En­gi­neer­ing Marvel



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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