SIG’s P320 Handgun – Comments by John Farnam

By John Farnam

SIG’s P320 Handgun
SIG’s P320 Handgun

“I have not ‘failed.’ I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work!” ~ Thomas Edison

Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( As I indicated, SIG’s new P320 represents SIG’s first attempt at a polymer-framed, striker-fired, main-stream, duty pistol.

Like S&W, SIG has been compelled to (belatedly) introduce this Glock-like product in order to remain competitive as a major player in the industry.

The copy of the 320 I saw at the SHOT Show last week did not have a passive, trigger-tab safety, nor did it have a manual safety. I was told an optional (and superfluous) manual safety lever will be offered, at some point, as an alternative. This will be a mistake, as it will hopelessly confuse consumers, much as it has among M&P owners.

Like Ruger before them, I suspect SIG will belatedly discover that not having a trigger-tab passive safety on this new pistol, similar to Glock’s (or a jointed trigger, similar to S&W’s) from the beginning, was also a mistake. Absolute, mechanical drop-safety on serious pistols has become an institutional requirement, and a universal consumer expectation. Modern consumers demand a pistol that can be routinely carried, even in tempestuous environments, with a round chambered and ready to fire, with never a worry about trauma-engendered ADs (Accidental Discharges).

In any event, the 320 will be available in a “service” version, and a “compact” version. I only saw the former at the Show. 9mm is first, of course. 40S&W and 45ACP will follow at some point. With the 320′s modular system, these options can be added with relative ease.

As noted, what will give the 320 a competitive edge is its ingenious modularity, similar to the 250′s. A wonderful feature, particularly for institutional consumers! Acco-(<a title=”AmmoLand Reports” href=”” target=”_self”></a>)-  S&W used to have an extensive line of hammer-fired, manually-decocking pistols too. They’re all gone, as S&W’s full attention is now devoted to their excellent M&P line.

Time marches on!

I predict the same (eventual) fate will befall Beretta and H&K, but I don’t believe they, at least as yet, “get it.” I’d wish them good luck, but they wouldn’t know what to do with it!

The four pistols we see most often in Courses are Glocks, M&Ps, XDs, an Kahrs. Polymer-framed (except some Kahrs), self-decocking, striker-fired, and mostly double-column (high-capacity), with no decocking levers, no manual safeties, and no magazine safeties, and absolutely drop-safe, as noted above. The foregoing defines the current ”main-stream.” For serious pistols, owned for serious purposes (police and non-police), those are the criteria consumers, institutional and individual, are currently demanding.

When pistols like that are not part of your line, you’re off the main stream. And, manufacturers who add unneeded, foolish folderol, like manual safeties and magazine-safeties, are only hurting themselves, and confusing their customers, as noted above. Making this trash “optional” only adds to the confusion!

There are many “side-streams,” however. For example, the concealed-carry market is big and growing. Lots of demand here for short, flat (mostly single-column), light, simple pistols that are thus suitable for a wide spectrum of concealment challenges. Some pistols in this category, like the Boberg, Rohrbaugh, Beretta Pico, the Double Tap, the Kahr P380, and the five-shot, snubby revolver will continue to do just fine confining themselves to just this segment of the market.

Speciality” pistols, like the 1911, have a following, and likely always will, but it is not growing. Same comments for “race-guns” and non-serious “kiddy-guns,” like the double-barreled 1911 AF2011-A1. They may get a disproportionate amount of hype in gun-rags, but it will never translate to significant market-share!

All the foregoing, of course, from the lips of someone who never manufactured any kind of gun in his life. I like to think I’m up to speed on this market and industry, but I’ve been surprised before!

Good competition makes for good products! Of course, we want all gun companies, particularly American ones, to be widely successful. As a nation, we need a strong, and growing, arms industry, lest we be forced to buy our arms elsewhere!

This world, domestically and internationally, will never be “at peace.” That’s a cruel fantasy! That being the case, let’s plan on coming out on top, no matter what happens.

Modern, superior arms will help!

“Greed, for lack of a better word, is good!

Greed is right! Greed works! Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures, the essence of the evolutionary spirit!

Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge, has marked the upward surge of mankind” ~ Gordon Gekko (played by Mike Douglas) in the 1987 feature film, Wall Street

Read my follow up to this article with comments from SIG SAUER:

About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

  • 5 thoughts on “SIG’s P320 Handgun – Comments by John Farnam

    1. “….like the Boberg, Rohrbaugh, Beretta Pico, the Double Tap, the Kahr P380…” Are, in my opinion, barely suitable for a backup role IF one can find and or afford one. The Boberg and Rohrbaugh are makes that are not that common. The Double Tap is a “gimmick” gun. And the other .380s are, as I said, better in the role as backup, not a primary!!

      And as far as those “options” like a tabbed trigger, manual safety, magazine safety, etc. To paraphrase I believe the old Master, Jeff Cooper, those are solutions in search of a problem!!! In the 50+ years I have been in the firearms industry, it has been my observation that mainly the S&W models that had one or more of those features (mag safety in particular) as a “standard” were missing on the actual guns a LEO agency traded in for newer models. It would be noted on the slide “THIS PISTOL WILL FIRE WITH MAGAZINE REMOVED” so, obviously, that feature was UNWANTED by most LEO agencies. And having a manual safety on theses guns is like putting one a “double action” revolver. I think High Standard once offered one none of their revolvers, but it was short lived.

      And NOTHING will prevent “STUPID”. I recall many years ago that, IIRC, the Washingto DC PD went to the HK P7 on the premise that, having an unusual design (squeeze cocker) it would improve “officer safety” in the event the officer lost control of his pistol and the BG ended up with it and would not know how to “operate” it. As I heard the story, during a training exercise, a SGT on managed to shoot one of his own officers in the back using one of those “SAFE” pistols. He tried to shoot by pulling the trigger, which failed since he had NOT adequately “squeezed” the pistol, but during the process, finally squeezed hard enough, with his finger on the trigger, that when the pistol DID fire, he was no longer “on target”. I cannot voucher for the authenticity of this incident, but … Stuff happens no matter what!!!

    2. two days ago i purchased a Sig Sauer 320. Today i fired it for the first time. Let me preface my comments with I have many guns. This is probably the most comfortable gun i have ever fired. It fits your hand right, it is accurate right out of the box and the sights are great. I fired fifty rounds without a hint of a problem. This is really a very well made and accurate gun. I would compare it to any 9mm that i have fired. I was hesitant to buy a composite gun as all of my others are steel, but this had some weight to it. I had purchased a Beretta 92FS, fired it two times and returned it because it just was not accurate and didn’t like the feel when i fired it. Damn, i really wanted a Beretta too. But, I fired this, and in just the first shot i knew it was going to perform great. Of course being a new gun line the guys at the range were really interested. It impressed everyone. I highly recommend that you try out this gun. But, be prepared to buy it if you do. This American made gun will stand up against any foreign manufacturer. I even like it better than my CZ, and that is saying something.

    3. You state “Like Ruger before them, I suspect SIG will belatedly discover that not having a trigger-tab passive safety on this new pistol, similar to Glock’s (or a jointed trigger, similar to S&W’s) from the beginning, was also a mistake”

      I think you should learn to do a little more research on a product before you go throwing a article out like this!

      According to SIG’s press, the P320 is also available with these optional features:

      Tabbed safety trigger.
      Frame-mounted ambidextrous manual safety.
      Loaded chamber indicator.
      Magazine disconnect safety.

      And before you start spouting off, if you had done your research with Sig you would find out the “Optional” features were made available at the request of various LE/Military organizations they consulted with in the development of the firearm.

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