The X-five Factor
The sig sauer P320 Updated for 2017
SIG Sauer updates the P320 with the purpose-built X-series
The big news for SIG Sauer at the 2017 SHOT Show was the updated P320, the P320 X-series. That is, until SIG was awarded the XM17 MHS contract for a new service pistol for the United States military. But as big as it was, the announcement of the MHS award only took the spotlight off the P320 X-series for a single afternoon.
The new P320 X-series takes the P320 line to a new level of shootability. Although not a direct replacement for the P320, the P320 X-series will draw many discerning shooters from the original P320 series pistols.
All of the P320 X-series pistols have a new X-series grip module, enhanced flat 90-degree break trigger, improved slide serrations, 4-sided beveled magwell, and slide lightening cuts. From there, each of the three models (X-five, X-VTAC and X-carry) goes in a different direction.
The P320 X-five 9mm, the flagship of the X-series lineup, is the topic of this evaluation. This is a competition gun and is featured accordingly. It adds a 5-inch bull barrel, extended slide, extended removable magazine well, Dawson sights, extended
slide catch lever, 21-round magazines, and it is compatible with SIG’S Romeo1 optic.
Designed to be a gunfighter’s pistol, the P320 X-five is a striker-fired, semi-auto, 9mm pistol. The current surge in concealed-carry handguns certainly drives the development of pistols like the P320 X-carry, but there are also many competitive shooters who fly under the radar but who are always looking for that little edge that will make them a split-second faster than the competition. The engineers at SIG Sauer have given them just that with the P320 X-five. These shooters are also willing to
“Designed as a gunfighter’s pistol, the P320 X-five is a striker-fired, 9mm semi-auto.”
spend a lot more on their pistols to get that edge through the incorporation of certain enhancements into a production pistol.
The most notable difference between the X-series and its predecessor is the trigger. The first thing you’ll notice is the flat trigger face. Many competition rifles use or at least offer this type of trigger, but it is not all that common on pistols. The trigger breaks when it’s perpendicular to the barrel, thereby causing less disruption to the point of aim when the striker is released. The trigger’s operation is about as good as it gets for a striker-fired pistol. It is reasonably light, with a break that can be almost described as crisp, and a short reset.
There is no manual safety but there are multiple safeties built in. An internal striker safety locks the striker in the back position until the trigger is pressed all the way to the rear, and a disconnect safety prevents the pistol from firing if the slide is out of battery. Upon disassambly, it is not necessary to pull the trigger first, and it cannot be disassembled unless the magazine is released and the slide is locked to the rear. Also, there is no safety latch or tab in the trigger as is found on some striker-fired pistols. The X-five’s frame retains the modularity of the P320 but with some significant refinements. The beavertail is more pronounced and the backstrap is higher for better recoil management. The generous undercut at the rear of the trigger guard/top of the front strap allows for a slightly higher grip for better control to help reduce muzzle rise. A removable grip weight (inside the mag well) helps improve the gun’s balance and a removable magazine funnel helps guide the magazine into the well during rapid magazine changes. A 1913 Mil-std rail molded into the dust cover provides plenty of real estate for mounting a light, a laser,
“The P320 X-five is a full-size semi-auto, but it handles like a much smaller gun.”
or a combo unit. The one item that is lost going from the P320 to the X-series is an interchangeable small/medium/large grip module for each size (full/compact/subcompact) pistol.
The slide is made of stainless steel with a Nitron finish. Lightening cuts are milled into the top to reduce overall mass and move the center of gravity of the slide lower for reduced muzzle rise. Slide serrations are provided front and rear. They are slightly wider and are more vertical than those on the P320. A bilateral, extended slide catch lever is part of the serialized trigger module. Dawson Precision sights are provided and are an excellent choice for open-sight competition. The dovetail front sight uses a green fiber optic and the rear sight is fully adjustable for both elevation and windage. The rear sight incorporates a mounting plate that can be removed for the installation of a Romeo1 optic.
The elements designed into the P320 X-five to help manage recoil are small taken separately, but when they are all put together they make a significant difference in the shooter’s ability to make quick and accurate follow-up shots.
“small recoil management elements make a significant difference overall.”
“The P320 X-five 9mm, flagship of the X-series lineup, is a competition gun and is featured accordingly.”
Three versions of the P320 X-series pistol are available. The X-five evaluated here is the flagship competition model designed to provide accurate first shots and quick and accurate follow-up shots. The large magazine capacity also provides more shots between magazine changes.
Kyle Lamb, Sgt. Maj. Retired, collaborated with SIG Sauer in the design of the P320 X-VTAC (Viking Tactics) version of the X-series pistol. This resulted in a tactical version using the X-carry grip module, 4.7-inch barrel, FDE slide and V-TAC 6-dot sights. It is not compatible with the SIG Sauer Romeo1 optic.
Finally, the P320 X-carry model features the X-carry grip module, 4.7-inch barrel, X-ray3 day/night sights and slide lightening cuts. It is compatible with the SIG Romeo1 optic.
As with most firearms manufacturers, SIG Sauer’s owners manual instructs the operator of the P320 X-five to use only the caliber of ammunition engraved on the firearm
(on the barrel of the P320 X-five). Furthermore, it warns the operator to use only clean, good-condition, factory-manufactured ammunition. The use of reloaded, “remanufactured” reloaded, or other non-standard ammunition voids all warranties. Only ammunition manufactured to SAAMI standards or to military specifications is recommended.
