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Sig Sauer’s new P365 11-Round Subcompact EDC Pistol

You read that right. The Sig Sauer P365, released today, is a 10+1 slimline, subcompact that’ll have recent purchasers of Glock 43s and S&W Shields wondering if their dealer has a 30-day return policy.

At first glance, the gun looks like a me-too pistol meant to compete in the quickly crowding 9mm, striker-fired, subcompact pistol space. But, this is no copy of any other pistol on the market. It’s smaller, lighter, and more shootable than its competitors. The gun features a low bore axis, textured grip, fore-and-aft slide serrations, ships with night sights, and two 10-round mags (one with a pinkie extension). Sig also blessed the P365 with a proprietary accessory rail meant to mount Sig’s own light and lasers. We’re told Sig’s working on versions just for the P365.

365 Product on White-9

The P365 bears a resemblance to its larger sibling, but it’s not a shrunk down P320. There are some similarities, though. For instance, the P365 is technically a chassis gun like the P320, though this chassis is not meant to be removed from the grip module. The chassis provides continuous, long slide rails that add to the pistol’s durability and longevity. The P365’s lockwork resembles its big brother’s, too. But, the assemblies aren’t miniaturized versions of the P320 components, Sig’s engineers say they had to find very creative ways to fit the parts in the thinner chassis module.

365 Product on White-44

There’s a lot to admire in the slimline nine, but the most important feature of the gun is the P365’s staggered mags. The trick to slimming the pistols down was to start with a tapered mag that reduced the grips thickness at the point where you’ll feel it most; up at the index finger/thumb radius. There’s a lot of bits packed into the grip tail, and the slide has no wasted space in an effort minimize the pistol’s size. We asked Sig Sauer’s pistol product lead, Phil Strader, if there’s room to mill and drill the slide for an MRDS, and the answer was an unequivocal, “no.”

The elephant in the room was drop testing, and Sig showed us a Powerpoint slide illustrating the dozens of ways the pistol was oriented during its extensive drop testing cycle that saw the P365 subjected to more than 500 drops.

Sig is offering a 12-round, extended mag, below left, that adds a bit to the grip length improving the pistol’s controllability and capability.

365 Product on White-34

We spent a couple very cold New Hampshire days putting more than 1,000 rounds through pre-production pistols and can report its flatter-shooting, more controllable, and far more comfortable to shoot than a gun of its size should be. Accuracy was impressive. We watched Phil Strader empty a mag full of A-Zone hits on IPSC steel at 50 yards. Not incidentally, Strader is a former law enforcement officer, top-ten USPSA pistol competitor, and former president of the United States Practical Shooting Association; he can shoot well. Our groups weren’t as tight as his, but we easily printed fist-sized groups at defensive distances.

365 Day 1-171

We shot the entire two-day course of fire from an appendix rig made for Sig by BlackPoint Tactical. The holster conceals well and presents just enough of the pistol for a solid firing grip from the get-go. BlackPoint also offers a rig for traditional carry on the hip. It looks neat, but we didn’t try it.

365 Day 2-10

While on the range in Exeter, we did uncover a couple things we’d adjust if we were Ron Cohen, but nothing that would prevent us from seriously considering the tiny, 13-round P365 as a replacement for our current EDC options, the Sig 938 and the Glock 19. We found the slide lock lever a bit too proud, as we locked the gun open during fast strings of fire. We’ll accept that it’s an issue we can correct with our grip, but we saw it happen to other shooters demoing the gun during the top-secret December unveiling, too.

In the interest of full disclosure, we had two issues with the pistol that could be isolated issues, only affecting the pre-production pistols used for the media event.

First, the mag release in our gun was finicky. It dropped mags about a third of the time, leaving us to regularly shake the pistol or strip mags by hand. We approached Strader on the line and he and his gorilla hands had no problem dropping mags. It could be our grip or the way we were hitting the button, perhaps at an angle, but it’s clear that someone with larger hands and/or more time on the gun made it work. So, like we said, it could be an issue with one pre-production gun, but it’s something we’ll look at closely when we get a production P365.

365 Day 1-213

Second, we had a lot of issues with the gun failing to return to battery on the first day of the two-day event. We logged scores of FRTB events and by the end of the first day, we got used to tapping the back of the pistol to help it the slide close the last few millimeters. Of the handful of writers shooting the pre-production pistols on that cold, cold December day, all had the same malfunction. At first, Sig employees thought some of the writers were limp-wristing the pistols, but by sunset it was clear there was another culprit.

Our pistol slide felt sluggish, like a tight 1911 after 600 rounds without a reapplication of lubricant. Turns out, the guns were all lubed with the same product in anticipation of the media event, though nobody present could say what it was. Based on the range temps (our Kestrel showed the temp ranging from 12F after lunch to 8F when the sun went behind the trees in the late afternoon), frozen lube was a likely culprit. The guns were all cleaned and re-lubed with Slip 2000 for the second day of the event. We shot day two on Sig’s indoor range, and hundreds of rounds later, none of the guns exhibited the sticky slide problem. We’re comfortable chalking this issue one up to frozen lube, not the pistol.

We’ll be giving this pistol a deeper look in an upcoming issue, of RECOIL’s CONCEALMENT magazine but there are few defensive pistols that excite us the way the P365 does.

The pistol’s suggested price is $599, 10-round mags with either flush or extended base are $49, and the extended capacity, 12-round mags are $55.

Thanks to Sig Sauer and Richard King photography for the photos.

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