Meet the U.S. Army’s New Pistol for Civilians, SIG SAUER P320-M17

SIG SAUER P320-M17
SIG SAUER P320-M17

U.S.A.-(Ammoland.com)- The fighting guns of the United States Army holds a special significance to nearly all groups in our country. Some despise them and others hold them in reverence. In the gun world, we tend to do both, but for our own reasons. Today we are looking at the civilian version of SIG SAUER’s M17.

SIG Sauer P320-M17

When the P320 series was first released, it was met with some criticism. The negative press continued for several years as the design was put through other trials and a great deal of scrutiny. I remember there was even a bit of un-ironic laughter in some of my writer’s circles when the P320 design was entered into the Army’s XM17/18 MHS competition. It was believed that another brand of pistol, long a favorite of tactical and military groups, would handily win.

Yet, for all the damage and poor coverage, SIG emerged victoriously and their gun was officially dubbed the M17. Almost immediately there was a flurry of outrage, lawsuits, and general disbelief which shamed the community at large and brought dishonor to the names of those in denial about the Army’s choice.

The infantile repudiation of the new M17 came as no surprise to many, as the opposition to it was primarily composed of an army of non-military fanboys who felt slighted that the ‘better’ gun had not won. The fact is the laundry list of complaints were not at all justified and the gun that actually won is the gun that followed the rules of the competition in terms of modularity and technical requirements. This gun, being a P320, makes use of a removable internal chassis.

The pistol we have here is just about as close to the actual M17 as you can get on the street. SIG released a limited run of the real deal in a collector’s box with other goodies, but only to the tune of 5,000, which is small change considering how many other P320 pistols have sold in recent days.

The civilian gun features black controls as opposed to tan on the military model. There are also minor differences in the engraving and the type of anti-corrosion finishes used.
The civilian gun features black controls as opposed to tan on the military model. There are also minor differences in the engraving and the type of anti-corrosion finishes used.

The only real differences between this M17 and the military version are essentially cosmetic. The civilian gun features black controls as opposed to tan on the military model. There are also minor differences in the engraving and the type of anti-corrosion finishes used. Other than that, they are basically the same gun.

The pistol has a number for features that make it an excellent choice not just for those who enjoy military guns, but for the discerning shooter.
The pistol has a number for features that make it an excellent choice not just for those who enjoy military guns, but for the discerning shooter.

The pistol has a number for features that make it an excellent choice not just for those who enjoy military guns, but for the discerning shooter. While not a small gun, it is light at 29oz empty and can be easily carried. Magazines hold 17 rounds, but larger ones are available from SIG. The gun ships with two 17 rounders. Barrel length is 4.7” with an overall length of 8”, making it similar in size to other service pistols.

Like many of SIG’s new P320 pistols, the slide is cut for alternative sights. The plate on the back end of the slide carries the rear sight and it can be removed by backing out two screws hidden in the interior near the firing pin mechanism. I find this particularly handy and a great thing as you won’t have to send it off to a gunsmith in the event you want to mount a red dot sight. The gun comes with a nice set of night sights.

Unlike other P320 pistols, the M17 has a manual safety.
Unlike other P320 pistols, the M17 has a manual safety.

Unlike other P320 pistols, the M17 has a manual safety. This was stipulated by the Army and it is an excellent addition to the design. I personally love having a safety on a pistol that I know I will be out in the brush with. While I understand that many people despise a manual safety, I personally see nothing wrong with it. I enjoy that it is a fast, easy to use, and ambidextrous. Another small but useful addition is a subtle loaded chamber indicator.

The trigger, of which there has been much discussion regarding the P320 series, is both light and crisp. My example breaks clean and resets quickly and audibly. When the safety is engaged, the trigger is rendered inoperable, but the slide can still be manipulated in order to load or unload.

The plate on the back end of the slide carries the rear sight and it can be removed by backing out two screws hidden in the interior near the firing pin mechanism.
The plate on the back end of the slide carries the rear sight and it can be removed by backing out two screws hidden in the interior near the firing pin mechanism.

