I am very excited to have gotten my grubby mitts on a P320 variant I have been waiting a long time for. The signature edition P320-X-VTAC, spec’d by Kyle Lamb himself. Having reviewed several variants of the P320 family, why would I be so intrigued by this one? Because of its namesake, and the potential of what that represents.
On the off chance you don’t know who he is, Kyle Lamb is a retired Sergeant Major from a Special Operations Force. More importantly, he is arguably the father of the modern carbine technique.
The story goes a little something like this. As a relatively young man, Kyle was in Mogadishu during the most famous battle thereof, commemorated in the movie “Black Hawk Down.”
After the battle, Kyle does a bit of introspection and decides that maybe there is a lot to be learned still about marksmanship training. Which is a pretty big thought to have if you are in one of the world’s premier assault forces, already known for its ability to shoot.
Over the next decade, Kyle trains with the who’s who of competitive shooting, a side benefit of being in a Special Operations Unit. He competes himself in old school events like the Soldier of Fortune 3 Gun. And takes the influence of shooting legends like Bennie Cooley and looks through the lens of what can be added to tactical training. And by the time Operation Iraqi Freedom rolls around, he has had nearly a decade to put it together.
Fresh experience in Baghdad combined with growing rank and responsibility puts Kyle in a unique position to implement a new set of training principles. And it cannot be overstated the brain trust of other experienced, professional warfighters learning and implementing lessons as well. The SOF community is excellent at sharing amongst themselves.
What is born from this, is the modern rifle technique. And it filters down to the point that it is pretty much a unified approach to combat marksmanship fusing the best lessons from Iraq, Afghanistan, and the competitive worlds.
One of the other SOF Veterans that teaches firearms training put it best. “We all teach like Kyle Lamb, you are paying for the personality you prefer,” when it comes to picking an instructor. And that is a high compliment.
What does that have to do with the X-VTAC? While Kyle Lamb is best known for his carbine and NVG training, he certainly doesn’t suck with a pistol. Over those same decades he might’ve learned that a carbine is the preferred combat weapon, but your pistol better perform when you need it. And we can see all of that built into the X-VTAC.
The X-VTAC is what I would call the secondary flagship to the P320-X5. And the primary difference between the two is the intended purpose. The X5 was built to be a competition gun. It has a bull barrel, a slightly longer length (5 inches vs 4.7 for the VTAC), and excellent Dawson competition sights.
The X-VTAC has all the best elements of the X series, such as the X-style frame and trigger. But it has compromises that lend themselves more to a combat handgun.
The VTAC features a regular profile barrel, a small but not insignificant weight savings. Up and down mountains, every ounce counts. The shorter slide and barrel, length-wise, the same as the US Army P320 M17 variant, means you will have an easier time finding a holster.
That is an important bit. Top-end duty holsters are expensive to make, and will only be created for weapons there will be a lot of. You can also understand why a holster manufacturer would prioritize say, a gun the DOD is buying 500,0000 of, over a new model civilians might buy 10,000 of.
A short while back, I scored a Safariland ALS duty holster for a full-size P320. The X-VTAC, with a Surefire X300 flashlight, fits no problem. That is a consideration if you plan to use your pistol in a tactical role.
Unique to the VTAC are a number of other features. The slide is PVD coated coyote brown, for a black and tan motif with the X grip. The sights are something different, a signature creation of SGM Lamb. Fiber optic sights are preferred by many for daylight shooting, while tritium’s rule the night.
The VTAC sights combine the two, with what you can see in pictures are six total dots. A fiber optic rod sits on top, with a tritium vial dot below each one front and rear. Just glancing at a picture, you might think this creates confusion.
However, in practical application, it does not. In the sunshine, you don’t even notice the second set of dots. And at night, the glowing orbs closer to the boreline are all you see. It works out rather nicely.
Normally, I am not a fan of fiber optics in the rear. In my experience with them in the past, the dots were TOO bright. The VTAC system seems to have solved that, by both shortening the rods and limiting the light that filters into them from the top. The front is a bit longer and more exposed, which makes it pop ever so slightly more.
I also like the shape of the front sight. It is thick at the base but tapers toward the top to almost a pyramid shape. The result is a wider light gap at the top, which I find fast for speed shooting, with a thick enough base not to compromise durability. There is nothing else quite like them, and you won’t be disappointed.
The VTAC model also ships with three flush-fit 17 round magazines. This is the size most people prefer for a duty weapon, though the SIG factory 21 extended mags will fit, too. Three is pretty much the magic number for a duty loadout, so it is nice to have that out of the box. One in the gun and two in pouches is a significant amount of 9mm.
A side note about the VTAC, there is another accessory built for it. I don’t normally consider IWB concealing a full-sized handgun, but I make an exception in this case.
Because our friends over at Black Point Tactical make a holster specifically for the VTAC Model, with inputs from SGM Lamb himself. (In fact, he is on the landing page for Black Point Tactical in the photo at the moment.)
It is amazingly comfortable for the size of gun it conceals, and one I can strongly recommend you try. It takes the VTAC from a great duty gun to a great do-everything gun, and that is a detail that matters.
The X-VTAC is an absolutely cool gun, and a fine addition to the P320 line. It fills a nice gap between the X5 and the X-Full, with some features you won’t find anywhere else. If you are looking for an all-purpose duty gun with no compromises, look no further.