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Analysis: US Army Chooses Sig 320 as New Pistol

Analysis: US Army Chooses Sig 320 as New Pistol

Army chooses striker-fired 15+ round 9mm handgun, at reported price of $207/gun

I’ve spent the last week at the gun industry SHOT Show convention in Las Vegas, and I’m pretty sure I need a hip replacement after walking mile after mile of exhibits of guns, guns, more guns, related gun stuff, and guns.

Perhaps the biggest gun-related news event of the week, however, wasn’t anything on display at the SHOT Show. Rather it was the US Army’s announcement that they had finally–FINALLY!–chosen the pistol to replace the Beretta M9 handgun adopted back in the 1980s, which in turn had replaced the 1911 “Government model” 45 first designed by gun genius John Moses Browning way back in–wait for it–1911.

The newly chosen pistol is to be the Sig Sauer P320, a semiautomatic striker-fired 15+ round 9mm handgun (seen in featured picture above).

The Army’s pistol evaluation program had already taken a ridiculous amount of time and expense by the time it came up as a subject in the Senate hearings on just-confirmed-today Secretary of Defense James “Chaos” Mattis. Frankly, the program was as illustrative an example of government ineptitude as could be imagined.

Was it coincidence that a day or two before Donald Trump was sworn in as our 45th President that the Army finally got off its butt and made a decision? Hmmmm.

What about the choice on the merits?I’ll use Glocks for comparative purposes because I’m most personally familiar with them among the guns that were also in the running for the Army program.

In the interests of full disclosure, I personally carry a Sig 320 Compact every day for personal protection, so obviously I think quite highly of the gun. That said, I’ve also carried Glocks for the same purpose, own several firearms from both companies, and think highly of both their products.

As Sigs go the 320 is relatively inexpensive. Note that caveat, however: as Sigs go. A more typical Sig pistol can easily cost well in excess of $1,000 per pistol. In contrast, the Sig 320 runs closer to $700 per pistol.  This is nevertheless still quite a bit more expensive than a similar Glock pistol, which might retail for perhaps $550 per pistol. Naturally the Army would not be paying anything close to retail pricing for either gun, but I would expect the price differential between the two handguns to be of that magnitude.

In terms of overall function and capability, there would appear to be little to choose from between the 320 and a Glock. They’re both semiautomatic striker-fired 9mm pistols with a magazine capacity of 15+ rounds, give or take a couple of rounds depending on specific configuration.  They’re both about the same size, and have various options for modification of the size/shape of the grip to fit different hand sizes.

The triggers feel quite different from each other to the experienced hand, and I personally much prefer the Sig trigger, but most military people will never have much training or experience on a handgun, so I doubt any subtleties in trigger matter in the military context.

Either gun would have come with open sights rather than any kind of fancier optic (my own carry gun now carries an RMR optic, as my old eyes can’t see the front sight any longer). But again, this shouldn’t matter in a military context. A good optic on a rifle is a game changer; on a pistol, for soldiers with young eyes, very few of whom will ever be tasked to make use of a handgun, probably not so much.

Both guns use a rather traditional Browning-style lock-up, so there’s nothing to choose between them there.

Glocks left in factory configuration are famously reliable, and have been since they were introduced to the market in the 1980s. The Sig 320 has only been on the market something like 18 months (that’s months, not years), so we don’t have a similarly lengthy history, but I expect the military will have tested reliability extensively in its trials process.

Also, I believe both handguns are built in the United States, so there would have been no issues either way with any kind of foreign manufacture.

There are a couple of differences between the Sig 320 and the Glock that could have led the Army to favoring the Sig, however. Both are arguably safety related.

First, the Glock requires that the trigger be depressed in order to take the slide off the gun (field stripped) for cleaning and other purposes–that is, the trigger must be pressed in the exact same manner as when one intends to fire the gun. If a round is in the chamber when this is done the gun will, obviously, fire that round. Of course the user should have confirmed that the gun was unloaded before depressing the trigger for this purpose, but accidental discharges have been known to occur under these circumstances. I’ve personally been present at one of these accidental discharges, and I can tell you that’s a very, very loud bang in that unexpected context. In contrast to the Glock, however, the Sig 320 does not require that the trigger be depressed in order for the gun to be taken apart for cleaning. Safer? Your call.

