It will come as no surprise to those of you who keep up with my reviews here that I’m a Glock fan and a practicality fan, and habitually measure every pistol I shoot against a Glock; either directly or subconsciously. Given that few pistol can match Glock’s simplicity, reliability, and size/weight-to-capacity ratio it’s hard to consider recommending most pistols over a similar (but superior) Glock model. This time, though, I’ve got little to argue against. The Sig P365 does what it does better than either the Glock 26 or the Glock 43. With one caveat.*
I guess I’ve summed up my review right there. Okay, there probably is a reason to continue reading and my positive assessment of the 365 is not without dissent, but Sig got some things right here that can’t be denied. I spent part of this month shooting and getting familiar with the Sig P365 and this is what I found.
Why Consider the Sig Sauer P365?
The Sig P365 is a purpose-made concealed-carry pistol. It is also…the work of gypsies, as it takes a frame and slide that are either the same size or SMALLER than that of the Glock 43 (a single-stack gun) and adds 4 rounds to it. And it does it in a way that is more comfortable to hold and has a better trigger.
So you might consider the Sig P365 for its impossible sorcery of improved capacity and grip comfort over all competitors or perhaps for how it logically allows you to carry an 11-round, 9mm pistol that disappears onto your waistline as almost no other gun. Or perhaps you might consider this one because it’s a Sig Sauer pistol, known (with a cringy exception or two *cough*P320*cough*) to make excellent firearms.
Now, about that caveat I mentioned. Despite reports of issues with this pistol, I experienced no issues when running the gun through a couple hundred rounds (a gun that had 2,200 rounds through it already) and since this is a first-impression and shooting review, I will merely report on my experience.
The first time I shot the P365 I tried to use my normal grip, with a high-forward support hand. I left not liking the experience because the slide-lock lever painfully abraded my support-hand thumb knuckle at the palm. Shooting it was genuinely uncomfortable. It later occurred to me to augment my grip so that the thumb knuckle was not in contact with the lever. This grip proved to be both effective and comfortable.
I came to enjoy shooting the little pistol and had no problems or difficulty running the gun; inserting mags, getting a grip, firing, ejecting the mag, locking the slide back, etc… The controls seem to be well located for my medium-sized hands and perfectly functional to what I’d expect. Frankly, I was expecting difficulty and never encountered any.
In one session I went back and forth between my Glock 43 and the P365, shooting groups at various ranges. I used my normal grip with my G43 and the altered grip with the P365. I was surprised to see that at every distance, the groups with the P365 were half the size of the Glock 43 groups. Yes, that is anecdotal and I am not quite sure what to attribute this difference to, but I believe it is the better trigger on the Sig. Also the sights on the Sig seem a bit more precise.
I’ve read where the P365 is rated for +P ammunition, if you care about such things. The average defensive 9mm round is perfectly effective without any added pressure so I’ve always been against +P ammo. It’s possible that +P matters in a tiny gun like this, with such a short barrel, but I confess I don’t at this moment know where performance would necessitate a +P round.
Comfort, Controllability, & Capacity
As I mentioned earlier, once I changed my grip, I found the P365 to be quite comfortable to hold and to shoot. The grip is actually quite small and would be excellent for people with smaller hands.
Generally speaking, it’s a tiny pistol so shooting 9mm from it means it’s going to be snappier than a mid-sized pistol. That said, I found it very easy to control—even with a modified grip—and easy to make quick follow-up shots. This is especially true when I was using the extended magazine, where I was able to get my whole hand on the grip. I still find it amazing that this short, thin, little grip can hold a magazine with 10 rounds. It seems impossible, yet here it is.
Components & Features
The slide is a mere 1” wide and it has good serrations both fore and aft. The stock sights are very nice, with tritium inserts front and rear (mostly invisible in daylight, so you get a blacked-out rear) and the front dot is surrounded by a day-glow-green ring for daytime high contrast. I found the sights to be very easy to pick up and to use for easy accuracy.
As do all good pistols, the P365 has no extraneous external controls; only a slide-lock lever and a takedown lever mar the otherwise clean design. The trigger is plastic and does not have a safety-tab rib, making it a bit more comfortable on the finger pad than most striker-fired pistols’ trigger shoes. The trigger action is very nice for a stock trigger. It has some takeup, a clear wall, and a sort of dull break (not super-crisp). The reset is quite short and a bit soft; not as tactile as you’ll find on many striker-fired pistols. I found the trigger to be very nice when running the gun and, I think, it’s a component that contributes to the easy accuracy.
