The P228, by the SIG Sauer Company, was the P229’s predecessor. It is a small, 9mm chambered handgun. This gun’s military model was designated the M11, and that model is still being used by various military organizations. The civilian model, P228, was produced and released in the late 1980’s through the mid 1990’s, and it has since been discontinued. This is Gunivore’s SIG Sauer P228 Review.

The P228 And P229 In Comparison

The SIG model P228 shares many similarities with the P229. The civilian P228 is a little bit more balanced than the SIG Sauer P229, and even though I didn’t notice that big of a difference when handling them, I trust what many others before have said. The P228 does not come with a frame rail, nor does it have a square trigger guard. It has a DA/SA trigger pull, like a lot of other SIG models, so for those who like that heavier first trigger pull, it will be satisfactory. 

P228 vs P229
P228 vs P229

The P228 handgun was and still is (to those who have one) a fine handgun. It was produced in Germany and was doing well in the local and international market, but it was discontinued by the Germans due to SIG’s plan to go with milled slides, and to chamber the new P229 in 9mm. That was exactly what they did, so the P228 – along with its stamped carbon steel slide – was dropped from the catalog. However, a new version of M11 – the M11-A1 – made an appearance in 2012, and that model, with its variants, is being produced and used.

The P228 firearm was declared “discontinued” on and off for several years, but it managed to stick around even afterwards. New P228’s were last seen sometime in the 2000’s, and as of now have not made another comeback. The P228 model was also taken off the company’s official website, so there is a chance this is really it for this model. All that is left of the P228 is its newer military counterpart, so let’s focus on that model.

SIG Sauer
SIG Sauer

The P228 (M11-A1) Specifications

  • Caliber – 9mm
  • Length – 7.1 inches
  • Height – 5.4 inches
  • Width – 1.5 inches
  • Weight – 32.0 oz. (including magazine)
  • Barrel length – 3.9 inches
  • Trigger pull – double action 10 lbs., single action 4.4 lbs.
  • Magazine (9mm, standard) – 15 rounds

SIG Sauer’s 4-Point Safety System

Like with other SIGs, the 4-point safety system is implemented in lieu of a manual safety switch. The safety system consists of:

1 – The De-cocker –  This allows the hammer to be lowered, regardless of whether there is a round in the chamber. When the hammer falls, it is away from the firing pin.

2 – The Safety Notch – Another device used to separate the hammer from the pin.

3 – The Firing Pin Safety – This is a mechanism which makes sure the firing pin stays motionless. It will not move, unless the trigger is pulled. What this gives is security and confidence, and it acts as a drop safety. This safety also works with a loaded gun. The trigger pull, and only the trigger pull, will start the chain reaction necessary for a shot to be fired. Drop it from any normal, reasonable height, and the safety will shake it off.

4 – The Slide Notch. This is a measure of caution for when the gun is cycling. It makes sure the firing pin is separated from the cartridge. Also referred to as the trigger bar dis-connector.

That is SIGs 4-point safety system, and it exists on their entire line of products. Nothing is fail-safe in this world, but the system which SIG’s engineers have created is very thorough, and unless you are going to abuse this gun and yourself (like dropping it from hundreds of feet in the air, or half-pulling the trigger while it’s in your pocket), the system will work to ensure your safety.

The sights on the M11 are SIGLITE night sights. The grips are made of black polymer. The slide finish is made of nitron, and the frame finish is made of hard black anodized steel.

More Than One M11 Flavor

M11-A1 Desert
M11-A1 Desert

The SIG M11 comes in two other variants:

M11-A1 Desert: slide and frame finish are of dark earth.

M11-A1 Threaded Barrel: same as the standard M11, but with a threaded 4.4 inch barrel, as opposed to the standard 3.9 inch barrel.

All three variants of the SIG Sauer M11 are issued to U.S. Naval Aviation, and other units in every branch of the U.S. Armed Forces.

This handgun’s price varies, with the manufacturer’s suggested retail price – for the standard – marked at $1,149. For the two other variants, the suggested retail price is $1,220.

The M11 was designed and designated for the military, so it does not comply with any special State requirements, such as in California or Massachusetts.

In Summary


As for actual shooting, the gun handles very nicely. When the original P228 was released in 1988, it was received with enthusiasm by Navy SEAL’s, Navy fighter pilots, Secret Service, and different police departments all over the country, and in Europe.

It was sort of a shame that SIG had lost the U.S. military contract to Beretta a few years earlier. If a SIG gun was less expensive, there is a good chance SIG Sauer would have won that contract, with their P226 ( For a in-depth look at the P226 check out our  SIG Sauer P226 9mm Review ). So, back to the P228 – the M11-A1 is an upgraded version of that gun, which makes it a great firearm and a popular choice for many shooters. Some people are SIG elitists, and some don’t fire SIGs because of this elitism. Either way, it gets results.

The one way in which SIG can be seen as inferior is in the realm of price. To own an original SIG Sauer handgun means to shell out some money. SIG makes some of the highest quality handguns there are, and you get what you pay for. Yes, a compact 9mm handgun can also be bought for as low as $180 or so, but SIG Sauer is something else. You definitely feel where that extra money went. Also, with SIG you get a lifetime guarantee on workmanship and materials.

Whether you are interested in getting yourself an original P228 or M11, or one of the newer M11-A1 models, you will find that this gun works as an everyday carry concealable / open carry weapon, or as a great service handgun.

Looking for more on great handguns? Check out our Glock 17, 19, and 36 reviews!

Nate M.


  1. Thank you. I have both and I assure you the P228 is the best of the 2.

    The most accurate and balanced pistol I have ever owned.

  2. West Germany sig s best made world wide even rare to tone with the Swiss police marked you got a rare winner last a life time oil.gube clean ur investment it take care of you lk the old ak47 sigs just run run and quality Germany makes or best ever Amer sigs good but no way close to a real wesy Germany sig

  3. There is also the SIG P228R, with a German stamped P228 slide on a Exeter, NH P229 railed frame with the hooked front trigger guard. It balances as well as the SIG P228. It was manufactured within the past decade.

  4. Best gun made! I have a 1996 model with less than 100 rounds through it, in mint condition. paid $500 for it brand new in 1998.

    1. Only 100 rounds? Enjoy that thing!

  5. The M11-A1 is not a P228, regardless of the logo on the grip. It is a P229.

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