Since SIG Sauer officially announced the arrival of the P365 compact 9mm pistol in January of this year, I have struggled to recall when last I saw a gun surrounded by more hype and less availability. For months, questions and inquiries abounded, while actual sightings of the pistol were discussed among conspiracy theorists and Bigfoot apologists.
Blogs and forums sprang up as eyewitness accounts began to seep out from people who had actually seen a SIG Sauer P365. Some claimed to have handled one, and a lucky few boasted of having shot one. Mostly the accounts were unsubstantiated claims of hunters and outdoorsman who simply “heard one call in the woods”.
As we approach another January, SIG has apparently produced enough of the model to where a quick perusal of the interwebs shows more than a few dozen available, although the answer from most SIG distributors continues to be that they are on allocation, and so unavailable.
Regardless, on a recent full moon when the planets were aligned, and fairies twinkled in the nearby fields, we took in our first P365. It gave off a faint aura from its halo as angels sang, and unicorns danced through the shop. For a moment, all rivers ran north. The earth slowed on its axis. Somewhere, a personal injury lawyer told a small truth.
Not really. Well, I mean, all of it but the last part. Took us forever to herd the unicorns out the back door, and the cleanup was much worse than you’d expect.
So what is the P365 like? Well, it’s really, really nice, and I would say that the hype was not unwarranted. I’m a pretty medium-sized dude with medium-sized hands, and my first impression was that it felt really good in the hands. The front sight is a very sizeable luminous green dot with tritium insert, and it pops nicely into view between the dots of the tritium rear sight. Trigger has the initial spongy creep you’d expect from a striker-fired gun, but breaks easily enough.
Now, all this assessment is purely academic until you actually test it on the range, so that’s where I went next. I loaded it up and put it through some paces.
I carried and shot a Glock 26 for years, and it pretty well established my personal benchmark expectations for a sub-compact 9mm. Very concealable, has sights and trigger that shoot at least comparably to a full-size pistol out to 10-15 yards, and with easily manageable recoil.
How did the P365 stack up to my expectations? Well, I have no qualms in saying that it exceeded them. Grip size and angle are a very subjective topic, but I would hazard that the SIG felt better than my Glock, and sight acquisition was superior. Grip is just long enough that I can get all of my fingers on the gun. Shooting a Glock 26, I always had to curl my pinkie under the grip, and while I don’t believe it made any difference in my ability to shoot, I do prefer all fingers on the gun. It just feels better. Recoil from the P365 was very pleasant out of such a small frame gun, and it was easy to control.
I’m not a world-class handgunner, or even great, but I don’t suck either. When I can put 5 shots touching a 2.5” circle at 10 yards out of a sub-compact pistol, I’m ready to call it a day. I handed the little SIG off to our pistol instructor, Paul, and he ran a target out to 15 yards and shot a 2” group using only his strong hand while the target was still swaying on the cable. Show off.
The point here is that the little P365 is more than accurate enough for any self-defense scenario you might encounter.
So what’s my conclusion on this exclusive and extraordinary little SIG? Well, it won’t be the right pistol for everyone. It won’t revolutionize the gun industry or cause everyone to trade in their Springfield or Glock or Smith & Wesson. But if you are considering your options for a sub-compact carry pistol in 9mm, I’d recommend a long and serious look at the SIG Sauer P365. You might even catch a unicorn.