A SIG Sauer P320 For My 9-Year-Old

As a parent and firearm enthusiast, the aspect of introducing your child to firearms can be both exhilarating and terrifying. Thanks to modern-day technology, there are many ways to interactively teach a child rules of firearm safety before they even pick up a firearm. This includes laser training. And what better to practice with than a SIG Sauer P320 Air Pistol?

The Basics

If you ask my daughter, she’ll tell you she is 10 years old. I certainly don’t want to stifle her ambition, but she actually won’t be 10 for a few months. Either way, when you grow up with a dad who makes his living carrying and teaching about guns, you will have made many trips to the range by the time you reach age 10. Shiloh is no stranger to guns, but she had never been overly interested in learning to shoot until a few months ago. I, of course, told her I would be happy to teach her. However, she would have to learn the four rules of gun safety before we began. I sweetened the pot by promising her a $5 bill when she could recite them from memory and explain what they meant.

I listened intently one evening as she went over each of the four rules for me:

  1. Treat all guns as if they are loaded.
  2. Never point your gun at anything you are not willing to destroy.
  3. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to fire.
  4. Know what is both in front of and behind your target.

I handed over the $5 bill with a smile and a promise that we would go shooting soon.

The Mission

I had a few things I wanted to make sure we accomplished. Beginning with the fundamentals of shooting, I knew it would be important for her to have some instant gratification for her efforts. Finally, I wanted to make sure I had a controllable environment without distractions. All this seemed to point in one direction: a CO2 air pistol, reactive targets and shooting in the backyard. I began to search the marketplace and was pleasantly surprised to see SIG Sauer had everything I wanted with one-stop shopping on their website.

Hardware

I selected the P320 AIR PISTOL in black for several reasons. It was CO2 powered, which meant we could concentrate on the shooting rather than the mechanics. Nothing is worse than having a gun that requires a mechanical engineer to load and unload, and luckily the magazine is easily removable by the thumb-activated release on the grip. It holds 30 rounds of steel BBs or .177 caliber pellets. This pistol also approximates the shape and size of an actual service pistol with real sights affixed to the reciprocating slide.

I know this is probably a little large for my daughter at her current age. However, I wanted to begin acclimating her to a full-sized gun so the transition to a .22 caliber rimfire and then to a 9mm will be smooth as she gets older. Also, this will allow me to acclimate her to the movement of the slide and the weight and feel she will experience with the other guns.

Read an in-depth review of SIG’s P320 X-Five.

Staying On Target

My next task was to decide what kind of targets to purchase. I will freely admit I might have gone a little overboard here. What first caught my attention was the Quad shooting gallery airgun target. This is an all-metal pellet trap system that has four silhouette targets along with a center reset for a mere $50.

As I continued to browse the selection of targets I could not believe what I saw. They actually had a Texas Star target  just for airguns. This insidious torture device has nine mini-silhouette targets that flip out of the way when hit, causing the remaining targets to spin on the center axis, even going so far as to change directions. I couldn’t pass on this – it was only $50 for all that fun!

Just for good measure I went ahead and threw in the quad spinner target. I mean, for $15 how can you go wrong?

Finally, I was down to just CO2 and ammunition. I went ahead and piled a package of Sig Match lead pellets and a box of CO2 12 gram cylinders into my virtual cart. This set me back another 20 bucks.

So, with my cart full I checked out for just over $250, delivered free to my door. Heck, I’ve spent this much on ammunition alone for one trip to the range.

SPECS

  • Model: P320 ASP
  • Operating System: 12 Gram CO2
  • Caliber: .177 Cal.
  • Muzzle Velocity:  Up to 430 fps
  • Trigger: 6.75 lbs.
  • Accessory Rail: M1913
  • Mags Included: 30-rd. pellet mag
  • Overall Length: 9.6 in.
  • Weight: 2.2 lbs.
  • MSRP: $120
  • Manufacturer: SIG Sauer

Let the Games Begin

We had decided a Sunday afternoon would be the big day. As is always the case when I order something, I was dreading the assembly process. I allotted myself two hours to assemble the targets and get everything ready to go. This two hours, however, turned out to be only about 25 minutes. I was pleasantly surprised that as I removed everything from the boxes they were fully assembled, save the Texas Star. The Texas Star required exactly two wingnuts to fully install the legs and three wingnuts to install the nine arms. The airgun came ready for action and the process of installing the CO2 cartridge and loading the pellets was simple and straightforward.

