The P228 - facts, factoids, and opinions ((**Updated** - P226C (aka, PROTO-1) info incorporated into OP))

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December 02, 2014, 12:59 PM
The P228 - facts, factoids, and opinions ((**Updated** - P226C (aka, PROTO-1) info incorporated into OP))
*Last updated on March 2, 2019*
- The P228 serial list is now in a separate post below, on this first page, since there is no more room to complete the list in this original post.
- Ni P228 endurance testing on p. 21.

I'm sure y'all already know I'm a P228 nut, and I'm pretty sure some of you love the model, as well. I've been collecting them in past few years, learning a lot about it from various sources, especially on this forum. I figure it's time I write a brief summary of what I know about the model, with some comments. Please note that my info includes only models for the US commercial market, not Euro versions.
You'll notice that there aren't any info on specs, as these can be easily found anywhere on the internet. My focus is to put a lot info that cannot be easily found into one convenient place for the P228 fan to look up.

I invite anyone who has additional info and pics, or who spots incorrect info by me, to chime in and contribute. I thank you in advance.

***I thank para for the best gun board on the internet, and forum members oldiron1, Uriah, SIGagain, straightshooter01, blindref, hurstolds1, rpm2010, sigmonkey, Sarge1998, 220parts, xwesler, cherokee2u, AH.74, wgsigs, and biggs for helpful info in general and on specific models.*** Cool

Cannot name them, but I'm also grateful to several folks from SIG (US and DE) who have helped me with invaluable information.

Commercial US market models

P228 = Folded/stamped carbon steel slide, with a pinned breech block, with one exception (see below, the stainless slide P228).
Frame is aluminum alloy, with one exception (see below, the stainless frame P228).

A. Regular production years: 1988 – 2005
Note: 1988 was the 1st year for the P228, serial numbers B100001 - B100100. These JJ P228s were never intended for public sale.
Serial numbers B100001 to B100059, plus B100069-B100099, were sent to SIG HQ in Switzerland.
B100060 to B100068, plus B100100, were sent to SIG Arms in Herndon VA, USA.

B. Intermittent release years: 2007, 2009, 2010-11, 2012-13

C. Serial numbers: BXXXXXX (1988 – 2013); AJU-, AHU-, AKU-XXXXX (2012 – 2013).
Note: speculations of the existence of factory original P228s with early P229 style serial numbers are just that, speculations. Although a possibility, it remains unconfirmed.

D. Made and proofed in W. Germany: 1988 – 1995 (triple matching serial #s on frame, slide, and barrel)

E. Made and proofed in Germany: 1995 – 1999 (triple matching serial #s on frame, slide, and barrel)
i. Note that year 1995 has both W. German and German P228s.

F. Made in Germany/Assembled in US: 2000 – 2013 (serial # on frame only; no German proof marks*). Note that some frames are German made, and some are US made.
*” denotes certain exceptions as follows:
1. Some 2010-11 P228Rs are all German made and proofed.
2. Some 2011 & 2012 M11Bs are all German made and proofed.
3. The 2012 & 2013 stainless frame P228s are all German made and proofed.

G. All nickel models: earliest known is 1990 (KA); latest known is 1997 (KH). Klein did most, if not all, of the nickel plating in the 90s.

H. Two-tone nickels: earliest known is 1991 (KB); latest known is 2005. Klein did most, if not all, of the nickel plating in the 90s. And, all the Klein plated SIGs were Electroless Nickel (EN).
This is a note from the President of Klein:
As current owner and an employee whose first job at Klein Plating was finishing Sig Sauer pistols, I can with authority say ALL Sig's that we plated were finished in electroless nickel. At no point did we ever use a copper underplate. We offered Sig a few different "looks" in terms of the finish, but all of them were plated to an internal quality specification requiring electroless nickel.

Joe Dudenhoeffer
Klein Plating Works, Inc.
2020 Greengarden Road
Erie, PA 16502

1. All black controls up to 1994
2. Nickel controls from 1994 to 2005

I. Comments regarding nickel or 2-tone nickel guns: You may agree or disagree, but in my humble opinion, the only way to know if you have a factory original gun is one of the following:
1. You are the original owner/purchaser of such a gun (with everything that came with it).
2. The gun has the original box with the outer label having “NICKEL” or “NICKEL T” or "T" on it.
3. SIG confirms for you in writing that your gun is original. If it's not in writing, it didn't happen.

