Skip to main content

My Day at the Sig Sauer Academy with the SIG P320

My Day at the Sig Sauer Academy with the SIG P320
Photos by Richard King and Joe Trost

Although its origins are contested, the phrase “kick the bucket” is a colloquialism used as far back as the 16th century in association with the end of life; its blunt interpretation is “to die.” The centuries-­old euphemism experienced a comeback in popularity in the early 21st century when “bucket list” became a commonly used phrase to describe a list of things one has not done but wants to do before dying. Shooters’ bucket lists include guns we want to own (or at least shoot) and places we’d like to train. The SIG Sauer Academy was an unchecked box on my bucket list, so I enthusiastically accepted an invitation to a media event at the New Hampshire training facility last fall.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/gunsandammo/content/photos/SIGAcademyP320-7.jpg
The pistol cases issued at the SIG Sauer Academy contain a jaw-dropping assortment of P320 combinations.

The Epping, New Hampshire, facility opened its doors as the SIGARMS Academy in 1996 with an indoor range, two classrooms, a gun vault and an objective to train law enforcement and military entities. After 2001, the desire and capacity to train civilians grew along with the 140-­acre facility, which added multiple indoor and outdoor ranges, the region’s only 1,000-­yard range, multiple live-­fire shoot houses, urban environments, force-­on-­force training, a maritime training area and a well-­stocked pro shop. In 2007, the SIGARMS Academy was renamed the SIG Sauer Academy.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/gunsandammo/content/photos/SIGAcademyP320-1.jpg

The ticket for my inaugural visit to the SIG Sauer Academy was a writer’s event centric to the SIG P320 pistol. You may have heard that a variant of the P320 was selected in January 2017 to replace the M9 Beretta in the U.S. Army’s Modular Handgun System (MHS) solicitation, as there’s been a fair of amount ink spilled on that development.
any way you want it

My day at the SIG Sauer Academy began with a welcome presentation and compulsory range brief, at the conclusion of which the most badass pistol case I’ve ever seen was laid before me.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/gunsandammo/content/photos/SIGAcademyP320-2.jpg

As has been widely reported, the SIG P320 is a modular platform, striker-­fired pistol. The serialized frame and fire controls can be removed from the grip module without tools and reinstalled in grip modules ranging in size (full size, carry, compact and subcompact) and mated with correspondingly sized slide/barrel combinations (caliber changes are also possible between 9mm/.40 S&W/ .357 SIG platforms). The pistol cases we were issued contained a jaw-­dropping assortment of 9mm pistol combinations.

Displayed as the centerpiece of each case was a serialized, stainless steel P320 frame surrounded by four 9mm slide/barrel combos representing the spectrum of P320 sizes; the full-­size slide was equipped with SIG Sauer’s Romeo1 miniature reflex sight. The floor of the case was overrun with a dozen grip modules reflecting the aforementioned four available sizes and three available colors: black, flat dark earth (FDE) and olive drab green (ODG). Absolute elation was short-­lived after being informed that we wouldn’t be taking these magnificent cases with us at the end of the day for an in-­depth review, so we wasted no time delving into the SIG-­rich war chests to maximize our limited exposure to them while we could.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/gunsandammo/content/photos/SIGAcademyP320-4.jpg
The centerpiece of the P320’s modularity is the serialized, stainless steel frame and fire controls.

Once the shooting began, there was plenty of it. Attendees were encouraged to experience the versatility and modularity of the P320 platform in multiple configurations, and SIG Sauer staff even stuffed magazines for shooters to minimize downtime between courses of fire. We shot combat courses, reactive steel plate racks, courses of fire from and around vehicles, and even stretched the legs of the Romeo1-equipped full-­size P320 platform to ding steel beyond 100 yards.

