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Growing Pains: The SIG Sauer P320 RX Compact

By Todd Burgreen

The Evolution of SIG’s Modular Striker-Fired Handgun

The SIG SAUER P320 was introduced at the 2014 SHOT Show. The P320 is SIG’s response to trends in the U.S. market, which continues to expand and generate firearm sales among both civilians and law enforcement (LE) consumers, with striker-fired handguns leading the way. The striker-fired polymer-framed P320 is a departure from traditional SIG SAUER handguns, such as the P220 and P226 series, which are more traditional steel-framed DA/SA hammer-fired designs. Polymer-framed striker-fired handguns such as the SIG P320 are inherently lighter, thinner and simpler due to the reduced number of parts involved. This makes the gun easier to maintain and ultimately more reliable. The relatively quick adoption of striker-fired weapons for LE use bears out this truth. Striker-fired weapons work without the standard hammer that is visible on early modern semi-automatic pistols. Instead, the firing pin, or “striker,” sits captive under some spring tension inside the slide while the gun is not being put through the firing process.

The SIG SAUER P320 model handgun has again been prominent in the firearm news of late. Its selection as the U.S. Army’s new sidearm via the MHS (Modular Handgun System) Program trials made headlines and ruffled competitors’ feathers for sure. On the other end of the spectrum, the P320 recently received negative attention due to drop test concerns raised by various groups. The parameters used by these groups in their drop tests went beyond industry standard protocols. Nonetheless, SIG SAUER was quick to respond with an upgrade program, recognizing it was only the right thing to do.

The P320 upgrade had been underway for nearly a year before the drop test storm broke. Understandably, the firestorm created by the drop tests forced development into overdrive. A lighter mass trigger shoe, striker pin and sear design are at the heart of the upgrade. Thanks to the upgrade being in its final stages, the new parts had already been extensively tested. Happily, the new components not only improved the trigger system’s safety but also its pull weight and overall feel....

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review V22N5 (May 2018)
and was posted online on March 23, 2018

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