Second, although the “normal” Sig 320 that’s been on the market since introduction does not come with any external safety mechanisms or levers, and the Glock is similarly designed, the version of the 320 being procured by the Army in fact has a frame-mounted thumb safety. With the thumb safety in the upper “on” (“safe”) position, even depressing the trigger will not discharge the gun. The safety must be swept down to the “off” (“fire”) position in order for the gun to discharge. Given how little actual training soldiers typically get with handguns, such an additional safety mechanism is almost certainly a good thing. (Indeed, the moment I discovered that the thumb safety was an option on the 320 I immediately contacted Sig to order a 320 with this feature for myself. I’m a fan of frame-mounted thumb safeties.)

In general when people ask me what kind of handgun to purchase for self-defense purposes I tell them that it’s hard to go wrong with a Glock. Of course, as noted I carry a Sig 320 myself, and the cost differential between the two guns is not really that great when one throws in such additional expenses as ammo, holsters, instruction, etc.

Frankly, I’m just pleased that a choice has been made.

Postscript: Two gun industry sources whom I consider to be reliable, but whom I would not be free to identify, saw my post on Legal Insurrection and told me that the Army is paying a mere $207 for each Sig 320 handgun. That’s a ridiculously low price, and would alone entirely explain the Army’s choice. I have not independently confirmed this pricing information directly with the Army or Sig.

–-Andrew


Andrew F. Branca is an attorney and the author of The Law of Self Defense, 3rd Edition, and a host on The Outdoor Channel’s TV show, The Best Defense.

[Featured photo is a Sig-released media photo.]

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Comments

Humphrey's Executor | January 20, 2017 at 8:35 pm

I’d still accept my Army issue 1911 as a gift.

as the person who likely was the last in a US Amy uniform to carry a 1911A1* (we didn’t get M-9s at my unit until ~1997-8) they should have just ordered a new batch of 1911A1s, with ambi safeties, better sights, etc, and called it a day.

*as unit armorer at the time, i issued myself a Colt, and gave everyone else their assigned M-9s. lack of rank hath it’s privileges… 😎 i had about 15 years TIG as a SP4/SPC at the time 😉

Obama didn’t increase our national debt by $10 trillion all at once. He had to work (if you could say he ever “worked”) at it full time for 8 years.

But seeing the Army making a decision which will do good and save money just because Trump is coming along shows that, step by step, we are going to see a lot of progress.

Henry Hawkins | January 20, 2017 at 9:12 pm

I have a range buddy that just obtained one of these. Looking forward to shooting it, if he’ll let me.

There are a lot of great guns out now…. that said… the late Jeff Cooper noted that anyone worth being shot deserved to be shot with a 45 ACP.

the Army is paying a mere $207 for each Sig 320 handgun.

But they should be paying that antique cartridge a pension.

I’m not surprised at the low cost mentioned in your postscript. As I was reading your retail dollars, I was thinking that Glocks are sold at a low markup to capture the market, and the Sigs are sold at a premium because we must pay for the name. Glad our military got a good pistol at a good price. How much were they paying for the Beretta?

“First, the Glock requires that the trigger be depressed in order to take the slide off the gun…”

Bingo. The primary reason why I don’t own a Glock. It’s not the first time you clean a Glock, or the tenth, but around thirty or so the ‘Click’ comes before the ‘Ohshit is there a round up the spout?’

“..the version of the 320 being procured by the Army in fact has a frame-mounted thumb safety…”

And Bingo #2. For all the deep thoughtful insights of people who claim safetys are no longer needed on any real gun, they are.

Darnit, now I need to get one. And supply won’t catch up with demand for *years* to come.

    Sanddog in reply to georgfelis. | January 20, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    The most effective safety for any pistol is the one between your ears. If you follow the most basic gun handling rule… keep your freaking finger the hell off the trigger until you’re ready to go boom… you’ll never have a problem.

      Mac45 in reply to Sanddog. | January 20, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      “If you follow the most basic gun handling rule… keep your freaking finger the hell off the trigger until you’re ready to go boom… you’ll never have a problem.”

      Except when you snag the trigger on the holster, a fold of cloth or something else. Manual safeties are not necessary on a handgun, anymore that they are on a rifle or shotgun. But, they provide another layer of safety when handling the weapon. With many trigger weights now hovering around 5# or less, it is surprising how easy it is to unintentionally squeeze off a round.

