Successful self-defense with a handgun is strongly dependent on the user’s skill in gun handling. If your chosen arm is a SIG Sauer pistol, the maker now offers a .22 LR Conversion Unit that affords endless hours of low-cost shooting experience. Made for P220s, P229s and P226s, the kits are simple to install and function reliably. The .22 Conversion Unit consists of a slide and barrel with recoil spring and guide, plus a dedicated .22 LR magazine. Our sample was designed for a P226 in .357 SIG or .40 S&W.
Center-fire SIG Sauer P-series pistols are recoil-operated, but the Conversion Unit employs a simple blowback operating system. The rimfire slides have the same general dimensions, contours and shape as their center-fire counterparts, but they are made of aluminum rather than steel. This results in a substantial reduction in weight for the converted .22 LR P226 — 26.25 ounces for the .22 LR versus 31.25 ounces for the .357 SIG.
Changing from center-fire to .22 LR takes just seconds. Make sure the pistol is unloaded, remove the magazine, lock the slide back and pivot the takedown lever 90 degrees. Pull the center-fire slide forward and off the receiver. Slide the .22 upper onto the receiver, turn the takedown lever into place and allow the slide to go forward. Insert a loaded 10-round-capacity, plastic .22 magazine into the magazine well, rack the slide and you are ready to shoot .22s.
The Conversion Unit has a nicely designed and fully adjustable rear sight from LPA. The sight profile has the forward-sloping contour first popularized by Novak, and it is beveled for easy handling from the holster. A two-dot highlight on the U-notch rear sight is aligned with a front sight post with a single dot. For the purposes of defensive training at low cost, it is important to understand that a converted .22 uses the frame of the original center-fire pistol, therefore, most of the handling characteristics—trigger pull, decocker performance, magazine changes—are the same. The .22, however, will not lock the slide back after the last shot.
At the range, the Conversion unit delivered excellent performance. There were no malfunctions of any kind. Even with high-speed ammunition, the conversion unit shot better than the unconverted center-fire pistol.
Aside from gun handling practice with a less expensive chambering, a conversion unit on a SIG Sauer gives the shooter an accurate, functioning .22 pistol that is well-suited for all of the typical small bore roles—small game hunting, pest control, training and relaxed plinking.
Manufacturer: SIG Sauer; (603) 772-2302; Sigsauer.com
Caliber: .22 Long Rifle
Action Type: Blowback-operated semi-automatic
Barrel: Steel, 4"
Rifling: 1:16", RH
Magazine Capacity: 10
Sights: Fully adjustable rear, post front
Overall Length: 7.5"
Height: 5.59" (installed on P226)
Weight: 26.25 ozs. (installed on P226 receiver)
Accessories: Lockable hard case, manual
Suggested Retail Price: $369