Compared: Glock 40 Gen4 MOS and SIG SAUER P220 Match Elite Reverse Two-Tone 10mm Auto Pistols
By Chuck Hawks
The Glock 40 Gen4 MOS and SIG SAUER P220 Match Elite Reverse Two-Tone are both "long slide" autoloaders intended to appeal to outdoorsmen. We reviewed both in early 2016, so this comparison became a no-brainer.
Both pistols are designed for the 10mm Auto cartridge, which is one of the favorite semi-automatic pistol cartridges among the Guns and Shooting Online staff. It is probably the most versatile of current autoloader cartridges and one of the flattest shooting and most powerful, easily outperforming such stalwarts as the 9mm Luger, .40 S&W and .45 ACP with full power loads.
You can zero a 10mm pistol with adjustable sights at 100 yards with a 175-180 grain, full power load and the mid-range rise is only about three inches. It shoots about as flat and hits about as hard as a full power, six inch, .357 Magnum revolver.
Yet, reduced (10mm light) loads are available that kick no more than .40 S&W loads. Less, actually, as 10mm pistols are built on larger, heavier frames, while .40s are built on 9mm (medium size) frames. As auto pistol cartridges go, the 10mm is one of, if not the, most versatile.
Chamber this superior cartridge in a long slide version of a high quality, super reliable pistol, such as the Glock 40 or SIG P220 compared here, and you are looking at a top performing autoloader and one of the very few worthy of consideration for hunting and protection in the field from both two-legged and four-legged (cougar and black bear, for instance) predators.
The long slide G40 MOS (Modular Optical System) is Glock's biggest and most powerful offering, a 10mm field pistol with a six inch barrel. Not only does this Gen4 Glock have a hunting length barrel, it comes with fully adjustable, Patridge type, open sights. (You will need a small jeweler's screwdriver to adjust the rear sight's tiny windage and elevation screws.) The square front sight is marked with a white dot and the rear sight "U" is outlined in white. Unlike most pistols, the G40 MOS comes ready to accept optical sights.
The G40 MOS comes with four numbered Glock MOS adaptor plates for use with optical sights. These Glock MOS adaptor plates are numbered 05 (for Docter, Meopta and Insight), 06 (for Trijicon), 07 (for C-More) and 08 (for Leupold). The screws and a Torx wrench for mounting these plates, along with mounting instructions, are included.
To take advantage of the Glock MOS system, we requested a DeltaPoint Pro prismatic red dot sight from our friends at Leupold. This is a sophisticated and very high quality little red dot sight, measuring only 1-3/4 inches long and about 1-1/4 inches high. Its base is almost exactly the width of the G40's slide (1-1/16 inches) and it weighs only 1.9 ounces with battery installed. The DeltaPoint Pro is made in the USA and comes with the Leupold full lifetime guarantee. The 2016 MSRP is $779.99.
To mount an optical sight, such as the Leupold DP-Pro, you simply unscrew a cover plate, which is located directly in front of the rear sight on top of the G40's slide, and substitute one of the MOS plates (#08 in our case). The red dot sight attaches directly to the MOS plate.
As with previous Glock pistols we have reviewed, the G40 is easy to operate. It is a striker fired pistol with three safeties, all of which are automatic. There is no manual safety lever, grip safety or magazine disconnect safety to forget or fumble.
Other than the trigger, the operating controls are limited to a frame mounted slide release lever and a magazine release button, both on the left side of the pistol. The magazine release is in the usual place, in the grip frame at the rear of the trigger guard.
All Glock pistols, from the smallest to the largest, are based on the same Glock Safe Action and most internal parts are interchangeable between models.
The standard double stack magazine makes for a rather thick grip, but the capacity is a generous 15 rounds. The G40 MOS is 9-1/2 inches long, weighs 28.15 ounces empty and 46 ounces fully loaded with fifteen 180 grain cartridges. The 2016 MSRP is $840. Add the price of the Leupold DP-PRO and the total MSRP becomes $1619.99 as tested for this article.
SIG's P220 Match Elite Stainless Reverse Two-Tone (Item # 220R5-10-RTAS-MSE) is a true double action, hammer fired autoloader with a steel frame. (SIG Elite models have steel, rather than aluminum, frames.) SIG calls this a long slide model, as it has a five inch barrel, rather than the 4.4 inch barrel of standard SIG pistols.
The control layout is typical SIG, which is to say easy to use. There is a takedown lever, slide catch, de-cocking lever and magazine release button on the left side of the frame. The magazine release is in the usual place, in the grip frame at the rear of the trigger guard. There is no manual thumb safety, grip safety or magazine disconnect, as the SIG's DA trigger pull is inherently safe, like a DA revolver.
