CONCEALMENT 5 Preview – SIG 320 X Carry Iain Harrison Join the Conversation Photos by Kenda Lenseigne SIG Raises the Bar for Stock Defensive Pistols Regular readers of RECOIL are no doubt familiar with SIG’s P320 series of handguns. With the announcement of the Army’s selection of its M9 replacement, it’s likely that the entire world is about to become aware of this handgun’s existence and, via the medium of Hollywood, become introduced to a striker-fired pistol that actually does make a clicking sound when repeatedly pulling the trigger on an empty chamber. The artistic possibilities are endless. Once screenwriters cotton onto the New Hampshire mohaska, there’ll be remakes of Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, and countless examples of Steven Seagal dreck where the gun put in a better performance than any of the cast. We’ll no doubt be regaled by gun counter commandos waxing lyrical about why retiring the Beretta was a horrible mistake, and how the new gun just doesn’t compare to its predecessor. The same week that the Army announced the results of its Modular Handgun System (MHS) trials, SIG rolled out its new line of X guns, based on the same platform. As you might expect, the big news completely overshadowed what is in many respects a better gun. X5 Overview Although it uses the same serialized chassis system as the rest of the 40 and 9mm P320s, the X Carry seeks to address some of the criticisms leveled at its stablemates. Chief among them is its comparatively high-bore axis, as compared to the plastic pistol everyone benchmarks it against. Having shot both Glock and SIG products extensively side by side, we can honestly say that any actual performance difference is so small that it gets lost in the background noise. Nevertheless, amateur and professional gun scribes have weighed in on the matter, presumably because they need to fill space and can’t be bothered to break out the shot timer. The X5 throws them a bone with its recontoured backstrap and beavertail, allowing the shooter’s hand to climb about 2mm higher than on a regular P320. Also changed are the palm-filling swells on either side of the X5’s grip, replaced by flatter, more Glock-ish flanks. Both work just fine, but the additional option is welcome — this is ’Murica after all, and we do like our options. Like the regular version, the X5 retains SIG’s stippling pattern, which is both sticky and unobtrusive when carried in a concealment holster, and covers around 80 percent of the sides. Former USPSA President Phil Strader led the X Series product development team, and as you’d expect, the gun is designed first and foremost around the needs of the shooter, rather than following the whims of board members or production engineers. Subtle touches, such as the placement of stippling on the backstrap (it’s lower than a regular P320, allowing the shooter to slide his hand up the frame on the draw), give clues that user input was both sought and heard. In terms of overall package size, including magazines, (and after all, who carries an unloaded pistol?) the X Carry’s top end is almost identical to a G19, while its grip is about a ½-inch longer. The extra length is offset by additional mag capacity, so if you want a couple of extra BBs on board, it’s probably worth the tradeoff. In a nod to their aspirations on the competition circuit, all X Series frames have an internal dovetail inside the grip, at the magwell’s rear. After removing the chassis system, a user can slide in a 2.5-ounce weight, changing both balance and feel. While lighter is usually better for a gun that’s destined to ride inside a waistband all day, some users might appreciate the difference in feel enough to overlook the additional mass — having shot a weight-equipped X5 match gun, we can vouch that it does make a big difference and creates that “dead in the hand” characteristic that a lot of shooters look for. Another characteristic common across the X Series pistols is their trigger, specifically the flat-faced bang switch created by the fertile mind of pistolsmith Bruce Gray, and which is designed to break at a 90-degree angle to the bore. When we first picked up the test unit, we went through the usual new gun ritual of clearing it then dry-firing, leading to a bit of disappointment. 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