On 19 January 2017, the P320 was chosen to replace the Beretta M9 as the United States Armed Forces' main service pistol. I've never owned a Beretta M9. The thought never crossed my mind. I realize I'm about five years too late in writing about this, but on this lazy afternoon I decided I would not let another day pass without speaking up.
Some of you readers are undoubtedly Beretta M9 fans and I hope my opinion doesn't put you off. Everyone has their own likes and dislikes. I'm guilty of being one of the biggest fans of the Colt 1911 and when it was replaced by the M9, I was put off as well. I never accepted the Beretta. The move away from the 1911 occurred just after my Army days were over.
"This time around, I'm making every effort to find things to like about the change." I say that while making my best "dear-in-the-headlights" expression. Jack Scott wrote and performed a song entitled "What in the World's Come Over You" the year I was born. It seems so appropriate that it comes to mind. In the very next line he asks, "Could you ever change your mind?" Well, the answer is yes. Yes, I can change my mind.
There will never be another John Browning or Samuel Colt, but this idea of a striker-fired handgun is not as blasphemous as one might think. The FN Models M1900, M1910 and M1922 handguns all utilized the Browning striker-firing mechanism. So why do young people have the ludicrous notion that Glock (cough, cough) introduced the striker-fired handgun? It's because they don't know history!
John Browning invented and patented the single action striker fired semi automatic mechanism in 1896. Colt passed on the design so he took it to FN in Belgium. It was first used in the FN Browning M1900, which was also the first pistol to use a slide. You've heard the expression "ahead of it's time?" Perhaps it was.
An FN M1910, serial number 19074, chambered in .380 ACP was the handgun used by Gavrilo Princip to assassinate Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914, the act that precipitated the First World War.
Paul Doumer, President of France, was assassinated by Russian emigre Paul Gorguloff on 6 May 1932 with a Model 1910 in .32 ACP. The pistol is now in the Musée des Collections Historiques de la Préfecture de Police.
A Model 1910 was also used to assassinate Huey Long, past-governor and sitting U.S. Senator of Louisiana, on 8 September 1935. The Fabrique Nationale striker-fired John Browning .32 ACP gun was purchased in Europe in 1930 by Dr. Carl Austin Weiss. It is on display in the Old State Capitol.
The Browning designed striker-fired handguns were very popular in Europe (more than 700,000 made 1910-1983) and used extensively in WWI and WWII. They never became familiar or popular in the United States because we were only exposed to them for 13 short years.
In 1955, the Browning Arms Company introduced the Model 1910 pistol for the American market as the Model 1955. Made in Belgium, this model was virtually identical to the European model except for the markings and grips. Imports ceased in 1968 due to the passage of GCA stricter gun-control and import law in the U.S.
The first striker-fired gun was invented in 1878 by American gunmaker, Daniel LeFever. It was a hammerless automatic shotgun. I've never owned a LeFever shotgun. In fact, I've never owned a gun made in the 19th Century.
After being in use for 122 years, I think it has proven itself. My only concern is the lack of a safety. The M1910 has a grip safety, a thumb safety (awkwardly at the very rear of the frame behind the grip) and a magazine safety (which I never liked).
At last count I have two .32 ACP guns and three .380 ACP guns in my collection. Colt introduced the .380, which was developed by John Browning, in 1908. In reality the .380 is a 9mm Short. I'm okay with the 9mm and have never owned it because I never saw a gun chambered in that round that I thought I just couldn't live without. Until now.
Have you ever bought a gun and loved it so much that you wanted to buy a second one? Just to have a spare to put up in case something happened to the first one. Well this is that gun for me. The temptation to buy another of these handguns has been very strong for the last month.
Being full of worldly wisdom, I cut to the chase with this gun. Do you like it? My answer was a resounding YES. I like this gun a lot. Would I trust this gun to defend the lives of those dear to me? Again, the answer was yes. There, I've said it. I like it and I trust it, and really that's all that matters.
On Memorial Day 2022 President Biden claimed a 9mm bullet will “blow the lung out of the body.” Two months later and I still laugh at Biden. I'm at a loss for words, other than to say that his assertion is preposterous and just not possible.
Pros: It's a metal gun, not polymer. Less recoil. Recovers faster. Shoots flat. High visibility sights. Even with 18 rounds of 9mm ammunition, the Sig Sauer P320 is lighter than my Colt Government Model 1911 loaded with 8 rounds of .45 ACP. Carrying the P320 in a paddle holster is way more comfortable than a 1911 for me. The ergonomics of the P320 are fabulous and luckily my Classic has an old-school curved trigger instead of one of those flat, straight matchstick triggers that I abhore. This is the first 9mm handgun I've ever owned and I have to say that getting ammunition for it was fast, easy and not so expensive. Blowing a lung out might make the Pro List if it were true.
Oh! And the Hogue Walnut Grips are Spectacular.
Cons: The 9mm is not the .45 ACP. No Safety, other than keeping your finger off the trigger. Carrying additional double-stack magazines is bulky, but one might say not needed. After so many years of conditioning, instinctively reaching for the hammer or thumb safety may reduce response time in an emergency. Draw and fire practice will resolve this. Although made in America (New Hampshire), the gun has its origins in Switzerland and has a very distinct German accent. Oh, I realize it is just semantics, but there is a lot of symbolism associated with the official handgun of American Armed Forces.
Within one week of buying this Sig Sauer P320 AXG Classic, I knew I was going to keep it and use it for the long term. This firearm is sweeter than Tupelo Honey! So I did what I always do in a case like that, I ordered the best custom-made holster that money can buy to pair with it. Firing a handgun is one thing, but I never really get to know one until I've acquired a good holster and carried it often.
After more than 40 years being a gun enthusiast, my acceptance of the striker-firing mechanism is truly a new development (hence my Old Dog, New Trick statement earlier). I would like to give Joe Biden credit for my finally accepting the lung blowing-out 9mm cartridge, but for the fact that I purchased this gun the week before he made his shocking and false declaration.
For all I know, future generations may view the exposed hammer on my 1911s as antiquainted and unnecessary. Why Colt passed on John Browning's striker-fired gun at the turn of the 19th/20th Century I don't know. And why FN stopped producing the M1910 in 1983 I just haven't taken the time to research. 1983 was a crazy year. GM didn't even make a Corvette that year.
From the Civilian Market point of view, I had always seen the advantage of smaller calibers such as my .32 ACP and .380 ACP guns as providing the ability to have a much smaller pocket gun. When our armed forces swapped the .45 ACP for the 9mm, the double stack magazine with more rounds made sense so long as the caliber size was sufficient.
Safeties? We don't need no stinking safeties! Keep your finger off the trigger until you're ready to engage.