Sig Sauer Legion P226 [Review]: Finest Sig Yet?

What if a prominent maker of competitively priced, quality firearms proposed a pistol that was no-holds-barred?

What if they said, “We make good handguns, now let’s make something for the high-end customer who really wants the bells and whistles!”  

Sig Legion P226
With an awesome grip and serrated slide, the Sig Sauer Legion is built to run

You don’t have to hold your breath in anticipation of waiting to see this premium firearm, because it already exists.

I’ll warn you up front, the cost of admission to this ride is high, but the Sig Sauer Legion is one of the finest pistols I’ve ever held in my hands and I am here to tell you why.

Join the Legion

Having recently completed a review of the Sig M17 I set my sights on the next shooter the esteemed firearms manufacturer provided for testing—the Legion P226 SAO.  

In essence, this means it is a full-sized, semi-automatic, chambered in 9mm.  

Now, I’m primarily a striker-fired kind of guy and I carry a pistol professionally.  I like things simplified so I requested this version specifically from Sig. When I spent some time considering what I might be going through for testing, I did not want the addition of a hammer AND a de-cocker, AND an external safety.  

I wanted the gun to be as close to my normal operating parameters as possible (i.e. my comfort zone).

P226 Perfected
1200
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Having the M17 and the Legion together gave me some great perspective on what Sig is selling you with each offering.  In the M17 you get the government model without too much fluff, though I argued this gun is a great deal better than what G-employees are typically used to.  

Regardless, it’s basic, to say the least.

With the Legion, you get more!  

The box is bigger and nicer.  There is more branding in a pseudo-Roman/Spartan theme with a single stylized chevron, and you also get three magazines as opposed to the M17’s two.  That’s good enough soldier, now get back out there!

Sig Legion Case
This box is more than you’re used to, doubled hasps, lockable, and plenty of room for this modern equivalent to the Kopis!

Also inside the box, you find literature welcoming you into an elite club, Legion.  By calling the special number, you can get a free thermo-molded gun case as well as a challenge coin to show the polymer crowd you belong to something better.  

The brochure also promises free gear, exclusive access, and select communications. I can’t review this portion as of the writing, but I’m letting you know it’s an option.

I am a skeptic by nature and I’d rather hold an ounce of gold in my hands than ten pounds of promises.  And ladies and gentlemen, this is where things changed for me—discarding all the literature, stickers, and other accouterments, I simply placed my hand on the gun.  

Pulling it from the case, I noticed music began to play from some magical source. The heavily textured G-10 grips grabbed my palm, my fingers felt the checkered front strap, and the web of my thumb felt the confident presence of a superior beavertail.  

I knew exultation.

excited shaq

Holding this thing, this marvelous creation in my hands, my support hand closed on it lest someone wrest it from me as Gollum lost the one true ring.  The lack of corners, the presence of effortless grip, was thrilling. Surely, when I was molded in the Matrix, somewhere this gun was created as the perfect fit for my enormous hands.  

Ahh but the cynic arose again to the forefront of my mind, beating back the stringed quartet who’d set up shop there. Sure, it feels amazing, but how does it shoot?

The bore axis was a little higher than I am used to so I began to hedge my bet yet again, not as convinced things were going to be that great.  Plus the weight of the Legion is slightly heavier than my normal carry, coming in empty at 2 pounds 1.9 ounces.

The music died away and I resolved to see the proof in the pudding, not convinced the austere green/grey color scheme of the Legion would lend it any performance benefit.

Prepare to Be Wowed

Over the course of a few months and three separate trips to the range, I had the opportunity to put 700 rounds through the Legion.  I used the ammo Sig was kind enough to send along, the Elite Performance as well as their V-Crown, which all ran extremely well.

I also used some random stuff I had laying around, Winchester white box, some steel cased stuff, Black Hills, and some American Eagle.  No matter what I shot, the Sig spit it out predictably on target.

Sig Legion in Hand
The ergo of this grip is more about the shape and less about the size, filling gaps even for smaller hands.  Also, note the daytime brightness of the front sight, very easy for the eye to pick up.

And speaking of “on target”, I began to marvel at the excellent accuracy I experienced with the Legion.  In studying the matter over several testings, I believe it is a combination of multiple factors blending together to make this weapon superior in many ways.

Ergonomics

The gun just fit my hands like it was made for them.  

The grips were superbly textured, it felt like the symbiote Venom was trying to bond with me.  On top of this, the beaver tail was extended, to the point that it covered the web of my thumb extremely well—making my ability to soak recoil supreme.  