The frame has a nice, if not very aggressive, texture and it features an accessory rail up front. Note, however, that this is not a picatinny rail and is entirely proprietary. I expect that Sig will release some Sig-specific accessories for this rail in the future. The magazine release is easy to find and use and is reversible for lefties. The pistol comes with a 10-round flush mag and 10-round extended mag (with 12-round mags available).
I experienced no issues whatever shooting a few hundred rounds through the Sig P365. That said, there have been many reports of some specific failures and issues from the early purchasers of this pistol. The primary issue reported is that the pistols firing action causes the tip of the striker to drag across the primer (primer smear), often leading to a broken striker where the tip breaks off. As counterpoint to those reports, there are reports from folks who have 10,000+ rounds through theirs with no issues.
As this is not an in-depth review, I can only report on my own limited experience with this pistol. Issues after a first release are in no way uncommon with pistols and what matters most at this point is the manufacturer’s response to them. As you can likely tell, I’m a fan of the gun for a few important reasons. I cannot, however, recommend that anyone use this pistol as their sole personal-protection tool until Sig has a chance to address these post-release issues.
The P365 has the best size-to-capacity ratio of any subcompact pistol. The trigger and sights are quite good right out of the box. While small, the pistol’s ergonomic design makes it fit comfortably in the hand and the extended magazine allows most folks to get all of their fingers on the grip. For carry, the pistol is small enough to disappear onto your body no matter what carry location you choose. I found it to be easily accurate out to 15 yards, which is plenty for a subcompact.
The slide-lock lever will painfully abrade your support hand if you take a high, thumb-forward position. Being so small and light, the pistol is rather snappy firing the 9mm round. The P365 seems to have some function and construction issues yet to be worked out by the manufacturer, so it may not right now be the best choice as your only carry gun. Some may find the purchase price to be a bit off-putting.
So for rating the Sig P365…
For such a small pistol, it’s quite comfortable in the hand. I found the controls easy to reach and use.
Definitely a shootable pistol, with its nice trigger action and excellent sights. It’s only detriment is it’s subcompact size.
I found it plenty accurate and easy to get there. Again, sights and trigger are positive contributors here.
The P365 tiny and thin and should be invisible on just about anybody in any carry location.
Sig has seemingly done the impossible here; squeezing 11 rounds into a super-tiny striker-fired pistol that is both comfortable and accurate. It’s the kind of thing that most concealed carriers always wish for. I have to believe that this P365 will eventually become a concealed-carry staple for lots of folks.
I’m a Glock guy because I’m a 100%-reliability guy and it’s hard to contemplate replacing my G43 with something other than a Glock, but this little pistol has me seriously considering it. I’m not quite ready to jump yet, as there seem to be some function issues that Sig Sauer needs to address, but once done I am likely on board. I think this little pistol is a gem.
As many of you know, I’m an avid firearms-training enthusiast and spend several days each week at gun ranges, indoor and out. I thought here that I’d do a bit of a 2018 review and then describe some plans for 2019. Firearms training can sometimes be lonely and/or tedious, and I often seek useful insights or inspiration from others who are on the same responsible path. My hope is that those of you who are taking up firearms training or planning to do more this year might find this examination useful or inspiring.
Of course, the foundation of individual practice comes ONLY from quality instruction received in classes or lessons with skilled firearms and defense instructors. Otherwise, regardless of what you think you know, you have no idea what or how to train on your own. Therefore, please hold that idea as the context from which all my thoughts here are presented. This is not a lesson, it’s just an article.
I keep detailed records of my ongoing training and rounds-fired for all my firearms. In 2018 I fired 30,452 rounds in training and competition. This was fewer rounds than the previous year, which was fewer than the year before that. As I reflect on my ongoing training, this is a trend I’d like to continue.
I participated in only 4 pistol matches and only 3 classes in 2018. That’s the least I’ve done in years. 2018 was a bit of a turbulent year for me personally and my attentions were drawn elsewhere. I look forward to a more active 2019, especially with regard to course participation.
As is normal, I spent most of my training attention focused on my EDC pistol, either working on precision fundamentals or defensive drills and manipulations run from concealment. As an everyday carrier, unless I’m shooting some different pistol for a review article or working with my rifles, I train almost exclusively with the pistol I carry every day, using the clothing and EDC loadout I use every day.
