SIG-Sauer P365 9mm, by Pat Cascio

It is not often that a gun company will first build a magazine for a handgun, and then design the handgun around that magazine. However, that is exactly what SIG-Sauer did with their new 10+1 shot P365 9mm pistol.

Many gun makers will build new handgun designs, and then slightly alter the magazine design it takes, from a very similar handgun. This is done on purpose, I believe, so gun owners have to go out and purchase more spare magazines for the newly-designed handgun, instead of being able to use magazines from a very similar handgun that the company makes, or that is made by other companies. I understand profit and loss, that all companies must abide by, however, when they build newer handgun designs, and then make sure that none of the magazines from other similar handgun designs, won’t fit. I believe that is taking advantage of the consumer.

Look, if I already own a Super Whiz 9mm from the ABC company, and they build a World Wide 9mm handgun from the same ABC company – and they are so similar, why don’t they use the same magazine? It saves money in having different magazines made.  If I already owned a Super Whiz 9mm, and then bought the World Wide 9mm from the same company, and it took the same magazine as the Super Whiz does, I’d still purchase more spare magazines. And I don’t know of many firearm makers that manufactures their own magazines. Typically, they are made by subcontractors such as Mec-Gar, that specialize in only making magazines.

I’m long past carrying a full-sized 1911, like I used to carry. Then I went to the Lightweight Commander-sized 1911, and eventually, went to the Officer’s-sized 1911 – and even went from one chambered in .45 ACP to some of the newer 9mm chambered Officer’s-sized 1911s. Still, it was/is more gun than I need to carry. I’m not in law enforcement any longer, and I don’t need to carry all the hardware I used to carry. So, these days, I can usually be caught carrying a sub-compact semi-auto handgun of some sort, with one spare magazine. I find it hard to justify carrying a sub-compact handgun that hold a mere 5-6 rounds, when I can pack a similar sub-compact that is about the same size, as the one only holding 5-6 rounds, and this one will hold 10+ rounds or even more. So, why carry similar-sized handguns, with one holding lesser number of rounds, when I can carry a handgun that is almost identical, and in some cases, even smaller, that hold about double the ammo? I’d like to think that, I’m getting smarter in my old age.

It has been a lot of years, since I had to draw a handgun on anyone, or any suspect. Back in the day – we’re talking the early 1970s, I worked for an alarm company – during the day, we installed alarms, and on the night shift, we answered alarms. To be sure, on average, I would arrest at least one or two burglary felons each night – sometime more often – and they would be arrested at gun point. I probably made more felony arrests in the short time period I worked for that company, than most police officers make in a lifetime. This is not bragging, just a fact.

SIG P365Here’s an example of catching a burglar, who broke into a business: We would get a call from the central alarm station, saying there was a break-in at a certain business. More often than not, I would get to that business before the local police did – and we are talking about the Chicago Police Department. First thing I’d do, is check the perimeter of the building, to see if there was any signs of a break-in – most of the time there was. Long about that time, a police cruiser would show up, with a couple cops in it, and sometimes – not often, several cruisers would show. I’d be told “we’ll secure the outside, while you go in and search…” What? Huh? Are you kidding me? Well, I did most building searches by myself, and there is NO good way to search a building, any sized building, by yourself, but I did it. Sometimes, I’d look for a young cop, who was packing two handguns, and I’d ask them if they wanted to go into the building with me. They always did – they were gung-ho! In any event, I learned a lot about doing building searches by myself. It was never fun, though.

So, here I am, in my Golden Years, but I still carry a handgun every place that I go, where I can carry legally. And, I don’t need all that spare ammo, or a full-sized duty handgun any longer. The threat level isn’t what it used to be.  So, I usually carry something compact, and more often than not, a sub-compact semi-auto of some type, with one spare loaded magazine. If I’m traveling far from home, I will put an ankle holster on, with a small .380 ACP, just for a back-up. I have never needed it, though.

