SIG Sauer has a solid reputation for building fine firearms, but in the recent past they have expanded into silencers, optics, ammunition, and airguns. Now I know what you are thinking, why would a large manufacture diversify into airguns. Well the SIG airguns are not toys, and they are more like clones of their firearms that run off of carbon dioxide instead of gun powder. I had a chance to talk with SIG at the 2016 NRA show and get the low down on the airguns.
The SIG MCX ASP and P226 ASP showed up for review and they are spitting images of their firearm counterparts. With similarities in weight, manual of arms, and trigger pull they offer an inexpensive and convenient way to train new users that may be intimidated by firearms, or for the seasoned shooter. Being CO2 powered you don’t need the same facilities to shoot as you would firearms. Even a range could be set up in your backyard. With that said, I cannot stress enough, these are not toys and produce enough velocity to be very dangerous, which is something I will cover when I talk about shooting ballistic gel.
You see the safety/decocker and magazine release are in familiar positions. While the slide does reciprocate during live fire, it does not lock back ever, as the slide lock is there for aesthetics. The Picatinny Rail is standard so you can train with your accessories. Load the magazine and CO2 canister, sweep the safety/decocker off and you are ready for live fire. Engaging the safety also decocks the hammer, which is recocked when you fire the pistol again.
The right side of the pistol, with the trigger breaking at 8 pounds in double action and 5 pounds in single action. Honestly, the trigger is not great. There is a lot of take up and once it breaks there is right much over travel. Though reminiscent of the 226 trigger, it is no where near as nice as the actual firearm. Since the dimensions are the same as the P226, and holster you would own for that SIG should also work with the air pistol.
Nice 3 dot sights that were sighted in around 25 feet.
Here you can see the full length Picatinny rail on the top and KeyMod attachment system on both sides and bottom of the handguards. The MCX ships with a vertical KeyMod handgrip. The air rifle can be had in 3 configurations: with the SIG 1x4x24 scope, like the test sample I received, or you can opt for the Mini red dot 1×20 with a 3 MOA dot. Lastly you can option for flip up iron sights.
You can see the left side of the ambidextrous safety, same as you would find on a standard AR rifle. The bolt release does nothing but is included for aesthetics. The trigger broke at 7 pounds with a long over travel and some take up after it breaks. It is not that bad but not as good as a quality AR trigger. Still similar enough for solid training.
The other side of the ambidextrous safety and functional magazine release. The dust cover does not open nor does the forward assist function, but when installing a new cylinder, the charging handle needs to be drawn to the rear to prep the air rifle for live fire. It does not need to be recharged when the magazine is changed.
The 9o gram CO2 cylinder for the MCX attaches to the rear of the receiver, the butt stock slides over and locks into place. You can expect 180-200 shots from a single cylinder. Velocity averaged 450-550 fps depending on the weight of the pellet, design, and cylinder capacity. On the P226, the 12 gram CO2 cylinder installs behind the back strap. You can expect 6-7 magazines from a cylinder and then air pressure drops enough that the slide does not reciprocate enough to cock the hammer, but you can still get another magazine or 2 in DAO until the gas gives out around 70 total shots. Velocities range from about 350-400 fps depending on pellet weight, design, and cylinder capacity. The pistol and rifle can be had either in Flat Dark Earth or Black.
You see the MCX box magazine holding 30 pellets in a belt. The pellets are pressed into the belt and fed into a channel in the magazine. The P226 magazine has total 16 pellet capacity, holding 8 pellets in each revolving cylinder in each end. Both systems worked as they should.
Please click on the chart to see the larger version showing groups from both airguns as well as ballistic gel penetration
Initial Range Trip
I started off with the P226 ASP which runs off the small, common 12 grain CO2 canister. Stepping off to thirty feet I began to get with it. I notice the weight, trigger pull, sights, and magazine release are all very similar as the real P226. When firing the air gun the slide actually reciprocates, creating just a bit of recoil and disrupting your sight picture slightly. Accuracy was not bad once I got the hang of running the gun. Then onto the MCX, being very similar to the real MCX and AR-15s in general. Running a few magazines through the airgun it has proven to be reliable and also reasonably accurate.
Second Range Trip
After spending a great deal of time shooting these air guns I get where SIG is going with this. As I said above they would make excellent trainers to brand new shooters to bridge the gap from a inert gun to the .22. Since they are modeled after actual SIG firearms, having similar manual of arms, once someone became comfortable with these airguns it would be a much easier transition to the real thing. Since they are actually shooting a pellet, it is easy to incorporate all sorts of targets other than paper. That will allow you to mix it up and keep it from getting boring. SIG offers all sorts of reactive targets and due to the nature of the air guns it is easier to make a safe backstop than with actual firearms. With a little imagination and some safety measures it would be easy to turn a basement into a shooting gallery. With that said, again these are not toys, and that is shown with the ballistic testing. Even though they are air guns all four firearm rules must be observed. With all that said, these air guns also make good options for the veteran shooter to get into some inexpensive and convenient training. There is also the fun factor to be able to step into your back yard and play with an air gun. Final pellet count for the P226 was about 500 and for the MCX about 150. There were no malfunctions or problems with the guns or cylinders leaking down while they were stored for days. The P226 runs about $100 while the MCX is about $270. Not that bad for what you get and loads better than Airsoft.
- 30–ROUND RPM™ MAGAZINE
- ALUMINUM HANDGUARD
- MANUAL SAFETY CONTROL
- TACTICAL FOREGRIP
- SYNTHETIC STOCK
- 18’’ RIFLED STEEL BARREL
- METAL HOUSING
- FLIP-UP FRONT & REAR SIGHTS
- PICATINNY RAIL (OPTICS & ACCESSORIES
- 16–ROUND ROTARY MAGAZINE
- FULL BLOWBACK, METAL SLIDE
- METAL FRAME
- BUILT-IN LOWER PICATINNY RAIL MOUNT
- RIFLED STEEL BARREL
- TEXTURED GRIP
- WHITE DOT SIGHTS
- PATENTED CO2 CARTRIDGE SYSTEM