Sig P365XL Full Review

Small Changes Big Differences

I was perfectly content with the standard P365, it has been my everyday carry since I purchased it to do my first P365 article, but then I tried the XL. So how do you make a great little gun even better?

The sleek profile of the XL shows off all the new features.

Well, the quick take on the changes is a little longer slide and barrel, a longer grip with a more pronounced beavertail, a couple more rounds, a flared and beveled magazine well, an X Series flat trigger, and a sight plate that allows a micro red dot to replace the rear iron sight.

The honest truth is in the past I was never a big Sig fan. I bought a used 226 back in the ’90s and was unimpressed and hadn’t seen anything since that changed my mind. That is until the P365. I even paid full retail at a local shop to get that gun for the article since the line to get one from Sig was long and I wasn’t willing to wait.

My standards haven’t changed but something at Sig certainly has. I don’t know if it’s new management, the addition of experienced shooters to their core team, feedback from the professional shooters now representing Sig, a combination of all of the above or something else entirely, but they are now producing firearms designed for shooters. 

I don’t know who deserves the credit for the turnaround, but it’s noticeable. So much so that I have also purchased a 320 and an MPX PCC in the last year. 

The small size difference can be seen between the original 365 and the XL.

A Little Tight

The initial shooting session with the XL didn’t go quite as well as planned. I had some occurrences of the slide failing to go back to battery while shooting. I had noticed that the slide was a bit difficult to rack when cycling by hand and apparently it was just a bit too tight to do so under recoil. 

I contacted Sig Customer Service and they were very responsive and arranged for me to send it back for inspection (yes, even before I mentioned I was doing a review of it, I saved that until the end of the conversation).

Feeding the XL its highly varied diet to see what it likes and doesn’t.

However, a couple of hundred rounds downrange over the weekend before I sent it back and the problem had completely disappeared. I sent it back for the check-up anyway and they could find no issues and couldn’t replicate the problem. 

I’ve had several custom guns built over the years and there is definitely a balance between accuracy and reliability.  A gun’s tolerances have to be tight between the barrel, slide, and frame to make a gun accurate but also loose enough to ensure it functions reliably. All those custom guns required a few hundred rounds to be shot in and it appeared the XL was just on the tight side of those tolerances and also needed a couple of hundred rounds to settle in.

It’s important to shoot several hundred rounds through any new gun purchased for defense to ensure it is going to function when you need it. It’s equally critical that the testing rounds be done with the ammunition you intend to carry in the gun, not just some ball or training ammo.

The little Sig functioned flawlessly at this point and ate every weight and type of ammunition offered without a hiccup. The softest recoiling was the Hornady 100 grn Critical Defense Light and it is my go-to ammo for testing a gun’s functionality. 

The Once Over

The new slightly longer X Series grip is what really makes the XL a winner for me. I was carrying the 12-round extended magazine in my regular 365 already and that’s the length of the new grip and flat based 12 round magazine. It fills the hand well and gives just the right amount of grip to have great control of the handgun.

The Sig nite sights really come alive once the sun goes down.

The new grip also has a nicely flared magazine well that makes reloading the gun a breeze compared to the original model. Due to the shorter grip of the original model, I could never seem to get the magazines to drop free without hitting the heel of my hand.

With the new X series grip length, the mags drop free and the beveled magazine well guides the tapered mags right in for fast reloads. The other subtle difference is that the new grip has a slightly extended beavertail area for the web of your hand, keeping you from gripping it too high and having the slide hit your hand.

Aside from the length, the XL grip retained the same P365 grip dimensions as well as the deeply undercut trigger guard, texture, and grip inlet allowing easy reach to the trigger.

Plenty of space in the mag well for the tapered magazines during reloads.

The added barrel/ slide length does give a bit more sight radius and makes hitting targets easier. The small added length down in the holster hasn’t impacted my ability to carry, draw, or use it in training events at all.

Obviously, the XL is a bit longer in both height and length than the original 365, but now with the extended 15 round magazine, it is closer in capability to a Glock 19 than to the sub-compacts. The XL is still shorter than a 19 and just a little taller with the 15 round magazine inserted. However, it is slimmer and the grip is noticeably smaller.

Size differences are more apparent in the flesh than in the numbers
( Glock 19, 365XL, Original 365)

The X Series flat trigger breaks when it is straight up and down during the trigger travel. This seems to eliminate the tendency for a right-handed shooter to push to the left which occurs when a trigger has to travel too far to the rear and the hand curls. 

A flat trigger can be seen here, breaks when straight up and down.

