Test: SIG SAUER X-Press

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Think about it: Heavy, solid all-steel pistols with 5” barrels and sporty features in a universal calibre of 9 mm Luger in the price range of ca. 1600 Euro are few and far between. Under this standpoint, the brand new SIG SAUER X-Series starter model X-Press, which provides for a gentle shooting experience due to its unladen weight, can be a hot contender for the “Pole position” in this price class. It successfully completes the new SIG SAUER X-Series of match pistols as a “Low budget version”.

SIG SAUER X-Press: Getting the price right!

The sporty pistol model X-Press has a certain past within the SIG SAUER product portfolio because the history begins in 1998 with the introduction of P226 SL, which was built from stainless steel instead of a light metal frame and metal sheet lock as in the case of the successful classic model P226.

Besides the greater durability, P226 SL also had 200 grams more weight (largely front-loaded) and therefore the foundation for a solid sport weapon was already laid back at that time. Three years later, the P226 SL model followed with a match barrel with 15 mm diameter instead of 13.5 mm, a reworked trigger system and full-fletched micrometre sight which marked the birth of “X-Press”.    

With the programme upgrades in 2004 and 2005 through the all-steel match pistols X-Five (and X-Five Allround with the double-action trigger) with 5”-barrel and X-Six with 6”-barrel, the more compact X-Press model was pushed into the background as time passed. Considering the rising in-house competition, it was only a matter of time before the X-Press was removed not too long ago from the programme as part of the model revision.

SIG SAUER X-press
The new all-steel sport pistol SIG SAUER
SIG SAUER X-press
….. X-Press in both side views

2013: Restarting the SIG SAUER X-Press

The brand new X-Press model hardly has any similarities to its predecessor. It is not a sport version in service pistol format with double-action/single-action trigger system in combination with a decocking lever and 4.4”/112 mm barrel, but rather a simplified version of the new X-Five model with 5”/127 mm barrel. 

X-Five is offered in the three forms “Classic” (2599 Euro), “Match” (2769 Euro) as well as “Supermatch” (2899 Euro) and you may well wonder that how the immense price advantage of the new X-Press model in contrast to the X-Five variants is possible.

How can SIG SAUER X-Press become a price-cutter?

In order to ensure savings of 1000 to 1300 Euro for the potential customers, the minimum requirements had to be laid down at SIG SAUER with respect to quality and features of the new X-Press sport pistol. The first step was to simplify the trigger system, which offered a great potential for savings. By omitting individual components of the complex mechanical system for which the trigger weight, fall path of the trigger after shot release (trigger stop) as well as trigger blade position can be adjusted in the more expensive models upon your personal preferences, the pistol was efficiently streamlined. Whoever can do without these would have a flawless and smoothly functioning simple single-action trigger with minimal creep and not too many adjustment options. The trigger weight was 2165 grams, which differentiates it from the higher priced X-Series models with adjustable triggers, which have an average pre-set trigger weight of 1300 grams.    

SIG SAUER X-press
Ergonomic stainless steel in SIG SAUER X-Press: Broadly curved grip nose for high shooting hand position, guard on both sides according to the 1911 design with large thumb-supporting surface as well as fixed rear sight inserted in the lock

In the next step, the target elements were modified such that a fixed sight was now possible instead of an adjustable micrometre sight at the topside of the X-Press slide and hence the impact point could now be adjusted only by lateral movement of the front sight in the dovetail or the rear sight in the adaptor plate. Since the cutting design is adapted to all the available sights and their dimensions, the micrometre rear sight can also be adjusted later by the shooter as “drop in part“ without any reworking. The high-quality grip plates made of glass-fibre reinforced G-10 material or walnut wood were also omitted. Instead of these, there are simple panels made of nylon plastic in the starter model, which provide a reasonably good grip based on their surface properties.

