MEC-GAR Aftermarket Magazines for the SIG P226

When I came home from Iraq in early 2010, I decided to get myself a welcome-home present. I’d been thinking of getting a SIG Sauer P226, partially on the recommendation of several former members of the British military. Their experience with the SIG P226 impressed them greatly, and they seemed to have much more confidence in that sidearm than our own forces had with the Beretta M9.

Being on a rather limited budget, I chose a used P226, specifically a police trade-in. The barrel looked brand new and the only wear I could see on the pistol seemed to be from inserting and withdrawing it from a holster repeatedly. As a side note, police trade-ins can be of excellent value. It is a sad fact that many officers practice with their weapons only sporadically, some only using their sidearm when they must pass qualification or re-qualify.

After purchasing the SIG, I immediately began searching for extra magazines. There are many reasons to have a stockpile of magazines:

1. Preparation – in the event of a disaster such as Katrina, you may need more than the two magazines included with your pistol. This is actually the least compelling argument, in my opinion. Not only are such situations extremely rare, but if confronted with hostile looters, your best defensive option is a shotgun or semi-automatic carbine.

2. Rotation – I rotate my magazines every week in order to reduce the stress placed upon any one spring. For this reason, all my magazines are numbered. Being consistent in the maintenance of your magazines will ensure a longer lifespan.

3. Expiration – While magazines don’t have a shelf-life, they do break down. Usually, it is the spring which wears out first. In any case, magazines are items which you should count on replacing.

So it is important to have a stash of magazines for your P226. But what do you do if you don’t want to spend outrageous amounts of money on new SIG factory mags? I’ve heard some advocate buying used magazines. I would discourage this. As previously stated, magazines wear out and can be damaged if left full for an extended amount of time. I wouldn’t want to get a sub-standard component for my pistol, especially one as reliable as the P226.

Enter the MEC-GAR alternative. MEC-GAR is an Italian-based company that specializes on making aftermarket magazines for a variety of different pistols. They pride themselves on their quality and selection. Best of all, their magazines are significantly cheaper than the factory SIG mags.

I purchased several of their 18-round magazines from Botach Tactical. Over the course of the last two years, I have continued to be impressed by the quality and reliability of the MEC-GAR products. In those two years, I have fired thousands of rounds and have experienced only three failures to feed. All three of these malfunctions happened when I was using the factory SIG mags.

This isn’t at all a mark against SIG, as these magazines came well used with the gun. My guess is that these magazines were kept loaded by their previous owner, thus increasing the wear on their springs.

I was so impressed with MEC-GAR that I recommended the product to a friend of mine, a member of Air Force Special Operation Command. When he finally broke down and purchased a P226 (though his was a newer, railed version) he too fell in love with the Italian-made aftermarket magazines. As he is much more demanding of his equipment than I, you should take this as a ringing endorsement for MEC-GAR.

By Allen Cosby

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53GR is an avid shooter, hiker and tinkerer. Introduced to guns at an early age, the hobby became a passion in his early twenties. After two years in Iraq as a contractor for a defense company, he developed an unhealthy addiction to military surplus gear. Though he's currently in treatment, the prognosis is that the condition is chronic.

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12 Responses to MEC-GAR Aftermarket Magazines for the SIG P226

  1. jon says:

    my Sig x5 came factory from Germany w Mec Gar magazines

  2. Cary Kieffer says:

    53gr, well if my Gramps was still alive I’d have him tell everybody about how his Nazi occupied Hipower browning mags and German Luger mags have been loaded nonstop except for firing since at least 1944 when he picked them up off of dead Nazis. Probably before that too, figure late 1930’s-early 40’s when they were made. As the nazi’s were not walking around with empty guns either. Thats at least 68 years for sure I can verify. He’s gone a few years now but I still have them loaded and they are just fine. I have 1911 mags I’ve had loaded since the mid 80’s which are as good as the day I got em. Theres a decent article from back in 03 in I think May’s addition of American Handgunner where he talks about the “mag spring myth” and a myth it is. Springs in a good mag will last, loaded or not. I was going to retype it here but I dont know if thats legal and I dont wanna get Mike C (or me) in trouble for copyright infringement. You can find the article on line I think.

  3. Bill Rhea says:

    Thanks for the review. Your point concerning magazine rotation and numbering is quite helpful.

  4. Rick says:

    The importance of quality magazines can’t be overstated. If you’re maintaining your own equipment this sounds like a product well worth trying. Thanks Allen, your recommendations are well worth reading!

  5. Jim says:

    “Staff Review: MEC-GAR Aftermarket Magazines for the SIG P226”
    You do realize that Mec-Gar IS the OEM manufacture for most of the metal pistol magazines sold? Sig does not make their own magazines, neither does Beretta.

    • Garret Willis says:

      Good call out. This also is true for Sig, Mecgar makes most of their mags.

      • Sam A. says:

        I have the factory Sig P226 mags and the Mec-Gar, and they are different without a doubt, both visual and the way they perform. The Mec-Gar is hands down a much smoother operating mag, it’s very noticeable when loading the mag.

      • Wm Bennett says:

        Mec Gar also OEM’s all the Browning Hi-Power mags as well.

    • Allen says:

      Jim, I did not know that. Thank you very much for that bit of info. I’ll be sure to be a bit more thorough in my future research.

      • Cary Kieffer says:

        Yep Jim’s right. Additionally I dont want you to feel like I’m jumping down your throat here but magazine rotation is a total bunch of BS. It’s a myth. I have a few mags mags that have been loaded for 70, yes 70, strait years and are fine.Many that have been loaded for 20 plus years. Any good mag is just fine constantly compressed. If anything your ammo will need traded out LONG before any mag spring will. The practice of loading all but 1 round is pointless too. My duty carry mags were loaded for years on end…so were everybody elses..They can take it. The springs are not pushed past their “point of no return” so to speak in a properly designed, well made mag. Rest easy on that one, find something else to worry yourself with. Personally I chose flashlights batteries to worry about lol. Your off to a good start though, it took me longer to turn out an article that was grammatically that good right off like yours. Keep it up.

        • 53gr says:

          Cary, can you provide any documentation of the mags that have been loaded for 70 years? Honestly, that would be a great article in itself.

      • Garret Willis says:

        That sure is one beat up, hammered out, triple serial numbered well used 100% German P226. You know that meanes that P226 is in it’s prime right 🙂 If you have not replaced the common springs yet, I suggest you do so. Other than that shoot the heck out of it. As some might know, I have a soft spot for German Sigs.

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