Before the US Army's decision, the SIG Sauer P320 had to face a comprehensive selection process. A large number of well-known competitors also took part. Among the numerous competitors for the MHS (Modular Handgun System) contract were: Beretta, represented by the APX, FN Herstal with the FN509, GLOCK with G17 and G22, and Smith & Wesson with their M&P9, among other industry leaders. SIG Sauers P320 first made it into the pre-selection – the so-called down selection – and then emerged as the winner in January 2017. And the MHS order is indeed "big": it includes 238,000 pistols (231,000 M17 and 7,000 of the compact M18 version) for the Army and the Army Special Operations Command and another 224,000 pistols for the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. That brings the total number of pistols to just under half a million.
Our test gun - the SIG Sauer P320-M17
The SIG Sauer P320-M17 is a striker-fired semi-automatic pistol with single-action trigger featuring a fairly consistent trigger pull. The locking system is based on the Browning-Petter-SIG design by means of a barrel chamber locking into the ejection port. The 4.72” / 120 mm-long barrel has 6 grooves. Like standard P320 models, the M17 also features the modular trigger group with slide guide rails. The modular steel chassis also accommodates the new thumb safety for the M17 and the assembly bears the gun serial number. That's because P320 frames are freely available for purchase. Thus the P320 shooters can look for frames in different colors and sizes, but they must always carry their trigger group with them. But what distinguishes the M17 from a regular P320? First of all, color. The M17 comes in a desert look. This is a protective PVD coating called Coyote Tan. In addition, you can recognize the M17 and its compact M18 siblings (3.8” / 98 mm barrel) by the small external and double-sided manual thumb safety levers.
Although the P320 comes without a trigger safety device, there's an additional firing pin safety. Furthermore, the M17 differs from a regular full-size P320 by its optics interface on the slide top. The M17 features a black metal plate (that also includes the fixed rear sight) on the rear of the slide. Below this is the optic cut for a Leupold DeltaPoint Pro. It is currently the only red dot sight compatible with the M17. SIG Sauer announced, however, that it would release new reflex visors for 2019, which will in turn be compatible with the M17 interface. Steel sights consist of a 3-point system. At the front there is a 0.13” / 3.5 mm wide front sight and at the rear there is a rear sight with a 0.14” / 3.9 mm wide rectangular notch with 2 dots. The dots are the photoluminescent "SIGlite night sight" type. Trigger group is located in the metal chassis of the SIG Sauer P320-M17. This is a single-action trigger, which is pretensioned again during cycling. The average trigger pull weight is around 89.94 oz / 2550 g, which is in a midfield value for modern service pistols. Pull resistance is quite consistent over the whole trigger travel and the short reset should guarantee fast follow-up shots if required.
SIG Sauer P320-M17: technical data at a glance
|Model:||SIG Sauer P320 M17|
euro (price may vary due to VAT and import duties)|
Luger (9x19 mm)|
|Dimensions (L x W x H):||8.07
x 1.53 x 5.62 in (205 x 39 x 143 mm)|
|Barrel length:||4.7” / 120 mm|
|Sight radius:||6.57” / 167 mm|
|Trigger pull weight:||89.94 oz / 2.550 g|
|Weight:||28.64 oz / 812 g|
polymer framed pistol, single-action trigger, barrel locking into the ejection
port, steel sights with white dots: fixed rear sight, drift-adjustable front
sight. Double-sided thumb safety lever on frame, tactical accessory rail, spare
The SIG Sauer P320-M17 on the shooting range
We fired the SIG Sauer P320-M17 from the sandbag to determine its accuracy and bullet velocity on a 25 m firing range. We fired 5 shots per cartridge type and then measured their grouping circles. The full metal jacketed Magtech cartridges with the lightest bullets in the test punched the smallest grouping into the test target (2.32” / 59 mm). The other loads were all a few millimeters behind. Overall, the accuracy average so determined shows that these are regular service pistol results, as they are achieved by many polymer pistol models today. Hand position on the M17 is good for a medium-sized hand, grip is ergonomically shaped and supports the palm of the hand without the texture being too sharp on the skin. Although it is a striker-fired pistol, the barrel axis of the M17 is quite high. This is probably one of the reasons why the barrel moves slightly upwards when shooting compared to polymer pistols with a lower barrel axis. Nevertheless, shooting behavior with the test cartridges was very pleasant and handling of the gun is almost intuitive. Despite its compact design, the new lever safety can also be switched through quite well. The trigger's characteristics also match those of this pistol type. Triggers is quite crisp, gives a good feedback and features a short reset. The P320-M17 worked flawlessly throughout the whole test and without any trouble.
Our test verdict on the civilian version of the M17 – is the purchase worth it?
With the M17 civilian version, SIG Sauer is now bringing a touchable piece of future history (and shooting) onto the market. The gun is particularly interesting for fans or collectors of service pistols, as well as for shooters who are looking for a P320 with extra manual safety. The quality of the M17 produced in the USA is known to be good: the slide has some play, but the barrel assembly and steel parts are fitted with low tolerances. Surface finish is also neatly applied. Collectors in particular should be made aware of the M17 Commemorative model: this is a M17 series limited to 5,000 pistols just like those delivered to the US Army. Controls are therefore Coyote Tan and they come with the extended 21-round magazine. In the USA, SIG Sauer also offers the P320-M17 Bravo – a completely black M17 variant.