SIG SAUER P226 Pellet Pistol Review
July 1, 2016
Supplied by SIG SAUER, Inc.
Realistic overall looks.
Best ever CO2 cartridge loading.
Minor non-operational features.
Slower than the claims.
VALUE FOR MONEY
At a Street Price of around $100, the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol is somewhere in the middle of firearms replica air pistols pricing.
For this price, it offers a substantial, accurate version of the P226. Version, not replica, because it actually is a SIG SAUER product.
For an average price, the P226 offers fair value. It’s realistic and accurate enough to simulate the P226 firearm for training purposes. The muzzle velocity is entirely adequate (although lower than the manufacturer’s specs) and the shot count good.
The majority of users are likely to be pleased with their purchase of this air pistol.
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REALISM – LOOKS AND FEEL
The SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol is sold by SIG SAUER Inc. and is marketed by the company as a “training version” of the P226 firearm pistol. So, you would expect this air pistol to match the firearm in every way. In many respects it does – though not all.
The overall weight and “feel” of the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol are absolutely correct! Compared to the firearm P226, this airgun version has exactly the same weight, size, balance and looks. It’s a heavy pistol, weighing-in at nearly 2 Lb 8 Oz, and certainly feels just right in the hand.
Unusually for a CO2-powered replica pistol, you’ll look in vain for a screw head or other external mechanism that punctures the CO2 cartridge and makes the pistol “live”. This is because the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol is fitted with a cam-lever mechanism that positions and pierces the CO2 cartridge using what appears to be the rear strap of the pistol grip frame. It’s just about invisible and works very well.
All of the expected controls are present, such as the magazine release and the Decocking Safety Lever. The magazine release works as expected.
Unlike that of the firearm, the Decocking Safety actually IS the safety for the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol. If the slide is back and the hammer cocked with the safety OFF, pushing down on the lever safely drops the hammer and prevents the P226 from firing. With the safety ON, the trigger still operates and the hammer cycles but the pistol does not fire.
So far, so good…
But unfortunately there are some features that are a generation behind the realism levels attained by many new replica air pistols currently on sale.
First you see that the ejection port on the slide is simply a molded representation – not a real ejection port. The takedown lever and slide catch are also non-operative. The P226 cannot be field-stripped in a manner similar to the firearm. Yes, these are not critical issues as they don’t effect shooting the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol. However, they are a disappointment if you are familiar with other replica air pistols that do have similar working features and can even be partially field-stripped like the firearm original.
ACCURACY AND POINT OF IMPACT
Accuracy tests of the P226 showed that the pistol tended to shoot low with the majority of pellets tested. Only the Crosman Premier Hollow Point pellets shot to the point of aim with the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol tested by HAM.
This is an issue because, in spite of the excellent sight picture, the sights are non-adjustable. As windage was fine, this impacts only elevation. For training, this may not matter. But if you’re using the P226 for plinking, it will be necessary to “aim up” when using the pistol with most pellets.
Accuracy was very good when using 7.0 Grain RWS Meisterkugeln Pistol pellets. At 6 yards, these pellets gave a CTC of just 7/8-inch for 10 shots. Accuracy was close to “minute of soda can” at 6 yards with the other ammo in the HAM standard test pellet suite.
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MEISTERKUGELN PISTOL PELLETS
COMPARISON TO MAKERS CLAIMS
Despite the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol being tested by HAM in cool ambient conditions, it’s pretty clear that the claimed maximum muzzle velocity is very unlikely to be met.
The maximum muzzle velocity the HAM test gun recorded was 390 FPS for the first shot in the string of the lightest alloy pellets. But the average for the 10-shot string was just 335 FPS, showing the fall typical of all CO2-powered air pistols due to firing. That’s a long way from the 510 FPS manufacturer’s specification.
The opinion of the HAM team is that there’s nothing wrong with the performance of the P226. Its muzzle velocity is quite typical for CO2-powered air pistols. It’s just the claim is overly-ambitious.
As with any CO2-powered air pistol, best velocity and consistency for the P226 will be with slow fire.
Some velocity will be regained by resting the gun between strings, thus allowing it to warm up. You can see the drop in muzzle velocity from the Chrony printout on the targets as each string was fired. Standard Deviation, the statistical measure of that velocity change, was also consistent between 15 – 25 FPS for each string.
Trigger pull weight was outstandingly consistent in double action shooting. The SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol tested by HAM recorded pull weights between 4 Lb 6 Oz and 4 Lb 11 Oz. That’s very consistent and certainly beyond the ability of most of us to tell any difference!
Accuracy and point of impact varied fairly widely depending on the pellets being used. This can easily be seen by comparing the test targets below.
REALISM – TRIGGER AND ACTION
HAM Tester Doug Wall liked the trigger pull of the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol. In his testing notes he remarked “Very nice trigger. 8 Lbs 3 Oz pull weight for Double Action. 4 Lbs 8 Oz for Single Action. Both feel lighter and are very smooth”.
