When you hear the word Legion, you might think of a bunch of Roman guys wearing skirts who are intent about perforating people with long spears. Or you might think of rough looking dudes with strange white hats that look like the top section of a wedding cake. That would be the French Foreign Legion. For centuries, the word Legion has referred to very serious people undertaking very serious tasks. It’s with this warrior spirit in mind that the folks at Sig Sauer are releasing Legion.
I don’t refer to it as “the Legion” because Legion is envisioned to be a family of gear and programs targeted at serious people who want serious gear. Initially, the Legion product family will include handguns, knives, holsters, and tactical lights, along with a Legion community that brings together folks who care about hardcore guns and gear. Over time, the Legion family will be expanded to cover other handgun models, rifles, suppressors, and optics.
“We have worked with elite SIG users for years as we have developed the Legion,” said Jeff Creamer, Executive Director and General Merchandise Manager for SIG SAUER, Inc. “We wanted to know what custom features professionals were seeking as factory enhancements. The result is a line of high-performance firearms and accessories that deliver not only what elite users need, but what they want.”
The first guns in the Legion series are a Sig Sauer P229 and P226, both chambered in 9mm. We’ll talk about what’s next in more detail later in this article.
I was fortunate enough to get my grubby little hands on a Sig Sauer P229 Legion 9mm a while back and had to time to study and shoot to see what makes it different. In short, Legion Series guns offer a “custom” gun with modifications that a professional would make or desire, right out of the box. During a pre-launch conference call, one of the Sig team described the Legion series as gear that a Navy SEAL might carry when off duty. That’s the basic idea behind the concept, so let’s take a deeper look at the first Legion handgun from Sig.
What’s Different About the Legion P229 9mm?
The best way to think of the Sig P229 Legion is to envision what a serious shooter might have a custom gunsmith do to their new P229 to make it the ideal carry gun. Let’s take a look at some of the differences. Before we get into details, keep in mind that the overall frame and slide size are the same as standard P229, so holsters will be compatible with the new Legion model.
Starting with the frame, you’ll see a number of enhancements. The Legion model features a more aggressive beavertail than the standard P229 model. It’s not as large as that of Sig’s Enhanced Elite model, as this gun is intended for concealed carry. The front of the grip features checkering rather than the horizontal line texture on the standard P229. Above that, there is a more aggressive undercut like that on Sig’s X5 models. This allows the middle finger of the firing hand to ride higher on the grip. Your middle finger actually ends up into the trigger guard area due to the recessed cut. The last difference is a new checkering pattern on the bottom of the trigger guard. This is done to help keep your support hand from moving during rapid fire. The index finger of your support hand will contact this checkered area when you assume a two-handed grip. It really makes a difference as it helps eliminate the need for support hand repositioning.
Moving to the slide, you’ll see the addition of forward slide serrations. While these are a personal preference (I like them), their presence is unlikely to create problems if you choose not to use them for press checks. The only other visible difference on the slide is an engraved Legion logo on the top of the slide, just forward of the rear sight.
Sig has made some tweaks to the controls as well. The slide stop lever and decocking lever have aggressively checkered surfaces instead of the simple grooves on standard P229 models. Both controls are smaller and lower profile. This is another seemingly small change that I really like. Both controls are large enough to operate easily, but now they’re out of the way. If you are right handed, the controls don’t create extra space when carrying inside the waistband. Also, the standard slide stop lever on a P229 gets in the way of my two-handed grip so that I often don’t get a slide lock back on the last round. My thumb tends to ride on the lever which move it just enough to prevent the slide from locking in place. Not so on the Legion. While that may be a personal problem solved, I think a lot of folks will like the smaller and flatter controls. The takedown lever is unchanged as is the magazine release button.
The grips are now a two-piece G10 material. They’re aggressively textured and sport Legion Medallions on both sides. The sides and back are textured, but the pattern is shallow so it won’t tear up your hands. It’s plenty “sticky” and does a great job of keeping your gun stable in your hand during fire. Compared to the standard one-piece grips, the new Legion G10 grips add perhaps one-eighth of an inch circumference. As the new grips are two pieces, screws are included (unlike guns with the one-piece grips) so if you add Lasergrips, you already have all the parts you need. When I added Lasergrips to a standard P229, I had to purchase grip screws from Brownells.
The Legion has newly designed night sights. Sig calls them XRAY3 Hi Vis Night Sights. They’re different in a couple of ways. The front sight is Tritium powered but surrounded in the sight housing by a green fiber optic circle. This helps the front sight “glow” in daytime use while staying bright when the Tritium kicks in during low light conditions. The rear sights are also Tritium powered, but both rear dots are much smaller than the standard SigLite rear sights. This is another feature I really like. There is no ambiguity at all as to which dots are front and rear in dark conditions. The small rear sights are large enough to be seen but are dwarfed by the significantly larger front sight dot.
The guide rod is now stainless steel, adding a bit of weight up front. The idea is that adding weight under the barrel helps to tame muzzle flip, allowing for faster follow-up shots on target. You might also assume that the steel guide rod will provide an extra layer of durability over time and operation is smoother with the polished steel surface interfacing with the recoil spring.
