It doesn’t take many conversations on or off the range within the USPSA (U.S. Practical Shooting Assoc.) community to see that most competition shooters also carry firearms to defend ourselves and those around us, should the need arise. It also doesn’t take much awareness to notice that some of the best carry guns are made by the same companies that make the best competition pistols.
One name that is hard to miss is SIG Sauer. The company has literally put their name on every opportunity that USPSA, Steel Challenge and several other shooting sports have to offer in recent years. SIG Sauer has dominated the major match circuit with top billing at numerous championships including several USPSA Nationals in both handgun and multi-gun, as well as the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championship. They have developed new and interesting modular pistols in all sizes and weights that are competition-ready right out of the box. SIG sponsors three of the most accomplished champions in USPSA, Steel Challenge and Multi-Gun. In 2018, they put the subcompact P365 to the test in the P365 Challenge, allowing competitors to shoot the entire Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championship with new SIG P365 models. (Editor’s note: The SIG P365 was the recipient of the 2019 Shooting Illustrated Golden Bullseye for handgun of the year.)
In the competition market, SIG Sauer is a solid contender, but they are a company built on serious firearms for serious tasks. This is where the P365 fits in, as an EDC pistol that shoots like a tricked-out competition model. I received a loaner P365 for testing and evaluation. Before I could fire the first shot, I also won a P365 in a match sponsored by SIG Sauer, the 2018 Pro Am Championship. Yes, I still shoot an occasional match outside of our umbrella, as it keeps me informed of what is going on outside the bubble, and I still like to shoot outside of work and be somewhat competitive.
I decided to break in my recently won P365 first, naturally, since I would be more inclined to keep the one I had already paid for in entry fees and competition results than the one I’d have to buy. This made better sense to me since I don’t carry any pistol that I haven’t personally put over one thousand rounds through with zero failures. Since I also only own handguns in lots of two or three, I likely would end up with both pistols, so perhaps I was just kidding myself with my previous rationale.
Just dry-firing the P365 gives you a sense of what it is all about. It is a small pocket-sized auto that feels great in your hand, has the best sights I’ve seen on any factory gun this size and has a very nice trigger. It also holds more rounds than any comparably-sized pistol to date. These are all great features, but the proof would be in how it handled during live fire drills at the range.
My first range session with the P365 on the third day of November was what I like to call a “cold first fifty.” The first shots were five upper A zone shots at 3 yards. It was here I observed the first two shots went through the same hole. The remaining shots would be smaller than the size of a single target paster or patch. Then I fired an untimed version of the “10-10-10” drill, which is 10 shots at 10 yards in less than 10 seconds from a ready position. This drill showed me how the pistol recovered shot-to-shot, and the relative defensive-distance capability of the pistol. I was able to cover the group with an open hand but not a closed fist, due to one flyer that was certainly due to the operator and not the machine. Next, I fired five rounds for group at 20 yards, measuring the pistol’s accuracy, and covering this group with a closed fist. I returned to the 10-yard line and fired two more 10-round groups expediently. These 20 rounds were also covered by a closed fist. The last drill was 10 rounds at an upper A-zone at 10 yards, with nine centered upper-A-zone hits and one low B or C.
After the first 50 rounds I had a measurable idea of the shoot-ability of this pistol without much training or practice. The P365 showed promise—handling much like larger, mid-sized pistols. The ammunition used for the first range session was Federal Syntech Action Pistol 9mm 150-grain.
The second range session with the P365 would be almost eight months later, due mostly to lack of free time and good weather, but such is life. This time, the drills would all be timed with a shot timer and include holster work. The ammunition used for the second session was SIG Sauer Match Elite 9mm 147-grain JHP. I wanted to use SIG P365 ammunition but was unable to get my hands on it. I will use a wide variety of defensive loads in the pistol by the time I carry it, to ensure that it will eat a steady diet of available ammunition.
The first drill was a cold “10-10-10”, timed at 4.23 seconds, and in the upper half of the A-zone able to be covered by a closed fist. The “10-10-10” or “pistol test”—or “the test” as it is referred to in certain circles—is widely accepted to have been developed by Larry Vickers, who used NRA B-8 repair centers instead of the fist.
The second drill would be the “Mozambique” as used by Jeff Cooper, largely accepted to have been developed by Mike Rousseau, and renamed the “Failure Drill” to be used by LAPD SWAT. It is a very simple drill requiring two shots to the top half of the A-zone, and one shot to the upper A-zone. I did this drill five times, each at 10 yards from two different types of holsters, a Comp-Tac EV-2 inside the waistband used in the appendix carry position with an untucked shirt, and a Comp-Tac International Competition holster on a PLM Attachment at the three o’clock carry position with the shirt tucked into the trousers.
All hits were As.
The remainder of this session was spent shooting various drills at five, 10 and 15 yards. After firing 200 rounds of drills through the SIG Sauer P365, there were zero failures to feed. I found it to be very shootable, easily concealable and practically accurate. I look forward to continue to put it through the paces and carrying it when I need a small pistol.