The standard sights for this model are supposed to include a fully adjustable rear sight, but our test sample came with dovetail mounted, fixed, SIG tritium night sights. It is my understanding that most SIG pistols are now shipped with night sights, which in this case is unfortunate.
Even more unfortunate, the fixed rear night sight cannot be replaced with the correct SIG adjustable rear sight, as the two sights require the mounting dovetail in different locations on the top of the slide. An aftermarket adjustable sight set is the only viable option, which is unfortunate for a pistol in this price class.
I ordered a replacement SIG P220 Series Adjustable Sight Set (#100-016-347WB) from Brownell's ($109.95 not including shipping). The rear sight is screw (click) adjustable for windage and elevation. Both the new front and rear sights are designed to fit the SIG P220 slide dovetails.
The P220 Match Elite is 8-1/2 inches long, weighs 44.2 ounces with an empty magazine and 49 ounces fully loaded with eight 180 grain cartridges. These are my measurements of the test pistol and they differ somewhat from the factory specifications.
The SIG 2016 MSRP is $1422. Add the price of the adjustable sights and the total is $1531.95 as tested for this article.
The point of this comparison is not to judge one pistol better than the other. Rather, it is to highlight each gun's strong and weak points in comparison to the other, so the reader can reach his or her own conclusions, based on their needs and preferences.
A factor common to both pistols is their operating controls are all mounted on the left side of the gun, which I appreciate. These are not "one size fits all" pistols with extended levers and buttons sticking out of both sides of the frame. Their operating controls are no bigger than necessary and mounted commendably close to the frame.
Immediately noticeable when one takes these pistols out of the box is a difference in balance. Using the trigger finger resting on the trigger as a fulcrum, the G40 is slightly muzzle heavy. On the other hand, the SIG is butt heavy. Starting with the guns level, the Glock rolls forward around the trigger finger, while the SIG rolls backward (into the hand). This is true whether the magazines are empty or loaded, even though the Glock holds almost twice as many cartridges as the SIG.
Grip Size, Angle and Shape
The grips are different in both shape and angle. The SIG grip is angled like a 1911 pistol, while the Glock is more like a Luger. Both have enough curve in the backstop to be reasonably comfortable in my hands, but I have always preferred the more swept back Glock grip angle.
Due to its double stack magazine and the size of the 10mm cartridge, the G40 grip is much thicker than the P220 Elite grip. The back strap of the P220 Elite has a tighter radius curve than the G40 backstop.
For me, this means a slightly long reach to the trigger for my index finger. I can pull the trigger with the middle of my finger pad, but it is hard to keep the rest of my trigger finger clear of the frame.
The same would apply to the SIG in DA mode, but I shoot the SIG single action, which moves the trigger blade about 0.4 inch rearward in the frame when the hammer is cocked, shortening the reach to the trigger and making it more comfortable for my medium size hands.
The back strap of the P220 Elite has a tighter radius curve than the G40 backstop, due to the SIG's thinner single stack magazine. These two pistols feel very different in the hand.
Feel is a subjective matter and opinions will vary from shooter to shooter. I prefer the narrower width of the SIG grip, but the superior balance and "point-ability" of the Glock.
The Glock's fatter backstop, as well as the slight flex inherent in its polymer frame, helps to ameliorate felt recoil.
On the other hand, the extra weight of the SIG definitely reduces recoil. Shooting both guns side by side with five rounds in the magazine, it seemed to me that (subjectively) the SIG maybe kicked a little less with full power loads.
The Glock has less muzzle jump, though, due to its lower bore axis. This is not a big deal in a field pistol, as precisely aiming for a second shot takes far longer than recovering from the recoil of the first shot.
Another obvious difference between the two pistols is the greater capacity of the G40. The long slide Glock holds 15+1 cartridges, while the long slide SIG P220 holds 8+1 cartridges. Cartridge capacity is not nearly as important for a hunting/field pistol as it is for a service pistol (after all, many of the best hunting pistols are single shots), but having almost twice the magazine capacity is definitely a Glock advantage.
The G40's action and user controls may be marginally simpler than the SIG P220's, but the hammer fired, DA/SA P220 has a shorter, crisper and lighter trigger pull, at least when fired in SA mode. I measured the SIG's SA trigger pull at five pounds.
The P220's DA pull is horrendous, but it would not ordinarily be used in the field. A handgun hunter would always manually cock the hammer before shooting at a game animal.
There is no hammer to cock on the striker fired G40, so in the field you are stuck with the usual Glock Safe Action Trigger pull, which is much better than the P220's DA pull, but clearly inferior to the big SIG's SA trigger pull.
