The “Weight” Is Over for the P320 X-Five Legion!

SIG’s new P320 X-Five Legion is the company’s newest innovation in firearms.

Every new gun evaluation always seems to wind up focusing on one key element of the firearm. For some it’s the trigger, other times it might be aesthetics or accuracy. And although this is the first polymer-framed pistol that SIG has branded with their LEGION moniker, the moment I picked it up I knew what this story would be all about – it’s weight!

It could just be that I’m getting older, but the phrase, “now I’ve seen everything”, comes to mind. When polymer-framed pistols first arrived (HK, then Glock) it literally revolutionized the firearms industry. Lighter and more flexible than steel, and clearly less expensive to produce, the polymer-framed handgun has become the norm. We even have polymer-framed 1911’s for crying out loud – and revolvers with polymer frames!

And, just as the audiophiles and hipsters have rejuvenated the market for old-fashioned vinyl records – there has been a growing new appreciation for the heft of an all-steel handgun. There are young men and women shooting IDPA and USPSA matches today that have never known a time when most handguns were not at least half plastic. And so, for them, the “retro” thing to do is shoot all-steel pistols. And in doing so, many have discovered that the added weight of the gun greatly aids the shooter in managing recoil and controlling muzzle lift. It’s simple physics – the energy of the fired round can’t move the heavy steel as much as it can move the lighter polymer. It started with the ubiquitous model 1911, but look around you at a match and you’ll see CZ’s (and the many copies of it), Beretta 92 variants – I’ve even seen a Browning Hi-Power at a match.

But one comment I’ve heard over and over from competitive shooters that are using steel-framed guns is that they wished it had the flex of a polymer. Well, once again the engineers at SIG Sauer have stormed Area 51 (or perhaps just snuck in late one night) and stolen alien technology. Last year they gave us the P365 that holds 11 rounds of 9mm in less space than 11 rounds of 9mm takes up…. And this year they are giving us a polymer-framed handgun that weighs MORE than many steel-framed handguns. It begs the question from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, “who are you, who are so wise in the ways of science?”.  Well, science it is apparently.

SIG has found a way to infuse tungsten into the polymer during the molding process of the frames. I learned this before holding the gun, and thought it was mildly interesting and perhaps another win for the marketing department in New Hampshire. I didn’t realize just how much tungsten they were talking about – this thing weighs a ton! Well, maybe not a real ton… 43 ½ ounces to be exact. My copy gained nearly another ounce when an optic was installed.

The P320 X-Five Legion comes with three 17-round magazines that should be legal for most shooting sports.

There is more to this new Legion than just extra weight. Let’s review the main features, with a reminder of what the Legion Series is about. When the Legion concept was introduced some years back, SIG Sauer talked about them being out-of-the-box ready with the most frequent upgrades done by customers. Things like upgraded sights, a nicely tuned trigger, better grips, etc.

To distinguish the sub-brand name, SIG treats each gun with the “Legion Gray” PVD finish. Once you buy your pistol, you can register the purchase with SIG online and you’ll receive a nice molded case with cutouts to precisely fit your new gun, along with a challenge coin that is specific to each model Legion made. There is no additional cost for these items, you bought them when you bought the gun.

There is also a Legion product line that includes custom holsters and mag carriers, knives, and swag. Your membership to this club gives you access to it.

The X-Five Legion comes with a nice set of Dawson Precision adjustable sights – a green fiber front sight is mounted, and spare light tubes in green and red are provided. The rear sight is a blackout style with a medium-to-wide notch. The slide is pre-cut to accept an electronic red-dot sight, however, support for the industry is limited to a select few optics – SIGs Romeo1Pro and Leupold DeltaPoint Pro are the two I can name for sure at this time.

In the box – 3 mags, an extra recoil spring, replacement front sight light tubes, access to the Legion Owner’s group, and some swag.

