Stainless steel pistols are popular among those who prefer to carry all-metal firearms. This kind of construction can be critical if you live in a wet climate. I’ve talked to police officers in Alaska and Washington who say that their weapons might as well be sitting under running faucets several months out of the year. The same can be said for those living or working in humid climates. Either way, you are constantly battling rust.

I live in Utah, where I’m blessed with humidity in the 20-percent range most of the time. As an officer, I would normally just wipe off my duty pistols once a day and clean them completely once a week. Even so, I preferred to carry a stainless Colt Delta Elite for years because it was easier to maintain.

The only real downsides to stainless steel are weight and galling where surfaces contact each other if the pistol is not properly lubricated. Well, Sig Sauer’s new Alloy Stainless Elite (ASE) line takes a stab at providing the best of both worlds: the corrosion resistance of stainless steel without the extra weight or galling between the slide and frame.

ASE Basics

P226 ASE pistols
Aside from stylish looks, every ASE pistol is furnished with high-visibility sights and Sig Sauer’s Short Reset Trigger, which works well for fast follow-up shots on target.

Currently exclusive to TALO distributors, Sig Sauer’s ASE pistols use stainless steel slides and aluminum alloy frames coated with a stainless physical vapor deposition (PVD) finish for corrosion resistance. The PVD process tends to be a bit more uniform than electroplating and other processes while being environmentally friendly. Advancements in the process have also made it cost effective and consistent, making it more suitable for use on firearms.

But there’s more to these ASE pistols. Each model also comes with custom walnut grip panels, Sig’s Short Reset Trigger (SRT) and SIGLITE night sights. I got my hands on a 9mm P226 ASE with a railed Elite frame for testing, but various ASE versions of the P220, P227 and P229 are also available.

Upon handling the P226 ASE, my first thought was that it looked just like an all-stainless-steel pistol. The slide and frame colors match very closely. Also, Sig Sauer’s Elite frame is one of my favorites, as I’ve used it on the P220, P226 and P229 before. The high-swept beavertail protects the web of your shooting hand and makes it easy to obtain a high grip on the pistol. These frames fit my large hands the best of any currently made by Sig Sauer, providing excellent recoil control in any chambering.

sig P226 ASE
The author’s test P226 ASE came equipped with a 4.4-inch, stainless steel barrel that has been given a matte black finish, matching the recoil spring guide rod assembly. Also note the external extractor on the right side.

The dust cover sports a standard three-slot rail for adding lights and lasers. The extended triggerguard houses the SRT. My test P226 ASE’s trigger was smooth in double-action (DA) mode, and the subsequent single-action (SA) rest was short, providing for fast follow-up shots and increased accuracy.

The pistol’s decocking and takedown levers, along with the slide stop, are serrated, while the magazine release is expertly checkered. Further down, the frontstrap features mild checkering, and the grip has a gentle palm swell. As mentioned, each ASE pistol comes with custom walnut grips with quality checkering and Sig Sauer medallions inset into each side.

The stainless steel slide has a matte finish and includes both front and rear cocking serrations. It houses a 4.4-inch, stainless steel barrel that has been given a matte black finish. The hammer, trigger and controls are also black, providing a nice contrast with the pistol’s matte stainless components.

On top of the slide are Sig Sauer’s SIGLITE night sights, which use tritium inserts set up in a three-dot configuration. Finally, the pistol comes in a hard case with two flush-fitting, 15-round magazines, and the P226 ASE will accept any standard P226 magazine, including my extended 20-rounders.

Like what you’re reading? Check out the rest of this article in ‘Combat Handguns’ March 2017. For information on how to subscribe, please email [email protected] or call 1-800-284-5668.

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