Gun Review: SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series 9mm

SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series

SIG SAUER enthusiasts are legion.

I don't count myself amongst their number. SIG's handguns are reliable, accurate and only slightly harder to look at than Makenzie Leigh. But I don't get on with their triggers. Give me a Walther PPQ or a FNS-9 or a GHOST-modded GLOCK 19 and I'm as happy as Larry (as the Brits are wont to say).

That's now changed. Not the bit about the other manufacturers' go-pedals. With the help of the new SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series semi-automatic pistol, I've overcome my pathological aversion to SIG triggers (as diagnosed by a ballistically-minded acolyte of SIGmund Freud). But first, a word about SIG's Legion Series sub-brand . . .

SIG SAUER legion swag.

The Legion Series is based on a line of top-end SIG SAUER guns equipped with every upgrade and tactical mod the military-minded gunmaker can muster. It's SIG's version of Smith & Wesson's Performance Center. But wait! Not to coin a phrase, this is not just a gun!

The Legion Series is also a VIP program along the lines of Mercedes' AMG, whose well-heeled, well-wheeled buyers enjoy dedicated track days, AMG-only customer service and branded swag. By the same token, SIG SAUER's Legionnaires get exclusive access to members-only products and services, including high-end handguns, rifles, optics, suppressors, flashlights, knives, holsters and humidors (yes, humidors); otherwise secret SIG SAUER Training Academy tips, and a heads-up when the company's roamin' Legion thinks of a new toy.



SIG's Legion Series promo and dedicated website evoke the Warrior Spirit...

hawking the chance to join a bunch of like-minded ballistic besties. I'm with Groucho: I don't want to belong to any club that wants me as a member. But there's no getting around the fact that the SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series (brother to the introductory P226 Legion Series) is a hell of a handgun. In fact, it's best to think of the P229 LS as a really desirable, really expensive SIG SAUER semi-automatic pistol with free Legion Series club membership (for operators operating operationally).

SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series Left

The firearm in question is a bit of a brutish looking thing.

Credit the proprietary Legiongray PVD coating - which has nothing to do with Providence's T.F. Greene airport. We're talking about a high temperature vacuum process involving arc evaporation, sputtering, ion plating and enhanced sputtering.

Our gunsmith could no doubt tell you why Physical Vapor Deposition is a metallurgist's wet dream; all that high-tech stuff gives me a stomach ache. Suffice it to say, the PVD process coats the P229 Legion Series in a durable, abrasion-resistant finish that's harder and more corrosion resistant than candy ass electro-coated guns. If that's OK to say.

SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series grip

The SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series sports ye olde G10 grips.

Lots of people make G10's, fashioned as they are from a high-pressure thermoset plastic laminate of woven, epoxy-resin impregnated fiberglass mesh cloth (once we're doing the tech thing). Few make them this well.

The P229's checkering is flawless and perfectly judged for sticky, pain-free handling. I especially appreciate the square patches of skateboard tape-type stuff above both grips, locking the shooter's thumb and index finger into place. The smaller patch on the left situates the thumb beneath SIG's new, low-profile de-cocker and slide stop. The set-up works equally well for lefties - who won't be happy that the fantastically functional mag release is a left-side only affair.

It's the little things that cost. I mean, count.

Like the high undercut behind the P229 LS's trigger guard, eliminating dreaded GLOCK finger. Although the P229 LS doesn't offer a series of removable backstraps, smaller and medium-handed shooters will find the gun a pleasure to have and to hold from this day forth. The LS also answers the prayers of P229 owners who want a concealed carry firearm that doesn't print like the New York Times. SIG reckons the LS's reduced and contoured Elite beavertail "allows for a higher grip and a reduced profile." Copy that. Someone. Everyone. Please.

SIG SAUER P2229 Legion Series sight logo

If you have your sights set on owning this, the most expensive of SIG P229's, tell your significant other that SIG's new Electro Optics X-RAY high-visibility three-dot day/night sights are worth the price of admission.

No, you can't see through ladies' clothes, sea monkey lover.

But the SIG's sights are as bright as the guy who came up with Are You Smarter Than A 5th Grader?, easier to read than Hank the Cowdog, and likely to remain visible on Pitch Black's desert planet for a millennia or two. As you'd expect for a handgun that's operational as f-ck, the P229 Legion Series' rear sight is square-faced and indented at the bottom, so you can rack the slide on your bloodied Vertex pants with your non-damaged hand.

SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series and ammo

I fed the P229 Legion Series some 500 rounds of mixed ammo:

Winchester White Box, Federal Premium and a smorgasbord of self-defense ammo - whose combined cost was almost a tenth of the P229's purchase price. Make of that what you will. I made a bunch of close-together holes in the target exactly where I aimed the gun, at both seven and ten yards. Note: I suck. Also note: setting aside two double feeds with the Winchester ammo - yes, I give guns gimmes - the P229 is as far from sucking as a bottle of 1982 Chateau Margaux. All hail (not heil) SIG's brand new trigger!

SIG SAUER P229 double feed

SIG's presser informs us that the P229 Legion Series possesses "an enhanced polished action" with a "SRT (Short Reset Trigger)" augmented with a "Grayguns Intermediate Adjustable Trigger" with a "solid steel guide rod to add weight where it matters most." Not to mention the Master Shop Super Match Flat Trigger. I can inform you that the result is firearms fingertip fellatio.

Too much? Let me put it this way:

I hate double-action/single-action triggers. A gun with two different trigger pulls for safety's sake is like having a red hot sports sedan with a mandatory comfort mode. Oh wait. Anyway, the P229 LS puts paid to my prejudice.

The P229 Legion Series' 10lbs. DA trigger pull is as good as anything you'll find on one of the aforementioned S&W Performance Center models. It's long, of course, but smooth and predictable. You can stage the SIG's trigger like the Metropolitan Opera stages Tannhäuser (i.e. perfectly).



Just as The Dodge Boys' over-engined SRT models git 'er done, SIG's SRT gives the P229 LS scarcely believable horsepower. By that I mean the P229 LS is the fastest shooting semi-automatic handgun I've ever fired.

In SA mode, the SIG's trigger pull decreases to a scant 4.4 lbs.

At the same time, the rock-solid reset is closerthanthis to the trigger's breaking point. Shooting double taps - or emptying the 15-round mag - is faster than a knife fight in a phone booth. Better yet, there's a high likelihood that you'll place both bullets in more or less the same space and get back on target before the bad guy can say "ouch."

The LS's ergonomic excellence and weight works in its favor. I'm not au fait with the P229 in .357 SIG or .40-caliber, but the 9mm version pairs perfectly with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Make that the P229 LS's magnificent trigger. I'd still carry a 1911 for hostage-missing accuracy shots, but the P229 LS is an ideal choice for anyone who wants to send a lot of lead downrange really quickly. Maybe that's why SIG includes three magazines with in the LS' Thermo-Mold case. Speaking of which . . .

SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series in case

There's a funny looking cut-out at the bottom of the SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series case with nothing in it.

I reckon it's designed to fit a gold bar and a small stack of quarters. Not really, the T&E case was missing a Legion knife. But c'mon. The P229 Legion Series retails for $1428 (MSRP).

As our readers will no doubt point out, you can buy three GLOCKs and two bags of Lay's potato chips for that price. If you did, you'd have three GLOCKs and a serious threat to your Paleo diet. If, however, you gave SIG your money, you'd have a durable 'til doomsday recoil-smothering handgun capable of chucking a hail of lead at a target before you can say "bank overdraft, please." But not a knife. (That costs extra.) Definitely a challenge coin, though.

Here's a challenge. Shoot a P229 Legion Series and not want to buy one.

SIG SAUER P229 Legion Series


Caliber tested: 9mm
Frame/Slide: Alloy/Stainless
Grips: Custom G10
Sights: X-RAY™ Day/Night Sights
Overall Length: 7.1"
Overall Height: 5.4"
Overall width: 5.1"
Barrel length: 3.9"
Sight Radius: 5.7"
Weight w/Magazine: 29.6 ozs
Action Type: DA/SA
Trigger Pull: DA 10 lbs./SA 4.4 lbs.

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *
Slow fire for one ragged hole. Rapid fire for minute-of-bad-guy lead storm.

Ergonomics (handling): * * * * *
Tremendous attention to detail, from the reduced profile beavertail to the indent at the rear of the triggerguard.

Ergonomics (firing): * * * * *
Good God what a trigger! Fast and ridiculously easy to control.

Reliability: * * * * 
Two double feeds in 200 rounds of Winchester White Box. All self-defense ammo fed perfectly. Didn't see that one coming.

Customization: * 
There's a Picatinny rail for snout-mounted misegos, but really, this gun is already tarted-up to its eyeballs.

Overall Rating: * * * * *
I forgive the double-feed because love.