Left side view of Swiss army P220, designated Pistole 75.
Source: Rama - © GNU Attribution - Share Alike license
The P220 is a late Cold War era pistol of Swiss origin. It was designed by SIG in the early 1970's for the Swiss military as a less expensive, yet very high quality alternative to their earlier P210 pistol. Despite being cheaper than the P210, the P220 is still more expensive than the average pistol. The design proved to be a success and over time new models were added to the lineup and older models have been steadily improved. Despite being over 30 years old the P220 series remains among the top of the line pistols.
The P220 is chambered in 9x19mm Parabellum or .45 ACP. It has a capacity of 9 and 8 rounds respectively. The P220 is semi-automatic and known for good accuracy. In Europe and Asia the 9x19mm models are most prominent, while the .45 ACP is mostly aimed at the US market.
The P220 is a short recoil operated, locked breech pistol. It features a full metal frame, slide and barrel. This makes the P220 rather heavy, but also very rugged. The P220 models are available with a variety of trigger setups, ranging from single action to double action only. From the P220 model a wide variety of models were derived. These models mainly differ in size, caliber and magazine capacity. Due to the all metal design and high quality production the P220 series is known as a high quality pistol.
The P220 is a very successful pistol design for both government and civilian sales. Many variants have been produced over time. The Swiss military was the first to adopt the P220 as a standard issue sidearm. For civilian and sporting use a wide variety of P220 variants is available and may include features such as longer barrels, other calibers, compensators, adjustable sights and different finishes.
The P220 is the first pistol of what would become the P220 lineup including models described in separate articles. The P220 is available in 9x19mm and .45 and features a single stack magazine.
For government sales nowadays only the .45 version is produced. The 9mm version has been replaced by the double stack P226 which is more suitable to most military and law enforcement applications.
The P220 Carry and Compact models were developed for the US civilian market and are also in limited law enforcement use.
The P220 was designed as a replacement for the successful but expensive and heavy SIG P210.
The P225 is a compact variant of the P220 pistol developed for German police use. It was produced only in 9x19mm.
The P226 is a double stack variant of the P220. Unlike the P220 it is also available chambered in .40 S&W and .357 SIG.
The P228 and P229 are compact models of the full size double stack P226 pistol.
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