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?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.