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SIG P365 SAS Review: Like Training Wheels for Red Dot Sights

Over the past 30 years, concealed carry has become a way of life for most firearms owners, and every year we see firearms manufacturers pushing the envelope by making carry pistols smaller, easier to conceal and lighter. SIG SAUER heeded the call with its SIG P365 SAS; SAS is an abbreviation for SIG Anti Snag. The SAS is based on the company’s popular P365 pistol. The P365 is a subcompact-sized polymer-framed, striker-fired pistol chambered in 9mm. It uses a novel double-stack mag design that holds between 10 and 15 rounds, model depending, with flush-fit and extended options available. The standard version has a proprietary rail and three-dot, fixed sights. It has one of the lowest bore axis found on any factory handgun. Many shooters settled on it as the pinnacle of concealed carry development, but SIG decided to push the envelope with the SIG P365 SAS.

This pistol incorporates a number of enhancements such as the SIG Anti Snag treatment, where the entire pistol is contoured and dehorned in order to remove sharp edges or snag points. To further remove snag hazards, the size of the slide stop is reduced to a nub, and takedown lever is similarly neutered. Oh yeah, while we’re talking snag points, they eliminated the iron sights. Wait, what?


No, they didn’t make a 9mm Seecamp LWS and give you a point-shooting pocket pistol, nor did they add a mounting plate system for a red-dot sight. Instead, the SAS is a compromise between the two. The sight on the SIG P365 SAS is what the company refers to as a flush-mounted FT bullseye fiber-tritium night sight that’s embedded into the top of the slide, taking up about 2 inches of real estate.

Additionally, they ported the barrel and slide to tame recoil from such a short and lightweight pistol.

THE BASICS

The SIG P365 SAS is such a small, subcompact pistol that it’s hard not to call it a pocket pistol. We don’t advocate carrying it loose in a pocket, where it’ll keep company with your keys, loose change, cub scout knife, and decoder ring, but it’s small enough to carry in a good pocket holster like the DeSantis Nemesis.

This is a striker-fired pistol with a crisp trigger that has a short reset, much like the original P365. Using an RCBS trigger scale, the trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds with no mush, grit, or creep. Reset was a bit on the long side, but acceptable.

The pistol ships in a lockable hard case with two 10-rounders; one flush-fit and one with a pinkie extension for more grip. All other SIG P365 mags fit, including extended capacity versions.

CARRY

Over five months carrying the SIG P365 SAS, we used a Black Point Tactical AIWB holster and later shifted to a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster.

The Nemesis is one of our favorite pocket holsters Its rough exterior helps hold it in place in a pants pocket and doesn’t come out while drawing the pistol. Most importantly, it has a foam lining between a canvas inner and outer that breaks up the shape of the pistol.

We did try various draws from front and back pants pockets while wearing jeans, khakis, and “tactical pants” as well as from several jacket pockets both inside and out. The pistol is truly snag-free and comes out of the pocket like it’s on rails.

Black Point’s holster is completely adjustable for ride height, cant, and retention level by loosening the screws on the IWB belt clip and sliding the clip in the channels to achieve the desired position. It incorporates a side-mounted strut loop that pushes the grip toward the body to reduce printing.

THE PORTING

Porting conjures visions of twin columns of flame erupting in your sight picture, threatening to ruin your night vision, melt your Oakleys, and burn your eyebrows off.

The SIG P365 SAS probably recoils as much as the standard version, which really isn’t much at all considering its size. Yet, the handgun stays on target because the porting keeps the muzzle from rising.

There’s no flash to wipe out your night vision, sight picture, etc. Nor will you lose critical amounts of your ammunition's velocity because of these ports. And no, there’s zero chance of fouling the front sight with carbon and the like because there isn't one to begin with.

THE CONTROLS

SIG says the “flush slide catch and takedown levers ensure absolute smoothness and zero snag risk.” This was our least favorite feature of the SIG P365 SAS.