Firing the P320-M17 is a truly enjoyable experience. After having completed a half dozen articles on the .44 Magnum across various media outlets in the last few weeks, this was a real treat. The recoil was very low, even with the top end of 9mm ammo. Follow-up shots were fast and accurate. In the course of my testing, I did not have a single issue to speak of as far as reliability. I fired about 700 rounds from the pistol after I took it out of the box. I did not clean it at all during any point of testing.

For the accuracy and velocity portion, I tested many kinds of ammo over my Oehler 35P chronograph. Accuracy is the result of three five-shot groups from the bench at 25 yards. Velocity is the average of those same groups.

  • SIG SAUER 115gr V CROWN————————1225fps, 2.5”
  • SIG SAUER 124gr V CROWN ————————-1201fps, 2.0”
  • Black Hills 115gr FMJ———————————-1195fps, 3.0”
  • Black Hills 125gr Honey Badger Subsonic———967fps, 2.25”
  • Black Hills 100gr +P Honey Badger——————-1349fps, 1.25”
  • Buffalo Bore 147gr Outdoorsman——————–1098fps, 2.5”
  • Buffalo Bore Barnes 95gr +P+ ————————–1544fps. 1.5”
  • Hornady 124gr +P Critical Duty————————-1215fps, 2.0”
  • Hornady 135gr +P Critical Duty————————-1175fps, 1.75”
  • Hornady Custom 147gr XTP——————————1019fps, 2.5”
  • Hornady Critical Defense 115gr FTX——————-1204fps, 2.5”

I hear it quite a bit that there is a problem with the P320 series in that they have a high bore axis and a muzzle that droops downwards when shooting rapidly. I have spent a great deal of time with many in the series and have never had this issue. While it is true that the P320 does have a comparatively high bore axis, it is not anything that borders on the extreme. I had no issues with it as far as shooting it accurately or quickly.

SIG SAUER P320-M17
SIG SAUER P320-M17

At the end of the day, this is not the same gun that the military has. It is, however, the same gun in spirit and function and will serve you well for years and years. The fact that you can own something essentially identical to the most advanced and modular service pistol in the world just a few months after it was adopted by the greatest military power ever says a great deal about SIG and how they value this design.

For more on this great pistol and SIG ammo, go to www.sigsauer.com. The ammunition used in this article can be seen at www.hornady.com, www.buffalobore.com, and www.black-hills.com.


About Josh WaynerJosh Wayner

Josh Wayner has been writing in the gun industry for five years. He is an active competition shooter with 14 medals from Camp Perry. In addition to firearms-related work, Josh enjoys working with animals and researching conservation projects in his home state of Michigan

  • 14 thoughts on “Meet the U.S. Army’s New Pistol for Civilians, SIG SAUER P320-M17

    1. Mr. Wayner, like many others, lost me when he brought up that the trigger resets “audibly.” I would like to know who can hear a trigger reset after firing a round. This has to be one of the most idiotic things that is mentioned these days. But then I don’t have a problem doing well with the sights that came on my six Glocks either. YMMV.

    2. Man Glock fanboy butthurt is apparent here. Who cares. You are not Glock. Why do you get personally offended? It’s a product and a brand, and the US army contract is not an insult to your personal lifestyle choices

    3. All I can do is laugh and cry.
      Laugh that a bunch of video game-playing soy latte wimps chose this Swiss nightmare.
      Cry that our soldiers are, just as I was in Viet Nam, considered expendable with inferior arms.
      A Glock has proven itself the world over. Tell me that this Swiss CooKoo Clock gun will cost less than its civilian counterpart. NO Sigg costs less than ANY other gun, that is part of the mystique for the limp-dik ‘I want a Sigg like in the game’ crowd. How many women were are on the selection team?
      ‘Modular’, a word I laugh at. Why did the selection board not use ‘sustainable’?
      Funny how the 1911A1 was NOT modular and to this day cannot be beaten and still used by the SEALs and Green Beret forces.