The SIG-Sauer P365

Today, we’re taking a close look at the SIG-Sauer P365, micro-compact 9mm handgun. This pistol is a winner in many respects. First of all, we are talking a very small handgun, that holds 10+1 rounds of the most potent 9mm ammo you want to stoke in it – even +P ammo. And, it comes with two 10-round magazines: One has a flat magazine base, and the other has a pinky catcher magazine floor plate. However, you can also purchase 12-round mags, and they are only ever so slightly longer than the 10-rd mag with the pinky catcher floor plate on it. Nice, very nice!

Some specs are in order on the P365. First of all, it comes standard with SIG Night Sights, that they call Xray3 Day/Night sights. They are outstanding. The grip frame is black polymer, and have an semi-aggressive stippling (for lack of a better description) on it. And, SIG says this is a micro compact–and I agree with them. The frame is stainless steel, however it has their black Nitro coating on it. There is a SIG proprietary accessory rail on the front. SIG says that they will be coming out with a light to attach to it – why not use a standard Picatinny rail? Hmmm? The P365 is striker-fired, and it has about the best striker-fire trigger pull that I’ve ever felt on any striker-fired handgun. It is “that” good. Barrel length is 3.1-inches – about as short as you can go with 9mm Parabellum. The gun only weighs 17.8-oounces. So it’s a lightweight and easy to pack all day long.

Ammunition for Testing

Here’s where I have a huge complaint, as do many other folks who own this same model gun. The magazine – yes, it holds 10 rounds of ammo – but it is, without a doubt, the stoutest and hardest magazine in the world to load to full capacity. The 9th and 10th round took every ounce of strength I had to get into this magazine. And, once fully loaded, there is zero, none, nada, zip play – you can press down on that 10thround in the magazine, and it does not move – not one millimeter. There is no free-play in the spring – not a good thing if you ask me. Much of my testing took place with only 8-rds in the magazine, as it was just too hard to fully load this magazine to full capacity.

Courtesy of Black Hills Ammunition, I had several types of 9mm to test in this new SIG. I had their HoneyBadger 125-gr subsonic load, their 100-gr HoneyBadger +P load, their 115-gr JHP +P, 124-gr JHP+P, 115-gr FMJ – new and remanufactured, and their 115-gr Barnes TAC-XP + load. In all, this was a good assortment of ammo to run through the new SIG. My accuracy testing was one at 15-yards, which is a fair distance for such a small handgun with a short barrel. I was getting groups right around 3-inches. Remember, this was at 15-yards – resting the gun over a sleeping bag over the hood of my Dodge pickup. I had a couple groups right at 3.5-inches – still a fair amount of accuracy for this little gun. The overall winner was the 115-gr FMJ load and it came in just a little under 3-inches. I’ve chosen the HoneyBadger 100-gr +P load to carry in this little gun, and it gave me a group just slightly over 3-inches. I think the gun/ammo can do better – with more practice. In all, I fired close to 300 rounds in my testing.

Great Reliability

There were no issues, the gun perked along just fine, with all the ammo. No malfunctions of any type, and you can’t say that about a lot of micro-compact handguns. Pistol of this type are often hard to shoot, on the best of days. The SIG P365 was a pleasure to shoot with the pinky catcher mag floor plate, the flat based mag didn’t give me a good enough grip. I also purchased one of the 12-rond mags – and it is the one I’m carrying in the SiG. And it is a piece of cake to fully load the 12-rounds in that. Go figure.

As usual, I made a “mistake” and allowed my wife to shoot my SIG P365, and she fell in love with it. I saw “that” look on her face, and told her “no”, that she wasn’t getting mine. An hour later, we were at the local gun shop, and she was doing a trade-in, to get her own 365. She didn’t have enough trade material, and I paid the difference. It is her daily carry gun now, loaded with the HoneyBadger 100-gr +P round.

