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Upgrading a 226

This is a discussion on Upgrading a 226 within the SIG Sauer Pistols forums, part of the SIG Sauer Forum category; I've got a pretty stock 9mm W. German 226, but I've been hanker'n for a Legion. Had one in my hands at the LGS today. ...


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Old 10-22-2016, 11:57 PM   #1
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Upgrading a 226

I've got a pretty stock 9mm W. German 226, but I've been hanker'n for a Legion. Had one in my hands at the LGS today. Niiiiccccce.

But while cruising round the interwebs I came across an article and series of videos about upgrading a 226 towards a Legion. Done by "Real Gun Reviews" guy who uses a Ferrari in his sign-on.

He says 8 things will bring it close:
1. New springs (I had 'em installed when I sent it to Sig for tune-up after I bought it used.)
2. New X-ray or Trijicon HD's. (I had Sig Nights put on as well...I'm happy with them so far)
3. Solid Guide Rod by Gray Guns. Only $30 and seems like an okay idea.
4. P-SAIT trigger. $62.00. Anyone have any experience with one....another modest investment it seems.)
5. SRT -- Don't really need it. I don't carry it or shoot competitively.
6. Action Enchancement -- put 19# mainspring in and it really helped. Think I'll pass on it.
7. New levers....happy with stock.
8. New grips -- done...added G10 last month.

About the only things that can't be done it would seem is the beavertail and undercut on the trigger guard. And the finish.

Seems like a pretty modest additional investment...less than $100. Thinking of giving it a try before I plunk down $1,000 for a Legion.

I know it's a compromise...but I really like my 226 the way it was....this might make it better.

Comments? Additional suggestions? I'm dumber than a stump and should just go for the Legion?
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Old 10-23-2016, 12:27 AM   #2
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I can not speak to the P226. That said, I did put a solid guide rod, Gray Guns P-SAIT trigger and G10 grips in/on my M11-A1 and am pleased with the trigger pull and the feel of the firearm. I do not have a Legion, nor have I ever shot one to give an informed opinion of comparison. But I am very pleased with the M11-A1's response and handling now.
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Old 10-23-2016, 05:53 AM   #3
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So far, the only change I've made to my 226 is the SRT kit - I do like the feel of the shorter reset.

After I installed it I compared the trigger to a Legion and couldn't make up my mind of I want to install the P-SAIT, or the 19# mainspring- the jury is still out.

Personally, I like the E2 grips, so I won't be changing them.

Don't get me wrong the Legion is a nice gun, but I'm happy with my "basic" version.
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:23 AM   #4
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I bought a SIG P229R new with the E2 grip, standard SIG P series trigger, no SRT, and contrast sights.

I have made many of the changes that Ferrari Steve describes in his videos except I have not sent the pistol back to SIG for the (expensive) action enhancement package.

My goal was not to try to imitate a Legion, but the Legion happens to have a number of features I do like, and some I don't care for at all. I have no desire for the miniaturized levers. I have handled several Legions and shot one Legion P229. The tiny slide stop lever is a PITA so far as I am concerned. The reduced decocking lever is less so, but I have no need for it. I have not had any problems with the normal size levers. I also don't care for the Legion finish or beaver tail.

I tried the E2 grip but didn't care for it. It never felt quite right in my hand. I had shot a P229R Extreme in the past and really liked the G10 grips. The G10 Piranha grips are not quite the same as those that come on the Legions, but they are very close. I swapped the E2 grip for the G10s and felt it to be a major improvement.

I did find the reach to the double action trigger slightly awkward with the standard P series trigger, even with the E2 grip. I installed a SIG "short" trigger. This shortened the reach, but it felt as if I was at risk of pinching my trigger finger behind the trigger, and the deeply scalloped out radius of the trigger felt wrong. I debated quite a bit but finally sprang for the Grayguns P-SAIT trigger that comes stock on the Legions. This trigger has a reach that is intermediate between that of the standard SIG trigger and the SIG short trigger, and it has a much nicer contour than either. I found that the over-travel adjustment on the P-SAIT did slightly reduce the trigger reset over that of the SIG triggers with the SRT kit installed.

