Sig Sauer’s Alloy Stainless Elite (ASE) series pistols may look like they’re all stainless at first glance, but these TALO-exclusive guns actually use stainless steel slides and aluminum alloy frames to help reduce weight. To get that stainless look, however, Sig applies a stainless physical vapor deposition (PVD) finish, which provides long-lasting corrosion resistance. It also tends to be a bit more uniform than electroplating or other processes while being environmentally friendly.
Advancements in the PVD application process have made it both cost effective and consistent, making it more suitable for firearms. Essentially, with the ASE pistols you get the corrosion resistance, uniformity and wear resistance without the weight or galling that comes with all-stainless-steel firearms.
Several ASE models are currently available through TALO, including the P220, P226, P227 and P229. While the P220 and P227 are both .45 ACP handguns, the P226 and P229 are both available in 9mm or .40 S&W with standard or Elite frames. All of the ASE pistols come equipped with custom walnut grips, Sig’s Short Reset Trigger (SRT) and SIGLITE night sights.
I had previously gotten my hands on an Elite-framed P226 ASE in 9mm for testing on the range, and I came away very impressed. Sig Sauer has done an excellent job of matching the look and color between the slide and frame with these pistols—they look just like all-stainless-steel pistols minus the weight.
More recently, I got ahold of a 9mm P229 ASE with an Elite frame. This frame style is my favorite from Sig, and I’ve used it on several pistols now. Along with offering a three-slot Picatinny rail for accessories like lights and lasers, the extended, high-swept beavertail cradles the shooting hand and works in conjunction with the undercut triggerguard to provide a higher hold on the gun. These frames fit my large hands the best of any Sig Sauer pistol, providing excellent recoil control in any caliber. The frontstrap has mild checkering while the magazine well is gently flared outward. As mentioned, the ASE models also come with custom checkered walnut grips with “SIG” medallions on each side.
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Surrounded by an enlarged triggerguard, the SRT offers a smooth double-action (DA) pull and a crisp single-action (SA) pull with a short reset, providing for fast follow-up shots and increased accuracy potential. The decocker, takedown lever and slide stop are serrated while the magazine release is checkered.
The stainless steel slide is matte in color and includes cocking serrations at both the front and rear. It houses a 4.4-inch, stainless steel barrel that has a black finish. The rest of the controls, including the hammer, are also black for a nice contrast. As mentioned, the slide is fitted with SIGLITE sights with tritium inserts. Finally, the gun is shipped in a hard case with two flush-fitting 15-round magazines.
On The Range
I tested the P229 ASE using my Sig Legion OWB Kydex holster. Made by Black Point Tactical, these are excellent holsters. They’re lightweight and hold the pistol close to your body for concealed carry.
I spent a little time learning the SRT trigger, and after getting up to speed, it was easy for me to press through the DA first shot and transition to the subsequent SA shots. The trigger here isn’t quite as smooth as the P226 Legion’s, but it’s close. Once dialed in, my hits were dead-center with draw times in the 1.25-second range. After enough shooting, I almost didn’t notice the longer DA trigger pull.
Of course, semi-automatic DA/SA pistols offer a bit of extra safety thanks to the heavier initial trigger pull. No, this style isn’t for everyone, but for some, it is a must. Many police agencies still require these kinds of guns. They remain common for concealed carry permit holders, especially those returning from military service where DA/SA pistols are the norm.
When I teach at Gunsite during 250 pistol courses, there are always a few students who won’t carry any other way. I personally used DA/SA pistols for much of my early police career; they just take some training, and I would not hesitate a second in choosing this pistol for everyday carry.
When it comes to follow-up shots and repeatable accuracy, the SRT trigger is flat-out fast—as fast and controllable as any SA pistol. Once the shooting started, I found myself enjoying this pistol. Every time I test a Sig DA/SA pistol, it tends to grow on me. Their decockers are also easier to manipulate, as you don’t have to move the gun around or use your off-hand to access the levers. Sig Sauer’s pistols are all smooth and easy to control, and the Elite frame makes it even easier.
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I carried the P229 ASE for a few days, and its light weight is obvious. This is where the ASE frame became most noticeable. Weighing almost 10 ounces less compared to an all-stainless gun, the P229 ASE is much easier to carry all day long. I’m no stranger to concealing full-sized pistols, and the P229 ASE is definitely concealable, even in the summer. The flush-fitting magazines make it less likely to print through a light shirt or a large T-shirt. With a spare magazine and flashlight on my support side, I had just about everything I could possibly need for most concealed-carry or off-duty applications.
Sig Sauer pistols are among the most accurate made today. I have tested most of the company’s models over the years and carried a few on duty; they are all exceptionally accurate. The P229 ASE is no exception. All of the ammo I tested grouped in the 1.5- to 2-inch range while shooting from the hood of my truck and using a bag as a rest. Sig Sauer’s 124-grain Elite V-Crown JHPs proved to be the most accurate with a group measuring just over an inch.
Moving to 7 yards and shooting in DA mode, the pistol liked Barnes’ 115-grain TAC-XPD ammo. Light on recoil and fast cycling, the gun was very pleasant to shoot. I got tight groups with slow, aimed fire, and when I added in drawing, moving and firing quickly, my groups were still in the 3-inch range. Whether steadied on a rest or shot on the move, the P229 ASE was very accurate. I just needed to get used to the DA trigger pull at first.
Sig Sauer’s SIGLITE sights are some of the best factory tritium sights you can buy. Still, I missed the X-Ray day/night sights that come on the Legion series pistols. I prefer rear sights that don’t have any dots, and the X-Ray units accommodate that while offering one big dot up front. These units are easy to find, however, and swapping them out would be an easy affair.
As you’d expect from a Sig, the P229 ASE ran flawlessly. Everything from steel-cased rounds to some of the hottest loads from DoubleTap functioned without a hitch, and all of it was accurate. I prefer 115-grain +P ammunition, but this pistol will run it all while still being more accurate than most shooters out there.
In a world dominated by polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols, it’s easy to forget the popularity of DA/SA designs. They are timeless and not going anywhere soon. Many shooters simply prefer the safety of the trigger design and want a hammer, and steel provides a feel that no polymer can. There is a growing desire for a “double-strike” capability, and for now that requires a hammer and a true DA mechanism. It’s also nice to have actual stocks on a pistol, allowing for some personalization.
This P229 ASE is a perfect example, and the aluminum alloy frame makes it practical to use and easy to carry. If you are in the market for a proven carry pistol with a great look, then give this one a close look. I bet you’ll really like it.
Sig Sauer P229 ASE Specs
|Barrel: 4.4 inches|
|OA Length: 7.7 inches|
|Weight: 34.4 ounces (empty)|
|Sights: SIGLITE night|
|Finish: Stainless PVD|
Sig Sauer P229 ASE Performance
|Barnes 115 TAC-XPD||1,135||1.25|
|Black Hills 115 JHP +P||1,350||1.75|
|Sig Sauer 124 V-Crown JHP||1,180||1.18|
|Speer 124 Gold Dot||1,148||1.55|
*Bullet weight measured in grains, velocity in fps by chronograph and accuracy in inches for best five-shot groups at 25 yards.
For more information, visit sigsauer.com and taloinc.com.