Live-fire training obligates us to ammunition expenses that may come dearly for some. Thankfully, dry-fire practice needs not be so expensive and so it can be far easier to schedule as a multiple-times-per-week activity. There are, however, some equipment needs for a more robust dry-fire and dry-training experience. Well, some are needs and some are nice-to-haves. Let’s look at them and examine some ways to use them in effective home practice.
Home Training Kit
While there are all sorts of kit you might get for your training, the things I believe are good home-training components for everyday carry, in order of importance, include:
- Snap caps
- Blue gun (full-weight +1)
- Airsoft replica
Snap Caps and Blue Guns
Snap caps are mostly known as live-fire training aids, to be used as dummy rounds mixed into a loaded magazine to simulate a malfunction. They’re good tools in this role, but they have a role in home dry-fire practice, too. Even if your dry-fire practice is nothing more than trigger-press precision training, I recommend using snap caps. These dummy rounds help to protect your gun’s components from undue wear and potential damage that dry trigger presses can bring, especially to striker-fired pistols.
The snap cap allows the striker to impact as normal on the back of a shell, saving the striker from repeated impacts on the rear of the breech face in striker-fired pistols. While it takes many dry strikes to do so, repeated striker impacts can cause cracks in the breech face and can ultimately damage the striker. When I use snap caps for home dry-fire practice, I load one or more magazines full of them, so as to add some weight to the magazine for a more realistic feel.
The plastic, florescent orange snap caps are great for range use because they’re easier to find on the ground than the maroon or brass kind. But for home practice I use the kind with a brass case because they’ll last longer. The orange plastic kind tend to wear over time at the case rim area, and have to be thrown away.
A blue gun that is an exact copy of your carry gun is a very useful, even vital component of dry training, both for at home and for practical training at the range. A blue gun allows you to practice manipulations and engage in hands-on partner practice safely, because it is 100% inert.
Blue guns come in light models and true-weight models. You can practice with a lightweight blue gun, but for more realistic training the weighted kind is best. I carry a Glock 19 every day, so my blue gun is a true-weight, exact copy of my G19. I use it at home to practice left-handed concealed carry manipulations and I use it at the range to do a few first runs of new manipulations so that I can make mistakes while maintaining safety. Moreover, I’ve used my blue gun in hands-on practical classes for retention defense and grappling with pistols. This is a very handy tool for gaining firearms and EDC competence.
I recommend airsoft in a very narrow context for firearms training. I’d say that an airsoft pistol has value if it is 1) an exact replica of your everyday-carry pistol, 2) is a blow-back gun so that the slide cycles when firing, and 3) is used only for practical-scenario solo practice and practical-scenario force-on-force training. Airsoft is a huge industry and hobby endeavor that is mostly focused on airsoft gaming and I suggest that any prolonged participation in that aspect of use for replica weapons is very harmful to your self-defense competency and firearms safety habits.
That said, I believe there are very good ways to use an airsoft replica gun to aid in the development of practical competence. In much the same way a blue gun affords us the opportunity to practice certain manipulations and drills safely, an airsoft replica allows for a next step in that process with the added benefit of a functioning tool. Airsoft practice is not “safe” in the way that blue-gun practice is, but it allows for complete follow-through in scenario-based training, provided you take simple precautions like wearing good eye protection (goggles are best) and perhaps heavier clothing to protect from the very real sting of the airsoft bbs.
These practical-scenario uses aside, I use airsoft for the same reason I do static, dry-fire trigger presses: to develop my hands’ ability to stay still while pressing and breaking the trigger. In this way I train my hands, body, and brain to not react to the break of the live-fire shot and develop myelin pathways to cement the habit. The benefit of the airsoft gun is that it provides the pop, the cycling slide, and a very mild recoil impulse in that still-hand training. I believe it to be very beneficial.
Some of the dimensions of home dry-fire practice are outlined very well in this (somewhat hilarious) video from the “warrior poet,” John Lovell. John is the real deal and I highly recommend his videos.
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Americans have blamed many culprits, from mental illness to inadequate security, for the tragic mass shootings that are occurring with increasing frequency in schools, offices and theaters across the US.
