Sig Sauer Legion
The SIG Sauer P226 is a full-sized, service-type pistol made by SIG Sauer. This model is sold with a choice of four chambers to choose from: the 9×19mm Parabellum, .40 S&W, .357 SIG, or .22 Long Rifle. It has essentially the same basic design as the SIG Sauer P220, but is developed to use higher capacity, double stack magazines in place of the single stack magazines of the P220.
The P226 itself has spawned further sub-variants; the P228 and P229 are both compact versions of the double stack P226 design, while the P224 is a subcompact variant. The SIG Sauer P226 and its variants are in service with numerous law enforcement and military organizations worldwide.
The Legion P226 is finished in Cerakote Elite Legion gray coating, custom G-10 grips with a Legion medallion, the SIG SAUER Electro-Optics X-RAY high visibility day/night sights comes with three magazines. The P226 in DA/SA includes a reduced and contoured Elite beavertail, which allows for a higher grip, but a reduced profile, thus eliminating printing. More aggressive front strap checkering and additional checkering under the trigger guard enhance the grip. An X-Five undercut has been applied to the trigger guard, allowing for a higher grip and greater control. Front cocking serrations provide greater purchase for cycling the action, clearing the firearm, or conducting press checks. The DA/SA is available in 9 mm. The DA/SA also features low profile decocking and slide catch levers to reduce the risk of snagging. An enhanced polished action with the SRT (Short-Reset Trigger) is augmented with a Grayguns, Inc. designed P-SAIT trigger. In addition, a solid steel guide rod adds weight where it matters most.
The P226 Legion RX SAO variant brings the same feature set to the table in a single-action only package. The addition of the SIG Custom Works Flat Trigger provides an exceptional feel and consistent trigger pull regardless of finger placement. The SAO is available in 9mm.
Swiss company, now known as Swiss Arms. In 1975, SIG entered into an agreement with German gun manufacturer J.P. Sauer & Sohn to develop and market a new handgun which became the P220. The P220 was the first SIG Sauer handgun sold in the US. It was marketed initially by Browning as the Browning BDA. The SIG Sauer P220 is a refinement of the Petter-Browning design used in the SIG P210. The locked breech design is very different and was pioneered by SIG Sauer. See also The first SIG Sauer Handgun.
The P226 was designed for entry into the XM9 Service Pistol Trials (see also Joint Service Small Arms Program) that were held by the US Army in 1984 on behalf of the US armed forces to find a replacement for the M1911A1and 24 other makes of handgun in US military service. Only the Beretta 92SBF and the SIG P226 satisfactorily completed the trials. According to a GAO report, Beretta was awarded the M9 contract for the 92F due to a lower total package price. The P226 cost less per pistol than the 92F, but SIG’s package price with magazines and spare parts was higher than Beretta’s. The Navy SEALs, however, later chose to adopt the P226 as the P226 MK25 with special corrosion protection.
For the U.S. military XM9 trials, the P226 was imported by Saco Defense. Interarms took over importing when the pistol was introduced for civilian sales. SIG Sauer eventually founded SIGARMS, Inc. (now SIG Sauer) in the United States to handle importation of their products. In 2000, SIG Holding AG sold J.P. Sauer & Sohn GmbH to two German businessmen. The brand name SIG Sauer remained at J.P. Sauer & Sohn GmbH.
SIG Sauer firearms are manufactured in Eckernförde, Germany by Sig Sauer, GmbH and in Newington, NH, United States by SIG Sauer Inc., (formerly SIGARMS Inc.) Both of these companies along with Swiss Arms AG, Mauser Jagdwaffen GmbH, J.P. Sauer & Sohn, John Rigby & Company, German Sport Guns GmbH and Blaser Jagdwaffen Gmbh are subsidiaries of Luke and Ortmeier Gruppe of Emsdetten, Germany.
Copies of the P226 are produced in China by Norinco, under the name of NP22. These were subcontracted to the Zhejiang Xinhua Machinery Manufacturing Co., Ltd known as State Factory 972 or known as the Xinhua Factory and Zhejiang Factory.
The variants consist of the NP22, NP22A, NP34, NP56 and the NP58. The SDM XM9 is a variant of the NP22 chambered in 9x21mm for countries that don’t allow any pistol calibers that are only for the military and police. The LP3 and LP4 are versions of the NP22 and NP34 with manual safeties on the slide. The NP762 is chambered to fire 7.62x25mm bullets, which were exported in 2019. They were first made by Xinhua in 1999 and were known then as the NP2000 for potential contracts in China for the PLA and various law enforcement agencies.
The ZOAF is a clone of the P226 made in Iran.
A compact version of the P226, the P228 is in use with various law enforcement agencies and also with the US military, where it is designated as the M11. The P228 has a shorter slide and barrel than the P226. Unlike the P226, the P228 is available only in 9×19mm Parabellum with a 13-round magazine, but can also use P226 15- or 20-round magazines. Aftermarket magazines extend the capacity of the P228 to 15 rounds.
From a distance, the P228 can be differentiated from the P226 by comparing the trigger guards (the P228’s is curved, while the P226’s is slightly hooked) and the barrel and slide lengths (the P228’s barrel 99 mm (3.9 in), thus having a corresponding shorter slide). Also in a side-by-side comparison the P228 would appear slightly shorter (15 mm (0.59 in) shorter) than the P226. The larger capacity P226 magazine can also be employed in the P228 although it extends from the base of the grip. Civilian sales of the P228 were discontinued with the introduction of 9mm chambering in the P229 but were recently reintroduced in limited quantities to civilians with an accessory rail and hooked trigger guard, designated the P228R.
The P229 is nearly identical to the P228, however its slide is made from milled stainless steel (versus the P228’s folded carbon steel slide) and is available in 9mm, .40 S&W, and .357 SIG. In the summer of 2012, SIG Sauer announced they were releasing the M11A1, which is essentially the milled-slide P229 chambered in 9mm with P228-labeled grips, a short reset trigger, SIGLITE tritium night sights, Mec-Gar 15-round magazines, and a military style smart tag and serial number. Later in 2012, Air Force M11b versions of the P228 were released for civilian sale. The M11 is to be replaced in the Army and Air Force through the Modular Handgun System program. On January 19, 2017, it was announced that the SIG Sauer P320 Compact (M18) had been selected to replace the M11 as the U.S’s service pistol. One factor in winning the Modular Handgun System competition was the ability to employ 9mm Parabellum, .357 Sig or .40 S&W cartridges within the same basic frame.