My wife’s much smaller hands even enjoyed the contours of the grip. She said it felt like there were fewer gaps in her grip. She’s right, I experienced the same.

Trigger

This trigger is simply butter.  

The Lyman Digital Gauge from Brownells averaged the pull at 3 pounds 8.6 ounces.  There is a couple of millimeters of slack or take up before you feel resistance, enough to get on.  Then, pulling through seals the deal with a clean break. Trigger reset is ridiculous! Simply letting off pressure resets the Legion for action.  

I am being completely serious when I tell you it is little more than the movement of a mouse button. I wondered aloud at this until I remembered it is a hammer-fired handgun.

Sights

With controlling recoil totally managed, the sights were the last critical component.  The X-RAY3 day/night sights were superb. My eye easily tracked the Hulk green front sight prior to and after the gun fired.  

As soon as I was right back on, I fired again, the short trigger reset allowing for some rapid fire. The results were outstanding.  Trying the same in the darkness found the sights handle both settings with aplomb.

Sig Legion Grouping
An entire magazine of 15 rounds from 21 feet in quick succession.  You can see I pulled one.

The combined package improved my shooting.  I set out from a distance of ten feet from the target and determined to run two full magazines through on the same spot of the target.  

The idea of the drill is getting used to the gun and seeing how and where it shoots. First magazine was a decent rate of fire and the second, more aggressive.  Granted, I was close, but the idea of thirty rounds going through the same ragged hole had me impressed—especially at speed.

I liked all the controls but found the slide release to be a bit of a tight fit, slightly crowded by the safety.  I’m sure when I get more used to the Legion I’ll adjust to it.

I am not a fan of an external safety, but this one is well placed and easy to deactivate.  In fact, when shooting, my thumb rests neatly on top of the safety.

CCW or Duty Gun?

Since the P226 is a full-sized pistol, most people won’t want to conceal carry it due to the size and weight, but you still could if you wanted to.

As a duty gun, in the woods gun, or home defense pistol the P226 is top tier. You’ll want a good holster and a strong belt to carry it with.

42
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Parting Shots

Reliability 5/5

As mentioned above, I ran several brands of ammo through this gun over the course of a few trips to the range.  I never experienced any failures or malfunctions.

I did fail to properly seat the magazine at one point leading to that sickening “click” when I pulled the trigger.  An immediate action drill cured this and I was soon banging away, operator error noted.

26
at GunMag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Ergonomics 5/5

I cannot praise the Legion enough for its ergonomics.  With one slight gripe being the crowded slide release, the rest is an absolute dream.  

The swell of the backstrap fits my hand to a T, and the aggressive texturing makes sure it stays in place.  I do wonder if it might eventually wear down a long sleeve shirt with too much contact though. 

Of course, I can always buy more shirts.

Accuracy 5/5

The combination of controllability, amazing trigger, and superlative sights makes this full-sized pistol an absolute laser.  I was laughing as I shot the same hole (or extremely close to it) multiple times.

Best 9mm Self-Defense (124 gr)
25.75
at Lucky Gunner

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

The same predictability difficult to replicate in a striker-fired weapon where the long trigger pull often leads to a rushed shot and low left hits on target.  The Legion does not suffer this.

Customization 4/5

The Legion is already customized.  There is a common theme in the firearms industry of people buying guns then spending a lot more money adding this particular doodad or that in an effort to make it perfect.  The Legion was designed to satisfy people who want to buy an awesome pistol, just like it is.

I suspect you could change the sights though I don’t know why you would.  You can also add a light though keep in mind this is a Sig rail. Everything else is golden because it has already been upgraded.  

125
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Accessing the exclusive offerings of the Legion membership, who knows what may be available?

Value 4/5

This will possibly have some people scratching their heads but others will see what I’m driving at.  

If you aren’t into building up a firearm with all the best parts from your favorite companies—imagine the ultimate Frankengun—but want hellacious performance, indomitable accuracy and reliability, buy the Legion.  

Perfect if you subscribe to the philosophy of “Buy once, cry once” with Sig’s MSRP around $1,400. Thankfully, street price is a touch lower.

P226 Perfected
1200
at Rainier Arms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

That said, they can be found around $1,100 online and you are absolutely getting what you pay for.  I’ve purchased expensive handguns before thinking they were the ultimate, but they later fell short.

Imagine a handgun with startling good accuracy, but malfunctions regularly with some ammo brands.  The Legion is not that gun.

