Review: SIG Sauer P226 XFive

This 9 mm single-action-only pistol is designed for maximum performance.

at USPSA posted on May 29, 2023
Sig P226x5 1
SIG Sauer P226 XFIVE with Hogue G10 Black Piranha grips.
Jake Martens

There have been many variants of SIG’s original workhorse handgun, the P226, since the initial service pistol trials in 1984. There is no denying the popularity of the 226 in military, law enforcement and the civilian market over the last 40 years. The P226 was actually a variant of the first successful handgun marketed in the United States, the P220. Initially, it was marketed by Browning as the Browning BDA. The P220 was a refinement of the Petter-Browning design that was in the SIG P210, which ironically won the first IPSC World Championship in 1975.

SIG Sauer P226 XFIVE 9mm pistol
The “enhanced” SIG Sauer P226 XFIVE is a great-looking shooter that is ready to hit the range.


This is not the first time SIG has had the P226 XFive. The first introduction of the P226 XFive was in 2010. It was built as a single-action version of the P226, but on a heavy stainless frame with a longer dust cover that was much thicker than the standard 226. The gun was built to be an extremely accurate heavyweight target and competition pistol. The original P226 XFive was only manufactured until 2012, and was difficult to get your hands on.

At the end of last year, SIG Custom Works brought the XFive back with several refinements and made in the United States. SIG Custom Works is creating unique firearms that redefine the standard for precision engineering and design excellence in the SIG lineup of firearms. Special runs and full custom builds, including special engravings and unique color options, can be found on the SIG Custom Works page on the SIG Sauer website.

The newly refined P226 XFive continues the tradition of a purpose-built target and competition variant of the P226. Built in the United States, this model also features a full-size stainless frame, but now with a Picatinny rail. This is a 9 mm single-action-only pistol designed for maximum performance. The trigger in this XFive is fully adjustable for pull weight and overtravel, and the trigger shoe is removeable and can adjust the length of pull. Out of the box, the trigger is pretty darn nice, and for me it didn’t need any adjustments. The average of 10 pulls on the Weber Digital Scale was two pounds, 2.3 ounces. There is a little pre-travel and a crisp break with minimal overtravel. For USPSA competition, it is good to go, but you can refine it even more if you are doing more bullseye-style target shooting.

Accuracy comes from the five-inch bull barrel that is fitted to the stainless SIG Custom Works marked slide. The slide has front and rear cocking serrations, a dovetailed front fiber-optic sight that ships with a green rod inserted. The rear is an adjustable Dawson-style sight plate that can be removed, allowing for the direct mounting of a ROMEO1PRO, ROMEO2 or any other optic using the standard PRO footprint.

SIG Sauer P226 XFIVE with Cocobolo grips.


The gun is listed at 46.2 ounces with the supplied 20-round magazine. The grips are Custom Hogue, either G10 Black Piranha like on the test sample, or a Cocobolo. The gun comes equipped with an alloy magazine well installed that works with the extended 20-round magazine basepads. A standard P226 mag or other basepads might not fit correctly. The overall length is 8.6 inches, with an overall width of 1.8 inches. The height is 5.9 inches.

With this being a single-action only, the XFive is a cocked and locked handgun with ambidextrous safeties. The safeties are a nice wide width with deep serrations that provide a good rest for your thumb while shooting, and have a very positive on and off click. All of the controls on the gun are extended, like the very nicely checked magazine release and the slide release. All of the controls are finished in black and contrast nicely with the matte stainless finish of the frame and slide. The take-down lever on this 226 (226X5-9- STAS) is also checked and extended. It has a nice swoop and is a great thumb rest for your left support hand while shooting. The 226X5-9-CLASSIC has a standard take down lever, not the thumb rest. The Classic ships with the Cocobolo grips.

The trigger guard is squared with a nice undercut; that, along with the extended upswept beavertail, gets your hand nice and high on the gun. The Hogue G10 grips wrap around the heel of the gun and have an aggressive texturing that allows the gun to be secure in your grip. The front of the frame is checkered as well. Shooting 9 mm in this beast won’t cause you too much as far as recoil issues, but to have the ability to have great texturing all the way around the grip, a thumb rest, higher grip access and the wide safeties really allow you to rock that single-action trigger.

The feel of the gun is comparable to a higher-end custom gun. It doesn’t feel like a standard 226 with just some extended controls, but like a real custom-built gun. The gun is ready to hit the range right from the box, especially being optics ready, the SIG ROMEO2 optic directly mounted to the slide. The ROMEO2 housing has a rear style of sight built in with a nice size notch that allows you to co-witness with the existing front sight; no changes are needed. With the rear adjustable sight and plate removed and this optic directly mounted, it does leave about a quarter of an inch of the slide exposed that has two notches and a small hole. This is just an FYI, if that sort of thing irritates your OCD.

The range trip to get this heavyweight out and shooting included several different 9 mm loads: Federal Syntech 150-grain, Precision Delta 147-grain remanufactured, SIG’s 147-grain V-Crown Elite, ELEY 124-grain Competition load and some handloaded SNS Coated Bullets, 135-grain with N320 powder. Approximately 500 rounds were fired with no issues using the supplied three factory 20-round magazines that ship with the gun in a hard sided SIG Custom Works case with SIG coin. Offhand groups were all shot at 20 yards with the largest being about 2½ inches with 150-grain Syntech. The gun was easy to shoot, and had two inch or less groups with all of the other ammunition fired. With the heavy weight of the steel frame and the excellent out-of-the-box single-action trigger, shooting the gun fast on four target arrays was easy keeping most hits in the A zone at five to seven yards.

The “enhanced” SIG P226 XFIVE is a great-looking shooter that is ready to hit the range. The single action trigger will put it in Limited division (or L10) with the iron sights, or add an optic to get rolling in the provisional Limited Optics division or Modified division in USPSA Multigun. Check out the SIG website for all of their firearms, optics, ammunition, and accessories as well, at the Custom Works firearms at

Article from the May/June 2023 issue of USPSA’s magazine.


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