Gear Review: SIG SAUER .22lr P226 Conversion Kit

Range trips keep getting more expensive. Everything from gas to ammo prices keep rising and there’s no relief in sight. In these expensive times more and more companies are putting out products that shoot the inexpensive .22lr cartridge and are making conversion kits so that guns with expensive calibers can be less harmful to your wallet. As a cheap bastard, I recently got my hands on a SIG SAUER P226 .22lr conversion kit to try and slice my ammo costs.

The first question that comes to mind when buying one of these conversions is “how much money can this save me?” The answer depends on what caliber you shoot and how often you shoot. At a bare minimum, I shoot 100 rounds of 9mm every time I go to the range, and try to get to the range twice a week. At $0.22 a round (based on cheap-o big box store prices), that’s $44 worth of ammo I throw downrage every week. The same 200 rounds of .22lr costs $10, saving $34. For me, the $270 expense of the conversion kit is “recovered” after 8 trips to the range, or 4 weeks. If you’re shooting more expensive rounds the savings will be even more pronounced.

What do you get for your $270ish?

The conversion kit itself consists of a complete new slide, barrel, spring, and 10 round magazine. You also get a very attractive blue box to carry the thing in. The new slide includes adjustable target sights, and the kit has an adjustment wrench included in the paperwork pack.

The target sights are very good. And I mean VERY good. I wish I had these sights on my 9mm slide. The dots are easy to pick up, and the front sight is easy to see even in low light. There are adjustment marks on the sights so you can make sure the sights are still where you set them, and the adjustment screws will “click” just like the adjustment knobs on a good telescopic sight.

Installing the kit is as easy as field stripping the gun. Lock the normal slide back, swing the takedown lever, slide the old slide off and slip the new slide on.

The next question: how accurate is it?

Both targets were shot at 15 yards, the target on the left with the .22lr conversion and the target on the right with the 9mm slide and barrel. The .22lr conversion appears to be at least as accurate as the 9mm. Admittedly my pistol is a police trade-in manufactured in 1989 and the barrel may be a little worn out (mostly from me, I expect)…

The pistol still “feels” like it’s my normal 9mm pistol right up until I take the shot. The entire lower pistol is the same as it normally is, the only thing that has changed is the slide. The grip and the trigger pull is the exact same as it would be otherwise, the only difference (besides the massively improved sights) is that the recoil is greatly reduced. The action works the same, double action on the first shot and single action thereafter.

There was an alternative reason for buying this conversion kit. When I bring new shooters out to try some of my toys they always want to try the pistol, and the only thing I have is in 9mm. Having a .22lr conversion on my pistol allows them to build good pistol fundamentals before I start throwing in the heavier ammo.

There is one warning I have to those purchasing this conversion kit. The magazine does not force the slide to stay open after the last shot is fired, so your gun will always be in battery after firing all 10 rounds. If you fire your conversion kit with an empty chamber you may damage it, so be aware of how many rounds you have left.

Does it work? Yes it does. Does it cut down on ammo costs? Very much so. Does it reduce recoil for new shooters? Yes indeed. Is it easy to install? If you’ve ever cleaned your gun you already know how. Should you buy it? That’s up to you. But I bought and paid for this one myself.

Specifications: SIG SAUER P226 .22lr Conversion

Caliber: .22lr
Price: $270

Ratings (out of five)

Ease of Use * * * * *
Slide off, slide on. Easy as pie!

Fun Factor * * * * *
The same fun pistol with even less recoil? Oh hell yes!

Utility * * * *
Cheap and useful practice on the range, but you’re still firing live ammo. Replace my slide with an airsoft barrel and we might have something “perfect”.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong
Nothing. Unless you shoot yourself. Which would be dumb and we would laugh at you.

Overall Rating * * * * *
Cheap, accurate practice using some really nice sights. If only the local match director would let me run this in USPSA…

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About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

25 Responses to Gear Review: SIG SAUER .22lr P226 Conversion Kit

  1. avatarA Critic says:

    Range trips keep getting more expensive. Everything from gas to ammo prices keep rising and there’s no relief in sight.

    That is not true. Things are not getting more expensive. The “dollar” (it’s not a real dollar, it’s a fake/counterfeit/fiat dollar) is getting less valuable. This is a very important distinction. Why is the dollar getting less valuable? There are many reasons, but the main one is that the Federal Reserve keeps making many more “dollars” and this debases/devalues the existing currency. People, including even the venerable Ron Paul, refer to this as “creating currency out of thin air”. That isn’t accurate. The currency isn’t created out of thin air. The value and currency is created out of existing currency. It’s like taking a pie and making two smaller pies out of it, and then making two smaller pies out of each of those pies, and so on and so forth until everyone realizes it wasn’t a pie, it was a piece of paper labeled as a pie that was ultimately replaced with digital “pies”.

    Remember – things aren’t getting more expensive. You are just getting poorer as the “dollar” reaches it’s intrinsic value of zero value.

  2. avatarjay says:

    Are these High Capacity clips? Lol.

    • avatarLeo Atrox says:

      The jerk in me wants to point out that the P226 does not use clips, but magazines. The realist in me wants to point out to the jerk that it doesn’t really matter, and that the jerk can’t prevent the world from using the incorrect terminology.

