2019 Handgun of the Year: SIG Sauer P365

posted on January 8, 2019
At the end of every year, Shooting Illustrated staff gathers to consider firearms released in the past year and determine which one is worthy of the title, "Handgun of the Year." To qualify for the award, the handgun in question must be available to the public, must have been tested and either met or exceeded our testing-and-evaluation protocols and offer a unique value to the American shooting public, whether by innovation, affordability or other stand-out qualifications. For 2019, SI staff chose the SIG Sauer P365 as its Golden Bullseye Handgun of the Year.

One of 2018's entries into the hot market for subcompact, slim 9 mm handguns designed for concealed carry, the SIG Sauer P365 offered a radical design that increased the overall magazine capacity while still keeping the gun's dimensions similar to that of today's popular single-stack subcompacts. Comparably sized CCW guns have magazine capacities of 6 or 7 rounds, and the P365 increased that capacity to 10 rounds in a flush-fit magazine while retaining a slim, short grip that could be easily concealed during daily use.

Handgun editor Tamara Keel, in her September 2018 review of the SIG Sauer P365, noted the experience she had when first getting her hands on the new gun:

"...it was with great fanfare that SIG unveiled a new pistol at SHOT Show 2018, a model designed to fit this same niche; a tiny and slim striker-fired, service-caliber semi-automatic—only the new SIG Sauer P365 would have a double-stack magazine.

“Big deal,” was my initial thought, “So do the Glock G26 and the P320SC.”

Ah, but this thing is the size of the little single stacks, all slim and svelte, but with a full 10-round capacity in a flush-fitting magazine.

Mind. Blown.

The first experience shooting it was like watching clowns pile out of the tiny car at the circus. Surely it was going to lock back, empty. Any shot now… But no, it kept going. Ten rounds don’t seem like a lot when compared to full-size service guns, but the SIG Sauer P365 is slightly smaller than its chief competitors, yet holds a whopping 66 percent more ammunition, despite using flush-floorplate magazines. As I type this, the test gun is on the desk near me, next to my own G43, and I’m just gobsmacked at their relative sizes."

Throughout the rollout of the SIG Sauer P365, consumers have noted a few odd occurrences with the gun, such as the pistol's tendency to leave primer swipe on the cartridge. However, Keel noted that this phenomenon was of little concern, since the effects of early unlocking would produce more symptoms. "...On a tilting-barrel, recoil-operated pistol, early unlocking would be accompanied by shotgun-pattern groups that exhibited lots of vertical stringing, and the SIG Sauer P365 did nothing of the sort. It’s been my experience that this is more or less endemic to small guns with high slide velocities. As long as the striker nose is robust, which SIG seems to have corrected after a flawed initial run, there’s no danger to durability."

Each SIG Sauer P365 measures 5.8 inches long, 4.3 inches high and 1 inch wide. The gun weighs 17.8 ounces and has a total capacity of 10+1 rounds. The suggested retail price on the pistol is $599.


308 wildcat cartridge components
308 wildcat cartridge components

308 Based Cartridges Part 2: Boutique And 308 Wildcat Cartridges

.308 Win. is the starting point for boutique and wildcat cartridges of all shapes and sizes

First Look: Versacarry Compound Carry Holster

Ideal for appendix carry, this new hybrid holster packs a lot of nice features.

iRayUSA RICO MK1 640 3x50mm Thermal Rifle Scope Review

A full-featured thermal optic with a lot going for it.

Silencer Central Holds New HQ Grand Opening

Larger facilities mean more choices for American gun owners.

First Look: TAC Six Branded Shooting Cases from Allen Company

Gear designed for the tactical market that performs at a higher level.

Colonel Rex Applegate

For me, one of the many bonuses of this gunwriter business has been the opportunity to meet and become friends with a number of the firearm enthusiasts of an earlier generation; legendary figures such as Frank Hamer Jr., Bill Jordan, Bill Toney, Col Walter Walsh and the subject of this column: COL Rex Applegate.


Get the best of Shooting Illustrated delivered to your inbox.