      The SIG 320 is selling for about the same as a GLOCK; about $550 – $600 retail. It is a solid modular pistol using a polymer frame. The biggest reason that the Army went with the 320 is the modular design. A trigger module just slides in and out of a frame, which come in various sizes. So, a single module can be placed into a frame having either a large, medium or small grip circumference, or into a compact frame with or without a shorter barrel and slide.

      The only thing that I am not overly fond of is the caliber choice. Unless a 9mm round expands, and FMJ rounds do not, the bullet produces a .36″ hole. In a close range defensive situation, I prefer a round to produce the largest hole possible. The 320 is only produced in 9mm and .40S&W, at the moment, so a .45 caliber round is out of the question.

      This is a good choice.

        In fact the Sig 320 is available in 9mm, 357 Sig, 40 S&W, and 45ACP.

        For civilian purposes using top quality JHP ammo, I don’t see any reason to not choose the 9mm, but we have all the above choices from which to choose. 🙂

        –Andrew

          nemesis443 in reply to Andrew Branca. | January 21, 2017 at 10:32 am

          The 45 uses a different trigger unit. I have a coworker who just bought a 9mm 320 compact. We have had several discussions and have traded internet articles about the 320. Sig is now coming out with the pretensioned version of the weapon, which is probably what DOD signed for. It has looser tolerances for the barrel and slide which will make the parts more interchangeable and have a lower failure rate. I am looking to get a 40 compact myself.

          My bad. The 320 is now available in .45ACP.

          In the civilian world, the 9mm is not really any less effective than the.45ACP. But, in the civilian world, unlike the line military, we use rounds incorporating expanding bullets. Modern frangible bullets, in the 9mm to .45ACP range, reliably expand to approximately .65″. When they expand, there is little difference in the width of the wound channel. However, the US military, with the exception of Spec Ops, uses a FMJ round. This provides almost no expansion. With this type of ammo, the .45ACP provides almost 50% more frontal area which produces a larger wound channel.

          alaskabob in reply to Andrew Branca. | January 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm

          I am with Mac45 on this one for military. 9mm (38 Cal) did not do well against Islamic Moros….. and the military had go relearn the value of the 45….Colt and Schofield being repackaged in the 45 ACP.

      the other rob in reply to Sanddog. | January 21, 2017 at 8:06 am

      I have to agree with Sanddog. Yesterday, I finally caved and bought my first Glock (a Gen 4 17). Somebody had given me a holster for one and I hate to have a holster with nothing to put in it.

      That said, the lack of a thumb safety does not trouble me. Indeed, when I carry my Beretta 92A1 (in a Fobus paddle holster that I bought direct from Israel) I do so with the safety off. My finger isn’t going near the trigger until I’m ready to shoot, so it’s just an unnecessary distraction. I do appreciate its secondary function as a decocker, however.

        The proper comparison to a striker-fired Sig 320, with it’s light, short trigger press, is not a double-action Beretta 92, with it’s heavy, long trigger press, but a single-action 1911 with a similarly light, short trigger press.

        I know of no reputable trainer who recommends carrying the 1911 with a round chambered (the only reasonable way to carry a handgun for self-defense purposes) without engaging the thumb safety.

        A Beretta 92 doesn’t need a thumb safety for the same reason a double-action revolver doesn’t need a thumb safety. The weight and length of the trigger press tends to deter unintended discharges that occur much more readily on a firearm with a light, short trigger press. Indeed, a great many reputable trainers teach that the Beretta “safety” should be treated solely as a de-cocker, and that the gun should be carried off safe so that it can be operated precisely as would a double-action revolver when needed.

        Further, many of the accidental discharges I’ve seen personally and read reported did not involve sloppy trigger finger discipline, but rather involved some article of clothing becoming caught inside the trigger guard. Anybody who can’t envision this happening, especially in the civilian setting where our clothing is varied and not uniform, simply hasn’t done much concealed carry.

        –Andrew

          the other rob in reply to Andrew Branca. | January 21, 2017 at 10:14 am

          I’ve only been carrying for around seven years. Prior to that, I lived in a country where only criminals were allowed to have guns. These days, I mostly open carry (Texas!) but I take your point about clothing etc.

