The SIG P365 vs P365XL

Dual wield P365 with drum mags? The only way to do a shoot off.

Some of you may recall the glowing review I had on the very first P365 featured on Guns America Digest, a little over two years ago. I called it things like a “paradigm shift” and the first “full sized gun replacement in a micro package” that I had ever seen. It was so good that I sent SIG a check instead of the gun back. So, why have I been notably silent on the P365XL?

A challenger rises

Because I was very concerned that SIG screwed it up. I saw the pictures and was immediately convinced that they ruined my baby. I have seen other companies walk down this road with disastrous results. It starts with an awesome CCW sized gun. Then some rocket surgeon decides that it would shoot a little better with a slightly longer barrel. Then it is pointed out that a little bigger grip would feel better. And the next thing you know, you have a “CCW” gun that is the size of a Government Model 1911, which absolutely defeats the purpose. So when review time came around on the XL model, I gave it a hard pass. I was very happy with my normal-sized P365 and I wanted nothing to do with an abomination.

Clash of the titans

Then a couple of months passed, and I happened to see an XL model in the shop at Hawktech Arms here in Boise. And to prove how right I was, I decided to pick the monster up and hold it. And then something bad happened. The XL wasn’t an abomination. In fact, I kinda liked it. Which is easy to do when you don’t have to conceal something. But, the bug was in me. Could this new, slightly larger model hold up in a CCW role? Despite being bitten in the past, I had to find out. So I got one, got some gun leather, and started carrying it.

Grip length difference

Now I fully expected to hate the XL as a carry gun. I figured I would carry it for a week or so, it would pinch and poke and generally be a pain in the ass, and then it could be my night stand gun with a flashlight so that Regular P365 could rest and get some sleep too. But something weird happened. Even with the XL being bigger, and even with the XL having a red dot on top, I noticed ZERO difference in carrying it. I switched from a CrossBreed Reckoning to a new holster I had not tried from Crucial Concealment, to see if that mattered. I started switching carry every other day, P365 to P365XL, to see if I would notice then. I didn’t.

Barrel length difference

Which is pretty weird. The XL model is .8 inches longer, as well as the additional height and bulk of the optic. That should have made an impact, but it would seem some magic dust got mixed in by the engineering department. Which then leads to another problem. If the XL model carried just as well, could it possibly be a better gun than the regular P365? Heresy I say!

XL Grip length vs Original with 12 round mag inserted

So, I took them both out to the range for a good old shoot off. And having now done that, the easiest way to compare the two is feature by feature to see what has changed. And what that means.

Subtle, but a difference no less.

In addition to the slide and barrel length difference, the XL also has a longer grip. AHA, Gotcha you say? They did screw with the size! Well, kind of. The grip length of the XL with a flush fit 12 round magazine is the same as the P365 grip with extended 12 round magazine in it. The original 12 rounders have a sleeve on the magazine that makes the entire grip feel longer. And full confession, I haven’t carried my P365 without a 12 rounder since I got it. I’m guessing a lot of you haven’t either. Sig noticed this trend, and just expanded the grip to match our desire.

XL on bottom with distinct beaver tail addition

And in this case, the same size isn’t really equal. With the original 365, I did notice a trend over two years of training with it. Occasionally, due to where the seam is between magazine and gun, when I dropped an empty it would catch my palm. Not a huge deal, but it did slow down the reload. And sometimes that same seam would give me a little pinch as I slammed a new one home. Again, not the end of the world, and something I would gladly trade for 12 rounds in the gun in a gunfight. But, now that I have had XL in my life, I don’t want to go back. Did I mention that the XL has a flared magwell, which further speeds reload time? And a slightly extended beavertail built into the frame? Damn you, Sig.

XL flat trigger

The XL is an X Series weapon, which means it has a flat trigger. The original P365 trigger is curved, a more traditional look. In shooting them side by side, I notice zero difference in application. Both are excellent, and I would call them perfect equals. But on a purely aesthetic note, the flat trigger does look better. Point XL again.

Original curved trigger

When it comes to sighting systems, this is a huge gain for the XL. The XL is both cut for an electronic sight, and most of them come out of the box with a SIG Romeo Zero installed. Sig’s website shows iron-sighted XL models, but I have yet to see one in the wild. I consider at least the option to use an electronic sight a huge win. But, how does it hold up you ask?