A long time friend of more than 40-years, and a retired FBI Agent, that I worked with many years ago on a big case, is really into collecting firearms. I told him about the SIG P365, and he got himself one. It wasn’t long before I got a profanity-laced phone call from him – telling me he could only get 8 rounds into his magazines…Uh-oh, I was in trouble, as he wanted this for his daily carry piece.

More Magazine Loading Problems

My wife can load 8 rounds into her 365, and I have to top it off – no small chore. My retired FBI friend, still can’t fully load his magazines, and he’s not a small person, either. I got an adapter from Mag Pump, for my 9mm mag loading machine, hoping it would make it easier to load these P365 magazines. But even with this adapter, I can only get 9 rounds into the 10-round magazines. I still have to manually load the 10th round, with considerable force, by hand.

I loaded several P365 mags and allowed them to sit for several weeks, then unloaded them, and then it was much easier – not “easy” – to get that 10th round into the mags. So, I guess that is the magic – fully load the mags and let ‘em sit, so they are easier to fully load. Still, I think SIG could have allowed an eighth of an inch more length in these 10-round magazines, and it would be much easier to fully load them to capacity.

All things considered, the SIG-Sauer P365 is still a winner in my book, even if the magazines are difficult to load to capacity. Check one out, you’ll love the trigger pull and the way it feels in your hand.

JWR Adds: Folks with large hands will be happy to learn that SIG-USA just recently added an extended 15-round magazine for the P365 to their catalog.




10 Comments

  1. I recently got some range time with a buddy’s 365 and it’s everything Pat says it is, although we had not any problems loading magazines to full capacity, go figure.

    Be advised that the 365 has now become available with a thumb safety and allegedly they are coming out with a slightly larger version that has a slide cut for an electronic “dot” sight. The pics I’ve seen don’t look very much larger so that’s the one I’m waiting for.

  2. Try the Uplula loaders, I have one for a double stack .45 and another for a .380 /9mm ( I even have one for a .22 ) and they work great. I’ve never been a LEO, but went from a full size .45 to a commander to SA roc 9 ( which I really like ), am now thinking about bersa double stack .380. Have a kimber micro 9 and don’t really care for it ( trading material ?). but try the Uplula loaders, they are great

  3. I’ve had the P365 for about a month. It’s a great gun and easily concealable. I found that a 40 caliber Glock magazine reloader makes loading the 365 magazines much easier.

  4. Pat: When are you going to test the Taurus G2C? Sig is not affordable for most! I got a Taurus G2C with the stainless upgrade kit from Lakeland LLC ($50). This is now the finest semi-auto 9mm I have ever used, with no issues at all. Unlike my Remington R51 which had issues, so after I sent it back to Remington for Warranty work, I purchased the Taurus and it is now my EDC gun!

    1. The 365 is well within your means. It is less than the Glock 17/19 new. Do a bit of shopping and have your dealer do a little looking for you if you don’t like buying online. Yes the mags cost a lot more than Glocks but it is one heck of a lot better than a glock as well.

  5. The Sig P365 replaced my Glock 30 as my EDC about 7 months ago, and I’ve put over 2000 rounds through it. It has been 100% reliable. I carry the P365 with a 12-round mag in a Crossbreed Founder’s edition appendix in the waistband holster in complete comfort.

  6. Hi Pat. I love reading all of your handgun reviews. I bought a P365 last year, and have fired it extensively, with great results and no malfunctions. I did not have your issue of the magazines being too tight for the last rounds. I hand-load them, and the 10th round goes in very easily on my two magazines it came with. I did buy an extended 12-rounder, and that one is easy to load to max as well. I wonder if you got some lemon mags? Have you tried any other factory mags to see if they are different?

  7. I have an old single stack 9mm where the magazines are incredibly hard to load. At a gun show, I found an HKS magazine loader for 9mm that was fairly inexpensive. It works like a charm. While the LULA is great for a lot of things, the HKS loader uses leverage to make it easy to load.

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