          Your point about the 1911 is also well taken. I’d never carry mine in condition one without using the safety so, while it appears that I’m doing it right with my 92A1, I should give some thought to the differences between striker fired and DA/SA pistols. Which I have time to do, as I won’t be carrying the Glock until I’ve found time to take it to the range and become as familiar with it as I am with the Beretta.

          nemesis443 in reply to Andrew Branca. | January 21, 2017 at 10:38 am

          My agency treated the safety on our Beretta’s as just that, a safety. We carried the weapon with the safety engaged. You learned very quickly to sweep your thumb up as you were drawing the weapon from the holster as a fluid and natural movement. Good trigger discipline is a must with any firearm so I have never had an issue with that. We followed the Beretta with Sig’s so the trigger discipline was even more important.

          Interestingly, SOCOM recently adopted the Glock 19 based in part upon input from the operators. One has to wonder what the unit cost of those might be.

          The Marines could not get arid of the Colt 1911s they purchased fast enough.

          If a frame mounted safety was a significant determining factor why wasn’t it either in the RFP or why didn’t the Army simply ask Glock to include one?

          I can only hope that the P320 woks out well for the Army.

      Voyager in reply to Sanddog. | January 21, 2017 at 3:39 pm

      Yes, and pulling the trigger to clean the gun breaks that rule.

      The rule are intended to provide layers of defense against unintended injury. People make mistakes, and you generally don’t want to remove those layers unnecessarily.

    Bruce Hayden in reply to georgfelis. | January 21, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    I really don’t like that in a Glock (having to pull the trigger to field strip it). Awhile back, I was field stripping my G17 in the parking lot of the range, after shooting it. Racked the slide so that I could pull the trigger so I could do the field strip. Forgot to eject the magazine first, and the result, in hindsight was obvious. The thing saving me from injury and further humiliation was that I had pointed the gun in a safe direction first. So, the round went into the surface of the parking lot instead. My one and only negligent discharge. My fault, of course, but also helped out by this Glock feature. I also don’t like the way that you have to pull down the two tabs to get the slide to release. And, my pet peeve are the factory sights. They have this ball into a basket system, which probably works well with experienced operators, and new shooters at close distances. But not so well for me – I prefer using sights that are more precise horizontally and vertically – which is why the G17 has night sights on it. Still, Glocks keep shooting, after thousands and thousands of rounds, even after getting a bit dirty. And my next handgun is most likely to be a 10 mm G40 for living around bear in NW MT, mostly because I would rather have 15 rounds of solid cast in 10 mm in a platform I have shot a lot, than maybe 6 in a harder to handle, heavier caliber, revolver.

JustShootMeNow | January 20, 2017 at 11:14 pm

$207 each, wow I love to get on at that price. Too damn old to join the Army…

If only we were allowed the privilege of self defense here in the UK!!!

That pistol is rather fetching in desert yellow 🙂

$207 is just for the fire control unit. Everything else is extra.

may be more using it than you think, in army every military police person carries one.
from provost marshal/desk sergeants/clerks to patrol and mpi/cid persons.
I carried 1911 (springfield armory) as the 9mm had not yet fully propagated over to germany in 1987 to 1989.

    Sure, but what percentage of the Army are MPs? 25%? 10%? Of course not, it’s a much smaller percentage than that.

    –Andrew

      honestly would not be surprise to see 5 % of total being part of mp command structure.
      its a popular mos.

        should clarify, I am talking army alone.

        I suggest that 5% tasked expected to run a handgun is a rather small percentage relative to the proportion that is taught to run a rifle. Which I believe is 100%, even in the Army.

        If I’m mistaken, I accept appropriate correction. 🙂

        –Andrew

          as a whole it is, my point was the % who will use one is probably more than you originally thought due to the MP mos popularity factor.
          and that is army alone, other services not sure on but AF SP used to carry handguns when I was in but have no idea how their mos structure is handled.
          its not just officers and oddball jobs or spec forces that will carry, there is a whole subset of “normal” jobs that will be.

Interesting writeup – I learned a lot.

The Beretta 92 pistol always seems like the standard 80s action movie cop or detective gun to me. Spenser (Robert Urich), Hunter (Fred Dryer), John McLane (Bruce Willis/Die Hard), John Matrix (Schwarzenegger / Commando), Riggs (Mel Gibson / Lethal Weapon), etc etc all carried one. Of course back then we all thought the US army would have laser pistols by now!

Probably a good all around choice. I know a lot of people love their Glocks, but I just can’t get excited about them. And my next purchase is going to be a Sig P226. I personally got out of the plastic gun business… Kel-Tec, Ruger LCP, and Beretta Px4 all replaced with all metal weapons recently. Also, every man needs to own a 1911. Just because.

