by Joe Gorman
There was a time when serious shooters begrudgingly accepted the fact that they would need to ship a brand new auto pistol off to a gunsmith to make it ready for concealed carry duty. No matter how sound the original design, there were improvements that needed to be made before a new pistol was ready for the holster. Fortunately manufacturers got the message and began producing pistols that "gun guys" could purchase and carry right out of the box. I wanted to take a look at two of these "ready for duty" pistols: The Colt Wiley Clapp Government Model and the SIG P226SAO Legion.
I've noticed that the Colt 1911 triggers are actually quite good out of the box of late. For example, my 1991 .38 Super Government, 1970 Series Government reissue and Wiley Clapp Government are not only reliable but shoot really well due in no small part to excellent sub-5-pound triggers. Of course, the Wiley Clapp Government has been in the market for a while and is somewhat of a known quantity. It has earned a reputation as a bargain in the 1911 defensive pistol marketplace.
Many older shooters and traditionalists who grew up looking to icons like Jeff Cooper, believe there is no finer defensive handgun than a Colt 1911 Government chambered in .45 ACP. Colt took this legendary design and added enhancements, based on Wiley Clapp's suggestions for what a 1911 needs, and produced the Colt 1911 Government WC. The sample WC Government Colt sent us has furthered that reputation in my mind as it chewed up all the ammo I could stick in a magazine and shot target-grade groups right out of the box. The only thing I did to the WC Government was to occasionally clean it and lube it. The high-ride beavertail and the front strap checkering allowed not only allows a high grip but allowed for a solid purchase on the pistol even when my hands got sweaty in the mid-day August sun.
Turning in 5-shot groups, shot offhand, able to be covered by a poker chip at 10-yards, was no problem with the WC Government. I appreciated the visibility of the brass bead front sight, the historically correct small thumb safety and the WC Government's rock solid reliability.
The original issue SIG P226 has been widely regarded in military and law enforcement circles since its introduction in the 1980s. It has earned a reputation for both pinpoint accuracy and "hell and back" reliability. With the introduction of the P226 Legion series, this benchmark of defensive pistols was made even better. This new P226SAO Legion offers guys who grew up on single action automatics an easy transition to a modern 9mm fighting handgun. The SIG P226 SAO has been a favorite around the Shooter's Report office since it came into our hands and devoured round after round of 9mm Parabellum/Luger ammo. When SIG announced the Legion series of P226s, we were more than excited to get one. And of course we wanted the SAO P226.
The Legion too has been reviewed by every gun-toting journalist under the sun by now and I can't really add anything to the praises they've heaped upon it. To quote Lili von Shtupp from Blazing Saddles, "It's twue, it's twue, it's weally twue!"
Humor aside, The SIG Legion is very very accurate, it is very easy to manipulate, it has never failed to fire/eject/extract. The G10 grips with the cool Legion chevrons and the front strap checkering allow for great purchase of the sizable frame.
SIG took the excellent P226 SAO Elite and applied the legion treatment to produce the SIG P226 SAO Legion: G10 grips, high visibility X-Ray day/night sights, a Master Shop flat trigger with a short reset, a reduced beavertail, a solid steel guide rod and Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) finish. In double tap and triple tap drills, the Legion comes back quickly and predictably and thanks to the high visibility of the bright green front sight, it's very easy to keep those subsequent shots placed right where the shooter wants them to be.
The trigger breaks cleanly at a little under 4-pounds and the ambi thumb safety is large and snaps on and off with typical SIG precision. It has a great trigger and very easy to acquire sights. It has never malfunctioned during our testing. It is very easy keep five-shot groups in the bull. It comes with three 15-round magazines. What's not to love?
|Manufacturer||Caliber||Bullet type||Bullet weight (grains)||Muzzle Velocity (fps)||Muzzle Energy (ft.lbs.)|
|Winchester SXT||.45 ACP||JHP||230||880||396|
|Hornady+P XTP||.45 ACP||JHP||230||950||462|
|Federal Hydra-Shok||.45 ACP||JHP||230||900||414|
|Federal Hydra-Shok||9 mm||JHP||147||1000||326|
Wiley Clapp was a Marine Corps rifle platoon leader in Vietnam who went on to become an Orange County, California sheriff's deputy. In the gun world he is a police-training and use of force expert. In other words, a West Coast variant of Massaad Ayoob.
A prolific writer, Wiley Clapp has written for the NRA magazines as well as for Shooting Times (Fightin' Iron column), Tactical Life and Guns and Ammo. At Shooting Times he wrote a column under the pen name Ken S. LaFrance. His book credits include: Concealed Carry, Handgun Digest, Gun Digest book of Handgun Reloading, Handguns, Modern Law Enforcement Weapons and Tactics. All of these titles are available on Amazon.
Wiley Clapp frequently consults with firearms companies to produce guns that feature, in Clapp's words, "Everything you need and nothing you don't."