|Place of origin|| Germany
|Used by||See Users|
|Length||196 mm (7.7 in)|
|Barrel length||112 mm (4.4 in)|
|Action||mechanically locked, recoil operated (DA/SA or DAO)|
|Feed system||12 or 13 round magazine (.40 S&W, .357 SIG) 15, 17, 18, or 20 round magazine (9mm Parabellum)|
The P226 was designed for entry into the XM9 Service Pistol Trials, which were held by the US Army in 1984 on behalf of the US armed forces to find a replacement for the M1911A1. Only the Beretta 92F and the SIG P226 satisfactorily completed the trials. According to a GAO report, Beretta was awarded the M9 contract for the 92F due to better durability during endurance testing and a lower total package price. The P226 cost less per pistol than the 92F, but SIG's package price with magazines and spare parts was higher than Beretta's. The Navy SEALs, however, chose to adopt the P226 later after a repetition of failures with some issued Beretta M9s.
Although Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft is a Swiss company, Swiss law is highly restrictive when it comes to the export of firearms. Consequently, SIG entered into an agreement with German gun manufacturer (and eventual owner) J.P. Sauer & Sohn to facilitate an export market for their products. For the U.S. military XM9 trials, the P226 was imported by SACO. Interarms took over importing when the pistol was introduced for civilian sales. SIG-Sauer eventually founded SIGARMS, Inc. in the United States, to handle importation of their products. In 2000 the SIG Holding AG sold J.P. Sauer & Sohn GmbH to two German businessmen. The brand name SIG Sauer remained at the J.P. Sauer & Sohn GmbH.
SIG firearms are manufactured both in Germany and in Exeter, New Hampshire, United States.
The standard P226 has a stainless steel slide and an aluminum frame. Originally, the P226's slide was composed of three different pieces of carbon steel that were bent into shape using a mandrel. Beginning in 1996, production was shifted to CNC machining, and the slide was made from a single piece of stainless steel. This resulted in a stronger slide, which was necessary to chamber the more powerful .40 S&W and .357SIG cartridges. The P226 uses a modified version of the Browning-style lockup system. This modified system was devised by SIG, and has since been copied by numerous firearm manufacturers.
The P226 Rail (or P226R) is the same as a P226, but it has a rail on the underside of the frame, just forward of the trigger guard. The P226R's rail has a more rounded contour than the military standard M1913 Picatinny rail and while most Picatinny-rail accessories will fit, not all will. This has now become the standard P226.
A P226R with an extended 5 in (13 cm) barrel and external threads to accept a suppressor.
Navy SEAL Teams started using the SIG P226 in the 1980s.
The first Naval Special Warfare-spec P226 pistols to be offered to the public were the NSW Commemoratives, issued in early 2004. The SIG P226-9-NAVY is a version of the SIG P226 that is produced to the exact specifications of the pistols supplied to Navy SEALs, including special phosphate corrosion-resistant finish on internal parts, contrast sights, and a slide engraved with an anchor to designate them as Naval Special Warfare pistols. SIGARMS raised $100,000 for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation through the sale of these NSW serialized pistols. The pistol bearing serial number NSW0001 was sold during a live auction on the nationally syndicated Laura Ingraham radio show for an additional $25,000.
Introduced in 2007, the SIG P226 Blackwater was designed in cooperation with the Blackwater Training Center. It featured SIGLITE front and rear night sights, the Blackwater USA logo on the slide and wood grips, an integral Picatinny rail, black anodized frame, and Nitron-coated stainless steel slide. It was only available in 9x19mm Parabellum, with a double-action/single-action (DA/SA) trigger. The gun sold with five 15-round magazines. The P226 Blackwater was discontinued in 2009 with the release of the P226 Blackwater Tactical - a nearly identical pistol with 20 round magazines.
The P226 Equinox comes chambered in .40 S&W and features a two-tone accented design. The design is achieved by the brush polished flats of the slide and nickel accents of the gun's controls. The P226 Equinox comes with a TRUGLO Tritium Fiber Optic front sight, rear SIGLITE night sights, SIG accessory rail, and gray laminated wood grips.
The SIG SAUER P226 ST is an all stainless version of the SIG P226 pistol. It has a blued barrel and the frame features a SIG rail. It is heavier than a standard P226 because the frame and slide are stainless steel. The stainless P226 in 9mm is a popular pistol with competitors that compete in the sport of practical shooting.
On sale 2005-09-11, SIG SAUER Homeland Security Pistols (HSP) are the same models SIG builds for the United States Department of Homeland Security. This is a limited production run of 1,000 P226R HSP pistols available engraved with the American flag and Homeland Security X of 1000. Additionally, each pistol comes in .40 S&W caliber and is engraved with serial number barcoding just like those which were shipped to DHS. The HSP also features the new DAK trigger, a stainless steel Nitron slide topped with SIGLITE night sights, and a light weight alloy frame with rail.
There is also a P229R HSP model available with the same features.
The SIG Sauer P226 X-Five is a competition variant of the P226 with a 5 in (13 cm) slide and barrel, beavertail grip, and an adjustable rear target sight. Intended for IPSC competitive shooting, the X-Five is hand-fitted and assembled in Germany, and its resulting accuracy accordingly rivals the legendary SIG P210. Available in 9mm or .40 S&W, there are four models being offered in the United States:
All SIG P226 X-Five models include a factory test target with a sub-1 inch 5-shot grouping from 25 metres (82 ft).
