I don’t understand one night stands. If the sex is great, why wouldn’t you want more? If the sex sucks (so to speak), why wouldn’t you try again? OK, sure, if an encounter is terrible, it’s time to take Lord Humongous’s advice. Which is exactly what I do when someone offers me the chance to shoot a .40-caliber handgun . . .
Snappy-ass recoil renders ghetto fabulous “fo-tays” a bitch to shoot accurately. For me. And the FBI. And the dozens of U.S. police agencies making the switch from .40 to 9mm. No, don’t tell me “it’s all in the wrist” and “I don’t have a problem with mine.” Never again, as we [armed] Jews are wont to say. Until, that is . . .
Grant Shaw, the towering Texan behind The Range at Austin, stepped up to the firing line and made a clover leaf pattern at 10 yards with a SIG SAUER something-or-other. I ambled over and checked his ammo: .40 S&W. “You want to shoot it?” the ballistic crack dealer asked. “The owner’s leaving for Exeter in 45 minutes.”
Yup, a one night stand with a $3,000 modified SIG SAUER P226 in .40 S&W.
I had a passing familiarity with the SIG SAUER X-series (the TTAG reader review is out there, somewhere). Still, picking-up the German-made X5 Match was something of a shock. It’s a Deutschlandic Desert Eagle, tipping the scales at . . . stainless steel yourself . . . 45.7 ounces. Unloaded. Add 12+1 .40-caliber pills and you’re holding a gun that could anchor a Sailfish.
Sticking with the nautical theme, the SIG P226 is yar. The X5 Match variant does nothing to detract from the big SIG’s surprisingly nimble nature, and much to improve upon it.
Specifically, the perfectly rendered X-shaped checkering on the black laminate grips and the aggressive stainless checkering on the front of the handle. The combination enables a handhold that’s more secure than the NRA’s underground bunker.
The X5’s ambidextrous frame-mounted safety (large enough to accommodate Sissy Hankshaw’s oversized digits) and its skeletonized, adjustable trigger (which looks like an upside down kiwi’s head) add to the handgun’s ergonomic and aesthetic appeal.
The X5 Match’s under-snout picatinny rail left me wondering if those crazy Germans had added a log sawing portion to their marksmanship contests. And then I remembered: it’s made for bridge-mounted optics. And weights, for competitors who don’t want to flip, flop and make flyers. Speaking of which . . .
To ameliorate the P226’s sky-high bore axis, SIG’s craftsmen skinnied-up the P226’s beavertail (I’m sure there’s a really long German word for that) and carved a deeper undercut beneath the trigger guard. The X5 Match shooter’s hand sits higher up on the custom gun than a standard P226, increasing both control and comfort.
My only gripe: the X5 Match’s slide stop cozies-up too closely to its jumbo safety. Releasing the big SIG’s massive metal slide quickly and efficiently requires a significant push and plenty of practice.
Provided you’ve slammed a full mag into the oversized well, you’re ready to perforate paper. I’m dyin’ if I’m lyin’: the X5 Match sent the shortened 10mm cartridge (born out of the FBI’s ill-fated Miami shootout) EXACTLY where I aimed it. First shot bullseye at 10 yards.
It’s not so much that the X5 Match’s weight soaks up the .40’s rapid recoil pulse, which it certainly does. It’s more that the SIG’s full frame and long slide (containing a 4.4″ barrel) make the gun a soft shooter. It is, in fact, a pussycat.
With a fully-adjustable competition rear sight and a 6.5″ sight radius, taking a bead on what you’re willing to destroy is child’s play.
The video above captures the divine Ms. M’s first go with the SIG SAUER X5 Match. For a non-professional shooter on a closed course, she pretty much nailed it. As you can see, once you master the X5’s crisp, single-action trigger, the rounds start stacking up.
With my surrender-the-gun deadline looming, I managed to shoot a box of Federal Premium .40 range ammo and a dozen or so Blazer brass bullets with astounding (for me) accuracy. The Miculeks among you may scoff, but I was more than pleased with my ability to puncture the little guy in the top left of the target at 15 yards.
Takedown is easier than writing something witty about the process. Suffice it to say, a clean gun is a happy gun. And happiness is a warm gun. I didn’t clean the machine, but I kept the X5 as warm as toast. Anyway . . .
Getting ahold of one of these $3k SIG X5 Match guns in .40 S&W is no mean feat. SIG rep Trevor Robertson — the proud owner of this German-made custom firearm — gives us the 411 above.
Bottom line: SIG stopped importing X5’s from the Fatherland back in 2014. The gunmaker’s planning on building them in the Live Free or Die state later this year. Or next. But not in .40 (at least initially).
Why would they?
As good as the X5 is, there are a lot of lower-priced, easily available alternatives for forty cal competition guns. SIG’s own 1911 Max Full-Size 1911 (reviewed by Foghorn here) comes chambered in .40, for around half the projected price of the X5 ($1663). And Max mags don’t cost $100 a piece.
Don’t get me wrong: the hand-filling SIG SAUER X5 Match .40-cal is another beast entirely. It’s an absolutely superb semi for competitors and collectors who want an absurdly accurate .40 in P226 form — who don’t mind hunting for a used example and melting their plastic for the privilege of owning one. That said . . .
Despite the fact that the X5 Match tamed the previously untamable (for me) .40 S&W cartridge, this handgun wouldn’t be my choice for a long-term relationship. Especially as there’s a 9mm variant. As Cole Porter would put it, it was great fun, but it was just one of those things.
Specifications: SIG SAUER X5 Match
Grips: Black laminate
Frame: Stainless steel
Slide Finish: Stainless Steel
Trigger Pull: SA 2.2-3.6 lbs / 9.8-16.0 N
Overall Length: 8.2 in / 209 mm
Overall Height: 5.9 in / 151 mm
Overall Width: 1.7 in /44 mm
Sights: Adjustable Target Rear
Sight Radius: 6.5 in / 165 mm
Barrel Length: 4.4″ /112 mm
Mag Capacity: 14rd
Number of Mags: 2
Price: Around $3000 used
RATINGS (out of five stars)
Style * * * *
Stainless steel frame and slide married to black laminate grips with stylish checkering (X marks the spot) create a handsome P226 variant.
Ergonomics * * * *
No adjustable backstrap but you can move the trigger fore and aft to suit. One star removed for a hard-to-operate slide stop.
Fired one (count it one) box of Federal Premium and a dozen Blazer Brass .40’s without any problems. Given P226 reliability and SIG’s German gunmakers’ attention to detail, I wouldn’t expect any issues.
Customization: * * * * *
Accuracy: * * * * *
Freehand it’s a tack driver. A bullseye machine. A way better shooter than I am. And probably than you are, too. Just sayin’ . . .
Overall: * * * *
A soft-shooting .40 caliber handgun? Now I’ve seen everything. Except for a 9mm X5 Match, which must be a phenomenal handgun — and the more logical choice.