J. Trigger (serrated face vs. smooth face): The serrated trigger was on the P228 from the beginning > The transition year to smooth face trigger was 1994.

K. Grips: Early stock grips are without the lanyard loop at the bottom. Starting in 1992, grips have the lanyard loop.

L. Boxes/Cases:
1. 1988 – 1989: red cardboard
2. 1990 – 1994: gray cardboard (Note: the earliest 1990 (KA) P228 comes in the red cardboard box, before the move from Herndon, VA to Exeter, NH)
3. 1994 – 1998: gray plastic (with soft outer cardboard sleeve)
4. 1998 – 2000: large black plastic
5. 2001 – 2009: large blue plastic
6. 2010 – 2013: small black plastic

In the pic below, note that the small black box on the top right corner belongs to the stainless frame P228.
Not shown, but whenever you see a red box that is not like #1 in the pic below, it's a Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) box. However, not all CPO SIGs come in the red box. They sometimes come in the black or gray or blue cases. However, you can still tell it's a CPO, by looking at the box label, if it's still there. The label for the Item Number of a CPO SIG will always start with UD. Sometimes sellers will tell you the gun is new and original, but the "UD" on the label will tell you the story.

M. Magazines:
Early mags, German made (JK through pre-ban KE):

1. None of them has any "Made In Germany" or "Made in W. Germany" on them. "Made In Germany" appears later, on ban era mags.

2. Only the JK and KA have the following markings on the left side: "SIG SAUER", "P228".

3. The KB through KE have only "SIG SAUER" on the mag's left side, but no "P228". Again, none of the mags from JK through KE has any "Made In Germany" or "Made In W. Germany" on them.

4. The SIG "triskelion" started its regular appearance on the KB and subsequent years, although it did make spotty appearance on the JK & KA.

5. The date clock on the floor plate did not make its appearance until mid 1994. Just my guess, but that makes sense, as gun makers were staring down the AWB's barrel at the time. Before that, they did not have to worry about it.

6. Zipper back: JK, KA, KB.

7. Dove tails: KC and onward.

Ban era mags, German made: Dove tails, but no triskelion, since the bottom part was chopped off to make room for the capacity limiting plastic block.

N. Manuals:
In its early years, the P228, like its older brothers (P220, P225, P226), had its own Manual, with red cover. In the subsequent years, the Manual is just generic for all of the "P" models.

O. Special models:

1. Gun Of The Month(GOTM):
a. 2003 (July): Desert camouflage finish. Production number = 352
b. 2004 (April): HiViz front sight. One 15 round P226 magazine with Freed Designs grip adapter. Production number = 535.
c. 2005 (November): Two-tone satin nickel, with nickel controls. Production number = 162.

2. Stainless slide P228: Only 2 examples are known, from a production run of two, in Sept 2007. The slide is machined stainless legacy slide of the P229 style. The guns were officially rollmarked P228s and released as such. They were supposed to have been evaluated by the NJ State Police for possible adoption at the time.

3. SAS frame P228: released in late 2009. Frame is P229 SAS. This is the only year that the P228 has this SAS frame.

4. P228R: released in 2009 and 2011. Frame is P229 with rail and hooked trigger guard.
a. Some 2009 guns had the “US" "M11” on the frame’s right side etched out.
b. Some 2010 guns, date code BA, are all German made and proofed.

5. M11B: 2011 and 2012. Supposedly un-issued military M11s that SIG stamped the “B” on, so to be able to release onto the commercial market. About 50+/-of these guns are rumored to be floating around. For such a small group, these M11Bs is a strange mixture of oddities. Some guns have all the markings of a German made and proofed firearm (triple serial numbers and triple proof marks on frame, slide, and barrel). Others have either barrel or slide that is lacking serial number and proof mark, although they were all made in Germany.
Note that the "MP" on the barrel and slide on these guns denotes they have been magnetically particle inspected, per military specifications, to detect micro defects.