SIG Sauer has a history of making their guns somewhat proprietary when it comes to aftermarket accessories, and this continues that tradition. When you remove the cover plate to install an optic, you also remove the rear sight. What’s worse is that there is no dovetail to mount another, taller rear sight that might co-witness. Yes, some optics have options for a backup rear sight, but this once again paints you into a corner. If it sounds like I’m complaining, I am. I’m not a fan of proprietary basics on guns. The silver lining in this Legion gray cloud is that the optics it is compatible with are among the best on the market, and sooner or later, adapters will exist.

“Legion” also means competition trigger and this one does not disappoint. With more weight removed, it has a snappier reset, and it breaks at almost two pounds less pull than the non-Legion X-Five.

The trigger is also upgraded for the Legion version of the X-Five. This one is a lighter, skeletonized trigger that requires less spring force to reset. I measured the trigger pull to be 3 lbs., 13 oz. with my Lyman digital gauge. This compares to 5 lbs., 9 oz. using the same gauge on the “regular” P320 X-Five. The trigger is light and crisp with a wonderful reset. The barrel is essentially the same 5” heavy barrel, but it is finished in SIG’s traditional Nitron® finish and looks good against the gray exterior. And you’ll see it easily through the lightening cuts in the top of the slide. Most everything is the same as the non-Legion version, with a couple more exceptions. The P320 X-Five Legion comes with three 17-round magazines, each with a nicely milled metal baseplate with the Legion logo engraved on the bottom. Lastly, SIG provides a different guide rod/recoil spring assembly system for the Legion. Instead of a captured flat spring, as on the non-Legion, this pistol uses a non-captured coiled wire spring. And you get two of them – a 14 lb. spring comes installed, and a 12 lb. spring is in the box. The presumption is that many competitors shooting lower power ammo can use the lighter spring and still achieve proper cycling of the action. Those springs slip over a much heavier guide rod than found in the regular X-Five.

Virtually all the weight difference is in the frame itself. I put the bare frames of each, the X-Five original and the X-Five Legion on the scale (both with the grip weights included). The original frame weighs 7.75 oz., while the new tungsten infused frame tips the scale at 16.6 oz. Mathematically, that accounts for the difference between the guns, which leaves me scratching my head just a bit – because the Legion also has a heavier guide rod, but probably just by fractions of an ounce… and I don’t do fractions very well, just ask my math teachers.

The familiar components of the P320 have been enhanced by such things as Nitron® coated barrel, heavier steel guide rod, and a choice between two supplied recoil springs.

SHOOTING THE X-FIVE LEGION

If you’ve never shot the P320 X-Five at all, then you have been missing out on one of the most competition-ready handguns in mass production today. I know a good number of very fussy competitors who have switched to the X-Five and not looked back. The Legion edition of this performance machine takes it up more than one notch. I have to talk about the weight again – because that is the single biggest difference and the one that you’ll notice immediately. At 43 ½ oz. vs. 35 ½ oz. for the ‘regular’ X-Five, there is no guesswork at all about which one you’ve picked up. But all that weight is very balanced and does not feel “heavy” while shooting.

The color matching of the PVD coated slide to the molded synthetic frame is excellent.

Even during slow fire trying to print good groups, the long period having the gun fully extended at arms’ length was not fatiguing. Where it pays dividends is during fast fire. The weight of the gun gives the 9mm round something substantial to try and move, while the flex of the polymer absorbs the micro-shocks as they move toward the shooter’s hand. The gun shoots flat and allows you to maintain a sight picture through the follow-up shot. The combat style shooter will appreciate the light and crisp trigger, while the added weight and choice of recoil springs will allow you to safely achieve power factor without the penalty of added muzzle lift.

The first careful groups were shot using the very nice open adjustable sights.

As I am apt to do when the opportunity presents itself – I ran this new Legion through a complete 5-stage IDPA match (note: The X-Five Legion is ½ ounce too heavy for IDPA, and must be shot in NFC unless you remove the extra weight located in the backstrap of the grip frame). Did I mention I did that without firing a single test shot first? No, I didn’t win the match, because I suck (I’m a middle of the pack sorta guy) – but it wasn’t because the gun couldn’t do it. It was almost perfect, except for one ammo malfunction I had with my match hand loads. Once I cleared an early feed jam, it ran flawlessly the rest of the day – and has since. I suspect the 12 lb. spring would have prevented that problem (which is why SIG supplies it, I reckon).