  3. avatarDave says:

    Why is it that all the conversion kits will not lock open on the last round?

  4. avatarTom W says:

    Have a Kimber .22 conversion for my 1911′s. Love it dearly as it allows me to shoot and build skill as well as use my favorite pistol for hunting small game. It can also be dry fired (in the Kimber manual). Was going to buy a Sig/Sauer P226, but could not get one with the DAK trigger option in .22 as with the standard decocking action. The cost for the 9mm DAK and then the .22 unit was quite prohibitive. Frankly, any serious shooter should have a .22 conversion for their carry gun to enable a lot more practice than with centerfire. By the way; I can get .22 lr for somewhere around $17 a brick; that’s way less than $10 for 200 rounds.

    • avatarDan Y says:

      $10 for 200 rounds? I wish that were the going rate here in SoCal. $10 wont even buy 50 rounds of reloads. Hence, I really like my p226 .22 conversion.

  5. avatarGreg says:

    Dave, the reason the slide doesn’t lock back when the mag is empty is the follower on the standard mags.

    I picked up some custom parts that solve that problem and increase the mag capacity to 15 rounds. Their a little expensive but given the cost of the kit I guess it was worth it.

  6. avatarAir says:

    I like the 15 round mags as well, but the followers used with the 22 conversion, do not lock the slide back like it does with centerfired rounds. If you are just plinking or bullseye shooting, these followers are useful, but they do not permit rapid reloads as necessary when training for IDPA. I like to use the 22lr conversion as an inexpensive training alternative, however, with these followers, it is more of a bother. You have to rip the mag out because the follower basically keeps the slide open with slide tension on follower, so the mag doesn’t drop free. When you do rip the mag out, the slide closes so when you reinsert a fresh mag, you now have to rack the slide once more and this creates much more effort and is impractical for IDPA or IPSC type shooting where you need fast reloads. You can go to http://sigpower.com/ for the 15 round mag conversion kit.

  7. avatarmike wandrick says:

    If you want to sho ot 22′s, get a good 22 weapon, I use a Ruger mark III target pistol. Fun to shoot and inexpensive.

  8. avatarRyan says:

    I just bought a kit and have been trying to think of a cheap way to make the slide stop after last round fired. Found it!

    1 used (previously fired) 22 MAGNUM case as the first round loaded into the magazine. It will cut your capacity to nine live rounds, but it will not allow the case mouth beyond the feed ramp.

  9. avatarTamer says:

    Question, Does the conversion kit work on all 226 pistols? like 226 Navy one?

  10. avatarGraham S says:

    I like my .22LR on my 226R Elite.
    I do not worry about the last shot hold open just rack the slide with a new mag in.
    Not as if one is using it in a life or death situation.
    The Ally follower to hold the slide open is a pain in the A** do not buy it.
    I get 16 in my mags with the part from sigpower.
    Have used LR normal velocity and LR Mini Mag they both work but High Velocity/Mini Mag is recommended.
    After going thro 3 mags I have to shot my Coonan B to get the ‘FIX’
    Happy Shooting

  11. avatarTom says:

    I have a .22 conversion for my stainless 226. It works well. I also found a site that has a mag follower that holds the slide open after the last shot. You have to lock the slide back manually to then withdraw the mag, but it keeps me from inadvertently dry firing.

  12. Slide off, slide on. Easy as pie!
    You’ve obviously never made pie. It’s not that easy!
    Thanks for the review, good stuff.

  13. avatarFred says:

    Since this is for a P226, I assume it would work for the P226 MK25?

  14. Bought the P226 classic .22 and love it. Sig listened to us and is now shipping these with 2 mags. Upgrades from Sig Power made it even better. To be honest, it does need the high velocity (1400 + fps) rounds to function perfectly, but the CCI Velocitor ammo is more accurate in my pistol anyway. As with any new semi-auto, take it out of the box, clean the rails (slide and frame), oil them, cycle the slide 200 to 300 times, clean the rails again (you’ll be shocked), and oil again. Now go out and have fun.

  15. avatarSphynctre says:

    I have a Sig MK25 (AKA P226 Navy) and bought the P226 22LR conversion kit with the threaded barrel option (for my suppressor). It shoots, but regardless of what 22LR ammo I use, it won’t cycle properly. I have to eject and rack the next round manually, every time. I tried using high-dollar competition ammo, cheap ammo, and everything between – it won’t cycle the next round =(

    I don’t know if I’m the exception, but for anyone out there looking at getting this for their MK25, don’t be surprised if it doens’t cycle. Other than that, it works fine.

    • It sounds like you have a weak mag spring. The slide is getting plenty of power to cycle, and is doing so, but the spring is not feeding the next round up fast enough. Sig Power makes a stronger spring that will correct this. It also increases mag capacity to 15, but you will need the shorter spring base. It made a world of difference for my P226 .22 classic, and I was having the exact same problem you outlined. No fail to feeds since.

      • avatarSphynctre says:

        Thanks! I just placed an order for the follower, mag springs, and mag plugs! This is gonna be AWESOME! I’ve been manually cycling every round… and I’m gettin’ pretty tired of it.

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