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Modularity or Mediocrity? Sometimes You Just Need to do What You Like

The US Army’s Modular Handgun System competition finally replaced the Beretta 92 series, aka the M9. It included the requisite lawsuits, complaining, and actual testing that normally accompany big money contracts. The winner selected was Sig Sauer’s P320.  

The full size gun is called the M17, while the compact version is the M18. One of the requirements was that entrants had to submit either a full size and a compact pistol or one gun that met the requirements of both categories.

One of the really interesting aspects of the P320 series is its near-infinite modularity. To support this, Sig places the serial number on what they call the “Fire Control Unit” (FCU) as opposed to the frame. The FCU closely follows the concept of a drop in trigger from the long gun world. This means a user can swap out a grip module or slide with out needing to buy a new firearm. 

The design is well thought out enough that the FCU can be moved in a matter of minutes and with out tools. It really is as easy as taking off the slide, turning the take down lever, and pulling it out. The combinations of grip modules and slides are nearly endless, from a full sized grip that is slightly narrower than a standard one to the pictured abomination.

It’s Ok, I Guess

Sig Sauer’s website lists 20 different models of P320 and has 58 different grip modules for sale. To be frank, Sig is one of the biggest names in the industry, and when a big company gets a big military contract for an already popular series of sidearm, there will be a titanic aftermarket. 

Wilson Combat and Polymer80 are just two of the many names making grip modules for the P-320.  

The P320 Nitron is the most basic model, and the one I own. I bought it used and it came with two magazines and a full sized, medium width frame. The frame sizes denote the length of the grip area and the dust cover, where as the width is either small, medium or large. 

I decided to try a few different variations on for size to include a medium full size, a small full size, a medium compact (think M18 size, instead of M17). I also tried a medium subcompact, which I did not shoot because I am a coward and the gap between the end of the dust cover and the slide assembly scares me a little. I even tried a P250 medium full size frame.  

If you’ll recall, the P250 is the P320’s direct ancestor and they share many, many parts.

I decided to stick with the medium full size frame in the long run, so the gun is 100% stock. I can’t come close to outshooting it, so upgrading anything really doesn’t make any sense to me. 

The trigger is good for a striker fired pistol.  Not great, but good enough. 

The magazine capacity is a fairly standard 17 rounds, and the mags drop free with out issue. As you can see in the picture above, there is a little gap in the grip where one can get some purchase on the magazine to pull it out if necessary, but I haven’t needed to. It is noteworthy that the magazine grabbing gap thingy (yes, it’s a technical term) is not standard across all of Sig’s frame options.

The sights are good enough. I can find them easily in most lighting conditions and they don’t move around on the slide, which is supposedly important when using them to aim.  

Overall, I have no real complaints about the Sig P320 Nitron. It’s accurate enough, reliability hasn’t been an issue, and I’m actually fond of the rough grip texture.  I even found carrying the gun EDC to be not terrible for a gun that size.  

That being said, I don’t like this gun.

Hear Me Out

Before you start lighting torches and gathering pitchforks, let me be clear. I don’t hate it. I don’t hate it for all the reasons listed above and then some. 

I have no defendable reason to hate this gun. I just don’t like it. 

The grip angle doesn’t really work for me. It’s ok, just not ideal. The trigger shape, length of pull and feel are ok, just not ideal. 

That pretty much sums up my P320, as well as the Legion, X Series Pro, and other models I’ve gotten to try. I can shoot them well enough, they’re just not ideal.  

They’re ok, I guess.  One might say they don’t…trip my trigger.

This leads me to a very important point. We live in a Golden Age of guns. I don’t have to like this reliable, accurate handgun that is insanely modular. I don’t have to because there are other options that are actually just as good from dozens of other manufacturers. 

The industry has become robust enough that I can be a picky crybaby and not just be happy I have a gun that doesn’t jam every third round and I am extremely grateful for that. I can whine about the trigger shape of the M&P not fitting my admittedly wonky fingers or the grip safety on a Springfield XD(M). 

It’s a bit like being on “The Bachelor” only instead of desperate, slightly crazy women its handguns who won’t ugly cry when I don’t pick them. The lady I’m currently picking, though, is a Czech beauty.

Bottom Line – For Me

The P-320 isn’t a bad gun.  By most objective measures, it’s a pretty good gun.  It just isn’t good for me.  I suppose I COULD find a grip module I like better and mess with the trigger and sights until I got the combination I like best.  However, because we live in this Golden Age I don’t have to, and that is awesome.

Picture of MLC4570


Computer geek with a gun problem and proponent of the student mindset.

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Oldest First
Newest First

I see you, going for the Eastern European beauties! 😉

robert hankins
robert hankins

Well, Thank God you don’t like it that leaves more for me. 👍 I was forced against my will to carry a G22 for 22+ years, a gun store commando turned me onto it, it was love at first trigger pull, much better than any stock Gee Lock. I have both stock and Wilson Combat versions which are way better than any stock version. The WC grip modules are much better than stock also, in case you didn’t guess, I think stock anything sucks. Semper Fi 😘


Opinion piece – but I like it! For all the reasons you don’t have to like the P- 320 – you’re absolutely right! I don’t care much for the 9mm – just don’t care for it’s ‘wannabe’ attitude. Like you however, I do like my one 9mm – a CZ-75 compact. It’s not a plastic striker fired cookie cutter version of anything and that’s why I like it! Don’t get me wrong – variety is the spice of life and I do own several plastic striker fired pistols but in calibers that start with ‘4’. In fact, one is my… Read more »

Replying to  MLC4570

Do like the CZ-75, a true classic. Like a true classic I only push .45s out of a 1911. I’ve never found a better match of caliber and pistol design. Comfortable with it – far from mastery. I’m a magnum wheel gun guy – accurate hits count – don’t need 17 rnds. The 9mm and pistols designed for it are interesting but not a passion – Mr. Browning’s and the CZ-75 being exceptions. All my plastic guns are .40 cal, as many were designed for LE first.

Humble Hunter
Humble Hunter
Replying to  Paul

.45 acp is God’s caliber and John Moses Browning was his prophet.

Replying to  Humble Hunter

AMEN – but don’t forget the Hi Power! It’s having a bit of a revival right now. I’ve never shot or owned one – that 9mm ‘thing’ but always found it ‘sexy’! I passed on an opportunity for an early original Belgium made – (that banging you’re hearing is my head against the desk) likely destined to ‘safe queen’ status but would have been nice to own both Browning designs. If I find some money in the couch I may check out FN’s new edition (none of the recent offerings are ‘exact’ copies but FN’s 17rnd capacity and made in… Read more »

Replying to  Paul

As a new owner of a CZ 75D PCR, the alloy-framed compact, I understand. I haven’t carried it yet because I want to test it out, but man do I like it over polymer.


I might like it if I were to try it but it looks like small internal parts replacement would be expensive and complex. I will stick with my G19.


I choose the P320 carry over the glock for the same reason that the military did, the price. It was almost $200 less than a block and it came with decent sights. The more I shoot it the more I like it. I ended up putting an Icarus Precision grip module on it, so much for the price savings. The plastic pistols are definitely Meh in many ways. The trigger like you said not bad but not great. But they are hard to beat. The handgun that I always wanted was a CZ75 P01 so I bought it. I wanted… Read more »

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