The first batch of instructors has received formal training on the new Danish Service Pistol SIG P320 X-Carry and since I probably won’t get mine until after New Years, I thought it prudent to ask one of those, who very recently got his hands on one, for his first impression of it, after having gone through the formal instructor training and live fire portion, in preparation of receiving the pistols and conducting service-wide instruction.
He agreed and what follows beneath is his words and impressions.
(Admin note: I have translated the text from Danish to English for international readers and have tried to convey the account as accurately as my English skills allow)
SIG P320 X-Carry – First Impressions.
Some new pistols come to the market and get a lot of hype. One of those actually won the selection to be the new Danish Armed Forces Service Pistol.
But does the SIG P320 X-Carry live up to it’s hype?
My training on this started as all others have, with disassembly and re-assembly. The locking mechanism is heavily inspired by the Browning locking system and looks similar to what we know from the SIG P210 and the H&K USP. Disassembly of the pistol also pretty much follows the same procedure. However the re-assembly does not. Contrary to most other pistols we have in the Danish Armed Forces, you have to insert the takedown lever before you push the slide and recoil spring onto the frame.
Why is this noteworthy? Because if you get lulled into an old routine way from other pistols of re-assembling the pistol, without the takedown lever in place you will have trouble disassembling it again, to correct it, without disassembling the firecontrol unit and the frame.
It’s not a big operation, but it does require that you get your issued multitool or another thin tool out to move the recoil spring back in place, after which you can disassemble the pistol. The takedown lever itself can be difficult to insert if you don’t have the correct angle.
This might paint a picture of a nightmare re-assembling the pistol, but in reality it’s not that bad. However, if you are in a unit, where you only get hands-on once a year for re-qualification, you might see some frustrations among the shooters.
Another thing that was apparent was the ejector. This is an integral part of the fire-control unit, bent in the same piece of metal which is the fire-control unit itself, meaning the only serialized part of the pistol.
Only time will tell if this was a bad idea, since you can’t exchange the ejector if it gets worn out. My best guess is that this will be one of the main reasons that pistols will be discarded in the future. Normally, you can exchange barrel, ejector, extractor, sear, hammers and various springs when they get worn out. On the old SIG P210 Service Pistol, basically the only way to discard the pistol was if the slide to frame tolerances were off the charts and with that full slide to frame rail fit on that pistol, that would take a long time.
The ergonomics are good. My hands are pretty small, but the pistol seems to have a smaller grip circumference than, for instance, the H&K USP. If you have big or very small hands you can change out the grip to another size.
The grip angle feels close to a 1911 angle, which was apparent when I drew from the holster. For me, that meant, my natural point of aim on the X-Carry was a lot like that from my privately owned pistols. But if you have been brought up on Glocks, it might point a bit lower, than what you are used to.
The grip comes with grip-tape parts. The coarseness of the grain is probably similar to a 120 grain, but personally I use 60 grain on my guns. I like the more aggressive surface of that, but that is personal preference. As long as you apply enough grip strength it should suffice.
On the top part of the grip-tape, there is a hole for the SIG logo, which probably wasn’t the smartest idea, since this is where the meaty part of the palm on your weak/support hand gets placed and helps the most. Especially when SIG SAUER has been so considerate to undercut the trigger guard. Generally I would have preferred that the grip-tape panels were bigger and covered more. However I do believe that we have got a better solution than the Americans have on their M18.
Lastly, on the grip portion, I would like to mention that our pistols come with a magwell, which the civilian X-Carry doesn’t have. Aside from greatly helping out with speed reloading, it might also be beneficial for those with very large hands. The pistol comes with 3 ea. 21 round magazines.
The slide has serrations front and rear, but our instructors recommended that you power stroke the rear of the slide. Meaning an overhand grip with your thumb pointing in towards you.
Personally I have never been a fan of that method and proceeded to mainly use the front of the slide.
