This is a Sig Sauer P230 & P232 Handgun Review. Sig Sauer’s pistols follow a similar pattern for the most part with one exception, the Models P230 and P232. This was originally designed in 1977 as a sidearm for law enforcement officers in Europe, but proved to be better as a backup weapon and has been adopted by numerous citizens for concealed carry.
Originally dubbed the Model P230 and made in Germany, the pistol underwent a slight redesign when it became manufactured in the US as the P232.
The P230 resembles the Walther PPK outwardly and shares a few characteristics with that pistol in aesthetics and caliber (both are chambered in 380 ACP with a special run made for the Tokyo Police Department in the smaller 32 ACP, for a brief time period). The single stack magazine holds 7 rounds and unlike the Walther, the SIG uses a heel-release as found on the original SIG P210. The PPK uses a conventional magazine release located near the rear of the trigger guard.
Like its bigger brothers in the Classic SIG P Series and unlike the Walther PPK, the Sig Sauer P230 has no external safeties and relies on a decocking lever. There is also no slide release lever.
As we mentioned in our review of the Sig Sauer P220, the decocking lever makes these pistols among the safest hammer fired pistols for carry. There are no external safeties to encumber the shooter and no worry of carrying a cocked and locked pistol. As the P230 and P232 were designed with concealed carry in mind, the heel magazine release makes it less likely for the shooter to accidentally disengage it while carrying.
There are three basic versions of each pistol. Both can be had in a completely stainless steel version, a blued carbon steel version and a blued version with an aluminum frame. The stainless steel models are great when humidity is a concern, but the lighter blued version with an aluminum frame makes for a better carry pistol.
Caliber choice seems to be strictly 380 ACP, however the Sig Sauer P230 has been offered in 32 ACP, 9X18 and a brief run of pistols was offered in 22 long rifle as a training version.
At first glance, the two pistols appear to be identical. They are the same size and shape, use the same magazines and grips and are offered in the same materials and finishes. However, Sig Sauer maintains there are over 30 upgrades made to the P232 from the P230.
Many of these upgrades had to do with reliability, as the older P230s were said to be finicky with ammunition.
At the range we tested an older German made P230 blued version with an aluminum frame and the first round chambered from the magazine proved to be a problem, but once corrected we were able to shoot 3” groups at 25 feet.
Recoil from the pistol seemed a bit stout but manageable due to the nature of the fixed barrel and its blowback system. It was still much more comfortable than the majority of pocket-sized 380 ACP pistols that have come on the market the past 10 years due to the larger sized grip.
The magazine release in the heel of the butt of the P230 and P232 does take some getting used to and is not the fastest for reloading. Likewise, the lack of a slide release means that the shooter must manually rack the slide forward and backward in order to get the pistol into battery and can delay an immediate action drill. Yet the small size, light weight and flat profile make for an excellent option in a concealed carry pistol with a proper holster.
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