Upgrade a West German SIG Sauer P226 to Legion Specs

Step 6: Enhance your P226 Action

Choosing the right trigger for a gun is a big step toward improving its action, but it’s not everything. As explained in the previous step, the trigger itself is only the first part.

Short Reset Trigger Kit

The Legion’s marketing materials state that the Legion features an “Enhanced Action with SRT.” As you’ll recall, the “SRT” refers to SIG’s Short Reset Trigger Kit, which is comprised of two parts — neither of which is a trigger. The SRT Kit replaces the standard P226 sear and the safety lever:

SIG's Short Reset Trigger Kit (SRT)

SIG’s Short Reset Trigger Kit (SRT)

The installation of these two parts doesn’t affect the P226 trigger pull weights (I’ve proven this on video). Rather, it shortens the length of the P226’s trigger’s reset, so after pulling the trigger on a double- or single-action shot, your finger only has to move forward a short distance before you can pull back again for another shot. The SRT Kit also greatly reduces (but doesn’t quite eliminate) single-action “take-up” — the amount of movement between the trigger’s resting place in single-action mode and the “wall” where the full amount of single-action trigger pull weight is required to release the hammer.

The SRT is around $50 direct from SIG and most online accessory retailers. Installing it yourself is easy. If you Google “SRT Kit,” my SRT Kit YouTube installation video is one of the first results. However, I’ve since updated it with a newer video that shows a trick (using a magnetic wand) to install in in about half the time. Both videos shows the standard trigger reset on my P226 MK25, how to install the kit, then the difference in the reset after installation. The SRT Kit is the #1 modification I recommend to any P-Series pistol owner. It’s the cheapest way to get the biggest improvement in the action.

Mainspring Assembly

The mainspring assembly in an older classic P226 is different than in more modern versions. The older style has a longer hammer strut, a steel mainspring seat held in place by a metal pin, and a long mainspring.  The updated style has a short hammer strut, a short mainspring, and a long plastic mainspring seat.

There’s also a special E2 version of the hammer strut (which is curved and elongated to make room to fit the E2 grips) and a short plastic E2 mainspring seat to go with it, which also uses the newer short mainspring. Here’s a shot of all three assemblies, “borrowed” from the Grayguns webpage. Please note that Bruce Gray has informed me that their current mainspring kits will work with the E2 strut & seat, and that their website will be updated soon.

Original P-series guns have the old-style assembly, while newer guns have the later style short strut and plastic seat

Original P-series guns have the old-style assembly, while newer guns have the later style short strut and plastic seat

If your P226 has the older 4-piece steel strut and seat assembly (shown on the bottom), I highly recommend replacing it with the newer style assembly (shown on top). Doing so will lighten and clean up the double-action pull. The updated short hammer strut (part# HAMMERSTRUT-6) is around $14, the updated short mainspring (part# MAINSPRING-1) is around $6, and the long plastic mainspring seat (part# MAINSPRINGSEAT-1) is around $5.

I had initially presumed the Legion had the “standard” (short) updated strut, but while filming a video discussing mainspring upgrades, I discovered that the P226 Legion actually uses the longer curved E2 mainspring strut and seat, as opposed to the standard short strut + long seat on other modern P226 pistols. The only answer I’ve received from SIG as to why is so that Legion owners can install the E2 grips on their pistol without having to swap out any internals.

Regardless of whether you want the standard updated mainspring assembly or the E2 version, the rule when buying parts to change your mainspring assembly is that you need to combine long + short: either a short strut (HAMMERSTRUT-6) and a long seat (MAINSPRINGSEAT-1), or a long E2 strut (HAMMERSTRUT-8) and a short seat (MAINSPRINGSEAT-2).

Action Enhancement

The Legion’s stunning action doesn’t stop with an updated mainspring assembly and SRT Kit. Because of the relationship between Grayguns and SIG, I initially wondered whether Grayguns was performing any of the internal polishing and custom action work on the Legion, since they’re well known for their SIG action work. But both Grayguns and SIG confirmed to me that all of the action work inside the Legion is performed by the gunsmiths at SIG’s Custom Shop.

Initially, I also presumed that the SIG Custom Shop was submitting each Legion pistol to their Action Enhancement Package, which their website describes as “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.” Apparently it also includes polishing of your feed ramp.

But after a conversation with SIG, I learned that the “enhanced action” on the Legion is actually the result of an automated process done on the production line via chemical processes, and not by hand at the SIG Custom Shop (more on the Custom Shop’s work below).

Regardless, whatever the process on the Legion’s action, the result is fantastic. I’ve installed SRT Kits in nearly all of my P-Series pistols, but have never been able to completely eliminate the single-action take-up. My P226 Legion has no single-action take-up… and I mean none at all. After the reset, there’s zero movement to the “wall,” and then the appropriate amount of finger pressure crisply squeezes off the single-action shot. I would have thought that level of precision could only be reached with careful honing, polishing, and adjusting by someone who knows what the #@$* they’re doing. But apparently, SIG has figured out how to automate it to some extent.

For $180, you can send most classic P-Series pistols to SIG’s Custom Shop for their Action Enhancement Package. Will it make your classic P226 action feel like a Legion? I wanted to find out, so after doing all of the other upgrades in this video (which I filmed as part of this video series), I sent my West German P226 to the Custom Shop for their AEP.

If the AEP is an option you choose, I’d install the Grayguns P-SAIT trigger and the SIG SRT Kit prior to sending your gun in for SIG’s Action Enhancement. That way, the SIG gunsmiths have all the pieces of your action already in the gun before they do their magic.

How did it turn out? I wrote a full review of the service in this separate article, but the TL;DR version is that the SIG Custom Shop reduced the DA weight to 8 lbs, and the SA weight to just under 4 lbs… while making the entire pull butter smooth, reducing creep, and making the reset even shorter. I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t better than the Legion’s action now. I know that’s a big claim, but watch Video #10 in the upgrade series to see for yourself.

Of course, the SIG Custom Shop isn’t your only option for action enhancement. Grayguns’ Action Cleanup Perfection Service costs $115 more than the SIG factory action enhancement, but also includes Grayguns’ proprietary springs. When they’re done refitting, polishing, and refinishing the internal parts, GGI claims it yields the “smoothest double-action and cleanest single-action (SA) pulls possible” on a P-Series. I’ve never tried Grayguns’ services, but I’ve heard very good things… and I’m tempted to send one P226 to SIG, and another to Grayguns, and see how they compare when they come back. Let me know in the comments if that’s an article and video you’d like to see!

Clean and Lube

Before I move on to the next step, I should mention here in the “action” step that I was surprised at the amount of factory lubrication that appeared in the Legion when I opened it up. There was a lot of gun grease… in lots of places. Obviously, properly cleaned and lubricated internals are a vital element of a smooth action, and the Legion seemed to have way more lube than any other new SIG I’ve opened up. The SIG final assembly folks love their lube. And maybe we should all take this as a reminder that we should, too.

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