Romeo Zero factory installed

I had the same thought. Since the Romeo Zero is also a new sight, it needed to do some proving. To save battery life, the Romeo Zero features a shake awake technology. If you set it down, the dot turns off after 5 minutes to save battery power. But the moment it senses movement, the dot snaps back on. From a stupid amount of times snatching it off the table, I have not once beat the dot to life before it gets to my eye. My sight is on its original battery, which is 3 months old, 2 months of that carrying daily. It is less than ideal that the optic has to come off to switch the battery, but 2 months plus makes that a bit more palatable.

Functional rear sight cut into optic

Should that battery die when you need it, the sight also has a cut in rear sight channel. Combined with the XRAY 3 tritium front, the same as the original P365, and your bases are covered.   

Red dot is daylight bright and then some

Accessories are always a concern when buying a new gun, so how does that shake out? If the Original P365 has an advantage, it is minor. Almost everyone now builds an XL version of their holster. ProMag is making aftermarket drums for the 365 family, and they include inserts to flush fit either size. Even SIG pulled a slick one when it comes to magazines.

30 and 50 round drums by ProMag

Right around the same time as the XL was introduced, so were 15 round magazines. And they include a sleeve to fit either size too. But what about those of us that bought a gaggle of 12 round mags for the original gun? Yes, they can be converted. After I did the video segment of this review, I found the Sig replacement floor plate that switches them over. So for $4.99, all your old 12s will fit.

15 round mag in the XL
Not quite perfect flush fit, but you don’t notice while shooting.

Performance-wise? How about that? Well, even shooting the two side by side it is hard to tell a difference. They both handle like a bigger gun, which I mean as a high compliment. They are both capable of slinging it fast up close. But at range, I did notice a predictable difference. At around 40 yards, the P365 will still make hits easily enough. But I did drop one shot. And the red dot equipped XL makes that range easy. I dropped no shots with it, even firing at a faster pace. So I have to give the edge once again to the XL model.

Hornady XTP, my choice when accuracy matters.

So it’s a tough race. I am going to have to concede that at least for me, the P365XL is the better choice. It conceals just as well, and those added features matter just enough. But the original P365 does still have advantages. The smaller size (especially with 10 round mags) may make a difference to you, and how you conceal. And it is still a very capable and easy to shoot blaster. And I promise to do this again next year if Sig makes an XXL.

Original P365 with 15 round magazine
12 Round original P365 magazines require a new floor plate to fit.
Or some dremell work on this lip.

For more information visit Sig Sauer website.

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About the author: Clay Martin is a former Marine and Green Beret, retiring out of 3rd Special Forces Group. He is a multi-decade and -service sniper, as well as 3-Gun competitor and Master ranked shooter in USPSA Production. In addition to writing about guns, he is the author of “Last Son of The War God,” a novel about shooting people that deserve it. You can also follow him on twitter, @offthe_res or his website, Off-The-Reservation.com

{ 24 comments… add one }
  • Raymond Mathis September 9, 2020, 9:35 am

    I bought a Sig P365 and 2 12 mags and they will only hold 11 bullets! I can force another rd with a mag loader but the mag will not go all the way up in the handle then! Both mags were the same way! I have heard other people have said the same thing! Whats up with that? Are they really 11 rd mags?

  • James Hutchinson September 7, 2020, 9:16 am

    Do they swtill have Johnsons Country store up there? When I lined in Ny around 15 years back they had a decent amount of stock I heard that Harle Gun center closed down Too bad they carrried just abouta nything

  • DickRambone September 5, 2020, 11:51 pm

    Ahhh, I see Glock-itis has struck the Sig boys hard. P365 is supposed to be a pocket/small micro compact firearm, but you accessorizing Nancies simply need to keep buying new shoes.

    My REAL P365 rides in my front jeans pocket or a cargo pocket at all times on and off duty. Your P183XL – ABCD won’t fit into a pocket, thanks to the stupid optic making it too tall, and the Glock 19 pretending slide and barrel length, and that oversized grip – you just took a pocket gun and made it impossible to pocket. 🤦🏽‍♂️

    But then some people just need a beaver tail, a flared mag well, a longer slide, an optic, a threaded barrel, a flat trigger, etc. – all for a damn gun that’s supposed to be small, slick, and ultra concealable. Most of you just wanted a ZEV Glock 19, and didn’t know how to ask for it, lol.

    My P365 W/ TLR-6 can get bigger with 12 or 15-round mags. But your P365XL will never be able to be small enough to be a micro pistol – which utterly defeats the entire idea of something to carry 365 days of the year.

