Concealed Carry

Review: SIG P226 Legion SAO

SIG P226 Legion SAO

I have had the greatest respect for SIG Sauer products for more than 40 years. It’s sometimes difficult to pin down a favorite handgun from a single maker. In this case, the difficulty is much less as the SIG P226 SAO Legion is easily my favorite SIG product.

The SIG P226 is a great pistol. With the modern Legion additions, it’s even better. The SAO trigger has great appeal as well. The P226R is among a very few Legion series pistols that I own. Each has its own character and more than a little flair.

The P226 is built on the P226R rail gun chassis. The Legion series are not inexpensive, but they are affordable. A bit of sacrifice and shuffling of assets is involved, but working people may afford this pistol.

While terms such as factory, custom, and high-end factory gun may be used, the pistol is a high-end handgun by any standard.

disassembled SIG P226 Legion
The SIG system of fieldstripping is among the simplest and most positive in the handgun world.

SIG P226 Background

The P226 has a lot of history behind it. The pistol has endured grueling institutional testing. The famous Ohio State Patrol testing, French combination military and police testing, and Texas State Patrol evaluation have all confirmed the reliability of the SIG P-series pistols.

The modern handguns are even more reliable. There has been no pistol more effective and useful in the war on terror than the SIG P226. Originally intended to offer life-saving accuracy in a rescue situation, the pistol balances accuracy and reliability. When the SIG is purchased, it is purchased on its merits and not on the low bid.

SIG P226 Legion Flat Trigger
SIG’s single-action-only handgun is an accurate shooter.  The Legion’s flat trigger is a big improvement.

SIG Sauer Legion Series

The Legion series owes much to the demands of serious competitors and military shooters. The pistol that saves lives and makes history could be a little better they said. “Let’s do that,” replied SIG, and the result was the Legion series.

It’s built for those who demand a pistol with better features to enhance rapid handling and accuracy. Reliability — a strong point of the P226 — cannot be compromised. The pistol has had considerable development in the grip frame.

The geometry is subtly changed with a cut-out under the trigger guard. The grip tang is slightly extended. Frame checkering is superb. A feature usually found on custom-grade pistols is checkering on the bottom of the trigger guard. I like this a great deal. This is a small thing that pays dividends in fast shooting. The grips are unique to the Legion series.

Inside the gun, the trigger mechanism is single-action-only. It’s important to realize that the pistol isn’t a converted first-shot double-action P226. The lockwork is considerably developed, and the trigger of the Legion is a flat-style offering excellent control.

The trigger is tight and crisp with minimal take-up and a rapid reset. The pistol features a solid, rather than hollow, guide rod.

SIG calls the sights X-RAY3 sights. I like the configuration. You need something that is bright and draws your eye to the sights. These sights are well suited to defensive shooting. The night sights are bright enough for real utility in dim light.

A final touch separating the Legion from everything else is the special hard-use Legion Gray finish.

SIG XRAY3 Sights
This is the SIG X-RAY3 front sight. These are among the finest all-around personal defense sights in the world.

Single-Action-Only (SAO)

The single-action-only trigger has benefits in fast, accurate shooting.

Another benefit is that the shooter sometimes tends to ride the slide of the SIG P226 during firing. This results in the slide lock failing to catch the slide and lock it open on the last round. With the subtle design difference with the SAO type, this doesn’t occur.

The SAO trigger invites controlled rapid-fire. The results with a trained marksman are impressive.

The pistol was fired with a good mix of modern 9mm ammunition. The primary practice load was Federal American Eagle 9mm. This is a clean-burning loading with much to recommend. Practical accuracy is excellent.

I also fired a number of defensive loads, including the Federal 124-grain HST and 124-grain Hydra-Shok. The pistol is quite accurate with all bullet weights, from 115 to 147 grains. I have a dwindling supply of 147-grain HST +P loads. These were also reliable and accurate in the SIG P226 Legion. I elected to benchrest test the pistol for absolute accuracy.

Using the MTM molded products K-Zone pistol rest, I carefully fired several groups with the American Eagle and Federal 124-grain HST loads. The results were excellent.  Average dispersion for four groups, five shots each, was a tight 2.25 inches. Some groups were smaller. The pistol will run!

When ordering a holster, be certain to specify P226R, for P226 with a light rail. The P226R isn’t a small pistol, but it isn’t too heavy for effective concealment given a proper holster. With a high-ride holster, the SIG P226 Legion concealed well under a light cover garment.

The DeSantis Speed Scabbard is among the finest. For deep concealment, the Wright Leatherworks IWB is used.

This is my favorite SIG for all-around use and one that I will be firing a great deal in the foreseeable future.

SIG P226 Legion in Leather Holster
While not a small handgun, the SIG P226R concealed well in a Wright Leather Works inside-the-waistband holster.


  • Overall Length: 7.7 Inches
  • Width: 1.6 Inches
  • Height: 5.5 Inches
  • Magazine capacity: 15 Rounds
  • Weight: 34 Ounces

What do you think of the SIG P226 Legion? Let us know in the comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (17)

  1. I own aWCP320. Good gun with lots of excellent features. I’ve now fired the P226 SAO Legion several times at the range. With all due respect to Wilson Combat and the P320 design…. The 226 is far superior in accuracy ( out of the box). My hands are a bit larger than normal, maybe the extra 1/3 of an inch in width has something to do with it?… What Inknow for sure is I love the trigger and mechanism of the 226 SAO… I’m going to trade my souled up p320 for a p226SAO Legion.

