by B.B. Pelletier
Today, I’m testing the velocity of this SIG Sauer P226 X5 combo BB pistol. There are several claims about this pistol that I was encouraged to check in my testing. I’ll hit all of them as I go through the gun for you, and perhaps I’ll bring in a few questions of my own.
The first claim that some owners of the pistol had was it is very loud. I read that from a lot of test reports and owner reviews, so I was curious to see for myself.
In my opinion, this CO2 pistol is no louder than any other CO2 BB pistol of similar power. I just finished testing the GSG 92 a couple weeks ago, and it’s certainly every bit as loud as this one. That left me puzzled as to why so many reports of the gun’s loudness appear on the internet. It’s true that I’m older and have lost some of my hearing sensitivity, so perhaps there’s something in that. I remember many years ago when Jim Maccari said that gas spring guns all had a crack to their report that I was absolutely unable to hear. So, I conducted a small comparison test between the SIG Sauer P226 X5 and an Umarex Makarov.
To my ears, the guns were equally loud. The Makarov has a deeper report, probably because it lacks the blowback feature, so I can hear a difference in the reports, but one gun seems just as loud as the other.
At any rate, the SIG P226 X5 is not a loud air pistol, in my opinion, and I’m going to advise Pyramyd Air to change the noise rating from four down to three. Now, don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. This pistol does make noise when it shoots. I’m just saying that it is no louder than any other CO2 pistol of similar power.
Blog reader Jim asked if the pistol could use lead balls and how they might affect the performance. I normally don’t shoot lead in BB guns unless there’s a compelling reason to do so, such as the gun has a rifled barrel or, in the case of antique guns, a larger bore. Then, I’ll try lead balls instead of steel BBs. Fortunately, I’ve also collected and shot zimmerstutzens over the years, and I have a small stash of lead balls in some of the 30 different sizes they once came in. So, I can pick and choose my sizes to a certain extent.
The smallest balls I have available are 4.3mm in size, which is the No. 7 on the new ball size chart for zimmerstutzens. If you’re interested in learning more about zimmerstutzen rifles, I wrote a large article about them for the 1998 edition of Airgun Revue. You can read that article here. This ball converts to 0.1693 inches in diameter, and it weighs 7.2 grains.
Here are two sizes of lead balls I tried in the SIG Sauer P226 X5 pistol. The 4.3mm balls (left) are for zimmerstutzen rifles. The 4.4mm copper-plated balls are for various vintage BB guns that use lead balls…like the Haenel 310 and others.
The next convenient ball size I have are 4.4mm copper-plated lead balls that I bought in bulk many years ago so I’d have a lifetime supply for my Haenel 310 rifle. They also work well in the Mars-series of smoothbore BB guns, as well as the very fine Czech VZ 35 and VZ 49 bolt-action BB rifles. These are 0.1732 inches in diameter and weigh an average of 7.70 grains. They’re the balls I often use in older (1910-1925) Daisy BB guns that were made to shoot air rifle shot of 0.175 inches.
But this pistol doesn’t have a rifled barrel or an odd-sized bore, so why is Jim interested in shooting lead balls in it? Well, he shoots in his garage and he wants to avoid bounceback, which steel BBs are noted for. After examining the magazine and determining that it will feed the lead balls properly, I conducted a small test to see if they would work. Both sizes worked fine and I will report the results after the steel BB velocities.
I tested the gun with Daisy zinc-plated BBs only because extensive testing has proven them to be the most uniform and the largest BBs on the market today. Both uniformity and diameter are important to accuracy and velocity in smoothbore guns.
Thirteen BBs averaged 345 f.p.s. on a fresh CO2 cartridge. The range of velocity was larger — from a high (first shot) of 376 to a low (10th shot) of 321 f.p.s. This is way above the advertised velocity of just 300 f.p.s., which is something I also experienced with the GSG 92 pistol a couple weeks ago. These pistols are being reported by their manufacturers at lower power than they really have, for some reason. The muzzle energy of the average velocity is 1.35 foot-pounds. [Edith changed the Pyramyd Air page so it now shows 376 f.p.s.]
The 4.3mm lead balls I only shot three times, just to test the feeding. They went 324 f.p.s., 294 and 303 f.p.s. Let’s say they average 308 f.p.s. That gives us an average muzzle energy of 1.52 foot-pounds.
The 4.4mm balls I also shot just three times and they functioned perfectly. They went 295, 288 and 303 f.p.s. The average is 295 f.p.s. and the muzzle energy works out to 1.49 foot-pounds.
This pistol has blowback and the slide is metal, so the impulse ought to be substantial. I can’t say that it is, however. You do feel it, but not as readily as the GSG 92, which seems to jump a lot more. Maybe that impression will change once I shoot the gun for accuracy because that’s when I really noticed the GSG 92’s recoil for the first time.
As far as I am able to determine, the compensator does nothing. It’s just there for looks. That could be misleading, though. If the compensator works as it should, it could explain why I think the recoil is lower than it should be. The comp may be holding the gun’s muzzle down when it fires.
The trigger continues to be delightful. It’s a two-stage unit with a definite stop at stage two. Then the stage-two pull-through is long, and you can feel the blade move, but it’s free from creep. Creep is the sticky start-stop movement some triggers have. It’s not a target trigger, but rather a good fast-action trigger that seems in keeping with the rest of the gun.
Performance to this point
Thus far I would say I’m still impressed by this pistol. While it isn’t as loud as some folks said, I don’t see that as a bad thing. And although the blowback recoil isn’t as prevalent as that of the GSG 92, it does recoil some and does represent the realistic feel of a small-caliber firearm. And that’s all I think blowback has to do, besides cocking the hammer.
It’s accuracy that I am most interested in, after hearing all the reports. That test will be next, and I’m eagerly awaiting it.