Rusted SIG P226 SAO Legion
If you haven’t already done so please read my initial review here for full context.
Even though my Legion came with a horrible trigger that SIG wasn’t even willing to look at I took it in stride because I was such a fan of the pistol itself. Several weeks ago I went to grab it and noticed it was rusted in several places.
I’ve been a gun owner for 20+ years and have never encountered anything like this before. Let alone on a pistol costing $1,200! Some theories were floated around online about what could be the issue. Some posited that I had neglected the gun or spilled some nasty corrosive chemical on it, neither are accurate. The pistol at this point was only a couple of months old and I don’t neglect my guns. I also hadn’t been carrying it.
One of the more plausible theories was that it had been exposed to sweat from my hands that caused the rusting. There are several problems with that theory though. If you look at the pictures you’ll notice the rear sight is rusted as well as the slide. The slide is stainless steel finished with SIG’s PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) finish. Firearm sights in my experience don’t have the heartiest of finishes. Why was the rear sight rusting at the same rate as the slide? Even if it had been exposed to sweat isn’t the whole point of a firearm finish to protect it? Why weren’t my grip screws rusted as well?
I contacted SIG and emailed them the pictures. A couple of days went by with no response so I reached out again. They told me they would take care of it as a “one time courtesy.” I replied “I could understand if the rear sight rusted from exposure to sweat as a sight finish is usually pretty basic, but the PVD finish doesn’t provide any better protection?” They did not have a response. I also asked several times how they were going to fix it and they didn’t answer. I assume just a refinish but why would I want the same finish that wears and rusts so easily? I inquired as to other finish options but got nowhere.
I decided to send it in for them to look at but I had to shoot a couple matches first and finish my 9mm 124 grain ammo accuracy test (viewable here). While getting in some practice for a forum competition with the F.A.S.T drill my video camera caught the front sight shearing off. (Skip ahead to 2:20 to specifically see the sight issue.)
Thankfully I caught the sight breaking on video otherwise no one would probably have believed me and just thought I was trolling SIG. As some people online pointed out from the video SIG doesn’t make an orange front sight, that’s because I painted it orange.
I shipped the pistol to SIG on 3/30. To their credit they did provide me a prepaid shipping label. Glock wouldn’t even do that for me when I had an issue with my Gen4 model 23. On 4/12 SIG called me saying they had looked at the gun. They said they were replacing the rear sight and giving the slide a “scrub down”. I kid you not, the term scrub down was used several times. They said it was all surface rust and didn’t require a refinish. I’m sure it’s needless to say but I was extremely skeptical of their diagnosis. But hey, they’re the professionals, right?
Today, on 4/19, I received the pistol back. SIG was full of it. The pistol is still rusted and visibly so. I especially loved that they wrote in the invoice how they were only wiping it down as a courtesy. Considering they wrote it twice I don’t think they want to hear from me again.
So here I paid $1,200 for what’s supposed to be SIG’s latest and greatest. Yet I’ve had to put nearly $300 into a trigger job to fix the horrible factory trigger that SIG wouldn’t even look at and another $200 to get it Cerakoted. As much as I like the pistol it is in no way at all worth $1,700!
This was my first and unfortunately last SIG. I absolutely refuse to give my money to a company that won’t stand behind their product. SIG knows by now their PVD finish is junk and yet they still continue to use it. My only other exposure to a SIG product was my friend loaning me his P226 SAO Legion which I discovered had an issue that allowed the gun to be fired with the safety engaged (viewable here). Their track record with me is horrendous at this point.
If you’re in the market for a Legion I suggest you pass. If you get a good one, treat it with kid gloves and never holster it then you may be happy with it. If however, like me, you buy guns to actually use them then the Legion is much too fragile for real shooters. And God forbid you have an issue with it or you’ll likely be stuck paying to fix it out of your own pocket.
Here’s a positive though, after 3,550 rounds I still haven’t had any type of stoppage or malfunction.
To see how this pistol ended up looking after its refinish click here.