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(This is a reader gun review contest entry, click here for more details.)

By Christopher Cicchitelli

A few weeks before my wedding, my soon-to-be wife informed me that we had to exchange wedding gifts with each other. Oh, and she had a piece of jewelry already picked out at Mr. Yurman’s store. Since it was required spending on my part, I offered her a compromise deal – she’d get her jewelry if I got an equivalent contribution to a new gun. Just two weeks later, she agreed . . .

Which gun to purchase didn’t take me long to decide. While I have over a dozen in my collection (or is that arsenal, antis?), and a dozen more on my immediate wish list, I decided to go off the list and purchase a pistol I have been enamored with since its announcement. The pistols in my collection have two things in common: they are all either full size Glocks or random carry guns, and they are all plastic save a Walther PPK. Of the bunch, my favorite is the PPK, because of its stainless beauty, exotic wood grips, all metal frame, and single action only trigger. It’s a snappy gun and prone to FTEs, but the overall package is something I find appealing. I wanted more.

Most would think, “Buy a 1911!” And I did. Except the seller on GunBroker apparently got a better offer in store before he shipped it to me, so I waited for the next deal on a stainless Remington R1 Enhanced. That’s when SIG SAUER announced the new X-Series line of pistols.

My biggest complaint about the 1911 platform, while a gorgeous design and great in so many technical respects, is the lack of ammo capacity. I am of the opinion if I’m going to open carry a large frame all metal pistol, I should be getting more than 8 rounds for my trouble. Especially since I am of the belief should the need ever arise to draw my firearm in anger, it’s equally likely to be in response to an active shooter(s) situation as it is to be a mugging or other typical self-defense scenario.

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The X-Series from SIG builds on the legendary P226 platform. The P226, of course, is SIG’s signature handgun, carried by military personnel worldwide, most notably by the US Navy SEALs. Where the new X-Series differs from its P226 brethren is it’s a single action only pistol meant for competition, and built to be carried “cocked and locked” if the owner chooses to carry it. That’s no small choice considering this gun clocks in at just under 3.4 lbs. fully loaded thanks to its all-steel frame and 20 round capacity. In fact, the only piece of aluminum on the entire gun is the removable magazine funnel.

What drew me to this pistol, however, wasn’t just its P226 namesake, but also what I personally see as a modern day John Wayne gun. To me, it looks thoroughly futuristic, is visually well-balanced, and stands apart from just about every other pistol I’ve ever laid eyes on. Does the X-Series’ looks and lineage live up to the hype?

Ergonomics
The first thing you notice about this pistol is its ergonomics. Everything about this pistol looks and feels perfectly balanced. Looking at it lying on a table all you can think is “wow”. Personally, I think this is the closest thing to a modern day semi-auto version of a Colt Peacemaker if I’ve ever seen one. It’s the coolest looking gun this scribe has ever seen. It’s not just about its looks though. It sits in your hand like it was custom made to fit your palm. The recoil is lighter than any 9mm pistol I have ever fired. When you fire it, the gun does most of the work for you to get you back on target. It’s incredible.

Shooting Accuracy
SIG built this gun to be as accurate as possible from the factory. It’s built and priced for competition, so the bar is high. And it doesn’t disappoint. I am a better shooter today than the day I bought this gun, simply because this gun challenges you to be a better shooter. Chances are unless you are Jerry Miculek, or regularly compete in national competitions, this gun is more accurate than you are.

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I learned just how accurate this gun was the first day I took it to the range. In the first hundred rounds, while I was still getting accustomed to the extremely light trigger, I had an accidental double fire while I was attempting to stage the trigger for the follow on shot. My first (intentional) round was a bullseye at 7 yards. The unsighted and unintentional double fire a split second later? Not two inches from the first round. I was shocked. This gun is accurate, and keeps itself on target like no pistol I have ever seen.

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In over 1750 rounds of shooting to date, I am regularly able to put 3-4 rounds in a single hole at 5-7 yards unsupported (still working on reliably getting that 5th in there too), and my best groupings to date have been five rounds at seven yards inside 0.7” unsupported.

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Reliability
Unfortunately it’s not all sunshine and roses so far. I did experience several failures to eject (FTE) over the course of 1750 rounds of testing. The first occurred around the 550 round mark. Then again at around 1000, 1250, and 1500. At 1500 a gunsmith at the range cleaned the extractor and I have not had another FTE in the 250 rounds since. That said, this was a factory new gun, so I don’t think a dirty extractor was to blame for the early failures.

