Test: SIG Sauer P 226 LDC in 9 mm Luger

It belongs to one of Germany’s oldest handgun families. The pistol’s predecessor, the P 220, entered the market 40 years ago. One decade later the P 226 was launched as an upgrade of the P 220 for the US military XM9 trial series, which featured a double-stack 15-round magazine.

Built initially for 9 mm cartridges, the P 226 soon accommodated .40 S & W, .357 SIG and .22 l.r. rounds, and the manufacturer proceeded to release dozens of versions. Models such as the P 228 and P 224 are also based on the P 226. The SIG Sauer P 226 LDC, a version designed for competition purposes, was then launched in 2014. The suffix stands for the "Long Dust Cover" on the slide, which now extends to the muzzle. This is a standard feature in the IPSC Sport Production Class. Additionally, SIG Sauer fitted a Picatinny rail to the long cover. The all-steel design, replacing the otherwise aluminium frame, is another characteristic feature of the P 226 LDC. The engineering uses the modified Browning principle with open control cam and a block locking mechanism in the ejection port, identical to the P 220 and the P 226. The handgun also has the same arrangement of operating levers found in the various series mentioned above — which takes us right into the test.

SIG Sauer P 226 LDC disassembled
SIG Sauer P 226 LDC: There is a block locking mechanism controlling a tilt-breech system above an open cam, as one would expect from a SIG Sauer pistol

The SIG Sauer P226 LDC test

The handling elements are arranged exclusively on the left and therefore accommodate only right-handers; but at least the magazine release is ambidextrous. Testers with larger hands found it easy to reach the operating levers, but those with smaller hands experienced difficulties. Right-handers gripping the handgun with both hands will find a convenient spot to rest their shooting thumbs on the angled slide stop. This means that it does not remain open after discharging the last shot. But this may not bother IPSC shooters, who are unlikely to empty their magazines before reloading (-2 points).

The trigger frame design was almost flawless: the grip plates (attached from behind) felt pleasantly flush in the hand, while their carefully roughened backstrap surfaces proved entirely anti-slip – although the feature did make DA operation difficult for small fingers (-1 point). In terms of finishing, the bluing on the two 17-round magazines by the Italian manufacturer Mec-Gar caused a few frowns, as there are better options available (-1 point). But the rubber bases on the casing does deserve a mention.

Rear sight SIG Sauer P226 LDC
SIG Sauer P 226 LDC: fully adjustable with good target image, but a little small – our impression of the fitted LPA rear sight
Front sight of the SIG Sauer P226 LDC
The SIG Sauer 226 LDC features a green-yellow fiber optic front sight that provides lateral drift

The sights: The test weapon comes with fiber optic front sight. Also easily adjustable thanks to the uniform detent mechanisms and clear labelling of the rear sight – again from Italy, but this time made by LPA. 

Nevertheless, it is fair to ask why the weapon with the TPU version also has the smallest design; sport shooters have a clear preference for larger rear sight blades (-1 point.) It is important to emphasise, though, that the target image was not poor, just somewhat small. But these were the only aspects that led to point deductions. 

Otherwise there were no criticisms: the outstanding group size of 27 mm produced the top mark of 50 points in terms of accuracy (-0 points), while there were no problems with chambering/safety, either (-0 points), although the shells, specifically modified for the IPSC Minor factor of 125, found it a bit of a squeeze to fit out the ejector port. The trigger characteristics, which discharged evenly and came reinforced with the company’s own Short Reset Trigger (SRT), deserve special mention. The SRT enables a very short reset path to SA following DA shot no. 1 – along with an adjustable second stage (-0 points).

Summary of the SIG Sauer P 226 LDC:

A 1,230-gram sports pistol designed for the IPSC Production Class that is just as much the winning ticket in all multiple-distance and standard 25-metre disciplines: fantastic. 95 of a possible 100 points says everything about the qualities of this handgun. An unconditionally endorsed purchase.

Score for the SIG Sauer P 226 LDC in 9 mm Luger:

Accuracy (max. 50 points)
50 points
Chambering/safety (max. 10 points)
10 points
Trigger characteristics (max. 10 points)
10 points
Trigger frame design (max. 5 points)
4 points
Handling elements (max. 10 points)
8 points
Sight (max. 5 points)
4 points
Finishing (max. 10 points)
9 points
Total score (max. 100 points)
95 points 
Test grade
6 out of 6 

Shooting test: SIG Sauer P 226 LDC:

No.Factory cartridgeGroup sizev2E2
1.115 grs Sellier & Bellot JHP52 mm336 m/s421 J
2.115 grs Magtech FMJ55 mm347 m/s449 J
3.124 grs Sellier & Bellot FMJ53 (19) mm312 m/s391 J
4.124 grs GECO Hexagon27 (21) mm317 m/s404 J
5.139 grs GECO GMJ46 mm276 m/s343 J

Note: group size = 5-/4-shot groups, fired at a distance of 25 metres from a sandbag support, stated in millimetres, measured from that whole centre to bullet hole centre. v2 = bullet velocity two metres in front of the muzzle, stated in metres per second. E2 = bullet energy in joules two metres in front of the muzzle. Bullet abbreviations: FMJ = Full Metal Jacket, JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point.

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SIG Sauer P 226 LDC

SIG Sauer P 226 LDC pistol and ammunition packagingMichael Schippers

€ 1.299,00
ManufacturerSIG Sauer
ModelP 226 LDC
Typesemiautomatic pistol
Caliber9 mm Luger
Actionsemi auto
Trigger systemsingle and double action
Safeties automatic on the firing pin, decocking lever
Capacity17+1 rounds
Barrel112 mm
SightsHi-Wiz front sight, LPA adjustable rear sight
Overall length20,8 cm / 8.2inches
Weight1,230 g (with magazine)
Materials/FinishesFrame and slide blued steel
NotesCase with spare magazine, gun grease, spare front sights, operating manual (in four languages), factory test target, tools