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 Tanaka SIG Sauer P226 ST review

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Modelgun Enthusiast
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Location / Country : Denmark
Registration date : 2011-11-30

PostSubject: Tanaka SIG Sauer P226 ST review   Sat Nov 23, 2013 10:40 am

1. Intro
The SIG P226 is a full-sized, service-type pistol made by SIG Sauer. It is the same basic design of the SIG P220, but developed to use higher capacity, staggered-column magazines in place of the single-column magazines of the P220. The SIG Sauer P226 and its variants are in service with numerous law enforcement and military organizations worldwide.
The P226 was designed for entry into the XM9 Service Pistol Trials that were held by the US Army in 1984 to find a replacement for the M1911A1. Only the Beretta 92F and the SIG P226 satisfactorily completed the trials. The Navy SEALs, however, chose to adopt the P226 later. Schweizerische Industrie Gesellschaft is a Swiss company and Swiss law severely restricts the export of firearms. Consequently, SIG entered into an agreement with German gun manufacturer (and eventual owner) J.P. Sauer & Sohn to facilitate an export market for their products. For the U.S. military XM9 trials, the P226 was imported by Saco Defense. Interarms took over importing when the pistol was introduced for civilian sales.
The P226, like the other members of the SIG Classic family, operates by the locked breech short-recoil method pioneered by John Browning. On firing, the slide and barrel are locked together for a few millimeters of rearward movement, after which the barrel is cammed down at the rear. By this time the bullet has left the barrel and the pressure has dropped to safe levels, whereupon the slide completes the rearward stroke, ejecting the spent cartridge. The recoil spring then propels the slide forward, stripping a round from the magazine and in the last few millimeters of forward movement the barrel is cammed upwards, locking the slide and barrel together again. Instead of the locking lugs and recesses milled into the barrel and slide of other Browning-type weapons (such as the Colt M1911A1, Browning Hi-Power and CZ 75), the P226 locks the barrel and slide together using an enlarged breech section of the barrel locking into the ejection port. This modified system, which was devised by SIG based on Charles Petter's Modčle 1935A pistol and their own SIG P210, has no functional disadvantages compared to the original system, and has since been copied by numerous firearm manufacturers.
The standard SIG P226 incorporates a decocking lever on the left side of the frame above the magazine release button, which allows the hammer to be dropped safely. By using the decocking lever, the hammer can be de-cocked without actuating the firing pin block, making it impossible to accidentally fire the weapon by using the decocking lever. Furthermore, using the decocking lever makes the weapon "drop safe", which means the firing pin will be blocked from striking a loaded round unless the trigger is pulled. Pulling the trigger and slowly lowering the hammer does not make the weapon "drop safe", and can result in an accidental discharge if sufficient force is applied to the hammer. Properly decocked, the pistol can be holstered safely and can be fired in double action mode by simply pulling the trigger. The SIG P226 has no manual safety.
The standard P226 has a black anodized, stainless steel slide. The frame of most models is made from hard anodized aluminum alloy. The SIG Sauer P226 ST was a limited production all-stainless version of the SIG P226 pistol. It is heavier than a standard P226 because the frame was made of stainless steel instead of aluminum. Weight with the magazine was a hefty 1196g vs 964g of the standard aluminum-framed version. The added weight of an all-stainless frame is claimed to provide greater recoil reduction and a quicker return to target between shots making it a common choice among Practical Shooting competitors. The P226 Stainless had a blued barrel and featured a railed frame. The frames were made in Germany in very limited numbers. The P226 ST is no longer manufactured.

2. Box and content

The box is straight forward brown cardboard top and styrene bottom. Black print on the cardboard top and a silver label that, without reading Japanese, tells this is in silver finish. In addition to silver finish, this is also the HW version.

Content of the box is as simple as the box top. Modelgun, magazine, 5 cartridges, loading tool, an Allen wrench (hex wrench) and the instruction sheet. (in japanse)

So far I would say that what is needed is there, straight and simple.