The trigger broke at an average weight of 5.4 lbs. on my trigger scale. This is slightly lighter than my original P365 and very shootable. It worked out well for the accuracy and performance portions of the XL evaluation.

Specifications

            Length-            6.6”

            Height-             4.8”

            Weight-            20.7 oz

            Thickness-        1.1”

            Barrel Length-   3.7”

            Capacity-          12+1

            Finish-              Nitron

            Action-             Semi-auto striker

            Trigger-            Flat

            Sights-              XRay3 Day/ Night (tritium)

            MSRP               $685

Micro red dot ready for those of us with failing eyes.

Another notable update on the XL is the removable rear sight plate that allows for adding a small red dot sight. I haven’t had a chance to get a micro red dot and give it a try on the XL, but I’m hoping other manufacturers jump on the bandwagon and start producing red dot sights that fit. Eliminating the sight alignment errors on sub-compacts may make these guns viable replacements for even mid-sized pistols.

Accuracy

Well as expected since the gun was a little tight to begin with it was very accurate. I tested the subcompact 365XL at 12 yards off of a couple of bags resting on the table. It is a small gun and meant for defensive encounters so how far do you really need to test it. Turns out I could have doubled that distance and still would have had some impressive results.

Sub-compact bullseye gun, capable of shooting fantastic groups.

The best single group I shot was with Hornady’s135 LE Training ammunition that is meant to simulate their Critical Defense load at a more reasonable cost; the five-shot group measured a mere 1.21 inches.

Sig 565 115 JHP- Defensive ammunition that shoots like match ammo.

The second-best single group came from the Sig V Crown 365 115 JHP ammunition tailored for sub-compact pistols and it measured 1.34”, still very impressive. Even the mass-produced military ball 124-grain ammunition ended up delivering an average group size hovering around 2 inches. 

The XL makes even the cheapest ball ammunition look good on paper

The largest group came from some Hornady +P ammunition and I am going to take the blame for those groups opening up due to poor trigger work. The +P groups still easily remained in the black area of the targets but the majority of the rounds were better groups and it was the errant flyers that increased the group sizes. The +P ammunition in the little gun functions fine, but you will definitely feel the difference in the recoil.

XL fed all bullet types without issue.

I really wish I had a machine rest to shoot from for the testing to take my errors out of the equation, then we would see what it could really do. I say that because some of the groups I shot had 4 of the 5 rounds in some very tight groups and then there would be that one round that opened the group on up. 

The smallest of the 4 shots was a .4” and the next was a .7”, I really think this gun from a machine rest or with some additional time focused on groups could produce some sub-one-inch groups at this distance.

Stretching the XL out a bit further, one of my test shooters shot the 25-yard bullseye portion of his unit’s qualification course and scored a 91 on the NRA B-16 target. He typically shoots in the low to mid 90’s with his full-sized Glock or Beretta, so he really only gave up a couple of points going down to the sub-compact XL. He is planning on getting a P365 XL when he returns from deployment.

While I was shooting the groups, I would shoot any extra rounds downrange at the plates of my dueling tree at the 25-yard line, amazingly the 6” plates swung almost every time.

Curiosity got the best of me and I had to try a few groups at 50 yards. I thought a paper plate on an IPSC target would be a good aiming point, but it turned out the Sig front sight and dot were both larger than the paper plate so I ended up just trying to hold the same point below the target head.

A bit of vertical stringing due to lacking a good aiming point but an amazing 50-yard group.

With good ammunition, if you break the trigger cleanly this gun is capable of hitting whatever you want within 50 yards and maybe even out to 100.

Performance

After the initial accuracy testing and a good bit of time on the range, I took the 365XL to a Vehicle CQB class offered by Centrifuge Training. We spent two long days firing into, out of, thru, over, under, and around several vehicles. 

The XL was fast to draw and maneuver in and around the vehicles and functioned flawlessly in spite of the dusty gravel range area, and we kicked up lots of dust under those vehicles. 

The farthest two targets were head-sized steel plates out at 20 and 25 yards to ensure everyone maintained accuracy during the drills, and the little XL kept up fine with all the full-sized guns in the class.

A fantastic Every Day Carry (EDC) combo.

The recoil of the XL is easily controllable due to the slightly longer grip and overall design of the gun, it’s not near as snappy as some other subcompacts I’ve shot. Utilizing the factory 12 round mags and reloading to the extended 15 round version I never felt at a disadvantage in the class. The front sight tracks well and it was quick to reload and get back on target.

