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Range Report: SIG P320 X-Carry, Part 1

Range Report: SIG P320 X-Carry, Part 1

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past couple years, you’re likely familiar with SIG Sauer’s family of P320 striker-fired, polymer-frame pistols. They are fast becoming some of the most popular guns on the market due in no small part to the P320’s recent adoption by the United States Army as the M17/M18 modular handgun system and further adoptions by military and law enforcement agencies, large and small. As with any new firearm platform, there were some hiccups along the way—greatly amplified due to the high-profile military trials, and the Internet’s proclivity for going full-“Sharknado.” Now, with its teething pains in the company’s rearview, the P320 production line seems to be humming along.

One of the most notable features of the P320 platform is its user-removeable, serialized chassis—for legal purposes, “the gun”—which contains the trigger and fire-control assembly. This allows the “firearm” to be swapped wholesale between frames, slides and barrels of varying lengths, sizes and even chamberings. In conjunction with the bi-lateral slide stop/release and reversible magazine release, the P320 can really be tailored to suit individual shooters, mission sets and operational environments. The ease of customization has also allowed SIG to develop purpose-built models, with features and components specifically chosen for pursuits like competition or everyday carry—the latter being the premise for the subject of this review, SIG’s P320 X-Carry.

Pairing a compact slide and 3.9” barrel with a full-size X-Series grip frame, the X-Carry strikes a balance akin to Colt’s Commander-size M1911s—all the capacity and handling qualities of a duty-size pistol (in this case, 17 rounds of 9 mm Luger), but shortened and lightened for portability. The gun’s namesake X-Series grip frame is noticeably flatter on the side panels than the original lineup of P320 frames, and it features an extended beavertail and deep trigger guard undercut to allow for a high shooting grip and improved recoil management. The gun also comes with the X-Series flat-face trigger and SIG’s excellent X-Ray day/night sights which pair a very bold, green front sight with tritium inserts that produce a glowing three-dot arrangement in low-light conditions. As well, the rear sight is integral to a removeable plate that covers a slide cutout that is drilled to accept SIG’s Romeo1 red-dot sight—the X-Carry is red-dot ready. The final distinguishing factor of the X-Carry is a trapezoidal lightening cut in the top of the slide, just behind the front sight. Besides looking really cool, the weight savings achieved by the cut actually improve function, according to SIG engineers.

240 Rounds (240 Total)
After a zero-round clean, lube and inspection—a practice of mine whenever testing a new firearm—it was off to the range for the first few hundred rounds of familiarization fire. Immediately noticeable was how comfortable the X-Series frame is in the hand. The extended beavertail and triggerguard undercut really guide the hand into a high, deep grip. Also, the texturing is not overly aggressive or, really, aggressive at all. It feels really good, which is sometimes a bad sign on polymer-frame pistols—you need a little bit of grit to help the gun stick to the hand during recoil. Not a problem on the X-Carry, not only does it feel good, it also works well and provides plenty of purchase during firing without being at all abrasive.

 

Another thing I noticed is the sights. I already knew I was a fan of SIG’s X-Ray sights, I had seen them on the Legion-series guns, and more recently when reviewing the SIG P365 pistol. With a bright, bold front sight and tritium for low-light utility, they are right in the wheelhouse of my preferred sighting arrangements. Still, getting behind them again, and on a larger 9 mm pistol than the P365, I can’t help but grow even more fond of the X-Rays. The big green dot is easy to see, and the X-Carry shoots right where I point it.

In the first range session, I fired 200 rounds of SIG Sauer’s 124-gr. FMJ ammunition and 40 rounds of the company’s 124-gr. JHP V-Crowns. These are one of my favorite range/carry combinations, and in many, many firearm tests I’ve observed excellent performance from SIG ammunition. That proved to again be the case, and the X-Carry didn’t miss a beat either. Zero issues of any kind were experienced, and the gun was a pleasure to shoot—very comfortable, very accurate.

134 Rounds (374 Total)
Considering the X-Carry is pre-cut for SIG’s Romeo1, and considering I had one of those red-dot sights on hand, I thought it would be important to get the sight mounted and see how the gun performs in that configuration. I’m not going to go into detail about the installation process because we made a video detailing the procedure. I will say, though, it was quick and easy to accomplish.

Above and beyond being a service-grade red-dot, there a couple features that I really appreciate about the Romeo1. First, the battery compartment is very accessible. You would think this would be a no-brainer for pistol-mounted red-dots, but many still lodge the battery beneath the sight’s housing, requiring the entire optic be removed in order to change it. SIG even provides a handy little tool with each Romeo1 that features a hard polymer flat-head screwdriver sized for the sight’s windage and elevation adjustment dials, and a second retractable driver, of softer polymer, that is perfect for engaging the battery compartment’s lid without scratching the lens. I also like the Romeo1’s relatively large lens and robust housing. I find the design of optic really helps guide the eyes toward the lens and the 3-m.o.a. dot without obstructing or distracting my wider field of vision.

The Romeo1 was easily zeroed at 7 yds., and I fired a total of 134 rounds including: 40 rounds of SIG 124-gr. JHP, 26 of SIG 147-gr. JHP, 60 rounds of Aguila Ammunition’s 124-gr. FMJ and 8 rounds from the “Remainder Bin” of NovX 65-gr. +P ARX. There were no issues at all with function.

156 Rounds (530 Total)
For the last session of this report, I worked from the holster and practiced using the red-dot. I’m not sure how long I’m going to keep the Romeo1 on the SIG for this evaluation because shooting a red-dot-equipped pistol requires a different technique than shooting with traditional sights, and I really like the X-Ray sights. But I still found the red-dot to be easy to use, and I admire the very natural point of the X-Carry which makes finding the red-dot a lot easier—I didn’t have to change my body mechanics, simply presenting the gun as usual brought the dot into my sight line.

I also had my wife along for this range session, and she quickly came to prefer the X-Carry over some other, competitive pistols I had on hand for her to try. She had three primary reasons for preferring the P320: the ease of manipulating the slide (a very common concern for female shooters, as we found in our Ladies Pistol Project), the overall feel of the grip, and the bilateral slide lock/release. Did I mention she’s a lefty? When I told her I could even flip the mag release to the right side, she was even more confident in her preferred pistol.

Together we fired 156 rounds (50 NovX 65-gr. +P ARX; 100 SIG 124-gr. FMJ; 6 SIG 124-gr. JHP) without issue. We surpassed the 500-round mark without any failures or malfunctions, and the SIG is really starting to prove why it became the Army’s sidearm of choice. Plus, it’s a lot of fun to shoot.

Be sure to stay tuned for more installments of the SIG Sauer P320 X-Carry’s extended evaluation.

Additional Reading:
NRA Gun Gear of the Week: SIG Sauer P320 X-Carry
SHOT Show 2018: SIG Sauer P320 X-Carry Pistol 

Range Report: SIG P320 X-Carry, Part 2
Range Report: SIG P320 X-Carry, Part 3  
Range Report: SIG P320 X-Carry2.000 Rounds

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