Yet in our nation’s ongoing conversation about the root causes of gun violence, the makers of guns are hardly ever mentioned. As a public health researcher, I find this odd, because evidence shows that the culture around guns contributes significantly to gun violence. And firearm manufacturers have played a major role influencing American gun culture.
To help spur this much-needed discussion, I’d like to share some critical facts about the firearm industry that I’ve learned from my recent research on gun violence prevention.
Surging handgun sales
The US is saturated with guns — and has become a lot more so over the past decade. In 2016 alone, US gun manufacturers produced 10.6 million firearms for entry into the market, up from 3.6 million in 2006. Pistols and rifles made up about 85 percent of the total.
In addition, only a small number of gunmakers dominate the market. The top five pistol manufacturers alone controlled half of all production in 2016: Sturm, Ruger & Co., Sig Sauer, Glock, Kimber Manufacturing and SCCY Industries. Similarly, the biggest rifle manufacturers — Remington Arms, Sturm, Anderson Manufacturing, Smith & Wesson and Savage Arms — controlled 62.3 percent of that market.
But that only tells part of the story. A look at the caliber of pistols manufactured over the past decade reveals a significant change in demand that has reshaped the industry.
The number of manufactured large caliber pistols able to fire rounds greater than or equal to 9 mm increased six-fold from 2005 to 2016, rising from just over half a million to more than 3 million. The number of 0.380 caliber pistols — small pistols designed specifically for concealed carry — jumped to over 1.1 million from just over 100,000 during the same period.
This indicates a growing demand for guns with increasing lethality and a design focused specifically on self-defense and concealed carry.
Production of rifles has also increased, rising from 1.4 million in 2005 to 4.2 million in 2016. This is driven primarily by a higher demand for semi-automatic weapons, including assault rifles.
Explaining the stats
So, what can explain the jump in the sale of high caliber handguns and semi-automatic rifles?
For example, in 2005, Smith & Wesson announced a major new marketing campaign focused on “safety, security, protection and sport.” The number of guns the company sold soared after the switch, climbing 30 percent in 2005 and 50 percent in 2006, led by strong growth in pistol sales. By comparison, the number of firearms sold in 2004 rose 11 percent over the previous year.
There’s strong survey evidence that gun owners have become less likely to cite hunting or sport as a reason for their ownership, instead pointing to personal security. The percentage of gun owners who told Gallup the reason they possessed a firearm was for hunting fell to 36 percent in 2013 from almost 60 percent in 2000. The share that cited “sport” as their reason fell even more.
‘Stand-your-ground’ laws flourish
Another possible explanation for the uptick in handguns could be the widespread adoption of state “stand-your-ground laws” in recent years. These laws explicitly allow people to use guns as a first resort for self-defense in the face of a threat.
Utah enacted the first stand-your-ground in 1994. The second adoption did not take place until 2005 in Florida. A year later, stand-your-ground laws took off, with 11 states enacting one in 2006 alone. Another dozen passed such laws since then, bringing to the total to half of all states.
These laws were the result of a concerted National Rifle Association lobbying campaign. For example, Florida’s law, which George Zimmerman used in 2013 to escape charges for killing Trayvon Martin, was crafted by former NRA President Marion Hammer.
The American Legislative Exchange Council, an association of state legislators dedicated to limited government and of which the NRA was a member, has helped push the laws around the country using a model drafted by another NRA official.
It’s not clear whether the campaign to promote stand-your-ground laws fueled the surge in handgun production. But it’s possible that it’s part of a larger effort to normalize firearms for self-defense.
This overall picture suggests that a change in firearm industry marketing fueled an increased demand for more lethal weapons. This, in turn, appears to have fostered a change in gun culture, which has shifted away from an appreciation of the use of guns for hunting, sport and recreation and toward a view that guns are a necessity to protect oneself from criminals.
How and whether this change in gun culture is influencing rates of firearms violence is a question I’m currently researching.
There are only two kinds of components in a Glock pistol: those that have broken and those that will break. Despite the well-deserved reputation for being tough as nails, every component in your Glock pistol will fail at some point. If you shoot it enough. Best learn how to maintain your Glock and learn when and how to replace parts before one of them fails you at an inconvenient time.
