As part of my SIG Sauer P226 upgrade article and step-by-step video series, I sent my West German P226 to SIG Sauer’s Custom Shop for their Action Enhancement Package. On their Custom Services web page, SIG advertises the AEP as:
Our factory gunsmiths hone and polish critical surfaces to lighten and smooth both the double-action and single-action trigger pulls taking your SIG SAUER to the next level without voiding the factory warranty. Includes Feed Ramp Polish. (Excludes SP2009, SP2340, SP2022, 226X5/X6, Mosquito, 1911-22, P210, P220 SAO, P226 SAO, P232/230, P238, P938, P250, P290 and DAK models.)
Starting Trigger Weights & Action Feel
Before modifying the West German P226 I used in this experiment, I shot a “before” video and measured these initial trigger pull weights with its 100% original configuration:
- Double-action pull: More than 13 lbs (the gauge reads “OVER” at anything above 13 lbs)
- Single-action pull: 4 lbs 5 oz
Even though the DA pull was extremely heavy at 13+ lbs, the quality of both the DA and SA pulls was good, probably because the action was well used and worn in.
DIY Action Upgrades First
- I installed a Grayguns P-SAIT trigger (shown in this video). This allowed me to adjust and minimize over-travel, and have my finger in a “stronger” position to pull the double-action 13 lbs, but it didn’t affect the trigger weights or smoothness.
- I installed an SRT Kit (shown in this video), which drastically reduced the previously long reset. Skip to the end of the video (around the 10m 30s mark) to see the improvement.
- I installed a modern-style mainspring assembly, which included a new mainspring, mainspring strut, and mainspring shoe (shown in this video).
If you skip to the 10m 35s mark of the mainspring assembly video, you’ll see that I measured the DA pull again and had reduced it to 11 lbs 2 oz, nearly all of which is likely due to the mainspring update. The feel of the action remained pretty smooth, but still with some room for improvement.
Shipping the Gun to the SIG Custom Shop
As of the date of this article, SIG has two shipping options available. If you handle your own shipping to SIG, you can pay $27.50 for two-day return shipping. I opted for the $55 overnight “VIP” shipping. SIG emailed me a FedEx overnight label, I put the P226 in its original plastic box, put the plastic box into a cardboard box I had from some Amazon shipment, printed and applied the label, then dropped it off at my local FedEx hub (because it’s a firearm, it has to be a hub, not one of the smaller local mailbox stores). SIG then overnighted the completed firearm back to my house. SIG received my gun on April 6th. They completed the job on April 12th and I had it back at my house on April 13th.
What’s in the Box?
With great anticipation, I opened the box to check out my action-enhanced West German P226. I was surprised to find a “bag of bits” inside, which included my old hammer, sear spring, and four grip screws:
I was pleasantly surprised to see that SIG didn’t charge extra for the new parts. The old hammer was clearly worn, and I suspect that a previous owner may have tried to polish it (since the barrel was also polished). I wasn’t surprised to see they’d replaced the sear spring, since that’s such an important element of the action, and mine was probably worn. But I was very surprised to see new grip screws, since I’d thought I’d replaced them when I installed new grips. Looking more closely at the screws in the baggie, however, two were old and worn and two were new… so I’m thinking I must have accidentally put two old screws on the grips while I was shooting a video. Regardless, the Custom Shop hooked me up with four new screws!
I also received this letter:
The letter is clearly intended to cover their butt since they performed service on a gun that had been modified, but I’m fine with that. None of the modifications I did were intended to lighten the trigger below stock weights, which is important to me in a defensive weapon. A heavier double-action pull is an important safety element of a double-action defensive gun.
The letter explains that they performed an Action Enhancement Package (AEP) and a Feed Ramp Polish (FRP). I know many folks are fans of feed ramp polishing, but I’ve never been convinced that it makes that big of a difference, unless your gun is experiencing feed problems. But it’s fun to rub your finger on a polished feed ramp and say “oooh… smooth!” 🙂
Action Enhancement Package Results
So how did the results turn out? I videoed my initial and honest reaction, so perhaps I should let the video speak for itself:
Yes, I get a little carried away in that video… but that was my honest reaction. I was surprised at how well it turned out.
From a purely quantitative side, the DA trigger pull weight was reduced to a much more manageable 8 lbs, though still heavy enough to be considered “safe.” The single action pull was also reduced slightly to just under 4 lbs.
On the qualitative side, the double-action pull is butter smooth with a candy-cane crisp break (yum… butter and candy canes). The reset was even slightly improved over the results I achieved with the SRT Kit install. The overall result is an action that is (dare I say it?) even better that that of the beloved P226 Legion. That does make sense, however, since the Legion’s action isn’t the result of hand-polishing, while the AEP is done by hand by experienced factory gunsmiths. One should expect superior results.
Overall, the SIG Custom Shop Action Enhancement Package, which costs $179.99 plus whatever shipping option you choose, was money very well spent.
Not the Only Game In Town
I chose to use the SIG Custom Shop for this experiment, because my intent was to see how much I could upgrade a West German SIG using only OEM (ish) parts… and I included the action work as part of that. But the Custom Shop isn’t your only option for custom work. There are a number of well respected SIG gunsmiths out there, including Bruce Gray of Grayguns Inc. and Robert Burke aka “The Sig Armorer“. Both have stellar reputations in SIG circles. Both are more expensive than the factory option, and both will take a little longer to get your guns back to you. But both have plenty of fans that feel the additional cost and wait time are well worth it. I can’t speak first-hand about their work, but plenty of people that I trust… trust them. If I ever get around to having either of them do action work on any of my guns, I’ll write a separate review.
Some believe that with enough dry-firing and range time, guns will give themselves their own “trigger jobs” through self-polishing. My experience is that there’s some truth to that. Others believe that you can do your own trigger jobs yourself with stones and/or polish and Q-tips. There’s also some truth to that… if you know what you’re doing. I trust myself to do trigger jobs on Glocks, but with my SIGs, I haven’t taken that plunge. For $179 plus shipping, I got measurable and noticeable results, along with a replacement hammer, sear spring, and grip screws… from a factory gunsmith who function-tested and test fired my gun when it was done. That seems like a pretty good deal to me.
And as much as I love my P226 Legion, I’d be lying if I said the action on my now “enhanced” West German P226 didn’t feel better. Maybe with more dry-firing and range time, my Legion will catch up. The Legion’s action is advertised as “enhanced,” however don’t be fooled into thinking that means it’s received an Action Enhancement Job… because it hasn’t. The “enhancement” of the Legion’s action is automated polishing done by a machine on the assembly line as opposed to hand polishing done by a gunsmith at the Custom Shop. The technique is different, and (as you’ve seen yourself from my experience) the result is different.
Or maybe I’ll just send my Legion off to SIG’s Custom Shop and put in the order notes “Please make this feel as good as my 1987 West German P226 you guys did.” I imagine that might bring a smile to their face.
As always, I welcome your questions, comments, and feedback below!