6. Stainless frame P228: All German made and proofed special configuration model from July 2012 (#10) and March 2013 (#10), brought to us by member 220parts and the late Jaymie Smolens of Afton Arms. The original batch from 2012 had the test targets with the guns. The second batch from 2013 did not have the test targets. Although the gun was shipped with the old straight wall P228/P229 mags, the frame is actually a stainless "229-1" frame that can use the 229-1 mag. This is the only factory original P228 model that can take the 229-1 mag. Note that, these days, many folks build FrankenP228s using the wide magwell frame of the P229 that takes the 229-1 mag as well.

7. M11-A1: the excellent but much maligned P228/M11 wannabe. Started life in 2012 and still going. It’s really a P229, with the P229 slide, 229-1 frame, but wearing the P228 grip.

P. Grips compared (Stock, Hogue Extreme, E2):
Grips are are a personal preference thing. Some folks like the stock plastic grips just fine. Others like the G10 grips. Still others, the E2.
Check on the link below for pictorial comparisons with measurements.

Q. Grips compared (Hogue aluminum v. old style aluminum ):
Contours are slightly different. The old style's back strap is more concave toward the top and more convex toward the bottom.
Click on the link below for pic comparison.

R. Is the P228 DAK compatible?
Virgin P228s are not DAK compatible.
There are 3 variants that are DAK compatible, because their frames were derived from the P229 frames, which already have the DAK cut out.
1- The SAS frame P228
2- The P228R
3- The stainless frame P228

GUN PICTURES (All are from my collection, except where noted)

1989 (JK) gun, in red cardboard box:

1990 (KA) gun, in red cardboard box (Before SIG moved from Herndon, VA to Exeter, NH):

1991 (KB) factory all nickel gun, in gray cardboard box:

1991 (KB) factory 2-toner, with all black controls:

1994 (KE) factory 2-toner, all black controls (AH.74's gun Smile):

1994 (KE) factory 2-toner, nickel controls, gray plastic case:

1995 (KF) Made In W. Germany. This is the very last year of the West German guns:

1995 (KF) Made In Germany, factory 2-toner complete package (including the soft outer cardboard sleeve):

April 2004 GOTM - HiViz front sight, 15-rd P226 mag with X-grip adaptor:

2005 factory 2-toner (Nov. 2005 GOTM), nickel controls, large blue plastic case. Original grips replaced with Nill grips:

SAS frame P228 (2009). Original grips replaced with Hogue made SIG logo aluminum grips:

P228R (2009) with "US M11" etched out:

P228R (2009), plain. Original grips replaced with Hogue G10 Piranha:

P228R 2010 (BA), all German made and proofed:

M11B, 2011 (BB), all German made, with proof marks on frame and barrel, but not on slide:

M11B, 2012 (BC), all German made and proofed:

Stainless frame P228, 2012 (BC):

Stainless slide P228 (NJSP), 2007:

Last batch of "regular" P228s (late 2012 to early 2013), with 3-letter serial prefixes, small black plastic box:

This one made no mentions of "MADE IN GERMANY" on the slide on either side, but the slide is German made, from what we know:

And last, but not least, the M11-A1 Big Grin , with original P228 logo grips replaced with SIG logo Hogue made aluminum grips:

I'm incorporating the story of the P226C / PROTO-1 into this original post.

The original story of the prototype "P226C", which would have become the compact version of the P226, but never did, is found here,
Its original auction is found here,

Brief summary is, SF member waynewash inherited this prototype from Lee Salter, Manager of Technical Services at SIGARMS in the 1980s. Three were made. Two were destroyed. Only this present sample is left. It is prototype #1 (as seen in pics below).

In the other threads, there were questions about the "prototype" nature of this SIG. What we know pretty sure is that this gun did not come from West Germany in that form, although the major parts did. This gun was modified/reconstructed into its form by SIG USA Tysons Corner's Lee's team. Factory prototype? Worker prototype? We may never know, but it does not matter. It's pretty clear to me that the folks at SIG USA at the time were planning on the compact version of the P226. Hence, the "P226C". Obviously, the project never came to fruition. And the eventual compact version of the P226, namely, the P228, came from West Germany.