The ease of taking down a SIG pistol without tools is one of our favorite attributes. It’s not a deal-breaker since a coin or a screwdriver’s all that’s needed twist the takedown nub.

The missing slide catch, on the other hand, was a lot tougher to deal with. Just forget about dropping the slide with a gloved hand; and it’s not much easier with a bare thumb. The most reliable way reset the slide is to slingshot the slide on a fresh mag when it’s locked back.

For one-handed slide manipulation, you’ll need to get creative. We’re used to catching a sight on a pocket or the edge of a surface to rack or release the slide, but the SAS has nothing to catch. Catching the front face of the slide above the barrel is one way to work it, but it’s tough. Find something that works and practice it with dummy rounds until it can be performed correctly.

THE SIGHTS, OR LACK THEREOF

The flush-mounted, FT bull’s-eye fiber-tritium night sight gives the shooter about a 1.75-inch sight radius and is reminiscent of the old guttersnipe sights used by High Standard on their two-shot derringers and made famous by Paris Theodore on his ASP and Devel pistol builds of the 1970s and 1980s.

The theory behind the guttersnipe is the way it gives a fast sight picture that gets you on target quickly. To take full advantage of the system, you need to grasp the Bindon Aiming Concept, which was developed by the late Glyn Bindon, the founder of Trijicon.

Bindon advocated shooting with both eyes open. If there’s a bright enough light in the reticle field when the weapon is being moved, the primary eye will see the illuminated reticle inside the sight, while the other eye sees the target and the background. These are two separate images, but the brain receives the signal from both eyes, automatically merges the images, and then selects the magnified image received by the primary eye.

Although he was speaking to rifle scopes, the principle applies to pistol shooting, as well. This is the key concept behind shooting with a holographic pistol sight. You keep your eyes on the target and allow the dot to appear — as opposed to chasing the reticle before target acquisition. A lot of shooters get this wrong, and this leads to the initial complaints you’ve heard from about the sight system on the SIG P365 SAS.

Even though the concept is easy to grasp, in practice, it takes some getting used to. It’s like a physical fight. You focus on your assailant and, lo, the sight appears instantly as you bring the pistol into proper alignment. When you see it in action, you may never look at a pistol sight the same way again.It appears as a very usable dot for a quick sight picture, followed by the appearance of the outer ring of the rear sight a millisecond later.

AT THE RANGE

On the first trip to the range, we tried out SIG’s P365-branded 115gr FMJ 9mm ammunition. The pistol gave us a best five-shot group at 15 feet of 2.74 inches. Additionally, SIG sent us their defensive round in a JHP configuration and patterns were very similar at just under 3 inches at the same distance.

SIG P365 SAS shooting
We followed up this session a few weeks later at an indoor range where we could dim the lights to simulate low lighting conditions. Using Aguila 9mm 115-grain FMJ we came in at just over 3 inches at 15 feet. With the target at 10 feet, we were shooting smaller, 2-inch groups.

We took the SIG P365 SAS outdoors and shot out to 50 feet and decided this is as far as we could shoot the P365 SAS accurately.

We fired a 10-round magazine to slide lock and followed up with a reload, but the point of impact was low and right with two rounds missing the target completely. We adjusted our point of aim Kentucky-windage style and brought them back to center that way. Which brings us to an important limitation of the SAS sight: as far as we can tell, it’s not adjustable.

For this reason, it’s important to shoot your SIG P365 SAS before you carry it. This is true for any defensive handgun, but probably more so with this one as you have a few novel features to get comfortable with, plus the fixed sight.

RELIABILITY

We experienced zero malfunctions with the pistol. No failures to feed, fire, or extract, and no evidence of primer drag, something early P365s exhibited. The SIG P365 SAS is a sub-compact pistol intended for self-defense. If you need to carry a target-grade handgun for self-defense, check out the SIG P210A or the X5 Legion.

LOOSE ROUNDS

All models of P365 mags have heavy springs, so consider picking up magazine loader to take advantage of the increased capacity if you have tender thumbs.

