[Review] Sig Sauer P320-M17 (Civilian Version)

Sig Sauer made big news last year for winning the U.S. Army’s XM17 Modular Handgun System competition with their M17.  

This handgun was a modified version of the newer P320 model which debuted at SHOT Show in 2014.

The M17 is a formidable weapon designed to operate in the military theater
The M17 is a formidable weapon designed to operate in the military theater

The changes were deliberately intended to meet the specifications of the military contract.

And now civilians can have one too.

I spent a few days at the range and shot several hundred rounds through the M17 before sitting down to compile my thoughts. The M17 is a great gun for a lot of reasons, and I’m happy to tell you why.

History

The U.S. Army really wanted something of an upgrade and I can’t say I blame them.  I never had a Berretta M9, but I was forced to carry a Berretta 92 (largely the same) when I first became a deputy in the 1990s.  While I think (now) some of its poor behaviors were due to a lack of proper gunsmithing, I did not like that gun for many reasons.  The Army wanted something better too.

Clones
“Yeah is this The Armor Wearhouse?  I’m going to need 691,200,000 42 regulars….”

They were looking for more reliability, accuracy, and overall modularity to provide the greatest range of use to most people.  This is one of the greatest challenges of outfitting a non-clone fighting force—people come in all different shapes, sizes, and abilities.  

The modularity included different grips, sights, magazines, and other accessories.

40
at GunMag Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

In the end, Sig came out on top with their M17, a feature-specific version (also drop safety corrected) which hit all the markers for the stringent military testing.

First Impressions

Sig sent an M17 (and also a Legion) out to me for testing.  They were also kind enough to include some of their ammunition for me to use with the pistols—which will bring me to another important point.  

Editor: Check out our original review of the P320 if you’d like a baseline.

Sig Sauer P320
Sig Sauer P320

One thing I’ve always admired about Sig takes me back to my days of reading fantasy.  

Magical rings adjust to fit their bearers just right, even if goes from an Orc to a Hobbit.  When I have placed my (admittedly large) hands on the grips of Sig pistols, they just feel right—so it is with the M17.

New Military Standard
650
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

I have a friend with small hands who has always found the Sigs to be a bit large but this one seems to strike a balance. The grip texture is adequate, nothing too aggressive, but there is a definite sandpaper-like texture to the outsides, frontstrap, and backstrap. 

This is a good place to stop and remember the M17, like the P320, has a modular frame.  

Sig P320 Fire Control Unit
Sig P320 Fire Control Unit

The metal portion, called the frame assembly, can be removed and installed in different sized grip modules, allowing a wide variety of fits for different sized hands.  

There are a total of three grip module sizes.

One True Ring
The M17 has to fit tiny hands, giant hands, and everything in-between in the military.

The beavertail, much like most of the design of the M17, is moderate.  

It’s not too big, not too small.

While the first impression was grand, the size of the beavertail became interesting later on.  In addition, the bore axis was a little taller in combination. While I anticipated perhaps a little more muzzle flip, I knew the slide was not going to snake bite me.

The Sig Sauer M17 does a lot of things well
The Sig Sauer M17 does a lot of things well

The empty weapon felt good in my hand.  

The striker-fired, polymer frame with a steel slide felt familiar in my hand.  The ergonomics were good. I could reach all the controls with ease.

While I’m no big fan of an external safety, that’s what the Army wanted, so that’s what they got.  These controls were ambidextrous and I found them easily accessible from either hand without being cumbersome or rubbing my hands during use.

The safety is right where it needs to be and while the slide stop lever is pretty tightly placed just after, you can still operate both quite easily with your thumb.  

Testing the trigger, it averaged in at seven pounds on the Lyman Digital Gauge from Brownells but strangely felt lighter than this to my finger. The trigger had approximately 1.5 mm of takeup before hitting resistance.  

After that, an easy pull completes the shot. The trigger felt a little springy but was all too familiar to someone used to striker-fired pistols.

