By: Greg Chabot
Photos Sasha Steadman
The SIG SAUER P365 has taken the market by storm since it debuted in 2018. Even with quality control issues on early production models, the P365 has seen a steady increase in sales in 2019.
I was very hesitant at first about buying a P365 for many reasons. My main concern is SIG’s hit-or-miss quality control (QC) and outsourcing of parts, which, in my opinion, has hurt their reputation amongst shooters. Keeping that in mind, I decided to purchase a P365 and shoot a thousand rounds of various ammo through it to test it for reliability before trusting my life to it. Testing took place over the course of a month in various weather conditions.
The sample weapon came in a small plastic case with two ten-round magazines. One was a flush fit, and the other has a pinky extension. They are of excellent quality with a very stout spring. I recommend buying a magazine loader if you do not already own one. I found no defects in the Nitron finish on the slide.
Upon disassembly, I found no machine marks or other defects on the internals. Barrel lock-up was tight with very little play. Slide to frame fit was very good with no movement when the slide is in battery. Sights were Sig XRAY3 day/night sights, which I found very easy to see. The texture of the grip allowed me to get a firm grip.
Overall, I was very impressed with how this small of a weapon felt in my hands. I give SIG credit for designing this weapon around the magazine. Test weapon was cleaned and lubed with SEAL-1 CLP before heading to the range.
How Did It Shoot?
When I test a weapon, I like to shoot various brands of ammo all mixed together. Weights and bullet types also vary. I find it is an excellent way to test reliability, as I won’t carry a weapon that is picky on ammo.
For targets, I use steel by Defense Targets, who make an excellent product without breaking the bank. Before heading out to the range, I did some dry fire practice to get used to the weapon. The trigger on my sample was 5.5lbs, which isn’t bad for a carry gun, in my opinion. In most dangerous encounters, one will be drawing cold and probably won’t notice the trigger weight under stress. The trigger felt very spongy compared to other striker guns. That isn’t a deal-breaker for me, since I find most smooth out once they are shot enough.
I started off at ranges of 7 to 15 yards doing slow fire. The sights were easy to see on the P365. My aging eyes picked them right up. Where I put the front sight is where the round hit steel. I was really impressed with how well this weapon handled overall. The P365 is a very flat shooting, low recoil weapon, which contributed to its comfort and accuracy.
During the first range session, I found two things I didn’t like on the P365. The first was the slide release. It was very tight and took a lot of effort to manipulate. The second is the mag release. I find it is too small, which made it difficult to do fast mag changes. I’d like to see it be extended.
Overall, though, I was pleased with how the weapon performed in that first session. I fired a total of 500 rounds without any malfunctions. The weapon was cleaned after the session to check for unusual wear. Upon disassembly, I noticed some peening on the barrel. Doing some research, I found SIG considers this normal breaking-in of the weapon. I found that odd, but decided to keep an eye on it and drive on.
For the next session, I planned to shoot drills and see how the weapon carried concealed. I ordered an IWB set-up from 2AHolster.com, whose products I trust my life to. I started off with the Mozambique drill to warm up. I got great results with shot placement. The grip texture made the 365 very easy to grasp and draw from concealment.
Moving up to the El Pres and Dozier drills, the P365 performed very well. The small mag release did slow me down on reloads while shooting the El Pres, however. Moving back to 25 yards, I shot more drills. I can’t complain about accuracy – any misses were on me. To push myself, I broke out my T-box hostage head steel target. I was very surprised how consistently I hit the target. Being honest, I missed quite a few times. That is the reason we train. One thing you can trust is that a T-box target will both challenge and humble you.
I was able to keep double taps very tight and accurate due to the P365’s low bore axis. Muzzle rise was kept to a minimum during rapid fire. With arthritis, I have a hard time using sub-compact handguns. I was very impressed with how comfortable and easy this weapon is to shoot. At no time did my hands get fatigued or ache during long sessions at the range. Comfort and accuracy improved more for me with the use of 12-round magazines.
During testing, the trigger smoothed out considerably. To test the grip texture, I coated my hands with mineral oil and shot Mozambique drills. The texture was rough enough that I didn’t have issues with gripping or controlling the weapon. In my opinion, end users shouldn’t need to stipple or added grip tape to the P365.
No malfunctions occurred in 1011 rounds fired. I have no complaints about the reliability of my sample. The weapon was field stripped after testing, and there was no unusual wear on the internals. The barrel peening wasn’t any worse than before. I am now using the P365 as my EDC (Everyday Carry) for the summer months. It literally disappears if the end user wears the right clothing and chooses a good holster and carry method. It is one of the most comfortable weapons I have ever carried concealed. The deciding factor for me was the reliability and magazine capacity for its size.
Would I Recommend the P365?
The tough question, would I recommend the P365? Yes, but with these recommendations:
Buy a brand new one. The date of manufacture is on the box. With SIG’s QC, I wouldn’t want to try to save money on someone else’s problem.
I strongly recommend shooting at the minimum 500 rounds of mixed ammo through it before you trust your life to this weapon. Then I would recommend firing 200 rounds of your carry ammo. Expensive? How much is your life worth to you? I do this with any weapon I might consider for EDC.
I enjoyed shooting the P365, and though I was hesitant about buying a newer SIG, I do not regret my purchase. It is a reliable firearm with great ergonomics and shoot accurately. SIG did a great job with the design of this weapon. I do feel the mag and slide release need to be extended to make this weapon a little more user-friendly.
Overall, SIG has a winner in the crowded sub-compact field if they can resolve QC issues. As of this writing, SIG has released a fifteen-round magazine for the P365.
Big thanks to the Gun Closet.