Whenever a reader asks me to write about a specific weapons system, I do my best to accommodate.
With that in mind, one of my old buddies from southern Illinois’ Belleville Shooting Range – now known as Metro Shooting Supplies – asked if I could do a write-up of the SIG Sauer P226 – if possible, zeroing in on the SIG P226 TACOPS.
While I’ve repeatedly stated in previous articles that I’m not a big fan of SIGs, I am more than happy to give it a go. So Ron, ol’ buddy, if you’re reading this, don’t say I never did anything for ya!
Original SIG Sauer P226 History and Specifications
Firearms enthusiasts need no introduction to the SIG Sauer P226. But for the benefit of our less gun-savvy readers, we’ll provide a brief rundown of the pistol’s origins. Debuting in 1983, the P226, with its ammunition capacity of 15 +1 rounds, was the firm’s first foray into the Wonder Nine market of high-capacity/double-stack, double-action or striker-fired 9mm semiautomatic pistols. The pistol was also the company’s entry into the U.S. Army’s 1984 pistol trials to replace the venerable M1911 .45 caliber single-action pistol.
The SIG P226 barely lost out to the Beretta 92F/M9, but on the occasion it proved itself as a rugged, reliable, and accurate handgun (as was true of every other pistol in the SIG product line). It also appealed to a lot of shooters transitioning from revolvers because it had no manual safety, instead employing a decocking lever. The 226 later garnered a small degree of vindication in the late 1980s. The Navy SEALs chose it after one of their elite troops was injured by an M9 slide that separated from the frame in mid-firing cycle, striking the SEAL in the face. The pistol was also adopted by myriad military and police forces around the world, including the FBI and the elite British Special Air Service. The latter chose it to replace their ubiquitous Browning Hi-Powers.
Okay, So What Makes the TACOPS Version Different?
The P226 TACOPS is arguably the ultimate refinement of the basic pistol, and it builds on the success and prestige of the firearm’s SEAL connection. Gun Genius elaborates:
“The P226 Tactical Operations is a full-sized 9mm featuring a stainless steel slide with rugged, wear-resistant Nitron finish, front cocking serrations and SIGLITE rear night sight, a TRUGLO Tritium Fiber Optic front sight and features the Short Reset Trigger or SRT. SIG engineers designed the SRT to provide you the same great safety and smooth action of the SIG DA/SA with a comfortable reset that is 60% shorter for faster trigger return and surgical control during high speed shooting. The beavertail frame is black hard anodized light weight alloy with integral Picatinny rail and polymer Magwell grips.”
The TACOPS tacks on five rounds to the standard magazine capacity, for a total of 20 rounds. Other specifications include a 4.9-inch barrel, a total length of 8.1 inches, total height of 5.5 inches, and an empty weight of 34 ounces. (The M1911, for sake of comparison, weighs 39 ounces.) Double-action trigger pull weight is roughly 8.5 to 9 pounds, and single-action trigger pull weights in at about 2.5 pounds.
Want Your Own TACOPS Pistol?
According to Don Summers of Guns.Com, “The Sig 226 TACOPS is a great pistol for anyone looking for a more full-sized handgun for home defense, competition or even concealed carry. While it is a bit pricey, with real-world prices coming in over $1,000 for a new model, it comes with peace of mind. This is an elite pistol designed for adverse conditions and if it’s good enough for the Navy SEALs then it’s good enough for nearly any other defensive situation.”
Interestingly enough, when you go to the official SIG website and enter either “TACOPS” or “P226” into the search engine, this specific model does not come up. The closest version they do advertise is their P226 MK 25 Full-Size, proclaiming that “Once reserved only for an elite few, the MK25 delivers the advanced features that made the P226 the official sidearm of the U.S. Navy SEALs.”
Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.