If you’re looking for a high quality production sidearm, you may want to look into SIG Sauer’s classic P226. The SIG Sauer P226 Platinum Elite takes the time-tested Navy SEAL sidearm to the next level.
The military and law enforcement community are no strangers to the many P226 variants. Indeed, the P226 MK25 (or P226 Navy) is still one of the sidearm options issued to Navy SEALs. However, the Platinum Elite improves upon the original P226 platform with upgraded features (such as enhanced grip and improved sights) that increase comfort and performance.
The SIG Sauer P226 Platinum Elite makes an impression without having to fire a round. The stainless slide and black hard anodized aluminum frame give the 226 a sleek two-tone look, accented with front and rear cocking serrations, roll-marked engraving, and custom checkered aluminum grip.
As part of the 226’s Elite lineup, the Platinum Elite features an extended beavertail, and front strap checkering. Excellent grip texture aside, the swarthy 1.5″ wide P226 does not lend itself to those of daintier hand sizes. On the other hand, the large grip does help to balance the hefty 34oz pistol. This balance becomes more of an advantage if the shooter adds to the weight of the pistol’s front end by utilizing its accessory rail.
While the Platinum Elite’s appearance is attention grabbing, where it really shines is at the range. The P226 Navy and Platinum Elite share a sight picture: three large white dots illuminated with SIGLITE® night sights. However, the PE’s “combat” sights are adjustable for elevation and windage.
Ironically, out of the box, the model evaluated in this review needed adjustment: it consistently grouped low and left from center. Fortunately, a few minutes of zeroing corrected that issue. Once the sights were tweaked, the P226 proved itself to be an accurate performer.
Another difference between the MK25 and the PE is the trigger. Both models are equipped with a DA/SA style trigger – the double action pull measures 10lbs, while the single action trigger pull breaks after 4.4lbs. But the Platinum has a short resetting trigger, which shortens the trigger travel by 60%. The result is a smooth pull with a clean, predictable break. This feature improves the shooters ability to achieve quick follow up shots.
The P226 Platinum Elite is offered in both .40 S&W and 9x19mm (unlike the P226 Navy, which is only chambered for 9mm); the model reviewed in this article is chambered for 9mm. While I cannot attest to how the .40 cal P226 handles, this 9mm PE disperses recoil well.
One of the factors that contributes to the P226’s manageable kick is the grip. The 1.5″ grip is even larger than the stout Beretta M9 (the current issued sidearm for the US Army), which measures 1.3 inches. The P226 is a beefy full-size pistol with plenty of space to establish a firm grip comfortably, right up to the extended beavertail. The checkering on the aluminum grip and front strap provide responsive texture, even with moist hands.
As one would expect for a sidearm issued to Navy SEALs, the P226 has proven itself to be a sturdy and reliable handgun. The model reviewed for this article has approximately 3,000 rounds through it (everything from Winchester white box, Blazer Brass, reloaded rounds, to Federal Hydra-Shok) and it has yet to have a single error of any kind. As to accuracy, this pistol does not disappoint, shooting groups as small as an inch in diameter from 20′, standing with two-handed grip.
The weighty presence of the P226 is impossible to ignore when considering it for concealed carry. In this department, its size is its largest detractor. This stocky pistol weighs over two pounds. And with full size dimensions (8.2″ long by 5.5″ tall, and 1.5″ wide), this is not an easy IWB. In fact, those with whom I am acquainted who carry this pistol don’t even bother trying to conceal with that method and instead opt for outside the waistband holsters.
Something to note about the 226 when considering it for conceal carry, is that it lacks an external safety. The controls on the side of the pistol include: a disassembly lever, slide release, magazine release, and a decocking lever. The decocker and DA/SA trigger allow the operator to carry a round in the pipe with the hammer down. In this manner, the ten pound double action pull helps to prevent accidental discharge.
Where the P226 lacks in ease of concealment, it compensates in capacity. The 9mm model holds 15 rounds in the magazine and a round in the chamber, while the .40 caliber model will carry 12+1. The large night sights, which feature tritium inserts, are also an advantage for CCW because they provide ease of aim in low light conditions. If the SIGLITE® sites aren’t satisfactory, the rail also allows for mounting light or laser accessories.
It is hard to find a flaw in the P226. It shoots well, performs reliably, and looks hot. The only downside, for this shooter, is the large frame, and even that is a small complaint – non-existent for those with hands larger than an average college-age female’s. The choice of law enforcement and military forces around the world who rely on the 226 and its variants daily are a testament to its reliable performance. And its looks speak for themselves…
The SIG Sauer P226 Platinum Elite is a range gem.
- Caliber: 9x19mm or .40 S&W
- Capacity: 15+1 (9mm), 12+1 (.40)
- Weight: 34.0oz (w/mag)
- Frame material: Aluminum alloy
- Finish: Black hard anodized
- Slide material: Stainless steel
- Finish: Stainless
- Barrel length: 4.4in
- Overall length: 8.2in
- Overall height: 5.5in
- MSRP: $1,289