Key point: The Sig P365 changes several things from similar guns but has few drawbacks.
The new Sig P365 pistol breaks the mold of current subcompact pistols, offering both concealability and features usually found in larger handguns. The result is a pistol with a greater magazine capacity and barrel length than any other handgun in its category and an excellent choice for shooters that carry handguns on a daily basis, with one authoritative magazine cautiously stating, “this pistol might just be the Holy Grail of concealed-carry pistols.”
Subcompact pistols, designed to be carried discreetly under clothing or in something like a handbag, are usually a compromise. In return for greater portability and concealability, a smaller pistol typically has a short barrel, seriously reducing its effective range, and a magazine capacity half that of full-sized pistols. The new Sig P365, through some clever engineering minimizes the need for compromise resulting in a pistol with greater firepower than other subcompacts.
The Sig P365 is less of a compromise than other guns in its class, carrying nearly twice as much ammunition at a time than similar competitors in the size/weight class. Stock magazines have a magazine capacity of ten rounds of 9mm ammo and can carry eleven with a round in the chamber. Each pistol comes with two ten-round magazines, one that sits flush to the grip and another extended length magazine. An extended magazine is available that can carry twelve rounds plus “one in the pipe” for a total of thirteen rounds. Further enhancing lethality, the the 365’s barrel is rated for higher pressure +P ammunition.
The Sig P365 is a striker fired pistol, meaning it does not have an external hammer that could catch on clothing. It is also a double-action pistol, meaning a single pull of the trigger both cocks the firing pin and releases it on a round in the chamber, firing the pistol. Trigger weight is somewhere in the five-pound range, entirely reasonable for a double-action pistol, with little travel. The result is a pistol that can go quickly into action from a concealed-carry position without worry of hangups or the need to chamber a round.
The P365 measures one-inch wide by 5.8-inches long and 4.3-inches tall. It is a lightweight pistol that weighs just 17.8 ounces unloaded thanks to the combination of a textured polymer grip and a stainless steel slide. The steel slide is finished with what Sig Sauer calls Nitron, a process that results in a hardened finish that resists rust and wear, extending the life of the handgun.
Sig’s new pint-sized offering comes with a 3.1-inch barrel, the same as the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield and about average for a subcompact semiautomatics in general. The pistol features XRAY3 day/night sights for rapid target acquisition in daytime and low-light conditions and a mounting rail for attaching lasers or weapon lights.
By comparison the Glock 43, Glock’s 9mm subcompact pistol is longer at 6.26 inches with a longer barrel and roughly the same high as the Sig 365. At 17.95 ounces unloaded it is slightly heavier. The Glock 43 is just as wide (1.02 inches) as the P365 but has only a single stack magazine, limiting its carrying capacity to seven rounds with one in the chamber.
For now, the Sig 365 appears to be a pistol with remarkably few downsides. The pistol did have several reports of failure to enter battery, where the slide goes fully forward chambering a live round. The company halted shipments and replaced the springs, and the problem seems to have been addressed. Aside from this minor issue the company quickly corrected, the Sig 365’s first generation has been a relatively trouble-free one.
While it’s still too early for the notoriously conservative gun culture to call, the P365 may indeed be the “Holy Grail of concealed carry pistols.” Sig’s combination of ammunition capacity, caliber and strength makes for an excellent carry weapon. This is a subcompact pistol that may be equaled but, short of violating the laws of physics, not exceeded for a long time to come.
Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami. This first appeared in March 2018.