It is possible it will break in a bit, and I will update this review accordingly as I continue shooting. Brands that had a FTE were factory new Remington UMC, PPU, and American Eagle. I have not cleaned the gun since I bought it, and have had no other reliability issues besides the FTEs. The action has stayed very clean for the number of rounds through it at this point.

Other Observations
You can’t do a review of the X-Five justice until you dedicate at least a paragraph to its trigger. This is hands down the best trigger SIG SAUER has ever produced. I’ve never been a fan of SIG’s DA/SA triggers, and a pure single action trigger was just what I needed to jump into the SIG game. As a competition trigger the pull weight is light, but it is adjustable up to 4.4 lbs. Its reset point can be adjusted to the shooters preference, and the trigger itself can move forward and back 0.4” to accommodate different hand sizes. Light pull, quick reset, fit to hand. Triggers don’t get any better than this!

One last note. This gun gets noticed. Expect people to look at you at the range. Expect them to ask you what you are shooting. Then be sure to let them try out a few rounds so they are eternally jealous of you.

Specifications:

Caliber: 9mm Parabellum
Barrel Length: 5”
Overall Length: 8.8”
Overall Weight: 54 oz. (loaded), 45.7 oz. (unloaded)
Sights: Front dovetail, rear target adjustable
Frame Material/Finish: Stainless/Stainless
Slide Material/Finish: Stainless/Stainless
Capacity: 19+1
MSRP: $2,450 (street price around $2,000)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * * * *
This SIG, for me, possesses the most beautiful design and balance in a pistol I’ve ever laid eyes on. There are many guns that can compete for most beautiful – the 1911, the original P226, the Hi-Power – but this to me is a generation-defining gun. It’s kind of like music when a new band comes along and you think, that’s what the next decade of music is going to sound like. That’s the X-Five Classic.

Accuracy: * * * * *
This gun is more accurate than I am. The adjustable target SIGhts are clean and easy to see, but in order to take real advantage of this gun’s accuracy you would need to mount a red dot or scope (mounting adapter sold separately). I have no doubt this could group as tight as any factory pistol on the market, and likely better than most custom competition pistols.

Reliability: * * *
I really hate to give this gun anything less than five stars in any category, but the reliability is what it is. Four FTEs in 1500 rounds isn’t okay, and if used in competition it would have been costly in time. (Never mind the implications for self-defense if carried.) I’m going to continue working on the reliability and will update this post if needed.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
Yes it is heavy, but that’s a feature, not a bug. Its weight gives this gun a substance you have to shoot to understand. When the slide racks you don’t feel the recoil so much as you feel the click and reset. It’s very satisfying. The grip angle is outstanding, the grip contours fit my hand very well, and the beavertail just feels right. In short this is the most comfortable gun I’ve ever shot. Though I must admit my arms were tired after several hundred rounds per range session.

Shooting: * * * * *
This gun is a pleasure to shoot and will challenge you to be a better shooter. If you’re not tightly grouping with this pistol, there’s something wrong with your mechanics. The recoil is so light any level of shooter would feel comfortable firing the X-Five.

Customization: * * * * *
Being designed primarily as a competition gun, there isn’t anything you cannot customize on this gun. Out of the box, it offers an oversized rail (thanks to the 5” barrel), adjustable and replaceable sights, and a trigger that doesn’t just have an adjustable weight, it also has adjustable pre-travel and can physically move forward and back 0.4” in order to accommodate different finger lengths and hand sizes. The only negative, which in my opinion isn’t worth a loss of stars, is the lack of holsters for the longer barrel length and safety assembly. But if you can afford this gun, you can afford a custom Kydex holster, and DeSantis makes an awesome Mini Slide holster that fits the X-Five with a little break-in (P226R).

Overall: * * * * ½
Once the reliability issue is resolved this is a five star gun in every measure.

 

TL;DR
This gun takes the best of what SIG is made of and brings it to the future. A great competition gun and a striking carry piece if you can bear the weight of the all-steel frame. As a barbeque gun, very few modern semi-automatics stand above it. This pistol is more accurate than all but the best shooters among us. If you have a reason to purchase this gun, or even no reason at all, do it!

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67 Responses to Gun Review: SIG SAUER X-Five Classic

  1. I laugh about pistols like this when I read blogs where people complain about how heavy a 6.5 pound AR is:-)

    It is a beautiful pistol though.

