First Shots: SIG P226 SAO Legion Pistol

posted on June 17, 2020

Today we are on the range getting our first shots with the SIG Sauer P226 SAO. Most of us are familiar with the traditional double-action SIG Sauer P-series of pistols. Of course, the P226 is the flagship of the line, the full-size, duty handgun that made a name for SIG pistols in the ‘80s and ‘90s among law enforcement and military circles. 

While the traditional DA sigs have been enjoying a resurgence in popularity these days, it’s experiencing somewhat of a renaissance along with the rise of appendix carry and other trends. We’ve also seen a resurgence in single-action pistols, and the blending of single-action-only with the SIG P series in the P226 SAO is an interesting design. 

As with other P226s, this gun has a 4.4-inch barrel with a stainless steel machined slide matched to an alloy frame. All of this is finished in a very durable PVD finish. It has G10 grips as you would expect with the Legion series guns, along with SIG’s excellent Xray3 night sights, with a bright-green front sight paired with a subdued rear with tritium throughout for low-light shooting. 

The biggest difference is that rather than the double-action/single-action system, the P226 SAO has single-action only, where the decocking mechanism is replaced by a bilateral thumb safety. Like the standard P226, it feeds from a 15-round magazine with larger capacity variants available—the P226 is a platform that has been around and in use for a long time. 

This gun is an interesting mix; it’s SIG quality, P226 heritage and reliability, but mated to a very American operating system, the single-action semi-automatic like the 1911. Not only is it an interesting design and pairing of mechanisms, it’s also a lot of fun to shoot. 

MSRP on the P226 SAO Legion is $1,329.99; for more information about this pistol and others in the SIG Sauer Legion family, visit


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For me, one of the many bonuses of this gunwriter business has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with a number of the firearm enthusiasts of an earlier generation; legendary figures such as Frank Hamer Jr., Bill Jordan, Bill Toney, Col Walter Walsh and the subject of this column: COL Rex Applegate.


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