the early 1980s, the evolution of the SIG SAUER pistols has been
marked by steady improvement both in structural elements and
the needs of an increasingly diverse population of
end-users. This is an important consideration as, while many
pistols undergo regular changes, all too often the changes are
devolutionary in nature, cheapening the product to reduce
production cost and delivering an inferior product to the
consumer. Early imported as the Browning BDA (Browning Double
Action), the SIG pistols earned a reputation for reliability,
accuracy and a favorable service life. Over the years, the
European style heel magazine release was replaced by a
Early slides were stamped sheet metal with pinned in
hardened steel breech blocks.
The slides are now of monolithic forged stainless
construction. This goes beyond simple cosmetics. An instructor
at the Texas Department of Public Safety Academy told me that on
occasion, the roll pin retaining the breech block would shatter,
causing the part to fall out of the pistol. The change to the
milled slide began with the introduction of the Model 229 in .40
It added to production costs but successfully addressed
the issue of durability and the value of the pistols to the
consumer. While alloy frames remain the mainstay of the SIG
service pistols, several models are available with stainless
steel lower units.
late 2004, the company developed the 226 X5. Geared toward IPSC
competition, the single action pistol has a five-inch barrel. It
is of all steel construction, possessing rugged low mount target
sights and an innovative trigger system that affords adjustment
for weight of pull, trigger reach and overtravel. The model is
now available in 40 S&W and 9x19mm. The current variations
include the Competition Model, the Tactical and the All Around.
These lack the walnut Nil grips of the original and the
adjustable trigger system.
The Tactical has fixed combat sights and the All Around
has the traditional SIG trigger action that includes double and
All variations are promoted as capable of two inch groups
at 50 yards-taping the legacy of the SIG 210, the Swiss service
pistol introduced in the late 1940s and variously heralded as
"The Most Accurate 9mm Ever Made; or, " The Best
Pistol In The World," and even, "The Bentley of Auto
Competition model came in a hard case that included a spare 19
round magazine ('though SIG has recently announced that the guns
will now have only one magazine). Also included is a tube of SIG
proprietary grease, a set of Allen wrenches that would fit the
trigger adjustments on the basic X5 but have no application to
this model and an owner's manual that is specific to the full
There is also a 25 -meter test target fired by Herr A.
It suggests two things to the trusting and hopeful. The
target indicates that the pistol is very accurate and that the
pistol has been test fired and is functional right out of the
box. What a concept!
pistol itself is very attractive. In overall appearance, to
those attuned to Platonic/Pythagorian (not to mention Gnostic)
cosmogony, the X5 Competition Model evokes the image of the
Quintessential Pistol as it might appear in the Mind of God.
Fit and metal treatment are impeccable. The overall
impression suggests something made by a superior craftsman
rather than the highly mechanized processes that no doubt played
a large part in producing the instrument. The owner's manual
suggests that all packing lubrication be removed and the gun
re-lubricated with the supplied grease. Such things are
particularly important with closely-toleranced arms and in the
case of this pistol, the injunction extends to the sear
Out of the box, the RCBS trigger pull gage tripped the
trigger at 5.5 pounds.
I removed the grips and used a pipe cleaner to get some
of the grease into the sear area thereby achieving a break of
This is the standard single action release for SIG
pistols of all designations and contributes much to their usable
general rule, SIG service pistols are extremely accurate.
Shortly after the 40- caliber model 229 came out, I did some
fairly extensive shooting with a pair of them.
Across a wide sampling of factory and hand loaded
ammunition a modal group of 2.1 inches at 25 yards from the
bench emerged. Earlier groups tended to put four of five shots
into just over an inch with one of the rounds going slightly
As the pistol settled in, favored loads produced a number
of five shot groups in the 1.4-inch range.
The groups were better than those from most service arms
and a lot of target-sighted commercial 1911-type pistols. The
usable accuracy extended to shooting from the hind legs and I
found that the compact SIG turned in better one-handed clusters
than my National Match Gold Cup. Similar results have been
reported with SIG pistols going back to the early 1980s and the
days of the old Browning BDA.
Personal limitations being what they are, I usually shoot
a couple of groups from the 25-yard bench and go to print with
the better of the two. If the first group is two inches or less,
I often cut my losses and go with a single group as the
benchmark of accuracy.
This is not particularly scientific, but when a number of
excellent clusters emerge from the process, I know I'm dealing
with an accurate pistol.
I noted above that Herr A. Koch, had shot the test target
at 25 meters.
It measured 1.2 inches.
Shooting at 25 yards, I quickly produced a number of
groups that ranged from .96-inch to less than 1.5 and a number
of others that clustered around the two-inch range.
Loads included a number of factory and hand loads in the
115 to 124-grain bullet weight range. All were within the
currently established SAAMI standard pressure range.
One bullet actually weighs 125 grains. It is a Speer Gold
Dot made specifically for the .357 SIG cartridge.
It was one of the few component bullets available through
Internet stores at the tail end of the gun and ammunition
hoarding scrape of 2008-09. This is the main reason I gave it a
try 'though I did later find some of the more 9x19-specific
124-grain Gold Dots later on.
The SIG bullet has a shallow cup hollow point being
designed for magnum velocities.
It proved accurate in the 9mm loading and exploded gallon
water jugs at 25 yards. Hollow point performance was very
evident compared to standard ball. Those loads that I had
previously clocked in sub-compact and standard service sized
pistols usually gained 50 to 100 fps in the five -inch barrel of
the X5 Competition.
