Saturday, 31 January 2015

Sig Sauer P226 X Five .177 Blowback BB Pistol. First Week Review.

The SIG Sauer P226 X five Blow back Co2 pistol is a large full size replica, made by KWC which is a company in Taiwan. It is then packaged by Cybergun/Swiss Arms, and is pretty much an exact copy of the real 9 mm firearm.

SIG Sauer P226 X Five, does exactly what it says on the box, apart from he BAXS which is only for the 6 mm Airsoft version

Although other firearm P226 models are available in .40 S&W, .357 SIG, and .22 long rifle, the X five model has a beaver tail and a barrel extension where the many other variants of the P226 do not, and is only available in 9mm. This is the pistol used by the Old Bill, Squaddies, and any other official gun carrying authority in the UK.

That pointy bit at the back that is supported by the web of your hand between your thumb and first finger, well.... that's the bit that only comes on the X Five model.

Notice the cut out in the foam casing by the rear sight, well that's for the adjustable sights on the sporty model of the X Five.

It appears to be a licensed model of a SIG pistol judging by the markings on the left side of the slide, however the right side of the slide has a large amount of writing about warnings and where it's made. This is a bit of a spoiler for the gun as it is actually engraved into the metal and painted white. I have had partial success with a Sharpie in filling in the writing to date, but i'm sure there is a nicer finish to be found out there somewhere. But hey, these companies have got to cover their asses from law suits.

 Licensed SIG markings lightly engraved and painted white on the left of the slide, and non genuine fire arm caliber markings below.

What is the point of aesthetically ruining this replica with all this warning stuff, any self respecting 14 year old is sooo totally going to ignore that.

With a metal frame and slide and a solid but stiff plastic grip secured solidly to the frame, it feels like you're holding the real thing.

I have large hands and I find the grip contours to be extremely comfortable.

The black adonised finish looks really good, though time plus wear and tear will tell on that one.

This is a large and weighty pistol.

It's powered by a 12g Co2 cartridge that fits in the bottom of the lifelike mag, and it is recommended that a drop of silicone oil be added to the tip of the cartridge to keep the internal seals in tip top condition.

The screw cap is plastic and the thread will wear eventually, so it's just as well you get a spare one.

The mag also contains the valve and space to hold 18 steel BB's, so in that respect it's like the real thing in that it holds the projectile and the power to propel it, but on an infinitely weaker scale.

This is where the very stiff spring and follower lock in place while popping BB's into the top.

 With the last BB fired, the slide locks back letting you know you're empty and ready to load a fresh mag, release the working slide catch (on the left side in front of the safety) leaving the hammer cocked, and do the whole fun thing all over again. I once managed to fit 19 steel .177 BB's while not paying attention but i feel more comfortable using between 12 and 14 BB's. It's my personal preference and is of no real advantage, apart from maybe putting less strain on the follower spring over it's life. Who knows?

After the last BB is fired the follower pushes up the slide lock which is just in front of the safety.

One thing that is a slight let down on this Co2 pistol is that the screw cap which holds and pushes the Co2 caplet in place is plastic and I can see that wearing down over extensive use, so it is a good thing that a spare is provided. An allen key is provided to screw the cap into place. A plastic plate over the bottom of the mag would really improve the realism of an already really realistic gun.

A plate along the bottom would be perfect but it is still flush from side on, and look, lucks a lordy, you can even change the BB spring if ever needed.

Another thing I noticed pretty quickly was that the slide rattles slightly if you shake the gun and that the safety does not engage correctly on the right hand side, but being right handed this does not pose a problem for me. And really for £120 UK pounds i'm not at all put out, afterall it does all that is says on the box (apart from the BAX system which is for the 6mm airsoft version).

On a chilly winter day I managed to shoot four full mags making that 72 BB's. Most shots were done either rapidly or with little time between shots. Halfway through the 5th mag the blow back stopped working, but if I took my time between shots I would have easily emptied that last mag. Because some of the Co2 is used for the blow back action, the BB's leave the recessed smooth bore barrel supposedly at 300FPS on a warm day, and at 8 yards on a bloody cold day I was easily hitting the 1.5 inch plastic bottles I was using as targets.

However I would advise against using it too much in sub zero temperatures. After firing one full mag I found BB's only firing on every second shot and then eventually dumping the rest of the Co2 with a big old hiss. It was about -5 degrees celsius on this occasion and the rapid firing cooled the Co2 to such a degree that it eventually dropped the pressure enough to affect the blow back. After that it must have frozen the valve open to dump what Co2 was left. By then, the pistol grip was cold and frost had appeared on the mag, a new Co2 caplet got the gun going again but it did the same things again even sooner. I initially thought i'd broken it or it was faulty, but I got it home and after a bit of head scratching realised what the problem was. Silly old sod, but hey, i'd only just got the pistol so I just had to go out and use it (i'm doing my best here to refrain from saying play with it as it is in no way a toy). 

