Sig Sauer ASP Pistols Part 2
Pellet Power Showdown
By Dennis Adler
This brings us to one of the most interesting of the Sig Sauer pellet-firing CO2 pistols, the X-Five ASP, which in the centerfire world was known as the X-Five, a competition model based off the great Sig P226 made famous by U.S. Navy SEALs as far back as the mid 1980s. Sig Sauer has built more than 30 versions of the P226 platform since 1983, plus the X-Five Series of guns, a total of three models, and the X-Series of seven different competition and match grade pistols, which ended their production runs in 2014. Simply, there were a lot of P226 X-Five and X-Series competition models for Sig Sauer to draw upon when developing Sig Air’s X-Five, CO2, blowback action pellet firing model.
After a little over two years in production the X-Five ASP had filled its own special niche in the Sig Sauer line, essentially the same role the centerfire pistol filled as an advanced target version of the P226.
Even though coming to market on the heels of the advanced Sig Sauer M17 P320 ASP CO2 model, the design for the X-Five ASP did not take advantage of Sig Air’s new self-contained CO2 pellet magazine technology but rather the separate 20-round rotary pellet magazine developed for the earlier P320 ASP models. The X-Five also combines Sig Sauer’s groundbreaking patented cam-operated CO2 quick loading and piercing system developed for the P226 ASP, which makes the X-Five ASP something of hybrid CO2 design. The rifled steel barrels used in the Sig Sauer ASP pellet pistols also make the new X-Five ideal for target shooting at the 10 meters, rather than being limited to 21 feet like the smoothbore Sig Sauer-licensed P226-X Five/X-Five Silver BB models, which were never part of the Sig Air line, and are no longer available. These were, however, exceptional BB firing models based on the P226 design and built to high enough standards that Sig Sauer gave the blowback action BB models their blessing and name.
The Sig Air pellet model has a competition-style SAO trigger, extended frame and slide for the 5-inch barrel, ambidextrous thumb safeties, extended magwell, and low profile adjustable sights. The Sig pellet model closely resembles the 9mm P226 X Match for overall design. That gun was discontinued in 2014.
Handling and operation
I have to admit a certain level of prejudice for this Sig Sauer CO2 model. First, I prefer hammer-fired guns over striker-fired models because I like a pistol I can de-cock (and yes there are some striker fired models that can be de-cocked) but there is still something to be said for a hammer at the back of the slide! I like the X-Five ASP hammer design; it is small yet easy to thumb back and has enough knurling on the spur for a solid thumb hold to de-cock the gun. I also like the very crisp, though long pull SAO trigger on this model, extended beavertail, undercut triggerguard, and of course, the adjustable rear sight. I also like the use of the P226 design CO2 loading system, and P320 CO2 model’s 20-shot rotary Rapid Pellet Magazine (RPM), over the old-style reversible 8+8 rotary stick magazine used in the P226 ASP models. If you have to have the CO2 and the pellets separate (and except for the M17 you do, thus far), the combination of Sig Sauer features compiled into the X-Five ASP are as good as its gets. In fact, there are only a few things about the X-Five ASP pellet model that are a bit off putting. First, and this is just the nature of the design because this is a very large handgun, the X-Five ASP is just slightly wider than the P226 ASP by 0.0625 inches and 0.687 inches longer overall (it is also 0.375 inches taller). This doesn’t sound like much but with the longer slide and dustcover rail, if you have the earlier P226 ASP and a nice holster for it, the X-Five ASP will not fit.
Aesthetically, Sig Sauer does a couple of things I have never been pleased with, one being a non-functional slide release, and honestly even if the slide can’t lock open on an empty rotary pellet magazine (there’s no follower), the locking cut could have be left in the slide and the release lever functional, so one could manually locked it open if they wanted to. And lastly, there is the use of a one-piece slide with a molded in ejection port, which has thankfully been changed on the M17. On the plus side, the gun uses ambidextrous thumb safeties, so the cocked pistol can be put on SAFE (and thus there is no need for an unwanted supplementary manual safety). The X-Five also has a very positive magazine release making reloads as close to authentic as you can come with a separate rotary magazine using a full-size base pad. Another authentic feature that is nicely incorporated into the ASP is the centerfire model’s X Grip, a hard plastic grip with a distinctive X checkered pattern. The backstrap is smooth with a checkered panel just below the beavertail (this is also where Sig places the backstrap release for loading the CO2) and the frontstrap has an inset checkered panel at the point where the strong hand fingers wrap around the grip. The triggerguard, as previously noted is deeply undercut which allows a higher hand position on the grip. This lowers the gun in the hand and lowers the bore axis (keep the bore of the gun closer to the top of the shooter’s hand; the Sig Sauer P226 is regarded as having a high bore axis, so the undercut triggerguard is a noteworthy modification). The X grips on the X-Five ASP are also big and the magwell flare is almost below the base of my hand, so this grip will be great for shooters with large hands, but it’s a lot of real estate for smaller hands to cover.
Like the original 9mm X-Series models, the X-Five ASP is a comparatively heavy gun, weighing a solid 44 ounces, just 2.7 ounces shy of the 9mm X Series pistol. In size, the X-Five ASP has an overall length of 8.7 inches, height of 5.94 inches (base of magwell to top of rear sight) and a slide width of 1.0 inches. Width at the edges of the ambidextrous safeties is 1.625 inches. Sight radius is a very lengthy 7.06 inches from the flat face of the matte black adjustable rear (windage and elevation), to the small white dot blade front sight.
The SAO trigger on the X-Five CO2 model has a long two-stage pull of 0.625 inches, the first 0.437 inches has virtually no resistance until you feel two distinct clicks, from which point there is firm stacking for the remaining 0.188 inches, dropping the hammer with an average press of 5 pounds, 8.5 ounces (factory spec is 5.5 pounds). The target trigger takes almost a full release to reset and you can feel the same two clicks as you run the trigger out. After the second click you can shoot again, but it is just as easy to give the trigger a full let off before firing.
Initial velocity tests shot using Meisterkugeln 7.0 gr. lead wadcutters had an average velocity of 350 fps with a high of 380 fps and a low of 343 fps for 10 consecutive shots. Using H&N Sport 5.25 gr. Match Green alloy pellets, velocity increased with the lighter weight wadcutters to an average of 420 fps with a high of 449 fps, followed by 429 fps, 426 fps, 421 fps, and 420 fps with a low of 415 fps out of 10 consecutive shots.
My downrange results from 10 meters using a 6 o’clock hold with Meisterkugeln and H&N Sport Match Green were a little low on the bullseye but with eight of 10 H&N rounds into one jagged hole measuring 0.59 inches.
Shooting with Meisterkugeln the spread was 0.75 inches, with a best five shots inside one large hole at 0.5 inches. The X-Five ASP can clearly outshoot the M17 P320 ASP, and this is no less than what you would expect from a CO2 pellet pistol based on a competition design rather than a military pistol. It is a gun you can train with for accuracy and use to improve you handling and shooting skills. It is exactly what Sig Sauer built it for.
A Word about Safety
Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun 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.