  2. When it comes to Sig P-226 I brought one after I saw just how accurate it was in a .357 Sig used by the Texas Department of Public Safety back in the mid 90’s. I brought it and 6 months later brought the barrel for the 40cal. I have enjoyed the .357Sig configuration enough to again purchase another on but this time a Legion Series again same caliber and a 40cal barrel I love my Sig P-226 they’ve got my trust in a great firearm.

  3. I own several Sig Sauers P220, 229, 226 all rail, NS, etc . Very Reliable. Being a Marine PMI Edson Range since 1973 still shooting. Practice makes perfect.

  4. Nothing but love for my Sig P226 Legion RXP full size 9mm 4.4″ Barrel with Legion gray finish,G-10 grips , Night sights.Romeo 1Pro Reflex optic. 15rd , but can’t seem to find a good Quality holster due to the light and optics any recommendations will be greatly appreciated, Happy Shooting to all Legion members.

    @ ERIC T
    -right now at my lgs they have some really nice police trade in .357’s for awesome prices ($435-$499) , I bought my p-228 there
    my first SIG and I have been really fascinated since.
    I have been resisting buying a new caliber but between your comments and my previous interest I may have to have to go add another SIG to the stable

  6. I’m sorry, but at 70+ years old and some problems with arthritis, I will not own a Single Action pistol of any brand. Semi-Automatic or even revolver for that matter.
    Cock it once and I’m ready for sending a few rounds. And my Wife carries a DA S&W revolver, just aim and start pulling the trigger.
    BTW, for all who say, “Single Action provides better accuracy”….. I still re-qualify every year and still qualify as a Marksman with 1911 and Revolver.

  7. The only correction I would have for this article is when you refer to the “Texas State Patrol” it is the Texas Department of Public Safety. I was with the Texas Highway Patrol and started carrying a P226 in .45 caliber in 1990 and then DPS changed to .357 Sig. I am now retired and still have both guns. I believe the P226 in .357 Sig is the best gun there was.

  8. I bought a new (German made) SA/DA P226 something over 30 years ago, and still use it today. It is comfortable, puts shots where I want them, and just works. It shoots anything that I feed it without complaint, too. The new Legion looks good and sounds interesting, but I think I’ll stick with my old reliable Sig.

  9. I personally choose to carry a P226 sa/da in .357 sig
    Weapon has proven
    To be an amazing and reliable
    I have been an avid shooter for
    Over 40 years and have come
    To rely on Sig Sauer

  10. I’ll never forget my first and only run-in using a Sig; when I was active duty, my buddy had a .40 Sig and we were doing range requals in south Texas.
    He suggested I use his Sig vice the Barreta Fs92.
    I was a good shot with anything so I said sure.
    That was 30 years ago, but the ease of putting bullets where I aimed never left my mind. I was very impressed. I just can’t afford one, though.
    I did request and keep my S ribbon, though.

  11. I just have a question on which gun this is exactly. Is it the P226 or the P226R? I can’t seem to find a P226R with 15 rounds mags, I’m finding 10 rounds. Plmk and thanks for a great article.

  12. I bought my legion SAO and really liked it then bought several guns that liked even more. After several simple mods from well known after market folks it is much better and back at the top of my list. 1. The stock strut does bind on the safety. The one offered by a certain armorer fixes that well, 2. A trigger with better side to side tolerances in the the frame removes that movement. 3. A lighter hammer. Turned a good gun into a great one imo. Recommend anybody trying these mods at home to use an experienced gunsmith.

  13. Thanks for another delightful article, this time on a Sig. It is, indeed, a high-end gun. The Sig group on FB remains a loyal, dedicated bunch, always rehearsing many of the merits you discuss. My brother was recently GIVEN a Sig Custom Works P320 AXG 9mm for his faithful 25 years of employment. The gun is a thing of beauty.

  14. I have an East German manufactured P-228 that while showing finish wear is still 100% reliable and very accurate.
    For the most part SIG has just been too darn expensive but I purchased mine as a trade in at a fraction of the original cost.
    Otherwise I would never have owned one.

  15. Sir

    The modern pistols are not polymer frames. They are aluminum frames as always.
    I agree the early SIG pistols are very good guns with a tremendous history. I fail to
    see how a stamped steel slide is superior to a well forged steel slide.

    The old guns are good, no question, the new guns are better- night sights, light rails, and excellent machining.

  16. Looking at today’s U.S. made SIGs and the German made SIGs of 15 – 20 years ago, I find the following: The German pistols are better finished and lighter. The milled U.S. made slides are just too heavy, The markings are clearer, and the finish is prettier on the German pistols.

    I have pre USA (German) SIG P226, P230, and P228s. They are just nicer pistols with better materials. Polimer frames are substandard by any measure. The US could produce attractive pistols with light stamped slides if the company wanted to.

    One of the reasons that the US is losing manufacturing facilities is that when the factory moves to a foreign country the quality goes up and the price goes down!

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