My handloads came from the Speer manual and the
velocities corresponded closely to what Speer got from their
4-inch test barrel. Given my limitations as a bench rest
shooter, relative accuracy is a relative thing. I did however,
get exceptional accuracy from the Speer 124 -grain soft- point
bullet and the hand loaded 124-grain Gold Dot Hollow Point.
of the loads tested hit to virtually the same point of aim at 25
yards. Most were well within the kill zone of a cottontail
over 47 ounces, the X5 is a full ten ounces heavier than the
standard 1911 in .45 ACP and twice as heavy as the currently
popular sub-compact concealment arms. Most shooters would
consider it way too heavy for a mid-bore pistol but the weight
adds much to steadiness when shooting from unsupported
positions. Nine-millimeter recoil is rendered inconsequential
and the hand-filling grips go far toward maintaining consistent
The sights present an ideal Patridge profile-front and
rear grooved to kill reflection with the front undercut for
normal registry under the full range of lighting conditions. The
intrinsic accuracy demonstrated from the bench holds up well
when translated to unsupported one and two handed shooting.
brace of 229 SIGs never suffered a malfunction when we used the
SIG factory magazines (different story with some after-market
far , the X5 has digested all of the test ammunition with
rule, the more a pistol is engineered for target
shooting-particularly toward specific courses of fire, the more
divorced it is from general practicality and the less suited it
is for general use-and the more limited its appeal.
The X5 Competition is suited to the broad range of tasks
expected of a versatile handgun. While the weight would be a
negative factor for many shooters, the gross measurements are
only slightly larger than the standard 1911.
The non-adjustable trigger is optimally weighted. It is
probably better suited to general use than the complicated
set-up on the full-gorilla X5. The single target-shooter
oriented deficit on the X series pistol is the outrageously
extended magazine release button. Designed to let action
shooters drop empty magazines at maximum speed, it greatly
limits the carry options of the pistol and forces the shooter to
adopt stratagem to avoid loosing his magazine at inopportune
moments. Simply setting the pistol down on its left side
virtually assures that the magazine will eject. Holsters that
ride close to the body guarantee the same thing. The mag release
button sticks out like a sore thumb and the risk of dumping a
magazine at a critical moment is high.
holsters specifically designed for the X5 series are the
jobs designed for and
pretty much limited to IPSC competition.
One notable exception is the Blade Tec -a high-ride
minimalist belt holster. The body of the holster rides far
enough from the belt line that it positively guards the magazine
release from any contact. The example I found uses the tech-lock
mounting system that is adjustable for the full range of belt
sizes and is supposed to allow mounting and replacement without
removing the belt.
It has a wide range of adjustment and can be set up for
various angles including cross draw. Gun retention is by
screw-regulated tension. The rig conceals under a long-tailed
loosely-fitting sports shirt and is suitable for field carry. It
is a reasonably comfortable carry rig though the weight of the
pistol is apparent. Another usable holster is the Uncle Mikes
horizontal shoulder holster for large semi-auto pistols. This
one also isolates the magazine release button from inadvertent
pistol smith Bruce Gray is the preeminent 226 X5 gunsmith. A
primary resource since the introduction of the series, he offers
tuning packages that maximize the X5's race gun potential. One
popular option is lightening the pistol via barrel fluting and
paraphrase Robert A. Heinlein, ultra-accurate pistols are their
own excuse for being. The X5 is the ultimate expression of the
accurate 9mm handgun-a worthy successor and contemporary for the
SIG Neuhausen. It is suited for formal competition, personal
defense, general field use, limited concealed carry and the
ultimate expressions of handgun ownership-informal pleasure
shooting and small game hunting. Its appearance and flawless
function engender pride of ownership, and it could well become
the centerpiece of many a handgun enthusiast's collection.
||Group Size (inches)
|Black Hills 124 GR Ball (Remanufacture)
|Winchester 115 GR (White
|Speer 124 GR Gold Dot
JHP 115 Grain
|Handload: Lupua 124 GR FMJ / 5.5
|Handload: Speer 124 GR Soft Point /
5.5 Unique / R&P Brass
|Handload: Speer 124 GR Gold Dot HP / 5.8
|Handload: Speer 125 GR Gold Dot For 357
SIG / 5.5 Unique / Blazer
spread (10 rounds)
|Handload: Meister Cast 122 Gr Truncated
/ 4.0 Unique / WW Cases
|Handload: Meister Cast 122 Gr Truncated
/ 4.5 Unique / WW Cases
velocity is the average of ten rounds except where noted.
Recorded with a Competition
Electronics Pro Chrono placed three
yards from the muzzle. Groups are from the bench at 25 yards.
Elevation is 400 feet and temperature at approximately 95 degrees.
9mm or .40 S&W
Pull SAO 4.5 lbs
Ambidextrous thumb with passive firing pin block
w/ Mag 46.7 oz
Capacity 9mm (19) .40 S&W (14)
Black Polymer factory Grips
226 X5, (Wood Grips (Nil) Adjustable Trigger,) X5 Tactical
(Fixed Sights), X5 All Around (DA/SA). 226 X6 long slide with
For More Information:
33479 Hwy. 19-207
Spray, OR 97874
SIG SAUER Inc.
Customer Service Dept.
18 Industrial Drive
Exeter, NH 03833-4557
NOTE: All load data posted on this
web site are for educational purposes only. Neither the author nor Gunblast.com
assume any responsibility for the use or misuse of this data.
The data indicated were arrived at using specialized equipment under
conditions not necessarily comparable to those encountered by the
potential user of this data. Always use data from respected loading
manuals and begin working up loads at least 10% below the loads indicated
in the source manual.
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