Featuring a unique modular grip frame, a removable fire-control assembly, and slide and barrel interchangeability, the Sig Sauer P320 is easily customizable to meet a variety of applications and user needs. Crafted to Sig’s usual standard of excellence, the P320 is also reliable and devastatingly accurate.
When major manufacturers introduce new pistols, they immediately encounter scrutiny from three different groups: followers, detractors and critics. Followers compare it to existing guns. Any variation is typically met with criticism since the existing gun is already considered perfect. Followers either love it because it is their favorite maker or hate it because it is different. Detractors hate it before it comes out, mostly because they are followers of some other brand. If it is not some clone of their beloved pistol, it is bad, wrong or a cheap copy. Lastly, there are critics, who hate everything. If the perfect pistol dropped from the heavens, they would criticize it. Most of the time, few people ever actually shoot the new pistol. Using the internet and social media, they drown out those who want to give the pistol a fair shake.
“The pistol is also fast when firing on multiple targets. The trigger reset is just a tad longer than my usual single-action pistols, but once I was accustomed to it, the trigger was very controllable and fast on multiple-shot strings.”
This can make it difficult for manufacturers to take a leap and try something new, and it explains the response I got from Sig Sauer when handling the new striker-fired P320 pistol at an industry trade show in early 2014. The P320 was comfortable, had a nice trigger and seemed to meet just about every need in a striker-fired pistol. I’ve used most modern striker-fired pistols over the years, and this one had some really nice features. But when a Sig Sauer representative told me, “We have been getting kind of hammered on the net,” it did not surprise me. It only confirmed my desire to get one in my hands and really put it through its paces.
Striker-fired polymer pistols are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They offer simplicity of operation, maintenance and manipulation. Never a fan of pistols with decockers, my combat/self-defense pistols are either single actions or striker-fired models. I’ve run a single-action 1911 for decades, so operating the safety is second nature to me. My Sig Sauer P226 (Click Here for a preview of the Sig Sauer P226 SAO) SAO is another favorite of mine, as it has a thumb safety in the same spot. Striker-fired pistols without external safeties are next on my list, especially when training others. They allow new shooters to focus on their grip, sights and trigger, and experienced shooters can just plain shoot.
Polymer striker-fired pistols tend to be more affordable, with build quality ranging from dismal to excellent. Their overall quality has improved over the years, and each new gun seems to get better, or at least meet the needs of more or different shooters. So, seeing Sig Sauer enter the fray was very interesting. At the trade show where I first handled the P320, I noticed that it fit my hand better than most striker-fired pistols, had the best factory trigger to date and allowed for a completely streamlined gun with no external safeties. Sig Sauer’s P320 was designed from the ground up with input from law enforcement. Sig pistols have been used in every aspect of law enforcement and the military for years—mostly the P226/P229 and P220 pistols. For those agencies requiring a decocker, these guns remain favorites. However, some agencies wanted a striker-fired pistol, but with Sig’s level of quality. The company listened, and many of the P320’s features are focused on that market.
Disassembling most striker-fired pistols requires you to press the trigger first to release the striker. In a perfect world, this is not a problem, but any trainer knows that no such world exists. The requirement has resulted in the occasional negligent discharge. The P320 has no such requirement. Lock the slide to the rear, turn the takedown lever and remove the slide. You cannot turn the takedown lever to release the slide with a magazine in the gun (empty or not), making it very difficult for a discharge to occur.
Tabs or other mechanisms on the trigger are forms of drop safeties—most striker-fired pistols need these to pass drop tests. Many shooters, myself included, can find them annoying. You can order a P320 with or without a trigger safety toggle. It will pass a drop test either way. If your agency requires it, or if it makes you feel better, you are covered. For the rest of us, its absence is a plus. Law enforcement can also order it with a thumb safety, another item many states and agencies require. While I would never own a pistol with a magazine-disconnect safety (meaning it won’t fire without a magazine in the pistol), many agencies and shooters require them; again, the P320 can be ordered either way.
Sig Sauer sent me a first-production, full-sized 9mm P320 and three 17-round magazines. The pistol had no trigger safety, magazine safety or external thumb safety. For targeting, the Sig P320 comes with excellent SIGLITE night sights. Along with tritium inserts, the dots are large and easy to see. A pronounced ledge on the rear sight facilitates unconventional reloads. The ambidextrous slide release can be found in the same place it is located on many Sig pistols, allowing for one-handed manipulation without your having to shift the pistol in your hand. You can certainly “slingshot” the slide if needed, but you can also run it just about every other way possible with either hand.
