Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol – 15+1 Capacity


15 + 1
34.4 oz.



Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol- Sig Sauer® has become a leader in international military and law enforcement contracts by producing ultra-reliable firearms that hold up to years of real-world combat. The P226® MK25 semi-auto pistol is made to the exact specifications as the current sidearm carried by the US Navy SEALs. Exceptional ergonomics and balance allow the P226 MK25 to point on target, and stay on target with speed and consistency. The P226 MK25 operates with a double action/single action design, with only 3 controls: the slide stop, the magazine release, and the decocker, enabling the pistol to be deployed quickly without having to flip a mechanical safety on or off. Sig semi-automatic pistols have several built-in safety features, including a hammer block and firing pin block that make them suitable for safe carry. The P226 MK25 is constructed with a black, hard-coat anodized aluminum frame, and a Nitro coated stainless steel slide. The MK25 model also features anti-corrosion coatings on the internal components and controls, and the slide has an anchor engraving, as does the US Navy SEAL sidearm. The frame features an integral 3-lug Picatinny rail for attaching aftermarket sights and lights. SIGLITE® night sights allow rapid sight acquisition in daylight, as well as total darkness. Textured, polymer grip panels and front strap serrations enhance control during rapid fire. The Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol fieldstrips easily without the use of tools for cleaning and maintenance. The P226 is a masterpiece of highly functional firearm engineering, that’s simple to use and easy to maintain, incredibly accurate, and rugged beyond belief

Same firearm used by US Navy SEALs
Exceptional ergonomics and balance
Double action/single action design
Decocker with no manual safety
Built-in safety features
Anodized aluminum frame
Nitro coated stainless steel slide
Navy anchor engraving on slide
Integral 3-lug Picatinny rail
Ergonomic textured grips
Easily fieldstrips without tools
Review: Sig Sauer P226: Super Solid


World-renowned. Masterful. Premier. A force to be reckoned with.

Those are just a few of the words and phrases SIG Sauer uses to describe their P226 line of pistols.

Sounds impressive, right?

The SIG Sauer P226 Nitron is sort of the baseline P226 of the line-up but it’s a solid pistol you’d probably love shooting.

Thanks to the SIG marketing team it certainly does..the P226 sounds almost like a pistol that loads itself, fires itself, and polices its own brass afterward. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

This leads us to wonder what the P226 is really like and whether it lives up to the hype.

Brief History

You should be able to predict by now that I’ll plunge headfirst into firearms history.

In the case of the P226 you may already be familiar with its background but for the uninitiated, this might prove interesting.

And as you may have guessed it involves the military (because what uber-popular handgun doesn’t?)

Back in the 1970s the United States Air Force asked for better ammunition based on the belief changing to premium ammo would solve their handgun troubles.

As governmental requests tend to go this resulted in an investigation which dug up the information that there were literally dozens of different handguns being used by the USAF alone.


A Congressman by the name of Addabbo made the statement that “the current proliferation of handguns and handgun ammunition in Air Force inventory is intolerable.”

Guns in use by the military at large included the expected M1911A1 in .45 ACP and the Smith & Wesson M13 in .38 Special.

Smith & Wesson M13 Aircrewman, a pre-Model 12 revolver designed as a super lightweight defensive revolver for aircrews!

On the heels of this statement came the decision to find One Handgun to Rule Them All.

At the time the US Military was the only major force that did not yet have a standardized NATO handgun and ammunition. You could say it needed to be fixed. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

The journey to find that one handgun launched the Joint Service Small Arms Program (JSSAP). In the words of the great Inigo Montoya, there is too much, I sum up.

In typical military fashion, they came up with a rather exhaustive list of 85 requirements for the new handgun, 72 of which were mandatory.

The mandatory stuff included a need for a magazine release that could be operated with one hand, a first-round trigger pull in double-action with follow-up shots being single-action, and a 9mm chambering.

They also wanted it to be durable – no more than eight malfunctions allowed per 5,000 rounds fired – and a minimum capacity of 13 rounds.

Quite a few big names threw their firearms hats into the ring for the first round including Beretta, FN, Steyr, Heckler and Koch, and Smith & Wesson. It wasn’t until round two that SIG Sauer got involved with their P226.

They’d designed the P226 specifically for JSSAP and it performed well. By round three it was clear the SIG P226 was one of the best, holding its own alongside the Beretta 92FBS.

It was during the end–of-trial bidding that SIG lost to Beretta so it seems safe to say SIG’s not being selected as the winner wasn’t about performance, it was about money.

All was not lost, though. The US Navy SEALs decided to use the SIG P226 beginning in the 1980s, a move that would make the gun something of a legend.

