takedown Bar, Decocking Lever and even the frame pins are steel, it is disappointing that the Guide Rod is now polymer. The original SIG Pro’s and early SP2022’s came with steel guide rods as did all SIG’s. SIG switched to polymer guide rods years ago in most of their models and you only get steel guide rods with a select few SIG firearms. There are plenty of companies out there that make high quality stainless steel guide rods for SIG’s. I will purchase a stainless steel guide rod for the SP2022 to complete the package.
The Magazines are typical, reliable, quality magazines from SIG. The 15 round SP2022 magazines are carbon steel with a grey matte phosphate finish. They function perfectly, dropping free, inserting the magazine and feeding the ammunition. After long strings of fire and loading the mags all day, they really start to beat up your fingers. The last two rounds are very difficult to load. If you are going to have a long training day or range session, a mag loader would save you a lot of aggravation. Mec-Gar does make 17 round SP2022 magazines for just about half the price of the OEM magazines.
SIG’s have always come with steel sights and the SP2022’s have an option to come with factory SIGLITE night sights. My SP2022 in FDE came standard with the SIGLITE sights. This is a great feature and value in the SP2022. While the SP2022 uses standard SIG Classic #8 front and rear sights, a specific SIG Pro sight tool is needed for replacing sights on the SIG Pro slides, as they are shaped differently. The SIG Pro tool is very expensive so I would suggest getting the SIGLITE option if you are thinking about night sights. This will save you money and a lot of headache.
The SP2022 has been in French police service and military service since 2002. I know, I know, The French you say, but seriously it is being used and from what I understand it works very well. I was recently in France and took every opportunity to speak with French National Police when I saw them. Every one of them was carrying the SP2022. Although language barriers were an issue they seemed to like them. Not all of the police in France carry a sidearm, only specially trained units and officers do. Although this is second had knowledge, I work with a federal officer who has worked with French Military units in Africa in the past. He advised, French military units and the Foreign Legion he observed/worked with, carried extremely beat up SP2022’s and loved them. They were very reliable and popular. This probably had to do with the fact that the SP2022 replaced the absolutely horrible and despised PMAS-G1 (Beretta 92 knock off). The SIG Pro Line has also been in service with numerous other foreign governments and U.S. law enforcement agencies since the late 90’s. It has a long time proven track record. I have had no function or reliability issues testing out the FDE SP2022 so far. I fired about 1000 rounds of mixed ammunition, from 115gr, 124gr and 147gr ball, to 147gr duty carry Gold Dots and Federal HST. I have not experience any feeding, extracting or stoppages with the SP2022.
Accuracy is what I have come to expect from the SIG’s I have owned in the past and the SP2022 was no exception. As long as I was doing my part, the SP2022 was very accurate, more accurate than I can make it. Now, the SP2022 only has a 3.9 inch barrel but it performs like a full size P226 with 4.5 inch barrel. The sight radius on the SP2022 is 5.9 inches, so that also helps. I really do not care for the SIGLITE night sights. I felt the sight picture was not that good. The front sight had some glare coming off it and it’s a little small. I prefer the no longer available SIG (Dot the I) sights. Even though the sight picture was not ideal, I managed to shoot the SP2022 very well. When I concentrated on lining up the #8 front and rear SIG sights, they were point of aim (POA) / point of impact (POI), out to 25 yards. With some upgraded after market sight, I have no doubt the SP2022 could take on any accuracy challenge.
Grip / Ergonomics:
I’m not sure exactly what it is, but the SP2022 has just the right stippling on the grip. New SP2022’s are coming with the new small and a medium changeable grip back-straps, with built in lanyard loop. The stippling is aggressive enough to notice but does not beat up your hand during extensive and long strings of fire. The new small and medium grips have a slightly different design/look and are marked SIG SAUER instead of the older SIG PRO marked grips.
The FDE SP2022 came with the small grip on and I prefer it over the medium. The difference in the Small and medium grips are very slight. The medium grip has a slightly larger palm swell than the small. When you have them off, visually, it is very hard to tell the difference. Inside of the grips you will find the small grip is marked (1600002) and the medium grip is marked (1600003).
My only complaint would be with the front of the grip. It has horizontal strips cut into the grip instead of the stippling found on sides and back of the grip. I feel the grip would be much improved and feel more secure with the same factory stippling on the front strap. The changeable backs straps give you the option to fit the grip size to your hand and your length of pull for the firearm. As stated before the changeable grips also have a built in lanyard loop if you wanted to use one.
All of the controls seem to be in just the right place and have the right contour and length to manipulate. As I stated earlier, all of the controls; Magazine Release, Trigger, Slide Catch Lever/Takedown Bar, Decocking Lever are steel.
