Since I have for some time had my carry weapon system locked in, I don’t spend much effort trying to find the next pistol I want to buy. But once in a while a worthwhile innovation makes me sit up, take notice, and contemplate reconsidering my carry platform. The Sig P320 is one of these and I’ve been waiting with great anticipation to get my hands on a model other than the full size to try out.
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Recently I’ve been shooting the P320 Carry model chambered in 9mm, which is the compact slide with the full-size grip. While shooting it presents some fundamental challenges to my ingrained habits, I’m finding the experience to be compelling. Especially given some of the features this newish Sig Sauer pistol offers. Here are my thoughts on the Sig P320 Carry model after putting a few hundred rounds through it this month.
Why Consider the Sig P320 Carry?
The P320 Carry and compact models are purpose-made concealed-carry pistols. The relatively short length of the slide means that they’ll work for any standard position for IWB carry: 3-5 o’clock or appendix position. Unlike most of Sig Sauer’s pistol line, the P320 is striker fired. In keeping with good sense for a carry gun, it has no external safety or any other superfluous external controls.
Yet another reason to consider the P320 Compact or Carry is its modular chassis system. The serialized component is not the frame lower, but the chassis that rides inside of the un-serialized frame. This means that you can swap out frames to fit your hand size (sm, md, lg)—even going from full-size to subcompact—and even changing from 9mm to Sig .357 to .40 to .45ACP without changing from one serialized gun to another. I think this is a wonderful system for a modern firearm.
Sig P320 Carry Specs:
- Chambering: 9mm
- Length: 7.2”
- Height: 5.5”
- Width: 1.4”
- Barrel: 3.9”
- Trigger: ~5.5 lb.
- Sights: SIGLITE® Night Sights
- Safety: n/a
- Weight: 26 oz.
- Slide: Black, Nitron® finish
- Capacity: 17+1
- MSRP: $628
Shooting the P320
For the purpose of this review I shot the Carry model 9mm, which has the compact slide and the full-size grip. It’s all but identical to the compact model (only 2/10” difference in overall height). The Carry model does, however, get 2 extra rounds in the magazine as compared to the compact model.
The first thing I noticed is that although the P320 is a striker-fired gun, it is configured like a hammer-fired pistol, with the beavertail and high bore axis. Given this configuration, I was worried that it would display undue muzzle flip while shooting. I found that while there is more muzzle flip than say on a similarly sized Glock 19, with its low bore axis, the P320 wasn’t so bad.
The most significant difference here from what I’m used to shooting is that the grip angle on the P320 is more vertical than that on a Glock. It’s the typical Sig grip angle, similar to a 1911. This meant that my well-drilled point of aim had the muzzle pointing below proper position and it took me a few shots to remember to adjust so that my press-out placed the sights in proper alignment. Once I did, though, shooting the P320 was a nice experience, especially due to the excellent trigger.
Comfort, Controllability, & Capacity
The grip of the P320 is rather substantial. It feels a little fat because it is more rounded on the sides than most grips. Even with the full-feeling grip, my medium-sized hand has no trouble getting a good position on the trigger. I found it to be quite comfortable. Of course if you don’t like the grip size, you can always change the frame for a larger or smaller one, at minimal expense.
There is a bit more muzzle flip than I find on most striker-fired pistols, but by resting my support-hand thumb forward on the takedown lever I found it easy to control the recoil. I had no trouble shooting strings of several shots in quick succession and at multiple targets, so there are no control issues with this gun. With 17-round magazines for the carry model and 15-rounders for the compact, the capacity is right in line with what I’d expect. Interesting to note that the carry model grip is only 2/10” taller than the compact model, but you get 2 extra rounds in the mag.
Components and Features
The trigger on the P320 is without a doubt the best I’ve felt on any polymer, striker-fired pistol. If I could get this sort of feel and action into my pistols, I’d do it in a heartbeat. I’m guessing some folks will enjoy the absence of a trigger-safety sticking out from the shoe, giving the trigger a more comfortable marriage with your finger pad.
The frame of the Sig P320 is kind of awesome. Because of the modular chassis, you can change out frames for grip size, color, model size, and even chambering without changing (serialized) guns. Frames are available for about $46 in three colors: black, flat dark earth, and OD green; and each is available in small, medium, and large sizes to fit your preferred grip size. For an armorer/tinker like me this is a wonderful and compelling innovation. More stuff to play around with! I note that the frame texture is quite mild, so like all other polymer pistols it’ll be useless if your hands are sweaty or bloody. Stippling is required.
The sights are iron, 3-dot night sights and the rear sight has a nice flat front face for easy purchase in one-handed slide racking. I found them easy enough to pick up visually when firing and transitioning to different targets.
The magazines are steel, with polymer base plates, and very nicely constructed. They drop free when ejected. They’re exchangeable between the P320 and the P250 of the same caliber and size. Unlike some steel mags, these don’t terribly abrade your thumb when charging rounds into them. The external controls on the pistol seem well positioned to me and the magazine release is reversible. The slide has serrations fore and aft and interesting contours and the frame’s picatinny rail allows for a flashlight or laser. I like the fact that the bottom of the grip has a cutout for better purchase on the magazine base plate; useful for those malfunctions where the mag tends to stick.
Though this is just a shooting review and I did not field strip the pistol, the P320 has an easy and safe disassembly. Rotation of the takedown lever allows disassembly without tools or trigger manipulation, which brings an added level of safety for careless people. Internals include a striker safety and disconnect safety.
The P320’s frame can be swapped for color or just the right fit, and even from compact to full-size and different calibers. The trigger is as good as it gets for a polymer, striker pistol. The components are just right out of the box and the must-haves and must-not-haves are good to go here. You get two magazines with the pistol. For me, it’s the only pistol I’ve encountered that could tempt me away from my current everyday-carry system.
As a carry gun, the P320 is a bit wider than you may like. For comparison, while a Glock runs 1.18” in width the P320 is a bit wider at 1.4”, which may impact how you choose to carry it. The hammer-fired-like profile of this striker-fired pistol gives it quite a high bore axis, adding to the felt recoil and muzzle flip. Using the takedown lever as a thumb rest for recoil management works, but is perhaps not the most comfortable proposition when shooting hundreds of rounds in one session (my already calloused thumb was rubbed pretty raw).
So for rating the Sig P320…
With the multi-size and comfortable frames, the only knock against the ergonomics is the high bore axis and different (for me) grip angle. This grip angle will be familiar for many folks.
Shoots great! Only the slight addition of muzzle flip due to the bore axis counts against it.
I found nothing to complain about with its accuracy. I note that I had to use a 6 o’clock hold for 25-yard shots.
The P320 Carry will not be as concealable as would the compact model, due to the slightly longer grip. Also, at 1.4” wide the P320 is not the slimmest carry gun you’ll encounter.
The sum of the positives here is compelling and could one day tempt me away from my almost exclusive dedication to Glocks as my carry guns. The chassis system is fantastic and makes me wonder if other manufacturers will try it out.
If you’re a striker-fired enthusiast, the Sig P320 is one pistol you simply have to check out and evaluate…for all of its many virtues. Rent this gun and give it a try (I note that Eagle Gun Range has a full-size and Carry model in their rental case). I bet you’ll be impressed on several levels.
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