Sig Sauer Legion Series of Pistols

SIG Sauer has long offered a wide range of handgun variations for most of the models they offer with special finishes, grips and other enhancements.

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Ever since man first engaged in combat with other men, they chose, where able, to set the weapons they used apart from weapons used by others, whether in terms of design, style or adornment. Whatever the method used, it has always been necessary to make one's personal weapons truly one's own.

That trend continues on to this day, although it is not often one finds someone notching the grips of their firearms to show how many people they may have killed as in days gone by. And also today, it isn't just about men in terms of who customizes their personal firearms, particularly ones with polymer frames. SCCY Firearms for example, offers the frames of their CPX1 and 2 handguns in no less than nine different colors, and their slides in black or silver to appeal to the female shooter who wants more variety than just tactical black.

SIG Sauer has long offered a wide range of handgun variations for most of the models they offer with special finishes, grips and other enhancements. These variations have allowed users to pick out a handgun that best suits them, and stands out from the rest of the crowd.

Quite a few of these SIG handguns were produced for limited periods of time, then discontinued, which was not good for someone who had just discovered them only to find that they were no longer available. Fortunately there is a new line within SIG that appears to be around to stay-the SIG Legion series.

Three different SIG handguns are available at the Legion level-and they are the foundational combat pistols on which SIG built its reputation with the military and law enforcement communities-the .45 ACP Legion P220 full size, the 9mm/.40/.357 SIG Legion P226 Full Size, and my favorite, the 9mm/.40/.357 SIG Legion P229 Compact.

All three of these handguns utilize SIG's traditional double action/single action de-cock only actions. While SIG didn't invent the DA/SA system for semi-automatic pistols they did develop the system in the de-cock only format. In any DA/SA system, the first pull of the trigger in a loaded weapon requires a long double action pull where the trigger cocks the hammer and releases it. The pull weight ranges from 10-12 lbs. in most guns. Once the slide cycles, it cocks the hammer with each shot. The trigger then only performs a single function-releasing the cocked hammer to fire the next shot. In single action mode, the trigger weight is reduced to the 5 lb. range. This system eliminates the need for a manual safety, since the first shot is fired like a revolver. The hammers can also be manually cocked for the first shot if a more precise shot is needed-like a hostage rescue shot. Unlike Walther, Beretta, and others, SIG's de-cock lever only drops a cocked hammer once the pistol has transitioned from fiiring its first shot-it provides no manual safety function.

It is a fine system, and one that has withstood the test of time-37 years now to be precise-and although SIG has introduced the striker fired P320 pistol-which has been adopted to replace the Beretta M9 and M9A1 currently issued by the military as the standard service pistol-it is the time tested, most battle proven traditional SIG pistols that have earned the Legion upgrade.

The Legion upgrade is designed to set the three pistols in the series apart as "warriors" pistols-pistols that can survive under the most egregious combat conditions and keep on running.

I recently tested a P229 Legion Compact in .357 SIG caliber. For those of you unfamiliar with the .357 SIG, it is a .357 caliber bullet necked down to the 10mm cartridge case. It is designed to replicate the power of the .357 Magnum revolver cartridge with comparable bullets, and it does just that. While the short case of the .357 SIG can't handle 158 or 180 grain .357 magnum bullet weights, it can handle 125 and 147 grain bullets with aplomb. In the 125 grain weight it does replicate many of the 125 grain .357 Magnum revolver cartridges currently available on the market. And it does so with less recoil than most of the full power .40 caliber defensive loads (albeit with more blast) in common use.

Unfortunately, the .357 SIG, a real favorite of mine, has never hit its commercial stride, even though it is the caliber of choice for the U.S. Secret Service and the Air Marshals. It ranks up with the top 3 most underappreciated pistol calibers, taking its place alongside the .38 Super and the 10mm. Fortunately, SIG P229 Legion is also chambered in 9mm and .40 S&W for those who don't wish to pay the additional expense for .357 SIG ammunition.

There are three main features added to the Legion pistols that stand out as the most obvious improvements. The first is the PVD Legion Gray finish on both the stainless steel slide and the alloy frame that visually sets the Legions from the standard line, and adds even more protection to the metal surfaces than the standard SIG black nitride finish.

The second is an improved trigger designed by Grayguns Inc. According to SIG the P-SAIT trigger "strikes the perfect balance between a short-reach trigger and the standard length trigger. This intermediate trigger is adjustable for over travel". The P-SAIT trigger on my test P229 does have a noticeably shorter reach in the double action mode than the standard P229, combined with a roughly half inch of slack in takeup-which I like. Actual trigger pull weights remain the roughly the same as standard SIG's.

The third feature is one of the best-XRAY3-Day/Night Sights, and they are eye catching! The front tritium vial is surrounded by a bright lime green colored insert. The rear sights are tritium only. I am so glad they did not add the lime green to the rear sight vials. For CQB, or close quarters combat, use it is essential you find the front sight first and fast. Under bright or interior lighting conditions, your eye catches that front sight right now and is not distracted by anything as bright in the rear. It's an excellent setup that includes a rear sight ledge for emergency slide racking.

Other features that further set the Legion series from the standard SIG's are as follows:

  • Custom G10 Grips with the Legion Chevron Medallion
  • Reduced and contoured elite beavertail
  • More aggressive front strap checkering and checkering under the triggerguard
  • Front cocking serrations
  • X-5 trigger guard undercut
  • Enhanced polished action

As you can see, the Legion series is something special, and instantly recognizable as a cut above. The improvements are real, not just gimmicks. Of course the P229 was flawless in testing in terms of reliability and accuracy. As such they do add to the MSRP, which is $1413 for the model I tested. But if you, like warriors of previous generations, want a handgun designed for emergency self-defense or competitive use-one that is set apart from the rest with custom features without a custom price, check out the Legion line the next time you are in one of the Vance Outdoors location, and see if a Legion is right for you. Oh, and if you register your Legion with SIG, you are eligible for free gear, (thermo-molded case and challenge coin), exclusive access to more gear and merchandise, and exclusive communications from SIG.