Whether you’re a SIG SAUER fan or not, it’s hard to ignore their P320 pistol. Its innovative modular design and good functionality and ergonomics have not only earned it an enduring presence in the civilian and law enforcement markets, but it’s also become the primary sidearm for the United States Armed Forces with its variants, the M17 and M18 pistols.
Earlier this month, Dan Zimmerman managed to get his hands on one before its official launch at the inaugural SIG SAUER Freedom Days event, and both from his article about it and my conversations with him, it’s a winner. The ergonomics are basically the same as other P320 pistols, and it’s been well-adapted to handle the increased power and recoil of 10mm.
Rather than give readers a wall of text describing the gun’s features, I’ll let SIG do that . . .
Some retailers are listing them for preorder/backorder for about $800, but there aren’t enough of them to give confident retail pricing at this point, but that won’t take long.
A 10mm Resurgence?
The police and civilian concealed carry world unquestionably favor 9mm now, due to advances in ammunition and ballistics that gave it better terminal performance than it did when agencies moved away from it 20-30 years ago. Moving back down to 9mm lowers recoil and increases magazine capacity, which gives inexperienced or smaller shooters an easier time with shot placement and recoil management on followup shots.
Law enforcement agencies and militaries often have to train and equip to the lowest common denominator, though. The weakest/smallest, most inexperienced need something that’s easier to count on, and can be like pulling teeth to get everyone to the point where they’re proficient with higher calibers. Thinking law enforcement knows best, many instructors and their students followed along (and it has worked out well for many shooters).
But not all of us are convinced that less is more. Many of us have spent decades shooting everything from 1911s to zippy 155-grain .40 S&W polymer guns to magnum revolvers. We didn’t accept our limitations, learned to live with more recoil, and don’t feel like there’s any need to downgrade and miss out on the additional foot-pounds just to keep the trendy people impressed with us.
Plus, larger calibers have also benefited from the same advances in bullet technology. If expansion is a lot more reliable these days and you start with a larger bullet to begin with, you’re going to get even better results for defense and/or hunting.
Hunting is a big part of what has kept 10mm on life support since Jeff Cooper and other experts brought it to life. For both hunting and for defense against dangerous and large animals, common pistol calibers like 9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP just aren’t up to the task. Pushing a heavier bullet faster, 10mm falls just a little short of the venerable .41 Magnum revolver round. With that kind of power, it not only has a flatter trajectory out to 100 yards, but delivers enough power to take game and big, dangerous (but tasty) pests like feral hogs. This PETA* member approves.
While it never really went away, the variety of 10mm pistols available had dwindled over the years. There have always been variants of the 1911 that have come and gone, and GOCK has been pretty good about keeping the G20 and G29 in production. Other guns have come and gone, but that hasn’t been enough to attract many new shooters to the caliber, often because the newer guns introduced that we’ve grown to love just aren’t available in 10mm.
In recent years, though, a trickle of popular guns have been changing this as the round has regained some popularity among people looking for more power for defense and hunting. Springfield’s XD-M pistol started coming in centimeter caliber in 2018. Another crack in the dam appeared (somewhat quietly) when the extremely popular M&P 2.0 pistol entered the market with 10mm in the magwell, and is available at reasonable prices in two barrel lengths with suppressor sights and provisions for mounting optics. Now, with the P320 XTEN joining the fray, some of the most popular pistols of 2022 are now available in 10mm.
Whether this trend continues is anybody’s guess, but it’s clearly a trend that’s picking up steam in 2022. The reasons people move to the caliber vary widely, but it almost always has something to do with rejecting the “less is more” mindset. Some of us feel like today’s threats, whether in the city or out in the woods, means it’s time to go big(ger) or go home.
- PETA = People who Eat Tasty Animals