CO2 blowback action pistols just don’t get any better looking!
By Dennis Adler
I have been a fan of the P226 X-Five since it was introduced, and outside of the Umarex S&W M&P40 this is the most authentic handling CO2 blowback action air pistol you can own. I have had mine since I reviewed the officially licensed Sig model in Airgun Experience No. 2 back in the summer of 2016.
One of the world’s most recognized handguns
The P226 has been the handgun of choice for U.S. Navy SEALs, various U.S. military Spec Ops units, as well as many U.S. law enforcement agencies for years; Sig models like the compact P228 and P229 are carried by NCIS, the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Secret Service, and ICE, among others, but they all have their origins in the P226, which has been in service since 1983. SEALs carried the P226 MK25 (Navy version) for years and are now just beginning to convert over to the Glock 19. The difference between these two guns is day and night. In fact, there is simply no common ground for comparison except caliber and that they are both semi-autos. Sigs still remain the primary sidearm of most U.S. government agencies. The P226 X-Five, however, was a different kind of Sig manufactured as a target pistol with all stainless steel construction, stainless magwell and low profile adjustable rear sights. The deluxe Sig model was available in blue, black Nitron, and two tone stainless finishes. I write this in the past tense because the X-Five and X series was discontinued in 2014 after a very long and successful production run.
The CO2 Variations
The Sig Sauer licensed P226 X-Five models use self-contained CO2 BB magazines to provide a realistic handling experience when reloading. The all metal construction airguns also feature fully operational ambidextrous thumb safeties, slide release and takedown lever, and the slide locks back after the last BB in the magazine has been fired. In respect to handling and firing, the only thing missing in the Sig P226 X-Five airgun are 9mm cartridges, heavier recoil and a much louder report.
The P226 X-Five is based on the top of the line Sig Sauer target model and has a short beavertail, whereas standard P226 models do not. The P226 airguns have exact dimensions and fit all current Sig Sauer P226 holsters.
In .177 caliber P226 X-Five is a perfect training gun as it duplicates the handing of the centerfire model, i.e. safety, slide release, magazine release, and DA/SA trigger operation. This makes the gun highly desirable for practicing the Sig’s manual of operation, holster draw, re-holstering drills, aiming, and with models like the new X-Five, target shooting with the windage and elevation adjustable rear sight.
How authentic is this new model?
Comparing the stats, the 9mm P226 X-Five has a carry weight of 46.7 ounces while the airgun comes in very close at 42.5 ounces with a DA/SA trigger pull of 9.9 pounds and 4.2 pounds, respectively. The 9mm P226 X-Five trigger averages 10 pounds and 4.5 pounds, respectively, again placing the airgun very close to 9mm. In overall appearance the airgun and centerfire model look almost identical right down to the adjustable competition sights. Slide and magazine releases and ambidextrous thumb safeties operate exactly the same including resistance and the audible click when engaging or releasing the thumb safety.
In comparative size, the CO2 model is 8.75 inches in overall length with a 5-inch (smoothbore) barrel, 5.75 inches in height, and 1.56 inches in width to the outer edges of the ambidextrous safeties, (slide width is 0.99 inches). The 9mm Sig P226 Tac Ops Model (comparable with magwell grips and beavertail) measures 8.1 inches in overall length with a 4.9-inch barrel, 5.5 inches in height, and 1.5 inches in width.
Fit and Finish
Aside from the adjustable rear sight (also found on the P226 X-Five Open) this new model is not only authentic in details and operation, but the best looking CO2 Sig Sauer model produced thus far, and probably one of the best looking blowback action CO2 models, period. Since the airgun is all alloy construction, rather than stainless steel, in order to have a correct two-tone stainless-like finish, the alloy frame is matte gray while the slide is polished on the sides, except for the grooves in the front and rear serrations. The matte finish is used on the upper half of the slide to give the gun a look that is very close to the two-tone natural stainless 9mm X-Five competition and P226 X-Five Match, the latter with the Picatinny accessory rail used on the CO2 model. Contrasting this stainless finish the takedown lever, trigger, magazine release, ambidextrous thumb safeties, hammer and sights are all in matte black. The finishing touch is brown hardwood grained molded wraparound grips with the Sig Sauer name. What this gun does not have are typical airgun manufacturer’s markings and safety warnings on the slide (or anywhere else). All the markings on this gun are correct for a Sig Sauer P226, a proof mark and serial number. The lower left side of the frame just above the rail has the caliber markings .177 CAL 4.5mm and the Sig “S” in a circle. The caliber is also marked on the right side of the barrel’s breechblock.
This is a fully functioning Browning short-recoil, locked-breech design with the barrel tilting down and unlocking from the slide during recoil. About as authentic as blowback action CO2 models get.
In Part 2 the details of shooting this special P226 X-Five model.