Pistol Review: The SIG Sauer P365
Is this the world’s greatest concealed carry handgun?
No handgun released this year received so much attention, and spurred so much online chatter, as the new concealed carry 9mm from SIG Sauer, the P365. As the name implies, SIG intends their “micro-compact” to be your one and only carry gun, three hundred and sixty-five days a year. If anything, that’s a name we can get behind.
This poly-framed, striker-fired pistol runs a mere 5.8-inches long, weighs less than 18 ounces, and holds 10+1 rounds of 9mm Luger +P ammunition. That’s right: 11 rounds at the ready in a weight class that’s been contained to six or seven. For a SIG, the gun runs a reasonable $599 MSRP with a real-world price around $500. Here’s how these specs, on paper, stack up against other popular carry 9s. The best specs for concealed carry are highlighted in bold:
|SIG P365||Glock 26 Gen 5||Glock 43||M&P Shield 2.0|
|Weight, Unloaded:||17.8 oz.||21.71 oz.||17.95 oz.||18.3 oz.|
Caveat: By “best” here, I mean smaller, lighter, with as much ammo as possible, but it’s worth noting that smaller isn’t always better. If you have the body size, or preference for baggy clothing, concealing a larger frame isn’t a bad idea – if you can get away with it. Nearly everyone shoots larger pistols better.
Yet when considering smaller equals better and more ammo equals best, the P365 takes the gold in five of the seven spec categories above. Only the G26 packs as many rounds, but at a noticeable size increase. The M&P has a slightly more attractive price point, and is very comparable to the SIG in the waistline, yet it brings three less rounds to the gunfight. If those three rounds, and a decrease of a half-ounce and overall half-inch is worth $120 MSRP, the P365 is clearly your gun. This doesn’t only apply to GLOCKS and Smith & Wesson, as the graphic from SIG shows below.
So how did they do it? SIG started with a blank page and designed from the magazine up. (Three patents are filed for the magazine alone.) Rather than a traditional double- or single-stack, they came up with something like a stack-and-a-half. The magazine runs double-stack for seven rounds then “necks down” to a narrower single stack for the top three bullets. This provides more streamlining (less plastic) at the top of the grip and behind the trigger, but with that double-stack capacity boost hidden down in its guts.
A 1,250 Round Review
Over the course of three months and 1,250 rounds, I’ve had no real issues with the P365. I wear a size large glove, and this pistol fits my hand perfectly with the extended magazine seated. There’s no pinkie dangle. It does not come with interchangeable backstraps, but even if it did I wouldn’t change a thing. The precision fit and finish is what we’ve come to expect from SIG – from the all-metal trigger to the night sights, nothing about this gun feels cheap.
The controls are simple, and low-profile. The grip angle works well for me and the texturing is aggressive, but not over the top. Even at the end of 500 round shooting sessions, there was no rubbing or blistering from the textured grip. There are no sharp edges on the slide and it has rack serrations fore and aft. The ergonomics feels very much like a smaller P320 – no surprise there – and the length-of-pull between the same guns is the same. Like the P320 the chassis/fire control unit on the P365 is also serialized and removable.
After a cleaning and light oil of the slide, I went about some shooting. In time it’s consumed six kinds of ammo without issue: Blazer 147-grain full metal jackets (FMJ); Federal HST 150-grain jacketed hollow points (JHP); Federal Syntech 150-grain synthetic jacket training rounds; MAXXTech 115-grain FMJs; SIG 115-grain FMJs; and SIG V-Crown 115 gr. JHP. From three to 15-yards, everything has been minute-of-bad-guy on a silhouette target.
The gun is snappy, as you can expect from any lightweight 9mm with a 3-inch barrel, but it is not hard to control. As you can see in the video above, we shot it side-by-side with a G26, and felt recoil wasn’t noticeably different between the two guns. Such head-to-head shooting did highlight one key difference: the one-piece metal trigger on the P365 is excellent. After 1,250 rounds, mine pulled 6 pounds 2 ounces on a Lyman trigger gauge. The first pull is long with no creep or stacking – like a revolver – and the reset is short and crisp with an audible click.
There is no safety, though a manual safety version is expected in the near future, and no tabbed or hinged do-dad on the trigger. The trigger is clean metal and it works very well.