About all one can do for the G40 is to replace the standard "5.5 pound" trigger connector (the stock trigger pull was actually over eight pounds in our test gun) with an aftermarket "3.5 pound" target connector. I did this and the end result was a 6.25 pound trigger pull, with the usual Glock take-up and over-travel.
A good trigger is very important to accurate shooting, especially from unsupported field positions. In SA mode the SIG P220 clearly has the superior trigger.
The G40 definitely wins the factory supplied open sight comparison. Its Partridge type front and rear sights and fully screw adjustable rear sight is superior to the SIG's fixed night sights, at least for a 10mm field pistol.
Fixed sights may be fine for a short range home defense or service pistol, but are an inappropriate sighting system for a field pistol. The latter will probably need to be zeroed for a specific hunting load at a specific distance, which is why I ordered replacement (screw adjustable) sights for the SIG.
For instance, I would ordinarily zero a 10mm big game hunting pistol at 100 yards with either the SIG Elite 180 grain JHP load or the Winchester Super-X 175 grain Silvertip load. These are full power hunting loads, not light self-defense loads. This is easy to do with the Glock, but impossible to do with the SIG as supplied.
The Glock's longer barrel and slide mean that its sight radius is about an inch longer than the SIG's sight radius. Consequently, with the supplied open sights, the G40 can be aimed more precisely. (This is simple geometry.)
In addition, the Glock 40 MOS is optical sight ready. Quality optical sights are more precise than even the best adjustable open sights and are, hands down, the best sighting system for a hunting pistol. This is why I ordered a Leupold DP-PRO for the G40. Mounting was as easy as advertised, basically a drop-on procedure. Just follow the instructions that come with the gun.
The SIG P220 Match Elite Reverse Two-Tone is not designed to accept optical sights. However, for 2016 SIG has introduced a variation of this pistol with a camo finish that comes with a factory mounted SIG Romeo red-dot reflex sight.
Both pistols are simple to field strip for cleaning. No small parts come loose when the slide is removed from the frame and reassembly is easy. Neither pistol has an advantage here.
However, the SIG's conventional takedown lever is easier to operate than the Glock's little metal takedown tabs, which are placed in small slots on both sides of the frame. These must be pulled down simultaneously with one hand with the slide retracted about 1/4 inch and held in that position with the other hand, before the slide can be slid forward and off the frame rails. This is the takedown procedure for all Glock pistols.
The SIG is noticeably heavier than the Glock, especially when both are loaded with the same number of cartridges. This may make it steadier to hold on target, particularly from a rest.
Conversely, depending on your hand and arm strength, from unsupported positions (and especially if shooting with one hand) the extra weight may induce muscle tremor, making the SIG more difficult to hold steady on the target.
We tested both pistols from a solid bench rest, firing three shot groups at 25 yards. The G40 averaged 2.06 inches with the three loads we had available when it was reviewed. The P220 averaged 1.88 inches with the five loads we had available at the time it was reviewed.
The Glock averaged 1.46 inches with SIG SAUER 180 grain JHP hunting ammo, while the P220 averaged 1.47 inches with the same load. This is my standard field load for 10mm pistols. In terms of accuracy, there is little to choose between our two test pistols.
Aesthetics are a matter of personal opinion. I prefer the shape and lines of the Glock G40 long slide. However, I find the silver and black two-tone finish and the fancier, interchangeable grip panels of the SIG P220 long slide more attractive than the Glock's overall matte black finish.
The retail price of a new Glock is considerably less than the price of a new SIG. ($582 cheaper if you compare 2016 MSRPs.) This is a substantial difference in price, considering there is no appreciable difference between the two pistols in quality, durability, reliability and accuracy. You could, for example, buy a good optical sight for the Glock with the money you save.
I like the Glock's six inch barrel, longer open sight radius, adjustable rear sight, grip angle, higher cartridge capacity, lighter weight, MOS system, balance, overall shape and lower price. In addition, it is easier to rack the Glock's slide.
I prefer the SIG's steel frame, external hammer, DA/SA action, SA trigger pull, take-down lever, two-tone finish, grip size and interchangeable grip panels. The SIG's superior SA trigger pull is its biggest advantage.
In terms of accuracy, reliability and durability the two pistols are about equal. Both are resistant to rust and corrosion and they are large frame autos of similar bulk. They both fit in the same Hunter nylon belt holster, for example.
Neither has a manual thumb safety, grip safety or magazine disconnect to forget or fumble, as their actions are inherently safe. Of course, the 10mm Auto, common to both pistols, is a great cartridge.
These 10mm long slide pistols are the best hunting/field pistols available from their respective manufacturers. In fact, they are probably the best autoloading pistols for the outdoorsman available today from any major manufacturer. They are both powerful, reliable, accurate and well made. Choosing between them is not easy.
Copyright 2016 by Chuck Hawks. All rights reserved.