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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
SAO conversion for German P220 DA/SA

A very interesting accidental discovery just happened amongst a bunch of us in the SIG Single Action group on FaceBook; that some German frame P220 DA/SA models can be easily converted to SAO. In essence, these are SAO frames with DA/SA parts fitted when originally sold that can be converted to SAO simply by replacing specific parts with genuine SIG factory parts, no other modifications required.

For those that may not be aware, the Single Action Only models are configured much like a 1911, dual safety levers on either side, no decocker, and of course single action mode shooting without an initial double action trigger pull. Overall trigger feel and response is notably superior to the regular DA/SA (Double Action / Single Action) models.

These early German frame models seem to be found in a significant variety of models; Stainless Elite (my own), ST, and Match Target. Other variations may also have the SAO-capable frame and to find out is a very simple analysis.

See pics below; the differences on the SAO-capable frame are marked in red and represent a cutout for the thumb safety spring, the the thumb safety lever cross-bar hole (both sides), the larger opening for clearance, and the thumb safety pivot point (both sides). The standard DA/SA frame is missing these features.

Note that the early P220 SAO design is different than the current P226/P229 SAO models that utilize a different sort of thumb safety spring. If you are used to the innards of those models, the earlier SAO models will have differences although the overall design is similar in concept.

Collecting all of these parts is a little bit of a challenge; the large online catalog vendors do not show the SAO models in their parts schematics, and calls to them have proved fruitless. I was able to collect the majority of parts or aftermarket equivalents from a variety of sources:

SAO HAMMER - ARMORYCRAFT www.armorycraft.com
SAO TRIGGER - ARMORYCRAFT www.armorycraft.com
SAO THUMB SAFETY SPRING - MGW www.midwestgunworks.com and eBay sellers
SAO SLIDE CATCH LEVER - MGW www.midwestgunworks.com and eBay sellers
SAO TRIGGER BAR - THE SIG ARMORER www.thesigarmorer.com and MGW www.midwestgunworks.com
SAO TRIGGER BAR SPRING - MGW www.midwestgunworks.com
SAO RIGHT THUMB SAFETY - MGW www.midwestgunworks.com
SAO LEFT THUMB SAFETY - THE SIG ARMORER www.thesigarmorer.com
SAO GRIPS - MGW www.midwestgunworks.com and eBay sellers

However, there is one part that is problematical:

SAO SAFETY LEVER OR SAO SRT KIT

Can't find the early German SAO safety lever anywhere. Nobody has one, nobody has a part number, and SIG USA is not able to look up those old German parts even with a serial number from a pistol that has the part.

The later SAO sear and safety lever assembly as found in the P226 Legion/Elite SAO should work correctly. SIG USA was good enough to find the part number for me using the serial number from my P226 Elite SAO, but they do not sell that part seperately. Also, calling any of the catalog vendors resulted in frustration; none of them can pull up that part number at all.

At this point, I've ordered all of the above parts, so failure due to lacking the safety lever is not an option. If necessary, I will just fabricate the piece that I need. Regardless, when the rest of the pieces are delivered, I will also pull apart the P226 SAO and confirm that the P226 part works and updates the old German model to the latest SAO version of SRT.

Stay tuned for developments.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's awesome. It makes sense that SIG would just have a universal frame, and install the appropriate parts.
Correct - but why they don't do that still or across the board with all models is the mystery.

It's like with P229-1... it took them how many years to drop the 9mm frame and use the .40 for everything? That's a legacy engineering problem.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Adding complete parts diagram.

All parts shipped, latest to arrive by 10/21. I have an idea what I may need to do/make/modify to get SRT to work with the early SAO trigger bar.
 

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RL - I'm not an SAO fan.
I got a P220 SAO, Match Elite in a trade, I called Sig C.S. to see if it could be changed to DA/SA. That frame was not convertible so I had to use as is, or sell it. It is probably my most accurate pistol. Not only did I use it as an SAO, I actually got to like it... It's everything a 1911 wishes it was....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
RL - I'm not an SAO fan.
I got a P220 SAO, Match Elite in a trade, I called Sig C.S. to see if it could be changed to DA/SA. That frame was not convertible so I had to use as is, or sell it. It is probably my most accurate pistol. Not only did I use it as an SAO, I actually got to like it... It's everything a 1911 wishes it was....

I wonder if it can't be changed... or SIG just will not do it.
 