    Congrats on making it the Sig P183 instead.

  • Richard T Alford September 5, 2020, 7:15 pm

    I may have to try one before long…if only to help someone else with it…I’m very into my XDs Mod 2 .45 for last few months.
    I just finished Last Son of the War God…wonderful. First book in awhile I finished right-a-way…

  • rt66paul September 4, 2020, 12:10 pm

    I hate it when people say “vote with your feet” or just “move to a gun friendly state”. That would be good if the family I love did not live here – all within 25 miles(my 3 children, grandchildren and great grandchild are within 2 miles).
    If I had moved here from another state and did not have the ties, maybe I would.There are many who are tied to an area for family or for work. It is easier said than done – are they offering those that move a job where they can have a comfortable life like they have now? I didn’t think so. I will stay here in Ca(unless every family member picked up and left) and work as hard as I can to educate the crazy anti gunners. We show them that legal gun owners are responsible and more law abiding than LEOs. We are NOT vigilantes!

  • Greg Wellen September 4, 2020, 8:25 am

    Clay, thank you for the great reviews. You mentioned two holsters that you used to evaluate the SIG 365 XL for your EDC. Could you do a holster review for us? Thanks again, Greg.

  • Bryan September 4, 2020, 7:41 am

    I turned my 365 into a hybrid, i use a 365xl grip and flat trigger with 365 slide. I didn’t have to change holsters and feels perfect in the hand and shoots Great.

  • Brandon September 1, 2020, 1:23 pm

    Just waiting for SIG to sell a standalone XL Upper.

  • Lisa September 1, 2020, 12:48 pm

    I bought myself the P365 and I absolutely love it. My son and daughter-in-law visited us from FL and we went shooting. My son loved my P365 but his hands were a little too big for the grip. This would be a perfect solution for him. Thank you for a great review. He also liked my Glock 42. I’d say I’m doing pretty good with my choices as a new gun owner. Still waiting on my permit to carry which takes 45 days in PA. And, I’m still looking for a Ruger SR22 for some fun shooting and cheap ammo…Can’t find one anywhere!
    Lisa

  • JRB September 1, 2020, 12:31 am

    I don’t doubt your experience. But I carry my P365 in a pocket holster and I doubt the XL would fit. The red dot on the XL is a nice thing to have.

  • Larry Thoreson August 31, 2020, 2:24 pm

    I bought several 365’ s and fell in love. Had some difficulty zeroing Shield Red Dots though. Wasn’t excited about the XL, but thought I’d give their factory cut slide a try.
    In the meantime, learned to use the factory sights on the 365’s. When I got my XL, didn’t bother mounting a red dot but became ecstatic over the XL grip. I have now installed XL grips on all of my 365’s.

  • KMacK August 31, 2020, 2:06 pm

    I enjoyed the article with one major exception. How the Heck does one disguise that lump of a rear sight on the XL if one is carrying it “concealed”.
    “No, that lump is a bannana, sorry”.
    Yeah, I could take it off and leave it off…but I still have to pay for it whether I use it or not.
    I can see this setup on a competition pistol, but an everyday carry piece?
    I’ll stick to my current piece thanks, Nice looking gun, though.

  • Earl August 31, 2020, 12:41 pm

    Just last week I traded my S&W Shield 9mm performance model in for the Sig 365XL and I added the Romeo 0. I have a Sig P320 also with the Romeo sight and I really am a better shooter with the red dot and I really like that gun. It’s too big for comfortable carry. I liked the P320 so much that I decided to give up the Shield for the 365XL for my carry gun.

  • Bryan August 31, 2020, 11:19 am

    A friend of mine has the XL, mine’s the standard P365. I’ve shot mine extensively and have put just shy of 250 rounds through his, for me, I see no reason to change from the standard as it is my concealment weapon and the smaller the better. To each his own…

