If you are a fan of SIG SAUER firearms, then you are already aware of this company’s approach to the gun industry is to provide the finest German engineering and design. SIG firearms and accessories seem to constantly evolve within their lineup based on end user input from real world operators. Within their structure, there are classic, well-established models constantly revamped to feature varying finishes, trigger and grip options. The most elite of these series is known as the company’s LEGION Series in which they offer a membership only through purchasing one of the pistols within the product line up. Not only do you get a high-end SIG, your membership allows you exclusive opportunity to purchase other LEGION branded products from top manufacturers such as knives, holsters, magazine carriers and even a free special form fitted LEGION pistol case.
Over the past four years since the program started, I have had the unique opportunity of shooting every model released in the LEGION system as they were released. I currently own a LEGION 226 chambered in 9mm. Perhaps my favorite overall pistol offered from the series however is the LEGION 229 9mm compact. Its overall handling, balance and performance is second to none. Recently, SIG has added an extra twist to the LEGION line up by offering their full size 226 and compact 229 with a SIG ROMEO1 reflex sight in the form of the RX models. When I was asked to review the SIG LEGION 229 RX Compact for this month’s review, I jumped at the opportunity.
Some of you may ask why I was so excited to try a pistol I have already shot extensively before but with a reflex sight attached on this model. The answer is simple, the new narrative to pistol training and carry is quickly becoming pistol optics. With proper training, these pistol mounted optics have proven to help shooters get on target faster and help with pinpoint precision over traditional iron sights. Since I also have a good bit of experience with the ROMEO1 reflex sight previously on an AR carbine, this combination seemed like a natural fit when I read the RX model description.
When the LEGION 229 RX arrived for testing, I was eager to see how the designers managed to fit a decent sized pistol red dot optic onto the compact sized pistol slide. As I inspected the slide thoroughly, I was very impressed by the deep milled recess that fit the ROMEO reflex sight perfectly combined with an easy to see set of suppressor height X-Ray 3 dot Day / Night sights. Being no stranger to X-Ray sights since I have them on every SIG pistol I own, this was the first time I had ever seen a suppressor height set. These sights lined up perfectly with a small channel in the optics rear section to allow for the red dot and sights to be co-witnessed cleanly. With only a few clicks in the windage and elevation adjustments, the iron sights and optic were quickly put in sync.
As for the rest of the pistol, the familiar LEGION gray PVD coating was flawless and matched perfectly with the comfortable darker grey / black G10 grips bearing the signature LEGION icon. From this grip, I could easily reach the reduced slide release and de-cock lever to reduce snagging when carried concealed. The slide release, however, was still as small as I remembered from the last test session in which it was hard to activate just using my thumb in a shooting grip.
The pistol included three 15 round magazines finished in a nonreflective grey color. Having worked with a lot of law enforcement, military and private military contractors, I have found one of their biggest gripes about magazines have been in reference bright, shiny magazines attracting unwanted attention in danger zones. The small details such as this may seem insignificant to civilian shooters, but this is one of the many reasons why SIG products are often referred to as the “Professional’s Choice.”
Overall initial thoughts were the gun felt great in my hand. Through a few days of dire firing the pistol to get used to the trigger, I found the gun fast to index and the optic easy to see. The ROMEO1 reflex optic offered a crisp bright dot under normal lighting conditions and a wide field of view to reduce tunnel vision and blind spots. The more I practiced with the 229 RX in my office, the more I couldn’t wait to get on the range and test it!
LEGION 229 RX SPECS
- Caliber: 9mm, .40 and .357 SIG
- Action Type: DA/SA
- Trigger Pull: 10 lbs. DA/ 4.4 lbs. SA
- Overall Length: 7.4″
- Overall Height: 6.4″
- Overall Width: 1.5″
- Barrel Length: 3.9″
- Weight w/Mag: 32 oz.