Phil Strader, SIG Sauer’s pistol product manager and USPSA Grand Master, stopped by the range and demoed a P320 by burning down the reactive steel plates, thus emphasizing the difference between being a USPSA Grand Master and not being one. All in all, it was a very good day at the SIG Sauer Academy, only marred by having to abandon the P320 pistol case of my dreams at the end of the day. The heartache was partially abated by a trip to the pro shop and the assurance that a P320 would be provided to me for further evaluation.
everyday carry

//content.osgnetworks.tv/gunsandammo/content/photos/SIGAcademyP320-3.jpg

I wanted a P320 platform that was viable for everyday carry (EDC), and I’ve gone on record for several years as a proponent for pistol-­mounted mini red dot sights (MRDS), so selecting the P320 RX Compact was a decision I didn’t languish over.

The P320 RX Compact is a 3.9-­inch-­barreled, compact-frame pistol equipped with a Romeo1 miniature reflex sight; my pistol was upgraded with SIGLITE suppressor-­height, three-­dot tritium insert night sights. I’d pre-­gamed the arrival of the pistol with the acquisition of a PHLster SIG 320 Classic RH appendix-­inside-­the-­waistband (AIWB) holster, so the pistol was ready to go to work after function testing and sighting-­in the optic.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/gunsandammo/content/photos/SIGAcademyP320-5.jpg
The P320 RX Compact is a viable EDC option when coupled with a quality holster such as the PHLster SIG320 Classic RH AIWB.

There’s a lot to like about the P320 RX for an EDC platform. The nitron-­finished slide is serrated front and rear, providing increased purchase for slide manipulation. As mentioned, the 3-­MOA Romeo1 miniature reflex sight sits astride the slide at a height that accommodates a lower 1⁄3 cowitness of the SIGLITE night sights as a means to track the optic’s reticle and as a redundancy should optic failure occur. On the topic of optic failure, it ought to be noted that SIG Sauer’s unlimited lifetime guarantee on the Romeo1 is a welcome benefit when you consider the outright recoil-­induced abuse that a pistol-­mounted MRDS is subjected to.

If you’ve heard good things about the P320’s trigger, believe it. I have a dollar that says if you sample the trigger of the SIG Sauer specimen I reviewed, you would not predict that the new gun’s trigger break consistently registers on an RCBS trigger pull scale at just over 7 pounds, but it does. The trigger weight deception is due to a crisp break that occurs in just about a quarter-inch of travel after the slack has been removed. Also south of the slide, a 15-round magazine feeds the pistol, and a MIL-­STD 1913 rail is on the dust cover for those who’d employ a weapon-mounted light (WML), laser or combination unit.

//content.osgnetworks.tv/gunsandammo/content/photos/SIGAcademyP320-8.jpg
Breakdown of the P320 is simple and tool-free whether for maintenance or to exploit the platform’s modularity.

There never seems to be a shortage of new submissions into the personal defense pistol market, but following platform functionality, I have a secondary metric to assess platform viability. If I have to undertake an Indiana Jones-­worthy quest for acquisition of parts, magazines, holsters and accessories for a pistol, it’s not for me. With the Army’s MHS award and the pending acquisition of the P320 platform by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), further adoption by law enforcement agencies and the private sector can be predicted, which will likely be accompanied by a level of aftermarket industry support that Glock pistols have had a monopoly on for some time now.

All things considered, the SIG P320 will get a seat at the EDC table with me, and as far as the SIG Sauer Academy is concerned, I’m going to consider that only partially checked from my bucket list. A few more trips will be in order before that box is fully inked. 
Current Magazine Cover

Enjoy articles like this?

Subscribe to the magazine.

Get access to everything Guns & Ammo has to offer.
Subscribe to the Magazine

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

Shooting 600 Yards with .300 Blackout

The .300 Blackout cartridge was developed to provide greater effectiveness than a 9mm at short and medium ranges when fired from a short-barreled suppressed firearm. Just because the cartridge wasn't designed to go long doesn't mean Rifles & Optics Editor Tom Beckstrand won't take it there, using a large-format pistol, no less. Armed with SIG Sauer's 9-inch-barreled MCX Virtus Pistol loaded with Black Hills' 125-grain TMK ammunition, Beckstrand attempts to ring steel at 600 yards with help from Hornady's 4DOF ballistic calculator in this segment of “Long Range Tech.”