    • I can see both sides on this one.

      No, you should never draw your firearm “in anger.” That’s a given.

      But, that being said, if somebody were to come up and pull a knife on my girlfriend, you can bet I’m gonna be pissed off. Fearful, yes. Extremely so. But also extremely angry.

      The wording might be questionable, but I understand the sentiment.

    • It’s a term that been around for a long while and I’ve heard it throughout my military career. It means something to the effect of “shots fired in combat” and not “shots on the range”. It doesn’t mean I am pulling my gun and shooting because I am angry.

      Edit: I found this which is a decent explanation of the idea.
      https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/fire_in_anger

      • To fire in anger, as opposed to firing a warning shot.

        For civilian self defense, warning shots get you jail time in a lot of situations. If the bad guy seeing the gun isn’t enough to stop them then they probably have to be shot.

      • I understand the meaning, but I think there are better ways to put it. “If I ever have to draw my firearm in self defense…” Drawing in anger doesn’t necessarily mean you were justified in doing so.

    • You’re probably going to be pissed off at some point in a DGU. I was. The phrase is in common parlance and I wouldn’t give it undue criticism. Anyone who says that they were never angry after (or during) an attack is either a monk or less than honest about their fighting experience.

      • I agree, I will get angry, but only after the fact. Anger is exhausting, and you need your energy during the event. I would much rather get angry when I’m safe at home with a glass of Jameson’s Irish Whiskey in my hand.

        Not to mention the fuel that the author is giving a prosecutor if he ever finds himself in a DGU.

      • I think you mean #1 At 3 1/2 pounds loaded that 1/2 the weight of an AR unloaded and everyone seems to whine that the rifles are sooooooo heavy.

        Apparently their are a lot of guys out there that wouldnt be able to carry this pistol around and fire it because they’re to weak.

    • Relax, it’s just an oft-used term of art. I find it less offensive than the “booger hook – bang switch” thing, which sounds redneck and retarded.

  2. That is a sexy gun, though it would’be been so much sexier if they had forgone any of those black plastic bits. Or if those are actually metal, then not having them black would be a huge improvement.

  3. it is possible that it will break in a bit. it is also possible that it will break, in a bit. maybe it will break- in a bit? while plastic would bend not break like lovies’s tampa two, all that steel will probably crack from the incessant 9mm pounding.
    same price as a p210, which I’d also like. so what’s an x6?
    still leaning towards 75b sa.

    • X6 is the 6in barrel version of the X-Five. More expensive, but holy christ do they shoot better than any other 9 when it comes to bullseye.

    • Just shot my uncle’s X-Five. This thing blows the CZ 75 out of the water (dont get me wrong I like CZ’s) but this is in a whooole other league. You won’t understand until you shoot one.

  4. I bought a Sig 226 X5 Tactical last year. It’s in the running to be my favorite gun of all time. It’s relatively light due to the use of an aluminum ally frame. It also has no magwell, so along with being relatively lightweight, it’s that much easier to carry and conceal. I love the single-action trigger. It shoots like a dream, feels great in my hands, and with Mec-Gar magazines, I can carry 18+1 without an extended magazine.

  5. Gorgeous firearm! No secret about follow-ups though – it weighs 3.4lbs! 9mm shouldn’t rock that back all that much – I’ve noticed my HiPower is a lot easier for follow-up shots than my LC9, due to the mass involved. Did you think about the Para P14.45 when you were looking for your wedding present?

  6. Sig Sauer has slowly over the past few years encroaching on the space in my safe, displacing Kimber’s, S&W’s, and Springfield Armory. Not that there was anything wrong with the pistol’s I traded for Sig’s, I just wanted the Sig’s and have never looked back.
    Sig’s work, and they work right out of the box. They do not come with suggestions of “if you are having issues, put 500 rounds through it and call us in the morning.”
    I can also add, that in my experience, Sig’s customer service and warranty is one of the best in the industry.
    A few years back when Sig was reselling law enforcement trade-in’s I brought a 1911 that had been through their custom shop for half of what it would have cost new. The first time to the range I had multiple FTF’s. I called Sig, explained the issue, and they got back with me in a timely manner with a pre-paid shipping label. I sent it off on a Monday and got it back the next Monday, with a completely rebuilt slide, seems the issue was light hammer strikes. I have had no further issues with it, or any issues with other Sig purchases be they 1911’s or 220’s, 229’s or 226’s. I’m not shilling for Sig, just stating the obvious; they work.

