The Sig Sauer P320
A look at the Glock 19 MHS submission
The Sig P320 allows an LE agency to use a common chassis for service, undercover, and backup use.
Glock 19: The 9×19 Workhorse
Coke vs. Pepsi. Ali vs. Frazier. Washington Redskins vs. Dallas Cowboys. Trump vs. Hillary. America vs. Any-freaking-body. Glock vs SIG. It doesn’t matter the high-tech Information Age trappings within which we cocoon ourselves, we are all tribal at heart. It is in our natures.
Glock vs SIG: Recommendations and Qualifications
Before we proceed let me help you out a bit. Dabbs is kind of a weird name anyway. Will Dudds is a nice derogatory epithet. Will “the Worm” is succinct while embodying a hefty bit of unambiguous vitriol. On a topic this sensitive, I will inevitably piss somebody off. When you haters start chewing me apart online, just do me a favor and leave my family out of it.
I don’t claim to be God’s gift to handgunnery. However, I have squeezed triggers for fun and money for more than 30 years. I spent eight years carrying a gun as a soldier, and I have seen enough gunshot wounds as a physician to last me a lifetime. The point is that while there are many others out there who have way more experience than do I, I do know my way around a handgun.
In case you’ve been living under a rock someplace, SIG won the Army’s new M17 Modular Handgun System contract earlier this year. It is worth about a zillion dollars. Most every civilian shooter in America, myself included, will scarf up a copy as soon as they start selling them to us mere mortals. As a result, Glock is, shall we say, extraordinarily disappointed. They tried and failed to dispute the results of the competition. The resulting animus exhibited online by each company’s respective fan bases has been both malignant and vigorous.
Glock vs SIG: Geometry and Current Events
The differences between Glock and SIG guns all boil down to personal preferences.
The grip-to-frame angle of the Glock approximates that of the P08 Luger, while the geometry of the SIG P320 is closer to that of the 1911. The Glock trigger incorporates a blade safety, while that of the SIG is broad, fat, and smooth. Both guns sport reversible magazine catches. The slide release is bilateral on the SIG and unilateral on the Glock. The SIG is a modular design and can be configured between different calibers and grip sizes. Both guns reliably throw 9mm rounds downrange under any and all circumstances. Choose your tribe.
The latest brouhaha arises from some fairly compelling video purporting to demonstrate that a SIG P320, if dropped onto its beavertail just so, will spontaneously discharge. Glock fans have seized on this revelation to call into question the validity of the entire MHS competition. SIG responded by explaining that the new GI-issue M17 sports a more rugged trigger pack that prevents this from happening. Essentially, the drop weakness has literally nothing to do with the Army contract. They have also pointed out that the current P320 meets all established drop safety standards in common use.
The drop test on a striker-fired pistol is indeed a big deal. I don’t dispute that. However, open-bolt submachine guns like the Thompson, MP40, Sten, and Grease Gun all went through phases wherein they were declared unsafe in combat because they could discharge if dropped onto their butts. The Thompson and MP40 were redesigned to accommodate this problem. In the case of the Sten and the Greaser, they were just cheap guns. The occasional accidental discharge was chalked up as the price of doing business. We won World War II with a pistol that lacked all the many-splendored safety stuff so common on modern combat handguns, and I am completely comfortable packing a 1911 day in and day out.
The Devil is in the Details
There has reportedly been an officer injury that resulted from a dropped SIG P320 handgun undergoing a spontaneous accidental discharge. The story goes that a Connecticut Special Response Team officer was seriously injured after his holstered P320 fell to the pavement and discharged, striking him in the knee. He filed a lawsuit against SIG in U.S. District Court in early August.
The Glock Safe-Action trigger is the beating heart of their indisputably superb handgun. You can drop that thing from most any height and most any angle and it will not fire. However, I am personally acquainted with five different police officers that have had accidental discharges with Glock handguns, two of which resulted in crippling injuries and medical retirements. Each episode represents a training failure. Regardless, that fact does not change the sordid reality of the outcome.
The worst of the lot resulted from an accidental discharge during disassembly. No matter how you cut it, the trigger on a Glock has to be pulled to take the gun apart. I clear my weapon at least twice and point it in a safe direction before pulling the trigger every single time and have never had an accidental discharge. However, each of these guys would have said the same thing right up until it happened to them.
By contrast, the SIG design does not require a trigger pull during disassembly. It also passes the U.S. standards for safety in accordance with the American National Standards Institute, the Sporting Arms Ammunition Manufacturing Institute Inc., and the Department of Justice, as well as rigorous testing protocols established by a variety of military and law enforcement agencies worldwide. Those reporting these newest drop test revelations acknowledge that their parameters do indeed exceed those of these established organizations. The newest M17 MHS design purportedly meets an even higher standard. SIG is willing to upgrade existing pistols to the new standard if desired.
The Sky Is Not Falling
Who out there wasn’t inwardly pleased to find out Hillary stole the primary from Bernie Sanders? We all knew she was crooked as a snake. It was just that now we finally had the evidence we had always suspected was out there. It always gets us a little endorphin boost to see our enemies fail. Glock supplicants found themselves in this space when these videos recently surfaced showing the P320 accidentally discharging.
There is really nothing new here. There are half-a-million P320 handguns in service, and we have thus far heard of a single injury resulting from a dropped P320. While this episode was indisputably horrible, it was also rare. They are both still superb weapons.
Guns are dangerous. That’s the point. Some might go off when dropped a certain way. Others might be conducive to accidents if disassembled improperly. Managing these risks is an intrinsic part of packing heat.
It may seem I’m taking sides. I’m really not. Reality is that both of these guns are excellent firearms. They both have plenty of real-world cred and run reliably and well. That one might be a little safer than the other in certain aspects is not really surprising.
If you added all the plaintiff’s attorneys in America together into a single aggregate corporation they make more money that Microsoft, and Microsoft has a piece of most every computer on the planet. If the P320 was an intrinsically unsafe design the lawyers would have sued them into the dirt by now. Both the Glock 19 and SIG P320 are fine firearms. The Glock may be more drop safe. However, the SIG doesn’t have to have its trigger pulled for disassembly.
Glock vs SIG? At the end of the day, no matter which of these two churches you choose to attend, you will have an effective and reliable pistol in your belt or on your nightstand. In the meantime, when you inevitably disparage my reputation online for threatening your particular sacred cow, do try to leave my mom out of it.
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