To test accuracy more formally, I made careful 5-shot groups from 20 yards with a variety of ammunition, using a CTK Precision rest. I shot the gun with open sights, and again with the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro installed. The red-dot optic does nothing for the gun or the ammo, but can certainly aid the shooter. Even so, results with the optic were not significantly better – except that it did allow me to hold more precisely to get a sub-half-inch group (0.464”) with SIG’s 124-grain defense ammo. The SIG V-Crown also printed the best 3-shot group (0.574”) using the standard sights. I guess it likes the family label.

There is no doubt that the weight of this gun is the big story and the key distinguishing factor of the new P320 X-Five Legion. Does this pistol warrant a trek to the local gun shop to trade in your lightweight X-Five for the Legion? For some, it will. SIG Sauer has delivered more than just the same gun painted gray. Although speaking of the gray PVD finish – it seems a bit flatter versus other Legion models, and still seems prone to being easily worn. But the slide to frame color match is very good (always a challenge with steel vs. synthetics). I’d have liked to have seen the Legion medallion in the grip frame, even if it had to be a molded version. The only Legion moniker on the pistol is on the removable slide plate.

JUST MY OPINION

Is the Legion name a marketing creation, a fanboy club, or an elite line of enhanced firearms? Yes. Which of those is most applicable depends on the buyer – but if you’re after the latter… you’ll get it.

The visible changes that make a Legion a Legion may be few, but the shooter can feel the differences it makes to performance.

Serious competitors are always looking for ways to shave tenths of seconds from their time and I think this pistol can do that. Trigger divas of all shapes and sizes will benefit from a trigger that pulls at about a third lighter than the already good P320 X-Five. It comes down to your perceived value and needs (or wants… wants count too). If you do not yet own a P320 X-Five and are considering it then I strongly suggest you head straight for the Legion. It may have features you don’t yet need or appreciate – but you’ll grow into them. The innovative approach that SIG has taken to give a polymer gun the same weight as a solid steel gun just shattered another industry paradigm. Price? SIG doesn’t publish the MSRP, at least not yet. Early online offerings show some sellers asking about $1,149, but you’ll find them for much less, under $900.

For more information visit SIG Sauer website.

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{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Brooks Estadt March 30, 2020, 7:04 pm

    I had both the x5 and x5 legion and the legion is by far my favorite 9mm ! I’ve had a ton of 9mm and the sig x5 legion is outstanding. I shoot awesome with it and I am an average shooter, it aims naturally, feels great and no kick, no jams. I can’t say enough good things about it, $900. I bought 21 rd mags for it too. Love this gun, 100% recommendation ! Thanks

    • Hans April 14, 2020, 4:13 am

      Just curious, I thought that the 21rd mag does not work with the X5 legion. Did you buy the std 21rd mag from SIG?

      • Brooks Estadt May 15, 2020, 6:12 pm

        I bought it from my gun shop but it is brand new from sig.

  • Sheldon November 19, 2019, 12:04 am

    Could put this on a p320 x carry? Thinking of buying the grips, slide…etc. instead of buying a p320 x carry. I just bought x5 legion.

  • Jason Mills August 6, 2019, 6:53 pm

    Would I be able to compete in IPSC production with the Xfive legion.

  • Ej harbet August 3, 2019, 2:50 pm

    A nice young fellow let me try his 320 a year ago. impressive weapon.
    The only thing id fix on the legion is the slide with gucci glock holes.
    They should start a slide swap section on gun broker so the kids can get gucci slides in trade for their milspec “normal” slides for us carmudgions.
    The straight trigger is something ive come to love.