I mean, who doesn’t want a gun so tough, accurate, and reliable the SEAL teams guys rely on it in combat?

Be honest. It kind of makes you want one.

P226 Design

Onward and upward.

Or inward as the case may be. The P226 was originally made to fulfill those JSSAP requirements and hasn’t seen a lot of change since then.

After all, if the SEALs, a bunch of federal agents, and LEOs from the Texas Rangers – among others – are happy with it, why mess with awesomeness?

The P226 Nitron is the “older” and more original design. There are quite a few variants out there such as the extremely cool Legion P226 but if you want to stick to the gun’s roots, this is your model.

The gun comes in a trio of calibers – 9mm, .357 SIG, and .40 S&W – but the 9mm is the classic and it’s the one I have. It’s a semi-auto, of course, with the DA/SA feature JSSAP required years ago.

The P226 Nitron has a full-size, alloy frame with a hard-coat anodized finish and a stainless steel slide with a Nitron finish. This is a solid pistol and you feel that durability as soon as you pick the gun up.

Features time. This gun has a 4.4-inch barrel, an overall length of 7.7 inches, overall height of 5.5 inches, and width of 1.5 inches. It weighs 34 ounces, empty, so you could say it is a sizeable gun not suitable for deep concealment but that isn’t what is was made for, anyway. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

A SIG accessory rail makes it easier to mount a laser or light to the underside of the frame and the grips can be changed out, if you want.

Personally, I think the factory grips work just fine. The P226 Nitron also ships with SIGLITE Night Sights and has a fifteen-round capacity.

Since some of you are going to ask about safeties, here you go. The P226 Nitron has a series of safeties built into it including a firing pin safety block, a safety intercept notch, and a trigger bar disconnector.

It also has a decocking lever. There is even a shroud of sorts protecting the firing pin from outside impacts. Suffice to say it does have plenty of safeties.

SIG designed the P226 so the slide extends to shroud the firing pin, protecting it from outside impacts. It’s also made so the hammer is held away from the firing pin until the moment you pull the trigger.

The first time I saw a P226 I wasn’t immediately drawn to it. It’s kind of a bulky, blocky pistol with what appears to be an unattractively designed grip. Here’s the thing: as soon as I picked it up, I understood some of the hype.

The backstrap swell of the P226 Nitron and the rough grip texturing fit my hands as though they were made for them.

Seriously, it fits me that well. Although my hands are relatively narrow they’re pretty long – my fingers are longer than those of a lot of guys I know – so bigger guns tend to be my preference.

When I first saw the grips of the P226 I was skeptical but the moment I held it in my hand I knew I loved it.

This one is no different. Not only does it fit me but the controls are within reach so I can manipulate them without radically adjusting my grip.

The exception is the hammer, of course, which requires me to move my strong hand back and up in order to operate it.

The hammer on the P226 Nitron is textured so you can get a good hold on it even if your hands are wet. I’ve run this gun in the rain and will attest to its hammer texturing and deep slide serrations being handy.


Let’s jump right to the trigger. The P226 Nitron’s trigger is all right but not my favorite trigger ever (the SIG P226 Legion has a stellar trigger. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

It has a clean break but there is some take-up, a touch of stacking, and reset is rather long.

That said, the double-action pull is consistent and single-action is beautifully crisp (except for that take-up frustration marring the experience a bit).

Shooting double-action the P226 Nitron has a measured trigger pull weight of 8 pounds, 1 ounce and a single-action pull weight of just 3 pounds, 9 ounces.

The gun has cycled reliably and eaten a somewhat ridiculous variety of ammunition from Inceptor 9mm 65 grain ARX to Federal Syntech 9mm 115 grain TSJ to Remington UMC 9mm 115 grain FMJs.

And of course, I’ve thrown in Hornady Critical Defense 9mm 115 grain FTX and Winchester 9mm 115 grain JHPs. There’s more, but you get the idea. The P226 Nitron has run everything I’ve loaded it with to varying degrees of accuracy.

Firing from the bench at 25 yards the gun produces five-shot groups between two and three inches. I’ve spent some time running playing card drills with it, too, and haven’t gotten the precise little groups I’d hoped to see.

At ten yards it does nail one-hole, five-shot groups with most ammunition.

The bottom line is it isn’t a crazy precise gun but it is accurate. Part of the problem is probably the trigger but really there is nothing to complain about.

This is a perfectly capable self-defense gun.


This isn’t a gun you’re likely to use for concealed carry.

It isn’t that you can’t because you totally can – if I can conceal full-size guns, so can you – it’s just that it’s a sizeable pistol and there are easier to conceal guns out there.

When it’s loaded to capacity at 15 +1 it weighs more than two and a half pounds so you do feel it on your belt.