3. Look
For the look of the box I guess it an individual matter, but I like this basic cardboard box. In general I like a blue oxidized gun and when purchasing had the choice between black and silver but have to admit that I some way fell in love with this shiny thing.

Now my off set will be that this modelgun is to look like the SIG P226 ST (Stainless steel). For the shade of silver I will dare to state is in between Chrome and matted stainless. For me this is a minor thing but for those that care a lot more about the appearance than the function it is a bit light in the color.

For those really caring about the appearance I think these small mould seams are even worse. Manufacturing of a real steel gun would never leave such – and they would for sure be polished away before delivery. I am pretty sure they appear less on the black version but .  .   they are visible on this model.
I am very confident that this “stainless” version has emerged by Tanaka simply having the black parts spray painted before factory assembly. If this is the case they could have taken the time to polish the mould seams away. Apart from the (afterall small) mould seams this Is a truly good and realistic looking models gun.
Levers, trigger, hammer and sights are black as on the real thing.

4. Markings

Left side of the slide is engraved: SIG SAUER P226 stainless and below SIGARMS INC EXETER NH-USA
Right side of the frame carries the logo, and SIGARMS EXETER NH-  (and below) frame made in Germany. Still on the frame, just above the trigger: SPG – ASGK V141200 – MFG TANAKA WORKS, where the original only has the serialnumber.

The serial number format seems authentic. As far as my research have brought me real P226 ST are from the “U” series and the “V” series were produced in 1986 or so.
Barrel stamped 9mm Para – and for those, like me, that didn’t know Parabellum originates from the DWM motto : "Si vis pacem, para bellum" ("If you wish peace, then prepare for war")
My first thought was that it was contradicting the have the slide engraved from USA and the frame made in Germany. But thinking again it must mean that SIGARMAS imported Stainless frames from Germany and marketed in US – OK.

5. Weight
The modelgun itself weighs 545gr. An empty magazine weighs 105 gr. This adds up to 650gr. Witch is is a faily heavy model gun. Now if adding 15 cartridges we end just above 800gr. – This is actually 83% of a standard P226 but merely 67% of the P226 ST that must be the most correct comparison !
Weight of the Tanaka cartridges are actually very close to a real 9mm Parabellum but I guess it’s a bit creative bookkeeping to include the cartridges in the weight comparison.
If we compare empty gun and magazine the Tanaka is still close to 70% weight of the real thing.

6. Stripdown
Stripping of the P226 is as easy as it gets, just as any other modern auto.
With the good habit from “real Steel” guns:
Remove the magazine and pull the slide and make sure the gun is empty.

Second I like locking the slide in rear position
Third turn the lever on the left side of the slide down.

Next the slide can be released and slide off the frame.
Last it’s simple to remove the return spring and barrel.

In this condition all needed parts can be cleaned and lubricated.
Reassembly is step by step in reverse order. Barrel and return spring go into the slide. Slide goes on the rail, until it can be locked by the lever.
That’s it.

7. Magazine & loading
The magazine is as close to the real thing as you get. On one side the all steel magazine is engraved SIG Sauer P226 and the “back” side has holes so you can see each 5th cartridge.
The magazine feeding lips are a bit sharp on the inside, function is absolutely OK but im still going to wipe away the worst because the sharp edge is scratching my nice shiny cartridges.

8. Cartridges & fire
I wasn’t really aware that I had 2 different versions of the Tanaka cartridges until I was cleaning all at one time the old type with thin O-ring and “Evolution” with slotted inner cylinder, and larger O-ring.
Anyway I got them mixed before firing but really didn’t feel a difference.
Firing was nice and crisp and a fine long ejection of the spend cartridge. No feeding problems. Function is fine and realistic, actually I am impressed how much recoil Tanaka have been able to make in this HW modelgun.