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RL - I'm not an SAO fan.
I got a P220 SAO, Match Elite in a trade, I called Sig C.S. to see if it could be changed to DA/SA. That frame was not convertible so I had to use as is, or sell it. It is probably my most accurate pistol. Not only did I use it as an SAO, I actually got to like it... It's everything a 1911 wishes it was....
I wonder if it can't be changed... or SIG just will not do it.
Superzuki, I hate to say it, but Rob is probably correct. If you could, pop off the left grip, and post a photo. The only reason I could see it, is if the frame wasn't bored/machined for the Decocking Lever Bearing. The "same" reason for some early DAKs, not being able to be converted to DA/SA, IIRC.
 
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srt with sao????

to shorten sa reset in da/sa triggers.
bearone2, the short reset is only on the single action reset, so why not, be able to reduce reset distance in the SAO? Basically the SAO Sear and Safety Lever resemble "standard" DA/SA items. The only "problem" is the SAO Trigger Bar, lacks the bend that normally engages the double action notch in a DA/SA Hammer, and engages the lower leg of the SRT Safety Lever.

Much of the "reset" is the "play" between the standard Sear and Safety Lever.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
srt with sao????

to shorten sa reset in da/sa triggers.
Yes - exactly like the current Elite and Legion models have. I strongly urge you to try one, it’s quite likely the best thing to come out of SIG aside from Mastershop X models.
 

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Superzuki, I hate to say it, but Rob is probably correct. If you could, pop off the left grip, and post a photo. The only reason I could see it, is if the frame wasn't bored/machined for the Decocking Lever Bearing. The "same" reason for some early DAKs, not being able to be converted to DA/SA, IIRC.
Right Willard. There's no 'hole' for the de-cocker. I'm not going to have it machined in there, I'll agree, Sig only wants to put the parts in, not re-machine it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
So excited - all the various parts and pieces are scheduled to show up by Monday.

Crossing my fingers that rounds are flying Tuesday. I give it roughly 80% chance because I've got this sear/safety lever issue to work out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Tuesday here and rounds are definitely not flying yet.

Parts are rolling in. Hopefully updated Legion SRT sear, safety lever, and trigger bar arrive shortly. That’s the delay at this point; if I’m doing this conversion, I’d also like it to be a complete update. Functionally will match (or exceed) a new P220 Legion SAO.

Shown here is the old-style SAO trigger bar.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Today’s shipment arrived, dolphin and trigger bar.

Now the interesting question; why is a brand-new Legion SAO trigger bar the same as a classic SAO trigger bar?

Only thing I can figure out is they are indeed interchangeable. There is a hole in the classic one in a different place, but I can’t see that it’s a functional hole.

Hmmm.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
So we were *almost* there today. Small roadblocks encountered:

1) Hammer strut pin is different, shorter for SAO. You can see in the pics above that it sticks out into the cutout for the SAO thumb safety. I was able to cut down the DA/SA pin to work.

2) Hammer pin is different, SAO is about 3mm shorter and DA/SA pin interferes with the thumb safeties. Given the next issue, I opted to acquire the right pin as opposed to fighting with another piece of hardened steel.

3) I got the wrong trigger bar. I have the old-style SAO trigger bar, not the new one that works with the SRT and special safety lever... so that's coming this week.

Otherwise, it's together and functional aside from safety lever and thumb safeties working. Minor details, right?

ALMOST THERE. :)
 

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Howdy, have you made any progress on this particular project? I have seen the results of one other member here who did something similar however he had the entire SAO trigger parts set from a donor gun so I know it is definitely possible but I'm very curious how you will overcome the lack of specialty parts that Sig refuses to sell.

Also, i tried to find the Sig Single Action Facebook group but could not locate it for some reason, is it still active? If you could provide a link that would be much appreciated as I am a particular fan of the sao p series guns and would love to be able to follow projects like these more closely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Finally done! After a few delays relating to incorrect parts (old trigger bar with new safety lever, plus needing the P220-specific SAO hammer), it’s all done.

Fits and functions like a factory-built gun plus the ArnoryCraft upgraded hammer and trigger.

The SAO design, whether it’s P220, P226, or P229, simply operates so nicely with a crisp 1911-style break. This is the design I hampered by “duty requirement” double action complication.

Very pleased with the final result.
 

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Did you "polish" the stainless, or plate it?
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Did you "polish" the stainless, or plate it?
Neither. That’s the original matte stainless finish. Completely untouched.
 
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