    Ever man needs to own a GOOD 1911. There are a lot of crappy 1911s out there, some of them sold for high dollar amounts with lots of snazzy advertising.

    A good 1911 is a wonder to behold and shoot.

    A crappy 1911 is nothing more than a nightmare.

    –Andrew

      You’re right of course, there are crappy 1911s out there, unfortunately. And any weapon that does not function properly and reliably is a nightmare. I’ve seen cheap ones that function flawlessly, and expensive ones that are a colossal PITA, so retail price doesn’t seem to enter into the equation. Mine’s a Kimber full size stainless… it was expensive enough, but it points like the Hand of God, more so than any other pistol I have ever had in my hands, and that’s saying something. I hope your 1911(s) is/are similarly pleasing.

        Nothing points as well for me as does a single-stack 1911. My main reason for choosing a different platform was increased ammo capacity given the changing nature of the prospective threats out there. Even my 1911s in 9mm only hold 10+1. My Sig 320 holds 15+1.

        I have to say that I did have the opportunity to handle (not fire) the new Hudson H9 pistol at the just completed SHOT Show, and in opinion about the only thing they got right–but it’s huge–is they have made a 1911-style pistol that fits the hand like a traditional single-stack but holds 15+1.

        A reliable traditional 1911-style pistol with a 15+1 capacity in 9mm and a good trigger would be an easy purchase decision for me at almost any cost.

        Unfortunately, they tarted up the gun with other unnecessary “innovations,” making it much less interesting to me.

        –Andrew

          the other rob in reply to Andrew Branca. | January 21, 2017 at 7:20 pm

          The only pistol that has pointed as well for me as a 1911 does is a WWII German P38. I can’t explain it, they’re very different guns, but that’s my experience.

        Sadly, Kimberly appear to spend a lot of time in the shop according to ‘smiths with whom I have spoken.

Since I own each armed services pistol down through history, I will purchase this one as well. I will be selecting the .40 caliber model, even if they offered a .45 cal. model I’d still select the 40 cal. The reason is simple, any hi-tech ammo JHP or FTM type ammo turns all calibers from 380 to 10 mm into an equal competitor.

I use Xtreme Defense Ammo, namely the Xtreme Defender line which is the most superior ammo on the market today. And the 40 cal. rounds in a 4″ barrel produces better, albeit slightly better, than all other calibers — 115 gr. 1350 fps, 19″ penetration with 3″ wound channel. The 10 mm round produces slightly better but with too much penetration at 21″.
.
I am mainly a Springfield Guy, with a top of the line TRP 1911 as my absolute favorite pistol. Hard to beat the XDM 3.8″ 40 cal. subcompact for CC. But for a pocket carry the XDS 3.3″ 40 cal. is unparalleled.

    Well, I guess SOMEBODY has to continue buying 40. Thank you for taking on that burden. 🙂

    –Andrew

      Ok ok, so you believe the 40 cal. is a ‘dead man walking’? Why do you believe this to be a credible outcome? I’m not saying you’re wrong, but, if you could, provide you’re reasoning. Much appreciated.

        The number of law enforcement agencies that, when faced with the choice, are moving away from 40 and towards 9 rather than the reverse is overwhelming. You’ve heard the FBI has already dumped the 40 for the 9, yes? And that’s after a couple of decades experience with the 40. That will drive a lot of LEO decision-making at the state and local level.

        On a more factual level, there’s no discernible difference in wounding between a 9 and a 40 that’s detectable upon forensic examination, 40 is far harder on firearms mechanically, it’s substantially more expensive per round, it diminishes the number of rounds that can be carried in a handgun of a given size, it has substantially more recoil than a 9, it’s a more difficult round to reload for competitors, and I could continue on and on.

        Of course, all the reverse is also true: 9mm is by all objective measures no worse than 40 in terms of terminal ballistics, it’s easier on firearms mechanically, it’s substantially less expensive per round, it increases the number of rounds that can be carried in a handgun of a given size, it has substantially less recoil than a 40, it’s an easier round to reload for competitors, etc., etc., etc.

        In short, there’s no objective reason to prefer the 40 to the 9, so those tasked with making the choice on a large scale are almost invariably choosing the 9.

