New Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Silver Part 2

New Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Silver Part 2 Part 1

Adding target pistol style to the legendary Navy SEAL sidearm

By Dennis Adler

The Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Silver raises the bar for the already well-liked Sig CO2 model. With its two-tone stainless-look alloy frame and slide, the X-Five Silver adds adjustable rear sights, wood grained wraparound grips, magwell and extended base pad 18-round magazine.

I would venture to say that no two military sidearms have had more heroic roles in modern U.S. history than the Colt Government Model 1911 and Sig Sauer P226; the Colt for nearly all of the 20th century, including two world wars, and the Sig with various branches of the military and government agencies, including Navy SEAL teams since the 1980s. The P226 X-Five CO2 models fall into that exemplary category of highly desirable, quality-built handguns with military history, even though the X-Five variants were not standard military issue, but rather dedicated target pistols.

The earlier X-Five Open model brought the first use of adjustable rear sights, magwell and extended base pad magazines to the P226 X-Five CO2 line. It also offers a faux ported compensator for added looks. The X-Five Silver takes things to the next level without needing the added barrel hardware or optics bridge.

The success of the P226

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Much like Colt’s 1911, Sig Sauer’s P226 (P226 MK25) have been proven in battle around the world by elite military units including Navy SEALs since 1985. The characteristics that make the 9mm P226 desirable for the military also make the blowback action CO2 model one of the best-handling .177 caliber air pistols around. The P226 is a gun (and airgun) built to high performance standards and designed for heavy use. The Sig was engineered to be easily operated even while wearing tactical gloves, thus every control is large, has serrated or checkered surfaces, and is easy to operate either right or left handed. The CO2 model is true to the original DA/SA P226 design except for having a decocker, which is not found on all P226 models, and was not on the X-Five target model (which had a single action trigger).

The 9mm P226 X-Five target model had a single action trigger and did not use a decocker.

Among the various government firearms trials that have been held over the decades to find a replacement for the Colt M1911A1, the Sig Sauer P226 was originally developed for the 1984 military trials as a variation of the P220. And while the 1911 came away unscathed by the Sig, it fell to the Beretta M9 (92FS) in 1985 (which came in at a lower overall cost per unit). The P226, however, also won in its own right being adopted by numerous government agencies in the 1980s (as well as other P220/P226 variants like the P228 and P229). Navy SEALs decided to go with the more rugged Sig Sauer P226 than the Beretta M9. And the P226 line also found its way into the mainstream civilian firearms market (including the X-Five series for competition shooting), as well as state and local law enforcement, who have adopted a number of P226 variations, some with special trigger (DAO) systems for law enforcement use. The P226 has been a success story from day one even after losing out to the Beretta as the standard issue military sidearm. Of course, this year Sig’s military version of the P320 succeeded where the P226 failed, becoming the new U.S. Army military sidearm.

The X-Five models, like the 9mm Sig Sauer, have an oversized triggerguard to allow safe use with tactical gloves. This was a feature that made it desirable for the U.S. Navy to adopt the P226 for its SEAL teams. Also note how well positioned the thumb safety is to easily set with the back of the thumb. (The safety is not set in this photo.)

Facts in hand

I am a semi-ambidextrous shooter, i.e., I can shoot left handed if I have to and this lets me operate ambidextrous guns so I can deliver an objective opinion. Left handed the slide release on the P226 (P226 X-Five) can be easily activated with the left trigger finger on the reload. Either thumb safety is easy to activate. Even the oversized, grooved magazine release on the left side of the frame (reversible on the 9mm guns) can be easily activated with the left hand trigger finger on the CO2 model. There are really no significant compromises that left-handed operators have to endure with the P226.

Right-handed users will find this gun incredibly easy to handle for the same reasons, and the oversize triggerguard leaves ample room for a gloved finger well relieved from the trigger face.

Trigger take up is smooth with the X-Five Silver, just 0.375 inches, with a double action pull averaging 9 pounds, 5.5 ounces, and a single action pull of 3 pounds, 4.2 ounces.

It’s pretty safe to say that none of us will be going on a SEAL mission (and if a couple of you are, you’re not taking the CO2 model with you), so why place so much emphasis on handling this airgun with tactical gloves? If the gun is that easy to handle with a gloved hand, imagine how smoothly it operates without one!

I was impressed with the P226 X-Five CO2 model when it first came out, (as well as the 9mm P226 which I had tested for Combat Handguns), so the .177 caliber Sig became one of my regular “on hand” CO2 test guns and excelled every time I ran it up against another CO2 model, even the highly rated (by me) Umarex S&W M&P40 and Beretta 92A1. The Sig is almost unbeatable for handling and impressive accuracy. The only thing missing from the first model was an adjustable rear sight. We got that with the P226 X-Five Open, including a chance to have a version with a faux ported compensator and an optics bridge, but it wasn’t quite as accurate as the standard P226 X-Five CO2 model. What I learned from that review in Airgun Experience No. 122 was that the two-stage trigger on the Open model wasn’t quite as smooth as the standard model’s trigger, and not having a white dot front sight on the Open model also slightly reduced accuracy.

The thumb safety is as close in operation as possible to the 9mm model with a solid click when engaged and thumbed down to disengage. The size and balance are ideal for operation with gloves. Also note how the flared magwell rests in the hand for added support.
The slide release is also large enough to easily operate with a gloved hand.

