Recently, SIG Sauer won the contract to produce the new M17 pistol which will replace the Beretta M9. The new pistol is being called the Modular Handgun System (MHS) since the same frame can accommodate four different calibers. Instead of the long, convoluted military acquisition process for this weapon, I am going to go through my own attenuated selection process. In the end I selected the SIG Sauer P320 as my handgun of choice, but not before a lot of preliminary work. Read on to learn about the SIG Sauer P320 Review.
SIG Sauer P320 Review
First, some perspective on me. In many respects, I am a normal middle-aged civilian who lives in suburbia. I don’t come from either a law-enforcement or military background and I haven’t owned firearms until recently. Growing up, my family didn’t own guns of any type and the only time I had a chance to shoot was with friends or relatives. I enjoy shooting, but can’t say that I am either a pro or an experienced handgun user. Like millions of other civilians over the last decade though, I decided to take greater ownership of my safety and security. This meant purchasing firearms, including a handgun.
Before I decided to purchase my P320, I shot a lot of other similar handguns. When I would go to the range, my friends would let me shoot their pistols since I would always bring a lot of extra ammo with me. I also joined an indoor range and rented several different pistols to evaluate them. For the most part these were chambered in 9x19mm and mostly used Double-Action Only (DAO) striker-fired trigger mechanisms. Here is a partial list of the ones that I shot before making my purchase:
- Glock 17
- Glock 19
- FN FNS-9
- Springfield XDM-9
- Smith & Wesson M&P Shield
- Smith & Wesson MSP
- CZ 75 P-07
- Magnum Research Baby Eagle
- SIG SP2022
- Ruger SR9
There were a few other odd-ball ones (i.e., Makarov PM) that I fired but never considered as a viable pistol candidate.
You will notice that the SIG P320 did not appear on that list. Since the pistol was fairly new (fall 2015), none of my friends owned one and no ranges had them available to rent. However, I decided to go off of first impressions on this one. When I handled one of the display models, it felt good in my hand. It just fit perfectly and pointed naturally. The P320 also felt solid but not too heavy, somewhere between a Glock 17 and a CZ 75 P-07. Personally, I like larger-framed handguns and this one felt natural in my hands. So I decided to go on faith with this purchase, I had good reason to do so.
My objective was to get a striker-fired, full-sized handgun chambered in 9mm that would be enjoyable to shoot. I wanted something modern too that incorporated all of the lessons learned in firearms design over the past two decades. For millions of firearms owners, the default answer to this would be a Glock 17 or 19. When I started this process, the 17 was the leading candidate because it had everything I was looking for. However, the P320 was better in several respects.
The platform is modular, meaning you can use the same frame and grip with different calibers. I opted for 9mm but you can also get the .357 SIG and .40 S&W top-end modules. While this wasn’t the most important feature to me, it is good to know that I can switch to .40 S&W if I wanted to. This is a good capability to have and one of the reasons the military selected it.
The P320 also has a built-in Picatinny rail on the bottom of the frame, which is good for mounting lights or lasers. While I am probably not going to mount any accessories to this gun, it is a great capability to have built-in. It comes with a standard three-dot combination of front and read iron sights.
Like most modern “wonder nines” it has a double-stack magazine that can hold 17 rounds of 9mm. I definitely wanted a higher capacity magazine because that way I can take more shots before reloading. Of course, this will vary depending upon which caliber is used. The .357 SIG and .40 S&W versions can hold 14 rounds in the magazine whereas the (future) .45 ACP version will only hold 10.
It can safely carry a round in the chamber because the internal safety mechanisms make it very difficult to accidentally discharge. The trigger is self-cocking and DAO, just like Glocks and other modern pistols. This can be very helpful in an emergency because the trigger pulls will be consistent on every round. The guy at the gun shop also raved about how the P320 can be disassembled without tools or having to operate the trigger.
Most places I have seen list the P320 at $599, although I got mine for a discount at my local gun store. It comes with two magazines which are the same ones used for the P250. I’ve seen those for between $30-40 per, so you may want to shop around for those.
So what do I think as an owner of a SIG P320? Truth is, I love it! The first time I went to the range to shoot it, everything worked like a charm. It took me a few rounds to get used to the trigger pull but after that, I was on target. Since it is a full-size handgun, the P320 handles recoil really well and I was able to get some pretty good groups right away. It felt great in my hands too, which probably contributed to my accuracy. The sights work fine for me, now I need to work on the getting more range time.
Since I purchased mine in the fall of 2015, I have put a few hundred rounds through it without any problems. For the most part, I have used Winchester 115 and 124 grain ammunition except when I go to the indoor range. It eats-up anything I put through it without a problem. That is just it, this pistol works reliably without any drama and is accurate right out of the box. I am glad I have mine!
Great materials and workmanship, this is a finely-crafted pistol.
A bit heavier and more expensive than other offerings out there.
Just as Glock helped redefine the 9mm pistol a quarter century ago, the SIG P320 takes the concept of a modular pistol and makes it mainstream. Everything about this firearm works better than expected and it feels great to shoot it. I own one and will recommend it to anybody who is considering a striker-fired, DAO pistol.
Overall Rating 9/10
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