The SIG Sauer P225 aka P6 aka A75
The story of the P225 really began in the late sixties, when the first signs that the Swiss Army might want a new pistol began to emerge. The problem was that the SIG P210 was simply too expensive to manufacture, and the Swiss Army wanted something cheaper, but still capable of providing excellent performance, as well as having a double-action trigger. So they turned to the local Swiss company SIG, previous maker of guns for the Swiss Army, for the answer. SIG entered into a collaboration with the German arms company Sauer to develop a new pistol.
The end result, adopted in 1975, was the 9mm SIG-Sauer P220, known in Swiss Army service as the A75. It contained many innovative features, the most innovative being the method of locking. For decades pistols had been designed using the method developed by John Browning for delayed blowback function (necessary with cartridges that produce a substantial degree of pressure upon firing). This method required cutouts in the hood of the slide, together with locking rings on top of the barrel that fit into the cutouts. This locked the slide and barrel together, until a swinging link (on the Colt 1911) pivoted the barrel downward, thus providing the delayed blowback operation.
SIG simplified this, using a method that has become extremely popular in the years since, with manufacturers such as Glock adopting it. Essentially the forward edge of the chamber locks into the ejection port, thereby removing various complex machining operations from the production process.
The P220 has many other clever features, such as a decocking lever (not a new idea but rarely employed until the P220 came along), an automatic firing pin safety (once again, not a new idea but SIG perfected it), and also a slide made of sheet steel with the breechblock pinned in. Similar ideas were tried by the Germans during World War 2
At the same time development work was being carried out on the P220, SIG was also designing another pistol called the P230. This pistol, it was hoped, would be ideal as a police pistol, and used the new 9x18mm Police round. As it turned out, this design was eclipsed by what became the SIG-Sauer P225.
Not long after the P220 was put into production, the German police authorities decided they needed a national standard for police sidearms. Although the original idea was to have a single pistol for all the police, this was politically impossible due to objections from gun companies and local politicians. To begin with, the idea was to improve the Walther PP .32 that was then issued. Walther developed the PP Super in 9x18mm Police, but it was decided this was not a substantial enough change. Eventually what came out of these discussions was a national specification for police sidearms. This was a pretty demanding specification for the time.
The gun was required to be in 9mm Parabellum calibre, have safety features that precluded accidental discharge and perhaps most demanding an overall length of 180mm and a maximum height of 130mm. Although compact 9mm pistols much smaller than this are common today, in the late 70s making a 9mm pistol of this size that could stand up to the testing regime demanded by the specification was difficult.
Three manufacturers, Heckler & Koch, SIG-Sauer and Walther managed to come up with pistols that met the specification: the Walther P5, the SIG-Sauer P225 (known as the P6) and the Heckler & Koch P7. (Mauser also had a design, but it was never put into full production).
Each German state could purchase whichever pistol it wanted to. The SIG-Sauer P225, being the least expensive (due largely to the innovative simple design), got the bulk of the orders. In order to make so many pistols, SIG had already bought a controlling interest in J. P. Sauer & Sohn in Eckenförde, Germany to make components for the P220, and all P225s have been made there also.
In any event, the P225 was a runaway success as a police pistol, and is the most widely issued sidearm to the police in Europe, with over half a million having been made. Not only most German states but also Sweden and many Swiss police forces use it.
Some of the guns sold in Switzerland differ from those sold elsewhere. Often they are stamped with the crest of the Canton where they were issued. However, more noticeably, a lot of them have a heel-of-the-grip magazine release rather than the standard thumb release button. Also they are sometimes stamped "Montage Suisse", having been assembled from German-made parts in the Hämmerli plant in Lenzburg, Switzerland
The problem with most compact 9mms of the time was that after a few hundred rounds, the recoil spring simply collapsed, having been "screwed" too tight. The braided spring used by SIG-Sauer prevents this from happening. Standard P225s as issued to the police have matte black sights, although commercially sold ones have white contrast "dot and bar" sights.
The gun also uses a simple, easy to load single-stack eight-round magazine. This magazine has the virtue of allowing a slim grip on the P225. The grip on the P225 is in my view superb, because it is big enough that a large-handed person can use it but slim enough that a small-handed person can use it too.
The P225 has not been made in many variations over the years, primarily because the main buyers have been the police. Target shooters rarely show any interest in the P225, although in countries where it is legal to do so, it has sold to people who are interested in carrying a gun for self-defence.
Nowadays the P225 is considered a bit dull, and few have been sold in recent years, mainly because of the later P228 which holds more rounds and also because the Germans have a newer specification for their police pistols that render guns like the P225 obsolete. Not to mention that most modern medium sized pistols are double-stack magazine fed now.
Essentially the P225 is really a variant of the P220. On the consumer market, people have noticed great handling with reliability. Unfortunately the P225 seems to have been designed to feed well only with FMJ. Hollowpoints just don't seem to feed right. As such, use for personal carry seems to be disliked.
Rifling twist 1 in 10"
Rifling grooves 6
Trigger pull DA 12 lbs., SA 4.5 lbs
Safety Patented automatic firing-pin lock