Now here we are with the latest Sig X-Five model decked out in a striking two-tone finish, wood grained grips and an adjustable rear sight. How does this gun stack up aside from superior looks? Let’s start at the trigger.

The same goes for the magazine release which has deep serrations and is angled forward to provide a higher rear edge.

Trigger Pull

The P226 X-Five Open had a DA/SA trigger with a single action trigger pull averaging 3 pounds, 10 ounces, with 0.438 inches of take up, slight stacking during the second stage of the pull, and a very short 0.25 inch release to reset. The latest Sig CO2 model has a trigger pull that feels almost identical to the Standard model, although with the back of the adjustable rear sight blocking the front half of the hammer it is not easy to manually cock the hammer. Of course, after the first double action shot this is a moot point.

Everything works equally for left-handed shooters, especially the thumb safety. But with the size and design of the controls on the Sig, even the left side slide release and magazine release can be quickly operated with the left hand trigger finger.
Bring the trigger finger up and you can easily release the slide when reloading…
…the slide release is large and angled down, making it easy for the left-hand trigger finger to get the action easily closed.

Average SA trigger pull on the new model, which for simplicity will now be called the X-Five Silver, measured 3 pounds, 4.2 ounces. The standard X-Five re-tested at an average 3 pounds, 2.5 ounces. That puts the X-Five Silver not exactly in the middle but leaning toward the lighter side of the three guns. Take up with the two-stage trigger on the X-Five Silver measured 0.375 inches and again with a quick reset. Double action trigger pull (for the first shot) averaged 9 pounds, 5.5 ounces, and 9 pounds, 6.0 ounces on the Standard model.

This also applies to the magazine release, so even with the specific needs of a left-handed shooter, the Sig remains fairly ambidextrous with the majority of its controls designed for right-handed shooters.

First target test

The first test was with Umarex .177 caliber steel BBs fired from 21 feet at a 10 meter target. All shots are single action (first shot with cocked hammer) using a two-handed hold and Weaver stance. The Umarex steel BBs clocked an average of 347 fps from the X-Five Silver’s 4.875 inch smoothbore barrel. The barrel is recessed 0.25 inches from the 9mm threaded muzzle, so actual internal barrel length is 4.625 inches from the breech to the front of the smoothbore barrel. The ProChrono chronograph clocked the X-Five Silver with a low of 342 fps, a high of 351 fps, one shot at 343 fps, another at 350 fps, a double at 351 fps, and a standard deviation for six shots of only 3 fps.

The grip design is a good fit for most hands with ample relief for the trigger finger, even wearing tactical gloves.

At 21 feet from the target, the first test with the P226 X-Five Silver delivered a best 10 shots at 0.875 inches and a best 5-shot group measuring 0.5 inches. At this point the X-Five Silver is looking like an even match for the P226 X-Five standard model. But can it be improved?

Out of the box with only slight windage and elevation adjustments to the factory settings, the X-Five Silver delivered a 10-shot group under 1-inch at 21 feet and a best 5-shot group at 0.5 inches with overlapping hits. A little more fine tuning and these could all be in the bullseye.

In the Part 3 conclusion, improving the sighting picture and a final shooting evaluation with three different types of BBs.

A Word About Safety

Blowback action models provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts. The Sig Sauer P226 X-Five models a little more than others. Most blowback action airguns look like real centerfire handguns, but those based on models like the Sig Sauer are even more difficult to distinguish at a glance. It is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell the difference between a blowback action airgun and a cartridge gun. Never brandish them in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply. 

15 thoughts on “New Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Silver Part 2”

  1. This pistol exemplifies what can and should be done with replica airguns. Accurate ,reproduction with fully functional controls, adjustable sights, wood grain grips ,ambi safety, presented in a fitted box. It also shows that at 21 feet and beyond, smoothbore bb pistols are very accurate. They also have the edge in mirroring the self contained ammunition magazine. Pellet pistols are a poor second in this regard. For now ,for authentic duplication of a firearm for familiarization ,and duplication of handling, the co2 bb pistols are the king.

  2. How well do the original X-Five Standard magazines fit in the X-Five Silver? I haven’t yet had a chance to test them in the X-Five Silver. I’m planning to do my own shot tests this weekend.

    The X-Five Silver also came with the threaded barrel adapter making this pistol another candidate for a faux suppressor.

    • The magazines are interchangeable but the standard mag fits flush to the bottom of the grip with the Magwell coming below it. You have to slap the standard mag in to make sure it seats and you don’t fall short hitting the Magwell extension with your hand; otherwise, no difference. Presently there are no extra mags with the extended base pad other than the one that comes with the X-Five Silver or X-Five Open.

  3. Nice to see the velocity higher than spec . Initially I missed the description of the threaded barrel . That would lend this pistol to a faux suppressor with an internal barrel.

  4. To me, replacing the Sig with the Glock was a mistake. I am not a fan of da only or striker fired semiautos. They are not as accuratefired one handed, and are usually chunky and clunky. The Sig is fast onthe first shot , and accurate fired for subsequent shots. My beef with Sigs has been that most models don’t have ambidextrous decocking levers. And oh yeah, metal not Tupperware

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