By Andy Rutledge
* * *
In just the past 2 years, I’ve fired 70,000+ rounds with my Glock pistols in training and competition. I mention this fact because even though I fastidiously maintain my Glocks, those 70k shots (55K of them on just one G19) have exposed some interesting and instructive maintenance issues.
In light of that experience, I’ll share here some recommendations for maintaining a Glock pistol for a long service life and a high degree of reliability. Of course, nothing is certain with mechanical devices, but these steps I’ll share here will ensure you’re meeting your responsibilities and doing your part to mitigate destructive or life-threatening chance. Even so, be advised of one certainty: your mileage may vary.
Step One: Keep accurate round counts for every component
Firearms ownership brings with it certain responsibilities. Among them is the responsibility to keep an accurate round count for every firearm you own—AND—for each of its components. Unless you keep an accurate round count for every component in every gun, and act on it when appropriate, you will suffer an inconvenient or possibly life-threatening failure while training or defending your life. Not may, but will.
Every time you replace a component (well before it fails), log the date and round count and then record the target round count for its next replacement. Refer to and record your round counts every time you shoot your pistol. When the count crosses the appropriate threshold for a particular component’s lifespan, replace it and carry on. We’ll have a look at component lifespan in a moment.
Step Two: Perform periodic complete-disassembly cleaning
First of all, clean your Glock every time you shoot it. Keep that thing as clean as brand new and it’ll run for a long time. Additionally, I recommend a complete-disassembly detail cleaning every 2000 rounds because I find that it takes that many rounds to get the internal parts dirty enough to cause concern. As with everything in pistol maintenance, I’m erring on the side of caution rather than pressing my luck.
After completely disassembling the slide and frame, thoroughly clean each component and clean every cavity in the slide and frame. I recommend that you not remove the magazine catch and spring or the slide lock spring except for replacement, as doing so can damage and weaken those springs.
I recommend that you use only dry Q-tips or other dry materials to clean inside the slide cavities for the striker and extractor. You do not want an even slightly wet surface in your striker channel. Regardless of how you clean the rest of the components, be sure to dry them off completely with a dry patch before reassembly.
Really dirty components that need extra attention include the extractor (especially the blade edge/groove), the firing pin safety plunger, and the business end of the striker. I use Rem Oil wipes or a Rem Oil-moistened patch to really dig into those parts with my finger nails to get the gunpowder residue off completely.
Step Three: Replace components before they wear out
There is no way to know when a component will fail on any firearm. Therefore, responsibility requires we replace components at advisable round-count intervals. It’s best to replace parts before you believe there is a need to do so!
Most little Glock parts are quite inexpensive and I recommend that you have a couple of each on hand for each of your Glocks at all times. That way, when you do experience a failure—and if you train much at all you WILL experience a failure—you can simply drop in the new replacement without having to order and wait for arrival.
There are a handful of Glock pistol components that wear out faster than the others and require regular replacement. These include the recoil spring assembly, the trigger spring, the slide lock spring, and the magazine catch spring.
The recoil spring is the backbone of your pistol. There are a lot of ideas and preferences on when to replace the recoil spring to, a) prevent cycling issues, and b) to prevent breakage of the locking block pin. I’ll recommend that you replace the recoil spring for (grossly overpresured) .40 cal and .357 Sig every 3000 to 5000 rounds. For .380, 9mm, .45, and 10mm I recommend replacing every 5000 to 10,000 rounds.
I also recommend that you use only Glock factory recoil springs. I’ve tried a few others and not once has any non-Glock-OEM recoil spring lasted more than 1000 rounds before it either broke or started causing cycling issues. Plenty of other non-OEM parts can work just fine in a Glock, but I find there is no substitute for a Glock recoil spring if you’re at all interested in reliability. Here, again, your mileage may vary. Recoil spring assemblies typically cost anywhere from $7 to $20. You might also consider periodically replacing your locking block pin every 30,000 to 40,000 rounds for about $3.
With a broken trigger spring, you don’t own a pistol so much as you own a paperweight. I’ve never experienced a broken trigger spring on my Glocks. I’ve read that one should replace the trigger spring every 10,000 rounds, so that’s what I’ve done. A trigger spring failure is one I’m not willing to tempt, since they only cost about $2. That’s cheap; especially as compared to a potentially life-threatening failure.