For evaluation purposes, we used nine different factory loads from six different
manufacturers. Bullet weights ranged from 80 to 124 grain. Six loads used FMJ bullets, two used JHP bullets, and one used a copper-polymer matrix bullet. The P320 X-five functioned flawlessly with all nine loads.
PUTTING THE P320 X-FIVE TO WORK AT THE RANGE
The first order of business at the range was to break in the P320 X-five with 50 rounds of various ball ammunition. This also gave us an opportunity to become familiar with the trigger and the overall feel of the gun. We fired three five-shot groups at 25 yards using nine different types of factory ammunition to determine accuracy and velocity. Ruger ARX 80-grain +P was the most accurate, with an average of 2.07 inches. SIG Sauer 124-grain V-crown came in a close second at 2.15 inches. The next three loads were close behind at 2.22, 2.22 and 2.27 inches. This showed great consistency with a spread of only 0.20 inches for the first five types of ammunition. As expected, the 80-grain Ruger ARX had the highest velocity at 1,479 feet per second. The remaining 115-grain to 124-grain loads ranged from 1,085 to 1,239 feet per second.
Our next trip to the range with the P320 X-five was just for fun. We put about 100 rounds through the pistol knocking down plates at 15 yards. The gun was wellbalanced and recoil was well-controlled for quick transitions between plates. The fiber optic front sight is our favorite type and it was easy to put on target.
AGAINST THE COMPETITION
I couldn’t wait to use the P320 X-five
at my monthly International Infidel Gunfighter League 3-gun tactical match. The new format consists of eight stages, six of which either require or allow the use of a pistol.
The CTE stage consists of three combat task evaluations. The CTES consisted of the Modified El Presidente, Meeting Gone Bad, and Magazine Dump. It is difficult to score well with a new pistol that I had only put about 500 rounds through, but the P320 X-five acquitted itself well in all three parts of the stage. The balance and quick sight acquisition of the X-five made the transition from carbine to pistol go smoothly in the Modified El Presidente CTE and the draw and target acquisition was as smooth as silk in the Meeting Gone Bad CTE. The 21-round magazine and extended magazine well made for a decent score in the magazine dump CTE where I scored 24 hits out of 26 shots in 10 seconds with one mag change on a steel torso plate at ten yards. I can do better with my Glock 17, but that’s mainly because I use a 33-round magazine!
For Stage 1, the P320 X-five made short work of five bowling pins at approximately 15 yards after transitioning from my carbine. On Stage 3, transitioning from carbine to pistol, shooting while moving and scoring hits on target was easier than it looked due to the P320 X-five’s handling and sights.
Stage 4, my favorite, pits man against man on steel using a plate rack, a fixed popper and two small plates each, plus a shared Texas Star, at 10 yards. I ran the stage fast but I didn’t hear the “hit” call on the fixed popper so I took a second shot at it and lost the first round in a “bang-bang” finish. Again, the X-five ran as smooth as silk. I’m sure I would have won the Stage if I had not taken a second shot at the fixed popper or had a Romeo1 on the gun instead of the open sights.
The pistol/shotgun steel stage required ten hits on steel of various sizes and at various distances, first with the pistol, then with the shotgun. Again the X-five did its job well with no misses.
The shoot house was the final stage of the match. The scenario is that you are
seated watching television and hear a commotion in the back of the house. Your wife is in the room next to you and your daughter is somewhere in the back of the house. It is your job to clear the house of intruders. I would normally run my AR-15 in the shoot house, but the scenario was such that I would be more likely to have a pistol close by than a rifle, so I ran it with the P320 X-five. Again it did its job well. I had one miss (one hit in the “A” zone instead of two) and no procedurals.
I finished 16th out of 36 in the match against a much younger group of shooters. The person who beat me in the managainst-man steel stage (thereby giving me an additional 300 points), won the stage and finished 10th overall.
SIG Sauer did an outstanding job designing and building the P320 X-five. It handles very well, allows the shooter to manage recoil well, and it is both accurate and reliable—all very necessary traits in a competition gun. We predict that it will be a big hit on the competition circuits.
Whether or not you are familiar with SIG Sauer pistols, the P320 X-five is worth a hard look. You will not be disappointed. I am confident that the P320 X-VTAC and X-carry models will acquit themselves equally well.
“whether or not you’re familiar with sig sauer, the P320 X-five is worth a hard look.”
The P320 X-five comes in a molded foam-padded case with four magazines, lock, red and green fiber optic inserts, Lucas gun oil and an owners manual.
The Red Hill Tactical double layer competition holster is adjustable for retention and allows for quick draws and easy re-holstering.
Above left: The slide assembly consists of the slide frame assembly, 5-inch bull barrel and the recoil spring.
01-02. The all metal Dawson Precision rear sight is fully adjustable for both elevation and windage. It also features an integral base that allows it to be easily removed and replaced with a SIG Romeo1 red dot optic 03. P320 X-series features a bilateral extended slide catch as well as improved slide serrations. 04. The Dawson precision fiber optic front sight makes sight acquisition easy. Red and green replacement filaments are provided. 05. Many competition rifles use or at least offer the flat-faced trigger, but it is not all that common on pistols.
The RHT holster retains the SIG P320 X-five securely and makes fast draws seem easy. The stainless steel frame or trigger group is the serialized component of the pistol and can be moved between various grip modules.
The slide lightening cuts on the top of the slide reduce its mass and lower its center of gravity for better recoil management. The Dawson Precision sights with a fiber optic front sight are easy to pick up and track from target to target.