The width and shape of the slide make it slightly more difficult to conceal IWB but for me, it’s the grip swell that presents a challenge.

Possible, just not easy. For that reason, I’d say this is more of an open-carry gun.


The SIG P226 Nitron is a nice pistol.

Yes, I like it.

I’m not a SIG fanboy/girl/creature so no, I do not love every SIG that comes along. This one I do like. If you want a full-size 9mm for open carry or range days this gun is a fantastic option.

If you want one for concealed carry you can still consider it, just be aware it’ll take some effort and possible adjustments to your wardrobe.

The P226 does seem to live up to the durability side of the hype. If you just want a good workhorse gun for the P226 Nitron; if you want a precise pistol, check out the P226 Legion!

Pretty much any gun you choose from the P226 line is good to go. Maybe buy more than one of them. Hey, you can never have too many guns.

By the Numbers

Reliability: 5/5

The P226 has proven itself as a reliable gun. It does need to stay lubed – when I’ve run it in the rain and dry it got a little fussy – but I’d still say it’s reliable.

And considering the variety of ammo it’s eaten I’d say it is good to go with just about anything you throw at it.

Ergonomics: 4/5

SIG did a nice job designing the grip to fill the palm of your hand. It fits naturally and improves your grip which, in turn, enhances accuracy. It’s designed for hard use and fulfills those parameters.

Is it an aesthetically awesome gun? Not really, but I prefer function over form anyway.

Accuracy: 4/5

It’s a relatively accurate gun but not super precise. You’re going to hit what you’re aiming at you just won’t get gorgeous groups consistently. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

Thing is, you don’t need a precise pistol for self-defense, you need an accurate, reliable gun you can run well.

Get used to the trigger on this gun and learn to run it double-action, not only single-action, and you’ll find your shooting gets better.

Customization: 3/5

You can swap out the grips and mount a light or laser to it. Technically you could also send the gun off to be Cerakoted, so that counts as customization. Beyond that I wouldn’t say these are extremely customizable guns.

Value: 4/5

This is a well-made, solid pistol that’ll get the job done. Prices will vary, but used or new the P226 is a great buy.

Overall: 4/5

Parting Shots

I’d trust it with both my life and my daughter’s life, so you could say I’d recommend it.

If it is too big for you to conceal it’ll still make a great home defense gun. Just saying.

What is your go-to full-size pistol? How do the designs of the 1970s stack up to today? Let us know in the comments! If you’re interested in more awesome pistols, take a look at the Best Handguns for beginners!

Looking for a CCW? The Sig P365 might be the best one on the market!

Review: SIG SAUER P226


There are designs that transcend time. Like the 1911 handgun. Or the early Ford F-100. Or the P-51 Mustang. They’re designs that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional at the same time, which is why they tend to stick around. One such design is SIG SAUER’s P226, which has been a favorite of law enforcement, military and civilian shooters since 1984. SIG recently released the version used by the Navy SEALs for civilian sale, and one email later I had a box with my name on it on the way to my FFL . . .

The standard P226 is an over-engineered marvel of gunsmithing. Whether it’s the polished finish on the frame or the butter-smooth feel of the slide slipping back and forth on the rails, there’s just something about the design that shooters love.

The fact that the things last forever doesn’t hurt either. My first P226 was a police trade-in I bought for $300 and despite YEARS of heavy wear, the thing never had a single malfunction and shot as straight as an arrow. Even my latest P226, a West German 1987 manufacture, has been running like a Swiss clock despite being older than I am (yep, you read that right).

But as with any gun, there were some things that could be improved upon from the original design. From the looks of things, SIG SAUER made a list of all those improvements, funneled them into a single design and then christened it the MK25.

When I showed the MK25 to Chris and Joe in Portland, they didn’t see much improvement over the standard design. “The only difference is the anchor! And for that price, it better be painted with ground-up unicorn horn.” And to the untrained eye there isn’t much new and different. But the reality is that while the changes are relatively minor, they come together to make something much better than a stock P226.

The first thing you notice (besides the gold pressed latinum anchor) is the rail on the front of the gun. While a rail might not be something that everyone thinks they need, take it from someone who just competed in a midnight 3-gun: you need ALL the light you can get when you’re shooting at night. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

For that competition I didn’t have a light on my handgun and I really suffered for it. I could barely see the targets in the gloaming and a handgun light would have made everything much better. Like this TLR-1 that I have lying around.

Even if you’re never going to be running a midnight 3-gun or chasing bad guys in the dark of night, a light on a handgun is still something that is EXTREMELY desirable especially if you plan on using your pistol as a night table gun for home defense. Being able to ID your target before you pull the trigger is essential to keeping you and your family safe and felony free.