The P365 comes stock with SIG’s XRAY3 Day/Night Sights, which has a large green front dot and smaller rear white dots. It’s a fast-to-find setup that runs $160 sold separately, so having them included is a nice touch. They work as advertised in direct sun and the dark.
During my three months of shooting and carry, I had zero failures-to-eject, but after a cleaning, around the 600-round mark for the gun (and 300 round mark for the day) the slide didn’t catch back on the last shot. This happened twice in a row, but I attribute it to user error. After we broke down the gun again and reassembled, the problem went away never to materialize again.
The gun breaks down easily, without having to press the trigger, but I struggled the first time reassembling the pistol. The release lever needs to be perfectly vertical for the slide to snap back in place. This screwed me up long enough that I needed to watch a YouTube video to figure it out – but now I know. It’s worth mentioning as it jammed up my buddy, too, when he first tried to reassemble the pistol without instruction. Another minor user-induced issue, but one worth knowing about if this pistol is in your immediate future.
The initial release of the P365 was somewhat fraught. Early models were called back and shipping stalled in February to work out a few kinks. Then earlier this month, social media briefly erupted in reports of striker breakages, return spring issues, and “excessive primer drag” with the current production guns.
Phil Strader, the P365 product manager for SIG, addressed these claims in an unofficial company response on the message boards SIGtalk.com and SIGforum.com. Returns for striker and return spring issues “account for 0.25% of all P365s shipped, combined,” he wrote, which is “below industry standards for any type of return.” That is to say, it’s less likely to happen than any other issue that would require warranty work.
“Primer drag,” he wrote, “is found on fired cases and is simply a drag mark slightly below the indent in the primer. It is caused by the pistol barrel unlocking while the striker is returning back to its recessed position. This is not uncommon, and happens in most striker-fired micro compact pistols due to the increased slide speed. The protrusion of the striker tip during ignition is minimal and has no effect on the striker’s durability.”
The P365 has a proprietary (read: non-standard) slim-line rail and SIG has recently a tailored LIMA365 laser and FOXTROT365 100-lumen light for the gun. Both accessories map onto the leading edge of the pistol grip.
SIG sells several $79 holsters designed by Blackpoint Tactical for the P365: the Mini-Wing IWB](https://www.sigsauer.com/store/sig-sauer-p365-iwb-holster.html), and the more compact and straight-forward named, P365 IWB Holster, were among my favorites – yet carry style will determine your preference. The latter makes for very comfortable appendix and small-of-back carry. Neither SIG branded kydex holsters accommodate the rail-mounted laser or light. There are, however, a host of aftermarkets options available now, too, from the likes of Crossbreed and others.
As for magazines, SIG sells additional 10-round flush magazines and 10-round mags with the pinky extension for $49 each – the pistol comes with one of each in the box. They also have a $55, 12-round magazine. An armorer I spoke with in Colorado, who had recently switched to the P365 from a G19 as his EDC pistol, said the 12-round magazine was his deciding factor. He carries with the flush 10-rounder in his pistol to minimize printing through clothing, but keeps two 12-round mags on his person should the world fall apart. Excessive? Maybe. Prepared? Definitely.
Carry guns aren’t like girlfriends or boyfriends. They’re not some dalliance to roll out on a range date once a week. They’re a serious commitment, by your side through thick and thin, the good times and the bad. Make no mistake, if your concealed pistol steps up for action, it will be the very worst moment of your life – marginally improved, we hope, by your show or use of force.
The choice EDC handgun is intensely personal to be sure. You should date it a long time for starters. If you’re worried about the mechanicals, put more rounds downrange. I did, and have no reservation about making the P365 my daily carry. There is no better 9mm on the market from a size versus capacity perspective. It shoots remarkably well for its slender dimensions and I trust it won’t fail me in a moment of need. Is this the world’s best concealed carry handgun as SIG hopes, and so many other gun writers have implied? Everyone I’ve let shoot it seems to think so. They’ve all bought one or plan to buy one, at least. Go shoot one and I reckon you’ll feel the same way.
SIG Sauer P365 Pistol Specs
|As Tested:||365 Nitron Micro-Compact|
|Capacity:||10+1 (2 mags included)|
|Frame:||Micro-compact textured polymer|
|Slide:||Stainless Steel / Nitron Finish|