The Magazine Release is aggressively serrated and it is deceptively large in its rectangular configuration. Visually the release does not look large but there is a lot of surface area to the rectangular shape of it. With the proper back strap size I was able to easily hit the magazine release without adjusting my grip. The magazine release extends out quite a bit and has a positive, tactile and easy movement when depressing it. The magazine release is also reversible for left handed shooters.
The Decocking Lever on the SP2022 is a little different feeling than other Classic Line SIG’s. It is in the right place and works well, but its operation feels a little weird. At first it has an initial spongy feel, does not travel very far or smoothly, then it just breaks all of the sudden, and the hammer is dropped. It does not have the smooth long slide down, then signature positive break, that the alloy framed SIG’s have.
Slide Catch Lever/Takedown Bar
The Slide Catch Lever is extremely easy to use. I found myself having to adjust my grip slightly to avoid riding the top of the lever with my strong hand thumb. I found myself contacting the slide catch lever making the slide not lock open on the last round in the magazine. This is something I do on several firearms and I know I have to adjust my grip slightly. After making the adjustment, the slide catch lever was right there for me to quickly and easily hit on a magazine exchange. I do prefer to use the (over the top / sling shot method) when doing a reload for consistency across multiple platforms, so the slide catch lever does not get used that much for me.
I found the Double Action/Single Action (DA/SA) Trigger on the SP2022 to be pretty damn nice especially for an under 450.00 dollar firearm. The DA/SA is roughly 10 lbs for DA and 4.5 lbs at SA. The DA/SA trigger on my SP2022 was so good, that I could not tell the difference in accuracy on DA or SA shots. I did pull a few of my rounds high and low left, while getting a feel for the SP2022, but I corrected this easily as more rounds whet through the SP2022. I ran several strings of fire using DA only and then SA only. The DA/SA rounds were almost indistinguishable from each other, which was a very pleasant surprise.
The DA pull was consistently smooth and it felt like many of the other DA SIG triggers I have had, maybe a little better. I feel the DA is extremely nice on this SIG. If you know what you are doing, the DA first pull was very manageable and I did not have any accuracy issues with it.
Now there are a few things about the SA mode on the SP2022 that kind of bothered me initially and I am really nitpicking here. The SA pull had a crisp short brake, but the reset was a little lack luster. There was some initial notable forward jerking and creep on the reset, making the trigger feel a little gritty. I did not have the small false reset that others have reportedly experienced in some SP2022’s. After about 500 rounds down range the gritty reset started to smooth out but I could still notice it, only when taking my time, very slowly resetting the trigger. When I was not thinking about it and quickly moving through strings of fire, the slight forward jerking and creep reset was not as noticeable. Overall, the SP2022’s trigger was very nice and made accurate and fast hits very easy.
There are some drawbacks DA/SA triggers, especially if you are a new shooter. I would not recommend the SP2022 for Concealed Carry (CCW), unless you are very experienced DA/SA firearms. The SIG DA/SA takes practice to master the first and second shots when drawing from the holster. If you are not going to spend significant time training with the DA/SA trigger shots, then you need to get a firearm with one consistent trigger pull. Overall The SP2022 has the nicest stock, out of the box, trigger pull of any SIG’s I have owned or fired.
SIG’s are notorious for having a high bore axis and the SP2022 is no different. If you are used to a striker fired, low boar firearm, you will notice how high the SP2022 is. It will take you a while to adjust to the firearm, but the SP2022 is a very manageable firearm. After a few rounds, I found the recoil to be a non-existent factor. I simply continued on not giving recoil another thought. Whether on the first DA pull or on second rapid fire SA, the recoil was not there. This has to due largely to the weight of the solid one piece machined stainless steel slide. Of course, if you have the SP2022 in the .40cal or .357sig calibers the recoil will be substantially different. With the SIG’s I have had in the past, I found .40 cal to pop up a lot and the .357sig to recoil straight back hard. Having used several SIG’s in several calibers and now the SP2022 in 9mm, I would still lean to this same observation.
Taking the SP2022 down for field stripping and maintenance is very easy. It breaks down slightly different than the Classic SIG’s and has more of a 1911 take down feel. In fact, if you have an H&K USP series pistol, the slide catch lever / takedown bar and break down is almost identical to the USP’s. You simply line up the takedown notch on the slide with the slide catch lever and push the slide lever out.
The SP2022 is a great firearm. Running my SP2022 in FDE was a joy. I more than likely will pick up another on in black. In its stock/out of the box configuration, it will do just about everything you want a defensive firearm to do. I found myself surprisingly and quickly thinking of it as one of my favorite firearms. While I still have a few things to work out and accessories to gather for it, I find myself really wanting to carry it. The SP2022 reminds me of my early golden age of SIG carry.
If you are looking for a quality inexpensive home defense firearm or if you are looking to get back into SIG’s at a low cost, the SP2022 will not disappoint you. Be careful if you have a new very expensive Classic Line SIG, you might find the SP2022 out performs it at 1/3 the price.