        Of course, you’re a free American and free to choose the 40 if you wish, without the need to justify that choice to anybody. If that’s your preference I’m happy for you that it’s available. I mean, there are still folks that shoot .44 Special. Good for them, too. 🙂

        –Andrew

          Thanks Andrew—appreciate your analytical mind and amicable character in both your book and in many comment section of many forums online. You’re an asset to the gun community.
          .
          I do own almost the complete line of 9 mm polymer pistols as well. So I do concur. In retrospect this morning, I believe for me, my leaning toward the 40 S&W round is—-the same as why my father won’t use anything but a Colt 1911 45 cal. He became attached to the sound, feel, and memory the firearm produced.
          .
          Perhaps when I got away from my dad’s 45 1911’s the 40 cal. just seemed macho enough while being less abusive overall. After shooting 100 rounds through the 45. TRP, the 40 feels like ‘break time’. Then after the 40, the 9mm feels like…play time.
          .
          I guess I’m old enough to appreciate ‘firearms abuse’ as a form of comfort and security, no pain no gain, sort of thing, the bigger the badder. As dad says, Be A Man and Quit Crying, I wanna see some tight groups on the target.

          I have a S&W MP40 with a 9mm barrel as well. IMO, the “substantially more recoil” is overblown. I practice with 9mm mostly (cheaper), swap barrels and shoot my preferred 40 defense round, and see little discernible difference. That is a full size weapon of course, not a smaller version, and I have the arm strength required. Shot placement for me is just as good with the 40.

          This is not quite true. The .40S&W is ballistically superior to 9x19mm. It is usually a heavier bullet traveling at nearly the same velocity as the lighter 9mm and has a larger initial cross section. Even when both rounds expand to the same diameter, the .40S&W produces a wound channel with a larger volume than does the 9mm, due to increased depth of penetration. The downside to the .40S&W is that it produces more, and sharper, recoil, which makes it more difficult for smaller, weaker people to handle, effectively. It is also more wearing on the firearm. The ballistics of the .40S&W are almost identical to a .45ACP.

          What one has to understand is that the .40S&W was never needed. After the FBI Miami shootout, in 1986, the FBI was looking for a place to assign blame, other than on its agents. They decided that it was all due to the use of a 9mm round. They wanted something with greater wounding potential, and that meant a bullet with a larger cross-section. But, the fact was that the 9mm Remington STHP round, used in the Miami shootout penetrated 11″ of body area, including relatively heavy muscle and some bone. The FBI arbitrarily decided that the standard for penetration should be 12″. The Bureau did not want to use the .45ACP, because it was old technology. They wanted something new. The 10mm proved to have controllablity issues and was too hard on the weapon. So, they and Winchester collaborated on a new cartridge, which emulated the ballistics of the .45ACP; the .40S&W. Then the Bureau spent an unbelievable amount of time justifying its decision to use the .40S&W. And, it continued to do this for 20 years.

          Now, the Bureau, largely due to fiscal issues, is doing the same thing with its decision to return to the 9x19mm. At the same time a number of police agencies, mostly state police agencies, are switching from the 9mm and the .40S&W to a .45 caliber round, either the .45ACP or the .45GAP. The same is true of military agencies which use a pistol offensively, such as Spec Ops units, largely because of reduced noise when using suppressors. While the 9x19mm is a good choice for LE, it relies heavily upon expansion to produce significant wounding characteristics to stop an attacker. And, if the bullet does not expand, which sometimes occurs when traveling through heavy winter clothing, the wounding characteristics are less than those of larger bullets.

          This is the reason why I prefer the .45ACP over either of the smaller cartridges, for defensive work. I currently carry a SA XD-45 which has a capacity of 13+1. It replaced my SIG P220 in .45ACP. In my former career, I carried both .38spl/.357 magnum revolvers and 9mm semi-automatic pistols. Both rounds are effective, if used effectively. But, the larger rounds tend to be a little more forgiving, where accuracy is concerned.

          IMO, bigger, faster, heavier will always beat smaller, slower, lighter provided one can properly handle the weapon.

          What I have not understood is why the FBI wants to change now. Do they use enough ammunition that the less expensive 9mm will pay for the swap over to new weapons? Or, do they replace them so often that replacement cost doesn’t matter? Or, is it the typical FBI agent cannot handle the 40? I find the last one near impossible.

