SIG Sauer P226 SAO Legion Review
It seems that it takes special versions of pistols for me to be interested in new models. I didn’t get into Beretta’s until their partnership with Wilson Combat. My Beretta fits my hand like it was built just for me and since I don’t really prefer a double action/single action (DA/SA) trigger I only needed one to stay in practice. When it came to SIG Sauer it wasn’t until their Legion line that they caught my eye, specifically their Single Action Only (SAO) model.
Up this point I had been considering buying a double action only (DAO) Beretta and having it converted to a SAO but I’m one of those weird people who don’t like owning multiples of the same gun. I understand having a back-up of a duty weapon or competition pistol but I’ve never understood the people who proudly proclaim “I have 7 (stock) Glock 19s!” I just scratch my head and wonder why. So ultimately purchasing another fullsize Beretta just didn’t excite me but I really wanted an all metal double stack SAO 9mm.
A good friend of mine, George, purchased a P226 SAO Legion and knowing I was interested in them shot me an email with his review. Everything he said about it made me salivate for one even more. The problem was I would need to sell a pistol to buy one. Selling a gun I know for one I don’t is a tricky proposition. I emailed my friend back explaining the situation and asked if he would be willing to lend me his to try out. He immediately agreed and asked for my local FFL info.
Upon receipt I immediately fell in love with it. It didn’t fit my hands quite as well as my Beretta but was certainly nothing to complain about, plus the 3# 9oz stock trigger was wonderful. I put 200 rounds through it and was amazed at how easy it was to shoot, especially during rapid fire. Lending to this is the undercut trigger guard, reduced profile beavertail, high visibility front sight, front strap checkering and the surprisingly grippy G10 grips. Every pistol I’ve ever purchased has ended up modified. I usually start with the sights, improving the grip of the pistol in hand and usually a trigger job. This was the first pistol I had ever shot that I didn’t want to change something on. I knew I had to have one and listed a pistol for sale. I priced it to sell and it did that same day. I sold it for just enough to cover the cost of the Legion and FFL fees. I tracked down a good deal on GunBroker and anxiously ordered it up.
Unfortunately my excitement waned significantly when I picked up my Legion. While George’s had a nice crisp break mine had a ton of creep, well over 1/16th of an inch. It’s actually the most creep I’ve ever felt in a single action trigger. This was completely unacceptable so I started looking around for options. In the mean time I put 200 flawless and very accurate rounds through it. Everything was great, except that horrible trigger!
Above is the case and challenge coin you get after registering your Legion with SIG. I thought it was going to be the standard “You’ll receive your free gift in 6 to 10 to 18 weeks.” To my surprise it arrived within a matter of days. Registering also gets you access to a ‘Legion owner’s only’ store where I decided to pick-up an interesting looking holster.
Made for SIG by BlackPoint Tactical it’s a kydex holster with leather wings. The wings make the holster much more comfortable than traditional kydex I’ve used. My leather carry dress belt is relatively thick and has a kydex core so it doesn’t handle sharp bends well. This always kept me from being able to use it with other kydex holsters but with the leather wings it finally fits.
Made specifically for the SAO the thumb safety is accounted for.
I love weapon mounted lights. They not only provide light but add several ounces in weight to reduce muzzle flip. My chosen light for this SIG is a Surefire X300U I had floating around. I was really enjoying the BlackPoint Tactical holster and decided to pick up their light accommodating version. This was ordered directly through BlackPoint as the Legion store only had the standard P226-X300U combo and I needed the SAO thumb safety notches. On their website they project 3-4 weeks to receive your holster and I received mine after only a couple.
Before I had ever even carried the gun I had to have several holsters that would fit it. This is how you end up with a box full of holsters! My preferred IWB (Inside Waist-Band) holster, the Comp-Tac MTAC.
For when you aren’t wearing a belt I like using a shoulder holster and picked up a Galco Gun Leather shoulder system component. Galco isn’t designed for locked and cocked (hammer back, safety on) carry but it isn’t a hindrance.
Fixing The Trigger
I called SIG and explained the issue but they offered no help. The SIG Custom Shop won’t perform their Action Enhancement Package on SAO models and they apparently considered the horrible trigger to be within spec. Gray Guns is a well know SIG and HK smith with good reviews so I emailed them. I asked to have the creep fixed, the trigger weight reduced and inquired as to the cost. Below is the reply I received.
Their reply didn’t elicit much excitement in me. I don’t like the idea of sending something in for work when they won’t quote me how much my bill is going to be. So I sat on the gun and continued looking for options. Around a week later George emailed me and told me about The Sig Armorer, who seemed to have just as good of reviews as Gray Guns. I noticed his phone number had a 972 area code which would imply he was local to me. I sent him the same requests I sent Gray Guns and got this reply back.
Now that is exactly what I was looking for! I replied that I would stop by the next day. Upon arriving at his shop I was warmly greeted and offered a seat. Upon dry-firing my pistol his brow furrowed and his first word was “Eww!” I was glad it wasn’t just me that thought it was a horrible trigger. He talked me through exactly what he would do and even drew out some diagrams of how their trigger and safety systems work, which was very much appreciated. I requested a weight between 3.0# to 3.25# and was quoted a week turnaround. True to his word it was completed in exactly a week.
