Classic West German Sig Sauer P-Series Pistols

Classic West German Sig Sauer P-Series Pistols

Hailing from a time when there were a pair of German states, West German-made Sig Sauer pistols are increasingly collectible.

The Sig Sauer most commonly encountered today in the U.S. is typically made in a series of factories in New Hampshire, where the company has long put down American roots. In fact, according to data from federal regulators, the company produced a whopping 536,636 American-made pistols in 2017 alone, going on to export about a third of those overseas.

However, when you turn back the clock some 45 years, it was a much different supply pipeline. In 1976, SIG (Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft) of Switzerland formed a partnership with J.P. Sauer & Sohn of West Germany to begin marketing their guns better overseas. This led to the “Sig Sauer” name.

Among their first exports to the U.S. were the 9mm Sig Sauer P220, which had been adopted by the Swiss Army as the P75 pistol.

These early West German-marked single-stacks were typically shipped over with lanyard rings and European-style heel release magazine latches, features that weren’t changed on American-bound Sigs until later. A lot of those early guns were marketed as Browning BDAs in .45ACP.

By 1985, Sig Sauer was producing a new double-stack pistol that otherwise had much the same layout as the 9mm P220– the 15+1 round capacity P226. That gun was a contender in the U.S. Army pistol trials to replace the venerable M1911A1 .45ACP, although Uncle Sam went with the Beretta 92 in the end, reportedly over cost issues.

In the meantime, the P226 was released on the U.S. commercial market and soon became a hit with both consumers and law enforcement customers. With its 4.4-inch barrel and choice of DA/SA or DAO actions, later augmented by the DAK trigger system, the 9mm was also marketed in .357 SIG and .40S&W. Today, dozens of variants of the P226 are in circulation and the gun is still very much in production– now in the U.S.

Vintage “West German” marked P226s, besides their stampings, have several differences from today’s more current offerings. This includes almost pebble-style plastic grips and a distinctive pinned-in breechblock assembly. Further, the slide of those early guns has a different profile from today’s P226 offerings.

While Germany was reunified in 1990 after the Berlin Wall came down and the “West” was officially dropped moving forward, some guns continued to come into the U.S. with the legacy markings for a few years.

Still, if you are looking for a well-made “Old World” gun with a bit of history while still keeping today’s styling, it is hard to beat a nice German Sig Sauer P-series pistole.


  1. Y Pickering on September 30, 2022 at 8:47 pm

    I have a West German P220, P226 and P228. Only thing I’m missing is a P6.

  2. Frost Reaper on September 30, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    Whats the diff between the german one and the other p220

  3. mikewakeling on September 30, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    I carried a P226 for several years in the Army and they were superb weapons. I moved from the Browning pistol to P226 or P228; the difference was amazing. I can see why SIG built a 2nd factory in the US to cope with the demand from US Law Enforcement and from the US Navy after the SEALs adopted it. Of course I used one in the 1990s & the current versions look different, with rails, but retain the original design strength.
    I had the chance to visit their factory in Rheinfalls and see how they were making their pistols, plus their new SG550 rifles for the Swiss Army. The quality was remarkable & use of CNC machines was mesmerising. I stood and watched a machine making the aluminium alloy frames 8 at a time and with spot on precision.
    My critique of this video is that we only ever squeeze the trigger on a SIG to shoot a live round; for everything else we used the decocking lever.

  4. B. Hessing on September 30, 2022 at 8:52 pm

    Why does he keep dropping the hammer with the trigger? I’m not sure why it bothers me that he doesn’t use the decocker.

    Picked up a West German p228 for a few hundo at a local gun shop, I feel pretty lucky.

