SHOT Show 2014 marked the unveiling of one of Sig Sauer's latest creations, the P320. Best known for their smooth-shooting, ultra-reliable double/single action handguns, the Sig 320 breaks that mold and charges it's way into the striker fired arena. I will admit that my initial reaction to this news raised some concerns. Appreciating the performance and quality of Sig's DA/SA weapons, I had reservations that, should their striker fired platform fail to perform (or at least fail to perform close enough to the current kings) it would have a damaging effect on the Sig reputation in some people's view. These thoughts were quickly doused when handling the gun and dry firing. Once we hit the range they were completely forgotten.
When picking up the Sig 320 for the first time I immediately noticed how light it is. While most Sig handguns have a metal frame, the 320 sports the same polymer frame found on the P250. Not only does this keep weight down but also allows the user to change the grip size to better fit their hand. Changing the grip is actually a full frame swap, exctly like the Sig 250, although I have yet to see any replacement frames. While on the subject of the 250, the new 320 is essentially the same concept - the trigger group is the serial-numbered part, allowing users to swap frames, and even calibers, with ease. Another bonus to this modular chassis/frame is that the P250/320 frame is narrower than most of the DA/SA Sig frames, already allowing shooters with smaller hands to find a more comfortable grip on the gun. Sig has even announced that current 250 owners will be able to buy the 320 striker slide and components to convert the gun and firing systems, which to put it simply...is very cool.
Let's move on to the nitty gritty that everyone wants to talk about, the trigger. If you ask around, most people will say that Glock has the best striker fired trigger followed closely by the Springfield XD(m) and Smith and Wesson M&P. The P320's trigger is right on par with Glock in my book, and actually ahead of the other competitors. There is less than 1/2" of slack that can be taken up with no creep or grit whatsoever, and rests against a definitive breaking point. After applying under 6 lbs of pressure to the trigger, it breaks with a level of "crispness" that will leave any shooter smiling. The reset offers on-par characteristics - tactile, smooth, and a surprisingly short throw. The 320's trigger behaves similar to Sig's DA/SA triggers in single action. Whether shooting slow, precise shots or working the gun at blazing speeds, I never lost feel for the smooth travel, break, or reset. To sum up the trigger in one word, it is wonderful.
The next thing I noticed immedately was how controlable the gun is. Although the P320 has the same high bore axis as the 250 (and most Sigs, really), it rides in a tame, comfortable manner. I think this is a result of both the narrower frame and the oversized tang, almost a
beaver tail, that allows the shooter to drive their hand high into the backstrap. New shooters may have a bit more muzzle flip on the 320 than other striker guns that have a lower bore, but I think it would be a very minor difference given the new Sig's ergonomics. It's safe to say that the 320 offers very stable, predictable recoil behavior.
The particular 320 we shot for our video was the full size model, touting a nice 4.7" barrel. That is about 1/2" longer than most other full sized guns in this category, and the length is noticable when looking at the gun. Perhaps the extra barrel length is noticed mainly by the long accessory rail, but when handling and shooting the gun you won't find any perceptible weight difference. The full size Sig 320 would make for a great service/duty weapon, as the longer barrel could serve as more of a benefit than a detriment. For concealed carry that is a different story. Since producing my video review of the P320, I had the opportunity to shoot both the full size, and compact, models side by side. The compact 320 runs exactly like it's big brother, and recoil is equally smooth and minimal. The compact, or Carry model, has a 3.9" barrel which is average for it's class as a compact defensive pistol. Although the 320 Carry isn't a small enough frame size to dramatically increase the recoil of a 9mm, Sig does offer it in .40 and .357SIG, which could be more of a challenge for some. I have yet to see a 320/320 Carry chambered in anything but 9mm, which is my preferred round anyways, but in some lines of work you may want or be required to select the other calibers. In my opinion, the additional caliber options will only help the striker fired Sig be competitive. And, as I noted earlier, the entire gun is modular so changing calibers on the 320 is a breeze.
Mildly tipping the scales at a starting MSRP of $669, the Sig P320 is again, right where it should be to contend with reigning striker fired "benchmark" guns. The price will vary depending on frame size and caliber, but it looks like Sig will keep them competitive. Additionally, I was told to expect the P250-to-320 conversion kits to be somewhere around $300. This means that current P250 owners can easily, and affordably, change the action type of their gun on the fly. I was very happy to see the price point of the 320, as we all know, Sig guns are typically a bit more expensive than some of the other brands. I will say that you get what you pay for, and ultimately for a defensive gun I'd rather spend "too much" as opposed to not enough (and wind up with a gun that fails when I need it). However, with the Sig P320 you're not only getting what you pay for, but a whole lot more.
My personal philosophy is the opposite of any kind of gun collector. I want one or two guns for each application I have and I want them to perform without failure. That being said, the new Sig P320 has proven itself to be everything the company is known for and earned a spot on the short list of guns I may need to acquire.
Sig Sauer...went it counts.