2018 Handgun of the Year
December 21, 2018
Guns & Ammo editors, contributors and staff present 2018’s pre-eminent firearms, optic, ammunition, suppressor and innovation awards. Only products made commercially available this last year qualify for nomination. Candidates that were introduced in 2018, but have yet to be shipped to retailers were excluded from our voting process.
During our roundtable discussions, products developed from the ground up and those that possessed the greatest potential impact to the greatest number of readers were given additional value when scored. When having to decide between two otherwise equally important new products, the more affordable choice typically broke the tie in our voting. This year, we have made our first exception to this rule with the shotgun category.
G&A acquired several samples of each nominee throughout 2018 for a comprehensive evaluation. Products that caused doubt in their reliability and manufacturing methods were eliminated from the list of candidates.
The winner for each category resulted from a point system once three criteria were met: First, the product must have been new and available for purchase in 2018. A line extension of an existing product didn’t earn the points as one possessing innovative features and engineering. Second, it must have demonstrated quality and reliability to a degree that met or exceeded its design objective. Lastly, the winner must offer the greatest appeal to the masses. G&A’s staff awarded points in this third principle following a survey of in-store availability and retail pricing to ensure the product exists and offers great value.
To protect the credibility of the Guns & Ammo of the Year awards, no manufacturers, advertisers or sales representatives were informed of our selection. What follows is a summary list of 2018’s best new products now offered by the firearm industry.
HANDGUN OF THE YEAR
SIG Sauer P365 defies logic. It generally shares the dimensional profile of the smallest 9mm pistols that use either a six- or seven-round, single-stack magazine. The P365 has a width of only 1 inch. With the 10-round, flush-fit or extended magazine inserted, the P365’s 4.3-inch height is comparable to other micro pistols, and the optional 12-round magazine only adds a half inch!
The trigger is fantastic and consistent from the first shot to the last. The easy-to-see SIG X-Ray3 night sights are among the best on any defensive pistol. The grip feels amazing — even for those with large hands. Racking the slide is easy for almost anyone. It points well. It’s accurate. It’s reliable. Plus, the P365 is already supported by an expansive aftermarket scene. G&A has never evaluated a pistol that’s been as universally enjoyed by any experience-level shooter as this.
G&A’s accuracy testing produced repeatable, sub-2-inch groups at 25 yards. Those numbers are more commonly associated with full-size pistols featuring fitted, match barrels. During our double-stack, 9mm, compact shootout — appearing in the 2019 Guns & Ammo Annual — the P365 beat out all of its competition during a 1,000-round testfire of each pistol.
While other pistol manufacturers struggle to match or challenge the P365, its steady sales have kept its over-the-counter price near its suggested retail of $600. Dealers have had to significantly mark down other brands’ defensive compacts to move inventory.
The fact that SIG Sauer’s P365 has won 2018’s Guns & Ammo Handgun of the Year award comes as no surprise to many. It’s an award that’s tough to dispute.
SIG Sauer P365
Type: Striker fired, semiautomatic
Capacity: 10+1 rds. (9mm) 12+1 rds. (sold separately)
Barrel: 3.1 in.
Overall Length: 5.8 in.
Weight: 1 lb., 2 oz.
Height: 4.3 in.
Width: 1 in.
Grip: Textured, molded polymer
Finish: Nitron (stainless steel)
Trigger: 6 lbs. (tested)
Sights: SIG XRay3 day/night; drift adj. (front and rear)
Manufacturer: SIG Sauer, 603-610-3000