What is the recipe for a good carry gun? Sights that you can see and a trigger that you can reach and use well are essential. The SIG Sauer P226 Legion 9mm (MSRP: $1,413, sigsauer.com) delivers in spades. It fit into my hand surprisingly well and is very comfortable to shoot.
For starters, the front and rear sights are fixed, and the front sight is very visible with a bright green inner circle. The top edge of the front sight stands out above the circle of green and is easy to find at speed. The rear sight is black with two very small dots of white that do not rob the shooter of misplaced attention on the rear sight, but they allow for a quick alignment of front and rear sight. This combination of front and rear sight made sight alignment natural and fast. The rear sight is also square on the front surface so that the slide could be racked on a belt or holster.
The P226 Legion has rugged sights that can be easily seen. And, plenty of textured area for a nice grip.
In double-action mode, accurate first shots can be achieved with the trigger, and in single-action follow-up shots are easy to make. The trigger is smooth and breaks crisply; the reset is sharp, clear and very tactile. There is no guessing about the point in which the trigger is reset. It is as good as any trigger on a carry gun anywhere. No work needs to be done to the trigger for everyday carry. The trigger is metal and does not feel cheap, as many EDC triggers do. The trigger pull is heavy enough to prevent accidental discharges in tense settings, but is smooth and crisp enough for excellent shots.
As for the slide, it has front and rear cocking serrations. A metal frame gives the gun rugged strength and recoil-absorbing heft, and it includes a rail for mounting accessories. The trigger guard has texture on the bottom and front, and is undercut slightly to allow for a good high grip. The magazine release is oval in shape, textured and is fit close to the grip. This feature is well-designed and engineered; there was no problem hitting the magazine release in live fire and no issues hitting it at the wrong time. This small feature makes a huge difference on the line in competition or in the real world.
The slide release is small and fit snugly into the top of the grip panel. It is easy to depress in a hurry if that is your preferred method of dropping the slide. The snug fit makes it impossible to inadvertently lock the slide open while firing the gun, another sign of a well-designed gun. The P226 Legion has the signature SIG decocking lever, which allows the safe dropping of the hammer on a live round without the decocking gymnastics of some guns. The grip panels are textured on the back and front straps of the grip. This gun did not slip or slide around at all on the range. The grip texture is more than adequate without being overly aggressive. Additionally, there is a small textured square on the left side of the pistol above the top grip screw, and a much larger textured area above the top grip screw on the right side of the gun. These two areas were smooth on the older P226; now they have the feel of very fine-grained sandpaper but are a part of the grip—nice additions to a carry gun.
Looking at the grip, it gives the appearance of being pretty slick; however, the grip texture seems to hold onto your hand almost as much as the shooter holds onto the gun.
While checking out the SIG website on this pistol I came across the following statement: “This masterful pistol has received a series of enhancements based on the needs and the wants of professionals.” One may easily dismiss that statement as a partisan attitude with the goal of selling pistols, but after a close examination of the pistol and good quality range time I found this to be an honest assessment.
Live-fire testing of this pistol was in two separate sessions. Using a simple OWB holster made for the pistol, I put on a small Carry Gun match at Parabellum Range last September. This match tests the shooter on a series of skills that resemble challenges that are often found in EDC situations; SHO and WHO shooting, use of cover/ concealment, moving targets and small and partial targets are key components of this match. Typically, the stages are a stipulated number of shots only so as to remove accuracy by volume, and all scoring is minor regardless of caliber in order to stress accuracy. Stages typically require a mandatory reload after six rounds are fired. I shot through the stages at the beginning of the day for score with my carry gun, then after running the rest of the shooters I changed to the SIG P226 Legion and re-shot the match, the very first shooting that I did with the Legion other than a few dry practice draws in the basement. When looking at the overall results I was stunned to see that my runs with the Legion outscored the runs with my own gun. For the whole 11-stage match, my time with the Legion was 4.5 seconds slower, but the accuracy was better to the tune of eight more Alpha, three less Charlie and five less Delta. This added up to a match victory by 1.8 percent with a gun I had never fired.
Later, Jake Martens and I took the P226 Legion out to the range and did some shooting. I do not typically get the best of Jake, so this session went better for me than most. We did some shooting on various steel plates and poppers to get warmed up and get a feel for the gun and the trigger. We also did some 25-yard group shooting on paper. Notes taken on the range do not include how many rounds were fired, but there was not a single malfunction after using several different varieties of ammunition.
The P226 Legion was completely reliable during live fire drills.
Our first drill was the standard El Prez. Jake pulled off runs of 7.36 seconds and 6.69 seconds with 56 points on the first and 34 points on the second run. My runs both scored 54 points on the target and had times of 9.06 seconds and 8.66 seconds. My hit factors were 5.9602 and 6.2355, which fell between Jake’s best of 7.6086 and his stage worst of 5.0822, nothing too impressive or surprising here on this drill. The first double-action trigger pull had both of us being more cautious than normal on the first shot.
The second drill was a Front Sight forward drill. The targets were at El Prez distance and spread but facing them on the draw. Jake’s first run was 4.10 seconds with 27 points for a hit factor of 6.5853; his second attempt was 3.35 seconds with 24 points on target for a hit factor of 7.1641. My first run was 3.87 seconds with 27 points on target for a hit factor of 6.9767, and the second run was 4.12 seconds but with all 30 points available for a hit factor of 7.2815 for the best on the stage. I’m liking this gun more and more all the time.
The third array was Near to Far in nature, with targets at 10, 15 and 25 yards. Jake stepped up and gripped and ripped it. The first run was 4.49 seconds but with a paltry 3 points on target, hit factor was small at 0.6681. The second attempt was 4.37 seconds with 22 points on target for a hit factor of 5.0880—not exactly something to write home about but much better than the initial run. My first run was pretty bad but was at least on the lead lap at 4.52 seconds with 13 points on target for a 2.8761 hit factor. The second run was 4.99 seconds with 27 points on target for a hit factor of 5.4108, and the win on the drill.
The last recorded drill was an unloaded start on a table and a three-target array spread across the width of a larger shooting bay. The targets were eight, 15 and 10 yards from the table from left to right, with 15 yards between the targets. Jake’s first attempt was 4.95 seconds with 22 target points for a hit factor of 4.4444; the second run was 5.11 seconds with 26 points and a hit factor of 5.08880. My runs began with 5.46 seconds and 26 points on target for a 4.6099 hit factor; the second was similar, with 28 points in 6.07 seconds for a 4.6128 hit factor.
Looking for a serious carry gun? Give the P226 Legion a hard look.
The final part of the live fire test was an indoor club match last December. As it had previously, the P226 Legion ran flawlessly for both Jake and myself. I recommend it for a carry gun without hesitation. And, I think the gun could do just fine for competition in USPSA Production division in the hands of a good shooter. If you are looking to carry the same gun you shoot in competition, the SIG P226 Legion may be the answer.