Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Part 2

Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Part 2 Part 1 Part 3

Going head-to-head with Tanfoglio’s Limited Custom

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The DA/SA vs. the SAO target pistol

By Dennis Adler

Top guns in .177 caliber CO2 blowback action models are the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open and Tanfoglio Limited Custom. The Sig is a slightly larger gun with a longer barrel (not counting the ported compensator), and longer sight radius. Their MSRP’s are within $20 of each other, the Tanfoglio having the higher retail price. Both are currently on sale.

When you are faced with two excellent guns the only way to make a choice is to shoot them both and see which one is best for you. After a lot of testing over the past few years I narrowed down my “Best Guns” list for blowback action semi-autos to about five, and of those, two proved best for target shooting, the Tanfoglio Limited Custom with open sights and Tanfoglio Gold Custom for use with optics. But there is also the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five, which even in its standard configuration can give the best semi-auto CO2 models a run for their money when it comes to features, handling and accuracy. The Sig’s Open model actually rivals either Tanfoglio and it is only one gun vs. two! So, here we go with the first runoff between the P226 X-Five Open and Tanfoglio Custom Limited.

The Sig (right) and Tanfoglio have virtually identical Bomar-style fully adjustable rear target sights. The Sig has a slight advantage with a much larger blade front sight compared to the Tanfoglio’s.

How they stack up

Both the Tanfoglio and Sig X-Five Open use an adjustable Bomar-type rear sight, and a single blade front, neither having a white dot, although the Sig’s front sight (which has a white dot on the standard model) is almost twice the size of the Tanfoglio’s. Both airguns have flared magazine wells for quick reloading, though of totally different design, as well as self-contained CO2 BB magazines with extended base pads, again with differing designs. They are both big full-sized handguns, the Sig weighing 47 ounces, the Tanfoglio 43.1 ounces. Both also have excellent balance in the hand, but the Sig is a little nose heavy compared to the Tanfoglio Limited Custom. You can credit that to the X-Five Open’s 2-inch long metal ported compensator. The Sig also has a longer slide, 7.75 inches in length vs. 7.25 inches for the Tanfoglio. A little more weight comes from the Sig having a dustcover rail for mounting a tactical light or light laser combination and a more robust frame, compared to the svelte lines of the CZ-75 influenced Tanfoglio.

Both guns have oversized ambidextrous safeties. In this view you can also see the shallow CZ-75 based slide used on the Tanfoglio, which contributes to its trim lines and smooth operation. The slide rails ride inside the frame, rather than over it, as on the Sig Sauer. The Tanfoglio uses a competition SAO trigger, while the Sig has a two-stage DA/SA trigger.

The Edge

The first of two advantages for the Sig is a much longer sight radius, 7.25 inches vs. 6.06 inches. Commensurately the Sig’s barrel measures 5.32 inches (internally) vs. 4.0 inches (internally) for the Tanfoglio, so the X-Five Open has a little longer reach. The second big difference between these two target pistols is trigger design; the Tanfoglio is an SAO, the Sig a DA/SA.

With a longer slide, longer sight radius and longer barrel, the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open has several advantages over the smaller, more competition-oriented Tanfoglio semi-auto.

There are very few blowback action airguns with a finer trigger than the Tanfoglio Limited Custom and Gold Custom. The Limited Custom’s pivoting trigger has an average pull of 3 pounds, 8.7 ounces. Take up is a mere 0.438 inches with almost no discernable stacking, a clean break, but almost a full release to reset. Even so, it is still about as fast a CO2 semi-auto pistol as possible, making it ideal for practicing competition shooting skills.

The 20-round Tanfoglio drop free magazines are an outstanding feature, they are easy to load, have an excellent locking follower and a large loading port. Also note the deeper flared magazine well on the Tanfoglio. Both guns use magazines with extended base pads.

The P226 X-Five Open can be fired either double action for the first shot (if the gun has been de-cocked) or single action by cocking the hammer; as with any DA/SA design, after the first shot the pistol fires single action. Trigger pull in single action averages 3 pounds, 10 ounces, with 0.438 inches of take up, slight stacking during the second stage of the pull, but a very short 0.25 inch release to reset. It’s not as light a trigger as the Tanfoglio’s but it is a hair faster.

The Sig P226 X-Five Open magazines hold 18 steel BBs and are specific to this model, so the flat base P226 X-Five magazines will not work. The 20-shot magazines for both Tanfoglio models are interchangeable and just for the record, the Tanfoglio magazines are easier to load with a follower that locks down and an easy loading port just above it. The Sig magazines have a follower that locks down but you have to hold it back to load BBs. If you use an Umarex speed loader, it is less of an issue.

For the test, I chose Umarex steel BBs. The targets were Birchwood-Casey Shoot-N-C at a distance of 21 feet. Both guns have factory rated velocities of 300 fps and the tests were shot offhand using a Weaver stance and two-handed hold.

The Tanfoglio Limited Custom feels much more like a competition pistol than the Sig and handles extremely well. The trigger is one of the best around for a blowback action CO2 pistol and contributes to the Limited Custom’s consistent accuracy.
The Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open has an excellent two-stage trigger with a very quick reset. The ported compensator does not appear to add anything to the gun’s performance outside of looks. But it’s a good look!

And the winner is…

First up, the Tanfoglio which placed 10 shots inside the 10 and X rings at 1.44 inches, with a best 5-shot group measuring 0.74 inches, which is not quite as good as the last test I shot with the Limited Custom, which landed a best five shots at 0.562 inches.