There is some real magic in how easily the metal magazines move within the polymer magwell
There is some real magic in how easily the metal magazines move within the polymer magwell

One thing I really enjoyed about the M17 is that metal mags in a polymer magwell slide like you wouldn’t believe.  They come out great, and they go in just as well.

There is no lingering when you eject an empty magazine, and this is the true test.  

Hopefully, you aren’t dropping magazine when they’re full.  

The M17 comes with two 17-round magazines (in free states).  One observation I made with the magazines, I couldn’t get the 17th round in the first few times I used them.  With time, this got easier.

These are great sights for a government-based purchase
These are great sights for a government-based purchase

Sights for the M17 are a nice upgrade from what I would consider being stock for any pistol.  They are metal and integrated into Sig’s system for adding a red dot optic. The front sight is green with a white outline.  

To the rear, the Night Sight Plate contains two green vials of tritium and the rear notch is a square. The trio glows nicely in dark conditions.

This plate can be removed to install the Leupold DeltaPoint Pro.  To my understanding, this is currently the only optic mountable to the M17 (because the U.S. Army said so) though possible adapter plates could be in the works.    

My Own Modular Test!

When I tested the M17 I felt confident it had already overcome anything I could possibly subject it to so I concerned myself with practical applications—accuracy, ergonomics, handling, and ease of use.  The M17 did well to excellent in all categories.

For accuracy, I kept working up my familiarity and eventually built up some speed, drawing and firing a full magazine from the ten-yard line.  I was able to group well with the M17, within a few inches. Stretching out to various distances, I was able to hit pretty much whatever I was aiming at.

17 rounds of quick firing and I was pleased with the M17’s accuracy
17 rounds of quick firing and I was pleased with the M17’s accuracy

Ergonomics was a bit different, and the size of my hands played a role (yet again) in how the gun ran.  My digits weren’t causing any malfunctions, but if I didn’t grip pretty tightly, the smallish beavertail could work its way under the web of my hand.  So, tighter grip was the solution.

Everything in the “control center” was easy to reach and ran like it was supposed to
Everything in the “control center” was easy to reach and ran like it was supposed to

As far as loading, reloading, and other attributes, the gun functioned very well.  The rear slide serrations allowed good tactically for running the slide. The magazine changes were downright pleasant, their falling free of the grip and sliding in so easily was really nice.  

All the controls were easy to reach and did everything they were designed to do.

I had zero malfunctions when running this gun but the testing also concerned Sig’s ammo.  

The company has expanded to areas far beyond the norm of late and done a bang-up job from what I can tell.  At SHOT 2018 I tested nearly their entire line of optics, firearms, ammunition, and (even) air rifles.

For the M17 test, I used their Elite Performance 9mm FMJ 147 gr. as well as their V-Crown 115 gr. JHP.  The ammo was outstanding. I didn’t measure speeds but found it to be dependable and predictable.

17
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Incidentally, I also fired other loads from other brands such as American Eagle, Hornady, Winchester, and Black Hills with perfect functions.

By the Numbers

Reliability 5/5

The gun ran flawlessly during my testing.  Granted, this was just under 1,000 rounds. In fact, many things got better as the weapon started to break in (c’mon He-Man, get that 17th round in!).  Luckily, it seems the M17 benefitted from the drop safety fix of the P320 already being resolved.

Ergonomics 3.5/5

While I liked the placement of the controls, I feel like beavertail could be a little longer.  However, this may only apply to me or other people with enormous hands. Everything else was better than average—the grip felt like it was made for my hand, more oblong than square.  Overall, I don’t care for an external safety but this is just my preference.

Accuracy 4/5

Accuracy was good right out of the box.  I would say this is a great option for the military or even police use.  The sights were easy to pick up and worked really well in low-light conditions also.  The combined package makes for an accurate pistol.

Customization 4/5

I was happy to see Sig included a Picatinny rail on the front of the pistol so you have some great options there, perfect for a full-sized gun is the Streamlight TLR-1 HL.  

The modularity inherent in the P320/M17 series is in and of itself, a strong motivator for people of different sizes who may need to adjust the system to fit them.  

