SIG-Sauer questions

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Apr 14, 2004
Walla Walla
I've been thinking of buying a handgun for a while and plan to carry one later on. I already own a shotgun, and so a pistol is my next step. After plenty of research I concluded that a SIG-Sauer P226 is my best bet. I have two questions:

1. I know the gun has a reversable magazine release, and as a lefty, I would like to do this. How difficult would this be or will that be an easy thing to do?

2. I've decided on either getting the 9mm or .40 cal S&W. Is there any advantage of either type (4.4 inch barrel) for self defense?
The 226 is a great gun. I have one in 357 SIG w/a spare .40 bbl.

I'm not sure on the mag release, but re caliber I suggest the 9 mm. Cheaper, less muzzle blast, easier to learn with and no significant diff in terminal effect when using decent ammo.
I agree with getting a 9mm. Low cost practice ammo will keep you at the range practicing longer and more often. You won't retain bad habits (anticipation, flinching, jerking, pulling, etc) since the load is pretty tame and easy to shoot.
If I'm not mistaken you could get plenty of pre ban 15 shot magazines in 9mm whilst the 40 mags would be hard to get, hold 12 rounds and be XPENSIVE. They are a very nice pistol, imho.
I note that Mr SIG-Sauer himself, my good bud Ala Dan has not yet arrived on the scene. I trust he will come by and lay the word down as to the truth about the SIG P226.

I have one, but Ala Dan is the yoda master when it comes to SIGs. :D
Good choice with the 226. The mag release should not be difficult and if you can't switch it they could do it at Sigarms for you.

No question about caliber: go 9mm.
The amazing reversible mag release...

I reversed the mag release on my p245, it's pretty easy, but you do need to be a bit careful not to bend the plate too much.

The fun thing is that once you've reversed it, your sidearm will confuse the snot out of anyone else who uses it and isn't in on the secret!

{dredging up was a few years back}

NOTE: The operator's manual explicitly states you can bust your handgun doing this, and to send it into the factory. I believe them, so proceed at your own risk!

As I recall, there's a thin plate opposite the mag release button. We wedged a thin punch in, and slid it forward a bit, so it could be pried out, being careful not to loose the mag release spring. We then straightened the plate out, having bent it a bit, and then reassembled it with the mag release on the other side.

Here's the sig armorer's manual, jump to page 41 for the procedure.

{Doh, I just read it. It turns out you can just press the plate inwards and tilt the armorer's manual, not me.}
Try registering at SIGforum. There are some great people there, with a WEALTH of nearly infinite knowledge. They have an armorers forum, too, with a certified SIG armorer moderating (Chris Orndorff, I believe).

As far as caliber, I chose 9mm for my first center-fire semi because it's inexpensive, abundant, low-recoil, moderately powerful, available anywhere.
Practice ammo is $11/100 at Wal*Mart. Defensive loads can be 115-124gr in regular or +P, or 147gr for a wide selection to please you preferences.
Almost any store with ammo will have 9mm.
If recoil, price, or availability is not an issue, I'd prefer the .357SIG over the .40.
Funny thing about that mag release. I assumed, when I bought a KYI 1076 that arrived with an off-side mag release, that I could just set it up on the other side, like the SIG. Nope, gotta order a different mag release button!

However, some people prefer the off-side release, hitting it with their trigger finger rather than their thumb. This old dog is not going to try to learn that new trick, but YMMV.
Lord knows I love my .45s. My P220 is my carry gun, another P220 is used for competition, and my other .45s are all great... but my favorite competition gun is my Sig P226ST in 9mm...;)
My Sig 226 is one of my favorite pistols. I highly recommend them to anyone. It would make an excellent first pistol for you. The mag release can be changed for you my any Sig armorer.

9mm is a great round for the 226. If you have the extra bucks get the Stainless version.
I have four SIG Sauer pistols, shoot left-handed and recommend that you leave the magazine release alone. If you learn to release the magazine by pressing the magazine release button with your left index finger I think you'll find that your reloads will be safer and faster. By using your trigger finger you ensure that your finger is never on the trigger when reloading, making things safer, and because you won't have to change your grip on the gun your time back on target will be faster. At least try it first so you'll have a baseline for comparrison.
I've taken that magazine plate off numerous times and have yet to bend one.

BTW, I'm a southpaw and I do as Blades67. I use my trigger finger to release the magazine on my P220. I had reversed it for left hand thumb release but found that trigger finger works better for me.
Not that I'm an authority on this by any means, but I prefer operating the mag release with my trigger finger too. Easier to reach than with my thumb.

Oh yeah, shootin' a 220.

P226.....also available instainless with light rails. Dependable, accurate, high cap mags... I love my 9mm. Happy trails

Greeting's All-

Many thanks for the nice introduction Big G my friend! :D

As you can probably tell, the SIG-SAUER P226 is a wonderful firearm; as all SIG Classic P-series self-loaders are. I like this weapon in its original 9m/m format; but if you desire "more punch", then the .357 SIG or the .40 S&W may be right for you?