Fears of the ported SIG P365 SAS blowing glasses off people’s faces, setting their clothes on fire, or other imagined calamities, have led to people hoping for a non-ported barrel from SIG. The concerns are completely unfounded and would only swap a barrel for to get one that’s threaded.

Regarding the sights, they do require an investment in learning to use them, not unlike that same adjustment involved in learning how to shoot a red-dot sight on a handgun. They also limit the pistol’s range and precision. For close-range self-defense, they’re fine, but if you’re contemplating a shot with the SAS at an active shooter advancing on you and your family at 50 feet, you may find yourself outgunned. That may be an extraordinary circumstance, but life is made up of extraordinary circumstances.

Shooters looking for something with the versatility to shoot more precisely and at greater distances will be better served with the SAS’s iron-sighted siblings. While the standard P365s are great carry guns, this wonderfully subcompact pocket pistol does best in the role of a backup, deep-concealment, close-quarters pistol. The SIG P365 SAS has some sexy features; it’s a specialized build, made for life and death inside 7 yards.

SIG P365 SAS data sheet


[You can visit Sig Sauer online here]



More on Concealed Carry Pistols

  • Did the SIG P365 SAS make the cut? Here's the Best 9mm Pistols in 2020.
  • The Walther PPS has been a long-standing staple of Micro-Pistols, and how it gets Red-Dot-Ready.
  • The Sig P365 got a long-form review, give it a read for a foundation.
  • SIG P365 XL: for a 15+1 round, red dot ready version.

[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in CONCEALMENT #18]




7 responses to “SIG P365 SAS Review: Like Training Wheels for Red Dot Sights”

  1. Gary Griffiths says:

    I purchased a P-365 SAS to evaluate alongside my original P-365, because my aging eyes were making it difficult to acquire the front sight on my original. I sold it a couple of months later, when it proved far more difficult for me to shoot well than my original. Some points:

    The SAS circle-dot sight doesn’t just magically appear the way a reflex sight does. The dot has to be carefully centered in the ring, forcing you to focus your attention exclusively on the sight. Placing the ring/dot in the center of a threat will not ensure a hit on the target. I found it to be much more difficult to fire accurately, even from a rested position than my original.

    The ported barrel doesn’t significantly decrease velocity (-1%) but neither does it reduce muzzle flip. I was filmed firing both weapons, and the muzzle flip was actually a couple of degrees higher with the SAS. What the porting DOES do is provide an extreme muzzle flare that makes you more visible at night and potentially blinds you as well in low-light situations.

    The deal-breaker for the SAS was when I discovered that when aiming from a dark location (a room in a house) at a lighter location (outdoors in sunshine) the sight disappeared to the point of becoming almost invisible!

    Like you, I found the gun totally reliable, but did not care for the “slick slide” configuration. While some would argue that a 50′ range is adequate in a defensive pistol, AZ LEOSA qualification requires 15% of your shots to be fired at 75′ under timed conditions!

    To sum up, the P-365 SAS may be an interesting range toy, but in my opinion it is not suitable for consideration as a serious concealed carry weapon.

  2. old guy says:

    the sight are probably the same as the metropol FT and they sell both fixed and adjustable sights. It might be a option to get the adjustable

  3. John in Indy says:

    I will try again, but last year the SIG 365 failed my basic
    pistol test. I call it a pillow test. Hold the pistol, aim at a target, then set the gun down witbout otherwise moving.
    Put the gun under a pillow or similar cover in front of you,
    set out of best gripping orientation. Close your eyes,
    grab the pistol and without opening your eyes, bring the
    pistol onto the presiously identified target.
    If ghe gun us aligned on target, you and the pistol work
    together well. Otherwise, more training or another pistol.
    For me, this pistol consistently aligned 20° left of the target. My preferred weapons do not do so, and neither does the Glock 43. But this is me, and my hand size and shape. Test it yourself before trusting any weapon for defensive purposes.
    Practice as much as you can, at the range or dry firing,
    and be aware of both your State kaws on self-defense
    and the nature and politics of your Staye and local prosecutor.
    John in Indy

