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The P226 is an evolution of an earlier design and indisputably one of the best pistols of the twentieth century.
Debate It: Why Sig Sauer's P226 Is One of the Best Guns Ever Made
One of the most popular handguns in the world is a Swiss-German design that traces its origins back to the immediate postwar era.
The Sig P226 is a full-sized weapon that while failing to capture the prize as the Pentagon’s new pistol in the 1980s went on to achieve underdog acclaim as the official handgun of the U.S. Navy SEALs.
In the late 1940s Swiss gunmaker Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft, known by its initials as SIG, introduced a new nine-millimeter handgun using the work of French gun designer Charles Petter. The pistol, known as the SIG 210, used the same locked-breech pattern invented by John Moses Browning in the early part of the twentieth century, particularly with the FN-Browning GP35. Built with Swiss precision and attention to detail, the pistol was adopted by the Swiss Army. It was later redesigned by SIG to be easier to manufacture, resulting in the SIG P220.
In the late 1970s and 1980s, the U.S. Army spearheaded two attempts to procure a new handgun for the U.S. military. The new gun would replace all previous guns, including the M1911A1 .45 ACP handgun but also various types of pistols and revolvers issued to pilots across the armed services. Not only were the older guns wearing out it was harder than necessary to support multiple types of handguns with spare parts and ammunition. One handgun, across all the services, would save money and provide soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guard members with the latest in handgun technology.