Slide Lock Spring
With a broken slide lock spring, your slide will slide right off the frame. The slide lock is the mechanism you use to take down your Glock. The two tabs sticking out either side of the frame are the edges of the slide lock. The all-important spring sits recessed into the frame and occasionally it will just break in half. The one on my Glock 19 Gen 4 broke after 31,000 rounds (I should have replaced it earlier!). I recommend you replace the slide lock spring every 10,000 rounds or so. These springs cost around $3.
Magazine Catch Spring
A broken magazine catch spring means your pistol can’t hold a magazine, which will fall right out. The magazine catch spring in my Glock 19 Gen 4 broke after 51,000 rounds. It’s a spring recessed deep into the interior of the grip that you’ll never need to remove unless you’re replacing it or removing or replacing your magazine release. I’ve never seen data on how often these break, but you can’t run your Glock without one. They cost around $3. I’ll recommend replacing every 20,000 rounds or so.
Slide Stop Lever Spring
I mention this one only because it’s not uncommon that it needs replacement, but not necessarily because of wear. I bent a slide stop lever spring only once, I think it was during the first detail cleaning of my first Glock pistol. I’ve read that it’s a common tale, though.
The slide stop lever (not “slide release”) spring isn’t really prone to failure due to shooting or use, but it’s a delicate spring and can easily be bent. When you disassemble your pistol, it’s not uncommon for the end of the spring to catch on something and get bent. It’s also vulnerable to being bent accidentally when you’re cleaning the slide stop lever with a patch. While it’s possible you can bend the spring back into proper shape, it is not likely. Don’t try to fit a new spring, but instead just replace the lever & spring assembly for about $7.
Striker, Striker Spring, and Spring Cups
I’d recommend replacing the striker spring and spring cups every 20,000 rounds or so, but I’ve not seen any official recommendation. It’s a vital spring and the spring cups are quite delicate. These components are part of a violent mechanical process for every trigger pull, so wear is a factor. The spring and the cups set each cost about $3.
The striker is probably a lifetime component in a Glock, but I’d recommend replacing every 40,000 rounds or so. Especially if you engage in dry-fire practice on a regular basis (you do, right?).
Yes, other parts can break, but these aforementioned components are the likeliest to fail and require responsible attention to their condition, function, and periodic replacement.
A Glock pistol’s strong and simple construction gives it an inherent predisposition to just keep running under all sorts of adverse conditions, but to keep it running for years and years and for thousands and thousands of rounds, it is best to maintain it like new. Especially if it’s something you carry every day to help preserve your life.
In addition to the components cited here, be sure to give ALL of your pistol components a quick check every time you clean it. Breech faces can crack, slide rails can break out of the frame, frames can be damaged, sides can crack, etc. These failings are not common, but do happen. If you take care of your Glock, you can be sure it will take care of you in return.
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“If you’re planning on taking up arms, plan on getting hurt.”
In the unlikely and unfortunate event that someone is severely injured in a firearms training class or competition, every individual present should know without a doubt who is responsible for performing specific duties as well as what they and every other individual are supposed to do and in exactly what order they’re supposed to do it.
Knowing these things is impossible without a plan that has been shared and confirmed with everyone present before the training or the competition begins. In my experience, though, such plans seldom if ever exist.
* * *
Imagine the following scenarios:
- You’re in a pistol class with several other people. While drawing his pistol from the holster, the guy next to you negligently discharges into his own leg…
- While you’re in a license-to-carry qualification, the woman three lanes down from yours has a pistol malfunction, calls the range officer over to help, and negligently discharges into his chest…
- You’re at a 3-gun match. While in the course of running a stage, one of the competitors trips, falls, and discharges his shotgun, striking you and two other onlookers…
This isn’t made up. All of these things have happened. Now, given these events, reflect on your past experience at gun ranges, courses, and competitions and answer these questions:
- What was the plan for this eventuality, as explained by the instructor or by an official at the event or facility?
- Who, either involved in the activity or in the vicinity, is the go-to medic?
- Who among the others in attendance has medical training? What kind?
- Where is the med kit(s) located?
- For what sorts of trauma is the med kit useful and not useful?
- Who in attendance has medical supplies on their person or in their range bag? What kind? Where?
