Sig P365
Sig P365 BB pistol.

Part 1
Part 2

This report covers:

  • Background
  • The pistol
  • However
  • Second day at the range
  • Slower is not the key to accuracy
  • Double tap
  • Double taps with BB gun
  • How is it progressing?
  • Magazines harder to insert
  • Summary

This report was never supposed to become a series, but because of the events that have occurred that has happened. I started out by using the Sig P365 BB pistol as a trainer for my P365 9 mm firearm that I carry concealed. I’m a watchman at my church and the pistol is an unfortunate but necessary accessory for that job. We all know I can shoot a handgun pretty well, but what about in a defensive situation? That’s very different than target shooting.

Background

After practicing with the BB pistol I went to the pistol range and tried the same thing with my firearm. On that first day I stood 21 feet from the target and in Part 2 I showed you my results. I learned a lot in that first session. Notably:

1. I can draw and hit the target 21 feet away in about 3 seconds.

2. I’m accurate enough at that distance to do what’s necessary.

3. I can fire the pistol twice rapidly — called a double tap.

4. When I draw to shoot I can only see the front sight.

5. One of my two original Sig magazines had a feeding problem.

The pistol

I’m one who thinks the 9 mm cartridge is on the lower end of what can be used for defense. Obviously anything is better than nothing, but I have always favored the .45 ACP. And I have always favored that cartridge in an M1911-style handgun. But I am also a bullseye pistol shooter and the M1911 is ideally suited for bullseye work, once you learn the proper way to hold it.

The 9 mm P365, in contrast, is an extremely easy pistol to shoot. The recoil is very light and the pistol points naturally for me. The basic magazine, which is what I have, holds 10 rounds. You can also carry one in the chamber, which makes 11. The pistol is striker-fired, so if there is a round in the chamber it’s ready to go immediately.

This pistol fits my hand perfectly, which is a big plus, and it is extremely easy to rack (pull the slide back to cock and load a round into the chamber).

However

The however is the question of reliability. In about 1,500 rounds since new this pistol has functioned without a flaw, which is essential in a defense weapon. But at the range on this first day of defense training, one of the two the magazines malfunctioned. And the failure is one that has been documented by many shooters. As the mag gets low on rounds one will drop down in front and jam the follower.

Here is what I read on one forum.

“The magazine follower can get stuck on the left side mag cutout when you have about 3 or 4 rounds left in the mag.The mag bodies are stamped steel, and the cutouts can sometimes have sharp burrs on the inside that snag the follower.”

This failure is called the 365 “nosedive” which is exactly what happened to me. Whether the guy is right about the possibility of burrs on the inside of the mag body is moot at this point because I have installed all new springs and followers.

I found no burrs on the inside of either of my magazine bodies, but I did find a small bit of flashing sticking out on the left side of one of the two plastic followers. The bit that sticks out is extremely small, but maybe it could cause a problem, because the magazine spring is weak at the spot where this burr would be encountered.

P365 magazine  follower
There is flashing (arrow) on the left side of the plastic follower of one of my two Sig magazines. It is small but it’s in the exact place to make the follower and cartridges tip nose down, which is what was happening.

The replacement spring is longer but has the same 8 coils. The wire is chrome moly instead of the Sig music wire spring and the wire is ever-so-slightly thicker. The replacement follower is aluminum rather than Sig’s plastic follower that is probably Delrin.

P365 magazine springs
The factory P365 magazine spring and follower is on top of the replacement spring and follower. The replacement follower is aluminum.

The disassembly and replacement was easy and took just a few minutes. But I will note that one of the two magazines did not want to accept all 10 rounds when I first loaded it. All the available space inside the magazine body has been used by the new spring. After shooting the first load of that magazine, though, I was able to load all 10 cartridges.

Will the replacement magazine springs and followers work reliably? That remains to be seen and I am watching them very carefully. The P365 suits me in all other ways, but it has to be reliable for me to use it for defense.

Second day at the range

On this second day at the range both magazines functioned perfectly. I also told you at the end of Part 2 that it was my intention to shoot from farther back. Someone had placed a wooden plank on the ground at 21 feet from the backstop where the targets were stapled, so I backed up four feet from that. I was shooting from 25 feet on this day.

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Slower is not the key to accuracy

I said in Part 2 that I thought that I needed to slow down in order to become more accurate. I tried that for the first two magazines this time but it didn’t seem to work. Instead of grouping the same, my shots opened up and went more to the left. I also shot to the left in the last test, but this time it seemed worse. Yes I am four feet farther back, but how much difference should that make?

Then I tried something that sounds counterintuitive. I began shooting with double taps.

Double tap

A double tap is two rounds fired in very quick succession. You can hear both shots but they sound like two fully automatic rounds rather than two intentional shots. I did my first double tap ever by accident in Part 2. So I wondered whether a double tap was good for today’s test. And, to my surprise, it was.

What I found was that on double taps the pistol was still pointing toward the same place on the target on the second shot. I now saw several pairs of holes opening up next to each other. The second shot of a double tap always seemed to go next to the first shot fired.

P365 target
I fired a total of 40 rounds at this target. I count 35 holes in the paper which means I either missed the target paper altogether 5 times out of 40 or I put two through the same hole. I see several pairs of holes close together, and I think those came from the double taps. I also see at least one hole on the lower left of the actual target paper where it appears two shots may have gone through the same hole. It’s the hole that looks ragged, rather than round.

Double taps with BB gun?

Reader Shootski asked whether it is possible to shoot double taps with the BB pistol. I told him I would try it and see. Here is what he said:

B.B.,

If you want to do real double taps consistently you need to practice finding the RESET point on your trigger group and not allow your finger to go farther forward than that point after the first shot. I wonder if your bb gun and your carry pistol have the same reset point? I kind of doubt it.”

Once you find the RESET it may move your pattern to the right; you appear to have an aim left bias just looking at your target and your own stated impression of your shooting. You may want to note what your “weak” hand is doing to your hold.”

Well, I tried shooting double taps with the BB pistol. I can shoot it two times pretty fast, but it cannot shoot double taps. The BB pistol has a double action trigger pull for every shot. Several times I found the pistol unable to fire because the trigger had not been reset. In that respect the BB pistol differs from the firearm.

How is it progressing?

I’m pleased to see what I believe is progress in my defensive shooting. I’m shooting from a little farther back and I’m using double taps to keep my shots on target.

The magazines with the new followers and springs have been reliable so far, though there is a lot more to come for me to trust them completely.

Magazines harder to insert

I will note that the magazines are much harder to insert into the pistol, now that I’m filling them completely. You might wonder whether it’s better to leave the last round out of the magazine to save wear and tear on the magazine spring. The pros say no; it shouldn’t matter. As long as you change the magazine springs every other presidential election (every 8 years) they should hold up fine.

Summary

At this point I’m wondering if the original Sig magazine springs are fine and it was the flashing on the plastic follower that caused the problem. If that is the case, why did it take so long for the problem to emerge? Reliability in a defensive weapon is mandatory, which is why some people still cling to revolvers.

This series has opened my eyes to the importance of training for defensive shooting. It’s a new kind of shooting for BB and the BB pistol has been a great help. This isn’t the last time you will hear about this.