Saving the best for last, we have to talk about the new trigger. It’s a GrayGuns, Inc. Intermediate Adjustable Trigger that simply rocks. Here’s why. The reset on the new Legion trigger is just about ⅛-inch. My standard Sig P229 resets after about ⅜ of an inch. That’s a huge difference that really helps you control rapid fire strings without pulling off target. The double-action trigger consistently measures eight and a half pounds according to my Timney Triggers gauge. On my standard P229, the double-action trigger consistently pulls at nine pounds. The feel of the double-action press is also noticeably different. On the standard P229, there’s a good bit of stacking towards the end of the motion. On the Legion, the pressure is constant throughout the pull, much like what you would find on a double-action revolver. The single-action press is very similar to the standard P229, with both guns measuring right at four pounds. The only difference I could detect with the Legion single-action trigger press is that the take-up stage is much smoother, probably a result of the extra polishing work inside.
The MSRP of the P229 and P226 9mm Legion models is $1,428.
As this is built to be the perfect carry gun, I decided I wanted to add Crimson Trace Lasergrips right off the bat. Yes, it’s a bit of a shame to take those really sweet G10 grips off, but I insist on lasers on all of my carry guns. Besides, for this article, I wanted to verify fit and function so I could accurately share that information here. Since the controls are tweaked a bit on the Legion model, I wasn’t 100% sure that the standard Crimson Trace LG-429 Lasergrips for Sig Sauer P228/229 would fit and operate properly. The included G10 grips have a small cutout under the slide lock lever and I was a bit concerned that the Lasergrips might interfere.
I removed the flathead grip screws and the G10 grips easily came off in their respective two halves. Adding the Lasergrips was a snap, and it turns out that the Crimson Trace LG-429 grips have a beveled shelf all the way across the top of the left grip. There is no interference with the lower (closer to the frame) placement of the slide stop lever. It rides noticeably closer to the surface of the LG-420 grip panel but works just fine. The Lasergrips shape was also entirely compatible with the new beavertail on the Legion P229. The gun I have is an early production model, so there should be no change from what you can soon buy in the store.
As the exterior dimensions are the same, you should have no trouble using the P229 Legion with any existing P229 holsters. I carried this gun using a Galco Side Snap Scabbard OWB and a Galco KingTuk IWB holster and fit was perfect.
On the new front, I had the opportunity to try a new Legion branded OWB holster from BlackPoint, along with a single magazine carrier. The Blackpoint holster is a Kydex shell but uses leather wings mounted on front and back. The belt loops are attached to these wings so that the holster can mold around the curve of your body. Kydex supports the gun and pliable leather provides a comfortable fit. This holster also holds the gun high relative to the belt line, which makes concealment easier. The single magazine carrier is built the same way using leather wings. Two sets of belt loops are included for each, allowing a tight mount with either 1 ½ or 1 ¾ inch belts.
Shooting the Legion
Earlier I talked about the trigger improvements, and these really show at the range. This gun shoots like a dream. The new G10 grips are sticky, and combined with the lower recoil of the 9mm, this gun stays put in the hand. The three included magazines are 15-round capacity, so you can top the Legion off to 16 total rounds of 9mm.
For accuracy testing, I mounted a Bushnell Elite 3500 2-7x handgun scope on the Legion using a UM Tactical rail scope mount. This provides a perfect sight picture at 25 yards in order to minimize shooter sighting error. For this gun, I did the full group protocol, shooting various types of 9mm ammunition into five-shot groups at 25 yards distance. For each ammo type, I fired five consecutive five-shot groups and calculated average, smallest, and largest group sizes.
As you can see, this is one accurate compact pistol. If I’ve gotten a five-shot, 25-yard group of 1.02 inches before from a production gun, I can’t remember when.
I tested velocity using the same ammo, using a Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph placed 15 feet down range. For each variety of ammo, I fired ten-shot strings through the chrony to measure average, extreme spread from highest to lowest velocity, and standard deviation.
The Legion Community
When you buy a Legion gun, you have the opportunity to join Sig’s new exclusive Legion community. The first tangible benefit will be the custom pistol case and model-specific challenge coin that ships to you free of charge. It’s a nice case that holds the gun, all three magazines assuming one is in the gun and the challenge coin. There’s an empty cutout in the case for a Legion knife should you decide to add that to your collection.
Speaking of Legion knives, Sig has partnered with a number of like-minded companies to create Legion gear. As a Legion community member, you’ll have access to purchase custom knives from companies like Rick Hinderer, Daniel Winkler, Quartermaster, Ernest Emerson, Duane Dyer from Strider, and Zero Tolerance by Kershaw. Other gear companies like Surefire will offer Legion gear in the private section of the online Sig Store.
The Legion program also provides quarterly emails about new gear, programs, and training tips as well as advance information on new Sig guns and related products.
Other Legion Models
The 9mm P229 and P226 Legion guns are first off the line, with a P226 Single-action Only 9mm gun coming later this fall. Sig intends to produce the P226 and P229 models in .357 Sig and .40 S&W too, but the timing of market availability is not yet clear.