I like the SIG X Ray sights that come on the Legions and put a set on my P229R swapping out the contrast sights. I also installed the SRT kit sear and safety lever which dramatically shortens the reset over the stock P229 sear and safety lever. I have also installed a 19lb reduced power mainspring which was the last change I made.

I have shot my pistol (which is chambered in .40 S&W) back to back with a P229R Legion in 9mm multiple times both before and after installing the reduced power mainspring. My double action trigger was smoother and slightly lighter than that of the Legion even before the mainspring swap. After the mainspring swap my double action trigger is dramatically better than that of the Legion I shot. The single action triggers were equivalent.

Installation of the SRT kit and swapping triggers in the P226 and 229 is quite easy. Getting the trigger bar back in the frame after swapping triggers requires a little patience and fiddling. My total parts investment in modifications (G10 grips, X RAy sights, P-SAIT trigger, SRT kit, Wolff hammer spring kit) was just over $300 after some judicious shopping. Since I got a good deal on the original pistol, my total investment is still under what I would have paid for a Legion.

The additional frame checkering on the front strap and underside of the Legion trigger guard seem nice but didn't really seem to be noticeable when shooting the Legion. Likewise, the slight frame relief at the back of the trigger guard might really make a difference for some, but I didn't notice the difference in live fire. The cocking serrations on the front of the Legion slide don't really serve any purpose for me. I don't like to do brass checks with my hand that close to the muzzle.

Last edited by pblanc; 10-23-2016 at 06:27 AM.
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:25 AM   #5
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That's "Ferrari Steve," and he's pretty/very knowledgeable and very generous with his time and expertise. That whole series of YouTubes about upgrading a 226 to "Near Legion" is pretty interesting. Gave me the courage to install the SRT kit in a couple of mine (including my MK), which truly turned out to be a 10 minute process.

I'd say you're on the right path. If you basically like your 226, then try some of the tweaks that appeal to you and pass on those that don't. You're well on your way as it is.
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:29 AM   #6
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SIGs are pretty amazing guns out of the box, but any substantial modifications can make it better!

Go for it!
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Old 10-23-2016, 06:54 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ESquared View Post
That's "Ferrari Steve," and he's pretty/very knowledgeable and very generous with his time and expertise. That whole series of YouTubes about upgrading a 226 to "Near Legion" is pretty interesting. Gave me the courage to install the SRT kit in a couple of mine (including my MK), which truly turned out to be a 10 minute process.

I'd say you're on the right path. If you basically like your 226, then try some of the tweaks that appeal to you and pass on those that don't. You're well on your way as it is.
+1
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Old 10-23-2016, 08:05 AM   #8
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As you've discovered the Legion is mostly cosmetic and marketing hype. All the Legionaires are gonna jump in now and tell me I'm full of it but when you look past the fluff it's still just a P226. If you didn't already own a P226 I see no harm in paying a few extra bucks for a Legion over a standard. It does have SRT, upgraded sights, G10 grips and it looks good. However, I wouldn't spend a nickel trying to turn any of my 3 P226's into Legions. They shoot great just as they are and there's nothing I can buy that's gonna improve them to any significant degree. That includes grips, sights, action work, guide rods, etc. I suppose there's some small incremental improvement with that stuff and if you throw enough money at something the totality might be noticeable but you still gotta be good with sight picture and sight alignment. All the Ceracote, front strap checkering, undercut trigger guards, beavertails, ambi controls, metal guide rods and G10 grips in the world aren't gonna help if you don't know how to shoot. Conversely, the better you already are as a shooter the less likely any of that stuff is going to really matter. Don't get me wrong. I like my guns to have a certain aesthetic appeal and I've been known to replace a few parts here and there. However, I'm fully aware that it's mostly aesthetic. YMMV.
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Last edited by Caveman; 10-23-2016 at 08:09 AM.
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Old 10-23-2016, 08:46 AM   #9
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This whole Legion thing reminds me of golf clubs. I've never been very good at golf but I notice some golfers are always buying the newest best marketed driver. I remember when "the big Bersa" came out and everyone had to have one. With gold just like shooting there is no substitute for practice. A good golfer is going to play well with regular clubs. I think I'll leave my p226 Extreme alone. Except I did sent the slide back to Sig so they could swap out the front sight for the Truglo TFO. Just that one upgrade - honest.
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Old 10-23-2016, 11:07 AM   #10
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-snip- They shoot great just as they are and there's nothing I can buy that's gonna improve them to any significant degree. That includes grips, sights, action work, guide rods, etc. I suppose there's some small incremental improvement with that stuff and if you throw enough money at something the totality might be noticeable but you still gotta be good with sight picture and sight alignment. l the Ceracote, front strap checkering, undercut trigger guards, beavertails, ambi controls, metal guide rods and G10 grips in the world aren't gonna help if you don't know how to shoot. Conversely, the better you already are as a shooter the less likely any of that stuff is going to really matter. Don't get me wrong. I like my guns to have a certain aesthetic appeal and I've been known to replace a few parts here and there. However, I'm fully aware that it's mostly aesthetic. YMMV.
Much of it is aesthetic, I agree. But if you've ever shot a P-Series that has had a really nice action job, you might come to appreciate that as well - it does make telling difference in how the gun shoots.

