By Dennis Adler
This is what the P320 M17 ASP is built to do, allow real world training with a pellet-firing blowback action CO2 pistol at actual close quarter combat distances. I shot this entire final test at a minimum of 45 feet from the Law Enforcement Targets cardboard B-27 silhouette. This target provides a center mass area of 6×9 inches containing the 9, 10 and X rings. Any hits inside that area and the 8 ring score 5 points.
I ran several training exercises including drawing and firing (from a UTG tactical vest holster); shooting short bursts from a kneeling position at right and left angles to the target (noted as RA and LA on the target); I practiced reloads, dropping and rolling over onto one side to fire from a ground level position (noted as prone on the target), moving across the target’s path and rapid firing (indicated by either RF or M on the target). All shots were fired using a two handed hold. I expended two CO2 cartridges and the overall test consisted of 80 rounds of H&N Sport Match Green alloy pellets and two B-27 targets. The ambient temperature for the field test was 49 degrees with no wind.
For the 45 foot shooting test I used the lighter 5.25 gr. H&N Match Green alloy wadcutters, which were the best option at this extended range (although the 5.25 gr. Sig Sauer Match Ballistic alloy pellets have also delivered 45 foot accuracy in tests with the earlier P320 ASP models.
Shooting the M17 ASP at 45 feet is pushing the accuracy with a blowback action pellet pistol but the Sig delivered hits that are equivalent to passing accuracy at that distance with a 9mm M17 (a comparison test I will be doing later on in the year with the M17). The real advantage in using this pistol for training is the actual feel of the gun in the hand, which is identical to the centerfire model, sighting with the white dot sights, the slide movement and moderate felt recoil, and consistency of the DAO trigger pull. The only thing missing is heavier recoil, a much louder bang and 9mm ammo. The Sig Sauer air pistol passed in every category and I came away with a best test target that placed at least 50 percent of the rounds fired within the 9, 10 and X from multiple shooting positions. The windage was close to center (pulling slightly left) and elevation required aiming at the 9 ring to drop shots into the 10 and X. Most were fired at one- to three-second intervals except on rapid fire tests and double taps (DT on the target). After each specific test I circled and labeled each test group so additional shots could be easily distinguished.
I kept my shot count to no more than 50 rounds per CO2 cartridge to reduce lower velocity shots. You can also feel a change in the slide’s recoil and the sound of the M17 when CO2 begins to run low. There were zero failures during the entire test using one gun and two magazines.
You don’t have to go to the lengths I do to test these CO2 air pistols, or wear tactical gear to enjoy the M17, even 45 feet from the target, but I do it to see if the gun is up to the challenge of training use, and the Sig Sauer P320 M17 ASP is right in step with models like the Umarex S&W M&P40 as an actual hands on 1:1 training gun. And it has the advantage of being a 4.5mm pellet pistol rather than a BB pistol. For all the M&P40’s virtues of authentic handling to the centerfire model, you could not use the smoothbore BB pistol for any degree of accuracy training at 45 feet.
The M17 isn’t in a class by itself as a training gun (except for the magazine) but it is definitely on the brink of becoming this year’s class valedictorian. And there is more to come from Sig Sauer!
The Airgun Experience will return on Tuesday, November 5th with a classic Ruger design.