For Sig Sauer, the big news of 2017 was that the gun maker won a large contract to provide the U.S. Military with Sig’s P320 9mm pistol, replacing the Beretta M9 that had been in service since the mid-1980’s. The 10-year contract was reported as being worth a whopping $580 million.
For the tactically minded civilian and his or her retailer, though, the bigger news was that the gun manufacturer also launched its new P320 X-Series, composed of three upgraded versions of the standard P320: the full-sized P320 X-Five; the full-sized P320 X-VTAC and a smaller version, the P320 X-Carry.
The X-VTAC was made in conjunction with Kyle Lamb. Lamb, of course, is well-known in the tactical community. He retired as a U.S. Army Sergeant Major after more than two decades of service and spent 15 of those years with the U.S. Army Special Operations. Lamb’s numerous combat operations included the Mogadishu, Somalia, operation that was the basis for the “Black Hawk Down” book and movie, plus tours in Iraq and Bosnia.
A respected military and law enforcement trainer, Lamb is also the founder and president of Viking Tactics, Inc., which makes all manner of tactical gear and weapon components. The “VTAC” designation on the X-VTAC pistol stands for Viking Tactics and indicates Lamb’s work to make the pistol more tactically ready and the use of his company’s VTAC sight system.
I received a P320 X-VTAC in 9mm and spent several range sessions with the pistol. The P320 X-VTAC proved to be very accurate and highly functional, easy to use and a lot of fun to shoot. It should find a good deal of interest among competitive shooters. Certainly the pistol could be used by law enforcement, though it seems a bit pricey and too flashy for L.E. use. While I wouldn’t except concealed carry practitioners to warm up to the X-VTAC, mostly due to its full size, it would also be a great choice for home defense.
In the world of consumer buying, looks definitely matter. And while some gun purists will no doubt scoff, the reality is the P320 X-VTAC is one cool-looking pistol. Those good looks start with the black frame and the bronze-colored slide. The slide also features the letters “X VTAC” engraved along the left side and the “T” in “VTAC” is a sword with point down, part of Lamb’s VTAC logo. There are two cutouts on either side of the slide’s front, plus numerous serrations fore and aft. There’s also a rail under the barrel for attaching accessories such as a light or laser, and luminous rear and front sights.
Expect customers to quickly ID the X-VTAC in the display case and ask, “Hey, what’s that?”
Looks, of course, are of little use if a firearm doesn’t function properly. But here the X-VTAC is also a winner.
Once I received the pistol, I ran a couple of cleaning patches down the bore. They came out very clean. I then lubricated the slide, dry fired it a bit, and headed to my local shooting range.
In all, I ran five brands of ammunition through the X-VTAC during three separate range sessions: Aguila 124-grain FMJ, Hornady Critical Defense with a 115-grain FTX bullet, Polycase RNP with a 65-grain copper-polymer bullet, Precision Delta (remanufactured) 115-grain FMJ and Sig Elite Performance 155-grain FMJ.
For my accuracy testing and chronograph, I focused on the Hornady Critical Defense, the Polycase RNP and the Sig Elite. To gauge accuracy, I shot offhand at seven yards, and from a rest at 10 and 25 yards.
At seven yards offhand, my best four-shot group was recorded with the Polycase RNP at 0.6 inch. My best five-shot group was achieved with the Hornady Critical Defense, measuring just 0.87 inch. Shooting from a sandbag at 10 yards, I scored a 0.38 inch four-shot group with the Sig Elite Performance, and a 0.83-inch, five-shot group with the Hornady Critical Defense, measuring just 0.87 inch. Shooting from a sandbag at 10 yards, I scored a 0.38 inch four-shot group with the Sig Elite Performance, and a 0.83-inch, five-shot group with the Hornady Critical Defense.