I let several others try the XL during a later training session and everyone was a fan of the feel and marveled at how Sig got so many rounds in such a small package. They also all managed to ring a 12” steel silhouette target at 50 yards with it at will. 

I now have well over a thousand rounds downrange with the XL, and other than the initial glitches with it being a bit tight it has been 100% reliable under all conditions with a number of different shooters.

Running speed drills everyone has been amazed how fast they could engage targets and at their ability to reload the little gun with little to no experience on it. The flared and beveled mag well is exceptionally done. 

The Crossbreed IWB and my older appendix holster both worked well with the XL. The slimness of the gun and the holster designs made for easy concealment under a loose T-shirt, afforded good retention and smooth draws.

The XL has performed at levels far above what its small size should allow and each time I push it a bit further and it exceeds my expectations. 

Final Thoughts

After a little break-in, the Sig shot everything well and functioned like a champ.

The Sig 365XL fits the hand well, is easily concealable, shoots accurately, holds more rounds than a gun this size should, and is chocked full of features that make other guns rust in envy.

The grip size, shape, texture and trigger guard undercut add up to make it easy to reach and manipulate the trigger to maximize the gun’s performance. While the sight radius and accuracy lets you hit whatever you aim at.

Bottom line is, I found a new carry gun and that’s the highest recommendation I can give a pistol.

For more information visit Sig Sauer website.

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About the author: Jeff Cramblit is a world-class competitive shooter having won medals at both the 2012 IPSC World Shotgun Championship in Hungary and more recently the 2017 IPSC World Rifle Championship in Russia. He is passionate about shooting sports and the outdoors. He has followed that passion for over 30 years, hunting and competing in practical pistol, 3gun, precision rifle and sporting clays matches. Jeff is intimately familiar with the shooting industry – competitor, instructor, RO, range master, match director. Among his training credits include NRA Instructor, AR-15 armorer, FBI Rifle Instructor, and Officer Low Light Survival Instructor. As a sponsored shooter, Jeff has represented notable industry names such as: Benelli, 5.11 Tactical, Bushnell, Blackhawk, DoubleStar, and Hornady. He has been featured on several of Outdoor Channel’s Shooting Gallery episodes and on a Downrange TV series. Jeff’s current endeavors cover a broad spectrum and he can be found anywhere from local matches helping and encouraging new shooters as they develop their own love of the sport, to the dove field with his friends, a charity sporting clays shoot, backpack hunting public land in Montana, or the winners podium of a major championship.

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • okienarc February 18, 2020, 3:09 pm

    Bought one last week for off duty carry and shot nice groups from 15 yards, took it out to 50 had no issues with it. Decided to shoot a 14″ round steel plate from 100 yards and still no issue putting lead on steal. Great gun. Thinking about buying my wife one for conceal carry now.

  • Dennis Larson December 23, 2019, 12:43 pm

    Grip length is not the only consideration when you have large hands. The circumference is a little small (amazing for how many rounds it holds). I purchased a Handall Beavertail Grip Sleeve for the Sig Sauer P365 and it helped fill out my hand. The other comment is that since the author is so familiar with the P365, a comparison with the new Springfield Hellcat would be interesting.

  • David Rockwell December 23, 2019, 8:30 am

    I have a 365 I’ve put 1500 rds thru without a hiccup. I also only carried the 12 rds. The mag being part of the grip meant having to sacrifice your grip in order for the mag to drop free. Having to do the “pinkies out tea with the Queen” technique to reload was a pain, sometimes literally if I failed to clear my flesh on reinsertion.

    Here the modularity proved useful. I purchased a XL grip frame and swapped mine out. Having the longer grip and mini magwell greatly eased reloads while I retained the shorter barrel length’s comfort when carrying appendix. Best of both worlds to me.
    As my 365 has the thumb safety, I had to hack my own cutout for it in the XL grip.

    Now waiting on slightly thicker base pads that someone will surely make. The 12 rds mags flush fit in the grip and with nasty reloading I sometimes miss fully seating the mag.

  • David Rodgers November 24, 2019, 11:16 am

    I think a lot of the major improvements at SIG started when Phil Strader came on board .
    I bought a 365 right after they came out; really liked it and carried regularly. When I heard about the 365 XL, I wondered, why get this? After reading your article I wanted to try the XL. A few days later I had the chance to handle one for an hour. When I left the gun shop the XL came home with me. The up side of having both is an 11-13 round 365 BUG when needed. The 365 XL is now my EDC.
    Thanks for your very informative article

  • Beachhawk October 14, 2019, 11:11 pm

    I have a Sig P365 and I carry it every time I leave my home. I’m sure the XL is a fine pistol, but I’m a great believer in: “If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it.” There is a reason no one has ever made a “better” 1911; they got it right the first time. I think Sig got the P365 right the first time. Is it perfect? Probably not, but it does work every time, all the time.