  5. Carlos Joshua on September 30, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Guys I got a new Glock with switch from *glockworld* I contacted them on wickr the stuff are really good you can try them

  6. Mike Flamion on September 30, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    i have a 1994 west german p220 .45 and it shoots better than my wilson combat does

  7. Marty Clark on September 30, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    I.have an immaculate sig p6 I would love to sell to you or trade heads up its about 750-800$ gun nowadays i.Will trade you for a taurus g3 or glock 19 …both worth Less than half of the p6

  8. Ray Luckman on September 30, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    I have 229 with with sigarms west german slide and sigarms Exeter nh and ideas on that

  9. youbob28 on September 30, 2022 at 8:57 pm

    I was lucky to come across a German made (1996) P228 in pristine condition. Came with 5 mags the original sigarms box and the german function test target. I had to give up my p225 A1 to get it but it was so worth it. Love the P228

  10. Homer V on September 30, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    I got lucky to find a very good condition 1986 west german sig p226 at the pawnshop for just $500.

  11. Wick Wilkinson on September 30, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    Man! How about using the decocker when lowering the hammer. Also, that explanation about the hammer on a P6, I believe is incorrect. Slot is not a “drop indicator”.

  12. Mason Cook on September 30, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    how do you open the blue box?, mine wont open

  13. Chris Newport on September 30, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    Bought a 228 with my extra pay from the LA riots, love it. I broke it in at Gunsite, now Im looking for German Wood grips for it. I bet my life on it regularly when working our southern border. I like the 226 for shooting but the 228 is more practical.

  14. Tarasdad on September 30, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    I had a West German P220 for a long time. Most accurate pistol I have ever owned, hands down.

  15. Nicholas Karassavas on September 30, 2022 at 9:02 pm

    Now that Sig in Germany looks to be closing their German plant, future Sigs may well be US made. As you mentioned, Sig is a Swiss company that needed to manufacture outside of Switzerland due to their laws that limit manufacture firearms unless using a foreign partner, hence they historically had chosen a German company – Sauer & Son and hence manufactured there. Sig would do well if foreign partner is in USA, where I believe they will be better appreciated and will not suffer any loss in quality. Although I currently cannot afford the Sig I want, I have been a big Sig fan and advocate for decades and wish them the best, the loss is to Germany and the EU due to their ever increasing short sightedness and restrictive legislatures.

  16. Nery Quintero on September 30, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    My favorite sig sauer p226

  17. Ray Luckman on September 30, 2022 at 9:07 pm

    I have dak p229 marked sigarms inc. Nh-frame made in Germany am serial number any info

  18. Lex The Lion on September 30, 2022 at 9:11 pm

    Damn, I thought you might feature a specific Sig p220 that has a mag catch at the bottom of the mag well. I want to know how old it is and it is W Germany. The history too.

  19. Darth Soros on September 30, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    I have a JP Sauer and Son .357 single action, smooth gun

  20. Tim Beatty on September 30, 2022 at 9:12 pm

    I got one of them in 1996 as a police trade in gun. Back then it was the only way to get a 15 round mag was to buy a police trade in. It came with 3 mags and the unused duty holster and mag pouch for $500. Black leather basket weave.

  21. Steve on September 30, 2022 at 9:14 pm

    Wish they used P220 in all the Spaghetti Westerns with Clint Eastwood. It would have kicked ass against all the Colt and Remington single actions used by the villains.

  22. Steve St. martin on September 30, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    I was lucky to get a West German P220

  23. Glenn Juarez on September 30, 2022 at 9:17 pm

    Very interesting. I really enjoy these type of videos. I will definitely subscribe.

  24. cesar martinez on September 30, 2022 at 9:19 pm

    hi there, im trying to figure out how much p226 and p229 worth these days? they r both i would consider a collectors item, new, west germany versions. one still got the purchase box with it. thanks anD God Bless!

  25. CPT OF INFANTRY on September 30, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    All SIG P-Series guns are very good and some are absolutely great. There are no duds in that line up.

  26. LumberJack 64 on September 30, 2022 at 9:20 pm

    I had a client of mine sell me my P228 for 200 dollars. It’s still to this day my favorite handgun I own. Absolutely one of the most reliable guns they made back then!