Components manufactured through MIM (“Metal Injection Moulding“), which are used by many companies in the manufacturing of geometrically complex equipment exposed to low to medium stress, also play an important role in the case of X-Press. In metal powder injection moulding, pure metal powder with a grain size of 5-20 µm is shaped with a binder. Through subsequent debinding and sintering in vacuum, highly complex, filigree, near-net shaped, installation-ready and resilient MIM moulded parts are produced. In the new reasonably priced SIG SAUER X-Press model, the locking insert, trigger, hammer, sear or even the magazine button is manufactured using this method.   

 

SIG SAUER X-Press: A look at the important aspects

All these streamlining measures together lead to a massive price difference with no compromise in the material quality because an old or brand new expensive X-Five model is built with the similar major components as the X-Press model presented here.

As mentioned at the beginning, the grip ends of all the all-steel variants are drop-forged and processed further with modern, multi-axle CNC machines. Because X-Five and X-Press frames are similar in structure, one can note the machine-cut checkering at the front of the grip end and trigger guard even in the “economical design”.

SIG SAUER X-press
SIG SAUER X-Press: The muzzle part with the highly slanted slide edges

The lock is manufactured with an extruded profile and thus milled, and the cold-hammered barrel with backed-off muzzle has a typical twist length of 1-10” (250 mm). Below the barrel, the two-part recoil spring guide is positioned with two closing springs of different spring rate/strength connected in series, which shall bring about a reduction in the recoil and hence be beneficial for the user and the machine. In the calibre 9 mm luger, the closing springs drilled from two wire cores were replaced through single=wire springs which lead to an improvement in the shooting feel. In the single-action version of X-Press shown here, the trigger unit is combined with the rotary safety catches on both sides keeping in line with the design dating back to 1911.

The technical features of SIG SAUER X-Press

Manufacturer   
SIG SAUER
Model
P226 X-Press
Calibre
9 mm Luger
Magazine capacity
17 cartridges
Grip
Stainless Steel
LockStainless Steel, 332 grams
Barrel lenght, Barrel profile
127 mm, 6 groove fields, right-hand twist
Barrel diameter, twist lenght
.356“, 1-250 mm
Rear sight
3,75 mm, fixed sight
Front sight
3.5 mm. ramp front sight with white illumination point   
Sight radius
186 mm
Protection
Pivoted lever guard on both sides of the grip, drop guard    
Trigger system, resistance*
SA: 2032-2280 grams, average: 2165 grams   
Total weight (incl. magazine)
1.260 grams
Dimensions
223 x 152 x 40 mm
Extras
Spare magazine, hard protective case    
Price:
Starting from 1599 Euro    

* Average of 5 measurements with the Lyman Digital Trigger Gauge

SIG SAUER X-Five: Modular and upgradable

SIG SAUER X-press
SIG SAUER X-Press: The fixed rear sight which can be replaced with an adjustable sight lies deep in the lock section

Moreover, the new X-Press model is extremely versatile and upgradable. The single-action trigger unit with a 1911 guard on both sides can be replaced with a double-action trigger unit and decocking lever for example, whereby this task is carried out in the SIG SAUER Mastershop or by a qualified gunsmith. According to SIG SAUER, the new DA/SA variant of X-Press has already been approved by the IPSC Production Division as well. Because the brand new starter model is compatible with the opulent X-Series range of accessories, it can be upgraded according to individual requirements. 

Besides the frame weights, which have also been successful from the aesthetic point of view, illuminated dot sight fittings can also be used for the X-Press in “free” or “open” weapon classes. Apart from this, it is also compatible with SIG SAUER conversion systems and X-Press can thus be equipped with a top part with 6”/152-mm-barrel later. The small calibre conversion system, which is still in the final phase of the trials and will be delivered by the end of the year according to the company, will also be put on in no time so that there is nothing to stand in the way of training with it or its use in sports. 


Precision test: With the SIG SAUER X-Press at the shooting range

Here, the moment of truth for the brand new X-Press model arrives and it shall prove in the ransom rest shooting machine whether it really has the potential to be used for all-round purposes in sport. The good news first of all: In a dozen of used ammunition types, ten factory-set and two manual loads with a bullet weight spectrum of 95 to 147 grains and around 300 fired cartridges, there was not even a single functional issue.

