Any pistol in Sig Sauer’s P-series is going to guarantee you the best of accuracy, reliability, and ergonomics.
You just can’t go wrong with this sturdy line of handguns.
But is one of these sibling guns better than the other?
In this Battle of the Ballistics, we have the classic go-to pistol for Navy SEALs, the Sig P226 Nitron, in one corner.
In the other corner, the massively upgraded big brother, Sig P226 Legion.
Who will come out on top?
Let’s take a look…
In this in-depth review, I compare everything between the P226 Nitron and P226 Legion.
- Lots more
So if you’re wondering which handgun is better, you’ll love this review.
Let’s get started!
The Nitron starts off with some fancy footwork, sporting impressive Siglite Night Sights in a three-dot style with tritium inserts that make hitting your target simple both day and night.
At 10 yards you can get near-perfect one-hole, five-shot groups under a couple inches. Move out to 25 yards and you’re looking at groupings somewhere between 2.5 and 3 inches.
This gun will hit what you’re aiming at, but will it give you flawless groups?
Not so much.
If you are looking for accuracy and precision, you’ll want to look to big brother, the Legion. (Or perhaps the .338 Lapua if you’re into rifles).
With specialty Electro-Optics X-RAY day/night sight upgrades, the P226 Legion has incredibly deadly precision.
At 25 yards, experienced marksmen can expect groupings under 2 inches. The upgraded sight system plus one of the best triggers on the market take the great accuracy of the Nitron and make an even more precise machine in the Legion.
Round 1 (Accuracy) Champion: Legion.
Next, we compare the reliability of the two weapons.
The Nitron comes with an aluminum alloy frame finished in anodized hard-coat. It has a stainless-steel slide with a Nitron finish that protects from harsh conditions.
After running thousands of rounds through this pistol, there were no misfires or problems of any kind.
I mean, the Navy SEALs use it, so you can darn well bet it’s going to hold up over time. As long as you keep the action well lubricated, this pistol is not going to let you down.
The Legion, on the other hand, comes with an ion-bombarded, metal vapor PVD finish that is a beautiful grayish-green color but has been known to scratch easily when being holstered.
Unlike the Nitron, Legion features a solid steel guide rod that adds stabilizing weight and durability.
Other than the guide rod and different finish, these weapons have identical frames, and both will most likely outlast their user.
Because they are so evenly matched in this category, I’ll give this round to Nitron simply because the Legion’s finish wears more easily.
Round 2 (Reliability) Champion: Nitron
Both the Nitron and Legion come out of the box feeling like they are custom-made for your hand.
The Nitron’s E2 (“Ergonomics Squared) grip gives you plenty of purchase when firing. Paired with a textured hammer, this pistol is comfortable and easy to use in most conditions.
Because the slide and grip swell are so wide and bulkily shaped, I don’t recommend using the Nitron as a concealed weapon. It’s built to be open-carried.
For example, when I go to the range, I’ll shoot the Nitron along with my .45 ACP carbine.
Every gun in the P-series is designed without a manual safety. Instead, these weapons have built in safety features like firing pin safety blocks and trigger bar disconnectors that make sure you’re only firing when you want to be firing.
Each also comes with a Sig accessory rail for mounting a light.
The main difference between the handling of the Nitron and Legion is in the grip.
Legion features custom G10 grips and has checkering on the front strap and under the trigger guard. There is just more skin-to-gun contact on the Legion, making for superior purchase and more comfortable shooting.
Sig designers spent significant time getting the perfect contour on Legion’s edges, giving it a sleeker profile than its sibling.
The magazine sits flush with the bottom, and the beavertail is nicely rounded to fit your thumb.
With its upgraded grips, Legion does feel slightly easier to handle than the Nitron.
Round 3 (Handling) Champion: Legion
The trigger is probably the biggest contrast between the two pistols.
While both triggers can be used as double-action or single action pulls, the Legion’s custom Grayguns trigger is far superior to the Nitron’s standard.
You can feel significant take-up on the Nitron with some annoying stacking ahead of the break.
And the reset feels like it takes forever compared to the Grayguns upgrade. Nitron’s trigger breaks around 8 pounds when using double action and around 3 and a half pounds using single.
Now compare that to Legion’s trigger and the results speak for themselves.
Pull weights come in a little over 8.5 pounds double and 3.5 pounds single. Enhanced with P-SAIT, this trigger has a short reset of one sixteenth of an inch that makes for fast shooting.
It also comes with an X-Five undercut on the trigger guard for greater control and accuracy.
Hands down, the Legion takes the day in triggers.
Round 4 (Trigger) Champion: Legion
Next up, how do the two compare in reloading?
The Nitron comes with 2 10-15 round magazines depending on your cartridge choice.
It has an easy-to-release slide stop, but the placement of this stop right under your thumb makes it easy to interfere with the last round when firing if you have a higher grip.
The Sig P226 Legion comes with one more 15-round magazine (3 total) and ejects mags using a spring-loaded system.
The decocking and slide catch levers that normally could snag on clothing or holsters have been reduced to create a lower profile.
Nearly any brand of ammunition will work well in either pistol with only slight differences in grouping radii.
Due to the annoying placement of the slide stop on the Nitron plus one less mag, the Legion, again, is superior.
Round 5 (Mag and Reload) Champion: Legion
Both P226 models sport 4.4-inch barrels, widths between 1.5 and 1.7 inches, and heights of 5.5 inches.
The Legion, however, is slightly longer overall than the 7.7-inch Nitron, coming in at just about 8 inches.
Somehow, the extra length doesn’t add to total weight, though, as both guns, emptied, weigh around 2 pounds 2 ounces.
Both weapons come in three caliber options:
- 9mm Luger
- .357 Sig
- .40 S&W
This just comes down to personal preference, and since I like shorter pistols, I’ll give this round to the Nitron.
Round 6 (Length and Weight) Champion: Nitron
When comparing the recoil on each weapon, it was honestly hard to determine a winner.
Both are excellently designed for minimal recoil. If I had to choose one or the other, I’d go with the Legion simply because it has better grips and a slight extension on the beavertail.
Round 7 (Recoil Management) Champion: Legion
A comparison of the Nitron vs. the Legion in this category seems a bit trivial because with more upgrades comes higher cost.
But, what the heck, here are the two numbers side by side:
a standard Nitron retails around $700…
…while the Legion is priced closer to $1,400.
Obvious choice if you’re looking at lower price alone, Nitron.
However, if you tried to add the upgrades featured on the Legion to a standard Nitron, you would pay close to $400 more than the Legion’s listed price.
Because you’re getting so much more for your dollar in purchasing the Legion, I’m giving this one to our more-expensive big brother.
Round 8 (Price) Champion: Legion
From the Navy SEAL to the civvy who’s determined to protect his home, Sig offers an incredibly-crafted, made-to-last handgun in any P-series model.
But when you compare the Nitron and Legion side by side, there is an obvious winner:
Let’s replay the top reasons why:
- Custom grips
- Kick-ass trigger
- Streamlined design
- Better sights = better precision
The purchase of either pistol is going to get you a high-performing weapon that demonstrates exceptional accuracy, reliability, and ergonomics.
But if you can afford to splurge on the extra upgrades the Legion features, DO IT!