Unveiled at SHOT Show 2014, the Sig P320's hammer-less, striker-fired design is out of character for Sig, but what's really remarkable is you basically get two handguns in one, thanks to interchangeability from a full-sized service pistol to a shorter-barreled compact concealed carry gun.
Sig's P320 pistol is clearly being marketed to police and military agencies but methinks the gun will be a hit with us plain-Jane non-police concealed carriers as well.
Now, the gun is interesting for Sig because it's the company's first-ever striker-fired handgun. But more remarkable is how modular this thing is: You can swap between three different grip sizes to fit your hand, and you can change slide and barrel lengths—converting it from a full-size to a compact carry version and vice versa. It's like the Clark Kent of guns.
The full-size configuration has a 4.7″ barrel with an 8-inch overall length. By comparison, it's a wee bit longer than a Glock 17 Gen 4 when compared to the Glock's 4.48-inch barrel and 7.95-inch overall length. The P320 Carry has a tuckable 3.9-inch barrel and is just 7.2 inches in length.
In his recent blog post, Sig Introduces the P320, Massad Ayoob points out that American handgunners didn't do cartwheels over interchangeable barrels in original Dan Wesson revolvers (excellent wheelguns in their own right) and may not do so over this feature in the Sig. It's an interesting point.
However, for a cop needing a full-sized duty pistol part of the time and a concealed carry rig for off-duty or undercover work, the option makes sense. I suppose one could envision someone needing a gun to cover both concealed carry and open carry situations where the goofy laws demand such. Then again, with an MSRP of $713.00 the value added is hard to miss.
The Sig P320 is presently available in popular calibers ranging from 9mm, .357 SIG and .40 S&W (.45 ACP coming soon); in full-size mode you get 17 rounds of 9mm (14 rounds of .357SIG and .40S&W) while the Carry configuration holds 15 9mm rounds (13 in .357SIG and .40S&W).
The insides are P250 DNA, and the gun has an impressive number of built-in safety mechanisms (and options). For instance, in addition to internal safeties like a striker safety requiring trigger pull and a disconnect safety that prevents the gun from firing out of battery, the mag needs to be out for the gun to be disassembled. The slide must be locked to the rear and disassembly is done without any tools or having to pull the trigger.
Note that the gun is not trying to be a Glock: it's frame is a stout stainless steel rather than polymer. The full-size gun tips the scales at 29.4 ounces while the smaller P320 Carry weighs 26.9 ounces.
I like the fact that the gun comes with the excellent Siglite night sights. It's one less thing I have to tinker with.
In terms of operation, Sig lists the trigger pull at 5.5 lbs and, by the way, you can get an optional “tabbed” Glock-like trigger if you so desire. Its ambidextrous slide release is pretty swell, too.
Time will tell how the market responds to the P320. But if the success of other Sigs (like the P250) is any indication I'd expect handgunners—be they police, military or armed citizens—to give it a very warm reception.
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