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Review: Shalotek’s P365 FLEX Frames & Slides



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Ecosystem of Excellence

SIG Sauer’s now-ubiquitous P365 is quite the success story, from its design to the company’s business decisions. For the former, not only did SIG essentially create the high-capacity micro-compact category, they designed the P365 to be modular, with a serialized fire control unit that can be removed from the grip.

As to the latter, rather than mandate its own view of perfection, SIG opened its kimono to the aftermarket, encouraging companies to develop accessories for the P365. In the years since, the industry has responded with everything from grip modules to slides, filling out the P365 ecosystem.

FLEX FRAME

Shalotek took this to heart and developed the FLEX aluminum frame for the P365, their own modular ecosystem of parts to fully customize your grip module. You can mix and match every element of the frame — the FCU housing, mag housing, trigger guard, backstrap, grip panels, and magwell.
The FCU housing comes in three lengths, matching the P365 and P365XL, plus an even longer XXL version.

The dust cover has a Picatinny rail, with two slots on the smallest and three on the others. There’s also indents on both sides for your trigger finger and a beavertail at the aft end. Like SIG’s AXG Legion (see page 58), the housing has a steel locking block insert.

Mag housings also come in three lengths, corresponding to the P365, P365XL, and XMacro grips. They accommodate 10-, 12-, and 17-round magazines, respectively. The front strap is contoured similarly to the factory grip, with a smooth, gentle scallop on top and grooves on the bottom. On the opposite side, there’s a slot for backstrap inserts. On the side are bosses for grip panels.

Matching backstraps and G10 grip panels are interchangeable. The backstrap inserts are textured and grooved. The grip panels are rounded and have quite a bit of contouring to fit your paws. The grooves and texturing on the panels and front and back straps help with grip but are pretty mild.

You can choose between standard and oversized trigger guards, as well as one with a thumb rest. Finally, you can attach an optional magwell.

All the components bolt together easily and securely; if you aren’t looking for the seams, you might think it’s one piece.

To assemble the FLEX frame, start by inserting the locking block into the FCU housing. Place the trigger guard underneath it and loosely screw them together. Attach the mag housing to the FCU housing and secure with four bolts; tighten the locking block screw as well.

Insert a set screw in the trigger guard to attach it to the mag housing. Use set screws to install the backstrap and optional magwell. The grip panels go on with two screws on each side. Finally, install the FCU from your P365, and you’re done.

SLIDES

Shalotek also has a family of P365 slides that nicely complement the FLEX frames. They range from the standard 5.7-inch P365 length to a monstrous 7.5 inches long.

The 5.7-inch slides take standard 3.1-inch barrels and are offered in four different styles (EDC, Fury, Sentinel, and Tracker) with varying types of front and rear serrations and slide cuts. The 6.1-inch compensated slides add a small integrated ported chamber in front of the muzzle and are otherwise similar.

Shalotek’s 6.25-inch XL-length slides take 3.7-inch 365XL barrels and recoil spring assemblies. Alternately, the compensated versions use 3.1-inch barrels and XL recoil springs.

Stepping up to 6.7 inches in length, the XXL slides require Shalotek’s own 4.1-inch extended barrels and XL recoil springs. If you opt for a compensator, they take 3.7-inch XL barrels and recoil springs.

All of these slides come in the same four styles. Optic cuts are your choice of RMSc or RMRcc footprint.
Finally, the new Warden model exudes big slide energy, adding a compensator in front of the 4.1-inch barrel and stretching overall length to 7.5 inches.

PERMUTATIONS OF PEW

With all these options and the modular FLEX frame, you could configure everything from a tiny standard 10-round grip with the huge slide to a 5.7-inch slide with a 17-round Macro grip, or anything in between.
We got our hands on a wide selection of frame components and slides to test out. We settled on a few favorite configurations, shown here.

For maximum concealment, we built the shorter housing with a short grip and a standard slide. As a great all-purpose pistol, we built the ultimate 365XL with all of the XL-sized components — it ends up like a Glock 19 left in the dryer too long to shrink a bit. Finally, our chonky race gun build sports Shalotek’s XXL barrel and thumb rest.

When first picking one up, you’ll immediately notice two things: the great ergonomics and heavier weight and heft. For example, a standard P365 lower, including the grip module and FCU, weighs just 4.4 ounces. The Shalotek FLEX in the same size weighs 8.3 ounces and in 12-round X-length is 9.2 ounces.

The grip is larger all the way around. Its rounded grip panels are much girthier, compared to the factory’s rectangular grip. All of this makes for great comfort, at the expense of greater width. It’s a fatter package to conceal, but between the ergonomics and weight, it’s much nicer to shoot.

Note also that there’s less clearance inside the trigger guard than factory. If you have an aftermarket trigger that’s too long, it might not work.

There are many options for the RMSc footprint. One new entrant shown here is the Thrive HD reflex from ZeroTech Optics, with a crisp 3 MOA red dot, interminable battery life, and shake awake. It performed well.

The dust cover is short; rummaging through our box of weapon lights, we found Streamlight’s TLR-7 and 8 series fit nicely. Interestingly, SureFire’s XSC for the Hellcat works well.

Holster fitment can be a challenge for new products. Shalotek says that many Macro holsters will work, though some adjustment may be required. They’ve had good luck with Rounded Gear and Superstition Concealment, and are working with some holster manufacturers on fitments.

Our BlackPoint Tactical was fine after adjusting the retention, a Mitch Rosen leather holster was a tight fit, and a Raven Concealment didn’t work at all.

LOOSE ROUNDS

Shalotek did a great job on the FLEX frame system with both design and manufacturing. All the components are thoughtfully designed, and the modularity is extensive; Shalotek continues to add more to the portfolio.

Combined with their slides (or factory slides), it makes your P365 feel very premium. Grab a hold of one of these, and we bet you’ll love how it feels. If you don’t need maximum concealability, the great ergonomics and versatility make up for the extra girth and weight.

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