I have carried and used SIG pistols for many years. I have been issued the SIG P226 and also carried the SIG P220. I have the greatest respect for SIG pistols and particularly appreciate their reliability. When the brass supplied officers with the SIG, we knew that they had not gone for the low bid. By the same token the low bid won over many agencies. SIG needed a polymer-framed striker-fired pistol to compete on an economic and practical basis. The SIG P320 was ergonomic, reliable, and easily used well. SIG finally had a striker fired competitor to the Glock and similar handguns.
The new handgun is basically a striker fired version of the hammer-fired double-action-only SIG P250—an overlooked but effective and reliable handgun. SIG offers compact and service grade versions of the P320. The P320 is a modular design. The action chassis may be removed and placed into a compact frame along with a short slide and barrel. The chassis itself is serialized. This makes for versatility and economy as well. An agency may keep different frames on hand to accommodate officers of all sizes.
The SIG P320 entered U.S. Army competition and emerged at the top of the heap as the U.S. M17 pistol. The army wanted a modular design and SIG supplied the answer. The serialized chassis rides in a full size frame in this pistol. The slide is stainless steel with a non reflective PVD finish. The polymer frame and stainless slide neatly solves performance and corrosion issues.
The pistol features a light rail for mounting combat lights and forward cocking serrations on the slide. The action is more of a single action than a double action only. However, since there is some movement in the striker as the trigger is pressed, SIG labels the piece DAO. The trigger action is very tight with little take up and a sharp reset. The trigger in my version breaks at 6.5 pounds.
SIG is offering a limited quantity, approximately 5,000, of a civilian version of the M17. This pistol features an ambidextrous slide lock, ambidextrous safety, and the light rail, trigger action, and appearance of the military M17. The SIG P320 M17 9mm pistol features a SIGLite tritium front sight and a Night Sight rear cover. These sights offer 24-hour capability, but also offer precision accuracy in all light conditions. The sight picture is excellent.
The pistol weighs 29 ounces—plenty to handle 9mm Luger recoil. The pistol features a 4.7-inch barrel. Capacity is 17 rounds. The pistol features excellent stippling on the grip frame. While the grip treatment does not abrade the palm, adhesion and abrasion are excellent.
I took the pistol to the range with a good supply of ammunition. This included Winchester 115-grain FMJ, SIG Sauer Elite in both 115- and 124-grain V Crown loads, and 115- and 124-grain Double Tap +P loads. There were no failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject during the test program. When test firing the pistol, the action never seemed heavy because trigger take up is short—less than a tenth of an inch—and the trigger breaks cleanly.
Total movement is perhaps .25 inch, including trigger reset. This fast trigger action means that there is little chance the sights will be disturbed as the trigger breaks. I found that I actually shot more accurately running a little faster. I ate up the better part of 200 rounds of Winchester ball ammunition running on metal plates and man-sized targets at 7, 10, and 15 yards.
The pistol offered high hit probability, and control in rapid fire was excellent. The Winchester ammo burns clean and offers plenty of accuracy for most chores. After I made several magazines worth of brass, the pistol had never failed to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. I found the triangle-shaped magazine release positive in operation. It wasn’t difficult to execute a rapid magazine change with the P320 M17.
Moving to the SIG V Crown load, I clocked the 115-grain version at a hot 1,250 fps and the 124-grain JHP at 1,090 fps. Control remained good. Firing from a solid barricade firing position, I demonstrated several three-inch, 5-shot groups at a long 25 yards. This is good performance for a service grade handgun.
I fired a magazine each of the Double Tap 1,350 fps 115-grain and 1,320 fps 124-grain JHP load. These heavy loads demand attention to detail and a firm grip. They represent a maximum standard for the 9mm and offer excellent wound ballistics.
After firing more than 400 cartridges in the SIG P320 M17, the pistol offers excellent features and performance. I like the easily manipulated safety. This ambidextrous safety falls under the thumb easily. Manipulation is more positive than a slide mounted safety.
The pistol is simple enough to use easily maintained. An important advantage is that the trigger need not be pressed to field strip the pistol. Lock the slide to the rear, remove the magazine, check the chamber, move the take down lever downward, and release the slide lock to allow the slide to run forward. The recoil spring and guide and barrel are easily removed for maintenance.
The SIG P320 M17 is well equipped with night sights, a light rail, and ambidextrous controls. It is easily maintained, reliable, and more than accurate enough for personal defense. The SIG P320 M17 is worth its modest price and represents the cutting edge in service pistol technology.
Have you fired the SIG P320 M17? Do you think it was worthy of being adopted by the U.S. Army or would you have recommended a different pistol? Share your answers in the comment section.
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