  27. dbelex on September 30, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    Got a factory reconditioned 226 a few years back made in W. Germany. No rail . Great gun. Been looking for a 228.

  28. Matthew Ciardelli on September 30, 2022 at 9:21 pm

    83”euro 220 ☺️ my fav

  29. Dqalex on September 30, 2022 at 9:22 pm

    I have P229 .40 Very early 1992 un-fired still in the cardboard box with everything it came with. The spare mag is still wrapped from the factory. It has the triple serial number. Whats it worth today?

  30. Andy Kilo on September 30, 2022 at 9:26 pm

    It was my understanding that the code on the front was a year code. For example JK was for 1989 manufacture in the time period with which I am familiar with. Second, what about the “K coat” finish? The rear top of the slide has the marks from an open section of the holster not providing protection. Can this be refinished? Thanks

  31. ひまわりコプター on September 30, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    I discovered later that my P226 I bought used was an older German model. Not sure if it was made before reunification but at least 20 years old. Smooth, solid shooter and built like a tank. It’s a pleasure to operate especially with the E2 grips. Collector value is a low concern — I am tempted to refinish the carbon steel slide due to occasional surface rust if not regularly re-oiled in storage. May look into having Grayguns action work done as well. But it’s an honor to have that small piece of history.

  32. Ray Luckman on September 30, 2022 at 9:29 pm

    My sig sauer 229 is marked sig arms west german sig

  33. Protestnik Vorgon on September 30, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    I get one P 220- 1 in .45 ACP in 1997. With handloaded amunition a very good combination.
    My two P226 SigSauer still working after over 12000 shots like for the first day, as they would bought.
    I’ll never would change them for another "modern" pistole. Always good shots!👍
    Greetings from Berlin 🙋‍♂️🍀

  34. Chris B on September 30, 2022 at 9:30 pm

    Sigs are the best gun in the world. I have 4 and want more more more!!

  35. A Keeper Of Odd Knowledge on September 30, 2022 at 9:32 pm

    I love my West German P226, bought new in 1994. Still have it. Put over 5,000 RDS through it with no miss fires, jams or failures to eject, or any kind of failure, whatsoever!

  36. Cole on September 30, 2022 at 9:33 pm

    I want the ar18 on your site, but i can only do 1000 on it.

  37. Electric Hellion on September 30, 2022 at 9:34 pm

    Have any replacement barrels for an original dust cover P226?

  38. Pauls Country on September 30, 2022 at 9:35 pm

    226 in 40 357 the best duty , combat sidearm in history, 229 second.E2 the best grips ever on a Sig.

  39. Noahmercy -Mann on September 30, 2022 at 9:36 pm

    Got a West German P226 in 1995. My first 9mm and a spectacular shooter. No way mine is collectable…I had to refinish the slide (teflon/moly oven cure finish) and the grips are almost SMOOTH from shooting tens of thousands of rounds!

  40. Tony on September 30, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    The west german stamp doesnt say much about if it was made in west germany, they used that stamp until 1995, 5 years after reunification. The only way to check if its a real west german Sig Sauer is the double letter date stamp on the slide. If the first letter is a J, it was made in west germany regardless if it has the stamp or if it is missing. If it has a K, it was made in reunfied germany regardless if it says w germany on the slide.

  41. Mark Behrens on September 30, 2022 at 9:37 pm

    "West German" = bavarian people and bavarian music. Make sense.

  42. Bear #belikebear #TheAnonymousAnsweringMachine on September 30, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    I’d love to work in there. I can smell all those guns right now. Delicious.

  43. Kenneth Moore on September 30, 2022 at 9:40 pm

    I own a red boxed German P220. Awesome pistol

  44. Daryl Davis on September 30, 2022 at 9:44 pm

    Reason they have a decocker so you don’t have drop the hammer like that. I would love a 228 for the collection