When cleaning I discovered that most of the O-rings had been torn out of their position. I feel tempted to conclude that its most important to use some kind of grease when mounting the pistons to get the longest possible life out of the O-rings. – as reviewed before in this forum

9. Conclusion
The P226 is truly an obvious objet for a modelgun. The Black version is by far the most frequent in real life, for all those to be used as a service arm. But for marksmen no doubt the ST version could be attractive.
For me there is not much to say about the box. I made the purchase for the modelgun inside.
Some might feel I have been a bit hard on the appearance. Anyone that does not see real steal gun frequently will not be able to see the differences in color and you have to come real close to notice the mould seams. So summarizing this is a realistic and great looking modelgun.
The marking are nicely engraved and with the pictures I have found only the markings above the trigger differ from the real thing. And the difference from the real P226, I believe is a must for Tanaka to produce the modelgun.
With the magazine fully loaded this modelgun feels quite realistic, no matter what percent I calculated.
Field stripping for cleaning is simply realistic and as close to the real thing as it gets.
Cartridges has been review several times before. Relatively many parts, O-rings with a strong tendency to get torn off during firing but function of the cartridge is very good.
Feeding and recoils of my P226 ST have been flawless, nicely crisp, good ejection and a loud and clear bang.
As a final comment the sight are looking great, actually many a marksman would envy such sights, just making the P226 ST the choice for the competition shooter.
For the modelgun enthusiast where the realistic appearance is everything and it’s doubtful the modelgun will ever be fired, the Tanaka P226 ST is recommendable.
For the modelgun enthusiast where the realistic appearance is important but ranked equal to realistic functioning, the Tanaka P226 ST is highly recommendable.

Despite my general preference for black guns (service arms) I am really happy about this high class, attractive looking 9mm. Actually I have a couple of ideas to make it look even more attractive. If I find a solution for this I will post it under modifications.

ps I have a small movie clip Cool , if you want to see it, help me how to link it into this review

Last edited by c_alexandersen on Mon Nov 25, 2013 3:22 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Link to short movie added in chapt.8)
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Cerwyn (Site Admin)
Cerwyn (Site Admin)

Number of posts : 10786
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Location / Country : North Wales
Registration date : 2008-07-20

PostSubject: Re: Tanaka SIG Sauer P226 ST review   Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:12 am

Thanks very much for this excellent and thorough review Very Happy 

You can post video clips using photobucket just as you do with photos. I'm looking forwards to watching it:!: 


Hobby collector of Replica model guns and Militaria.
also member of Living History Reenactment Groups.
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Modelgun Perfectionist
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PostSubject: Re: Tanaka SIG Sauer P226 ST review   Wed Nov 27, 2013 5:17 pm

Excellent review, the new evolution rounds in my opinion are the better choice as i found they did not blow the O rings off like the old rounds and i think they allow a bit more pressure out of the round making them a little less destructive on the gun. I would be interested to know how many rounds you have put through this as Tanaka have a terrible reputation for breaking. All my USPs's and my G17 all broke very quickly, i would like to get one of these but not sure how long it would last but if you have fired a good few rounds and its still OK i might be tempted.
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PostSubject: Number of fired rounds   Thu Nov 28, 2013 4:21 am

First many thanks - glad you liked the review.

On the number of fired rounds i have fired 25, 15 or 20 being the evolution type.

I am sorry to hear about your expirience of breaking.
This is as far i have come. I will take the opportunity to aske people to post here if there are more with simmilar expiriences
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PostSubject: Re: Tanaka SIG Sauer P226 ST review   Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:54 pm

Yeah...this P226R ST is one hell of a good gun and I'm glad that I grabbed one for my collection as well Very Happy...the reason is: this is a HW silver pistol which is quite rare (normally ABS silver only)...

Regarding barrel breakage (for black P226)...without mention firing it: racking the slide quite often can crack the barrel as well (that was what happened on my first ever P226: have to get another one a couple of years but no metal chamber anymore Mad )  
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PostSubject: P226 St - update   Mon Dec 02, 2013 3:49 pm

As promised I did make a small mod on my P226 ST
it posted under modifications.
Still havn't fired more rounds Shocked 
i'd better get it greased and loaded :Smilie  68:
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