SIG Sauer P230

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SIG P230 / P232[1]
Sig Sauer P230 SL Right.jpg
TypeSemi-automatic pistol
Place of originGermany, Switzerland
Service history
Used bySee Users
Production history
DesignerWalter Ludwig, Hanspeter Sigg , Peter Blickensdorfer
ManufacturerSIG Sauer, SIGARMS
ProducedP230 1977–1996
P232 1996–2015
Mass520 g (18.5 oz) [1]
Length17 cm (6.6 in) [1]
Barrel length9.1 cm (3.6 in) [1]
Width3.0 cm (1.2 in) [1]
Height12 cm (4.7 in) [1]

Cartridge.32 ACP, .380 ACP and 9×18mm Ultra
ActionDouble Action/Single Action (DA/SA) With decocking lever
Feed system8-round magazine (.32 ACP)
7-round magazine (.380 ACP & 9mm Ultra)[2]
SightsFixed front and rear

The SIG Sauer P230 is a small, semi-automatic handgun chambered in .32 ACP or .380 Auto. It was designed by SIG Sauer of Eckernförde, Germany. It was imported into the United States by SIGARMS in 1985. In 1996[3] it was replaced by the model P232.[4]


SIG P230 was designed in 1977 as a concealable law enforcement sidearm. After World War II, the West German state police mainly carried Walther PP and Walther PPK models chambered in .32 ACP, as at the time, no 9x19mm pistol was compact nor portable enough for concealed carry. However, various terrorist incidents in West Germany circa early 1970s, such as 1972 Munich Massacre and Red Army Faction's activities, pushed the West German law enforcement outfits to seek new, more powerful handguns to counter to these new threats. P230 was submitted for the search, but was not selected. The West German police decided to use 9mm Parabellum ammunition, with SIG Sauer P225 (P6), Walther P5, and H&K P7 being selected, and would be issued at the discretion of each state.


SIG P230 in hands of a member of Nara Prefectural Police

The design and function of the P230 is of the simple fixed barrel, straight blow-back configuration. It has a reputation as a well-built firearm, and competes with the smaller Walther PPK. With its relatively narrow slide and frame it can be carried in an ankle holster or beneath body armor.

The P230 was available in both blued and all-stainless finishes. The blued version features a blued steel slide and a matching, anodized aluminum frame, whereas the stainless version was completely made from stainless steel. Both versions came with a molded polymer, wrap-around grip that is contoured to give the shooter a comfortable and secure hold on the pistol.

The trigger comes from the factory with a 24 newtons (5.5 lbf) single-action pull, and is capable of both single-action and double-action. Pulling back the slide sets the hammer backwards and downwards to its single-action position, making for a very short trigger pull, with minimal take-up. The double-action pull is longer and more stiff. It has no external safeties, though it does have a de-cocking lever positioned just above the right-handed shooter's thumb, on the left side of the grip. The lever provides for a safe method of lowering the hammer from its full-cocked, single-action position, to a "half-cock", double-action safe position where the hammer itself falls forward to a locking point about an eighth of an inch from the rear of the firing pin. Once de-cocked, it is physically impossible for the hammer to drop completely and contact the firing pin, which would otherwise greatly increase the risk of the unintentional discharge of a chambered round. In order for the round to discharge, the full double-action pull would have to be completed, which allows for the pistol to be carried reasonably safely with a round chambered. In addition, the SIG P232 has an automatic firing pin safety.[3]

The sights are of the traditional SIG design and configuration, with a dot on the front sight and a rectangle on the rear sight. To aim using the sights, the shooter simply aligns the dot over the rectangle. The magazine release is located behind and below the magazine floor plate. The magazine is released by pushing the lever towards the rear of the grip, at which point the magazine can be removed from the pistol.

The earlier models of SIG P230 can be identified with "Made in W.Germany" imprint on the slide.

SIG Sauer P232[edit]

The P232 incorporates more than 60 changes to the design of the P230. Most of the changes are internal. Some of the changes are:[5]

  • The P232 has a drop safety to block the firing pin.
  • The P230 front sight is machined into the slide. The P232 slide is cut for a dovetailed front sight.
  • The P230 slide has 12 narrow, shallow serrations. The P232 slide has 7 wide, deeper serrations.
  • The P230 factory grip panels are flat and smooth plastic with some checkering. The P232 factory grip panels are thicker plastic and 100% stippled. (The grip panels are not interchangeable between the two models.)
  • The P230 factory magazine floor plates are aluminum. The P232 factory magazine floor plates are plastic.


Due to its small dimensions, it is easily carried as a backup weapon or as a concealed carry handgun, holding 8 + 1 rounds of .32 ACP or 7 + 1 rounds of .380 ACP (9mm "Kurz" or Short), respectively.


Imports of the SIG Sauer P232 to the United States, and of spare parts and magazines, were discontinued in July 2014. Although the P230 and P232 are known for reliability and accuracy,[6] market competition had increased with the proliferation of smaller, lighter and less expensive pistols chambered for the .380 ACP cartridge.[7] The P232 and other SIG Sauer products manufactured in Germany were banned for export by the German Government, due to unlawful foreign arms sales by the U.S. State Department to the Colombian Defense Ministry.[8]



  1. ^ a b c d e f "P232". SIG Sauer. Retrieved 7 December 2012.
  2. ^ Peterson, Philip. Gun Digest Book of Modern Gun Values: The Shooter's Guide to Guns 1900 to Present (16th ed.). p. 208.
  3. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 15 March 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 21 July 2009. Retrieved 31 July 2009.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Dope Bag" (PDF). American Rifleman (November/December 1998): 48–49. Retrieved 12 November 2019.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Ayoob, Massad (9 July 2004). The Gun Digest Book of Sig-Sauer: A Complete Look At Sig-Sauer Pistols. Iola, Wisconsin: Gun Digest Books. p. 58. ISBN 1-4402-2713-6.
  10. ^ Otsuka, Masatsugu (January 2009). 日本警察の拳銃 [Guns of the Japanese police]. Strike and Tactical Magazine (in Japanese). KAMADO. 6 (1): 50–57.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Jenzen-Jones, N.R.; McCollum, Ian (April 2017). Small Arms Survey (ed.). Web Trafficking: Analysing the Online Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons in Libya (PDF). Working Paper No. 26. p. 87.
  13. ^ a b Marchington, James (2004). The Encyclopedia of Handheld Weapons. Lewis International, Inc. ISBN 1-930983-14-X.
  14. ^ "SAS Weapons - Handguns". Elite UK Forces. Retrieved 8 April 2015.

External resources[edit]