This is not to say that a good shooter could not achieve similar results with a stock gun, but most will be just a wee bit better with one that's been worked on. Are there any top shooters who compete or do exhibitions with stock guns? (If any, I bet it ain't many.)

I would not carry a stock SIG unless I had no other choice. My modified guns are so much smoother and more pleasant to shoot. Last night I took my Wilson Combat 1911 (10 mm) out of the safe and compared it's 2 lb trigger to the 3 lb SA trigger on my P229. Okay, the WC was a tiny bit better, more crisp, and trigger overtravel is non-existent. The P229 has an overtravel stop added, so there's not much there either. The lock time felt a little longer on the SIG (though it's probably close to the same). If the WC is a 10, my Sig is an easy 8.5. For a SIG, it's perfect (DA is 8 even the whole way to break, butter smooth and no staging).
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Old 10-23-2016, 11:07 AM   #11
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I don't think the Legions are all hype. They are certainly good pistols. But they are production pistols, pure and simple. They are not hand fit or tuned.

Some of the things about Legions I don't care for, or can take or leave, might be considered very desirable by others. If so, a Legion is the clear choice.

I suspect that if you bought a police trade in P226 or 229 at a good price, sent it off to SIG for an action enhancement package and installation of the SRT (if you wanted it) you would wind up with a pistol that had a much nicer action than a Legion for considerably less money.
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Old 10-23-2016, 12:48 PM   #12
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Thanks to all who contributed their time and expertise. I've decided to order both the FAT guide rod and the P-SAIT trigger and call it a day. I can always put a new front sight on it someday in the future, and those two upgrades are of modest cost.

We'll see how it does after the work is done.

In the meantime I'm gonna have a "compare and contrast" day today and take a Smith 5906 and my new-to-me full-size p320 out for a box or three of 9s..
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Old 04-28-2017, 06:43 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pblanc View Post
I don't think the Legions are all hype. They are certainly good pistols. But they are production pistols, pure and simple. They are not hand fit or tuned.

Some of the things about Legions I don't care for, or can take or leave, might be considered very desirable by others. If so, a Legion is the clear choice.

I suspect that if you bought a police trade in P226 or 229 at a good price, sent it off to SIG for an action enhancement package and installation of the SRT (if you wanted it) you would wind up with a pistol that had a much nicer action than a Legion for considerably less money.
I was actually shooting my regular p229 and my Legion p229 back to back last weekend. I had modified my regular p229 to Legion equivalent in every way except the checkering and the trigger guard undercut. What I did notice is that while shooting at short distances like 7-10 yards, there is no obvious difference, however, at 25 yards using a B-29 target, the regular p229 stayed within the 9-ring, except for a couple fliers in 8-ring, while with the Legion I had quite a few in the 10-ring (the unlabeled ring just outside the bullseye/X-ring) and in the bullseye. I think it is the trigger guard undercut that gives me a better grip, as I do not feel much of a difference in the trigger pull (the regular p229 is well used). I am sure this is a very individual thing, but that's what I experienced.
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