    • John in Indy says:

      I will try the 365 again, but last year the SIG 365 failed my basic pistol test.
      I call it a pillow test. Hold the pistol, aim at a target, then set the gun down without otherwise moving.
      Put the gun under a pillow or similar cover over it in front of you, with the gun set out of best gripping orientation. Close your eyes, grab the pistol and without opening your eyes, bring the pistol onto the presiously identified target.
      If the gun us aligned on target, you and the pistol work
      together well.
      Otherwise, more training or another pistol is needed.
      For me, this pistol consistently aligned 20° left of the target, but at target level vertically.
      My preferred weapons do not do so, and neither does the Glock 43.
      But this is me, and my hand size and shape. Test it yourself before trusting any weapon for defensive purposes.
      Practice as much as you can, at the range or dry firing,
      and be aware of both your State laws on self-defense
      and the nature and politics of your State and local prosecutor.
      John in Indy
      Edits for clarity and spelling. It’s late.

  4. Steve says:

    Love my SAS. It does take time to get used to, but when you do, it’s like second nature. Bought the new non-ported version. Not sure if ported is built anymore. This gun has been 100% reliable. Highly recommend.

  5. Justin Bell says:

    Great article, I have 2 of them with lights attached. Could someone tell me what flashlight is seen in the first pic next to the gun? Thanks

  6. tirod3 says:

    I recently purchased a P365 and disposed of a P938. Here’s why: Mag capacity for one, reloading any purpose built short barrel auto pistol means dealing with high magazine spring pressure to get that round up before the slide overrides it and chambers empty. A short slide moves much more quickly that one covering up a 5″ barrel. That’s why the springs are so much tougher. If I was going to use a maglula loader, might as well put in ten instead of six. The trigger was another, the 938 had a decent SA pull but a lot of newer strikers are nearly equal or better. A safety model was available but not locally, I’ve discovered the 365 can be easily retrofitted for it with minimal alterations. Takedown for cleaning of the 365 is far less complicated and the 938 pawl issue is no longer a concern with reassembly. Not having to pull the trigger was never a problem, I simply did not own such a firearm, but for those of you who do – and had a discharge – it’s no longer a problem. The 365 also has alternative grips and slides available to change up barrel lengths, grip lengths, etc to get the fit you prefer. Me, the Ntiron with a 10 round fits great, not having huge meat hooks for hands. And the looks are spot on, simple with no extra detailing the way so many other polymer guns have affected. it’s as if SIG decided to make an adult carry gun – not a Grip Zone discount special. The X sights are big enough for my aging eyes, this gun while constantly being tested on competition ranges with timed draws and splits recorded isn’t even meant for that use. It’s for carry where you might need a gun in an extreme situation which should not have happened in your daylight/safe neighborhood routine. First rule of growing old is don’t be in the wrong place/wrong time, second is always carry. I can carry this with just the smallest increase in weight and size over a pocket .380 yet have an exponential increase in effectiveness if needed. 23 rounds on hand – with a 12 round spare – beasts 13 in a 938 with spare. That’s one less reload to cover that much ammo, too. Everyone likes to compare vs the Glock 43 or Hellcat or whatever, a lot of us never moved on from the carry gun we bought year ago – because it was a small change, like $150 sights on this gun would be. But changing from an SA low capacity mini 1911 to a high cap striker in nearly the same size and weight, there is a significant upgrade. Which is why the 938 sales have gone soft – its no longer in contention, the market has move on. That’s where the bigger distinction exists and why a lot of those gun designs from 5-7 years ago are sliding to the back of the gun case – in any other semblance of normal sales they would be getting clearanced and discontinued. Like odd calibers in an ammo panic I suspect some won’t be coming back onto the market as the production capacity moves to the more advanced and popular guns.

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