I currently carry a SIG SAUER 229 (Double Action Kellerman) for my primary duty handgun. The following is my opinion about what I believe are some of its shortcomings. I think I have mentioned before I am not a big fan of it. The trigger pull and everything to do with the trigger operation is, in my opinion horrendous, and does much to keep this from being an otherwise pretty good firearm. Note, I did not just write "... an otherwise excellent handgun". There are reasons for this and I will go over a few of them below with particular attention paid to two of them.
Besides not liking the trigger pull - way too heavy, way too long, way too mushy, a pain in the ass to reset properly for combat (yes I know how to reset at the first click so it travels less on the next squeeze but try to do it reliably under a lot of stress) - I also do not like the fact that this pistol reportedly often fails to function properly if not wet (as in fairly heavily oiled or if talking pastrami then meaning fatty), that after a cleaning and lubrication the magazine release button can become frozen in place by rust in less than a week of in the holster wear in normal summer weather, and that the grip screws need repeated attention (I would recommend after every shooting session of a couple hundred rounds or after a few months of wear in a holster or sooner) to make sure they have not come loose. If not for those few shortcomings, I might like it a damned lot more than I do right now and I would have said "...otherwise excellent handgun".
I suppose that one of my main concerns with this pistol is that it seems built to very tight specifications and because of that they should have used a metal finish (or a metal) that would not allow rust to form as quickly as it seemingly can on the magazine release button. I own a few pistols and I have carried several others. I have never owned or carried a pistol (or rifle or shogun) that had any parts that rusted as quickly, and then resulted in functioning problems, as has the magazine release button on my issued SIG 229 DAK. This darned magazine release button rusted enough now, on three very separate occasions, to have needed a much larger amount of force to operate it than is normal - and I keep it clean and lubricated. On the most recent occurrence of this, I picked up the pistol, applied pressure to the mag release button and nothing happened. I pushed harder and still nothing happened. I let it go and there was no spring-back so I knew the button did not depress and the mag was just stuck a bit. I examined it a bit and realized it was frozen in place by what appeared to be a tiny amount of rust around the perimeter of the button where it met the frame - and I do mean a tiny amount. I tried operating the button with more force, first with one thumb and then with both. I could not budge it. I then put a piece of flat metal between my thumbs and the button and pushed with the gun lying on its side on a table. It finally popped free. I guess this was the worst it has ever frozen up. What puzzled me then and concerns me greatly still is that I had just cleaned and oiled the pistol only about 4 days prior (maybe 5 days but not more than that) and had not been caught out in the rain nor had it been exceptionally humid. Yes it is summer and it has been a hot one but I have been indoors mostly, in air conditioned rooms, so I have not even perspired profusely while wearing the pistol. Finally - no I did not take it on my salt water fishing trip last weekend (imagine, for a change I was gunless) and anyway, it happened prior to that.
Whatever the cause, the amount of rust was truly minimal and should have been inconsequential or so I would have thought. I am guessing the reason for the button freezing up like that is not just due to the tiny ring of rust that was on it but is also due to the fact that diameter of the button in comparison to the diameter of the hole in the slide into which it fits probably causes a very tight fit. Sorry SIG SAUER but if that is the case, you screwed up on this one in my opinion. There is no way that the mag release button should seize up like that with as little rust as was on mine and remember there is no rust forming on the alloy frame, it was just on the mag button from what I could see. As a matter of fact, there is probably no way, short of exposure to salt water, or to salt cedars and sweat (at the same time), that the metal should rust as quickly after a cleaning and lubrication as did the mag button on my issued pistol. By the way, I used BreakFree CLP which works wonderfully as a rust preventative as far as I am concerned. At least it does so on my other pistols, and I allowed a small drop of it to seep down around the mag release on this one because I was already aware of the potential for a problem. Yet, it wound up that it rusted up and froze up. Just imagine that happening and you wind up in a gun fight and need to reload. Luckily for me it happened at home. And to think, when these were first issued, we were warned to be very careful of our grip because many people hit the mag release while shooting and the mags would drop out often still with many rounds in them. How ironic is the current problem when thinking of that other one.
Sig Sauer, if you own one, you can keep yours; if this one was mine, I would sell it post haste.
All the best,
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