After considering a couple of upgrades for a while, I decided to add a threaded barrel to my Sig Sauer P226 MK 25 pistol and replace the forward pivot in in my Sig Sauer 556 SWAT with a push-button version for easier field stripping. Here’s a quick report on the upgrades.
I ordered all the necessary parts from Top Gun Supply, a well-respected online retailer of firearms and accessories. Here’s my order list:
- KNS Push Button Pivot Sin – SIG 556 @ $19.95
- Sig P226 Replacement Barrel – 9mm – Threaded @ $209.95
- Barrel Thread Protector – M13.5 x 1LH @ $19.95
And while I was at it, I decided to order three Mec-Gar P226 9mm 20 round magazines @ $29.95 each (Mec-Gar is the OEM supplier for P226 magazines to Sig).
Here’s the pre-upgrade setup on both firearms:
Sig Sauer 556 SWAT KNS Push Pivot Pin Upgrade
I decided to do this upgrade because of the difficulty removing the stock front pivot pin in the Sig Sauer 55G SWAT lower assembly while field stripping. The rear pin works fine – press in from the side with a finger, slide the pin outward to a locked position, then pull down the entire lower assembly (which pivots on the front pivot pin). To completely separate the lower from the upper, however, the front pivot also needs to slide out. But there’s not as much recess around the front pin, making it harder (i.e. impossible) to push in with a finger. Additionally, the front pin is jammed in there tight – and required a hammer and a punch tool to dislodge from its locked position. On the later-model 556s (like mine), the pin itself is actually a sliding-locking pin, just like the rear pin. But because removing it requires tools, I wanted to swap in an aftermarket push-pin so I could remove the lower quickly and without tools.
After reading some other online reviews, I decided on the KNS Push Button Pivot Pin. After using tools to remove the front pin, I slid the KNS pin into place… but was unhappy with how the push-button portion of the pin sat in the assembly (the stock pin, spring, and retainer are shown removed):
The push button didn’t stick out in the fully “up” position, making me worried that it might pull out unexpectedly at an inopportune moment. However, the pin did seem secure, but wiggled around in the factory holes slightly more than the stock pin. The final straw for me was how the bottom-end of the pin looks installed:
It just looks too far from stock for me, and not in a good way, so I decided to go back to the original pin. Installing the spring and retainer required the use of one of the tools in my Otis Elite Cleaning System, and went a lot easier than I was expecting it to. I decided to try lubricating the front pin with some Tetra Gun, and after a few cycles of pushing in and out, I was able to get it so that it was easier to get out than before, but still not easy — and still requiring the use of a hammer. I’ll keep looking for a solution to this upgrade. To be fair, it’s possible that the KNS pivot pin works fine on earlier model 556s, but on my 556 SWAT, it’s a no-go.
Sig Sauer P226 MK 25 Threaded Barrel Upgrade
I love my Sig P226 MK 25 pistol. To quote Ferris Bueller, “It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.” The only upgrade I could imagine wanting on this gun was a threaded barrel, so I ordered the parts from Top Gun Supply. The barrel itself is Sig Sauer branded, which is a plus to me.
If you know how to field strip a Sig P226 (which is a cakewalk), then you know how to replace the barrel. However, I like to clean and prep all gun components before putting them into service, particularly with something as crucial to the proper operation of a firearm as the barrel.
I like to “season” my firearms with Tetra Gun spray. Anyone who has cooked with a cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven knows that objects tend to stick less to metal surfaces that are properly seasoned. Tetra Gun contains a quick-evaporating solvent and a fluoropolymer lubricant that is absorbed into metal to make it more “slippery,” just like cooking oil is used on cast-iron cookware. After a few post-cleaning seasonings with Tetra Gun, my firearms are much easier to keep clean, because the dirt doesn’t like to stick to them.
To start, I sprayed a liberal amount of Tetra Gun on the entire exterior of the barrel, and worked it into the metal with my fingers. Next, I sprayed some Tetra Gun on a patch and ran it through the new barrel:
Hmm… not quite as clean as I would have hoped a new barrel would be, but at least it justified the effort I was expending to clean it before installing it. I ran a solvent patch through, then a bore brush, and then another dry patch:
Wow – that was way dirtier than I thought. A couple more patch passes, and I was finally pulling a clean patch. I then soaked a patch with Tetra Gun, pulled it, let it soak in a while, and then pulled another clean patch. Finally, I wiped down the entire exterior of the barrel, rubbing in and/or removing any wet or shiny-looking spots where the Tetra Gun wasn’t absorbed into the metal (on Glocks and Sigs, I don’t like wet/shiny spots).
Assembly was straightforward: install the barrel in the slide, replace the spring, install the slide, and engage the slide lock. The last step was to screw on the left-hand threaded end cap (which I also seasoned), and admire my handywork:
Now I just need to finalize the paperwork for something to screw on to that threaded barrel!