The first few pics are just overall appearance of the gun. It's pretty clear that the slide assembly originally belonged to a JE (1984) P225, with the P225-type serial number. The "5" was converted to a "6", and the "C" was added. The frame obviously is not full size P226, but it clearly wears the P226-type serial number.

Now to the frame itself. It's obvious that it was originally a full size P226 frame from Germany (serial number and proof mark). Close inspection shows that there is evidence that they chopped down/shortened the grip and reworked it. You can see and feel the slight uneveness of the front strap. You can also see evidence inside the magwell, also. Also, the hooked contour of the trigger guard has been rounded (Sorry, you won't be able to see it on pics, but I can tell you that work was done in that area.)

The grip panels are dated 1983 (no surprises, there). They are full size P226 grips chopped down and reworked to fit the new compact grip frame. You can see the faint outlines of the plugs they improvised to seal up the bottom.

Typical old time SIG:

BARREL: Unproofed, unserialized. Some grayish finish, and definitely not the typical blued. And it looks like they did dome mods to the lug.

Here we go, "PROTO-1". Eek
And, it would appear that they had MGW did the frame modifications. So, who is MGW? It is Maryland Gun Works, originally from MD, but now located in GA.

They chopped down the full size P226 mag and shaved the bottom of the follower a little to accommodate 13 rounds. Contrast that with the original longer P228 13-rounder. Also, since the new bottom of the mag is right where the indentations are, they had to reshape the bottom metal liner.

WEIGHT w/ empty mag = 29.2 oz, which is just a hair lighter than the stock P228 (29.3 oz).

And, this review would not be complete without a comparison to the P228. Smile
Here it is, against my EDC (a JK P228).
I'll tell you, like I said in the other thread, this is what the P228 should have been. Man, the shorter grip, still holding 13 rounds, feels just about perfect, especially with the old style checkered grips.

EDITED to incorporate, from a separate thread, a quick shooting evaluation that was done on 10/21/2016:

Day off, and a perfect fall day to head out to the range for a quickie with PROTO-1.

Ammo: Speer Lawman 124Gr TMJ, Federal Classic Hi-Shok 115Gr JHP, Freedom Munitions 124Gr RN

# rounds fired = 100

Mags used: original PROTO-1 mag and Mec-Gar P228 15-rounder

Malfunctions: none

Observations: Handling and balance are wonderful. Trigger is typical of old school German SIGs. POI is slightly higher than POA.

Conclusion: *****>>> Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin Big Grin <<<*****

This message has been edited. Last edited by: 12131,


2016 MAGA ---> 2020 KAG
* P228 factoids *
The original PROTO-1 Auction

December 02, 2014, 01:16 PM
Thank you 12131!!! This could or should be a sticky...
December 02, 2014, 01:18 PM
Tagged for later... gotta check out all these nice pistols.

December 02, 2014, 01:25 PM
Thank you for putting together this post with great info and pictures for reference.
December 02, 2014, 01:32 PM
Already one of my favorite posts on SigForum, and that is saying a lot!

December 02, 2014, 01:32 PM
Very nice job 12131. Thanks This will need to be sticky for sure.

Of course you have just negated the need for about 80% of all future posts regarding the P228. Smile

One small suggestion, on a couple of the guns you have shown, you have changed out the grips. You might make a note in the description as to what the original grips were.
December 02, 2014, 01:47 PM
Originally posted by Mustang-PaPa:

Great info on American P228's.

You might consider making the pictures smaller.
They are making the page spread out and I have to scroll from side to side to read the text and view the picture. At least that's how its showing on my computer.
It may only be this one picture that's oversized;
Last batch of "regular" P228s (late 2012 to early 2013), with 3-letter serial prefixes, small black plastic box:

Pics look great on my 27" Apple 5K monitor. No scrolling and the detail is fantastic. In all seriousness the size and detail will come in handy for detail comparisons so don't reduce them unless you absolutely have to.
December 02, 2014, 02:11 PM
they're fine on my 23".
December 02, 2014, 02:15 PM
All I can say is you have a very nice collection of P228s. Big Grin Are you missing any examples?