At 25 yards and shooting from a rest, my groups were terrible, and I have to take the blame. It was the end of the day, I was tired, and I couldn’t shoot a five-round group smaller than three inches to save my life. The few bright points? A three-shot group with the Hornady Critical Defense that scored 0.45 inch, a four-shot group of the same ammunition at 1.76 inches, and I punched a couple of 1.5-inch groups with the Polycase RNP. The fact the pistol could place these tighter groups told me it can do much the same with five-shots, if the shooter was better rested and more focused.
Initially, my X-VTAC was shooting low and to the left by several inches. I loosened the rear sight’s set screw and using a nylon punch and a nylon tipped hammer, gently tapped the rear sight over until I had corrected the windage.
Unfortunately, the pistol still shot low — one to two inches at most distances. When I mentioned that to the folks at Sig, I was told they had discovered early into the first run of X-VTAC’s that some of the pistols did in fact group low. After some research, Sig made a change.
According to Phil Strader, Sig’s Pistol Product Manager, additional milling was done to the rear sight dovetail to correct the low shot placement in all current X-VTAC’s.
In more than 400 rounds, I never had a failure to feed or eject. The only thing I noticed in this phase of evaluation was the brass from the Polycase had a tendency to pop up quite high and back (a few bounced off my head and even my left shoulder). As suggested by the chronograph results, the Polycase round just had a lot more zip, and flung out the brass with extra force.
I should note that the slide stayed open at the end of every magazine.
The VTAC has a flat trigger, versus the standard curved variety. The straight back motion helped to better control the pistol, as it was less likely to create any “twist” to either side when firing. The X-VTAC has a striker fired trigger system, and snapped off at a crisp 5.8 pounds average, according to my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge.
The X-VTAC’s Day/Night sights are made by Viking Tactical and are first rate. My eyes were immediately drawn to the bright green of the sight, creating a sight picture almost as soon as I got the pistol level with my eyes.
While at the range, I struck up a conversation with another shooter who was clearly interested in the X-VTAC. I asked him to shoot off a magazine and give me some feedback. He liked the pistol a great deal, especially the sights. He said he was color blind, and some colored sights gave him trouble. Not the X-VTAC’s. The luminous green on the front post and to either side of the rear notch “really popped” for him.
The pistol has no external safety. The ambidextrous slide catch/release is positioned just slightly forward of the placement on other P320’s. This was done at Lamb’s request to help keep it out of the way of thumbs while shooting. The takedown lever is large — larger than other levers on the P320, again at Lamb’s request, to make field stripping even easier.
Sig’s Strader felt retailers will find a large and receptive audience for the X-VTAC.
“Of course, there will be the VTAC fan in general who follows Kyle Lamb and Viking Tactics, and he or she will want an exclusive pistol,” Strader explained. “The pistol also appeals to the full-size P320 buyer or someone who wants to shoot IDPA, USPSA or other competitive disciplines.”
Make sure you get the pistol into the customers’ hands — literally.
“The most noticeable feature is the X-series Carry grip module that has better trigger guard undercuts, backstrap cuts, an extended beavertail and an ergonomically better feel among most shooters we had test the pistol,” said Strader. “The straight trigger is also an extremely popular feature on the X-Series P320’s. It breaks right at 90 degrees and gives the shooter a cleaner feel.”
The X-VTAC’s sights are built with both night sight vials and fiber optic inserts for fast and effective sight alignment in all lighting conditions. The pistol also comes with three 17-round magazines.
And of course, the X-VTAC’s looks should appeal to many shooters.
“The Flat Dark Earth slide is unique to this build with its lightening cuts, serrated top and enhanced serrations,” Strader noted. “The X-VTAC is certainly the most eye-catching P320 we make, and shooters like bling!”
The X-VTAC is featured on Sig Sauer’s website, along with a rundown of features, and a product video. Kyle Lamb was interviewed on camera numerous times at SHOT Show 2017 about the X-VTAC and there are many YouTube videos online where he explains the features. Lamb will also be promoting the pistol during his many training events and in his own VTAC videos online.