- Mag Capacity: 15 Rounds (9mm)
- Sights: X-Ray Day/Night Suppressor Height Sights
- Optic: ROMEO1 Reflex Sight
For testing, I wanted to put the LEGION 229 RX through a wide range of possible lighting conditions. Over the years testing optics, I have found some reticles can be seen well in one environment, but not so great in others regardless of adjustable contrast. To do so, several range sessions were divided up between the indoor range at On Target Sports in Orange Park, Florida and our own private outdoor training grounds affectionately known as “The Swamp.”
With the first two range sessions conducted on the indoor range, I noticed the second lowest setting on the ROMEO1 optic was a perfect compromise of being quick to acquire but not bright enough to be a distraction from the target and items surrounding it. For my wife, Candace, the setting one click above that would work better for her eyes. With both she and I being used to striker fired pistols, the long double action took some getting used to at first, but the very short stroke of the following shots was perfect!
The pistol featured an enhanced polished action with the SRT (Short-Reset Trigger) that is augmented with a Grayguns, Inc. designed P-SAIT trigger. This trigger combo was perhaps the best double action trigger I have felt in all my years of shooting SIGs, Berettas and other makes with similar triggers. In addition to a better trigger system, SIG also added a solid steel guide rod that added a bit more weight to the original 229 design in an area where it matters most. This added weight helps with recoil and muzzle flip. Given the great groupings Candace and I shot during those sessions with SIG Full Metal Jacket and Hollow Point ammunition, I would certainly say the added weight and new trigger did their job well.
Moving to the outdoor range, the LEGION 229 RX was again fueled with Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) target ammo and Jacketed Hollow Point (JHP) ammo from SIG Ammunition as well as FMJ ammo sent to us by the great folks at Fancy Brass Co. Through the summer heat and afternoon showers on the outdoor range, the LEGION 229 RX stayed hot and dirty for most of the duration of testing. Regardless of which ammo was used, the pistol fed flawlessly and continued to impress with its accuracy. Even with some left-over lower grade bulk ammunition from a previous training session, the SIG did not incur a single failure to feed / failure to fire throughout the 1200 round evaluation period.
Overall, I enjoyed working with the SIG LEGION 229 RX immensely. Although I traditionally prefer a striker fire action such as my daily carry SIG P365 9mm, I really love the heft and recoil absorption of the all metal frame and slide that make up the 229 RX. The gun balanced perfectly in the hand and offered a short, crisp follow up trigger press. The attention to detail SIG puts into every LEGION product with the edges rounded off, the subtle transitions in unassuming finish and accessories offers a truly professional looking appearance.
Despite the compact size, the 229 RX performed very well not only with SIG branded ammunition but several other top name brands as well. The reflex optic offered extremely fast target acquisition and follow up shots even the brightest and lowest of lights. The match up between optic and slide were perhaps the most seamless blend I have seen in the industry to date. Shots on 6” steel plates at 25 yards were three times easier than using standard iron sights on most comparable models.
Hard Fact: Pistol mounted optics are here to stay and will only become more and more present on popular handguns on the market. I admit to being one of those slow to warm up to them at first due to the quality first available, price points and aftermarket work needed to make them run smoothly. Today, these guns are re-engineered from the ground up to run just as well if not better than their non-optic counterparts. After working with the LEGION 229 RX exclusively for the past three months, I feel much more confident in the new direction of the handgun market.
With a price point of $1399.99, shooters get a Tier 1 professional operator level pistol and a solid robust sight for well under the price of other pistol / optic combinations within its category of quality, accuracy and reliability. In most places, the Legion 229 Compact by itself can run as high as $1299.99 to $1399.99 with the Romeo1 reflect sight priced alone at $350. In my opinion, this combination along with the addition of a quality rail mounted white light such as a Surefire X300 or Streamlight TRL 7 would make for the perfect concealed carry fighting pistol. To find out more about SIG Sauer products or to purchase your own LEGION 229 RX, visit www.1800GunsAndAmmo.com today. Until next time, Train Hard and Continue the Fight!!