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SHOT Show 2010: SIG Sauer unveils improved ergonomics for P226 and P229 pistols

A visit to the SIG Sauer booth at SHOT Show 2010 could easily take up an entire afternoon

As we approached the SIG Sauer booth, we came upon a demonstration being conducted by famed competitive shooter Max Michel, who is now team captain for SIG’s competitive shooting activities. Last year, Michel became the first shooter to win World Speed Shooting Championship, Steel Nationals, and USPSA Nationals in the same year. Michel, who rose to prominence with the United States Army Marksmanship Unit (USAMU), was demonstrating proper stance and some other excellent reminders.

But we were there to see products, so onward we went into the labyrinth of display cases.

The first thing to catch our eye was the SIG556 Tactical Rifle, which the company claims to be “some of the most accurate and durable M16/AR-15 type models on the market today.” Time (and testing on the streets) will ultimately tell whether this statement is true, but one thing is already absolutely certain, it feels fantastic in your hands.

With uppers and lowers machined from 7075-T6 “aircraft grade” aluminum, the SIG556 comes in an array of sizes, all the way from a seven inch “Personal Defense Weapon” to a 20” precision sniper model. Also interesting is the fact that the LE model will be available in both semi-auto and select-fire variants, with select-fire settings of single-shot, full auto, and three-round burst.

Eric VonBosse, a Product Manager at SIG, told us that the company has adapted the shorter gas piston system used on their 10" barrel models to the 16" barrel "Patrol" variants, giving a “reduced length that provides easier pointability in a rifle that swings better and allows for very quick engagement from the patrol car.”

The other bit of news we noticed was the E2 Enhanced Ergonomics versions of SIG’s P226 and P229 series of pistols. We’d received the press release on it several days prior, so we knew we wanted to see for ourselves in Las Vegas. “The newly designed one-piece modular grip with improved texture reduces area in the back strap and overall circumference, providing a better fit over a wider range of hand sizes,’ said the company announcement.

VonBosse explains, “A comment we’d heard in the past is that we’re not really geared toward people with smaller hands. We’ve heard this at our Academy as well as out there in the field when we talk to customers — that it’s a little hard for a 229 or a 226 to a smaller person. We figured that we might be ignoring about a third of the market, so we did some research both here in the States and in Germany, that helped us address issues related to shorter finger length as well as smaller hands.”

E2 models feature the innovative Short Reset Trigger (SRT) system providing a 60 percent reduction in trigger reset. A redesigned decocking lever can be combined with an optional ergonomic slide catch lever for a reduced profile; ideal for high two-hand grip techniques.

“The new ergonomics are backwards compatible to pistols already out there,” VonBosse concludes. “All it requires is a change in the seat and the strut for the main spring, so agencies that have those pistols in the hands of smaller officers can easily and quickly make that change.”

Information on the E2 Enhanced Ergonomics P226 & P229 or any of the SIG family of firearms can be found at www.sigsauer.com.

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