- What should everyone else in attendance do; what is the emergency procedure or what are the steps they should take? In what order? Culminating in what resolution?
When you go to a gun range for a class or competition, do you know the answers to all of these questions? To any of them? Sometimes? Always? Never?
I have to wonder. My guess is that neither you nor most folks could say that they’ve ever been to training or an event where all or perhaps even any of those aforementioned issues were covered to any satisfactory degree. In my experience, gun ranges, course instructors, and competition event organizers are in the habit of focusing exclusively on reviewing the 4 rules of gun safety as the sole way to address these issues; meaning, they don’t address them at all.
Certainly my experience is anecdotal, but having participated in almost two dozen courses and dozens of competitions at various facilities should provide some clear insight into common conventions. Even if some exceptional instructors or facilities or events work to cover all of these issues, I have to believe that many, possibly most, do not.
That is a problem.
What to Do?
While I am neither a firearms instructor nor range officer nor physician, I have some thoughts on these matters that I believe should be considered by those who are.
What follows is a sample plan template that I believe should be adopted in some form by all instructors and event range officers, then presented and confirmed before the event begins.
A Firearms-Event Emergency Plan
- Define the medical first responder
I (or some designated person) have emergency medical training. So in the event of negligent discharge trauma or other injury, [that person] will be the primary medical responder for evaluation and treatment. As such, [that person] will begin treatment and suggest whether or not to call 911 emergency services. Now, who else here has medical training? What kind?
- Make sure everyone knows who these medically trained people are.
- Designate a backup
If I/he/she [the primary medical responder] is the one injured, then you/he/she [define the person] will be the primary medical responder AND will recommend whether or not to call 911 emergency services.
- Define who calls 911
In the event it becomes necessary, you [some person] will be responsible for calling 911 emergency services while the injured person(s) is being treated. If you [that person] are the one who is injured, then you [some other person] will be responsible for calling 911.
- Confirm that these individuals are up to the task.
- Ensure these people have good cell reception – and/or – make sure everyone knows where the nearest land line is.
- Confirm/show where the facility’s street address is written down for reference.
- Identify the medical supplies
The primary medical kit is [define location – don’t tell, but show everyone where it is]. This kit can handle [these sorts of trauma] but is not equipped to handle [these sorts of trauma]. If required, you [some person] will be responsible for retrieving the med kit and you [some other person] will do this if the first one cannot. After you have secured your firearm, announce what you’re doing and then bring the med kit to the primary medical responder.Now, who here has medical supplies on their person? What kind? And who here has medical supplies in their range bag? What kind?
- The instructor or range officer may want to make a list of names and specific supplies for later reference.
- Account for an unattended firearm(s)
If the discharged weapon, or any other, is lying on the ground/bench and is unattended, then you/he/she [some person] will be responsible for clearing and securing the weapon. And you/he/she [some person] is their backup if you’re unable to do so. After you have secured your own firearm, announce what you’re doing and retrieve and clear the weapon and place it [in this defined location].
- Define everyone’s immediate job
In the event that someone is struck by a negligent discharge, the first thing everyone should do is immediately make their weapons safe, either by moving to the safe area to clear and holster the weapon—or—by simply holstering their weapon. Rifles (if contextually appropriate) should be cleared and placed in this rack/area.After doing so, those of you already given jobs should accomplish your tasks calmly and quickly. Those others with medical training should remain in the immediate vicinity ready to lend assistance if needed.Everyone else should stay clear of those working to assist the injured person(s) and everyone here should refrain from un-holstering or otherwise touching weapons until the instructor or range officer says otherwise.
- If there’s some other requirement of folks, be sure to mention it.
- Review and confirm
So to review: first thing everyone does is make all firearms and the area safe. Next, those with a specific job will do them, as necessary:
- Who is the primary medical responder? Secondary?
- Who is my 911 caller if needed? And their backup?
- Who’s getting the med kit? Who is backup?
- Who will collect and clear any unattended weapons? And their backup?
- Okay, what is everyone else going to do?
Be sure to get unanimous, clear acknowledgement on each of these review points.
I don’t know if this fits every firearms class or competition, but I believe something like this should be implemented as component to every class and match.
