SIG Sauer P226 Review: Not Worth it?

by Travis Pike

July 5, 2024



One of the most legendary sidearms of all time comes from a Swiss-German firm known as SIG Sauer. The P226 is a legend that’s armed dozens if not hundreds of police and military forces, and while I’ve owned one for years, today I’m going to do a thorough Sig P226 review.

I originally reviewed the SIG Sauer P226 about a year ago. Recently, I had the chance to spend more time with it and put more rounds through it. My thoughts on this gun have since evolved. So, let’s dive into the updated review of the SIG Sauer P226 and explore what’s changed.

SIG P226 Specs

  • Barrel Length 4.4 inches
  • Overall Length 7.7 inches
  • Height 5.5 inches
  • Weight 34 ounces
  • Capacity 17

Behind the Scenes – The SIG P226

If there has ever been a good example of a company reading the writing on the wall, it’s been SIG with the P226. In the early 1980s, the double-stack DA/SA 9mm pistol was quickly becoming the standard. SIG already had a very robust design in the form of the P220. 

The SIG P220 was dated, though. It was a single stack 45 ACP pistol. So they began the development of the P226 using the same basic design as the P220. Of course, it would feature a double-stack magazine and come in 9mm. SIG developed the P226 specifically for the military’s XM9 trials. 

Those trials would result in the Beretta 92 series winning the contract, but the P226 came in a close second. Even though most of the military adopted the M9 from Beretta, certain forces preferred the SIG, including the elite Navy SEALs. 

The P226 has gone to chamber a wide variety of calibers and fill the holsters of a wide variety of police officers, military members, and concealed carriers. The P226 comes in 9mm, 40 S&W, 357 SIG, and even oddballs like the 7.65 Parabellum and 9×21 IMI. Ours is the standard 9mm model. 

The SIG P226 these days comes with a rail, but there are plenty of examples of railess SIGs out there, as well as DAO and SIG’s own DAK design and even SAO models. The most common is the DA/SA model. I prefer the classic DA/SA design with my SIG pistols. 

As a former Marine, I like the P226’s all-metal design that’s rather heavy and hefty compared to the polymer frame fanatics that rule the world these days. However, it remains a popular pistol with a variety of shooters due to its inherently well-thought-out design.

SIG P226 Features

SIG P226 Features
1 DA/SA Design
2 Manual Decocker
3 Nitron Finish
4 All Metal Frame

SIG Sauer P226 review  – Our Take

The P226 is a big wide weapon with a fat bottom. That fat bottom fits seventeen rounds of 9mm. In 2010 SIG released the E2 model, which was designed to provide a slightly thinner version for shooters with smaller hands. For me, the P226 fits like a dream. Something about a metal frame always fits better, in my opinion. 

The P226 offers plenty of grip to fill your hand. The rear of the gun features a slight beavertail that allows you to get your hand nice and high on the gun to maximize control. SIG’s controls are placed expertly and are very easy to access. My thumb finds the magazine release without issue and makes it easy to drop magazines and reload. 

On the side of the weapon sits a decocking lever that allows the user to easily move from single action back to double action. SIG’s decocking lever represents the best of the best when it comes to decocking devices and is one of the easiest to use. The P226 gives shooters a well-thought-out design that’s plenty easy to use. Shooters with smaller hands should seek out the E2 model and most certainly try it out before you purchase one. 

Dropping Hammers with the P226 

The P226 weighs 34 ounces. That’s a hefty gun, but that’s not all bad. Thirty-four ounces of gun helps reduce recoil and makes the P226 easy to control. 9mm doesn’t provide much of a fight in the recoil department, and when it’s trying to fight 34 ounces of weight, it puts up even less of an argument. 

The P226 bucks just a bit, but it is a flat shooting, easy-to-control pistol. It’s pleasant to shoot without snappiness, at least in 9mm. Even in 40 S&W and 357 SIG, it’s quite controllable. I love to shoot drills, especially drills involving target transitions and rapid-fire follow-ups. Shooting box drills and failure drills with the P226 is a breeze. I can put several rounds on target accurately and quickly without much difficulty. 

It’s one of the most controllable duty-sized handguns on the market. 

.355 Inch Holes 

DA/SA triggers are a love it or leave it affair. I love them, and with a lot of practice, I’ve become proficient in their use. Knowing how to use the P226’s double-action trigger makes it very easy to shoot the weapon accurately. Almost anyone with some basic shooting skills can shoot the weapon accurately in single-action mode. 

Either way, the weapon is pretty dang accurate. Scoring headshots at 25 yards can be done quite easily. Modern SIG sights are a little bulky with their combination day and night sight design. Even so, the big gun makes it easy to score bull’s eyes, ring steel, and do so quickly. The low recoil and muzzle rise make this a weapon that’s easy to shoot fast and shoot accurately. 

The P226 is a hammer itself. It didn’t lose to Beretta because it was unreliable. The P226 won’t flop on you when it comes time to depend on the weapon. You won’t experience jams, failures to feed, failures to eject, or any of the other common issues with firearms. I’ve yet to find a load the P226 refuses to eat. It’s proven itself well across the world in the hands of elite forces and police officers. 

Plastic for Metal 

The P226 has never been an affordable firearm. It’s not cheap by any means and can be a tough sell in the face of so many outstanding and reliable polymer frame platforms on the market. Various models of the P226 can hold different price tags. Optics-ready, Legion models, the Mk 25 all cost a good bit more than your standard SIG P226. 

The standard P226 still has a relatively high price tag. We are looking at near a grand or so for the basic model. With pistols like the Glock being a few hundred cheaper than the SIG P226, it can be a tough sell. 