One of the things not reflected in my training records is the time and reps spent in dry-fire training. I do this in a few ways.
The basic methods involve my EDC carry gun (Glock 19) and a magazine or two of snap caps. I will do dry-fire practice either for trigger-press mechanics—where I’m just sitting or standing still and carefully aiming and slowwwwwwwllly pressing the trigger in proper fashion—or with dynamic movement and/or drawing from concealment and executing dry shots at various targets.
The other method of dry-fire that I began in 2018 is with my exact-replica G19 airsoft blowback pistol. With this tool, I can engage in dynamic drills in my personal indoor range (my garage!) and practice the no-recoil shot of an actual projectile for accuracy, but with the mental stimulus of the sound of breaking the shot along with the slide cycling. I find it very effective and, also importantly, very engaging. In any event, in 2018 I engaged in dry-fire practice once or twice per week.
My 2019 Training Plans
This year I plan to make better use of fewer rounds than in 2018. I want to do this for a few reasons. Firstly, ammo is expensive, so I’d like to decrease my training-ammo budget a bit each year. Secondly, with now well-established pistol fundamentals I don’t need to spend so many rounds on my all of my pistol skills, but rather more specifically on pistol-skill weaknesses. I can spend fewer rounds maintaining strengths. Lastly, I want to spend more time and rounds with my rifles this year.
Another component of pistol training is that I want to devote more time and attention to dry-fire practice in 2019. It costs far less, and I understand that it pays significant dividends toward live-fire ability. Win-win.
Another primary goal for 2019 is that I want to get back into the habit of regularly receiving instruction in classes. I took eleven classes in 2017, but only three in 2018. I’d like to more than double my 2018 total this year.
I enjoy competition and would like to do more of that in 2019, too. I find that pistol competition is a useful and instructive measure of my ongoing training, for if I find it difficult to execute in a match, chances are that it’d be even worse in an actual defensive situation. Also, matches are a good place to explore limits, which allows for more focused training sessions afterward. I haven’t tried a rifle or 3-gun match yet. Who knows, maybe I’ll ease into that, too.
Overall, I’d like to become more efficient in my 2019 training. With more attention devoted specifically to weaknesses (1-handed competence, left-hand competence, rifle speed reloads, etc…) While I’m already pretty serious at the range, I hope my 2019 training becomes more like work and less like messing around.
I hope you found this examination useful. If you’re a responsible, ordinary citizen and especially if you carry concealed, I hope you might conduct your own similar assessment and make your own specific plans for 2019 with the aim of becoming better skilled, more broadly skilled, or even just better a one specific skill.
As I often tell my friends, “Trained in the use of firearms” is fantasy. There is not “trained.” There is training, else there is some level or another of incompetence.
So keep up your training, but if it’s not taking you where you want to be, change it up! If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be what you’ve always been. Okay, I think that’s enough maxims for one post. Happy New Year and good training in 2019!
Built around Walther’s PPQ platform, according to the manufacturer, the Q5 Match “is built for the production class competitive shooter.” While I’m a competitive shooter, I stay in the stock/production divisions and appreciate out-of-the-box qualities on pistols that lend themselves to fast and accurate running. Guns of that ilk that come to mind include the CZ Shadow at the high end, Canik tp9sfx on the affordable side, and now Walther has thrown its hat into the ring, somewhere in the middle.
I was introduced to the Q5 Match early this month at an event at Eagle Gun Range. While speaking with the factory representative there he asked if I had seen the pistol (I had not) and he put it into my hands. It certainly looked like a performance machine and with a few dry presses I enjoyed the feel of the trigger action. I was anxious to try it out and Eagle’s general manager assured me I would soon get the chance. So I’m happy to say that this month I’ve spent some time shooting the Q5 Match and I’m eager to share my first impressions of Walther’s new pistol.
Why Consider the Walther Q5 Match?
The Q5 Match is specifically made for competitive shooting. It comes with three sizes of grip backstraps for proper fit to your hand. The comparatively long sight radius makes for easier accuracy and the slide cuts and ports removes weight, reducing the recoil impulse. It comes with and is ready to accept various red-dot optic mounts and the blue Q5 trigger is exceptionally smooth with a relatively short press travel (0.4”) and very short reset (0.1”). The result is a very shootable and accurate system right out of the box.