When you say the stainless steel framed P228 is the only one that can take P229-1 mags, are you then implying that all of the other P228s with P229 frames ("AxU" serial numbers) have the narrow P228-like magazine well?
December 02, 2014, 02:56 PM
P228 List - This list complements the P228 list in Uriah's serial number thread. Uriah is no longer updating his thread.

4/2/19 Update: arc has graciously taken over the updating of Uriah's thread. So, everything listed here is now incorporated to the master list there. Cool

-B102-252-JK-1989-Red box
-B102-532-JK-1989-Red box. No import marks
-B103-032-JK-1989-Red box
-B106-029-JK-1989-Red box
-B106-794-JK-1989-Red box
-B106-857-JK-1989-Red box
-B107-835-JK-1989-Red box
-B108-475-JK-1989-Red box
-B108-862-JK-1989-Red box
-B109-493-JK-1989-Red box
-B109-918-KA-1990-Red box. Herndon KA
-B113-904-KA-1990-Gray box. Exeter KA
-B116-623-KA-1990-Factory Ni
-B118-768-KA-1990-Factory Ni
-B135-113-KB-1991-Factory TTNi
-B135-467-KB-1991-Factory TTNi
-B137-326-KB-1991-Factory TTNi
-B138-757-KB-1991-Factory TTNi
-B140-994-KB-1991-Factory TTNi / Slide & barrel refinished in CPII
-B151-593-KB-1991-Factory Ni
-B151-694-KB-1991-Factory Ni / Owned by bolo4tom
-B152-183-KB-1991-Factory Ni
-B152-191-KB-1991-Factory Ni
-B152-251-KB-1991-Factory Ni
-B152-610-KB-1991-Factory Ni
-B155-643-KB-1991-CCz refinished in black
-B159-794-KC-1992-Swiss police
-B165-446-KC-1992-Factory Ni
-B173-003-KC-1992-Cerakote refinished slide
-B176-192-KD-1993-Aftermarket nickel slide
-B176-199-KD-1993-Aftermarket full nickel
-B178-405-KD-1993-Replacement barrel (so, only 2 serial numbers)
-B191-318-KD-1993-Factory Ni / Owned by bolo4tom
-B203-017-KD-1993-Factory Ni
-B219-458-KE-1994-Factory TTNi
-B229-802-KF-1995-Last year of the West German P228
-B231-030-KF-1995-TTNi From GB. Last year of the West German P228
-B237-731-KF-1995-German from here on, except where US assembled is noted. K-Kote
-B237-959-KF-1995-Factory TTNi
-B240-835-KF-1995-Factory TTNi
-B241-729-KF-1995-Factory Ni
-B241-899-KF-1995-Factory TTNi
-B252-000-KF-1995-Factory error (Slide and barrel with serial number B251999)
-B262-121-KG-1996-CCR CPII slide and barrel
-B274-682-KH-1997-United States Military Academy Class of 1998 (USMA98)
-B277-907-KH-1997-Factory TTNi
-B279-164-KH-1997-Factory Ni
-B281-078-KJ-1998-CCR Cerahide black
-B288-478-KK-1999-Swiss police. Black Ice Teflon OD Green (from Robertson)
-B295-551-no code-2000-US assembled. Frame Made In Germany. There is no "Made In Germany" rollmark on the slide.
-B296-287-no code-2000-US assembled
-B306-858-no code-2001-US assembled. CPO. MPI barrel
-B314-058-no code-2002-US assembled
-B317-659-no code-2003-US assembled
-B324-2xx-no code-2004-US assembled. Hi-Viz (Apr 2004 GOTM) - Owned by coloradohunter44
-B330-817-no code-2005-US assembled. Gwinnett District Attorney
-B331-047-no code-2005-US assembled
-B334-672-no code-2005-US assembled. Factory TTNi (Nov 2005 GOTM)
-B336-287-no code-2007-US Assembled. Special Configuration, SS Legacy slide, NJSP. One of two.
-B339-246-no code-2009-US assembled. P228R. “US” “M11” overstamped
-B340-641-no code-2009-US assembled. P228R. CID Special Agent badge on top of slide
-B341-750-no code-2009-US assembled. P228R
-B350-412-no code-2009-US assembled. SAS frame
-B350-413-no code-2009-US assembled. SAS frame
-B351-645-BA-2010-German, triple serial numbered/proofed P228R
-B351-654-BA-2010-German, triple serial numbered/proofed P228R
-B353-372-BC-2012-Special Configuration (stainless frame)
-B353-379-BC-2012-Special Configuration (stainless frame)
-B353-773-BD-2013-Special Configuration (stainless frame)
-AJU 09579-Oct '12-US assembled.
-AHU 13187-Apr '13-US assembled. "P228" on left side of slide. There is no "Made In Germany" rollmark on slide.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: 12131,


