Slickguns Reviews: SIG SAUER P365
The hottest news at the 2018 SHOT Show in Las Vegas was SIG Sauer’s new subcompact pistol. The unveiling created a buzz among the firearms media and dealers, and its introduction had many thinking that the New Hampshire-based company may have created a category with little or no competition.
Envisioned as the only everyday-carry (EDC) pistol a person might need, the design objective was aimed at a market that would carry this pistol seven days a week and 365 days a year. Thus, it’s designation “365.” While it may sound like a whole lot of marketing-speak, I found that this pistol does deliver.
Here’s why: he P365 has the same or slightly smaller dimensions when compared to other single-stack 9mm pistols including the Glock 43, Smith & Wesson Shield and Ruger EC9s and LC9s. However, the P365 is not a single-stack pistol, yet it stows 10 rounds in a flush-fit magazine and 12 in an extended magazine without sacrificing compactness. There’s no trickery here, just engineering prowess.
Instead of leaving the magazine’s design until after this pistol had been created, engineers made the magazine first then built a pistol around it. The concepts were revolutionary and SIG Sauer received three patents during the process.
So, what’s different? The mags are tapered, in other words they are thicker at the bottom and narrower at the top. It’s as if they are two mags in one. Holding the majority of the rounds in a double-stack arrangement, the rounds settle into single file as they near the top of the magazine. Designers could then contour the upper grip frame to better fit a shooter’s thumb and trigger finger.
If you run the numbers, the P365 holds 50 percent more ammo than its competitors of similar size. The pistol ships with two, 10-round magazines, one flush magazine and one with a textured extension. The 12-round extended magazines — featuring the same texture as the grip frame — are available for $55 each.
Downsides? Typically, I am not a proponent of subcompact concealed carry handguns. They certainly have their place in the toolbox, but I prefer something larger like a Glock 19 or S&W M&P9 Compact M2.0. Such models have magazines that hold 15 rounds of 9mm. I feel that giving up shootability and magazine capacity are not worth any concealment advantage that a subcompact provides.
However, the P365 has me reconsidering this opinion. Although giving up three rounds, with the gun’s optional extended magazine in-place, I get an extension of grip surface area that translates to increased control over the pistol. Unlike other subcompacts, I’m not giving up much performance to the larger double-stack pistols.
The P365 is almost as easy to shoot as a mid-size pistol. Besides the grip, the trigger has been positioned to allow the index finger to close naturally with the upper portion of the heel of the hand, just below the thumb, as one pulls through its stroke. For example, make a fist and watch how your index finger closes. Now you have a sense of what shooting this pistol is like. This is unique in a subcompact gun.
The trigger shoe closely resembles what’s on the P320, as does the length of pull — a good thing. It is free of any sharp points and is comfortable to press rearward. Factoring in on the shootability of this gun is how well the trigger breaks. Instead of a long trigger takeup and a break close to the rear of the triggerguard, the P365 releases its striker about mid-stroke, ensuring the sights are not disturbed by a strained, off-center and curling trigger finger. This allows us to press the trigger straight and to the rear.
A deeply undercut triggerguard benefits the high grip contour, which works with the pistol’s low bore axis and leads to greater retention and control of the pistol during rapid-fire shooting strings.
Sending 10 shots downrange at a 51/2-inch NRA B8 bullseye placed at 10 yards in under 10 seconds from concealment was attainable. In fact, I found it easy with the P365. My average time was recorded in the mid-8-second range with all rounds landing in the black (with the exception of a line-burner now and again).
Semi-aggressive grip texturing surrounds the circumference of the grip frame and provides the right amount of texture to make it stick in your hand without being abrasive.
The controls are simple with a ledged design that offers positive manipulation. The slide release is very usable when completing slide-lock reloads, unlike most micro pistols on the market. Just be careful not to pinch your hand between the bottom of the frame and the top of the magazine baseplate. Disassembly is safe and easy with a three-point takedown that doesn’t require the trigger to be pulled.
The P365’s stainless-steel slide comes standard with front and rear serrations for racking, as well as SIG Sauer’s XRay3 day/night sights for acquisition under all lighting conditions.
For a gun this size with these features, I expected a premium; I was surprised. The P365 has a suggested retail of $600. However, a lot of us will eventually find them at our dealers for a minimum advertised price (MAP) of $500.
The P365 sports a short 3.1-inch barrel and proved to be more accurate than a pistol this size typically is. Using 124-grain SIG Sauer V-Crown JHP loads, the pistol was capable of printing a 1.3-inch, five-shot groups at 25 yards. A bullseye pistol it isn’t, but the P365 is more than good for a compact defensive handgun.
Due to its small stature, the P365 has a nonstandard accessory rail molded as part of the dustcover. Since normal universal or Picatinny rails can’t be used, shooters can expect to see a light or light/laser combo coming from SIG Sauer’s Electro-Optics division. The aftermarket is usually not far behind either, so we will see holsters, sights, lights, lasers and other accessories soon.
Can one gun do it all? I say yes. With a flush-fit magazine in place, pocket carry and ankle carry are very practical options. Using appendix inside-the-waistband (AIWB) or inside-the-waistband (IWB) holsters positioned at the 3:00 to 4:30 (for righties), the P365 can disappear.
When I was initially introduced to the pistol, I watched a SIG Sauer representative give a presentation 10 feet from me. Later, I learned that he had eight P365’s concealed on his person and I had no idea. He stood about 6 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed around 200 pounds. He wore an untucked, normal-fitting, short-sleeved shirt and khaki slacks. If he can conceal eight, surely most of us, regardless of stature, can conceal one (or two).
After firing 2,500-plus rounds of assorted ammunition through the platform, I’m tempted to conclude that the P365 might be the holy grail of concealed-carry pistols.
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