The one-piece stainless steel frame assembly is easily inserted into any one of eleven grip modules, allowing the shooter the ability to match grip and pistol size to their needs. Remove the takedown lever and it slides right out—no tools are needed. While not for everyone, many armorers will agree that this is pretty slick. It makes working on the fire controls a breeze, even at the range. Polymer P320 grip frames can be swapped out while using the same fire control group to fit each shooter. Sig offers two variants of the P320—Full-Size and Carry models, with 4.7- and 3.9-inch barrels, respectively—in 9mm, .40 S&W and .357 SIG. A .45 ACP version is scheduled to appear at a later date. The P320’s magazines are made of steel. Capacity for the full-sized 9mm is 17+1. A dished-out area in the grip allows you to really get a good grip and pull down on the magazine in the case of a malfunction or to check for proper seating. The grip is rounder than most; it’s nicely contoured and includes a lanyard loop. A full-length Picatinny rail accommodates lights and lasers. Finally, a loaded-chamber indicator is included as part of the extractor on the right side.
Holsters made specifically for the P320 are in the works. Currently, many fitted for the P250 will work. While the frame is similar to the P250’s, the slide is a bit different. For concealed-carry holsters, my generic leather holsters for large-frame semi-autos worked well. Kydex is out there for sure, and more will be available specific to the P320 soon. I completed most of the testing using a Galco leather holster and magazine pouches geared toward concealed carry.
The P320’s accuracy is exactly what you would expect from a Sig—stellar. Sig pistols have always been accurate in my hands, and this one was no exception. My best group, measuring right at an inch at 25 yards, was created with Black Hills’ 115-grain TAC-XP +P ammo. The P320 seemed to favor +P ammunition, with the DoubleTap 115-grain Bonded Defense +P JHPs coming in a very close second. Shooting it side by side with my P226 SAO, it was very difficult to tell the difference. In fact, the trigger felt very similar. The trigger reset on the P320 is tactile and predictable. Take-up is limited, and it breaks more like a single-action trigger than do most striker-fired triggers. This really lent itself to excellent accuracy, at least for me. Moving to more common self-defense ranges, the P320 was as accurate as a combat gun gets, cutting one hole from off-hand at 7 and 10 yards.
The pistol is also fast when firing on multiple targets. The trigger reset is just a tad longer than my usual single-action pistols, but once I was accustomed to it, the trigger was very controllable and fast on multiple-shot strings. Recoil is manageable—maybe more pronounced than a steel pistol, but better than most polymer pistols. The grip is well textured; I’d like a more aggressive texture, but that is a personal preference. Long a fan of Sig’s slide stop (and release) placement, this pistol facilitates really fast reloads—no shifting in your hand, no slingshot unless you want to. Due to the construction of the grip frame, it was easy to hit the slide release after reloading.
Having tested the P320’s fit, function and application on the range, I can say that it’s a fantastic pistol rivaling any striker-fired, polymer-based pistol on the market. Those not married to previous platforms will have a ton to like here. Its accuracy was excellent, it was 100 percent reliable, and it pointed and handled very well with a standard grip angle. Equipped with excellent night sights, it is well suited to any self-defense or duty use. The trigger is solid with a tactile reset, usable take up and little over travel. The pistol’s weight is commensurate with full-sized polymer 9mm pistols. I would not hesitate a second to take this to work, and it will serve at my local USPSA match as a production-class pistol.
The P320 may be the most versatile system on the market, allowing for interchangeable frames, slides and barrels in multiple calibers. Maintenance is simple and safe. It can be configured to meet any need, including external and magazine safeties. If you want to interchange slides and the like, you can do so without needing a new pistol. For some, the lack of a need to go through a dealer for that and complete another 4473 may be huge. It certainly works well either way. Bottom line: The Sig Sauer P320 is a great striker-fired pistol that offers features others don’t. To my mind, it’s the best-performing out-of-the-box striker-fired pistol that I’ve ever used. Having spent a solid 700-round day at the range with the P320, the only change I would consider would be replacing the standard Sig sights with a set of Trijicon HD sights. My old eyes just like that big orange front sight. Either way, if you are looking for a high-quality striker-fired pistol, make sure you give the P320 a look.
For more information on the Sig Sauer P320 9mm, visit sigsauer.com or call 603-772-2302.
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