Review: Sig Sauer’s P365 9mm is small on size, big on features

The P365 is an excellent choice for law enforcement use that will protect an officer for an entire career and into retirement

By Steve Tracy, P1 Contributor

Sig Sauer’s new P365 9mm pistol carries 10 rounds in its magazine plus one in the chamber. Dubbed by the New Hampshire firearms maker as a “micro-compact, Sig claims the small semi-auto gives you more capacity and concealability, thereby making you more capable of defending yourself. Even the model number references the 9mm as so small and light that you can carry it every day of the year (365, get it?).

Small Size

Tiny .380 pistols have been selling well to law enforcement due to their extremely diminutive size and .380 ammunition has become more impressive with cartridges that reliably expand. However, the 9mm cartridge is still considered a serious step up from the .380 and most police departments issue 9mm ammo, so it’s usually already available to an officer for qualifying and carry.

Sig’s new P365 was found to be smaller than expected. Pictures do not do the gun justice. You need to grasp one in your hands and feel how small it is. When set it next to an S&W Bodyguard .380, the new Sig’s size is apparent. It is still slightly bigger than the competition’s little gun, but it sure isn’t by much. The P365 even fits in a DeSantis Nemesis pocket holster made for the little Bodyguard. With just its slight upsizing, the Sig is impressive because it is rated to fire +P 9mm ammunition.

Higher Capacity

While the competition may offer micro 9mm pistols, capacity is limited to 6 (Glock 43, Kahr PM9 and Sig’s own P938) or 7 rounds (S&W Shield and Ruger LC9s) without extended magazines. Sig created its new gun with a 10 round standard magazine (two are included, one with a flat base and one with a finger extension), beating the rivals and still offering a 12 round extended magazine as an option.

The P365’s magazine stacks cartridges in an offset manner that is certainly different from a single stack magazine, but it’s not quite a true double stack either. The frame is made to allow the Sig magazine that is closer to a duty pistol’s capacity than a backup/off-duty pistol’s capacity.

The P365’s width measures just 1.1 inch, making it easy to carry in a holster sewn to the underside of an outside vest cover. Ankle carry is another option. The 11 rounds capacity adds weight, but at 17.8 ounces unloaded, the fully loaded pistol weighs just 23.6 ounces.

Big Features

Tiny guns are often hard to manipulate and shoot well. The P365 is the total opposite. Even officers with large hands will find there is just the right amount of grip length and texture to the polymer frame to comfortably fire the pistol accurately.  

The aggressive texture provides a secure grip that is not abrasive under recoil. The magazine release, slide stop and takedown lever are the only mechanisms on the P365 besides its striker-firing trigger. There is no manual safety and none is really needed.

Magazines dropped free (and the pistol can be fired with the magazine removed), as long as your palm doesn’t get in the way (which is a common occurrence with short grip pistols).

Upon first inspection, the trigger appeared as though it might provide a long pull like a double-action-only trigger. However, it was found that the trigger pull was relatively short of take-up and then broke crisply at around five and a half pounds of pressure. Reset was shorter than expected as well and follow-up shots were fast due to a lack of any considerable muzzle flip.

Because there is no safety lever on the trigger’s face, this Sig should always be carried in some type of holster that covers the trigger area. You don’t want to pocket carry it and then accidentally drop your keys in the same pocket where they can twist inside the trigger guard and fire the gun.

So much of the small gun is in your hands that muzzle flip is controlled by the gun’s design. The undercut at the rear base of the trigger guard allows your shooting hand to ride higher on the grip, giving better control. The width of the gun seems just right, providing enough to hang on to while shooting, while keeping the dimensions well in the micro-compact segment.

Standard on the P365 are Sig’s outstanding XRAY3 Day/Night sights. The big green dot up front is fast to find and lines up quickly with the wide notch rear sight and its two smaller dots. The sights are top of the line and made of steel.  Front and rear serrations on the slide allow its manipulation in any manner an officer prefers. The dust cover’s rail does not fit common accessories, but Sig is purported to be coming forth with a light and laser sometime in the future that will fit its newest handgun. These accoutrements are not common on small backup/off-duty weapons so it’s no real loss.

The Nitron finish on the stainless steel slide is an even matte black that should protect it well against humidity and body sweat. Like all guns intended to save your life and the lives of others, keep it clean and lubricated.

Range Impressions

All of the Sig’s attributes contributed to its excellent range performance. Several different full metal jacket and hollowpoint brands of ammunition were test fired without failures of any kind. Hornady’s superb Critical Defense rounds fed impeccably and are designed to provide expansion from short barrel pistols like the P365. Both the 10 round and 12 round magazines were fully loaded and then both were topped off after chambering a round. The Sig functioned perfectly and all 24 rounds were easily fired into the ten-ring (and more than half into the x-ring) offhand quickly at 21 feet.

Excellent Choice

Sig Sauer’s new P365 is a very small backup/off-duty pistol with a suggested retail price of $599 (police discounted price should be considerably less). The magazine capacity of 10 plus one rounds (or 12 plus one with the optional extended magazine) offers more than the competition in a size that equals or beats the other guns in this segment. Outstanding sights combine with a superb trigger and exceptional ergonomics, resulting in typical Sig Sauer “To Hell and Back” reliability and accuracy.

The P365 is an excellent choice for law enforcement use that will protect an officer for an entire career and into retirement.

Specifications for Sig Sauer P365

  • Caliber: 9mm Luger 
  • Action type: Semi-auto 
  • Frame size: Micro-compact 
  • Grip type: Polymer 
  • Frame finish: Nitron 
  • Frame material: Stainless steel 
  • Slide finish: Nitron 
  • Slide material: Stainless steel 
  • Accessory rail: SIG rail 
  • Trigger: Striker 
  • Trigger type: Standard 
  • Barrel length: 3.1 in (78 mm) 
  • Overall length: 5.8 in (147 mm) 
  • Overall width: 1.0 in (26 mm) 
  • Height: 4.3 in (109 mm) 
  • Weight: 17.8 oz (500 g)

About the Author
Steve Tracy recently retired from the Park Ridge Police Department (which borders the northwest side of Chicago) after 30 years of service, 28 as a firearms instructor.

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