Overall 5/5

Sig and Case
This is an expensive firearm but it delivers extremely impressive performance in all categories.

Conclusion

The SIG P226 Legion is a shining example of what a firearm manufacturer can do when they set out to build an amazing handgun with no limitations. Accurate, reliable, ergonomic, stylish… we can’t find a fault with this handgun–except maybe the price.

Many people will balk at the price but the capabilities of the pistol are overtly worth the price tag. I would hazard to say this gun can make people better shooters, simply by picking it up and firing it.

Are you part of the Legion? Have another high-end pistol you love? Tell us about it in the comments! If you’re ready to take your pistol to the next level, check out the 4 Best Pistol Red Dot Sights!

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30 Leave a Reply

  • Michael

    I own Legions (226/229) and since owning them I feel 2 things. 1. I feel a little scared to shoot them,.... because that's all I want to shoot and I fear I will one day wear them out and it'll be difficult finding Legions at that time. 2. I go to the range with a Legion and 'something else' to shoot. It's as though I 'have' to bring something else from the safe to shoot; because I bought them TO shoot. BUT I love shooting a Legion SOOOO much that all the others now seem a little bla. I own some really nice stuff but nothing overshadows the Legion. Its as though the folks at Sig sat around the table to make the perfect gun for me.

    4 months ago
  • Krush

    I have a Sig P227 tactical with a threaded barrel and tall sights. It's a beautiful .45 with a 10 round mag and shoots like a dream. I have no idea why Sig discontinued such an exceptional pistol. I also have a Sig P229 Elite 9mm for EDC. Another example of how to do it right.

    5 months ago
  • Rich

    I have a Sig P226 Elite Stainless, which has been discontinued in favor of this overpriced Legion nonsense. I guess Sig is getting away from the beautiful stainless finish pistols in favor of all these crappy coatings.

    6 months ago
    • Michael

      My father bought one of these 20 year ago. I have it now. Love the gun. I have a hard time firing smaller guns now. My only gripe is the price of the mags and the slim selection of holsters.

      1 week ago
  • francis Grivois

    I bought a p226 legion the SA, DA model as thats what im used to. I first looked at the gun online and was a little put off by the price untill I rented one at the range I go to, to say the least I was impressed. the next day I ordered one thru buds at 1,195.00. Ive never regretted buying it. 1500 rounds later of several diff brands and types of ammo ive never had a hickup or misfire,its very accurate with little recoil. my daughters go to the range with me and its always everyones favorite, rarely gets put down and always leaves warm or hot to the touch. ps I did clean it to rid it of the excess grease and oiled it properly before the first trip to the range. im looking at buying the RX change kit for it.

    9 months ago
  • John Q Public

    This review could have been so much more useful and readable without all the flowery prose and other nonsense. Just write the review, don't try to be clever.

    9 months ago
    • Sean Curtis

      Aren't you a peach? Thanks for the read, regardless.

      2 months ago
  • David

    Have had this particular pistol, with the Romeo 1, to the range twice. Using Blazer Brass 9 mm ammunition, had more than 15 failures the first time with full magazines over a span of 150 rounds. I did not do any maintenance to the pistol as it was new and assumed it had been shipped in working order (cause, 1500 bucks, right?) The failures seemed to come in clusters but weren't relegated to a particular magazine. Took it home and cleaned and oiled and cleaned and oiled and oiled and cleaned (because 1500 bucks, right???) The second time at the range had 3 failures with two different magazines loaded with 5 rounds each. Overcome with sadness and buyer's remorse, I called Sig and they said this was typical for this weapon and I should try their ammunition. The gentleman I spoke with said his P226 SAO Legion often needed cleaning after 350 rounds or so. Left skeptical and a bit jaded. Will see what happens next range trip. Just wanted to throw this in to the mix. I do love how it feels in my hand, and THAT TRIGGER, but my VP9 is as accurate and goes BANG every time. Fingers crossed for improvement.

    1 year ago
    • Toby

      You have to clean it before using it the first time. Have had zero issues. Only at 500 rounds thus far.

      8 months ago
  • Wargirl51

    I wish I would have got this instead of my M17. I think I would have been happier with the trigger on this one.

    1 year ago
    • Dale Ross

      Try the Apex Trigger System for about $150.00. I put one on my P320 and it does make quite a difference. I have ALL of the 226/229 Legions as well as all the TacOps, STX/TTT and 16 of their 1911's. Also two Dan wesson's, a Les baer, Desert Eagle and others...Sig rules.