The only knock against the customization of this firearm has to be the mandatory Leupold—and this should not be considered a dig on that outstanding optic.

The future may hold other optic options for the M17.

Value 4/5

The $649.00 going price in stores falls nicely lower than the MSRP of $768.00.  When you think about what you are getting with this pistol, it’s a great value. You get a standalone handgun with Sig reliability and accuracy as well as access to an entire system of customization options.  

New Military Standard
650
at Brownells

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

These include the three different sized grips and may include compatibility to the conversion kits allowing for other calibers. I don’t know this for a fact but it would track considering the M17’s root gun is the P320.

Overall 4/5

Parting Shots

For a firearm that has to fit a lot of different people and perform the same job to a high standard, the Sig Sauer M17 does an excellent job.  

I found it to be reliable, accurate, easy to operate and maintain. It can be configured to different sizes (carry down to sub-compact) and is also upgradable to a red dot optic (and comes stock with night sights).  

The price for such an option-laden pistol is very competitively priced in today’s market.

Have you shot the M17 yet? Let us know about it in the comments! Need an optic for your new carry weapon? Check out the 4 Best Pistol Red Dots!

17 Leave a Reply

  • Darrell Crowson

    I just picked up my M17 today and already ran 100 find through it. Good 3 say it was better than I expected right out of the box. The sights are great and the recoil so light that getting back on target was not a problem. Very happy with my pur6 and the fact they there 3 in 2 Xtra mags and a kydex holster made it a no-brainer. Already put an Inforce 400 lumen light on it. Ready to go!

    2 months ago
  • WGirl

    Just picked my P320 M17 up today. I ordered the no safety, Civilian 2 reg mags and bought a 21 mag. LOVE ❤️ IT!! I looked at everything I went to our local range and tried the Glocks, Walther, S & W, Beretta, CZ, I kept coming back to the SIG. WHY? Because, The biggest factor for me was I could work the Slide, and I could push the button to close it VS racking it. I simply could not do that. Plus Another Big factor: Love the Trigger on these guns. Crisp and Quick. I found on the others especially the Glocks the trigger was “For Me” Very mushy, and it took a very long time to pull. I also love the Coyote Look of the M17. Having lived a lot of years in the desert in S. Calif. reminds me of home. I am now 68 years old and have having to rebuild hand & arm strength. It’s been years since I shot pistols. Back in the late 90’s I shot race guns on a competitive team. But since then on & off just rifles. I wanted a good open carry and conceal on body, and home invasion weapon. I not only choose this gun for the way it handles BUT, the way it LOOKS like I said; With that 21 mag hanging out there it’s a scary gun to be looking into!!! A BLACK Gun everyone sees them! This M17.... It’s the Perfect gun for whatever reason. I can’t wait to get on the range and shoot it:

    2 months ago
  • Rob

    Just got the P320 M17. I like the author of the article, have big hands. This gun fits very nicely, unlike my Glock 23 Gen 3. I love everything about it so far. Changing mags is super easy. The thumb operated manual safety is a plus for me. Just my personal preference. The trigger pull is just right. I think Sig hit the bullseye with this one. Best pistol I have ever owned. I am still in the 100-150 round break in period. I can only imagine it gets better from here.

    2 months ago
  • john Vinblad

    love my P320s and m17s i have 5 if them they all work flawlessly. I got tid of my glocks after shooting the SIG p320. Best pistol on the market in that price range

    5 months ago
  • Brett

    I read this again n was thinking, after putting over a 1k rounds threw mine. Omg has the trigger just become a dream. Its so light n clean now. Like my preupgrade p320compact. After time its just better than perfection, obviously why the army picked it. I wish i had the full mass slide like the army for shooting +p rounds tho.