Safety First

First, I had Shiloh review the four rules of gun safety. I then put a CO2 cartridge in the gun without any pellets and I fired it with her watching the slide go back and forth to allow her to become comfortable with the movement she would see as she fired the gun. I demonstrated hand placement and trigger placement and asked her to hold the gun as I had shown her. Finally, we discussed sight alignment and I let her dry fire the gun a few times.

We talked for a few minutes about how to load the removable magazine and I demonstrated with a couple of pellets. I then removed these pellets and explained that I don’t load magazines or bait fishhooks for other people. She gave me a smile and began loading her first magazine. With this completed, I had her read the instructions printed in the magazine and she inserted it correctly the first time. I was one proud pop at this point!

Range Time

We lined up about 3 yards from the quad shooting gallery and I encouraged her to squeeze the trigger until it stopped. I wish I could say she scored a hit with her first round, but with a little coaching, the targets were quickly falling.

The first magazine of 30 rounds went fast and she was loading away. We switched targets, and the feedback from the reactive targets brought smiles and giggles even from Mama, who was behind the camera for this first lesson.

The only task I did not let her perform was changing the CO2 cartridges. It required a little more torque on the screw than I felt she could safely deliver while still being aware of the muzzle.

Need more training exercises? Check out our review of the SIG LIMA320.

Lasting Impressions

At one point I  thought she was done shooting, and, not wanting to push, her I began to put things away. When she said, “is it okay if I shoot some more?” my reply was simply “I’ve waited nine years to hear you say that.”

Even Mama was happy. She sometimes can shoot me the stink eye when I push our baby too hard, but not today.

The toughest part for me was keeping my hands off the gun –  it looked like so much fun.

Success

The Sig P320 air pistol was flawless and delivered shootability and reliability without fail. The magazine loading system was easy to use. Inserting and removing the magazine from the gun was accomplished via the release that comes standard on the Centerfire version. This gun even works in holsters designed for the Centerfire P320.

Accuracy was not an issue with the steel rifled barrel. I feel confident this would be able to take small game at reasonable distances with a muzzle velocity of 430 ft./s using the alloy pellets.

I have no trouble recommending this gun as a teaching tool for first-time shooters or as a fun shoot for adults of all ages. The reactive targets were fantastic and well worth the money and will be used many times in the future.

For more information about SIG Sauer Air Pistols, click here.

For more information about SIG Sauer firearms, click here.

To purchase a SIG Sauer P320 on GunsAmerica, click here.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Jimmy Joe Meeker November 27, 2017, 9:57 am

    Great article. Brings back memories of not only my own father teaching me back in Camp Lejeune in the mid-60s, but of my 11 year old daughter’s love of shooting and archery today. The myriad rewards of shooting with your family and the traditions and memories created by same can never be understood by those who have never handled a firearm yet see no irony in judging responsible firearms users.

  • John November 27, 2017, 9:42 am

    Good job man

  • Mr. Sparkles November 27, 2017, 8:23 am

    Thanks for the great article. Having raised four daughters comfortable with guns and shooting I am starting on the next generation with twin granddaughters and three grandsons less then nine months apart so I look forward to spoiling them with your suggested package or something similar.

  • Cyrus November 27, 2017, 7:46 am

    Excellent article and 100% behind you . . . you might want to move the dog out of the way of the target though 😉

  • Dennis Brennan November 27, 2017, 7:01 am

    I decided to purchase a two gun (pistol & MPX) air gun package from Sig a few weeks ago. I considered it an early Christmas present to myself. I was blown away by the authenticity of these air guns. The weight and appearance of these guns mirror their 9MM counterparts. The only tedious part is loading the pellets. I’m a big guy with hands the size of oven mitts. The 177 cal. pellets are quite small, in comparison to my fingertips. I 100% agree with this review. These air guns aren’t cheap but they are loads of fun. They are a great away to introduce children to shooting.

  • Mike November 27, 2017, 5:27 am

    Great article btw…

  • Russ H. November 27, 2017, 3:30 am

    Great article! I had no idea Sig made these targets – great Christmas present, thanks!

  • SiggyP November 22, 2017, 1:56 pm

    Might want to show her how to hold it….

    • Mike November 27, 2017, 5:26 am

      She’s holding the weapon just fine for her hands. As she grows, her grip will adjust.

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