The pistol will fire in either single action by racking the slide or cocking the external hammer with your thumb, or double action by pulling the trigger for the first shot. The trigger pull in double action is fairly stiff but in single action is surprisingly light, aiding accuracy. The replica model has a ambidextrous safety which can be released or applied by the thumb when held by the pistol grip, whereas the firearm it self has a safety that is slightly different . However there is a de-cocking lever on the on the non X Five firearm and no safety; to de-cock the X Five replica the slide has to be released and the hammer gently released whilst depressing the trigger while the safety is off.

External hammer is cocked here.

Safety off.

Safety on. but is a bitch to do from the right hand side unless the slide has been racked.

Another great thing about this pistol is that it can be field stripped like Swiss Arms 1911's and their Baretta FS92 copy - I quote these two as they also have the same magazine design holding Co2, valve, and BB's and I really want to get either of one of them next.
Field stripping means the the slide is removable and then the barrel, liner, springs and bar for the blow back mechanism are all accessable for removing, cleaning, and lubing. Use liberal amounts of silicone grease around the barrel and springs, silicone oil and graphite for all the slide parts that are in contact, and silicone oil for the trigger group, safety springs, and the rather strong follower spring that pushes the BB's up in the mag among other things. The important thing here is not to over lube any of these parts, and is recommended to keep any oil away from the valve/blow back box join.

With the slide locked back you can see the insides through the ejection port just like the firearm. 

This is pretty much how the genuine article looks when the mag is removed, that's what I like about these replica's

With the slide pulled as far back as it can go, the take down lever can be turned 90 degrees down, allowing the slide to then be pulled forward and removed.

The slide lock in the unlocked position, pull the slide forwards from here and it will slide clear of the pistol body along with barrel assembly and blow back box.

There's loads of stuff on Youtube showing how it's done and once i've had it a while i'll show how it's done also. It would appear that this Co2 pistol, all the Colt 1911 variants, and all the Dan Wesson type revolvers (the ones where the BB is loaded into an imitation bullet) are very well documented on Youtube, in fact moreso than any other Co2 .177 pistol, blowback or otherwise.

The other merits of field stripping this replica are the ability to clean any over lubrication, lubricating if dry,  access to anything that might break in order to repair it, removing loose BB's that double load when the mag is taken out and replaced and racked again (though usually in this case it fires both BB's at a slower velocity) and best of all is that it just looks damned cool. When a BB does get loose inside the pistol it sometimes lodges behind the blowback and interferes with cocking the hammer for the valve because of the shorter slide stroke.

As with a lot of these replica guns you can buy now, they tend to have a short 22 mm tactical rail in front of the trigger guard for the fitting of torches and lasers. 

A tactical rail for torches and lasers, so you can get totally tactical on some poor innocent tin can

Some have them on top along the slide for the optics of your choice, or in the case of some models, an RIS rail that bolts to the body of the  gun around the slide allowing the slide to move freely, most commonly seen on race guns.

The other sport model of the X Five has some very nice adjustable rear sights, but this basic model has fixed rear sights. 

Basic rear sights of a square notch.

The front post sight appears as if it is adjustable for windage fitting in a dove tail, in this case it is just part of the molding, but it does have a white dot for aiding an easy acquisition of target. 

The front square post looks like it can move and be interchangable, but is in fact just part of the mold. But the white dot does work well with the rear sights.

Anyway, give me half a year using this pistol and I will write a practical review from actual experience, because I have yet to see how well it peforms in a warmer climate come spring and summer. Amongst other things, I would like to see how it performs with H&N copper coated lead BB's which are 7gr as opposed to 5gr of the steel BB's, as well as trying out different makes of BB's. Things will need to bed in and smooth out with use, and I might have to help that along the way; some of the springs might need upgrading, and what would be a really groovy idea would be to machine a .177 rifled barrel liner to replace the smooth bore tube that is currently in it, though that is more a pipe dream than a probability at the moment.

Recessed into the imitation 9 mm barrel is the actual .177  smooth bore brass barrel, a touch up with a black Sharpie would improve the looks a lot.

I can see the demise of many tin cans in my future, and at the moment my brain is turning over some interesting variants on some iron plate action shooting (IPAS) targets to make things a little bit more interesting, but time will tell if and when I manage to knock these up.


Best wishes, Wing Commander Sir Nigel Tetlington-Smythe                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   


  1. My slide springs are different than any I've seen on Youtube. Do newer models have different springs? Newer like within the last year or two. Is there anything I should know about maintenance and field stripping in regard to the newer springs?

  2. Hi Joe. That's something that i'm not aware of, just make sure you put it back the same way around if you remove it. i.e. if one end of the sping has more collasped or semi colasped coils than the other end. I always take a photo of this sort of stuff before dismantling and during with a small digital camera, that really comes in handy for the more complicated trigger and sear set ups on air rifles/pistols as well.

    Mine was bought new one year ago and was recent stock so if the recoil spring set up has changed it must be very recent, but if it works then just make sure it goes back the way it came apart really. After all other types of blow back BB pistols just have one single recoil spring, such as the Swiss Arms/GSG P92 and any of the 1911's for example.

    Also some people use mineral based oil to lubricate the slide, that's fine as well. Just make sure silcone oil is used for anything to do with the magazine, valve, seals and blowback unit. This is all off the top of my head so i hope it is of help. ATB