The SIG SAUER P226 is a combat handgun that offers exceptional reliability and accuracy. It's a production handgun that can compete with some custom guns at a fraction of the cost and with pedigree that is hard to compete with. It is a 9mm that I carry when I want additional firepower, and one of the few handguns that seem to be ammunition agnostics. No matter what ammunition it finds in the magazine, it feeds, fires and ejects with ease. A truly remarkable weapon. The SIG SAUER web site has this to say about the SIG SAUER P226:

"The SIG SAUER® P226® is the pistol that set the standard by which all other combat handguns are measured. Designed as SIG's entrant in the military trials to replace the 1911, today the P226 is in use by the U.S. Navy SEALs, Federal agents, and numerous law enforcement agencies including the Texas Rangers, Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Michigan State Police to name a few. The exceptional ergonomics and balance make this full-size pistol easy to handle. Available in either 9mm, .357 SIG or .40 S&W, its longer barrel yields better ballistic performance and accuracy."

This review will focus on the SIG SAUER P226 Blackwater edition, which is chambered in 9mm. The Blackwater edition is a handsome version of the SIG SAUER P226 that comes with custom wood grips, the Blackwater logo on the handgun and a package that contains five additional 15 round magazines. It is a package that offers ample value to a handgun that would continue to sell well even without these great extras. This article will cover some basic data points, as well as a usability report, live fire report, recommended ammunition for self-defense and core accessories.

The SIG SAUER P226 comes in at 34 oz. and has an overall length of 7.7". Both are acceptable in a combat, duty or serious self-defense handgun. The barrel is 4.4" long and offers easy conceal carry with an IWB (Inside the Waist Band) holster, even on warm or hot days. The handgun has a black finish, where the slide is hard anodized and the frame is coated with Nitron.

The SIG SAUER Blackwater edition comes with two sets of grips out of the box. It wears custom wood grips that wear the Blackwater logo and has an extra black Polymer factory grips. It has an accessory rail which I use for mounting a Surefire X300 weaponlight and that can easily accommodate most other lights or lasers. It comes with SIGLITE night sights, where the rear inserts are green and the front insert is red. For daylight shooting, there's a white outline around the Tritium inserts. The sight radius is 6.3" and the red front sight reminds the shooter to focus on it.

The SIG SAUER Blackwater has a de-cocker, which allows the operator to safely lower the hammer on a loaded chamber. The trigger is a DA/SA (Double Action / Single Action) which means that the first shoot goes off in double action and subsequent shots are fired in single action. The DA releases with 10lb of pressure and the SA with 4.4 lb. It's too bad that this model does not come with the SRT (Short Rest Trigger) but it can be installed for you by the SIG SAUER custom shop. I typically like to change at least one thing on production guns, but the SIG SAUER P226 Blackwater is one that was left as it came out of the box. It is an excellent weapon and has everything that you need on a self-defense, duty or combat gun.

The SIG SAUER was built with usability in mind. All the controls are easy to reach and are placed at just the right spots. The magazine release is easy to reach without changing the grip on the gun. The same applies to the de-cocking lever, which offers just the right amount of resistance to avoid accidental de-cocking but not too much to make it hard to use. The rear slide serrations work with dry or wet hands and are polished to avoid having sharp edges.

In fact, the SIG SAUER P226 has no sharp edges and is great for conceal carry. I really dislike handguns that assume you both own and wish to own Band Aids, not to mention the disaster of snagging your handgun while trying to present your weapon. As I mentioned, no worries with the SIG SAUER P226--it's nice and smooth in all the right places. The last thing to mention is the grip, or grips since this model comes with both and they both offer a good, solid grip in wet or dry weather. Overall usability is excellent.

Shooting this handgun is a pleasure. The 9mm is a solid bullet that doesn't kick too hard to begin with. Add to that the weight of a combat weapon and you end up with mild recoil. Add to that a Surefire weapon light and the rail that resides under the barrel and the recoil is easy to handle, even with harder kicking self-defense ammo. The accuracy is great and the sights are easy to see and use. Whether shooting at 15, 35 or 50 feet, the SIG SAUER P226 will land your bullets where you want, if you just do your part right.

The 15 round magazines come with good factory springs and I haven't had a single problem with any of the original magazines, despite significant usage, long term storage and some rain. I should have written down the groups with different ammo types but I didn't. I can say that the gun shoots really well. At 15 yards, with minimal effort, I still had lots of holes touching one another. Rapid fire is easy when aiming at center mass, and double tap head shots are not hard to make. It's a serious handgun that works with you to get the job done. It's not an exaggeration--just pick one up at your local range as a rental and you'll see for yourself.

Target ammo recommendations for the SIG SAUER P226 are easy--just shoot whatever you have and it will work. For self-defense, just pick your favorite ammunition, which for me is the Federal HST 147gr or Winchester Ranger Bonded 147gr, and it will work. You'll notice a slight difference in point of impact, but nothing that would make a difference in a self-defense situation. Above all, this handgun is reliable and to me that's the most important requirement. The accuracy and good looks are a nice bonus.

There are several accessories for this handgun, but the one I think is a "must have" is a weapon light, and the one I use most often is Surefire. A Surefire X300 light or a Surefire X400 light / laser will make an ideal mate for your SIG SAUER P226.

Bottom line--the SIG SAUER P226 Blackwater edition offers great value and rock solid reliability. It will handle any ammo for you, and it will fire every time you pull the trigger. With 15+1 rounds of good self-defense ammunition, you can feel comforted whenever you carry this handgun. I'll take this gun anywhere and feel safe. It is an excellent choice for fans of the 9mm Luger or for folks who want high capacity handguns.

Until next time, stay safe by staying alert!