This sort of plan ensures that everyone first works to make the area safe and everyone knows who will initially attend the injured and handle emergency logistics and communications should they become necessary. Whether or not this specific plan is appropriate for every situation, at least the primary bases have been covered, with contingencies, and everyone in attendance knows what they should do. I believe that’s a big win and a minimum standard to meet.
Those of you with more contextual experience might recommend a slightly different plan, but for goodness sake, make a comprehensive plan like this and bring it to bear in every firearms class and every competition. If you’re already doing so, please publish your plan and let others learn from your good example! In any event, let’s not continue to leave any of these vital, lifesaving things to chance.
* * *
It will come as no surprise to those of you who keep up with my reviews here that I’m a Glock fan and a practicality fan, and habitually measure every pistol I shoot against a Glock; either directly or subconsciously. Given that few pistol can match Glock’s simplicity, reliability, and size/weight-to-capacity ratio it’s hard to consider recommending most pistols over a similar (but superior) Glock model. This time, though, I’ve got little to argue against. The Sig P365 does what it does better than either the Glock 26 or the Glock 43. With one caveat.*
I guess I’ve summed up my review right there. Okay, there probably is a reason to continue reading and my positive assessment of the 365 is not without dissent, but Sig got some things right here that can’t be denied. I spent part of this month shooting and getting familiar with the Sig P365 and this is what I found.
Why Consider the Sig Sauer P365?
The Sig P365 is a purpose-made concealed-carry pistol. It is also…the work of gypsies, as it takes a frame and slide that are either the same size or SMALLER than that of the Glock 43 (a single-stack gun) and adds 4 rounds to it. And it does it in a way that is more comfortable to hold and has a better trigger.
So you might consider the Sig P365 for its impossible sorcery of improved capacity and grip comfort over all competitors or perhaps for how it logically allows you to carry an 11-round, 9mm pistol that disappears onto your waistline as almost no other gun. Or perhaps you might consider this one because it’s a Sig Sauer pistol, known (with a cringy exception or two *cough*P320*cough*) to make excellent firearms.
Now, about that caveat I mentioned. Despite reports of issues with this pistol, I experienced no issues when running the gun through a couple hundred rounds (a gun that had 2,200 rounds through it already) and since this is a first-impression and shooting review, I will merely report on my experience.
Sig Sauer P365 Specs:
- Caliber: 9mm
- Length: 5.8 “
- Height: 4.3” with flush magazine
- Width: 1”
- Barrel: 3.1”
- Trigger: ~6 lb.
- Sights: XRAY3 Day/Night Sights (3-dot)
- Weight: 17.8oz. w/empty magazine
- Slide: Stainless Steel, Nitron finish
- Capacity: 10+1 (1 flush mag, 1 extended mag) – 12-round magazine available
- MSRP: $599
Shooting the P365
The first time I shot the P365 I tried to use my normal grip, with a high-forward support hand. I left not liking the experience because the slide-lock lever painfully abraded my support-hand thumb knuckle at the palm. Shooting it was genuinely uncomfortable. It later occurred to me to augment my grip so that the thumb knuckle was not in contact with the lever. This grip proved to be both effective and comfortable.
I came to enjoy shooting the little pistol and had no problems or difficulty running the gun; inserting mags, getting a grip, firing, ejecting the mag, locking the slide back, etc… The controls seem to be well located for my medium-sized hands and perfectly functional to what I’d expect. Frankly, I was expecting difficulty and never encountered any.
In one session I went back and forth between my Glock 43 and the P365, shooting groups at various ranges. I used my normal grip with my G43 and the altered grip with the P365. I was surprised to see that at ever distance, the groups with the P365 were half the size of the Glock 43 groups. Yes, that is anecdotal and I am not quite sure what to attribute this difference to, but I believe it is the better trigger on the Sig. Also the sights on the Sig seem a bit more precise.
I’ve read where the P365 is rated for +P ammunition, if you care about such things. The average defensive 9mm round is perfectly effective without any added pressure so I’ve always been against +P ammo. It’s possible that +P matters in a tiny gun like this, with such a short barrel, but I confess I don’t at this moment know where performance would necessitate a +P round.
Comfort, Controllability, & Capacity
As I mentioned earlier, once I changed my grip, I found the P365 to be quite comfortable to hold and to shoot. The grip is actually quite small and would be excellent for people with smaller hands.
Generally speaking, it’s a tiny pistol so shooting 9mm from it means it’s going to be snappier than a mid-sized pistol. That said, I found it very easy to control—even with a modified grip—and easy to make quick follow-up shots. This is especially true when I was using the extended magazine, where I was able to get my whole hand on the grip. I still find it amazing that this short, thin, little grip can hold a magazine with 10 rounds. It seems impossible, yet here it is.
Components & Features
The slide is a mere 1” wide and it has good serrations both fore and aft. The stock sights are very nice, with tritium inserts front and rear (mostly invisible in daylight, so you get a blacked-out rear) and the front dot is surrounded by a day-glow-green ring for daytime high contrast. I found the sights to be very easy to pick up and to use for easy accuracy.
As do all good pistols, the P365 has no extraneous external controls; only a slide-lock lever and a takedown lever mar the otherwise clean design. The trigger is plastic and does not have a safety-tab rib, making it a bit more comfortable on the finger pad than most striker-fired pistols’ trigger shoes. The trigger action is very nice for a stock trigger. It has some takeup, a clear wall, and a sort of dull break (not super-crisp). The reset is quite short and a bit soft; not as tactile as you’ll find on many striker-fired pistols. I found the trigger to be very nice when running the gun and, I think, it’s a component that contributes to the easy accuracy.
The frame has a nice, if not very aggressive, texture and it features an accessory rail up front. Note, however, that this is not a picatinny rail and is entirely proprietary. I expect that Sig will release some Sig-specific accessories for this rail in the future. The magazine release is easy to find and use and is reversible for lefties. The pistol comes with a 10-round flush mag and 10-round extended mag (with 12-round mags available).
I experienced no issues whatever shooting a few hundred rounds through the Sig P365. That said, there have been many reports of some specific failures and issues from the early purchasers of this pistol. The primary issue reported is that the pistols firing action causes the tip of the striker to drag across the primer (primer smear), often leading to a broken striker where the tip breaks off. As counterpoint to those reports, there are reports from folks who have 10,000+ rounds through theirs with no issues.
As this is not an in-depth review, I can only report on my own limited experience with this pistol. Issues after a first release are in no way uncommon with pistols and what matters most at this point is the manufacturer’s response to them. As you can likely tell, I’m a fan of the gun for a few important reasons. I cannot, however, recommend that anyone use this pistol as their sole personal-protection tool until Sig has a chance to address these post-release issues.
The P365 has the best size-to-capacity ratio of any subcompact pistol. The trigger and sights are quite good right out of the box. While small, the pistol’s ergonomic design makes it fit comfortably in the hand and the extended magazine allows most folks to get all of their fingers on the grip. For carry, the pistol is small enough to disappear onto your body no matter what carry location you choose. I found it to be easily accurate out to 15 yards, which is plenty for a subcompact.
The slide-lock lever will painfully abrade your support hand if you take a high, thumb-forward position. Being so small and light, the pistol is rather snappy firing the 9mm round. The P365 seems to have some function and construction issues yet to be worked out by the manufacturer, so it may not right now be the best choice as your only carry gun. Some may find the purchase price to be a bit off-putting.
So for rating the Sig P365…
For such a small pistol, it’s quite comfortable in the hand. I found the controls easy to reach and use.
Definitely a shootable pistol, with its nice trigger action and excellent sights. It’s only detriment is it’s subcompact size.
I found it plenty accurate and easy to get there. Again, sights and trigger are positive contributors here.
The P365 tiny and thin and should be invisible on just about anybody in any carry location.
Sig has seemingly done the impossible here; squeezing 11 rounds into a super-tiny striker-fired pistol that is both comfortable and accurate. It’s the kind of thing that most concealed carriers always wish for. I have to believe that this P365 will eventually become a concealed-carry staple for lots of folks.
I’m a Glock guy because I’m a 100%-reliability guy and it’s hard to contemplate replacing my G43 with something other than a Glock, but this little pistol has me seriously considering it. I’m not quite ready to jump yet, as there seem to be some function issues that Sig Sauer needs to address, but once done I am likely on board. I think this little pistol is a gem.