The P229 is a compact firearm, often used for concealed carry purposes. The standard version features a DA/SA trigger, but it is also available with a DAO trigger.
Recently, the pistol has also been made available in a DAK (Double Action Kellerman) model, which is a DAO system with two trigger reset points, and a lighter, smoother pull than that of traditional DAO handguns.
The P229 differs from its cousin, the P226 in several respects. The P226 is a "full size" pistol, while the P229 is considered compact. The P226 originally was manufactured using a stamped-steel slide on an aluminum alloy frame. The P229 consists of a milled stainless steel slide, typically colored black with a Nitron finish. The P226 and P229 are both available with optional accessory rails (this is the "R" designation) and optional forged stainless steel frames.
The P229 can be chambered in 9 mm, .40 S&W or .357 SIG. Changing between .40 S&W and .357 SIG is as simple as switching out the barrel. Conversion barrels, from companies such as Bar-Sto Precision Machine, also allow a P229 or P226 to change between a .40 S&W/.357 SIG to a 9 mm caliber. The magazine can accommodate ammunition of either caliber. The 9 mm model cannot be converted to another caliber.