SIG Sauer P229R E2 Pistol

By David Tong

SIG Sauer P229R E2
Photo by David Tong.

This article is about a recent SIG-Sauer product that is a truly good thing. In 2009, SIG Sauer introduced the so-called E2 series pistols to address concerns of the size of the grip and the reach to the trigger. “E2” stands for Enhanced Ergonomics and it involved changing several parts for shooters with only average sized hands.

Since the pistol’s debut back in the late 1970's, they have been known for large grips and a very long reach to that first double-action first trigger pull. SIG-Sauer heard the criticisms and redesigned the hammer strut, eliminated the two-piece grip panels and replaced them with a one-piece wrap around unit and fitted a thinner trigger blade.

While no one will mistake it for a single-stack pistol, these seemingly minor things all add up to “comfortable.” I can now easily place my first joint around the trigger blade without feeling it a stretch, making that first shot much easier to control.

In addition, the new grip features possibly the most aggressive molded stippling of any pistol on the market. When you grasp this grip, your hand is immediately locked in place. It won’t matter if your hands are sweaty, either.

The grip, besides being thinner and more secure, now features small palm swells, which make it very comfortable, as well as providing even more traction. It makes me wonder why only H&K and S&W have managed to figure out that adding some anatomical lumps on their polymer-framed pistols when most of that ilk has sides as featureless as a 2x4. It is good to see SIG-Sauer join the club, with a metal-framed pistol, no less.

There is a molded recess for a lanyard for weapon to belt retention when in the field. The smaller grip can be substituted for the larger one and the standard ones can be installed, as the company wisely left the grip screw holes on the frame.

The magazine catch button is now diagonally checkered, rather than simply serrated as before, for more secure purchase. It remains a low profile button, not prone to accidental dumping of the magazine.

This pistol differs from my older P229 Classic in that it now sports the ubiquitous flashlight rail, although it is a proprietary type that does not accept many of the common rail mounted lamps and lasers. (Boo!) It also sports the squared trigger guard, instead of the gently sloping one of the original 229. (Boo, twice!)

The slide group has several changes. The early P229 has rather short height slide cocking serrations that were sometimes difficult to grab and the current 229 slides have reverted to large ones for excellent traction. The 229's slide is greatly widened to make it heavier than the original profile P220, 225 and 226, to better deal with the slide velocity of the .40 S&W cartridge and its offspring, the .357 Sig.

The von Stavenhagen signature dot over bar sights have given way to the usual three-dot arrangement. The author finds these more confusing, as it is easier to simply line up the front over the center bar and squeeze off. No big matter, there are many sight options available.

One final enhancement is the rather huge looking external extractor, replacing both early German spring steel internal units, as well as the smallish external ones powered by a spring and plunger. This new extractor has the usual pivot pin drilled through the top of the slide, along with a coil spring, similar to that of the Browning Hi-Power, save its size. While we can guess that the enlarged part was to rectify some kind of functional shortcoming, it sure hasn’t been an issue in G&S Online’s extensive shooting experience with these pistols.


  • Calibers: 9x19mm, .357 SIG, .40 S&W
  • Action type: DA/SA
  • Trigger pull: 10 lbs. DA, 4.4 lbs. SA
  • Length: 7.1"
  • Height: 5.4"
  • Width: 1.5"
  • Barrel length: 3.9"
  • Sight radius: 5.7"
  • Weight: 32 oz. (with magazine)
  • Magazine capacity: 13 (9mm); 12 (.357 & .40)
  • Sights: Patridge, 3-dot (Siglite night sights available)
  • Grips: Black polymer
  • Frame: Black hard anodized aluminum alloy
  • Slide finish: Nitron
  • 2012 MSRP: $993

The E2 is no longer available as a separate SKU number, but the parts can easily be user fitted. This particular sample is chambered in .40 Smith & Wesson and it will also accept a factory barrel in .357 SIG as a drop in, making it possible to use both calibers on the same frame. A factory .22 conversion kit can also be used. Bar-Sto Precision Machine in South Dakota offers a 9x19mm conversion barrel for the .40 caliber guns, which would allow the use of four different calibers on the same frame with the same trigger pull. Finally, the pistol is now wholly made in the USA. For years, the company sourced receivers from Germany, but evidently no longer.

While some of us are beginning to think that SIG-Sauer ought to have a scorecard to keep track of all their model variations, this fairly basic bread-and-butter Model 229R is a top seller to Federal law enforcement agencies. Justifiably so, because it neatly addresses the issues many have complained about for at least the past decade. It makes a good sidearm that much better.

Note: There is a full length review of the SIG P229 on the Product Reviews page.

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Copyright 2012, 2016 by David Tong and/or All rights reserved.