  • Gary August 31, 2020, 10:50 am

    I live in western NY, near Niagara Falls..but out in the country. A beautiful place to live, and probably 95% Republican voters. That being said..where do you people buy your firearms?
    I have not seen a “new” pistol or shotgun in ANY of the gunships within a fifty mile area of me in months!! Darn few used ones as well..they are just empty!!
    It took me 3 months to get a 365 for my wife’s Xmas gift last December. I waited sice they came out to get one..they even came out with two new models before I could get an original one!! And the store I bought it in is a stocking Sig dealer!! He has every other model they make just about..but can’t get more than one or two 365s at a time. And it had a hundred dollar instant rebate on them as well. WHY discount a gun when you can’t even supply them??
    A friend of mine drove 300+ miles a month ago to get a pump shotgun..ANY brand!! He found a Mossberg over near Ithaca!! This is getting nuts. Im GLAD we have so many NEW first time gun buyers..but for handguns in NY it take on average a year to get a pistol permit! So it’s NOT an impulse buy in NY! Laugh!! I am still looking for another Sig 365 for myself as well. A slicked down version if I can find one..one of these XLs would be fine too! If anyone knows of a store in Western NY that has ANY in stock, please let me know, I would be grateful to you.
    No..I don’t “need it”, I have plenty of handguns, its more a matter of want than anything else.😂👍✌

    • pissedpatriot August 31, 2020, 9:19 pm

      I feel sorry for your predicament trying to find a handgun. There is a cure for that problem. Vote with your feet, providing you are telling the truth about being conservative and move from New York. If your are young enough to get into another job, you would probably find that you can live as well or better in a more livable state on less money, or if you are retired it would be like getting a raise. I recently was looking for some house guns to conceal near the doors, and figured a couple of S&W model 10, 4 inch would be ideal as my wife was familiar with a 2 inch that she has had for years. The price was out of sight for the S&Ws, and the ones I found looked like they had been used as hammers. In the store they had an EAA NIB witness for less than a used model 10. I knew nothing about them but took a chance on one, took it home and shot it and let my wife use it. I called the gun store and was told they could have more in within 3 days. I spoke for one and am now the owner of two very dependable 9mms that point naturally and go bang every time the trigger is pulled. All this was accomplished in a 4 day period. Of course I don’t or wouldn’t live in New York state and never in a city.

    • JRB September 1, 2020, 12:34 am

      You can sometimes find them online e.g. Palmetto State Armory.

  • James Hendricks August 31, 2020, 10:35 am

    I also found myself wishing the XL model had been released first. So I bought an XL grip frame and flat trigger. Installed the P365 slide on the XL grip frame with flat trigger. Perfection attained.

  • Gary Bush August 31, 2020, 9:49 am

    Thanks Clay for a very fair and complete evaluation of the Sig. P-365 and P-365XL.

    I have a P-365 as my CCW, and I was like you, sure hope they don’t mess it up with unwanted changes !

    I will have to check out the P-365XL now that you have lite the got to have notion.

    I enjoy your reviews, keep up the good work.

    Stay safe and healthy

  • John Dana August 31, 2020, 9:26 am

    I have never liked 9mm. Penetration, in my test with three sheets of wall board it blew thru. So I went to a Rock Island XD in .22 mag. I did a Paul Harrel test with meat and soda jug and was quite satisfied. It will cause damage but a body shot will be survivable. I’m 73 years old and do get out as much any more.

  • Wil Ferch August 31, 2020, 9:15 am

    Problem is….to be brutally honest….MOST gun reviewers have a body build on the LARGE size…..in EVERY dimension. Sorry….but that seems to be the case. For smaller guys or even “slim” guys….. the original P365 may be a better bet. Grip height matters too….to a large degree to avoid “printing”.

  • Mark Laughlin August 31, 2020, 8:24 am

    Both of my sons have 365XLs and love them. One swapped the longer slide for the shorter standard model slide and likes that combination even better. In our “Bloody Hands” testing, the XL topped the (close second) Mossberg MC1sc, (distant third) Springfield Armory Hellcat, (the near unusable) Glock 43, and KelTec PF9.

  • Frank G August 31, 2020, 8:04 am

    I like watching your videos, great review.. I watched your last one on the 365 and the various types of holsters. I was curious if you can make a video on holsters for the XL? Also, I just purchased the new SAS with the bullseye site, but haven’t shot it yet. I’ve been searching for both O/IWB holsters and would like to stay in the $40-$50 range. I’m trying to make a decision based on reviews, but I’ve noticed there’s always a few that aren’t positive and there’s some nice ones out there, just a very difficult choice. I noticed they make a holster that accommodates the Romeo 0, if you decide to make a holster video for the XL can you use that holster?

    Thanks,
    Frank

  • KvM August 31, 2020, 7:23 am

    Thanks Clay, totally agree & couldn’t be happier after making the switch months ago. I have traditional Sig sites vs Romeo bc that’s what I know. However your review makes me think – maybe I should try the Romeo (or better yet (snicker) just get a another XL w/Romeo for testing and comparison. Take care and stay safe

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