This competition version could make Sig’s P226
the best CO2 semi-auto target pistol of all!
By Dennis Adler
Last February in a series of Airgun Experience articles I determined that one of the best blowback action CO2 models I have ever tested was the Tanfoglio Limited Custom and that if I had to pick one blowback action model for target shooting, it would be the Tanfoglio. However, during the comparison tests with other top blowback action models this excellent .177 caliber pistol just barely edged out the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five, which, even though being a standard duty pistol design and not a target model, came incredibly close to matching the Tanfoglio’s performance and accuracy. As I noted at the end of the Tanfoglio Limited Custom review (Airgun Experience No. 107), there is also a Sig Sauer P226 X-Five with fully adjustable target sights, and that model is the subject of this Airgun Experience, the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Competition Model.
This CO2 blowback action semi-auto is designed to compete with the Tanfoglio Limited Custom for accuracy, handling and performance. The P226 X-Five Open design comes with an adjustable Bomar-type rear sight, a Rob Leatham-designed TechWell IPSC TGO-style flared magazine well, competition magazine with extended base pad, and a ported compensator, like the 9mm Sig Sauer X-Five. It also has a removable rail-mounted optics bridge so the X-Five Open CO2 model can go head-to-head with the Tanfoglio Gold Custom as well! This is the optimum Sig Sauer competition model in both 9mm and .177 caliber.
This is a “big” handgun just like the 9mm version, and tips the scales at 47 ounces (2 pounds, 15 ounces) empty, so you have weight and balance. With the ported compensator the X-Five Open’s overall length is 11 inches from the extended beavertail to the compensator’s muzzle. As for the effectiveness of the ported compensator on a blowback action air pistol, I doubt it will have much influence on recoil (as it does on a cartridge-firing pistol) but even if it adds the smallest degree of relief it will contribute to the gun’s accuracy. Although the compensator is more of a visual than functional accessory on the X-Five Open, what is functional on this model is the flared magazine well, which makes the gun quicker to reload and provides a firm rest for the heel of the hand when grasping the pistol. The ambidextrous thumb safeties are also fully functional.
The Sig P226 CO2 models are highly accurate copies of the 9mm version, which has proven to be a superbly designed handgun (one reason it is carried by U.S. Navy SEALS). The X-Five series of Sig Sauer 9mm models are factory enhanced versions, and the X-Five Open is the company’s competition model. The CO2 model has this gun nicely dialed in.
The P226 X-Five airguns have been around for a few years now but the Open model hasn’t received the attention it deserves, since it offers everything you want in a blowback action CO2 model for precision target shooting with .177 caliber steel BBs.
In Part 2 the X-Five Open goes to the shooting range and bumps heads with the Tanfoglio Limited Custom.