The civilian version of the X-Carry has a lightening cutout on the top of the slide, the military version, we are getting does not have that. On the top of the slide there is “FMI” engraved on it instead. If I was issued the pistol, I would not rule out that I would attach some grip-tape there across the “FMI” and around the sides. Wet or bloody hands might prevent a proper grip on the slide, even when using the power stroke method. It is not the largest pistol and combined with cold weather, I believe extra grip tape is a worthwhile addition.
A quick note on the sights, before we get into trigger pull and recoil etc.
The front sight is from Truglo and has a green outer ring around a tritium dot. The green ring is very visible and tracks really well shooting fast at close in distances where you have “target focus”. However it is a very wide front sight and I believe that was the reason my split times were pretty slow at distances greater than 18 meters. There is light on both sides of the post, in between the rear notch when in a regular shooting stance, but with such a wide front sight blade you have to really concentrate, especially when such a large part of the target is hidden behind the front sight blade.
The rear sight is mounted to a cover plate in the cutout for an optical sight. They are fixed non-adjustable. Only the SIG Romeo 1 sight fits this cutout, so if it is decided to purchase optics for them later, you are limited to the SIG Romeo 1 sight. Unless they make an adapter plate for the slide. (Admin note: I have been informed by an authority that the optic footprint on the issued pistol is cut for the Leupold Deltapoint Pro, which also fits the SIG Romeo 1 MRDS without the need for adapter plates, as the only pistol in the selection process)
One of the criterias for the new pistol was, that it had to be striker fired and not a single action trigger, as we know from the SIG P210, or a double action/single action as we know it from the H&K USP.
Let me start by saying, the striker fired trigger on the X-Carry is without comparison, the best striker fired trigger I have encountered. It does not have the squishy waterpistol trigger of a Glock. There is virtually no creep on the takeup. It is obviously not like a glassneedle breaking, but I have experienced worse single action triggers, that were heavier and with a lot more creep than the trigger on the X-Carry. I had hoped for a shorter reset and since I primarily shoot 1911 single action triggers in civilian competitions I had a few bad follow up shots. These slow splits most likely looked for onlookers like triggerfreeze, but that just proves that when you are used to a really good trigger on your personal pistols, that can catch you out when you try to race with another type of pistol.
The bore line is placed higher than on a Glock, but I did not notice that during recoil at all. The light weight of the slide probably counteracts this. Especially shooting strong/primary hand only, my expectations of bigger recoil impulse were put to shame. I have not experienced such an easy-to-adapt-to recoil impulse in a long time..
The holster, belt and magpouches also deserves mentioning. Most items are from Safariland, except a double magpouch with molle from Protech for the TYR system.
The holster has SLS and ALS retention mechanisms, but is surprisingly easy to use. The holster is mounted in a Safariland QLS system and it comes with molle adapters and 3 different lenght (UBL) belt adapters in the kit.
The belt is a Safariland ELS, but none of the adapters nor the magazine pouches are ELS compatible. I got the impression that the intent was to purchase ELS magpouches in the future. This also means that Military Police and Security personel could mount Safariland pouches for Pebberspray, handcuffs etc. via the ELS system.
The belt comes with an inner belt, which could use an upgrade as the inner belt doesnt have any buckles and the only way to tighten the belt is via the velcro. I use a Safariland ELS belt for my competition rig, but have chosen another inner belt where one end of the belt is threaded through a buckle, before being pulled back and velcroed onto itself. This was you can tighten the belt. Personally I would start looking at a very thin belt with loop velcro on the outside and a small cobra buckle.
So, in the end, was all the hype justified?
For me, I am left with the feeling that the Danish Armed Forces has bought the best pistol available. The pistol might not be perfect, but that is mainly from a personal preference standpoint. But if any of the other competitors were better than the X-Carry, they would have to be a “Wunder-Waffe”
About the writer: He is active duty military and a pretty decent pistol shooter and a Danish National IPSC Champion.