Sunday, May 14, 2017

Gettin' Siggy

Hit the range today, just shy of 200 rounds through the Sig P320s.
Benchmade Barrage, Sig P320 Carry, SigP320 Sub-compact.
Benchmade Knives was having a special event at the PX when I bought the P320 Compact.
Copyright 2017 DW Drang
This is a photo-heavy post, so click to read and see the rest after the jump...
We picked up two P320 Sub-Compacts in late 2015, when it was looking like the 2016 Election was going to go horribly wrong, gun-rights-wise. Last fall I picked up a third P320, a Compact version. (The PX was having a sale on guns over Thanksgiving.)

Now, in case you've been under a rock, gun-development wise, the P320 is a modular design. The part the BATFE considers to be the "firearm", the part that carries the serial number and that Sig calls the "frame", is removable and easily converted from a sub-compact to a full size with suppressor, laser-light combination, red dot sight, and 21 round magazines.

More: Meet the P320 | Sig Sauer

It is common, by the way, for people to refer to the frame of a P320 as the "fire control module", which is a term used in other guns designed with similar ideas, and the piece it fits into--called by Sig the grip module--as the "grip frame."  I mention this partly because sometimes I can't resist the urge to be pedantic, but mostly because I feel that it's important to use the terminology used by the manufacturer, not to mention the regulatory agency that can jam you up if you don't keep in mind that "the frame is the portion that carries the serial number."

You may have noticed that I referred to buying a P320 Compact in the photo caption but that the photo is of a P320 Carry size. The P320 Carry uses the Compact length barrel and slide, but the grip module takes Full size magazines.

Here are some photos of my mitts wrapped around each:
Sig Subcompact; slide locked back, empty magazine.
Yes, the fingers hanging off the bottom are awkward.
Copyright 2017 DW Drang
Carry size grip frame. (Also Full)
Copyright 2017 DW Drang
Now, the Compact takes 15 round magazines, assuming you're in a Free State, whereas the Sub-Compact takes 12 rounders, and the Full and Carry use 17s. (Or 21s.) So once I had put the Compact top end on a Carry size grip module, I not only needed to come up with full size magazines, but I had two Compact magazines. I tried them in the Sub Compact, and they locked into place, but they were... awkward.

Enter X-GRIP Mag Adapters. They make adapters to allow you to more easily use larger magazines in more compact versions of a gun.

Compact magazine with X-Grip adapter in a Sub-compact.
Copyright 2017 DW Drang.
Depending on which gun you have you would use one of three designs of X-Grip Adapter. The P320 uses a version that simply slides down over the mag tube and stays in place by pressure*. I found that one of the adapters was a little loose on one of the mags, so I wrapped a small piece of electrical tape around the front of the tube, and it seemed to fit better.
X-Grip Adapter
Copyright 2017 DW Drang

X-Grip Adapter on P320 Magazine, showing tape
Copyright 2017 DW Drang

X-Grip Adapter in place, with tape
Copyright 2017 DW Drang
The Grip Modules for the Sig P320 come in Small, Medium, and Large sizes, to accommodate a variety of human paws. The Sub-Compact comes with a Small Grip Module, the others with Medium. (There is no large size available for the Sub-Compact. The Sub-Compact also comes without a Picatinney Rail, although there is a Medium Grip Module with rail available for the Sub-Compact.)

In the last few months the Sig P320 has won both the Army's Modular Handgun System competition and the competition for US Immigration and Customs Enforcement's issue sidearm, so I expect we'll be hearing a lot more about them. (There are, of course, challenges to the results of both these contract announcements...)

Anyway. Range time. Just shy 200 rounds, like I said, about half and half through the Sub-Compact and the Carry size. I was shooting some Blazer Brass 115 grain Full Metal Jacket ammo I bought some time ago in bulk; research since has suggested that, especially in the Sub-Compact, I would be better off with a heavier projectile, and will probably switch to the 147 grain Speer Lawman TMJ, which is said to closely replicate the Federal HST 147 grain Jacketed Hollow Point.

Not great, but not bad...
Copyright 2017 DW Drang
The P320 seems to work best with a "drive the dot" sight picture. (Good reference to the 3 basic sight pictures here: Sight Picture: A Discussion of the Pros and Cons of Various Holds.) This is a bit difficult for me because, shooting a 1911 for years, with 230 grain "hardball", I still struggle sometimes to break the habit of a 6 O'clock hold.

To help with that, I replaced the front sight on the Sub-compact with an Ameriglo Pro-Glo Tritium front sight, in orange.

You may have noticed that I have a Streamlight TLR1 light on the carry; since it is normal to have the lens get covered with powder residue, I had taken a stick of lip balm to protect it during the shooting, but I guess that Blazer Brass ammo is cleaner than I realized:
Poor cell phone pic of clean light lens...
Copyright 2017 DW Drang
Did I mention that I have magazines? Lots and lots of magazines?
Some of my magazines.
The two unmarked ones in the middle are the Compact mags.
I have more on order...
Copyright 2017 DW Drang

Gear notes on that photo:
All in all, I am happy with the P320; in the Langdon Tactical Pistol class last year, Ernest Langdon said he felt that the P320 had a trigger that was, if anything, too good for a duty weapon. Hopefully, the Army (and other services; they've announced they're all piggy-backing on the Army's contract) will figure out how to deal with that. Ditto the various Federal, State, and municipal law enforcement agencies which have adopted the P320. The sad fact is that, contrary to popular belief ("my neighbor was in the Army, and he says...") the vast majority of law officers and soldiers know little about firearms, and care less

It should be noted that the Army's version will have a manual safety, which the original did not. (Striker fired pistols commonly do not.)

Previous posts:

*Other versions snap in place over the base of the magazine.