My goal is to test and evaluate every handgun fairly. Range testing and mechanical evaluation if part of the job. Some of the new pistols are unproven and demand more attention and a critical eye. It isn’t often I encounter a firearm that is so well proven there is little I can add to the legacy. Then there are legends. The SIG SAUER MK 25 Navy Model- a development of the P226 is one of these. This 9mm handgun has been in every hot spot on earth. While the mechanics of firearms are interesting and well worth study, it is the people who use the firearms who are most interesting. As such, this is a handgun that most people approach with reverence. The type has been used in many actions, including an operation that was among the most important and successful anti-terrorist operation of all time.
Despite a US Military trail that declared the Beretta 92 and SIG P226 had parity in performance and chose the Beretta on the low bid the Navy went with the SIG pistol. Without going into detail and opening a can of worms again, it seems that, in the original competition, the Navy believed the SIG featured superior ergonomics and that, in light of certain failures during testing of the M9, the SIG is the superior handgun. Both handguns had received excellent grades and proven very reliable. While the SIG was not adopted by the U.S. Army, the P226 handgun secured thousands of police sales.
During the 1980s many police agencies were transitioning to the self-loading pistol. At the time the only home grown double action first shot 9mm pistol was the Smith & Wesson 59. It came off very poorly compared to SIG or Beretta on every count. The SIG was designed with human engineering, reliability and accuracy foremost. The original P220 single column magazine pistol is the primogenitor of a long line of successful pistol. The SIG P220 features a smooth, double-action trigger. After the first double-action trigger press, the pistol fires and the slide cocks the hammer for subsequent single-action shots. There is no manual safety. There is no manual safety, the double-action trigger is the safety feature. The handy, frame-mounted de-cocker lever allows you to de-cock the handgun easily, safely lowering the hammer to the ready position from full cock. Experienced users regard the SIG de-cocker as the superior system among service pistols.
The Michigan state police were among the first American agencies to adopt the SIG P226. The P226 is a high capacity version of the P 220 9mm. The P228 and later P229 are compact versions. It is still a modern and reliable handgun and was an innovative design when first introduced. The pistol features a double-action trigger with a smoother compression than any handgun in its class. Compared to the external drawbar of the Beretta 92, the SIG P226 features an internal drawbar connecting the trigger to the hammer. The lockup is simple but very strong. The barrel hood locks into the slide. There are no locking lugs. Angled camming surfaces lock and unlock during the recoil cycle. The SIG has no manual safety but safety features such as the double action trigger and a positive firing pin block that locks the firing pin in place until you press the trigger completely to the rear.
The sights have evolved from the original but have always been excellent combat sights. The pistol features a high-grade aluminum alloy frame and originally a stamped steel slide. The modern SIG P226 has a stainless steel slide. SIG has offered the plastic grips in a number of different configurations and stippling. Series production runs of the SIG P226 handgun exhibited minor variations on the grip-strap checkering and control surfaces. Originally, SIG manufactured the pistols in West Germany, but today, they are made in Exeter, N.H.
The SIG P226 has won many test programs based on ergonomics and reliability. The Ohio State Patrol chose the SIG P226 as a service pistol after a grueling 228,000-round test of more than a dozen different handguns. The SIG that captured first place in the OSP test was a double-action-only variant in .40 caliber. Despite being chambered for a high-pressure/high-momentum cartridge and that the action was a major modification of the original, the pistol was the most reliable they tested. Overall, it was one among other impressive showings.
The flat dark earth commercial MK 25 illustrated is among my favorite handguns. I often carry the pistol in a DeSantis Speed Scabbard. There are lighter 9mm handguns but none more reliable or with better practical accuracy. The usual finish for aluminum-frame handguns is anodizing, which often wears during service use, leaving sections of exposed aluminum. Nitron finish is much more durable. The MK25 was one of the first SIG P series to use a light rail. In this handgun the double action trigger breaks at a clean 12 pounds. The single-action trigger press is crisp and breaks at 4.25 pounds. Reset is different from most double-action pistols. You are always in control with the P226 action. Reset is not as rapid as a competition handgun, but the action is ideal for a service handgun. If desired, you may fit the SIG Short Reset Trigger (SRT). The MK 25 is supplied in a locking plastic case, along with a total of three magazines, a realistic minimum with one in the pistol, one on the belt and one resting. I have on hand a number of SIG P226 9mm 20 round magazines. They work well and make a lot of sense if the pistol is used for home defense.
I fire the pistol often when I wish to enjoy a precision handgun with more than a little history. Before firing I lubricate the pistol and load the magazines properly. I load the magazine with three rounds and tap the magazine base on the boot heel to ensure the rounds seat. Then load three more and continue until the magazine is fully loaded. gazine. I give the magazine a final rap to securely seat all the cartridges. That method ensures good feed reliability.
A pistol this size and weight is controllable with modest recoil. Drawing quickly and lining up on target as the front sight hit the target and I pressed the trigger, I had a hit. For those who practice, the SIG P226 is a pistol that responds well to the proper technique. It was no problem to put every round in a magazine into the center mass of a man-sized target at 25 yards. As for absolute accuracy firing from a solid benchrest firing position the pistol will group five shots into 2.0 inches with quality ammunition. Occasionally a superior loading and a trained shooter will put five shots into less than two inches from a solid rest.
I normally deploy one of three loads depending on availability. The Federal 124 grain HST, the Federal 124 grain Hydra Shock, and the Speer 124 grain Gold Dot. I slightly prefer the Hydra shock based on police service experience and study. There are reliable accurate loads with a good balance of expansion and penetration. There is a counter argument in wound ballistics, and some prefer a bullet that is heavier than standard, drives deeper in penetration, and has a balance of expansion and penetration that favors penetration. There is also the argument that a heavier bullet with longer bearing surface exhibits greater accuracy potential. I have found the Speer 147 grain Gold Dot very accurate. The 147 grain Federal HST offers good expansion more so than any other heavy 9mm I have tested German police in the 1970s trials demanded that the handgun be accurate enough for hostage rescue shots. The SIG P series was born out of the war on terror, and today, it continues to serve on the front line in that capacity.
- Action Type: DA/SA
- Trigger Pull DA: 10.0 lbs (actual weight, 12 pounds)
- Trigger Pull SA: 4.4 lbs (actual compression, 4.25 pounds)
- Overall Length: 7.7 in
- Overall Height: 5.5 in
- Overall Width: 1.5 in
- Barrel Length: 4.4 in
- Sight Radius: 6.3 in
- Weight with Magazine: 34.4 oz
- Magazine Capacity: 15 rounds
- Sights: SIGLITE night sights
- Grips: Black polymer factory grips
- Frame Finish: Black hard anodized
- Slide Finish: Nitron
- Accessory Rail: Yes
- Features: UID identification label, anti-corrosion coatings on controls and internal components, anchor engraving