    • When I bought mine it had a rebate offer for two free magazines. Despite having the rebate approved, they have not arrived yet. When they do, I’ll have four total included with the gun, so that’s not so bad.

  7. worth keeping in mind that this is a competition gun, not a combat gun. It’s not intended to be run for 1,000 plus rounds without cleaning and lubrication.

    I have a couple X5s myself and found regular maintence makes a world of difference.

  8. Why did you go 1,500 rounds without cleaning on a gun that sexy? Do that to a GLOCK. I think 3 stars for reliability having only 4 FTEs / FTFs with 30 boxes of ammo is at least 4 – 4.5 star reliability.

    TTAG should have an objective reliability standard. I think 200 rounds without a hitch using good JHPs makes a gun self-defense worthy. Whether that constitutes 5 star reliability or not is certainly a matter of debate.

    Whether this gun is sexy is not up for debate. It’s one of the sexiest I’ve ever seen. I want one, but can’t pull that price given all the bills I have.

    • Because it’s a gun review. I wanted to see how far I can push the gun. In addition, Sig offers training classes – some of which go through 2,000 rounds in a day. So I wanted to see what the best gun they make can do.

      To this day, I don’t think the extractor issues were because it was dirty, the tolerances on this gun are very tight. We’ll see as I put more rounds through it.

      And I think people are overlooking the fact this pistol has nearly 2,000 rounds through it and is still running for the most part flawlessly. I haven’t even had to add lubrication. That’s Glock territory, no?

      • It certainly is. I typically only put 50-250 rounds through my guns between cleanings. My Ruger SR-556 has gone a lot further, as has my Benelli shotgun. I could get it to jam when properly gassed (the SR-556) so I gave up trying and just put it on a non-torture cleaning regimen like the rest of my guns.

      • Yes, but your DGU is highly unlikely to get past half a dozen. You should field strip and clean a carry pistol every 200 rounds at most. If you do that you should be good to go.

    • Accurate gun = tight tolerances = more sensitive to dirt and/or ammo variation.

      Less sensitive to dirt and/or ammo variation = wider tolerances (by design) = less accurate.

      no big deal. different applications, different requirements, etc.

      • Personally I think ammo has a lot to do with it. In fact, I think the second FTE was a light load, it felt weird. One of the other cartridges that FTE’d had a significant dent on the rim. Unknown if a factor. I can only ensure the extractor stays clean and see what happens.

        That said, I expect a gun like this to go 1,000 rounds with no issue. I expect it to continue to at least 2k rounds with nothing more than extra lubrication – at least so long as the limiting factor is the extractor. I really want to push this baby and see what it can do.

        #GOPATS

        • Any kind of denting on the ammo for such a fine pistol could cause the malfunction because this probably has a nice tight match chamber. A factory glock has a chamber like a bucket, and this contributes to their reliability with dented and dinged up ammo and dirt build up (but limits accuracy). I’d definitely wipe out a performance firearm like this every few hundred rounds to maintain accuracy and reliability. Like F1 cars changing tires at a pit stop during the race.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHSUp7msCIE

          -D

    • I am actually unable to imagine shooting 1750 rounds through a $2500 gun without cleaning it. It would be like torture, I’m sorry, I can’t take it, I HAVE TO CLEAN THAT GUN! And the first damn time it jammed, for certain, I would have it all apart, cleaned, lubed, polished to a nit, before ever dreaming of complaining about a second jam.

      • The fact that this pistol can have 1750 rounds through it and not only run reliably, but group as tight as it does, is incredibly impressive. THAT is the point of a gun test and review. I don’t baby guns, and when I’m reviewing them, I’ll run them until they stop running. Non-corrosive ammo does not harm the gun, so cleaning is not a necessity after 50-200 rounds as suggested various places in this comment thread.

        The extractor issues may be due to cleaning, but it may also be a part that’s slightly outside ideal tolerances.

  9. Sig’s have definitely become my favorites. I have a two tone 1911 ultra compact (as an aside zero failures in over 1k rounds for a 3.3 in 1911) and a full size 1911 extreme edition both of which I adore.