Since Walther went to the trouble to make it immediately ready for various red-dot optics, this is a pistol to consider specifically if you plan to run it with one. Since adding a red dot to a pistol that was not built for that setup can introduce function anomalies, it makes sense to instead get a model made for it. Lastly, you might consider the Q5 Match if you’re looking for a great value and you’ve got a fairly hefty budget, since its MSRP is $849. But again, this is not your average, compact carry gun; it’s a racer with some excellent competition-specific features which more than justify the cost.
Walther Q5 Match 9mm Specs:
Weight: 27.9oz. (w/empty magazine)
Frame: Polymer with S-M-L backstraps
Finish: Tenifer (black)
Sights: Fully-adjustable rear blacked-out sight with red fiber-optic front sight
Optic Mount: Optional red-dot mount position, comes with mounting plates for Trijicon, Leupold, and DOCTER red-dot optics
MSRP: $849 (often available for less)
Shooting the Q5 Match
One enjoyable constant of shooting just about any Walther pistol is the grip ergonomics. They just feel good in the primary hand; at least I’ve always thought so. I got to spend a couple of weeks with the Q5 Match and my hands enjoyed every minute of it. Well, my support hand not quite as much, but I’ll get to that in a minute. Mostly, though, shooting the Walther Q5 Match was an absolute pleasure.
The first shooting I did with the pistol was on 1” dots. Even when shooting at a good pace—about four shots in 2 seconds—I was able to maintain quarter-sized groups of four at 7 yards and if I slowed down to 4 shots in 3 seconds I could put all 4 rounds in the same hole with relative ease. I’ve never shot a pistol that was so easy to maintain accuracy with medium-paced shot strings. Part of the reason for this easy accuracy has to be the excellent trigger. It’s smooth and relatively short, but that extra quick reset is fantastic and really allows for some “quiet” hands when shooting. I love this trigger.
I noticed pretty quickly that the pistol’s muzzle was moving around more than I’m used to seeing with each shot. The long slide extends further away from my hands than with most pistols I shoot, so I was unaccustomed to that much muzzle flip. Even with the slide cuts and ports, which did reduce the felt recoil, I thought, the end of the gun was moving far more freely than with more compact pistols. One of the reasons for this muzzle flip is the fact that the Q5 Match lacks any sort of index point for the support-hand thumb. I tend to ding lots of pistols for having straight, slick sides and no shelf to allow the support-hand thumb to mitigate muzzle flip, but on a purpose-built competition gun like this, I think it’s a pretty big flaw.
The sins of that flaw showed up when I started shooting the Q5 Match the way it was intended to be shot. I setup a target with 4 fist-sized circles at 7 yards and did runs of eight shots: quick pairs in each of the four circles, doing the full circuit in about 2 seconds. My lack of practice with a longer slide and the lack of a forward thumb shelf combined to make it very difficult for me to maintain accuracy with each pair. I wanted to go fast—I’m rather practiced at fast shooting strings—but I had great difficulty controlling the muzzle flip. As a result I never got the hang of the timing and grip management required to keep that second shot of each pair in close enough proximity to the first, for my taste. I have to believe this is merely a training issue for a new gun with different dimensions than I’m used to, but I confess I was quite frustrated. This is a race gun and it seemed a bit clumsy while racing.
That issue aside, I found the pistol to be a pleasure to shoot. The model I used had only the iron sights, but I would really like to shoot this one with an RMR mounted. Seems to me that it’d be something close to an unfair advantage on a gun that’s already so easy with accuracy. Running the gun for mag ejection, reloading, and using the slide release (something I don’t habitually do) was all very smooth and comfortable. Walther has done a pretty fantastic job with this pistol.
Comfort, Controllability, & Capacity
The Q5 Match has Walther’s famous ergonomic grip geometry that just seems to feel better in the hand than most pistols on the market. That fact coupled with one of the three included backstraps means you can likely create just the right fit to your hand. While some pistols beg for a bit of frame modification for better comfort (*cough* Glock), my hands were perfectly comfy on the Q5.
My impression of the recoil impulse was that it was no worse than any full-size, 9mm, polymer pistol; perhaps lighter than most. What I did have a bit of an issue with, however, was muzzle flip. The long slide on this gun means that there’s more real estate moving around and more weight that is farther away from your hands as compared to a compact pistol. The result, even with the removed slide weight with the cuts and ports, was quite a bit more movement than I’m used to.