    4. Let’s all grow up! I first owned a Glock 23 40cal. Loved it. Then got a Sig 220 45cal. Loved it. Different animals, but I loved them both. Then I whent shopping for a 9mm, and came home with a Ruger LC9SP; loved it. I own lots of guns. I love the new Gock 19X. Also I love the Sig M17. So I have both. I must say my favorite is the Sig 226 Elite 9mm 20+1. I love the Glock 19X for balance, It just feels great ($799.00). I love the Sig M17, it has such a great trigger and hand grip ($545.00). I rock the Sig M17 X Carry. If you have not checked out the X Carry then you might want to. O’ no, i just touched a Swiss made Kriss. Now let’s cry, swiss laws are crazy, 3 fully automatic guns per day if you as the (go down to the police station and get the paperwork) and you buy anything you want if you can afford it that day. So let’s cry about our restrictive laws for law abiding citizens if we are to get heated up.

      E

      1. I’ve owned my Sig model 220 in 45 ACP for years now.
        it is a well made shooter.
        i also own two model 1911’s, one is a Colt, the other is a Remington Rand.
        and i keep both in running order as well.
        plus i own other handguns, in different calibers, from Ruger, Smith & Wesson’s Beretta ext.
        plus as a Christmas present today i gave two of my older Grand Sons two of my shotguns, and the SURPRISE on their faces was MY REWARD.
        hope all here had a SAFE AND MERRY CHRISTMAS.

    5. In the infamous words of Vinnie Barbarino, “I’m so confused!”. How can I possible survive without this latest “must have” gun? I guess I’ll just take a chance and stick with my Glocks, FEGs, FNs, Smiths, Rugers, Savages and Brownings.

    6. The Sig P320-M17 is the new real deal. IMO Sigs superior sights and trigger alone put Glock in second place at best. Glock is a great gun, just falling behind the times.

      1. Yep, behind the times just like all my various S&W and Ruger revolvers bought during my single working days between the day I turned 21 (1967) until about 1973 when I got married. Not even to mention that old passe relic “T” model Hi-Power I bought new in 1970. It’s just a shame I have to deal with all these old guns now. It’s such a burden to have other shooters drool all over them at the range.

        1. There’s a lot of great guns out there. Many were manufactured long ago and their accuracy and function remain desirable over current production. My point is you have to replace the trigger and plastic sights on a Glock to compare with other brands. I’ve owned a Glock 17,19, 34 and 43. They all function flawlessly. My gut feel is Glock has stock in trigger and sight companies, otherwise why do they ignore the requests from their customer base to provide metal sights and crisp triggers on their otherwise great guns?

    7. Lol don’t act like “the bad press” wasn’t deserved. It had issues. And don’t be scared to say Glock. Glock has issues when it came out too. Y’all are just to young to know and don’t do research. They fixed it and became the standard that even this struggled to get past in rigged trials
      Time will tell if this is worthy.
      In the meantime what is this laughable thing? It’s just like it but it’s not. Why not sell the same? You fanboys should hold out and make them sell the real deal.

      1. “Fan boys”, “the standard”, ”rigged trials”… your preference shows. Hold each piece and quality speaks for itself. I personally feel the Glock is a great weapon, have owned a few in the past, but, Sigs quality and it’s attention to producing a contract competitor is what won the contract.

        1. @Joel never tried to hide my preferences. The statements aren’t untrue.
          It’s a good weapon and time will tell. I’ve carried worse for sure. I liked the 226. This new is hardly revolutionary though and this isn’t the “real” military weapon.

      2. The military said modular, Glock have them one gun. Maybe that requirement is unsubstantiated, but Glock failed to meet it. The fact they were allowed in to compete with a pistol that failed the specifications right it off the gate is surprising.

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