IT’S A BELTER!
SIG are now producing an airgun version of their P320 but with a revolutionary difference
SIG now packages its air pistols in a clear blister pack, so it must be carried within an outer bag, to avoid alarming bystanders or breaking the law.
The .177 P320 outwardly has a standard automatic pistol appearance, although it fires via an internal striker, so like a Glock there’s no external hammer visible. It’s available in black or ‘coyote tan’, and looks very authentic. ‘Authentic weight, balance and handling’, says the packaging, including the three white dots in the sights, windage-adjustable front post and square rear notch, and the Picatinny/ Weaver accessory rail under the fore end for tactical accessories. Exceptions to the realism are the fake, moulded ejection port, the non-functional slide release and field-strip lever, and the addition of a slightly stiff manual safety on the left side of the upper frame. This is handy for your thumb if you’re a right-hander because it’s not ambidextrous. When in ‘fire’ position, a small red tab is visible. In the absence of a visible hammer, the safety is the only external indication of a ‘safe’ status.
The polymer frame and steel slide, cocking grooves/ridges front and rear, are realistic, as is the weight: 821 grams; the grip is lightly textured all round for traction and fills my big hands nicely. It’s a genuine SIG design, Japanesemade.
Blowback .177 CO2 airguns are nothing new, but the big advance with this pistol is that the detachable magazine contains a 30-shot belt. This immediately streamlines rapid-fire, pellet-plinking sessions over the standard issue eight-shot cylinders that we’re all used to, although because it’s powered by CO2, rapid fire will freeze-down the 12gm capsule and velocities will drop. Slow and steady fire, or ‘double-tap’ two-shot techniques will maximise available velocities, as you’ll see from the chrono’ testing.
The lightweight plastic mag’ is ejected by pressing the button on the left side, and springs free positively. Lift the top panel after pulling on the upper face, to access the pellet belt. Push pellets nose-first, or drop BBs, into each pair of linked chambers, rotating them clockwise. Close the lid with a positive click and re-insert flush into the grip, with another click. A magnet in the tip prevents the lead BB falling out. The belt can feel stiff to rotate whilst loading, but trust me, it isn’t when shooting.
To load a 12gm CO2, pull the grip back strap down and off, insert capsule point upwards, and tighten using the captive wing-nut in the base, then replace the back strap. BE AWARE: You don’t cock the pistol with the slide, just load, safety off and fire away.
As the barrel is rifled, I’d prefer to stick with pellets myself, although I tried BBs here for thorough chrono’ and grouping tests.
Top tip: Add a drop of Pellgun oil to the piercing nipple before inserting each capsule, to keep your pistol internals running smoothly.
As mentioned, the P320 is striker-fired, but it’s also DAO - Double Action Only. Every shot has the same trigger weight, which will of course be heavier than SA pistols. The trigger consistently broke at 7lb 2oz, and this sounds heavy, but becomes nicely predictable very quickly.
Packaging claims ‘Up to 430 FPS’, but who knows what that was with, so we want to know what it’s actually producing. I ran several mag’s worth of pellets and BBs across the Airchrony/R2A; ambient conditions outdoors were mild at 14 degrees. Steel BBs: Ten shots, ave. 317 FPS (341-296 spread) Bisley Practice 8.18gr wadcutter pellets: Ten shots, ave. 318FPS (348-296 spread)
Whilst I’ve got the Caldwell bench-rest bag on loan, I thought I’d use that as a stable rest for bench-rest testing. Used with a standard two-handed grip, this provides a very stable rest, in addition to shooting
“on the range, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s so much fun firing 30 shots in a row.”
unsupported, both seated and standing.
At 6m I hit my DIY small pellet-tin targets ten out of ten, and at 10m it produced groups of 5.3” with BBs. Bisley Practice pellets fared better @2.4” wide, although strung-out to 5”/6” vertically as the CO2 power dropped. Blow-back guns do use more CO2, and I’d change the P320’s capsule with every mag’ load.
I loved the idea of the P320 from the publicity, and on the range it doesn’t disappoint; it’s so much fun firing up to 30 shots in a row. A second mag’ would be very handy for speed-load drills, although you’d need to replenish CO2 unless in warm conditions.
RRP is £159.95, and no, I couldn’t resist getting one myself.
SEEN THE MEDIA? DON’T PANIC!
Whilst awaiting the new P320 I’ve seen Stateside YouTube videos of this pistol. One scandal hot off the presses (mid-August) is the discovery that if held inverted by the front of the trigger guard, then dropped - the firearm version can discharge accidentally. (https://www. omahaoutdoors.com/blog/sig-sauer-p320-failsdrop-test/).
Initially, they thought this was due to the weight and momentum of the trigger itself, continuing to travel downward as the gun impacts the ground simultaneously on the rear grip spur and slide. A new video reveals that the gun can also discharge when hit on the back of the slide by a rubber gunsmith’s mallet. SIG have acknowledged there’s an issue with the firearm, and are issuing a product recall to remedy this problem.
The AIRGUN SIG P320 does not have the same internals AT ALL. I didn’t want to risk damaging the new SIG, so I just tested the latter fail with a rubber mallet and – no discharges.
1. SIG P320, Airchrony and Pellgun Oil: BAR (Blackpool Air Rifles/airgunbuyer.com) 2. RFD Pistol Handling, 12gm CO2 and pellets: Core94.com 3. Bench-rest bag: John Rothery Wholesalers.I
The smile of the satisfied shooter.
Easy loading comes as standard.
30-shot group 5.3” at 10m with BBs; left arm rested on my elbow.
Loading the mag’ belt with pellets. BBs just drop into mag’ chambers.