The Rental Gun Stress Test: Sig Sauer P226

Sitting behind the counter at West Coast Armory’s Indoor Range has given me the opportunity to see a lot of people use a lot of guns.  The ones I’m most familiar with are the ones that live behind the counter with me: our rental guns.  These poor firearms get rented to person after person after person, the more popular ones get 300-2,000 rounds a week (giving me 18,600 – 124,000 rounds a year) through them without a stretch of the imagination.  These guns get beat up.  Some of these guns have now been behind the counter with me for over a year now and I have a fairly decent idea of their reliability.

One stood out a little bit earlier this week when we tore it apart to clean it: The Sig Sauer P226.  This is probably one of the most popular rental guns in the case, and this week when one of my co-workers pulled the gun apart to clean it we realized how much this gun could actually take.  The gun was filthy.  Now we try to clean our rental guns every week, perhaps two at most, so the fact the gun had gotten so dirty in such a short amount of time really makes a statement to how much use it gets.

There are a lot of guns in the case we have problems with, they end up in the gunsmith or sent back to the company every month or two.  This Sig, despite the dirt and grime of popularity and abuse, and despite having grip screws stolen out of it, has continued to function flawlessly.  I cannot recollect a time when I have had to help someone with the gun jamming through their misuse or through a problem with the firearm, making it not only reliable but easy for novice shooters to handle. It makes me wish I had an exact count of how many rounds people had put through the poor thing.


  1. You would think it would be cheaper to just buy more grip screws for your gun than to pay to rent one and steal the screws off the rental.

    Nice to know the Sig is that reliable though.

  2. I just got into a SIG P226, and am loving it so far. No breakin issues, even. I’ve always liked shooting SIGs, but don’t care for DA/SA triggers, so I didn’t buy one for myself until a DAK model happened to show up just when I’d canceled an order on another gun. With that trigger and a .357 SIG barrel, it’s like a big ol’ revolver. I almost wish someone made a red-ramp front sight for it.

  3. I *always* suggest that new shooters head to a rental range before making any decision about centerfire pistols. $100 in range fees & store-bought ammunition is a great insurance policy against buying a $600(+) gun that they don’t like.

  4. I went to WCA and went through all the 9mm rental guns trying to figure out what I liked and disliked. Turns out the one I had been drooling over in all the magazines was not the right fit for me. I was also very anti-Glock until I shot it.

  5. Out of curiosity, can you give any more specifics on which other range guns just run and which cause trouble, or would that get you into trouble?

  6. We kept a DAO P226 in the rental case at CCA because that’s what Wackenhut issued the guards up in Oak Ridge.

    That gun probably averaged at least 50 rounds a day, seven days a week, for I don’t know how many years before it was finally replaced with a DAK model when Wackenhut switched to that as their issue piece.

    It was always filthy and never broke. I was extremely impressed.

  7. Good for the Sig P226. I own two and they are simply great guns. Complicated to work on not like a Glock you can but parts on ebay, but the accuracy is to be envy. One of the the possible reasons people like to rent Sig could be because they are so expensive but with the price comes dependability. Is something about all metal gun screams Awesomeness ! I am happy with my Sigs.and If I am going to War I will pack my Sig on my waist.

  8. I’d love to see a follow up of all the rental guns and the rounds before failure count. I’ve heard that a Glock will start to break down after 25,000 rounds. I’m past 15,000 on mine and it still functions and looks fine.

    1. The only Glocks that actually BROKE-broke in the the rental case at CCA while I was there were the Glock 32 that cracked its slide at the ejection port and another one that sheared the cam block on the bottom of the barrel. Can’t remember which one that was off the top of my head…

      There was the usual litany of broken trigger return springs and slide stop springs; it’d be nice if Glock would spend five bucks more a gun on better springs.

      One interesting note: Our rental G21 was one of the very first ones sold in TN and had been in the rental case for all those years. Various springs and such had been replaced over the years, but only as they broke and not under any kind of planned maintenance program (range guns get rode hard and put up wet.) That’s a pretty impressive feat of endurance…

      1. Would teh one that sheared the cam block be a Glock 23? I’ve been given to understand that turned out to be an issue they found with heavy use pieces, now fixed in Gen 4 Model 23s.

  9. I rarely use my 226 with students, but I’ve had a 225 for about a year that’s seen some heavy use – it was well used when I got it – and the thing just keeps on running, despite frequently being dirty enough to grow potatoes in it. As far as I can tell the only way Sig could improve their guns is to make them dishwasher safe.

    1. Zermoid,

      I’ve seen grip screws stolen off rental SIGs, too. They’re two bucks apiece from Brownell’s. Maybe SIG owners are broke after buying the gun itself… 😉

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