SHOT Show 2014: Shooting the SIG556xi rifle and the P320 pistol
Two new firearms from Sig Sauer may be the perfect combination for patrol — a rifle and a sidearm with innovative capabilities for customization
Following a full morning of shooting at the Boulder City Rifle and Pistol Club, Lindsey Bertomen and I made our way to the Clark County Shooting Complex Monday afternoon. That’s where Sig Sauer was hosting an invitation-only event at which a dozen or more Sig specimens were available for testing.
As we were signing in, I observed that all the lanes were full of eager gun writers, awaiting their turn to shoot. So we helped ourselves to a delicious lunch in the hospitality tent, discussing which lanes we wanted to prioritize in the next couple of hours.
On my “must list” was the SIG556xi patrol rifle and the P320 duty pistol, and both were fantastic firearms.
One of the first things you’ll notice when first laying eyes on Sig’s SIG556xi is the Swiss-style folding stock — which offers obvious advantages in extreme-close-quarters / entry scenarios. However, the more you examine the rifle the more you notice some pretty amazing — albeit less visibly obvious — engineering.
I was duly impressed with the ease with which the charging handle could be swapped from the right to the left side. Additionally, the magazine release, bolt release, and safety selector are completely ambidextrous and very easily swapped from one side to the other.
There was one thing about this rifle that tripped me up a little bit. The fire selector switch, when going from safe to fire, travels only about 45 degrees. I’ve spent so much time on ARs with the selector switch going fully from nine o’clock to twelve — and when I’m hanging out with the right people, all the way over to three o’clock! — that the short throw of the switch made me come off the rifle and look at it.
For me at least, there’d be a learning curve on that element of the rifle.
No Ordinary Duty Gun
The P320 is a striker-fire polymer-framed service pistol “designed from the ground up with the input of law enforcement officers,” according to the literature from Sig.
Quite frankly, that’s an assertion I’m completely ready to believe. Having handled and shot the pistol, and then heard some of the thinking behind certain aspects of the design, I’d actually believe the engineers had a direct line to dozens of police firearms trainers and armorers throughout the design process.
Perhaps most important from a safety standpoint is the fact that the P320 requires no tool and no trigger pull for disassembly and cleaning. This is achieved by a mechanism in which, when the takedown lever is rotated, the sear is recessed into the grip, thus allowing the slide to simply be pushed forward and off the lower. Trust me, it’s very slick.
Another safety element is that the gun cannot be disassembled with the mag in the well. Yes, this is something that every shooter should be avoiding no matter what, every time, but we all know that sloppy happens. Stupid happens. This prevents both.
Getting back to the theme of the day — customization — it’s important to note that the P320 can be fit to any hand size with small, medium, and large grip modules.
Although this aspect of the gun was not demonstrated to me, I’m told that the P320 can also be converted from a full-size to a CCW pistol. “Slide and barrel conversions allow the P320 to change between calibers and barrel lengths as well,” according to the spec sheet.
As You Like It
As I watched the Sig guys point out all the ways in which these two firearms can be configured to an officer’s personal preferences, I was reminded of that old adage about not liking the present weather: “Wait a minute, it’ll change.”
With these two new guns from Sig, if on the odd chance you don’t immediately take a liking to them, take a minute to configure it precisely to your liking.
Amazing engineering from Sig, as always!