Tim Finley gets a proper handful of the Sig Sauer P226
This month’s review is the Sig Sauer P226 CO2 pistol, made under the firm’s own banner in Japan. The live-ammo P226 pistol is very popular for a number of reasons and until 2005 it was the standard sidearm of much of the British armed forces, so the design and function of the gun must be good.
This P226 is the US Navy version, or the MK25 to give it it’s full name – the flat, dark earth finish and the anchor mark on the top slide gives it away. Released in 2011, the MK25 has been advertised by Sig as being identical to the firearm carried by the US Navy SEALs.
They have a patent for the CO2 system and I can see why because it’s the easiest I have encountered on any CO2 pistol, without doubt. Release the drop-down door on the back strap and throw in a CO2 bulb, then close – done! This is a pellet-firing CO2 pistol and there’s a removable magazine that drops out of the bottom of the grip. This is made of plastic and has two 8-capacity rotary magazines on each end of the stick. It’s billed as a 16-shot pistol, which it is, but you have to drop the magazine and spin it around to get the remaining eight shots after you have shot your first eight.
The mag’s take 4.5mm lead pellets – just get them the correct way around.
Once a fully-loaded magazine has been slapped into the base of the pistol grip, there are three options for firing the P226: 1. Simply, pull the trigger in double-action mode. This takes the hammer back and then releases it. 2. Cock the hammer manually with your thumb, then pull the trigger. This is in single-action and gives a much lighter trigger weight. 3. Pull the top slide back to set the hammer and then pull the trigger. This is the coolest way of the three.
Once empty of all eight or 16 pellets, the magazine can be dropped out of the gun by pressing the magazine release button on the left-hand side of the grip, behind the trigger. This magazine release catch is in the same place as on the real MK25. It is not ambidextrous, neither is the safety catch, which is also on the left-hand side. In the lower position on ‘safe’, you can see an ‘S’ and when pushed up, a red dot appears. If the top hammer is cocked and you operate the safety it de-cocks the hammer, plus of course, you cannot cock the hammer or fire the gun when the safety is on. The hammer can be de-cocked manually.
When you do fire the P226, the top slide comes back as the lead pellet goes out of the front in a very realistic manner. Over the chronograph, it came in at 1.8 to 2.2ft.lbs. that’s 325 to 350 fps. Shot-to-shot variation was fantastic, with a whole drum of eight shots within three fps at one point. It was only good for 48 shots, or three magazines worth, all down to the blow-back action tapping off gas, but that’s the price you pay for that satisfying action. If you try for a fourth magazine, the power drops to such a level that the top slide does not travel back far enough to cock the hammer. It will still fire, due to the double-action trigger, but there is also the chance that a pellet will not have enough power to exit the barrel because on the fourth mag’ it drops to 0.8ft.lbs.
“Once empty of all eight or 16 pellets, the magazine can be dropped out of the gun”
The gun is cool, no doubt about that; it’s heavy, a handful, and you can really feel the slide moving about. The grip is well textured with pimples all over it, including the back strap. Aiming is done via fixed open sights, and the front sight does have a white dot to aid getting a decent sight picture and to speed up target acquisition. The sight base is 154 mm long.
The trigger operation is extremely fast. The action is not of the barrel-moving-type and so it is significantly quicker than those actions. The trigger weight when the gun is operating in blow-back mode is light, and it’s acting as a single-action trigger. Single-action weight is 2.1kg and in double-action with the hammer uncocked it jumps to 3.8kg. If you want to fit a laser or light there is a 40mm long, Picatinny rail under the front of the action in front of the trigger guard.
Accuracy is very good; at six yards it shot a 15.4mm five-shot group centre to centre, and four of those shots were within 6.2mm, thanks to the rifled barrel. The barrel extends off the frame with a 1281 thread to enable a moderator to be fitted, and this thread is covered by a thread protector.
This is a quality, accurate and well-made, CO2 pellet-firing pistol, with the added kudos of being the same one used by US Navy SEALs.
This is a detailed replica as well as a fun plinker.
I was deeply impressed with the accuracy.
The capsule loading system is simple and slick to use.
Here we see the hammer cocked.
The magazine is double ended.
I lked the flat earth colour a lot.
The safety catch in the bottom safe position showing ‘S’.