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Test: SIG Sauer P226 Legion and Legion SAO in 9 mm Luger Caliber

SIG Sauer P226 Legion with magazine, medal and GECO Hexagon ammunition

With the “Legion” pistol models, SIG Sauer offers some great variations on the popular classic P226 theme. In addition to the Legion with its DA/SA triggering, the manufacturer also offers the quite remarkable P226 Legion SAO. But what makes this service pistol in 9 mm Luger caliber special? We have subjected this pistol to extensive testing.

The Team of all4shooters.com // Text: Tino Schmidt , Photos: Uli Grohs


A new, remarkable pistol with a caliber of 9 × 19 mm is now available to the European market in the form of the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO from the USA.

Pistol SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO with 2 magazines in its transport case
The SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO pistol is delivered in a gray transport case with a matching inner lining which also accommodates two reserve magazines and a legion medal.

The P226 SAO from the recent “Legion” series already looks good from a visual perspective: the most striking features are the anthracite-gray PVD surface coating and the flat, easy-grip G10 handle. Far from being just visually pleasing, the straight trigger blade also provides a large contact area for the index finger. But how does the Legion SAO differ technically from the conventional SIG Sauer P226 pistol models?

SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO semi-automatic pistol with GECO Hexagon Match ammunition
SIG Sauer P226 Legion with the DA/SA combination. This pistol with its 9 mm Luger caliber is already a beautiful gem.

The technical characteristics of the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO service pistol

Comparison between the classic SIG Sauer P226 and the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO
SIG Sauer service pistols: A classic P226 produced in 1999 (top), and the P226 Legion SAO in comparison.

The most important difference from a technical perspective is probably the triggering system: the classic double-action/single-action (DA/SA) combination with the automatically returning uncocking lever is not present, as the model name of the P226 Legion SAO (“Single Action Only”) already suggests. The pistol is equipped with a pure single-action trigger with an ambidextrous safety. The straight trigger blade looks really great and feels even better. Presumably SIG Sauer’s intention is to make this service pistol with German roots more attractive to shooters nurtured with the 1911.


In the US, the SIG Sauer P226 Legion service pistol is also available with the DA/SA combination and even in the in-house caliber of .357 SIG as well as in .40 Smith & Wesson. Since the SA version does not feature an uncocking function, the left-sided elevation in the upper area of the handle can also be dispensed with. The result: the handle is even more ergonomic.

What makes the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO service pistol stand out?

Ambidextrous safety mechanism of the SIG Sauer Legion P226 SAO service pistol
The SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO is equipped with an ambidextrous safety mechanism.
SIG Sauer P226 Legion service pistol dismantled into its weapon components
SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO: the service pistol dismantled into its individual parts.

The ambidextrous thumb safety is standard to the P226 Legion SAO model. With the semi-automatic SIG Sauer P226 Legion pistol with its DA/SA trigger you will find neither an ambidextrous safety nor a straight trigger blade. Old connoisseurs of the SIG Sauer P226 will also notice that the now external extractor is designed so that it is hinged. With the P226 in its classic design, this feature is built internally and is also in a state of self-tension. Exactly in the same way that is known, for example, from the 1911 models.


The SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO service pistol relies on a sight with two white, non-luminescent twilight markings. However, with the Legion the impact point position can only be corrected by moving the sight elements laterally or by exchanging them.


At a trigger pull of around 1,400 g, the single-action trigger induced a small amount of creep after the pull-off during testing. Including the magazine, the total weight of the weapon is 975 g, while the barrel length is 112 mm. In the 9 mm Luger caliber, the magazine of the SIG Sauer Legion SAO can contain 15 cartridges.

SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO semi-automatic pistol with its 9 mm Luger caliber
The SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO with a 9 × 19 mm caliber is a must for the most demanding shooters.

Technical data for the SIG Sauer Legion SAO service pistol

Manufacturer:SIG Sauer
Model:P226 Legion SAO
Caliber:9 mm Luger
Magazine capacity:15 roiunds
Handle:Aluminum, gray coated
Slide:Steel gray coated; 340 g
Barrel length, barrel profile: 112 mm, 6× grooves and lands profile, right-handed twist
Grooves and lands diameter/ twist length:8,84-9,07 mm / 1-250 mm
Rear sight:3.8 mm; two white, non-luminescent point markings, driftable sideways
Front sight:

3.5 mm; with white, non-luminescent point marking

Sight length:160 mm
Safety:Ambidextrous lever safety on the handle
Trigger system:Single-action trigger
Total weight including magazine975 g
Dimensions:
(L x B x H)
216 mm x 140 mm x 45 mm
List Price: 
regular
€1,999 (RRP, incl. VAT)
As of: September 2017


How well does the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO pistol perform in the shooting test?

Marksman testing the SIG Sauer P226 Legion service pistol
SIG Sauer P226 Legion. This pistol performs well when fired on the shooting range.

One thing to mention first: the pistol revealed no functional defects during the entire test. To check the shooting performance of the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO we made our way over to the shooting range. For precision checking we selected 8 loads, including 2 handloads, with bullet weights ranging from 100 to 147 grains.


The best result was achieved with the Federal American Eagle (147 grain) with a group scattering of 28 mm. The next best performer was our handload cartridge consisting of the 125-grain Hornady HAP bullet and the 5.2-grain Hodgon Longshot. The group scattering was 48 mm. Third place was taken by the 124-grain GECO Hexagon with a group scattering of 56 mm. The average group scattering for all the tested loads was 59 mm.

Target with shot grouping for the SIG Sauer P226 Legion service pistol
The SIG Sauer P226 Legion service pistol made a good impression on the shooting range.

Test results for the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO

Legion lettering on the topside of the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO service pistol
The “Legion” lettering adorns the slide of the SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO on its topside.

The SIG Sauer P226 Legion SAO service pistol with its pure-bred SA trigger is already something special. The weapon may be of interest to those shooters looking for a service pistol with the handling characteristics of a 1911. However, let there be no doubt that the pistol is indeed optimized for performance. In keeping with the zeitgeist, the gun is equipped with picatinny rails to accommodate additional equipment. It meets the requirements of even the most demanding sport shooters and is a top performer for various disciplines in dynamic IPSC shooting involving handguns.


However, if you want to make a SIG Sauer Legion your own, you’ll have to dig deep into your pockets. The regular list price is €1,999.


For further information on SIG Sauer handguns, please visit the website of the manufacturer.



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