Sig Sauer P365 Upgrade Part 2
Sig fine-tunes the smallest blowback action pistol
By Dennis Adler
It is not unusual for gunmakers to go back and improve a design, it is, however, unusual for an airgun manufacturer to do this, and in most cases it’s a long time in the making. For centerfire (and rimfire) guns, safety concerns over a design flaw, or a discovered weakness in a part is often a driving force for change, other times, it is to improve accuracy or durability, or to respond to consumer demands. There are examples of all these circumstances with handguns and rifles, but you would have to look much harder to find an airgun manufacturer that has implemented changes to a new design less than a year after its introduction for no other reason than to improve performance and reliability. But that is exactly what Sig Sauer’s Sig Air Division has done with the P365.
The 2020 model is an improved air pistol. This does not imply that the 2019 guns were not good, in fact, they were more than impressive as a groundbreaking design, but issues arose with consistency of performance due to the gun’s remarkably small size, and with the smoothness of the trigger pull. The latter is an issue with more than a few CO2 air pistols on the market, but it is seldom addressed by manufacturers; it is just a given that it is simply the best trigger that can be made for that CO2 pistol. This applies more so with lower priced models (well under $100). This is less common with guns that fall into the $100 to $150 price range, but it still happens. We accept it as the best it can be. Sig Air did not accept that in its own design for the P365, just as Sig Sauer would not accept it with a centerfire model. Thus improvements to the smallest self-contained 12 gram CO2 BB magazine on the market and the P365’s firing system, slide, and trigger were implemented as soon as possible, and the testing standards for the CO2 pistol made equal to the P365’s centerfire counterpart. This would make a world of sense if the P365 were retailing for $149.95 but it only retails for $99.99 and sells for less than $80. And spare magazines sell for less than $20. Why do it? It is safe to say that Sig Air responds to problems or consumer concerns as quickly as possible. But what does this mean for the 2020 P365 models?
First off, there is no change in velocity, the Micro Compact blowback action CO2 pistol still has an average velocity under 300 fps. With Umarex Precision steel BBs, velocity was 293 fps to 297 fps, with Hornady Black Diamond, 287 fps to 299 fps (on fresh CO2). I know that is still below the benchmark for most air pistol enthusiasts and compares, unfortunately, with the long in the tooth Umarex Walther PPK/S, which also cannot clear the 300 fps hurdle. The difference is that the PPK/S also suffers from a lack of accuracy at 21 feet, delivers only modest felt recoil, and has non-functional features. It is also priced considerably lower than the Sig, and is considered an entry-level BB gun with separate CO2 and a stick magazine. Still, better performance than the old PPK/S was expected from the Sig Sauer P365. But it is only on the velocity end of things where it seems to fall short, while it vastly exceeds the Walther in accuracy, range, handling, and authenticity to its centerfire counterpart. I guess that’s something.
This is an interesting area for Sig Sauer to have focused its fine tuning attention since the original trigger was not that bad, just a little heavy. The new tuned action is a lot better, and that means the gun will be easier to shoot consistently. Here’s the surprise, trigger pull on the 2019 model averaged 5 pounds, 6 ounces. The 2020 model averages 6 pounds, 13 ounces and requires 0.375 inches of total pull to break the shot. It is heavier and longer, but has no drag or stacking, it is as smooth as a centerfire pistol with 0.312 inches of effortless take up and a mere 0.0625 inches to break the shot, versus a heavy 0.125 inches with the earlier trigger.
When you fire the 2020 P365 the slide slams back like a .22 and the report is even louder than the 2019 model. With the latest P365, the benefits aside from improved reliability, is overall feedback. The P365 feels closer to an actual handgun with the improved trigger pull and felt recoil. As a 1:1 training gun (less field stripping capability) the P365 is a perfect understudy to its 9mm counterpart. Of course, so was the 2019 model, this one just feels better. New buyers will be impressed. Owners of the earlier gun, going for a second chance, will be even more impressed.
Just as a preview of what the P365 is capable of at 21 feet, I used a 2-inch Shoot-N-C bullseye on the backer board for the velocity tests. All but three rounds were inside the 9 and 10 rings of this little bullseye target for a spread of 1.77 inches with 8 inside the 10 at 0.875 inches.
In Part 3, more downrange accuracy at 21 feet and beyond.