Let’s face it. Not every gun owner is a clean freak. More to the point, not every gun is going to have the luxury of getting a fine CLP oil bath every time a bead of sweat falls onto the exposed metal slide. I’ve spent several years carrying the same Sig Sauer P365 almost every single day. We’ve cut lawns together, taken down trees, cleared knee-high snow off the sidewalk, and even cleaned a few gutters in rainstorms.
If you’ve carried the same gun for a decade and it has no signs of wear, then I appreciate either your maintenance routine or your ability to live in silk pajamas and rarely move or sweat. But as a tool for self-defense, a handgun can expect to go through some nicks, dings, and humidity in its life.
So, as a revolutionary concealed carry piece that was also the best-selling handgun from 2018 to 2019-- with over one million sold-- how did the original P365 stand up to the test of time?
BLUF: Bottom Line Up Front
It’s not perfect – nothing real ever actually is – but I trust it. I’ve rotated a bunch of guns through my carry routines over the last several years, ranging from the .45 ACP Springfield XD Mod.2 and the 9mm Glock 19 Gen 4 to the Sig Sauer P320 Compact. I honestly liked all of them, and two still remain in my collection. But the real measure is what gun I carry the most, and that award goes to the original P365 I picked up several years ago.
Winner Winner Chicken Dinner
It would be a fine backup gun, but that is not normally how I carry it. At a standard capacity of 10+1, or 12+1 with an only slightly extended magazine, the P365 offers proven reliability from my own testing with enough accuracy and capacity to compete with most of my full-size guns. I have larger than average hands, but I can get a nearly full grip with even the 10-round magazine, and the grip texture is positive and logically placed.
Sure, I generally shoot a full-size gun better, but the original P365 that made heads spin when it came out in 2018 carries better and shoots well enough for me to feel very comfortable calling it my most common carry gun. Plus, it has grown into an entire P365 line filled with optics-ready, long-slide, short-slide, and special concealed-carry versions.
I will briefly call out the modular nature of the P365 and its bigger brother, the P320 pistol. Basically, the “firearm” portion of the pistol can be removed from the frame and adapted to your needs. I have rarely ever had a need to do that, but it opens a world of options for replacing or customizing parts of your gun.
Better yet, as a standard user, the P365 offers some great advantages as a primary self-defense and concealed carry piece. It comes with nice three-dot, steel, tritium night sights that I have never felt the need to replace.
You can always upgrade your sights on most modern-production guns. But it’s almost patronizing when a good gun comes with what might as well be recyclable plastic sights that say, “Throw away after buying.” Attention to detail doesn’t necessarily make a gun better by design, but it’s a solid hint that the maker cares about the end product.
The standard night sights are great, but the sheer capacity of this tiny double-stack shines even today. Sig Sauer’s P365 offered a capacity and size that launched the rest of the firearms world into an arms race to catch up. Gone was the reign of the sub-compact single-stack 9mms – sort of – as more and more companies started pitching their own micro 9mms.
I normally carry my P365 with a 10-round magazine, giving me a 1.44-pound carry gun that is small enough for comfortable appendix carry even during long drives or if I’m on my roof working in the middle of summer. After nearly two years as my go-to carry piece, I don’t think my original P365 is going anywhere anytime soon. But she does have her own issues.
Room for Improvement?
Given that we live in an imperfect world, it’s worth harping on the imperfections of the P365 a bit. A common complaint from other reviewers has been the grip length, but I haven’t found that to be a particular issue. It’s snug and short at 2.25 inches of purchase at the front with the pinky extension on a 10-round magazine. But it is surprisingly generous for what it is.
That said, the trigger is basically a sponge at effectively 6 pounds but unpredictable enough to not really allow you inconsistently feel the wall before the break. I want to hate it, but I shoot it well, and it performs just fine as a self-defense trigger. It’s just, well, mechanically unimpressive.
I’d almost call it the opposite of a stock Glock trigger. Pulling the stock Glock trigger is like snapping a toothpick after licking your finger and letting it freeze in your mini fridge. The stock Sig trigger is kind of like squishing a wet toothpick inside a wet sponge. Both work, but I wouldn’t give them prizes.
Finally, I was unimpressed by the finish on the original P365. It wore out fairly quickly at the highest friction and sweat points. While I did clean it fairly regularly, without babying it, most of the wear seems to be friction based and less about the sweat that got on the gun – the one exception being the magazine that showed some signs of rust.
I spent a fair amount of time testing the P365 alongside an old Polish P-64. I personally love the heavier and snappier P-64, but the P365 is a superior carry gun, except for the fact that the old Polish pistol never showed a spec of rust after months of testing.
Before you toss your Sig Sauer – or “indestructible” Glock for that matter – into a smelter, I have seen plenty of well-loved military rifles rubbed raw to the point that they looked like silver just from being carried. They worked fine, and I think the P365 held up well for what it was designed to do.
My Final Thoughts
I don’t love it or hate it as a range gun, but the P365 draws easily, offers controllability in the grip, shoots well within defensive distances, and has a fantastic capacity for its size. The fact that Sig also tossed in sights that were genuinely worthy of a self-defense pistol was nice. While no gun is perfect, the original P365 continues to earn itself a place as my go-to carry gun.
The fact that Sig has continued to innovate the P365 line is also promising, and I expect to see not only new guns but a continued focus on supporting the P365 for a long time to come.