Another friend, who is a firearms instructor with the Texas Department Of Public Safety reports that his department made the switch from my much beloved .45 caliber P220, to the P226 in .357 SIG. He was kind'a instrutmental in the switch; and I trust his judgement, as he has risen from the ranks only to wear the Distinguished Expert badge. Thats a feat I never accomplished! He reports that all .357 SIG P226's have functioned to expectations of a SIG-SAUER handgun; with only two or three minor type problems, one of which was the fact that the slide didn't lock back after the last round in the magazine was fired.

Being fair and impartial, my only negative comment about the SIG-SAUER P226 is its "European" grip angle! I may be in a minority, but I prefer the grip angle of the 9m/m P228, over that of the P226; of course you have to realize that the P220 and P228 have very similiar grip angles, and the P220 is my all time favorite!

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
I might be in the minority on this ( I might even be wrong :D ) but I prefer my 2340 to my 220 and 226 . Though I've never had a solitary issue with the .45 or 9mm , I feel that the .357 is actually just a tad more accurate and has a better trigger than the 220 and is on par with the 226 in all areas that concern me while making a bigger boom so it eeks ahead . Some snobs don't like that it's "tupperware" but if they got past their senseless bias they might realize it could possibly be the best piece Sig has made . At any rate , they're all excellent guns and I would - and do - trust my life with any of the above , though I've been tempted lately to trade the 226 in for a 239 . Beware though , these things are like Lays potato chips and if you get a Sig , I'll bet you can't get just one ! I haven't fired a 228 so I don't know about the difference in grip angle but I agree that a 9mm would be the best choice for all the reasons previously mentioned .

One last thing is that regardless of those of us who are devotees of all things Sig , if at all possible try out as many pistols as you can .If you personally don't get along with a 226 and find that , just for sake of arguement and example a P99 , fits your hand perfectly and feels entirely _right_ for you don't hesitate to buy it over a Sig . Your first pistol should be something that makes you have confidence in it and doesn't cause you to compromise your ability to do anything other than shoot it well . I got a 1911 as my first pistol and didn't learn to shoot straight until I had a piece that felt like it was meant to go in my hand ! ( a Browning P35 if you're curious !)
Another reason to get the P226 in .40 or .357: you can switch between those two rounds with nothing but a factory barrel change if you wish. You can also switch to 9mm with a barsto barrel, spring, and mag switch. If you start with the 9mm, you can't switch to .357 or .40.

The good thing about the 226: when it was chambered for .40/.357sig it was truely redesigned to take the increased punishment of those cartridges over 9mm. Improved lockup, heavier milled stainless slide, increased spring weight, and a fully supported chamber are all on the menu with the P226 .40/.357. Some other popular .40s like glock and beretta that started as 9s were not so thoroughly redesigned. As a result, the P226 is a better full size platform for pushing the "warmer" forty loads.:)

dont train yourself to only use ONE gun. Chances are, it will be the only gun you ever pick up that will be like that...not good.

I am a lefty, and mag releases/slide stops are no problem with your index and middle finger of your left hand.

Get used to it, and you will be confortable with any righty pistol you pick up.
I agree with arinvolvo. I am a lefty and the only thing I have ever done to any of my guns is to have an ambi-safety installed on one of my 1911s.

With Sigs, so far I have not felt the need to switch anything.

Forgot to add:

I am a lefty as well. I actually perfer to hit the right handed mag release with my trigger finger. Mag drops free, and I put the new one in and give the slide a yank with my right hand to chamber a round. I never try to hit the slide catch like a right hander would... works fine for me.
My mag release gets my left middle finger, my slide stop gets my index finger.

Super quick, super safe, totally easy.
Okay I guess I have to go against the grain regarding the magazine release - with qualifiers. As a police officer (and lefty) my Sig is exposed for the world to see and touch and bump (objects such as door frames etc).

I had a couple of experiences where after a chase or wrestling match I discovered that the magazine release had been pushed and I had a lose mag. Actually that was one case in the other not only was it lose, but had actually worked it's way out - enough to where it would have falled out if I had to draw my weapon.

One of the officers in my department is a certified Sig armorer and I had him switch over the release on both my 220 and 245. Now the mag release is against my body and protected. Yes it did take a little work retraining myself, but with practice I adjusted. I only carry the Sigs and my back up is a revolver so I'm not too worried. Of course if my department does go ahead and issue Glocks in the next few years I'll have to re-train myself, but I'll cross that bridge when I come to it.
Another lefty and Sig owner here, and while I can see why Checkman switched his I've left mine stock. Middle finger for the mag release, trigger finger for the hammer drop, I seem to usually use my right hand to release the slide.

I have the 220, but have shot the 226 many times. Great gun, I wouldn't mind having one at all.
I have to agree with Dan. The 228 is better for me than the 226. I carried a 226 for five years on my previous department.

I prefer the 228, but if your wanting .40 or .357 Sig try the 229.
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