    5 months ago
  • Mike

    Just took my P320/M17 to the range for the second time, this weekend. Still less than 150-200 round break-in period. Having still an occassional 'Failure to Eject' as well as 'Slide Lock'(not locking after mag is empty). After numerous web searches, i discoverered, this could be from any or all of the following: Limp wrist firing, low powered ammo (115grain) during break-in period, Recoil spring, and mag springs tight; that'll soften up after break-in period. Never knew of this; as a Military Police veteran, all our guns were well broken in ... they cycled beautifully, just not great at accuracy. My Baretta M9, also new; ate everything i fed it from day 1, without any hiccups, even firing 'Limp wristed'. The Sig P320/M17 fits great in my hands and is well balanced. The night sights are the topping on the cake. And i finally found a Blackhawk Serpa holster to wrap things up.

    6 months ago
  • Malcolm

    I got one for Xmas. expecting a tough gun, like a Glock or Beretta but to me it feels cheap and plastic. More on that later. It is very accurate for me, the trigger is decent, and the sights are easy on old eyes. The ergonomics are well thought out. Racking the slide is easy and rear sights are squared for belt, pocket, etc. recking. I think the manual safety is too big and slide release is small and both are a bit too close to each other. My main issue is having rounds blow out in the chamber. When first shooting, I ran Speer Lawman with no problem. After a box I tried PPU 124 gr NATO labeled ammo that ran fine in my other 9mms. On the eighth round the case blew out and caused small cracks in grip behind trigger, don't lose the extractor. On looking at the brass, the first couple looked fine, the rest bulged at the base. Since it was already damaged I tried some mild reloads (I know. Bad) but they ran fine in a Walther P38, in the Sig they blew up after a couple rounds. I called Sig and was told on the phone that it wasn't SAAMI so was my fault. They charged for new grip madule when I sent it back. I have since tried many brands, most work but IMI ammo looks almost too hot for it. I'm not a pro or gunsmith but to me it should work with whatever is available. The PPU and reloads work fine in in Glocks, a little Ruger LC9, Beretta 92S, a PCC,, and a few in a Walther P38.. Personally, this doesn't inspire confidence. If anyone has comments or suggestions that indicate my fault or a solution, I promise I won't be offended. Sorry for being so wordy but I could go on. I got another potential military option, an FNX .45 and love it. What a difference.

    8 months ago
  • Hammer

    PLastic's all well and good, but I'm looking forward to the Legion review...

    8 months ago
  • Dodd Wooten

    Are there any other frames that have the safety cut-out?

    8 months ago
  • Jeremy Kieler

    It's still not the Beretta M9A3 and tax payers ended up paying a shitload more having to inventory new parts in addition to the gun costs, whereas the M9A3 would have been able to retrofit with current Army inventory of parts. To me it feels cheap in my hands.

    8 months ago
  • Johnny

    I don't understand... The P320/M17 uses Leupold DeltaPoint Pro... But the P320 uses Sig's Romeo?

    8 months ago
    • Sean Curtis

      Johnny and Charles, I reached out to SIG for an official answer to this issue. They indicated they are releasing a new, aluminum version of the Romeo 1 which will have the same footprint as the DeltaPoint Pro (so it will work on the M17). This product will be called the Romeo 1PRO and should be shipping in May!

      8 months ago
  • Charles

    I'm a little confused....Sig made a gun that could only use a foreign red dot and not one of there's, No Romeo 1 ? Dumb.

    8 months ago
    • Tim

      Leupold is based in Oregon. Also it's what the military wanted, the leupold DDP is their choice for pistol optics. M17's had to be milled accordingly.

      8 months ago
  • Brett

    I got mine immediately, the manufactured date was like 8 days before i bought it, i love everything about the gun. I can shoot it like the best. The army made the right choice. And to the previous comment said, i can confirm that i emailed sig, they said everything from here on out will have a DDP footprint including the new romeo1t. I forgot the month but they said 2019 release.

    8 months ago
    • Scott

      Curious. I read one article that said the finish was a little fragile, any opinion?

      8 months ago
  • Scott

    I have read that Sig is coming out with a new Romeo sight specifically for the M17, have you heard anything about that? Thanks for the review I plan on getting one after my wife gets her new carpet at the end of the month.

    8 months ago
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