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Service Life Extension

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Sig Sauer’s classic P-series metal-framed guns face a dilemma. On the one hand, they’re some of the most proven, dependable service handguns on the planet. On the other, there’s simply no way to build them in a fashion that makes them cost-competitive with polymer-framed striker-fired guns.

This is ironic, because when they debuted, the original P220 and its offspring, with their aluminum alloy frames and extensive use of stampings, could be constructed much more cheaply than the standard pistols of the day, which were of entirely machined construction.

Time and technology march on, though, and even with various modern manufacturing tricks and techniques, the classic metal Sigs have found themselves on the wrong side of the duty gun price curve and so the company has been looking for new market niches to exploit with their legacy handguns.

The Legion Series is the first and most obvious result of this. It courts the high end of the market, offering a suite of enhancements and a manufactured mystique with challenge coins and special merchandise.

While it shot like a house afire, the all-stainless 229 fell victim to SKU reduction.

While it shot like a house afire, the all-stainless 229 fell victim to SKU reduction.

Below the Legion are the various Elite guns, like the P229 Elite Stainless they had at range day. That chunky, all-steel gun shot extremely flat for a compact, but alas is no more in the name of SKU reduction. If you like the all-stainless look, they still offer the 229 Elite with a stainless slide and the alloy frame anodized to match, but that anodizing and clear coat doesn’t help sight tracking the way half a pound of steel does.

2018 sees Sig Sauer adding a new tier of guns that slots in under the Elite and Legion, pricewise, but offers a select few performance enhancements. Dubbed the P226 Select, the new gun offers the low-profile control levers of the Legion series, forward cocking serrations, and distinctive G10 grip panels that offer better grip than the standard units without being clothes-shreddingly aggressive.

The Select also has the short reach trigger and comes standard with factory night sights, while using the standard railed P226 frame rather than the beavertail tanged frame of the higher end ones. We were told to expect an MSRP of $1195, with street prices likely being a couple hundred lower.

The P229 joins the factory red dot lineup this year.

The P229 joins the factory red dot lineup this year.

This year’s catalog also sees an expansion of Sig’s line of factory optic equipped guns in the form of an RX variant of the classic P229, shipping with suppressor-height night sights and the Romeo MRDS.

By exploiting niche markets and moving more upscale, the duty life of the classic P-series guns will hopefully be extended for years to come.

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