SIG SAUER created the P226 in the early 1980s to compete for a US Army contract. The Army wanted to replace the highly successful Colt M1911A1 with a modern 9mm. SIG responded with a weapon specifically designed for that contract opportunity. Derived from the P220 and P225, the P226 retained a de-cocking lever and integrated automatic safety features. SIG incorporated several key requirements to satisfy the US Army including an ambidextrous magazine ejector and15-round magazine capacity. The result was a highly reliable and durable double-action, singe-action full sized pistol. And expensive. The P226 lost out to the Beretta M92F (designated the M9 by the US Army) do to cost and durability. The latter factor has always been suspect as the US Navy SEALs special forces passed on the Beretta reportedly after failures in that system, selecting the P226. Several other agencies also adopted the more expensive P226, including the US Coast Guard, the FBI, and the Federal Air Marshalls. Internationally, the P226 was also very popular and was selected by the British Special Air Service (SAS).