    • Damcowboy December 16, 2019, 6:54 pm

      They put the slide cuts in so that the gun will make the maximum weight limit in USPSA competition for Carry Optics division. The legion with a red dot optic weighs around 44.5oz and the weight limit is 45oz. Given the X5 Legion is primarily aimed at competition shooters the weight is a big deal

  • George from Alaska July 30, 2019, 11:30 am

    I got a Delta Point pro for my P320 Military looking M17 but with the black controls unlike the first Commemorative. I was able to find the sights that fit into a small milled area at the back of the DPP area. Seems to work just fine.
    Ordered a Grayguns trigger kit but ordered the wrong one as my commemorative has dual safeties and I got the wrong kit so I put it in my P320 carry. What a difference in in trigger pull and reset! I’ll check later this week and get one for my M17. Now I see they did make a M17 version without safeties but that’s not what I was told by a LGS… once again five minutes of computer due diligence would have set me right but i did get a chance to finally put a flat faced trigger and kit into a handgun. I did it with help from YouTube as there were no instructions included. Also put a Greyguns in my HK45T and it too made a world of difference.. Hard to really do miracles on that 57 pound DA first pull but it did and again, a phenomenal reset.

  • Apolonio Marin July 30, 2019, 12:01 am

    Very hampson, but it is out of my pocket. I’m interested in a SIG516 7.5″ froom SIG, if you sell that , please let me know

  • Paul Strickland July 29, 2019, 9:08 pm

    I am confused …. what does any of this review have to do with Area 51? …. I don’t get it. The title of the email said this is about the Area 51, 320 X5 Legion …. I thought maybe it was a special model.

    • George from Alaska July 30, 2019, 11:35 am

      The Area 51 thing comes from a planned mass gathering/storming of the security fences of Area 51 planned for later this summer or fall. There were earlier jokes that the technology used to fuse the tungsten into the polymer was “borrowed from the Aliens at Area 51”. I believe it’s all just a joke except for the part about a huge group of UFO/AREA 51 enthusiasts that are planning to invade the facility sometime.

  • Mike Cornett July 29, 2019, 5:21 pm

    Yes, this is the new US Military sidearm. They will be manufactured in the USA.
    It went thru extensive testing and proved to be the best.
    Now and has been available to you as a civilian.
    If you are looking for that one semi-auto pistol, this is a great choice.
    One other pistol I would recommend is the CZ 75. Both are excellent.
    Good and safe shooting. Safety first.

  • Charles Hutson July 29, 2019, 11:15 am

    This gun is something special if you are an avid shooter or a competition shooter. I don’t see the benefit to pay $200 extra over the P320 X5. Its almost the same and you get 4 X 21 round mags. This gun is also just too heavy for me.

    • Bob December 30, 2019, 9:07 pm

      $200 is inconsequential for the targeted market

  • Dallas Finch July 29, 2019, 11:13 am

    Will Sig ever offer these new frames for their standard P320’s? I would like to try this on my 320 Compact.

  • bob July 29, 2019, 10:06 am

    ‘Safety’? Did I miss it? I copy/pasted the article so I could search it to see what type of safety the pistol has. But nothing – I would think it should be part of a gun review.

  • jeremy grant July 29, 2019, 9:58 am

    Such a badass pistol! It’s rare a new offering these days gets me excited. I’ll be buying one after seeing this review.

  • Alan Robinson July 29, 2019, 9:04 am

    I don’t think it’s a “growing appreciation” concerning all steel handguns as much as it’s an ingrained misconception about Polymer (foolishly referred to as plastic) handguns.
    Some old farts just can’t let go. Or progress.
    I have both, and value each for it’s strengths.

    • Lloyd Dumas July 29, 2019, 6:14 pm

      I am respectively the old fart that just can’t let go of my all steel guns. Going back to when I would play cow boys and Indians some 60 yrs back my toy pistols were steel. Now I own two pistols that are non metal they were gifts, if it’s too heavy and you can’t tote it don’t play cow boys. Forever Steel.

  • Manny July 25, 2019, 7:19 pm

    How much is the new P320 Legion X5

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