Last week, SIG Sauer arguably raised the bar for the slim-line subcompact 9 mm market with the introduction of its P365 pistol—a, you guessed it, slim-line, subcompact 9 mm that holds 10+1 rounds or 12+1 with the extended magazine. This is an increase over the S&W Shield and Springfield XD-S in 9 mm—both are 7+1 and 8+1—and a definite improvement over the Glock 43 at a piddly 6+1. (Why Glock handicapped their slim semi-auto is as mysterious to me as why anyone would pick the 43 over the higher-capacity competition—where the Glock 19 is perfection, the 43 is lacking.) Besides coining a new term for this particular category of pistol, Micro-Compact—because they can—SIG’s introduction is noteworthy because it addresses the biggest complaint levelled against sub- or micro-compacts: their limited capacity. For comparison, at 12 rounds and 1 in pipe, the P365 closes the gap considerably with such EDC stalwarts as the Glock 19 and Smith M2.0 Compact, both boasting 15+1 payloads.
A couple things we can be sure of when it comes to the P365: The SIG-ophiles will buy them in droves; the Glock-ophiles will pan them out of hand (if you need more than 6 rounds in a mag, you’re doing it wrong, says every Glock 43 owner, ever); the majority of the shooting public will wait and see how these guns perform for trusted reviewers; and everyone will wait and see if the guns go bang when dropped on a concrete floor at a -30-degree angle (too soon?). Let’s get some out in the wild, see how they shoot, how they carry, and how they fit in to an already bustling market.
In other news, Springfield Armory just introduced the XD-S Mod.2 in .45 ACP. It seems everyone who is molding plastic-framed pistols these days is churning out a new iteration these days, although Springfield’s Mod.2 isn’t really new, just new to the XD-S platform. Overall, this is a good thing. I know, for me at least, the blocky lugs that worked so well on the XD(M) pistols never really felt right on the XD-S. It also appears that, as with the new 911 .380 ACP pistol, the XD-S Mod.2 line is going to include models factory equipped with tritium night sights and Viridian laser sights—that’s a win, and it’s good to see more companies analyzing the aftermarket and incorporating popular upgrades into their offerings.
Finally, the most significant upgrade of all: the death of “GRIP ZONE.” I know, I know, how will people know where to put their hands? I promise, we’ll figure it out. Anyway, I can’t confirm the demise for sure, but it appears that the ridiculous label has been removed from the polymer molds, and as long as “GLOW ZONE” or “LZR ZONE” haven’t been added to the aforementioned new sights, I’d wager Springfield has learned that cute marketing names belong in press releases and catalogs, not stamped on the side of a gun.
With all the new introductions in the subcompact, micro-compact, small-than-a-compact-compact market, it’s clear that this segment of the gun industry is still doing a bustling business. Sales of AR-15s may have slowed to a crawl, but the local gun shops I frequent report they can still move EDC/personal-defense pistols by the bushel. Interest in armed self-defense and the American gun culture is alive and well, and a fair percentage of those sales represent new gun owners joining the community and choosing to take the responsibility of personal protection, and the protection of loved ones, into their own hands. That’s a good thing. That’s America.
At least, that’s how I see it.