“No army can withstand the strength of an idea whose time has come.” – Victor Hugo
It is not often I find a weapon that actually changes my core preferences. Being a soldier is a strange mix of knowing when and where to adapt, without falling prey to every new whiz-bang improvement that comes down the line. The upper echelons of the military are obsessed with technology, but those of us that have spent our lives at the pointy end of the stick are often more inspired by dinosaur technology.
I wouldn’t go to a fight without my Night Vision Goggles, but there is a Randall knife on my belt too. There is a lot to be said for tradition, and we tend to grow fond of the tools we used in combat. Try convincing a Korean War veteran to adopt an AR-15, and you will see exactly what I mean.
Welcome to the New Age — SIG’s P320 X5
The last day of SHOT Show 2017, Phil Strader put a pistol in my hands that absolutely blew me away. Never a fan of SIG handguns, I was nonetheless intrigued. Now, I am not so young and foolish to think of handguns as a serious implement of war. But I do think, in this day and age, especially given the price of a decent pistol, our Soldiers should have them. I have spent more in a single night of training on chemlights and AA batteries than a pistol costs. For that matter, five flashbangs are about the same price, and we throw those like candy at a parade.
For myself, I have a preference for Glocks. Not only is that what I carried in the war, it is what I trained countless Green Berets on at the CQB school. I also competed in Three Gun and USPSA with a Glocks, achieving a Master rating in the latter. There is nothing more fun than blowing the doors off of someone shooting a custom $4,000 gun, using a $500 chunk of combat Tupperware.
It is a safe bet I have over half a million rounds on the Glock platform, and probably well North of that. Hell, I was on the Glock poster at one point. And in my personal advice to students as a civilian instructor, I have one bit of advice. If you want to be good at shooting, stop buying guns and start buying ammo.
Practice matters more than gun choice.
Safe to say, I was entrenched in the Glock lifestyle. It was going to take something truly incredible to make we switch platforms.
I can also say, I get more access to different weapons than most. I shoot at least two new guns a week, and I am often at the manufacturer-sponsored release event. So far, in several years of playing this game, nothing made me consider swapping my personal preferences. Good options abound, but nothing reached the high bar of enough better to warrant a full changeover. Until now.
A Game Changer
When the SIG P320X5 arrived at my doorstep, I was still skeptical. I didn’t want to love it. If I did, I was going to eat a lot of crow for all the smack talk I handed out about SIG over the years. But I couldn’t help myself. I fell head over heels. Now, after six months of testing, I am fully prepared to declare a New King.
When you pick up the X5, it just feels good in your hand. There is something to be said for that, but it’s not the end all test. The way the grip forces your hand to sit just feels, for lack of a better phrase, natural. Bringing the gun up puts the sights exactly where your eyes want them to be, as in it points well. From the first second, you start using the gun, you don’t have to hunt for the sights. SIG clearly had some magic up their sleeve on this one. It was especially telling when I went to the Glock Academy two weeks after my X5 arrived. My brain had already switched to P320 as a preference. After 500 rounds into the new Gen 5 Glock, my eyes were still hunting for the sights. That is a big deal.
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Much has been written about the X5 model, and the P320 series in general. No need to rehash all of that here. The balance is perfect, the recoil is soft ( even for caliber), and the gun is easy to drive. The biggest gains over every other gun on the market are the sights and the trigger. The sights impressed me from day one. Instead of making a solution in-house, SIG opted to use Dawson Precision, the choice of champions. A narrow blade fiber optic front pairs with an adjustable flat black rear, which is the preference of many competitive shooters, myself included. The slide is also precut for a red dot optic if that’s how you roll.
The trigger, however, is the true game changer. My trigger gauge says 5 pounds, but it doesn’t feel like it. Importantly, the trigger has little takeup, then a nice clean break. None of the crunch and grind of a usual striker-fired trigger. Out of the box, the X5 has a trigger on par with the best aftermarket jobs of any other striker fired gun. It is really beyond words, approaching the mythical 1911 trigger. And I’ll also be sending mine into Bruce Gray of Gray Guns for further improvement.
I have heard some whispering of the X5 lacking accuracy, mostly from fanboys of other platforms. I am equating this to a bunch of jealous groupies, clearly angry that the X5 is crushing it. Good news, reports of the P320X5 lacking accuracy have been greatly exaggerated. I did a walk back on a 11×11 inch steel plate, with first and second round hits at 100 meters, finishing at 125 meters with a second round hit. Beyond that, it became more of a hold and front sight post issue, not a weapon inherent accuracy issue. I don’t even consider myself all that accurate of a pistol shooter, I’m not a bullseye specialist. If I can keep them on steel past 100, the gun is very accurate.
Out of the box, this gun is absolutely ready for anything. No need to change sights, no other upgrade mandatory. It ships with 4x 21 round magazines, so you have plenty of those too. At an MSRP of $1005, this is the best value going in handguns.
Unusual for me, but reflecting my decision to fully board the P320 train, I liked my X5 so much I decided to have it Cerakoted. With no other accessories needed, I liked the idea of personalizing this one. My friends over at MCM firearms gave it an incredible look, at the bargain price of $369. That isn’t just for me, that is retail on what this pattern costs. The Templar Shield paint job gives the gun a unique feel that it is mine. It matches the tattoo I have on my left shoulder, shared by many others from the GWOT. If I was going to face down Jihadi’s today with a pistol, this would be my choice. It has pushed all my other pistols to the back of the safe, and I will gladly tackle the expense of new spare magazines and accessories.
If you haven’t shot a P320, I highly recommend it. And if you buy a new handgun this year, it should be the X5 model. I have my fingers crossed they release it in 40 S&W next because I would buy that one too.
For more information about the SIG Sauer X5, click here.
To purchase a SIG Sauer X5 on GunsAmerica, click here.