The Tanfoglio put 10 in the 10 and X ring from 21 feet for a total spread of 1.44 inches and a best five rounds at 0.74 inches.

The Sig P226 X-Five Open delivered its best 10 round group at 1.02 inches with a best five shots at 0.50 inches. In the end, the Sig just edges out the Tanfoglio for best overall accuracy, but only by a fraction of an inch. I would be happy to own either gun, but for the absolute best balance, accuracy, and ease of loading and handling, my choice would still be the Tanfoglio Limited Custom. For a dedicated target model with open sights, it is still the gun to beat.

The Sig P226 X-Five Open just edged out the Tanfoglio Limited Custom with a best 10 rounds at 1.02 inches and a best five shots at 0.50 inches.

In Part 3 we add the optics bridge to the Sig Open and face off with the Tanfoglio Gold Custom, both equipped with Walther MRS optics.

A Word About Safety

Blowback action models like the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open and Tanfoglio Limited Custom provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts. All arguns, in general, look like guns, but those based on real cartridge-firing models even more so. 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.

10 thoughts on “Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open Part 2”

  1. I really enjoyed this report. Owning both pistols, I agree with your assessment . To me, the Limited just feels better in my hand . I also like the magazine better then the Sig. I never really noticed the wider front sight on the Sig, but that may explain the better accuracy . Less daylight showing in the sight picture .
    Thanks again Dennis

    • Glad you have enjoyed the tests so far. On Saturday we wrap this up with both the Sig Sauer P226 X-Five Open and Tanfoglio Gold Custom being tested head to head with the Walther MRS Multi Reticle Sight, so it will come down to triggers and slides determining which is the most accurate.

      • Please correct me if I have this wrong, but aren’t the compensator barrel extensions of the Walther 92FS XXTreme and Gamo PT-85 Tactical actually part of the pistol barrel so that if the compensator is removed the barrel extension remains on the pistol? These are not the best design. If the compensator is removed, the barrel extension should be integral to the compensator and come off with the compensator.

        As I tried to say on your blog about Faux Compensators, I think there is a potentially huge untapped market for stand-alone faux compensators with internal 0.177 inch barrel extensions extending the full length of the compensators. So many of the popular firearm pistol replicas by Umarex, KWC, Sig Sauer, and other manufacturers were manufactured without the capability to attach a screw-in compensator accessory. I can only speak for myself, but if my firearm pistol replicas had the option to screw in a faux compensator accessory, especially faux compensators that included internal 0.177 inch barrel extensions either rifled or smooth bore, I would have bought a faux compensator for every one of my pistol replicas.

        I also looked at my standard P226 X-Five to see if the rear sight was a separate removable piece. Unfortunately the standard X-Five rear sight appears to be molded into the top of the slide instead of a separate piece held in a dovetail groove. I was hoping for a removable rear sight that could possible be replaced by the Bomar rear sight on the X-Five Combo which also appears to be mounted in a dovetail groove.

        • The faux suppressor on the XX-Treme unscrews and the short barrel extension is part of the gun’s barrel. On the Gamo, the barrel extension is full length but as you say stays on the gun when you remove the faux suppressor, very odd looking and leaves the .177 cal. barrel exposed to be easily damaged. The design Umarex used on the old 92FS XX-Treme was really good. Your idea of a compensator that threads on and has a full length .177 cal barrel inside is well worth some manufacturer pursuing. The problem would be a universal thread design shared by multiple mfgs. LOL.

          As for the Sig, actually I was thinking the other way, switching the front sight for the white dot from the standard model. Not sure how hard that would be, if possible at all. Wish Sig had used the same front sight, would have made life simpler!

          • On the standard P226 X-Five both front and rear sights appear to be molded into the slide in a manner to make them appear to be separate pieces held in dovetail grooves. The front sight on the P226 X-Five Combo is probably the same molded in feature.

            Concerning faux compensators, I wasn’t thinking of one to fit several pistols. I was thinking of faux compensators custom made for each pistol especially for the pellet shooting pistols in order to assure that the compensator rifling matches the pistol barrel rifling. For smooth bore BB pistols, a single faux compensator made to fit several pistols is a realistic possibility because both are smooth bore. Within a single manufacturer, it should be doable. As you said, across multiple manufacturers it becomes more problematic if the threads, and rifling, don’t match the pistol.

  2. That appears to be the case with the P226 X-Five sights, and I could try and see if they are in fact molded in, I have a damaged gun I can experiment with. Will let you know. As for your faux compensator idea, I like it, I hope one or more manufacturers pick up on the concept and make it work. I think Sig Sauer is, at the moment, the most progressive in concepts, as far as pellet firing semi-autos go, and I will pass this along to them since they have already manufactured threaded barrels for their air pistols. Love the feedback. Keep it coming!


    • I certainly hope the replica airgun pistol manufacturers will try to implement the faux compensators for most or all pistols. Unfortunately for a company like Umarex, it will also require a significant investment to redesign most or all of their replica pistols with a larger threaded muzzle to be able to accommodate a screw-in compensator.

    • I think that having a full length barrel in both faux suppressors and compensators would be the way to go in both smoothbore and pellet pistols . They don’t recoil much or have much noise but a longer barrel especially in a pellet pistol would gain say 50- 75 fps or more extending the range and power of the pistols they are attached to . The Sig 226 pellet pistol has a threaded barrel so start there

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