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

Red vs. Green Lasers: Visibility in Bright Light

In this segment of “At The Range,” Handgunning Editor Jeremy Stafford and contributor Patrick Sweeney compare the visibility of red and green lasers in outdoor, sunny conditions.

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight – Perfect for Optics-Ready Concealed-Carry Pistols

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight – Perfect for Optics-Ready Concealed-Carry Pistols

The people asked and Trijicon answered. Introducing the RMRcc miniature red-dot sight for compact, concealed-carry pistols. Trijicon's new RMRcc features the durability and reliable controls that have made the RMR so successful, but its reduced dimensions make the “Concealed Carry” model better suited for the popular small-frame pistols designed for discreet carry and personal defense.

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don

Guns & Ammo TV: Cameras Don't Lie: 9mm vs .45 ACP

The age-old question, 9mm vs .45 ACP. For some, this has been asked and answered already. For others, the debate goes on. In this segment of “Cameras Don't Lie,” competitive shooters Patrick Sweeney and Jim Tarr head to the range to put the vaunted loads on record, and then consider the footage.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Springfield Armory's SAINT Edge Pistol may be the best AR pistol on the market.Springfield Armory SAINT Edge Pistol Review Handguns

Springfield Armory SAINT Edge Pistol Review

James Tarr - April 17, 2019

Springfield Armory's SAINT Edge Pistol may be the best AR pistol on the market.

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new RMRcc, they plan on dominating the concealed carry market as well.Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry Optics

Trijicon RMRcc Reflex Sight Review – Perfect for Concealed Carry

Jeremy Stafford - October 01, 2020

Trijicon has dominated the Carry Optic landscape on hard-use handguns for years. With the new...

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and deer; here's everything you need to know to make it work for you..350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know Rifle

.350 Legend Cartridge: Everything You Need to Know

Tom Beckstrand - April 02, 2019

The Winchester .350 Legend straight-wall cartridge is ideally suited for hunting hogs and...

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle Historical

The Story of Civil War Sniper Jack Hinson and His Rifle

Kyle Lamb - January 12, 2018

The story of a confederate sniper’s revenge and an exclusive look at his rifle.

See More Trending Articles

More Handguns

Concealed carry is on the rise, and the demand for variety has never been greater. Competitive shooter Jim Tarr joins Guns & Ammo Editor Eric Poole in this segment of “At The Range” to review the Kimber EVO SP, which is currently available in four unique models to meet Kimber's market demands.Guns & Ammo TV: Kimber EVO SP Handguns

Guns & Ammo TV: Kimber EVO SP

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 31, 2020

Concealed carry is on the rise, and the demand for variety has never been greater. Competitive...

Competitive shooter James Tarr joins retired police chief and current Firearm Instructor Jeff Chudwin to review Walther's new variant of the PPK.Guns & Ammo TV: Walther PPK/S .380 ACP Handguns

Guns & Ammo TV: Walther PPK/S .380 ACP

Guns & Ammo Staff - July 24, 2020

Competitive shooter James Tarr joins retired police chief and current Firearm Instructor Jeff...

The Hi-Point 995 TS carbine has low recoil, is chambered in a readily available cartridge, and is more accurate than many would expect when shot using loads it likes. It is a good choice for anyone in search of an inexpensive recreational firearm, or one for self-defense.Hi-Point Firearms 995 TS Camo WC Review Reviews

Hi-Point Firearms 995 TS Camo WC Review

Proofhouse - August 03, 2020

The Hi-Point 995 TS carbine has low recoil, is chambered in a readily available cartridge, and...

See More Handguns

Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE Arrow

Buy Digital Single Issues

Don't miss an issue.
Buy single digital issue for your phone or tablet.

Buy Single Digital Issue on the Guns & Ammo App

Other Magazines

See All Other Magazines

Special Interest Magazines

See All Special Interest Magazines

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Phone Icon

Get Digital Access.

All Guns and Ammo subscribers now have digital access to their magazine content. This means you have the option to read your magazine on most popular phones and tablets.

To get started, click the link below to visit mymagnow.com and learn how to access your digital magazine.

Get Digital Access

Not a Subscriber?
Subscribe Now