FOR ITS CONTROL, ACCURACY AND PERFORMANCE, SIG’S P320-M17 IS A TOP-RATED HANDGUN
SIG’S new M17 has it all: control, accuracy and performance
From the Colt Single Action Army to the Beretta 92FS, military service pistols have traditionally been popular with civilians. Institutional sales are an important part of a maker’s business as well. While military selection has been controversial at times, military contracts are a stamp of approval and may be quite lucrative.
SIG SAUER has landed many police and military contracts across the world. Their contract with the French military and police forces was a boost for the company. SIG has earned several federal contracts in the United States and also the U.S. military M11 pistol contract. I have owned and fired most of the SIG P series pistols and carried the P226 and P220 on duty. I have also carried the P228 and P229 on my own time. My other half’s first line of defense is a SIG P250 9mm. I am familiar with SIG pistols. Like most in the business, I have a healthy respect for the engineering and reliability that are hallmarks of these guns. When I had the chance to review the new U.S. military pistol, the P320-M17, I was looking forward to it. Quite a bit.
SIG’S MR. POTATO HEAD
Bowing to modern demand, SIG introduced double-action only variants of the P series,
“The pistol may be simple to operate, but it has every feature needed in a combat handgun.”
the DAK trigger and the P250 DAO trigger for institutional use. They have not offered a striker-fired pistol as a direct competitor to the Glock. Most SIG handguns have been steel or aluminum-frame pistols with exposed hammers and a long trigger pull.
The SIG P320 9mm is a very different handgun. This made-in-the USA SIG is a modular design with a polymer frame. It is striker fired and offers excellent ergonomics. For those unfamiliar with the term, modular means that the pistol may be offered in different configurations with the same basic building block, which is the firing unit. The fire control assembly is serialized.
This unit fits in compact, full size and medium frames. Compact- to full-size slides and barrels are available. The frame isn’t the primary concern with the pistol. With a self-contained firing mechanism, the P320 may quickly and cheaply be modified into a different configuration. A good hand may convert the full-size pistol to a compact handgun in a minute flat.
Institutional sales agents realize the pistol may be converted to suit small or large officers with a minimum of expense. The pistol may also be modified from 9mm to .357 SIG or .40 S&W. The most popular 320, by an overwhelming margin, is the 9mm Luger. You might even order a P320 frame to modify the grip profile to your best fit.
P SERIES & M17
The primary difference between the earlier P series and the M17 pistol is the trigger action. The P220 is a double-action, first-shot pistol, and the P250 is a hammer-fired, double-action only pistol. The P320 is a striker-fired pistol that SIG labels a double-action only. The P320 features a very short and crisp trigger action. The trigger is consistent when measured on the Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. Reset is positive and very quick. SIG rests its claim for double-action-only trigger action on a slight movement of the striker, as the trigger slack, which is very little slack, is taken up.
My personal SIG P320-M17 breaks at 6.5 pounds. Trigger reset is a short .1 inch.
The trigger action is controllable and offers
excellent results on the firing range.
The trigger is a single-action by most definitions. I don’t mind this, as my M17 is carried with the dual safety levers in the on position. The frame is clean, and the familiar SIG decocking lever is absent. The slide lock is ambidextrous, but the magazine latch is not. Each is positive in operation. Rapid magazine changes are easily carried out.
The frame has enough stippling to provide good adhesion and abrasion on firing. Even with sweaty hands, control is good. While the 9mm doesn’t exhibit heavy recoil, there is a lot of momentum when firing quickly at multiple targets. A non-slip grip is a good thing to have.
The takedown lever is easy to use. At the bottom of the frame and the magazine well, there are well-defined cutouts that allow the shooter to get a good grip on the magazine if it becomes stuck. While I did not experience a stuck magazine during the course of firing over 1,200 rounds of ammunition, I have experienced stuck magazines in several handguns over the years. The M17 magazines are steel and feature polymer-based pads.
EASY FIELD STRIP
This is an easy pistol to maintain. In order to field strip the P320-M17, lock the slide to the rear. It’s not necessary to pull the trigger before the pistol is disassembled. When the slide is locked to the rear, remove the magazine. Rotate the takedown lever 90 degrees downward. Release the slide and guide it from the frame. Remove the recoil assembly and the barrel, both of which are easy.
To remove the fire control chassis, pull the takedown lever while removing the chassis from the frame. The SIG P320 features a firing pin block that prevents the striker from dropping unless the trigger is fully pressed to the rear. A frame-mounted disconnect prevents firing if the pistol isn’t fully locked.
A robust extractor serves a dual function as a loaded chamber indicator. The slide, which is stainless steel and coated in flat dark earth, is nicely machined and finished. The military had desired a non-reflective finish, and the M17 delivers.
SIGHTS & MORE
The pistol is supplied with a SIGLITE Tritium Insert front sight and Night Sight rear cover. The sights are excellent for all-around personal defense, and they offer good visibility in dim light. In firing for precision in daylight conditions, these sights offer real precision.
The pistol features forward cocking serrations. The M17 isn’t difficult to rack and make ready.
“A military contract is a stamp of approval.”
The frame features a light rail for mounting combat lights or lasers.
The pistol may be simple to operate, but it has every feature needed in a combat handgun. It is good enough for the USA and will make a fine home defense and concealed carry handgun.
SHOOTS LIKE A HOUSE ON FIRE
To dry fire, I took the time to press the trigger more than 500 times. This acclimation is necessary and adds to the experience before you hit the range.
For the range, I took a good supply of ammunition, including 500 rounds of Black Hills Ammunition 115-grain FMJ ammunition. This is a clean-burning load that provides excellent economy and reliability.
I ran through the ammunition firing as quickly as I could load the magazines. I had help, and the other shooters were impressed by the pistol as well. As its primary virtue, the P320-M17 is controllable in rapid fire. The piece is tractable and moves between targets quickly.
Firing from a Weaver stance and also from behind cover, I discovered the pistol provided a high level of practical accuracy. I fired at man-sized targets at 7, 10 and 15 yards. This pistol handles as well as any full size 9mm.
While there is little that may be done with this pistol that may not be done with a Glock 17 or SIG P226, with tactical efficiency resting primarily with the shooter, the pistol will appeal to many shooters based on a clean trigger break and excellent sights.
The SIG P320-M17 is a great piece of engineering. I think that many shooters will find it ideal for home and personal defense. The pistol is a proven commodity and a winner on all counts.
“As its primary virtue, the P320-M17 is controllable in rapid fire.”
The SIG P320-M17 is a winner on all counts and ready to soldier on for at least 20 more years.
The M17 performed well with all ammunition tested.
The author liked the manual safety and easy to use slide lock. Each is ambidextrous.
BOTTOM: SIG magazines are well made and durable.
MIDDLE: When firing fast at multiple targets, there is a lot of momentum, so the author noted that a non-slip grip is a good thing.
TOP: Barrel to slide fit is good.
In terms of control, practical accuracy, and performance, the P320-M17 is a top-rated handgun.