Military Might, Match Performance: Sig Sauer’s XFIVE Legion 9mm
Many moons ago, as a corporal in my beloved Marine Corps, I had the good fortune of qualifying with a handgun. Even better, I qualified with an M1911 .45 ACP that had been in Marine Corps service for more than 80 years. The pistol still shot well, and I qualified as a Pistol Sharpshooter—thus, my affection for 1911 handguns was born, although I wouldn’t choose it over a striker-fired handgun for concealed carry. And while I did qualify with the M1911 in the early 1990s, I was also one of the last. Beretta had slipped in to score the U.S. military handgun contract in the mid-1980s and the transition from the M1911 to the Beretta M9 had been underway for years.
Early in 2017, change came again. This time, the Beretta M9 was the victim. Sig Sauer had beat Beretta and other industry greats like Glock and FN to land a $580-million contract—enter the Sig Sauer P320. With the overwhelming theme of modularity as a primary premise for replacing the Beretta M9, the Sig P320 ruled the roost beginning in 2016 and was lauded by many, including myself, as a Lego gun of sorts. Using a Sig Sauer X-Change kit, shooters can transition their P320 handgun size from full, carry, compact, or sub-compact and their calibers from 9mm to .357 Sig and .40 S&W. Of course, a year after the P320’s initial SHOT Show unveiling, the competition Sig 320 X-Five was introduced in January 2017.
Looking back between 2016 and the first half of 2019, I had limited experience with any P320, let alone the competition-specific XFIVE model. That said, when I was asked to give my .02 on the latest, greatest P320, the XFIVE Legion, I was more than happy to oblige.
The Walk Around
Touted as Sig Sauer’s newest flagship handgun, the XFIVE Legion definitely raises the bar for Sig’s own P320, as well as all-other similarly classed striker-fired pistols. The feature-rich P320 XFIVE Legion is aggressively designed, and holding one, with the added weight (43.5-oz. total) and improved balance as a result of Sig Sauer’s Legion Grey TXG tungsten-infused grip module, complete with four-sided grip stipling, assures that you’re holding something quite special. Even better, Sig’s P320 XFIVE full-size grip module accommodates a flared magazine funnel for faster, easier reloading and accommodates 17-round mags. It’s worth noting here that according to Sig Sauer, their tungsten-infused XFIVE Legion grip module reduces “muzzle flip by up to 50%.” More on that in a bit.
The P320 XFIVE Legion boasts a stainless steel frame, solid steel guide rod, 14-lb. spring, 5-inch match-grade, carbon steel bull barrel, and a full-size, Legion Grey Romeo1Pro optic-ready slide complete with front and rear side-serrations. Rounding out the XFIVE Legion, you’re sure to appreciate an integral M1913 picatinny rail, adjustable Dawson Precision fiber-optic sights, and a flat X Series match-grade trigger. The P320 XFIVE Legion’s overall dimensions are 8.5-in. (L) x 5.8-in. (H) x 1.6-in. (W).
Since its release, I had been chomping at the bit, so to speak, for some XFIVE Legion trigger time. For testing, I headed to my home range, Triple C in Cresson, Texas. Nestled in the heart of a 3,000-acre working ranch just south of Fort Worth, Triple C boasts 13 pistol and carbine bays, as well as zeroing ranges and shooting lanes ranging from 300 yards clear out to 2,000. As luck would have it, my testing was done just after a 3-gun match. The bays were still loaded with netting and targets and as such, offered a much more dynamic shooting experience. I ran the XFIVE multiple times through several stages, increasing my times each successive run. First (and lasting) impressions were that the XFIVE Legion is exceptionally comfortable to shoot. As Sig suggests, the added weight and incredibly well-balanced design made for truly mitigated muzzle flip, increased stability, and faster reacquisition of targets as I moved through the stages.
The X Series trigger also was exquisite. The longer travel and reset did take a little getting used to, but I adapted to it quickly. Trigger pull was light, surprisingly comfortable, and I absolutely loved the crisp trigger break. Even with trigger travel and reset as they were, I had no issues with rapid fire hits and achieved impressive personal-defense-focused, balance-of-speed-and-precision grouping. Of course, more than the trigger, consistent rapid-fire hits were the result of precisely what Sig purports. Added weight and improved overall balance did make for dramatically reduced muzzle flip—something akin to shooting a compensated system but perhaps even more comfortable. As a final range performance note, I finished testing with a fairly moderate rate of fire, roughly one shot every three seconds. The result was an 8-shot, 1.5-in. group at 10 yards.
Is it the lightest? Not by a long shot. If I can find a gripe, it’s weight. I would love to see it a tad lighter, but I also understand the benefit of a heavier, well-balanced system, especially for competition. To that end, if I was looking at compromising on any element of fit, form, or function, including shootability considerations like balance or muzzle flip, I’d boldly suggest that lightening it up might be counterproductive—“why fix it if it ain’t broke” comes to mind.
Honestly, even as a writer, sometimes it’s tough to come up with the right word(s) to best define a shooting experience. As it relates to the Sig Sauer P320 XFIVE Legion 9mm, the only all-encompassing word I can come up with is exquisite; in fact, experiences like that of the XFIVE Legion remind me why I absolutely love my work.