The trigger also provides a very clearly-felt “step” that gives a clear indication of when it’s going to fire. The external hammer functions realistically in conjunction with the trigger pull, too.
And the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol features a blowback action that gives a nice, realistic-feeling “kick” to the gun when it is fired.
But again, the realism only extends so far…
When pulling the trigger, you will hear – but not feel – a click before the sear releases and the pistol fires. This is actually the rotary pellet magazine being indexed into place by the action of pulling the trigger. It means that the P226 must be fired once the trigger has been partially-pulled and that “click” taken place. Otherwise a jam could result.
And, while this pistol does have a blowback action, there’s no hold open feature when the magazine is empty. Users will get used to this, but this again points to a design that lacks the realistic functionality seen on some other firearms-replica air pistols.
No jams or failures to feed were recorded during HAM testing.
Shot count for the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol was good.
The manufacturer’s instructions recommends changing CO2 cartridges after every 64 shots. But HAM feels this is somewhat conservative advice.
In HAM testing, the P226 achieved 84 shots with a muzzle velocity above 200 FPS from one CO2 cartridge. Finally, blowback stopped working at shot 89 with a muzzle velocity of 166 FPS. This is a competitive shot count for a CO2 pistol with blowback action.
Below. The magazine fits up in the front of the pistol grip.
As always, HAM testing of the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol was undertaken in a cool range at 60 degrees F. This is low for any CO2-powered airgun, but it is typical of the basement ranges where many of these guns will be fired. Of course, muzzle velocity will be higher if the P226 pistol was operated at higher ambient temperatures – as with all CO2-powered airguns.
Actual muzzle velocity achieved in HAM testing was typical for that of other CO2-powered replica pistols, bracketing the 300 FPS mark. This is perfectly satisfactory for its intended uses, training and plinking.
Unfortunately, it’s way below the “up to 510 FPS” claimed by the manufacturer, as is discussed in the “Comparison to Manufacturers Claims” section of this review, above.
|Pellet||Average Muzzle Velocity||Average Muzzle Energy||Accuracy|
|H&N Field Target Trophy Green 5.56 Grain||335 FPS||1.38 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|RWS Meisterkugeln Pistol 7.0 Grain||311 FPS||1.49 Ft/Lbs||Very Good. Best tested.|
|RWS Hobby 7.0 Grain||303 FPS||1.43 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|Crosman Premier HP 7.9 Grain||273 FPS||1.31 Ft/Lbs||Good.|
|H&N Field Target Trophy 8.64 Grain||288 FPS||1.59 Ft/Lbs||Poor.|
APPEARANCE AND FINISH
Overall appearance is hard to fault. The pistol grip looks realistic and feels good. And although the slide and frame are cast metal, rather than machined, at 10 feet it would be impossible to tell the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol from the firearm original. The Weaver/Picatinny rail in front of the trigger guard allows appropriate lasers or flashlights to be mounted if required.
The threaded external barrel nut mark this airgun out as a precise copy of the P226 MK-25 version used by US Navy SEALS. Confirmation is provided by the white anchor emblem on the left of the slide.
Finish of metal parts is “military grade”. The black powder-coat surface is dull matt and appropriate for a working pistol.
Markings are mainly unobtrusive and cast into the metal parts. Unlike most other officially-branded replica pistols, the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol is not an officially-licenced replica. It IS a SIG SAUER!
BUYING AND OWNING
The SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol is widely available online and at retail stores. So it’s easy to buy and spare magazines are also available at a great price of just $20 for two. The 12 month warranty provided is more than for many of the CO2-powered replica air pistols in the market.
The magazines hold 16 pellets in two rotary clips. The magazine must be removed, re-orientated and re-inserted to use both ends of the stick, but this is easy to do. The magazine release button is easy to operate and the magazine slides easily into place in the pistol grip.
CO2 loading is outstandingly easy! This is due to SIG SAUER’s patented cam lever system, which chambers the CO2 cartridge and pierces it in one fluid motion. No longer is it necessary to turn knobs or find hex wrenches in order to pierce the CO2. This is a great feature of the SIG SAUER P226 pellet pistol.
The Owner’s Manual packed with the P226 is clear and well-illustrated. It’s in English and covers both the P226 and P250. There’s no Spanish or French translations, although the gun received by HAM also included an Owner’s Manual in Polish. At least we think it’s Polish! There’s also an additional sheet giving tips for best performance and user experience in English only.
SAFETY FIRST. Due to the realistic appearance of this product, handle it as you would a firearm. Do not display it in public or in any place where it could be mistaken for a cartridge firearm. This air pistol is for use with .177 caliber lead pellets, not steel BBs.
6 YARD TEST TARGETS
10 YARD TEST TARGET
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This entire article including scoring, test targets etc is Copyright Hard Air Magazine and may NOT in part or in whole be reproduced in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from the publisher.