Arriving at his shop I was warmly greeted again and we sat to discuss the work done. He had TOOL playing in the background and I complemented his choice in tunes as I’m a big TOOL fan. Turns out he was as well and we got a bit distracted talking music for the next 15 or so minutes. During this time he pulled out my Legion and passed it over. I took it in hand, closed my eyes to concentrate and pulled the trigger as slowly as possible. It was a perfect crisp and clean break. As said in his email he reduced the take-up (while keeping the firing pin safety intact), eliminated the creep and improved the already very good reset and over-travel. Now this was a pistol I was proud to own!
Getting Dial In
Any time I get a new pistol I like to bench test it at 25 yards to find its preferred bullet weight and see how it groups. I hadn’t shot in a couple of weeks and wanted to try out a new rest and test out a few different target styles as well. I brought a healthy mix of ammo; Remington UMC 115 grain FMJ, Fiocchi 115 grain FMJ, American Eagle 124 grain FMJ, Aguila 124 grain FMJ, Federal HST 124 grain JHP, and American Eagle 147 grain FMJ. Unfortunately I left my standard shooting rest at home and the Caldwell Pistol Rest and I didn’t get along well. My preferred rest holds the muzzle tighter allowing both less vertical and horizontal play. It wasn’t my best outing but I’m confident that switching rests will bring it all inline.
In my initial 200 round ‘make sure it all works’ outing with the Legion it shot the UMC especially well. I didn’t initially put much stock in this because it was the 3rd ammo I shot that day and I was already 150 rounds in, maybe I had just settled in with the gun. Still though who knows, so I flagged it in my mind to follow-up on. Part of the reason I didn’t consider much of it at the time is because Remington UMC is pretty cheap ammo and can be had for under $200 per 1,000 rounds. I don’t use “cheap” and “inexpensive” interchangeably, I consider them quite different, and to me UMC has always been cheap ammo. It’s the dirtiest of the ammo I shoot, which isn’t saying much as I buy good ammo, and it has never proven to be a spectacular performer in my other 9mm’s. In the Legion though the results are quite interesting.
That was the 3rd group I shot in practice and the first with UMC. I was, obviously, struggling with managing my vertical. As a 5-shot group it’s nothing great at just under 3.5 inches but they’re all within a 0.5 inch horizontally, and check out those 3-shots touching for 0.458 inches. That gives me some hope that this may be a great shooter. Here was a second group of UMC I shot later.
The vertical was dialed in better and the overall group size shrunk by just under an inch. But check out those 3-shots all hanging out at 0.763 inches. I can’t wait to test it again, I’m really hoping it turns out to be a solid performer. How cool would it be to have one of the most commonly available and affordable rounds shoot supremely well? I could shoot even more with the savings!
When picking up the pistol from Robert I mentioned an ammo test I was going to do and he gave me a box of Aguila 124 grain FMJ to test out. He told me that he found it to be particularly accurate and soft shooting for him. I was happy to try it out. I only shot a few groups with it as I only had one box and given my issues with the rest I didn’t want to burn it all. Still though, I was pretty impressed with how it performed.
2 inches isn’t bad for one of the more inexpensive rounds available. I dropped a shot low right and if you bring that it gets quite a bit better.
For just FMJ practice ammo that’s impressive in my book! This is another round I’m really looking forward to retesting. Next up is my preferred carry ammo, Federal HST in 124 grain. It surely didn’t let me down.
I was getting a bit more dialed in by this point, having saved my carry ammo for later in the practice session. Results like this are what I’ve come to expect from Federal’s HST. I’ve never found a gun it didn’t perform exceptionally well in and its ballistic performance is unmatched, in my opinion. Like with the Aguila ammo I still had a shot low right, which if we remove makes for a fine group.
That shows some pretty impressive potential, to me. Plus it shoots nearly dead center of the front sight dot. I love not having to adjust my sights to my preferred ammo!
Some may say that discounting the outlining shots aka flyers is cheating, and you could make a solid case for it. There’s a couple of reasons I’m not worried about it. One being the aforementioned struggles with the Caldwell Rest. The other is Massad Ayoob. He has said that taking the best 3-shots of a 5-shot group that is fired from a rest can be indicative of how a pistol may perform in a Ransom Rest. Considering he’s been shooting for longer than I’ve been alive I’m certainly not going to dispute it. Though I would love to find a ransom rest and test out the theory! Anyone in the DFW area who may read this someday and owns a Ransom Rest that would like to participate in that please shoot me a message.
800 Rounds Later
I’ve put, as you may guessed it, 800 rounds through it so far and it has run perfectly. Not a single bobble anywhere. This is unheard of for me, I know many people who buy guns and they never encounter any malfunctions but my luck has never been that good. Every autoloader I’ve owned, including 3 Glock’s (a Gen3 fullsize, Gen4 compact and Gen3 sub-compact) all experienced several malfunctions by this point. I didn’t clean or re-lube it during this time thinking that maybe something would eventually happen. Nope.
One thing I’m pretty disappointed in is the fragile finish. I first noticed this when I borrowed my friend’s SIG and I ended up scuffing the rail. I’m really surprised at how fast it wears, even with minor physical contact. I like guns that are used and look like it but I prefer to earn that wear.
Safety issue with one pistol (viewable here) and trigger quality issue with other.
No SIG support for trigger work.
Exceedingly fast finish wear
Incredibly easy to shoot.
The bottom line, I love this gun. Even with the trigger and finish issues the end result is such a great pistol it doesn’t bother me, much. The frame/slide fit is tighter than some 1911s I’ve owned and it runs perfectly. I’ve only begun to explore its accuracy potential and can’t wait until my upcoming 9mm Match and Duty Ammo Test to see what it can really do!
To see a follow-up on this pistol where it started rusting click here.