I recently saw a marketing headline of “best-selling handgun in America” for Sig Sauer’s P365 micro-compact, although I had a sneaking suspicion that the humble California-compliant Shield 9mm (1.0) was skewing the numbers in favor of S&W. I did a quick Google search which seemed to confirm that marketing hype is just that. With all that said, I find the P365 to be quite a capable little pistol that’s superb for discreet concealed carry.
Size Ain’t Sh*t
As Bushwick Bill once thus proudly proclaimed, the tiny can go big. The diminutive P365 spurred pistol manufacturers to come up with their own sub-3.5"-barrel, stack-and-a-half 10+ round, 9mm equivalent, with S&W’s Shield Plus and Ruger’s Max-9 being the latest entries. Making hay with their lead on the competition, Sig has been cranking out variants of the P365 - the XL longboi with the straight trigger, the “snag-free” SAS with the weird-ass recessed sights, and most recently the P365X which has the original side with the straight trigger and a red dot optic.
A fellow student in the PST 103 course shot like a freakin' champ with his P365XL with a Holosun red dot, and that had me thinking about upgrading to the larger, optics-ready model. Once I learned that Sig was offering a complete P365X slide assembly by itself, I pulled the figurative trigger for my suffix-free P365. The price tag on the slide and optic gently wobbles on the fence of getting a brand new P365X, but impulse purchases are just that - impulsive.
Takin' It to the Range
Installing the new slide and optic couldn’t be easier - simply swap the new slide with the old and power on the red dot. I used the G-Sight ELMS laser training cartridge to “coarse adjust” the optic at home, and a few days later I was at the range dialing in the sights “for reals.” I’d say this is close enough for horseshoes:
While a micro-compact pistol is typically intended for close-range use (i.e., 7 yards and closer), I had a go at 6" bullseyes at 10 and 15 yards. The upper two targets were engaged at 10 yards, the lower two at 15.
At 10 yards all shots landed inside the 3" green circles, and at 15 yards I’m able to score a passing grade on the LGC Instructor Range Qualification Test.
Take a Few Steps Back
How about 25 yards? One of the stages at the IDPA event that I attended last year involved taking 5 shots at an IPSC/USPSA target at 20 yards. Not an optimal range for a micro-compact, especially with a blocky front sight that almost obscures what you’re aiming at. With a red dot, however…
Can you spot the dot? I knew you could!
Shooting from an unsupported, modified isometric, two-hand grip stance, the upgraded P365x (note the lower case x representing the X slide on an OG frame - that’s my own designation for this hybrid) does quite well.
Gettin' Smaller Every Day
As an experiment in concealed carry, I got a 10-round flush-fit magazine. I suspect this decision could spark a lot of arguments as to why you’d gimp yourself with two fewer bullets when you don’t have to be restricted on capacity. I was curious to see if the reduced height would diminish printing and increase comfort through less gun poking into one’s body.
Without the finger extension, the pinky hangs right off the grip; however, things look quite svelte in a Crossbreed IWB holster:
I’ll have to report back later on whether this combo is more comfy and less print-y than the previous setup.
Everything Counts in Small Amounts
If you’re limiting yourself to 10 rounds in your everyday carry (excluding the spare mags, that is), you should make sure that those 10 shots count. The next trip to the range involved 7 and 10 yard live fire practice from retracted ready (the PSTC Green Deck wasn’t available, so I couldn’t practice live holster draw).
It does feel a bit awkward to have that smaller grip surface, but it’s simply something to get used to. I did a series of “failure to stop” (2 to the body, 1 to the head) drills on the IPSC/USPSA target from retracted ready at 7 yards, and wrapped up with 5 shots to the upper A box from retracted ready using Speer Gold Dot JHP rounds.
Note that the JHPs make tidier and slightly smaller holes than the FMJ.
Carry On and Keep Calm
I found the RomeoZero optic easy to place on target, and the complete slide assembly couldn’t be easier to install and use. Admittedly the all plastic construction of the red dot makes one question the durability of the RomeoZero, and the fact that you have to detach the sight to replace the battery is a hassle. But I suspect it’s adequate for the envisioned use cases of everyday carry, and I’ve found it to be more than adequate in terms of accuracy and consistency.
Who knows at some point I may end up getting a P365XL with an optic; in the meantime, this simple upgrade is definitely worthwhile.