    • Jim October 15, 2019, 7:36 pm

      Not sure about your assessment. The 1911 has evolved and been seriously improved. Shoot a Wilson Combat if you unsure of this. I have a EDC 9X and it is superb. I also have the 365XL and it is a vast improvement in every way over the first generation. Thanks Sig.

  • CR October 14, 2019, 10:16 pm

    I don’t know.

    The author saying, “The honest truth is in the past I was never a big Sig fan. I bought a used 226 back in the ’90s and was unimpressed and hadn’t seen anything since that changed my mind. “,

    and then giving the impression that those guns were inferior and that the current crop of plastic frame editions – even the original 365 with its shaky start – are somehow superior to them – even when the company still makes the 226 – is disconcerting and causes me to question his opinion about the 365xl.

    • Charles Tuggle December 23, 2019, 6:57 am

      I have both of these firearms and the 365 XL is a great Firearm. The only folks that might not like it are people with very large hands. As for me I have a romeo zero on order for my 365XL

  • milvian bridge October 14, 2019, 8:20 pm

    How do you make a great gun even better? Just make it bigger and heavier.

    • Wild Bill October 14, 2019, 9:02 pm

      which if you have big hands a larger frame is nice I have held the regular 365 and it’s just to tiny.

      • Don from CT November 3, 2019, 8:11 am

        If the regular one is too small, just put a 12 rd mag in it. Then you get the bigger grip with the shorter slide.

        Of course if slide length doesn’t matter, then yes, the larger one is better for you.

        For years people raved about the Kahr PM9. I carried one and it was just too heavy for pocket carry, but when worn IWB it was smaller than necessary. (much smaller than a P365).

        The Kahr P9 was a better size for someone who wasn’t interested in pocket carry. Its about the size of the P365.

        • Brent Akin November 15, 2019, 10:29 am

          Surprisingly, the PM9 is not “much smaller” than the P365. I went from the CM9 – some size as the PM9 – to the P365 and there is an almost negligible difference in dimensions other than weight. And even there, it is 1.6 oz heavier after accounting for the 4 extra rounds it carries.

  • johnnyraygun October 14, 2019, 6:08 pm

    Like the author, I have mixed feeling about Sig in the past. They are now making a quality product. My only issue, “conceal carry” relies on a small print. In that case, Bigger is not necessarily better. Nice review and the pistol looks worthy of a squeeze.

  • Art V October 14, 2019, 4:38 pm

    Why do we have to look at pics to figure out the caliber

    • GarrusBarkarkian October 23, 2019, 9:24 pm

      Why do we not realize most carry guns these days are introduced in 9mm.

  • Neil Schmidt October 14, 2019, 3:57 pm

    Jeff Cramblit: THANK YOU for such a well-written, articulate and comprehensive article and for providing the great photos. You covered the 365XL more than adequately, and wasted no words. The article shoulod be the “poster child” for how gun articles should be written; it was such a pleasure to have read it.

  • Tom Swafford October 14, 2019, 2:57 pm

    Please explain why “It’s equally critical that the testing rounds be done with the ammunition you intend to carry in the gun, not just some ball or training ammo.”

    • Wild Bill October 14, 2019, 9:08 pm

      Some guns don’t like certain ammo. My Shield likes 130 grain Hornady Critical Duty but it doesn’t like the 147 grain Speer Gold Dot i run in my XD9. Unlike revolvers which don’t care semiautos can be finicky.

  • Rusty Chains October 14, 2019, 11:57 am

    I bought the 365XL in mid August and ordered a couple of the 15 round mags from Sig. I took the new, unfired pistol to a one day defensive pistol class two weeks later. I did take a well used spare pistol but it was unnecessary, my new little Sig ran like clockwork and has become my warm weather carry gun. I will put the new Romeo0 on when it is available, because my eyes were never great and haven’t gotten any better. So now the weather has cooled I am back to carrying the old G19 with a red dot.

  • Roland October 14, 2019, 7:10 am

    Great review. I had pretty much the same experiences from owning the original P365 to the failures to return to battery on my first range day. All seems well now. I carry the P365XL now.

  • Rangemaster11B October 14, 2019, 4:05 am

    Show a comparison between the 365XL & the 320 subcompact, and everyone will ask Why?

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