Review: The Sig Sauer P226 MK25. The Navy SEAL pistol of days past.
Updated: Oct 3, 2020
One thing to know about me is that I am a sucker for full-size steel framed pistols, as well as most things Sig Sauer. They’re heavy, bulky and generally conceal like total dog shit in comparison to their ultra-thin polymer competition but they’re still extremely enjoyable to shoot and bring with them a certain sense of gunslinging confidence that just cannot be inspired quite the same way by a piece of plastic. Picking up the P226 simply makes you feel like a hard hitting S.O.B. ready to put in work. Maybe this is why the Navy SEAL’s, arguably the most elite fighting force that the United States military has to offer, chose the Sig as their sidearm for decades.
Let us quickly brush up on some history. In 1984, the United States Army, on behalf of the Armed Forces, held the XM9 Service Pistol Trials in an effort to find a modern alternative to the 1911 that also allowed a transition to 9mm ammunition. Multiple pistols were put through intense testing, with only the Beretta 92F and the Sig Sauer P226 passing. Beretta won the contract and the 92F was subsequently given its M9 designation. The general consensus is that Beretta winning the contract was solely due to its lower overall cost than the P226, though Beretta boner-boys and Lethal Weapon fanatics will try to make a million excuses as to why the 92F was superior. Despite the broad M9 adoption, the SEALs chose to do their own thing and go against the grain to adopt the P226 as their service pistol, with the designation of MK25.
What separated the MK25 from its commercially available P226 counterpart was a few subtle changes. The MK25 frame has an integral picatinny rail on the dust cover for mounting weapon lights or lasers, unlike the smooth dust cover of the standard P226 of the time. The internals are all phosphated to increase corrosion resistance. Along with other minor changes, there are also some cosmetic differences, with the iconic anchor engraving and bar code sticker being the most notable. To put it simply, the MK25 does a good job of being sexy but in a classy subtle way.
I purchased my MK25 in 2016. I was already the owner of a Beretta M9 for over a decade, which was the very first pistol I had ever purchased after coming of age. I decided that adding the M9’s rival to my collection was a good choice. I have always found myself to be fond of de-cocker only DA/SA pistols and honestly despise the slide mounted thumb safety on the M9, which requires a very counterintuitive upward pivot to disengage. Also, for anyone who has heavily trained malfunction clearing with the M9, they know how frequently the safety can be accidentally actived during slide manipulation and result in a tap-rack-nothing. Back when I had made my M9 purchase, the 92G was no longer in production and Wilson Combat was not doing their custom shop G conversions yet. When the 92G came back and WC began Beretta work, I just didn't feel the love enough to bother investing in yet another Beretta 92/M9 platform pistol.
The double action trigger pull on the MK25 is also smoother and far superior to the Beretta trigger by leaps and bounds in my opinion. The M9 DA trigger feels heavy right out of the gate and doesn't start to come anywhere near smoothing out until approximately 2/3 of the way through the pull, similar to many poorly made double-action revolvers. The MK25's tigger is smooth and consistant through the entire pull.
Weighing in at 34oz empty with a standard magazine capacity of 15 rounds, the MK25 is a beefy bitch for a 9mm. After all, most full-size 1911’s average 39-43oz.
I only had 2 qualms with the MK25 as it comes from the factory. The first is that it does not ship with Sig’s short reset trigger kit aka the “SRT kit” installed from the factory. While the MK25’s DA trigger is very smooth on the pull with a great break, and the SA trigger pull is even better, it had a longer reset than any other defensive gun I own. The reset was pretty much at the point of full trigger release. This wasn’t going to work for me because I’m a stubborn fucker and way too used to “shooting to reset”. Attempts at running the gun hard and fast for drills just left me feeling like I was running into a wall that shouldn’t be there. I quickly purchased the SRT kit and completed the install, which took about 5 minutes. The reset was now drastically shorter and exactly where I like it. The second and final qualm I have with the MK25 is that it ships with what Sig Sauer refers to as their “Siglite” night sights. I’m honestly not a fan of these sights one bit and can’t even put my finger on why they annoy me so much. Maybe it’s because they look cheap, the tritium isn't as bright or defined as the Dawson Precision sights that I normally install on all of my pistols or maybe it’s just my eyes not agreeing with the notch width. I’m not really sure but I do know that eventually I’ll be upgrading them to something different. Probably Dawson sights because they're the shit.
As far as reliability goes, the MK25 has better regularity than a high fiber diet. I’ve ran countless brands and weights of FMJ target loads, including steel cased ammo and reloads, as well as a healthy amount of Federal HST 124gr and my preferred carry load of Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P. It has not had a single malfunction in a little over 2.5K rounds fired. I know that 2.5K is not an incredibly high round count, especially for 4 years of ownership, but it has been difficult to get more rounds through it since most of my training time is required to be on Glock pistols as of the last few years.
The accuracy from the MK25 is extremely pleasing. I feel absolutely no need to change out the barrel for an aftermarket option. From a defensive firing stance, putting 50 rounds into a group the size of a Cope can at 15 yards is almost comically easy with this pistol and getting fist sized groups of approximately 5 inches at 25 yards is just as simple, even with the less than ideal sights. Recoil is pretty much nonexistent due to the weight of the pistol, allowing for rapid follow up shots.
In conclusion, all I can say is that if the world went to total shit and I was told that all I could have for a sidearm is the Sig Sauer MK25, I wouldn’t be disappointed in the slightest. It has proven to be an accurate, reliable and downright fun firearm to own. I enjoy it enough that whenever I have that itch to shoot an all-steel pistol, I find myself passing over my beloved M9 and going for the Sig. I can see why the Navy SEALs chose to do the same for so many years until their transition to the Glock platform.
Michael is a lifelong Arizona native, avid hunter and unwavering supporter of the Second Amendment and all of this great Nation’s founding documents. He is currently employed with a County Government Security Department within the state of Arizona, with prior work experience in the Judicial field, as well as private sector security contracting. Michael currently holds multiple certifications and licenses related to Firearms Instructing. He has a degree in Administration of Justice, with aspirations of attending law school.
He may be reached at
American Contingency: MikeThe762Dude