Mike Morton carries the SIG Sauer P365 to the range to find out what it’s concealing in terms of practicality and performance.
It’s becoming more and more common for firearm manufacturers to create airgun versions of their bullet-firing originals, one of the latest designs being the SIG Sauer P365.
This CO2-powered BB-firing blowback is based on the company’s 9mm powder-burner, it’s an interesting choice, because both the original and the airgun are tiny – and with good reason.
The 9×19mm Parabellum variant is described as a High-Capacity Micro-Compact model that in the United States is designed for concealed carry. ‘Concealed carry’ refers to the practice of carrying the handgun in public in a concealed manner, usually in a holster, rather than ‘open carry’, where the gun is openly visible to other people.
Guns like this consequently need to be as small as possible, and this is where SIG Sauer has really excelled with both the 9mm variant and this little airgun, which has a detachable 12-round BB magazine, but still manages to weigh just 360 grams (12.8oz) and has an overall length of 146mm (5.75”).
While the gun is fractionally lighter than the powder-burning original, the dimensions are pretty much right on the money.
SIG Sauer P365: Specifications
From: Highland Outdoors (www.highlandoutdoors.co.uk)
Manufacturer: SIG Sauer
Calibre: 4.5mm (.177)
Ammo type: Steel BBs
Magazine: Drop-down stick
Capacity: 12 rounds
Sights: Fixed front and rear
Safety: Ambidextrous manual
Material: Polymer frame, metal side
Weight: 360 grams (12.8oz)
Length: 146mm (5.75”)
Powerplant: 12g CO2 capsule
Unlike the original, which is made in New Hampshire, this gun is made in Taiwan, but it’s a great facsimile of its American cousin. It has a polymer frame and trigger blade, a metal blowback slide and three-dot fixed open sights.
It looks virtually identical, and has very aggressive stippling all round the grip and the backstrap, and there’s more at the bottom of the magazine where it protrudes from the magazine well.
It has an ambidextrous safety catch which can be operated by the thumb of the shooting hand when in the aim, a slide release lever and a takedown lever, which cleverly conceals a small Phillips screw. It’s a clean-looking gun and it’s slim too, only measuring about 23mm (0.9”) wide across the slide.
Like many similar CO2 guns, the drop-down magazine houses both the 12g CO2 capsule and the 12 steel BBs. The CO2 capsule is held in place with a base cap that needs to be screwed in place with a supplied ¼” hex key.
It would have been great to have seen a tool-free system in use here, but I really don’t know how it could realistically have been accommodated due to the gun’s diminutive dimensions. I did find screwing in the base cap to be a bit fiddly at first and had to be careful not to cross the threads.
In contrast, loading the 12 4.5mm (.177) BBs into the magazine was.a doddle as the spring-loaded follower needs to be pulled down, after which it can be held open in a gate, so you’re not having to hold it under tension when you’re inserting the BBs.
Being such a small gun – and being a blowback – I was expecting the P365 to be a bit snappy, and wasn’t disappointed. For such a tiny pistol it’s certainly quite spirited in the hand, but its lively behaviour does arguably make it more fun to shoot.
The sights are fixed, with a green dot on the foresight and two white dots on the rear, being zeroed for roughly six yards. The trigger has a pull weight of around 5lb 3oz, while I believe trigger-pull on the powder-burner comes in at around 6lb.
You may well find yourself faced by a couple of challenges when shooting the P365, but this is not due to there being anything inherently wrong with either the airgun or the powder-burner on which it’s based, but is purely down to its deliberately tiny dimensions. I have small hands to begin with and encountered two minor problems due to the physical size of the P365.
First of all, the little finger of my shooting hand had a tendency to overhang the baseplate of the magazine, although this was easily countered by taking a high grip on the pistol. Secondly, due to the short length of pull, my trigger finger covered the blade at the joint, rather than the pad of my finger.
It would be possible to achieve correct finger placement with plenty of practice, but of more importance is maintaining a consistent aim if you want to achieve consistent results, and that’s exactly what the P365 delivered.
The 9mm original P365 was never designed nor intended for pure accuracy – it was made with personal defence in mind – and this airgun is similarly best employed for close quarters shooting, taking care to wear safety glasses of course.
At the gun’s set zero distance, I could reliably hit a rabbit’s head spinner with either a one- or two-handed grip, and more often than not could hit a pigeon’s head spinner too.
If you do choose to shoot the P365 with a double-handed grip, make sure to keep your support hand away from the slide as it can deliver quite a painful whack to your hand if you leave it in the way!
In my testing in relatively mild weather, one CO2 capsule was enough for five magazines’ worth of pellets, 60 shots, and the gun sounds very different when pressure drops too low, so it’s a good audible warning to stop shooting and re-gas the gun.
Something I really liked was the last round hold-open feature, where the slide stays open when the final BB has been fired from the magazine.
In the United States, this airgun is marketed at 9mm P365 owners who want to practise their concealed carry techniques. Unfortunately, that’s not quite so useful over here in the UK. Instead, I think this airgun should be geared towards pistol shooters who just want to have plenty of fun.