Last week we explored the origins and evolution of the Sig Sauer P365. Today, we’re taking a look at the gun industry’s response to the pistol.
The gun industry did not immediately welcome Sig Sauer’s P365 design. The release of the P365 was punctuated by a flurry of bad press, extremely negative YouTube reviews, and general skepticism over the gun.
The platform faced a particular backlash from fans of other polymer-framed pistols like Glock and Smith & Wesson. Sig Sauer’s Phil Strader, who aptly describes his job as “market disruption,” recalled the circus surrounding the release with a degree of humor.
“The initial P365 rollout was about 1,100 guns. We saw the videos and the problems, but there was only something like 15 guns that came back for warranty work involving the slide lockup and a heat treat problem on the striker. So much noise for just a small handful of real problems,” Strader said.
He added, “The P365 had a target on its back from the start and the problems were completely blown out of proportion. The real issue wasn’t the striker or lockup; it was the underlying cause of primer drag due to how fast the unlocking speed on the gun was. It is the fastest unlocking speed in the industry. Spring weights and some very minor tweaks were made and that was the end of it.”
Competitors Dive In
The P365’s 10+1 standard capacity, extremely compact size, superb reliability, and accuracy proved to be a formidable force; but that didn’t stop competitors from testing the waters with their own designs. The first of these to come out swinging was Glock with the G43X and G48. The pistols turned heads at first, but then became something of a puzzling anomaly. They were not cross-generation compatible with the popular G43, and they took different magazines. They were also substantially larger than both the G43 and the P365. The models were actually closer in size to the popular G19, despite the same capacity as the P365. The G43X and G48 seemed a strange introduction for a company that had otherwise dominated the carry market.
Next came Springfield Armory with the Hellcat — a direct attack on the new market established by its rival Sig. The Hellcat debuted to fanfare thanks to its 12-round standard capacity in a compact size. Despite its popularity, though, the Hellcat didn’t have any real impact on P365 sales. At the time the Hellcat was released, the P365 was outselling most other pistols in America.
When asked if Sig Sauer had concerns over competitors taking a stab at the single-stack, mid-capacity realm, Sig Sauer seemed unfazed.
“Copies don’t really worry me,” Strader confidently stated. “When new designs come out, it is appreciated that Sig reset the bar.”
The Modern Classic
The P365 is a true modern classic. Its merits alone are placing it in the holsters of first-timers and professionals alike. Kyle Lamb, a name that readers here will surely recognize as a 21-year Delta guy and founder of Viking Tactics, finds the P365 to be, simply, a great gun.
“There has always been a level of jealousy in the industry. I carried a Shield– and it is still a great gun- but the P365 has more rounds and is just as easy to shoot. The P365, for what you get in that package, is amazing. The out-of-the-box accuracy is unmatched. It’s better than many full-size guns which is just flat out impressive. This is the gun I carry; it just has very few, if any, true shortcomings.”
We tend to recognize the game changers for what they are. When we think of a revolver, we think of Colt. Not that Smith & Wesson is inferior in any way, but the Colt Single-Action Army prominently wrote the formative years of American culture and identity. In our own era, it takes an outstanding product, and a brave company to make something that generates its very own genre.
The P365 comes to us as the product of excellent and advanced engineering. Still, it could not exist if not for the advances in 9mm ammunition, a growing and diverse self-defense market, and the increasing need for modularity.
Sig Sauer’s P365 will surely stand out as one pistol that truly modernized the carry gun.
Missed part one of this two-part article series? Head here to catch up.