Wednesday, June 23, 2010

P226 Slide Lock Replacement

For some reason Sig Sauer introduced a new "short post" slide lock lever for the P226 about three years ago. Along with the introduction of this new part are new magazine followers with protruding lips.

The problem with this change is that low capacity P226 mags and older high capacity mags will not lock the slide back after the last round is fired. The usually comes up on boards as "my slide won't lock back" and can be diagnosed after eliminating the human factors; thumb discipline, weak wrist, etc. In addition, many believe the short post lever digs into the mag followers wearing them unnecessarily (I am in that group).

In my opinion this is a critical function as it lets the operator know a reload is required.  The last thing anyone wants is to hear "click" in a bad situation.

I have posted this fix to help anyone who may be in this situation.

I assume no liability for your actions!!! Proceed with caution!!!

 Determine If You Have This Issue

Find an older P226 magazine like this circa 2000 10 rounder.

Make a safe weapon. Remove the slide. Seat the magazine and observe the contact between the slide lock post and the magazine follower (yellow circle)...

If the magazine follower is making solid contact with the slide lock post, you do not have this issue. If you see a gap like the one in the picture you will need a new slide lock lever (or new mag followers) for the gun to be operational with that magazine.

Before Doing Anything
If your P226 was bought new and you are the original owner, your gun is under warranty. Contact Sig Sauer customer service. If you can get your gun to an armorer at Sig they will have you fixed up in about three weeks. When I did this in early 2009 on another P226, the work and part was free--I wasn't charged a cent (Sig knows they are causing some pain)! I have also heard that Sig is shipping mag followers out in lieu of a slide lever swap--I wouldn't accept this fix.

If you want to do the lever swap yourself, order a new P226 slide lock lever from Top Gun Supply. The part number is 34260120 (Anon in comments says Sig has changed the part number to 1200779 and TopGunSupply confirms.  It might be best to call before ordering to confirm.)

Doing the Swap
It's a good idea to have an armorer's guide and toolkit although this swap could be done without them and is relatively easy.

First, make a safe weapon and remove the slide. Rotate the disassembly lever forward and carefully remove it from the frame.

With the disassembly lever out, remove the breech block (locking insert) by gently pulling it upwards out of the frame. It should be loose and move freely. If it is not loose, do not force it! Add some CLP until it moves freely.  This can be the dirtiest part of the frame because it is so difficult to clean.

Using a punch or small screwdriver, without much force, push the trigger pivot pin to the right slowly.  You do not want to remove this pin completely...

The pivot pin should be past the slide lock lever but not past the trigger itself.

The old slide lock lever should come out freely.

A comparison of the new (left) and old (right) parts.  Note the notch and shorter length of the old part on the right.

Set the old part aside.  Insert the new slide lock lever to the left of the trigger (muzzle pointing away).  Push the trigger pivot pin back into place.

Insert the slide stop spring into the locking insert.

For the next step (probably the hardest part of the whole operation) you will need an appropriately sized screwdriver.  A screwdriver too big and you will scratch the frame, one too small and you may mess up the trigger pivot pin.

This is when being a sucker and over-paying for the armorer's toolkit works to your advantage.

The tricky part is getting the breech block (locking insert) into the frame.  The slide stop spring must be on top of the slide lock lever.  The slide lock lever must be all the way to the left side of the frame. 

There are notches in the trigger pivot pin that allow the breech block to be inserted.  With the screwdriver, slowly turn the trigger pivot pin until the block can be gently pushed into place.  Do not force the block in!

When the breech block is in, the disassembly lever channel should be a perfect circle without any overlap of the breech block.  If it doesn't look like the following picture, remove the block, turn the pin 180 degrees and try again.

Now the disassembly lever can be reinserted into the channel.  This too requires some finesse to keep from scratching the frame.  The lever has a lip on one end that can be used to manipulate the spring while it's being inserted.

Once done, using the same test mag as above, check the contact between the post and the magazine follower.

Reassemble the weapon and test the slide lock a few times.  A new slide lock lever can cause the release to be a little stiff the first few times--this is normal.

If you have any questions or anything to add, feel free to the use the comments!


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Alfonso Gómez-Arzola said...

This walkthrough helped me address a slide catch lever problem. I bought a used P226 and this lever was slightly bent, resulting in seemingly random failures to lock the slide. I needed to pull it out and bend it back a bit.

Thank you for explaining how to pull the lever out of the frame. Having maintained much simpler guns for the last few years, the P226 certainly presents quite the challenge to this amateur gunsmith. Heh! I’m lucky to have found your post!