Somewhat surprising, I think, is the fact that the Q5 Match has something of a meager capacity, at 15 rounds in the magazine. So while the slide length is 8.1” and longer than that of a Glock 17, the capacity is the same as a “compact” Glock 19. I’d have thought that for a competition-specific pistol that they’d go for a larger grip and capacity. The magazine capacity can be augmented, of course, with extended slide plates, but I still wonder why Walther chose to go with 15 as the stock capacity. If I were to nitpick, I’d say this is perhaps the second flaw in this package.
Components and Features
As mentioned before, the Q5 Match’s grip is remarkably comfortable and configurable with small, medium, and large backstraps. The grip texture, however, is somewhat lacking in my opinion. The “quick defense trigger” is fantastic and even though it is not exceedingly light at 5.5 pounds, I’d be happy with this on any of my pistols. Walther says the press has 0.4” and the reset 0.1” of travel. Well done!
The front sight has a fiber optic insert and the blacked-out and serrated rear sight is fully adjustable for both windage and elevation. If you opt to use one of the three included red-dot sight mounting plates, you’ll lose the rear sight so there will be no co-witnessing with this pistol. The slide cuts, with serrations in the rear and the front, are nicely done and there are 16 ports cut into the forward half of the slide, which has a beautifully satin Tenifer finish. Here are the included red-dot mounting plates:
The controls are also very nicely done. The slide stop/release is oversized for length, but still keeps a low profile on the side of the frame. The configuration is perfect for staying out the way when you’re shooting and easy to access without breaking your grip when you want to actuate it. There are slide stop/release levers on both sides of the gun. The magazine release button is round and, again, unobtrusive, but I found it easy to access when I needed it. It is reversible so that lefties can have that option.
The included red-dot mounting plates are made specifically to fit either Trijicon, Leupold, or Docter red-dot optics. That Walther included all three in the box is pretty awesome, I think. The pistol comes with three (!) 15-round steel magazines (or 10-rounders in more tyrannical states).
The Q5 Match is a formidable production competition gun right out of the box, with its ported-for-reduced-weight slide, long sight radius, and fully adjustable iron sights. Even better with the multi-red-dot-optic options. With the right backstrap, the Q5 should fit just about anyone’s hand like a glove. Lastly, the trigger is one of the best you’ll find on any striker-fired pistol.
The Q5 Match has a comparatively low capacity for a competition gun and some folks may balk at the price. Moreover, it should have some sort of forward thumb rest built into the frame.
So for rating the Walther Q5 Match…
The Q5 Match is among the most comfortable pistols around.
This is an eminently shootable pistol with all sorts of characteristics that make accuracy easy, but it could use some design features to assist with fast shooting.
I find the Q5 Match to be among the most accurate pistols I’ve ever shot.
Even with the $849 MSRP, the features and out-of-the-box adaptability and included peripherals for this pistol make it quite a good value. There are a lot of companies who do good slide modification work, but the cost of doing what Walther has already done here would be prohibitive and one would end up paying far more this one costs from the factory.
If you’re looking for an advantage in the production division of your competitive matches—and/or—if you’re looking to build an optic-equipped race gun, I think you could do a lot worse than the Walther Q5 Match. This may be about the best value available as a starting platform for your competitive machine. Yes, there are better models available, but at something close to twice the price.
I recommend that you give the Q5 Match a try. I’m guessing you’ll fall in love with the grip comfort, controls design, and the excellent trigger, as I have. You can rent it here at Eagle Gun Range, so give it a shot or two and see what you think. I’m betting you’ll dig it.
I replace the slide-lock spring every 10,000 rounds. If you wait too long, this part will break in half and your slide will fall off of the frame when it fails. Best to just spend $8 every 10K rounds and keep your gun in perfect running order, as a part of required, periodic maintenance rather than suffer a complete stoppage at an inconvenient time.
Keep good records so that you know when to replace various components! But anyway, here’s how to do this one replacement on any Gen 1 thru 4 Glock pistol.
Today I want to share a voice of experience, with dos and don’ts, on choosing the right everyday-carry holster for inside the waistband.
With this video I want to try and save you hundreds of dollars in trying and failing to find just the right holster. The dos and don’ts here should steer you away from the ones that are not suitable and toward the ones that are suitable. You may still have to try out a few, but at least you won’t have to try out dozens!