2016 MAGA ---> 2020 KAG
* P228 factoids *
The original PROTO-1 Auction

December 02, 2014, 03:34 PM
Originally posted by wgsigs:
All I can say is you have a very nice collection of P228s. Big Grin Are you missing any examples?

My rainbow unicorn: JJ P228. Frown

When you say the stainless steel framed P228 is the only one that can take P229-1 mags, are you then implying that all of the other P228s with P229 frames ("AxU" serial numbers) have the narrow P228-like magazine well?

Originally posted by David Lee:
12131, would you consider the P228's with Swiss Police markings to be a variant or no?

It is a variant, but, as I mentioned initially, I'm focusing on the guns originally released for the US commercial market only. The Swiss police guns were originally Euro releases, and later traded in and brought to the US as surplus firearms.

Also, like the P6's imported, did any of the P228's ever come in the small, hard plastic blue case?

Not that I'm aware of.

If I ever see a JJ P228 sir, I will indeed contact you.

Finder's fee! Big Grin I really do appreciate it, sir.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: 12131,


2016 MAGA ---> 2020 KAG
* P228 factoids *
The original PROTO-1 Auction

December 02, 2014, 04:35 PM
Best thread ever! Thank you
December 02, 2014, 05:07 PM
You are the man to go to on P228s. Nice work. Smile

December 02, 2014, 05:13 PM
Blue Dog
Nice Collection and thanks for the info. I love the P228 as well. I have KD & KE.
December 02, 2014, 05:21 PM
Great post, thank you.
December 02, 2014, 05:43 PM
Perhaps a PVD silver model and two-tone could be added if Germany still can do it... you never know! A 225 would also look nice. Nice to see such a great collection - well done. Will let you know if PVDs get the OK

Veni, Vidi, Risi
December 02, 2014, 05:55 PM
Excellent collection, thread and photos!

The 228 stainless brings up a question. I was unaware it had the larger mag-well. Basically a 229ST with a 228 serial and slide.

You say it has a 229-1 frame. But wouldn't it be a standard 229 stainless frame with a 228 serial? As all of the 229ST's are in 40/357sig calibers. I've never come across a 9mm version. And these ST frames were manufactured before the 229-1 existed? Unless you're using the -1 to distinguish the difference in mag-well dimensions.

Changing the 229 after years of production has created some confusion to the model. Too bad the 229 wasn't designed like the 226 with the same mag-well for all models.

If I'm correct with my thinking, the only difference between the 228 stainless and a 229ST frame, would be the locking insert. Overlooking the cosmetic serial prefix. Or is there something else I'm missing?

December 02, 2014, 05:57 PM
Glad to contribute. Excellent compilation!

Originally posted by 12131:The Swiss police guns were originally Euro releases, and later traded in and brought to the US as surplus firearms.

I can't explain why, exactly- but I just WANT one of these. Hopefully sometime soon I will be able to find one.

Μολὼν Λαβέ
01 03 04 14 16 18
December 02, 2014, 06:12 PM
1988 is what I have read was the year of introduction for the P228. Was that in Europe, or in the U.S., i.e., maybe '89 (JK) was the first to make it to our shores? Just a thought.

Also, as I thought about it, 2009 was the first year I am aware of that the P229-1 frame appeared on the P229 E2 and didn't start being a standard frame until late 2010 so I can see there being regular, narrow magwell, 9mm P229 frames available for the special runs of P228s.
December 02, 2014, 06:16 PM
Hey, Parabellum, will you make this thread a sticky, please?