SIG SAUER’s Polymer-Framed Departure
SIG P320 X-VTAC: Tactical Benefits
The SIG SAUER P320 polymer-frame striker-fired handguns have quickly evolved into an industry leader for duty and personal defense handguns after arriving on the scene in 2014. The striker-fired polymer-framed P320 is a departure from traditional SIG SAUER handguns such as the P220 and P226 series, which are more traditional steel-framed hammer fired designs. The SIG P320 lineup of handguns has become the greatest market competitor for Mr. Gaston’s GLOCK here in the U.S., and SIG has decided to further enhance their offering via the X-VTAC model. After all, it would smack as arrogant to assume that feedback from customers about previous models would not merit refinements to the trigger, grip, sights and so on.
The SIG SAUER P320 model handgun has been prominent in firearm news. Its selection as the U.S. Army’s new sidearm via the MHS (Modular Handgun System) Program trials made headlines and certainly ruffled competitors’ feathers. On the other side of the spectrum, the P320 recently received negative attention due to drop test concerns raised by various groups. However, SIG SAUER was quick to respond with an upgrade program, recognizing this was only the right thing to do.
The heart of all the SIG P320s is the fire-control mechanism or “chassis.” (For clarity’s sake, SIG SAUER refers to it officially as the serialized stainless steel frame.) The chassis is considered the pistol and bears the required serial number marking. The chassis facilitates the SIG P320’s acceptance of different slides and frames (grip modules); as such, it is the key component for the handgun’s modularity. The fire-control chassis fits into a grip module. While the P320’s grip size may change based on user preference, the position of the slide and magazine releases will instantly be familiar. The SIG P320 does not sacrifice ergonomics, featuring ambidextrous slide levers and the ability to switch the magazine release to either side of the frame. The key elements of the SIG P320’s success are its minimal operating controls, high cartridge capacity to size ratio and relentless reliability.
The P320 X-VTAC model is the subject of this article. The P320 X-VTAC brings a heightened level of performance to the P320 pistols via features that should be considered tactical enhancements. In fact, the X-VTAC does not resemble its P320 brethren, thanks to its own distinctive grip module, trigger shoe and FDE slide with lightening cuts and a different serration pattern to the front and rear.
The P320 has always attracted admirers thanks to its ergonomics. For example, its grip angle found favor with many who argue it offers a better natural point of aim than competitors. Thankfully, SIG maintained the grip angle with the P320 X-VTAC model; instead, they focused on other aspects, such as the SIG X-Series straight trigger, beveled four-sided internal magazine well, undercut trigger guard, enhanced slide serrations, extended beavertail and sights.
The SIG P320 X-VTAC features a trigger pull measuring approximately 6 pounds, which is the same as that of other P320s. Its SIG X-Series straight trigger offers a 90-degree break for better geometry and is less likely to pull sights to the right or left. A real asset of the P320 is the consistency of its trigger pull—it is the same every time. Anyone who familiarizes themselves with it will not be disappointed.
SIG’s vision for the X-VTAC centers on enhancing the handgun’s interaction with the user, especially in terms of placing multiple rounds on target accurately/efficiently/reliably. This offers a tactical advantage. The mass and shape of the X-VTAC’s lightened slide aid to increase muzzle control for double taps or longer strings of fire. In addition to the effect of the already-low bore axis, muzzle flip is further minimized by the extended beavertail and undercut trigger guard relative to the shooter’s hand, creating a very stable sight picture regardless of the number and frequency of shots fired. The SIG X-VTAC was put through beta testing by various members of the SIG SAUER competition teams and SIG Academy instructors. The aforementioned details evidence the input of these professionals.
The P320 X-VTAC arrives with a 4.7-inch target crown barrel. The X-VTAC has an overall length of 8.2 inches and dust cover featuring a MIL-STD-1913 accessory rail. Weight is 28.7 ounces. The handgun’s slide is covered with a Flat Dark Earth finish. The X-VTAC’s slide is a collaboration with Kyle Lamb of Viking Tactical. Front and rear serrations are canted slightly to match the grip angle. Linear cuts found on top of the slide between the front and rear sights are not there strictly for aesthetics. The cuts function to minimize glare and thereby optimize the sight picture. Along these same lines, the lightening cuts aid in slide recoil smoothness while giving a distinctive appearance. Lastly, X-VTAC day/night sights arrive with two different vials present in the sights… One tritium and the other fiber optic. This equips the X-VTAC to deal with all lighting conditions. Sweetening the P320 X-VTAC package are the three 17-round magazines that arrive with it.
SIG SAUER Elite ammunition led the way in testing, with both FMJ and V-Crown JHP loads used. Hornady, Winchester, Federal and Black Hills ammunition was also utilized. T&E was conducted at Echo Valley Training Center, a private range located near Winchester, VA, where many local and federal law enforcement tactical team members train. Shooting from sandbags produced 2.75-inch groups at 25 yards. I quickly realized that the P320 X-VTAC possessed accuracy that exceeded my own abilities. That is a nice feeling, and it instills confidence in a handgun.
It was decided to dedicate some time evaluating the SIG SAUER X-VTAC working around breaching facades, door entries and other CQB activities typified by experiences encountered in shoot house environments. Echo Valley Training Center’s onsite HESCO Shoot House and Jungle Walk Range were ideal test locations. A premium is placed on a quick-handling accurate handgun such as the X-VTAC, with multiple rounds fired in quick succession the norm to put a target down. The natural point ability of the X-VTAC comes into its own in this realm.
Everyone surely agrees that a good trigger is a great aid to accurate shooting. The P320 X-VTAC’s straight trigger combined with improved ergonomics further enhances base P320 abilities. The X-VTAC’s combination of good sights and trigger along with SIG SAUER quality control produces a weapon that can run plate racks at 25 yards with monotony. Along these lines, the X-VTAC can deliver multiple hits on IPSC-style targets at close range using point shooting techniques within 3–7 yards. This is a compliment to its overall design.
With the X-VTAC, the SIG’s attention to detail is instantly sensed. Crucial items such grip texture, a consistent trigger and maximal approximation of the shooter’s hand to the bore axis seamlessly interface the handgun with the shooter. SIG’s years of experience allowed their engineers to take the nebulous concept of “feel” and embed it in one of the best-shooting pistols on the market right out of the box. Many may ask what the SIG X-VTAC offers to shooters compared to other polymer-framed striker-fired handguns already on the market. The answer lies in refining the striker-fired concept more than anything revolutionary. The SIG SAUER P320 X-VTAC arrives ready to go right out of the box. Kudos to SIG SAUER for including the right features for maximizing performance without turning the weapon into a finicky or fussy competition gun. The X-VTAC is a potent package due to its accuracy, reliability and capacity.
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Black Hills Ammunition
Hornady Mfg Inc.