The Elite adds an ergonomic beavertail grip, front cocking serrations, front strap checkering, custom wood grips and the new Short Reset Trigger. SIG engineers designed the SRT to provide the same safety and action of the SIG DA/SA with a reset that is 60% shorter for faster trigger return during high speed shooting. The P226 Elite is available in 9mm, .357 SIG and .40 S&W.
Like the P220 Combat before it, the two models, P226 Combat and P226 Combat TB (Threaded Barrel), are available in DA/SA. Their frames are "Flat Dark Earth" in compliance with the Combat Pistol program. The Combat model comes with night sights, a Nitron-finished slide and barrel, fore slide serrations, and a military standard M1913 Picatinny rail. The TB model features an extra 0.6 in (1.5 cm) on the barrel, and external threads to accept a suppressor.
A compact version of the P226, the P228, is in use with the US military, designated as the M11. Users include the Army CID, Air Force OSI, NCIS, and as a combat zone personal weapon by Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps flight crews.
It is also the standard issue handgun of the Swedish Police and is used by many other police/law enforcement agencies around the world, including the New Jersey State Police, the National Park Service, and the Israeli Special Forces community by replacing the P226. The P228 has a shorter slide and barrel than the P226. Unlike the P226, the P228 is available only in 9x19mm Parabellum with a 13 round magazine, but can also use P226 15 or 20 round magazines. The P229 is nearly identical to the P228, but it has a one piece solid steel (vs. the P228's stamped carbon steel) slide and is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG. From a distance, the P228 can be differentiated from the P226 by comparing the trigger guards (the P228's is curved, while the P226's is slightly hooked) and the barrel and slide lengths (the P228's barrel 3.9 in/9.9 cm, thus having a corresponding shorter slide). Also in a side by side comparison the P228 would appear slightly shorter (0.6" shorter) than the P226. The larger capacity P226 magazine can also be employed in the P228 although it extends from the base of the grip. It is also available in the 'Ladies Escort' version with an adapted trigger for women with extra small hands. Manufacture of the P228 was discontinued with the introduction of 9mm chambering in the P229.
In late 2008/2009, SIG Arms imported a limited quantity of German made P228 pistols, but with the more modern P229 railed frame (basically, a P228R). These are said to be US military contract overrun weapons and many have frames marked "US" and "M11" (though these markings are visible, they are etched over for sale to civilians) although no railed M11s are in service with the United States military.
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.
Most of the above-mentioned factory variants of the P226 are also available for the P229, including the Equinox option, Elite lineup, as well as a SAS GEN 2 model.
The P229 differs from its cousin the P226 in several respects, and was originally introduced to supplement and then replace the P228 by adding the .357 SIG and .40 S&W as available chamberings. The P229 was the second production handgun introduced that could chamber the .357 SIG round. The P226 and P228 were originally manufactured using a stamped-steel slide on an aluminum alloy frame. The P229 consists of a CNC-milled stainless steel slide, typically colored black with a Nitron finish. The P229's milled steel slide was introduced to handle the higher slide velocities created by the .357 SIG and .40 S&W loads, which the stamped slide of the P228 could not handle without the use of a much stiffer recoil spring. This would have made manual slide-retraction much more difficult and the use of a milled stainless slide (coupled with the new milling and stainless production capabilities found in the U.S. factory) with a standard weight recoil spring made more sense. The P229 is the standard issue duty weapon for Special Agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as United States Secret Service and Naval Criminal Investigative Service agents and officers.
A standard weight recoil spring for the P228 is 16 lb (7.3 kg). A spring weight of 20 lb (9.1 kg) or higher would have been required if a stamped slide was used for the .40 S&W or .357 SIG chamberings. The SAAMI maximum chamber pressures of 9mm, 9mm +P, .40 S&W, & .357 SIG are as follows (in PSI): 35,000; 38,500; 35,000; & 40,000. The slide on the P226 was redesigned in a similar fashion, and civilian sales of the P228 were discontinued in early 2005 due to declining sales and the advent of the P229 in 9mm. The P226 and P229 are both available with optional accessory rails and optional forged stainless steel frames.
The P229 can be chambered in 9mm, .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 9mm caliber. Magazines shipped with .357 SIG models have a "necked" throat that will only accept that caliber. Magazines shipped with .40 S&W models will accept either caliber. The 9mm model cannot be converted to another caliber.
SIG released an altered version of the double-action only (DAO) pistols called the DAK (for Double Action Kellerman, after the designer of the system). The DAK capability is available in 220, 226, 229 and 239 models. When firing the pistol the first trigger pull is 6.5 lbf (compared to 10 pounds for the standard DAO). After the pistol fires and the trigger is released forward, the trigger has an intermediate reset point that is approximately halfway to the trigger at rest position. The trigger pull from this intermediate reset point is 8.5 lbf (38 N). If the trigger is released all the way forward, this will engage the primary trigger reset and have a trigger pull of 6.5 lbf (29 N). To engage the intermediate reset, the trigger must be held to the rear while the slide is cycled, either manually or by the recoil of a round being fired. The United States Coast Guard and The United States Department of Veterans Affairs Police have adopted this firearm as its PDW (Personal Defense Weapon), replacing the older M9 pistol.
GAO report, Pistol Procurement, Allegations on Army Selection of Beretta 9mm. as DOD Standard Sidearm, June 1986. http://archive.gao.gov/d4t4/130439.pdf
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