      1 year ago
  • Lou Mandich

    Great article and I agree the ratings. I purchased a used P226 9mm Legion on 11/11/18 and after a class, couple thousand rounds, I couldn't be happier with the choice. About four months later, close enough to my birthday, I see this come out from their newsletter. This way I can just swap for with/without Romeo on it. https://www.sigsauer.com/store/caliber-x-change-kit-p226-legion-rx.html Happy Birthday to me! I took a friend and his daughter target shooting a few weeks after I sighted it in. She had fired a AR before but never a handgun. Few minutes of safety instruction I let her loose with 20 rounds ready to go at 7 yards. She jumped every time she squeezed the trigger, however, her grouping was just amazing for a first time shooter. She shot better than her dad and I, he and I are Army veterans, We are both proud of her skills at 15, we both said we need to practice more since she beat us in anything we shot that day.

    1 year ago
    • Sean Curtis

      Thank you Lou, and thanks for your service!

      2 months ago
  • Robb Starr

    I love mine, superb job on building this gun, it runs any ammo that I have fired through it flawlessly. Nice job with this gun! My only regret is I wish I would have purchased it in .40 S&W instead of 9mm

    1 year ago
    • Mike

      9 is better, 40 is going away slowly but surely.

      10 months ago
  • Mlanders

    I have this Legion and absolutely love it! I hardly have to aim just point and press. Well worth the money.

    1 year ago
  • Jacki B.

    Nice write-up!

    1 year ago
    • Sean Curtis

      Thank you!

      1 year ago
  • David Holcroft

    How does the Sig compare to the new Walther Q5 Match?

    1 year ago
    • Sean Curtis

      David, this is an excellent question--I have heard some stellar things about the Q5 Match, I might just have to review that one.

      1 year ago
      • Jeff

        Please do review the Q5 match sf!!!

        1 year ago
  • newbie

    I purchased one last year. Nothing can beat it. End of story.

    1 year ago
    • Toby

      I laughed so hard at you comment, but mainly because you are 100% correct!

      8 months ago
  • Paul VanWasshenova

    I have a Springfield Armory EMP .40S&W. I’m retired military and a CPL(CCW) holder. My EMP is my everyday carry. I absolutely love it. Not only does it fit my larger hands but, I have trained with it a ton. Never a miss feed or jam.

    1 year ago
  • Mike Strickland

    Have you done a review of the Beretta 92 Elite LTT? I’d love to see what your comparison of the Sig Sauer Legion P226 and the Beretta 92 Elite LTT would be. I too carry a firearm for a living. My department recently moved from the Beretta 92 FS to the Smith and Wesson M&P 9 mm. I still carry my Beretta 92 because of my familiarity with the weapon system and my nostalgia for my personal sidearm. I am thinking about transitioning to the Beretta 92 elite LTT because it’s so close to what I already carry I’d love to see a comparison between the Sig Legion and the Beretta 92 Elite LTT.

    1 year ago
    • Sean Curtis

      Mike, I was issued a Beretta 92 when I started my LE career. I almost didn't make it out of the academy with that gun. It's left a bad taste in my mouth ever since. Over the years I've spoken with people who loved theirs, and I've even spoke with armorers who suggested mine was not properly maintained by a gunsmith. Knowing the agency I worked for, I have every reason to believe this. I should really set aside my reservations and give the brand another shot!

      1 year ago
      • Scott C

        You really should Sean, I hated the M9 I was issued for years, it was horrible. It felt like the thing was held together with grease from the chow hall and hope and couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn if I was inside of it. I finally succumbed and allowed one of my friends talk me into shooting his M9A3, holy crap what a difference. I didn’t even bother saving to get it later, just dipped into the savings account and got one. My only regret was that I didn’t wait for the gray/black one to come out this year.

        1 year ago
  • Hammer

    I've said it before and I'll say it again - there are two kinds of people when it comes to the Sig Legions. 1) Those who turn their noses up at them, say they're over-priced, etc. and, 2) those who have actually shot them. I don't find there is a lot of overlap between those two categories. They are stellar pistols.

    1 year ago
    • Scott C

      Totally agree, I’ve been adding to my legion line (very slowly, thanks to the price tag) ever since shooting the P220 SAO legion. I’m usually not a fan boy of any one specific maker or line, but color me a legion fan boy.

      1 year ago
    • Sean Curtis

      Amen Hammer.

      1 year ago
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