The best 10-shots groups over the 25-Meter distance were achieved this time with the Magtech subsonic factory ammunition with heavy 147 grain hollow point bullets, in the case of which the shot hole centres lying farthest from each other had only a gap of 28 millimetres between them.

The average precision of X-Press was very satisfactory with a value of 47 mm, taken as theoretical mean of all the twelve ammunition types. All the other results can be viewed in the following ballistics table.

Shooting performance SIG SAUER X-Press in 9 mm Luger

Bullet-weight-manufacturer-

Type-form-dia

Load-amount (grs.) Manufacturer-type

OAL

in mm

v2

in m/s

v2-Diff.

in m/s

FaktorMIP

Precision

in mm

Notes regarding

the loads

95 Magtech JSP TC .355“
Magtech (Factory)
26,9
415,9
23,7
129,6
256,0
32
HV target load
115 Magtech JHP TC .355“
Magtech (Factory)
28,1
350,7
11,0
132,3
261,3
57
disappointing this time
115 Remington JHP TC .355“
Remington (Factory)
27,2
352,7
15,1
133,0
262,8
53
alternative to Magtech 115 JHP
123 LOS TMJ TC .355“
4,2 Vihtavuori N330
28,5
319,9
20,6
129,0
255,0
77
diagonal dispersion
124 GECO FMJ OG .355“
GECO (Factory)
29,3
337,1
19,3
137,1
270,9
69
reasonable standard cartridge
124 S&B FMJ OG .355“
S&B (Factory)
29,5
339,2
24,3
138,0
272,6
70
reasonable standard cartridge
125 Hornady HAP TC .355“
Hornady Steel Match (Factory)
27,1
338,3
14,1
138,7
274,0
41factory-provided with HAP bullet    
125 Hornady HAP TC .355“
5,2 Hodgdon Longshot
28,5
335,8
18,9
137,7
272,0
32
reference, manual loading   
147 Federal FMJ TC .355“
Federal AE (Factory)
27,1
291,5
9,5
140,6
277,7
33
soft subsonic loading   
147 Magtech JHP TC .355“Magtech (Factory)
29,2
297,7
8,0
143,6
283,6
28
best result in test   
147 Magtech FMJ TC .355“
Magtech (Factory)
29,1
294,8
32,5
142,2
280,8
39
high v2 fluctuation   
147 Prvi Partizan JHP TC .355“
Prvi Partizan (Factory)
28,1
292,9
11,3
141,3
279,0
36
soft subsonic cartridge    
Average of the loads   






47

Abbreviations in caliber: All bullet and powder weights in Grains (for converting into grams, please multiply by 0.0648). v2 = bullet weight in meters per second, measured two meters in front of the muzzle. OAL = Overall Length = overall cartridge length. FMJ = Full Metal Jacket. HAP = Hornady Action Pistol = hollow point match bullet. JHP = Jacketed Hollow Point Bullet. OG = Ogive. TC = Truncated Cone. Test setup: The bullet speed (v2 in metres per second) was measured with BMC 18 device. The precision test took place with a ransom rest shooting machine over a 25 meter distance for each 10 shots group. The shooting results are based on the distance between the centres of the bullet holes. The values in the brackets provide the precision without outliers. All the manual loads in new Remington sleeves with Federal 100 Small Pistol Standard igniters and taper crimp. All the load details are provided without any guarantee. Every reloader is responsible for his acts according to the law!

The close study would be useful for documenting the solid shooting performance of the test weapon since one half of all the loads were below the 40-millimetre mark. Quite interestingly, “our” X-Press ammunition in form of the subsonic loads with heavy 147-grain bullet weight fared very well.


SIG SAUER X-Press – the conclusion of the German gun magazine Caliber

Based on the experiences we have had, the new SIG SAUER X-Press is a rock solid all-steel weapon available at a very attractive price, which can impress with its workmanship, functionality and shooting performance. The modular design principle of the entire new X-Series and the versatility and upgradability are thus another important plus point of X-Press.

The 1599 Euro demand for the pre-set standard variant presented here for the first time is absolutely fine.