The only issue is that the very same rail makes it damn near impossible to find a holster to fit it. Since the shape of the holster is determined by what gadgets you throw on the rail, you’ll need to pick an illumination option and stick with it to use that holster (and if you take it off, the holster won’t quite work anymore). It makes holster selection annoying, but not impossible. Blade Tech and Safariland both have an assortment of holsters for various attachments available for purchase.

There are a couple other improvements over the original model that make this a superior handgun. First and foremost is the chunky external extractor on the slide, which is less prone to breaking than the original skinny extractor. It’s also much easier to replace. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

Hand in hand with that change is the movement away from a removable bolt to one that’s integrated into the slide itself. That removes the need to replace the pins holding the bolt together every couple hundred thousand rounds. There has also been some lightening of the slide and refinement of its design that goes with the integration of the bolt.

There are some other nice upgrades as well like a chrome lined barrel, tritium night sights, and a 3-D barcode that makes inventory much easier in military armories (which actually isn’t a bad idea for my gun safe). But with all the improvements, the “feel” of the gun hasn’t changed. She’s the same old workhorse that I fell in love with oh those many years ago.

Its a functional gun that shoots well and is amazingly reliable — except when you use the crappy jam-tastic ProMag 30 round magazines.

Which isn’t to say I don’t have have some minor gripes with the gun.

When they upgraded everything else, they apparently forgot the trigger. The MK25 comes with the EXACT SAME trigger mechanism that I have on my 1987 P226. That means the first double action pull takes MILES and then the reset for each single action round after that is still quite long. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

SIG has a trigger kit for the P226 called the SRT or Short Reset Trigger which would have made the trigger far superior to the existing P226, but they decided to leave it alone. The SRT will only set you back $50 and the consensus is that its easy to do by yourself, but it really should have been included. Then again, it wouldn’t have been EXACTLY IDENTICAL to the Navy SEALs MK25, so I guess that would have (a) added to the cost and (b) removed some of the cool factor of owning a Navy-issue MK25.

The other gripe I have also has to do with the trigger, but this one’s about the design of the blade itself. On my old SIG, the trigger blade is one solid piece of metal. On the MK25, though, there are some cutouts in the back of the trigger. I suppose it could be a weight saving measure to make the trigger lighter and faster, but I would have preferred my old solid design.

The MK25 is a good step forward in the P226 design, but the best part about it is that it is 100% compatible with existing gear for your P226 — except the holster.

Lights, lasers, magazines…everything that fits your old gun will fit your new one. And since this gun has been around for close to three decades there’s tons of stuff out there. I’ve got it set up right now as the perfect night stand home defense gun (just missing the silencer…), but it will work just as well as a 3-gun pistol and give you plenty of options should you ever find yourself needing to shoot at night. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

Or you could just do what Joe Grine does and slap a pisol bayonet on it for laughs.

That’s what I like about the gun: it gives you options you didn’t have with the original design. And especially given that it’s only $100 – $200 more than a brand new P226, there really isn’t any reason not to go with a MK25.


Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Barrel: 4.4″
Overall: 7.7″
Weight: 34.0 oz. empty
Capacity: 15 (factory) / 18 (flush aftermarket) / 30 (lolwut)
Price: $1,049.99

Ratings (Out of Five Stars):
All ratings are relative to other similar guns, and the final score IS NOT calculated from the constituent scores.

Accuracy: * * * * *
I regularly get one ragged hole in my target at the range.

Ergonomics (Handling): * * * *
For me, it’s perfect. If you have small hands it may be a little less perfect. The only reason I knocked a star off was the damned slide stop

Ergonomics (Firing): * * * * *
Besides the trigger issue I mentioned, there’s nothing wrong with this gun. Nothing at all.

Reliability: * * * * *
SIG has a habit of making extremely reliable handguns. My first P226 was made in the 1980s but ran thousands of rounds a year without a single issue. Sig Sauer P226 MK25 Semi-Auto Pistol

Customization: * * * *
There are tons of accessories for this gun and especially thanks to the rail in the front, there are nearly unlimited options for how you can doll it up. There’s even a mount you can get that straps to the rail out front and provides a mounting surface for a red dot sight. But that rail also makes it tough to find a good holster, which made me drop a star off the end.

Overall Rating: * * * * 1/2
Give me an SRT trigger and we’ve got a deal, SIG. But for the money ($900-ish at Bud’s Gun Shop) I really can’t complain.

Full Disclosure: This handgun is currently on loan from SIG SAUER for testing, but I am in the process of handing them cash in exchange for not having to ship it back. This will be P226 #3 for me.


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