          The common experience of law enforcement agencies has been that average qualification scores are, unsurprisingly, higher with 9mm than .40 cal. The FBI concluded, again unsurprisingly, that more rounds in the gun equates to more chances at a hit on the intended target. Couple that with the national average hit rate of around 30% and it seems an obvious choice in the civilian world. At the present time, the armed forces are using “ball” ammo, but there are indications that a change is under consideration.

          The logistic challenge of supplying the right people with the right ammunition must certainly have been a consideration in not adopting a new cartridge. By comparison, issuing a new sidearm to the troops and training them and armorers is a much lesser challenge.

buckeyeminuteman | January 21, 2017 at 10:10 am

Good riddance to that bulky Berreta! Out of curiosity, do you know if this contract will apply to all 5 branches like the M-9 did or just the Army? I had heard that the Marines had recently decided on an updated 1911, will the Sig go to all branches? If we can’t get us all wearing the same camo uniform, lets at least have compatibility among pistols and carbines.

I’d like to point out that Navy flyers have been carrying the Sig P229 for some time now, not the M9.

I have a Glock and a Sig, I prefer the Sig’s trigger also.

In my 29 years of law enforcement, I’ve carried a Ruger Security Six (.357), a Colt 1911, a Glock 17 (1st model), a Beretta M9, and a Sig Pro .40. As a firearms instructor for 20 of those years, I’ve found the Security Six (light .38 loads) and the Glock 17 to be the easiest for newbies to learn.
The Security Six fires thousands of rounds with no failures. The 1911’s can be a finicky about bullet shape and magazine lips. The Glock is indestructible and goes for thousands of rounds with no failures. Having to pull the trigger before field-stripping the Glock can cause problems. One of our police Captains (!) put a 9mm hole in his gas tank while putting the gun back in its case.
The open slide of the Beretta is as jam-proof an any semi-auto can be, but we had a slide separation (at the locking cut) that would send the back of the slide into your face if it didn’t have the circular broken-slide stop that was later added. We also had a broken firing pin on a Beretta.
The Sig Pro worked well, but many of the officers had trouble controlling the recoil. New shooters were particularly likely to develop a bad flinch. I agree with the general movement toward 9mm rather than .40. For the same amount of $$, we could have practiced much more with 9mm, and scores would have been better with less flinching.
Personally, I like having a manual safety on a weapon for a LEO. The trained officer wipes off the safety without losing any time (we tested this with the Berettas). But if the bad guy gets your gun, it gives you a couple of extra seconds to find cover while he’s figuring out how to work the safety.
Based on my experience, I think a perfect LEO weapon would be a Glock 17 (or Glock 19) in 9mm with a safety. It sounds like this Sig 320 (with safety) is right on target. I can’t wait to get my hands on one and try it out.

Many years ago, I was put thru grueling training on the M1911 by my friend, a Marine SpecOps firearms instructor. After countless repetitions, my thumb automatically safes the gun as it comes back to ready position, and automatically unsafes it as I bring it to full aim. Every time that I have tried another gun since, I realized that my thumb could get confused if I switched, so I now have a battery of several M1911s, as well as several ParaOrdnance double-stacks, all with identical extended safeties. I’ve longed to buy every one of the newer guns, but I’d have to learn to handle it all over, and in an emergency, might use the wrong finger program.
I was once convinced to buy the Glock 21, but after 200 rounds my trigger finger was raw from getting pinched. I made a gift of it to my instructor, and he loves it (but he’s a bit younger and more adaptable(?)).
Despite having small hands, I find the Paras to be very comfortable, no problem reaching the trigger, and possibly even quicker to recover aim for a second shot — the wider grip distributes the recoil over a greater area, reducing its “feel”.
I’m dismayed to hear of negligent discharges when stripping the Glock. This is generally not an emergency procedure, and one can take the time to verify an empty chamber more than once.
I used to notice that the Marines guarding the gates at Naval bases had holstered M1911s, with empty magazine slots! I was told that this was to prevent them shooting themselves! They carried the magazines in their pockets! My Marine friend never forgave me for that observation, but I read that it was also verified that the marine sentry guarding the barracks in Lebanon was not allowed to have a magazine inserted in his rifle, for “safety” purposes! And Fort Hood proved that we still don’t trust the training of our military, in handgun handling, as well as their judgment.

I wish the Army chose the Canik TP9SF. The best polymer framed striker fired 9mm on the market.

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