After multiple uses, as you can see in this SIG sauer p226 review, I think it’s an easy to control pistol with a great trigger, and amazing feel. However, I feel its a bit on the pricier side for what it has, and thus isn’t be best of ROI – if you’re budget conscience and are looking to save money. But regardless of that price tag, I still decided to include it in my list of best 9mm pistols. It definitely doesn’t take the top spot in the list, nor does it take the top spot in its class. But I think it is good enough to warrant a legitimate spot and be mentioned. If, however, you’d like to see which guns beat it, or just to see where it ranks, you can check out that article here:

SIG p226 Review Pros and Cons

  • Easy to Control
  • Great SA trigger
  • Outstanding Ergonomics
  • Expensive
  • Heavy For carry

Report Card


Thirty-four ounces of steel makes this a low recoiling, easy to control the firearm. The P226 is quite easy to handle in most calibers, and in 9mm it’s a Cadillac


The SIG P226 delivers one of the most reliable platforms right out of the box. Don’t just take my word for it, and the P226 is in the hands of many professional gunfighters for a reason.


The SIG P226 is one of the legends in the realm of service firearms and one of the very best steel frame DA/SA pistols ever made.


The long double-action trigger takes some work, but with practice, you can become very accurate with this weapon. The SA trigger is outstanding.


Oh boy, it’s a great gun, but an expensive one, to be sure. It’s a tough sell, but still, a fantastic pistol.


Our Grade


Reviewed by Travis Pike

Reader’s Grade


Based on 80 Reviews

Your Grade

Do You Own This Gun? Leave A Review

Success Your Grade Has Been
Added To Our Reader’s Score

SIG P226 Ammo

Range Rounds


MagTech 9mm 115 GR FMJ Ammo

Cost Per Round
Natchez Shooter’s Supply $0.24
Brownells $0.23
Palmetto State Armory $0.34

Best Defense Rounds

Box of Hornady 9mm pistol ammunition

Hornady Critical Defense 115 GR

Cost Per Round
Cabela’s $1.24
Midway USA $1.24

SIG Sauer P226 – FAQs

What makes the SIG Sauer P226 a top combat pistol?

The SIG Sauer P226 has a good reputation for its reliability and accuracy, making it a go-to for many military and law enforcement units. It’s built like a tank with its all-metal frame and has a smooth trigger that’s easy to get used to. The decocking lever is also a nice touch, making it safe and easy to handle in high-stress situations.

How does the P226 compare to other combat handguns?

The SIG P226 shines with its great ergonomics and smooth trigger pull. It’s definitely heavier than the polymer pistols out there, but that heft helps with recoil control, making it easier to shoot accurately. Sure, it’s pricier than many, like the Glock, but many feel the quality and performance justify the cost.

Is the SIG Sauer P226 suitable for daily carry?

At 34 ounces, the P226 is on the heavier side for daily carry. Its size and weight do help with recoil and accuracy, but they can also make it a bit uncomfortable to carry all day. If you’re set on carrying it daily, invest in a good holster and belt to help manage the weight.\

Does the SIG P226 have a manual safety?

The SIG P226 doesn’t have a manual safety. Instead, it has a decocking lever that lets you lower the hammer safely without firing. This feature is great for a combat pistol where quick, safe operation is key.

How does the P226 handle subsequent shots?

The P226 is excellent for follow-up shots thanks to its DA/SA trigger system and solid weight. The transition from double-action to single-action after the first shot makes the trigger pull lighter and shorter, allowing for quick and accurate follow-ups. The weight of the gun also helps keep recoil in check.

How does the SIG P226 compare to other guns in its class?

In the world of full-sized, metal-framed pistols, the SIG P226 is highly respected for its build quality and performance. It is more expensive than many alternatives, but its reliability and shooting experience often make it worth the extra cost. It’s a solid investment for those who want a dependable, high-performing pistol.

SIG P226 Starter Pack

If you’ve decided to pick up the SIG P226, or found another firearm that suits your needs, there are some bare essentials you’re going to need to pick up in order to maximize its potential and your safety regardless of if it’s your first firearm or not.

  • Gun Cleaning Kit: Otis All Caliber Elite Range Box on Amazon or build your own personalized cleaning kit with premium components.
  • Shooting Glasses: All it takes is one piece of rogue hot brass, and you’ll learn the importance of shooting glasses. But not all glasses are built the same. See our recommendations for the Best Shooting Glasses.
  • Hearing Protection: Firing a gun without wearing proper ear pro can be very dangerous and detrimental to your hearing. Find out the best hearing protection for you in our full length review.
  • Storage: Check our our article on the Best Biometric Gun Safes
  • Targets – If you’re wanting a great resource for shooting practice or zeroing your optics on your optics rifle or pistol, download our FREE Sighting in Targets below.

Upgrades and Accessories

SIG P226 Accessories

Do-All Outdoors Steel Resetting Target
  • Rated For . 38 – . 44 Caliber Pistols
  • High Visibility Targets
  • Reset Without Walking Down Range
Check Amazon
100 Round Ammo Box
  • 100 Round Capacity
  • Scuff-resistant textured surface
  • Snap lock latch
Check Amazon
Pineworld Biometric Gun Safe
  • Reliable Biometric Scanner
  • Sturdy and Well Built
  • Cheaper Than Most Biometrics
Check Amazon
Decibullz Custom Molded Earplugs
  • Great In-Ear option
  • Custom molded – super easy and comfortable
  • NRR: 31
Check Amazon

Caring for your SIG P226

It’s critical not only to keep your guns secure, but also to understand how to care for your firearms properly. We’ve located a fantastic video below on this subject.


Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 4.6 / 5. Vote count: 25

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

Recent Posts


    1. Carried it as Chicago police for 15 years. Bought 2 from coworkers who changed over to Glock. As security for Chase Bank, I carried one on each hip. Great gun. Buy it and enjoy it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *