SIG SAUER’s New High-Capacity, Micro-Compact: the P365
A war in the industry has been raging in recent years with the objective being to produce the best – or at least most profitable – subcompact 9mm pistol. The latest handgun to enter the theater is the P365 from SIG SAUER.
Described as being a “high-capacity micro-compact” by SIG, the P365 has a size that is roughly the same as some of the other high-profile players in this space. Yet, the gun utilizes a 10 round flush-fitting double-stack magazine to offer more rounds on tap while keeping an overall width to just 1”. For even more firepower the extended p365 magazine will give the shooter 12+1 rounds.
That is significantly more ammunition in each magazine that some of its competitors. But, how does that work out with size and weight?
According to SIG, the new gun weighs 17.8 ounces with an unloaded magazine. That puts it slightly lighter than a Smith & Wesson Shield and a Glock 43, but heavier than a Ruger EC9s, Kahr CM9 and Kel-Tec P11. It has an overall length of 5.8” making it shorter than most of the guns save the subcompacts from Kahr and the P11. It’s width and height put it pretty close to most of the competition.
While it is easy to compare measurements, the numbers don’t tell you the whole story about a pistol. More important are things like how it fits the hand, how smooth is the trigger and the reliability of the system. We won’t know anything about these areas until the guns begin shipping and people get them on the range.
Nevertheless, shooters and writers will both compare the P365 to the competition. The P365 strikes me as a direct competitor to the Kel-Tec P11. The two guns share some very similar dimensions and have the same 10-round magazine capacities. Of course, the two pistols appear to be vastly different. For years, the P-11 offered shooters an affordable gun that is very lightweight, relatively thin and holds more than 6 or 7 rounds. It appears the P365 will now encroach on this niche.
Some people may be inclined to compare this pistol with the Glock 26. The G26 is also a double-stack, subcompact 9mm pistol. However, it features something that the SIG does not: magazine compatibility with larger guns. Glock made huge inroads with the law enforcement and concealed carry markets by making the G26 able to use magazines from the larger G17 and G19 pistols. Heck, the small gun can even run reliably from the 33-round magazines originally developed for the full auto G18 submachine pistol. The P365 does not appear to be compatible with other SIG magazines such as those from the P320 pistols.
The real test for the P365 will come in how well it performs in the market against the Smith & Wesson Shield. From its introduction, the Shield has been an amazingly good seller. While numbers are hard to come by, I would not be surprised to learn that more Shield pistols sell in the subcompact 9mm niche than any of its competitors.
While the P365 does offer more capacity and a smaller size than the Shield, it does so at a higher price. The current generation of 9mm Shield has a suggested retail price of $479 which is more than $100 cheaper than the SIG’s MSRP of $599. However, the additional money does get you night sights and a proprietary accessory rail.
Will consumers determine that additional capacity and features are worth the money? Time will tell.