  10. Bullseye Shooting at 5 yards? Get serious! In Switzerland, bullseye shooting, even in the army, is done at 25 meters (~27 yards) and at 50 meters (~55 yards) using SIG 210 in 9 or 7.65 mm . The Bullseye is 3 inches wide, btw. The statement “This gun is more accurate than I am” has been used ad nauseam as well. When you let the gun shoot on it’s own, does it achieve better results then you do? Even the SIG just shoots where you point it, especially at 5 yards. The trick is to point and keep it in the right direction while shooting! It’s a nice gun, don’t get me wrong, but some comments like if using such a heavy gun in IDPA or IPSC , where fast direction changes are key, makes sense or not, would have been more helpful, because double taps are rarely used in competition bullseye shooting. It looks like a beautiful safe queen to me!

    • The red bullseye I’m aiming at is 1″ in diameter. At 25 yards it’s literally impossible to see in the sights.

      I’m not shooting to hit a bullseye, I’m shooting for groups. I care about putting rounds in the same hole, hence the use of a caliper. 7 yards at a 1″ target is very indicative of a pistols accuracy.

  11. This might be my favorite review that I’ve read on this sight so far. I hate reading through a review, getting to the reliability section, and seeing “gun was flawless for 200 rounds! 5 stars.”

    You actually tried to test the gun and then you reported the results. Sounds simple, but a lot of people don’t really do that. And then you’ve got jagaloons in the comments whining about dirty guns. Don’t listen to them and keep doing what you’re doing.

  12. I have X-SHORT and I love it.

    For the moment I have shot 1200 rounds and only feeding problem where cheap Barnaul green box ammo.
    All the 8 jams where in first 500 rounds.
    http://www.barnaul.co.nz/ammunition/selection/pistol/9-x-19-luger

    This is my very first gun and my shooting experience started with this.
    Result after 500 rounds 25m 50 shots.
    http://static2.nagi.ee/i/p/955/47/23886949104a8d_o.jpg

    Result after 1000 rounds 25m 50 shots.
    http://static2.nagi.ee/i/p/955/47/238869477891df_o.jpg

    This is my gun
    http://static2.nagi.ee/i/p/955/47/238869513b6123_o.jpg

    • Nice gun, and thanks for reporting your reliability history. I didn’t know Sig made the combination of the (new) short model and that grip, it’s not listed on their website or on Gunbroker. Where’d you pick one up? It’s probably a lot easier to fit that model to holsters, would be worth looking at for those looking at the Classic (assuming it’s widely distributed).

  13. I have a 226 that I was very, very happy with… until someone gave me the X5 to play with. Now mine feels like a piece of junk. It was a cruel thing to do. This puppy is an ergonomic fantasy and can make anyone look good – it shoots itself. Of course, I have to leave CA to get one (and I’m thinking about it).

  14. I’m on the fence between this and either a Les Baer SRP or a Wilson CQB. I understand these are vastly different pistols and all that. May compete but probably not. Price is not a concern. Help me decide.

  15. I have an X-Five Competition which I’ve been using for 3 years now. The first time I shot this gun informally competing against a friend, I thought “oh, this isn’t fair – it makes me a way better shooter than I really am”. The trigger is not adjustable. For me, it doesn’t need to be – it’s simply perfect. The gun is perfect. No other gun I own stacks up to the X-Five. Even my custom made STI 2011 45 with ported Schuemann hybrid barrel system isn’t as accurate out to the distances that I shoot the X-Five.

    I don’t know what can beat the X-Five in terms of accuracy – whatever it is, I haven’t discovered it….yet.

  16. I have purchased the 226 X5 Classic in 40mm and the X5 Open in 9mm, both guns are a dream. Sig has made me a believer, If anyone is on the fence about buying this gun don’t hesitate. you will not be sorry.

  17. “Reliability 3-stars. I never cleaned it.” What a surprise. I don’t care how some people on this board think a dirty gun should be reliable. Perhaps they’re right. All I know is that if I expect my car to work I change the oil and lube the chassis. Just adding oil as it get low does nothing to remove the broken down oil and all the crud that goes with it. The fact that the gunsmith cleaned your extractor and created a miraculous recovery was not a clue for you?

    If you expect it to work when you need it then do your part.

  18. Proposal: TTAG to stop publishing handgun reviews written by anyone who doesn’t meet these criteria:
    1 – owns a 1911
    2 – owns a Glock
    3 – owns at least five handguns
    With equivalent requirements for rifle and shotgun reviews.

    It gets a little old reading TTAG reviews that can be paraphrased as, “this is the third gun I have ever touched, and, it is the best gun of the world.”

    That said, nice gun.

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