Review: SIG Sauer P365 XL

posted on October 10, 2020

SIG Sauer came out with the P365 a few years back to provide a quality small pistol for carry purposes, and it has been a popular gun for that market. Many people I know love their P365. The P365 XL ($650, has a longer barrel and slide, and the model we received to review came with a Romeo Zero optic on the gun, so the 365 XL has all of the features that are the new hotness for a carry gun. The 365 XL is concealable, includes an optic for accurate and fast shooting—as well as a 12-round magazine—more than acceptable for capacity.

The grip of this pistol is textured similar to a fine-grained sandpaper, which aids in holding onto the pistol. The grip is small, which many people expect for a carry gun. However, a large hand can still fit three fingers on the grip. Above the texture on the grip there is one large dimple on each side that allows for a high hold on the pistol with the gun hand. This is a well-designed grip, and the gun-to-hand fit is very nice for either right- or left-handed users. Plus, the metal trigger guard is thin, which helps the gun remain light, and the trigger guard is beveled where it meets the grip to help achieve a high grip on the gun. The frame also includes a rail for mounting lights or other accessories. Many pistols of this size are lacking rails.

SiG Sauer P365 XL 9mm pistol
A slightly flared base functions as a magazine well.

The slide of the 365 XL is designed as well as the grip. It contains both front and rear cocking serrations for easy slide racking, and the ejection port is generous in order to increase reliability. The triangular magazine release is located at the junction of the trigger guard and the grip. The magazine release is the right size for pressing when you want to press it, but small enough to not press it accidently. During live fire, I was able to press the magazine release without breaking or changing my grip on the gun. The slide release is also located so that it can be used without breaking the grip on the gun. The sides of the optic have the same texture as the grip of the gun, in case the shooter wants to use the optic to rack the slide and not get the lens dirty.

Jake Martens and I were able to get the 365 XL out to the range and put it through its paces. We were using steel targets for these drills. The holster was not designed for this pistol, but it fit well enough to get by for testing purposes. We ran a number of loads through the pistol and over the chronograph. Most of the ammunition used for the live fire test was the 365 Elite that SIG developed for this pistol; the box advertises a muzzle velocity of 1,050 f.p.s. The ammunition was comfortable to shoot through this gun but was a little faster than the box listed. (Who doesn’t like an overachiever?) The gun had one malfunction with all of the different ammunition we put through it on the range in this session. I have also shot the gun a little on different occasions. Martens owns a SIG 365 and is familiar with the gun.

SIG P365 XL pistol
The P365 XL achieves a good balance beteween concealment and shootability.

We started out with a four-target Near-to-Far array. The ranges of the targets were at distances of 10, 13, 20 and 26 yards—a good test for such a small pistol. Martens ripped off runs of 4.02, 3.34 and 3.57 seconds, and then commented that this gun is easy to shoot. My runs were 5.03, 3.78 and 3.74 seconds. There were no missed shots by either of us. We decided to shoot the same drill with Martens’ Walther Q5 Steel Frame to have something to compare—and I was beginning to feel like I was being hustled. With the Walther, Martens had times of 3.21, 3.15, 2.69 and 2.58 seconds; my times were 3.38, 3.69, 3.53 and 3.59 seconds. The smaller, lighter 365 XL was more than holding its own against a large full-sized pistol. It is definitely a shooter.

Next, we ran a Front Sight Forward drill comprised of three targets at 10 yards. Martens had times of 2.87, 2.50 and 2.26 seconds and my times were 3.05, 2.75 and 2.79 seconds. Once again, we connected on all shots. When the task was shooting fast and accurately, the 365 XL was more than up to it for these drills.

The next drill was El Presidente. Martens’ times were 6.40, 7.18 and 6.39 seconds; my times were 13.50, 8.56 and 7.88 seconds. The one awful time was due to a malfunction and some difficulty changing magazines. This malfunction was the only one witnessed with the pistol. The times on this drill were slow, and it was not because of the shooting, rather we struggled getting the magazine out of the gun. The small grip of the pistol did not make it easy to drop magazines free from the gun. The magazine would catch on the heel of the hand and it took some shaking to get it out. Someone with smaller hands might not suffer from this problem at all.

The SIG Sauer P365 XL has what many people are looking for in a carry gun.

It is important to consider how the SIG 365 XL is meant to be used. This is a carry gun, not a competition gun. SIG makes a number of quality competition guns, so get one of those for competition. This gun is designed to be drawn and to shoot accurately and quickly on high-center chest-sized targets at distances ranging from across the room or the length of the car. The 365 XL does that very well, and it has a 12+1 capacity, which means that it is unlikely to require a reload in the typical self-defense situation. Really, with that type of capacity the gun is not likely to require a reload in many non-typical scenarios. In the interest of full disclosure, we did have trouble with changing the magazines. Considering the issue in context, it does not bother me at all since the gun is more than suitable for carry. Good capacity means we can shoot longer without the need to reload. The SIG 365 XL has good capacity and great shootability. Changing magazines under pressure will probably not be necessary.

Sig Sauer P365 XL carry optics
Overall length is 6.6 inches, with barrel length at 3.7 inches. Weight is 20.7 ounces.

Wishing to have more data on the shooting that the 365 XL was capable of achieving, I went to my neighbor’s pasture for a more shooting in late June. My daughter was nice enough to help me out by running the timer and recording the results on paper. The first drill was simply a set of one-shot draws at three yards, done from open carry. The times were 0.89, 0.85, 0.82, 0.78 and 0.73 seconds. (The 0.73 is the fastest draw I have managed to pull off in my life; the previous best was 0.76 in 2013.) The grip of the SIG 365 XL is noticeably smaller than the grip of any gun that I carry on a daily basis or any gun with which I compete. However, the timer says there is enough grip there to get hold of and deliver shots on target.

Next was five draws at five yards and five draws at seven yards. At five yards, the times were 0.84, 0.87, 0.90, 0.88 and 0.85 seconds. The times at seven yards were 0.89, 0.93, 0.92, 0.87 and 0.91 seconds. At distances most gun fights would occur, the gun is able to stand and deliver. With a total of 15 shots, there were 13 alpha, one charlie and one delta on the target. The delta was the first shot at three yards; I warmed up nicely after that. This gun is easy to shoot.

SIG Sauer P365 XL
The Sig Sauer P365 XL in action.

The next drill was from Scott Jedlinski of the Modern Samurai Project, a 3x2 drill shot from concealment at a distance of three yards. The first three shots are to the body and the last two shots are to a 3x5-inch card on the head of the target. This was a pass/no-pass drill; you must have all of the hits and the time has to be 2.00 seconds or faster. It is tough to accomplish, but I can shoot it successfully sometimes. I ran the drill five times and five times only, and the hits were good on four of five runs. The times were 2.09, 2.12, 1.94, 2.09, and 1.97 seconds. The fourth run of 2.09 seconds lacked good hits on the head, as one was low and one high. (Try this drill out on your own and you will have an appreciation of how tough it is.) On a very tough drill, the 365 XL performed pretty well.

In summary, the SIG Sauer 365 XL is a quality gun. It is small and concealable. It is not heavy to carry around. There would be no excuse for not carrying this gun on a daily basis. It comes with both iron sights and optics as options. This gun is a shooter, based on the time spent with it on the range. Learn more at

Article from the September/October 2020 issue of USPSA’s FrontSight magazine.

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