Everyone who has spent a little time in the gun community knows that Sig Sauer, without question, makes some of the world’s most innovative, cool, and reliable firearms. Being a guy who is radically self-defense minded and most interested in guns that go “bang” when you really need them to, that last characteristic is of paramount importance to me personally. It explains why I own too many Sig guns. However, this does not mean that I refuse to appreciate sexiness and beauty, especially when it is the icing on the cake.
This is why I made some noises like I was eating a delicious, rare-plus elk steak and uttered “sexaaaay” to my FFL friend in the room as I opened the case to the P320 AXG Equinox sent from Sig Custom Works, the company’s uber-creative custom shop. It felt a little like I was John Travolta opening the glowing brief case in Pulp Fiction. I dare you to try going through this case-opening exercise without at least thinking of this same word, with the same Kevin Hart pronunciation. You won’t succeed. Promise.
There is no plan to bring the Mars Rover back to Planet Earth, but if a future mission to the Red Planet does happen to scoop it up for the return trip, a pistol looking like this Equinox would be mounted under the Rover’s driver-side dashboard. The two-tone slide with the polished stainless steel narrowing aggressively back-to-front makes it look like it was cut from space metal unknown to us.
Speaking of metal, the P320 AXG Equinox is a steel-frame version of the traditionally polymer-frame gun that won the coveted U.S. Army contract to replace the previous duty pistol. Only a tough gun wins that contract, but this steel frame makes the P320 AXG Equinox that much tougher. Importantly, the added weight reduces the effects of recoil, allowing the front sight to return faster to the target for follow-up shots. If you like to go up against friends on the plate rack at the local range, they might argue the Equinox gives you an unfair advantage.
The large, checkered push-button-style magazine release makes speed reloads almost flub-proof. There is no chance the steel magazines will do anything but vacate the magazine well in a hurry at the command input of the primary hand thumb. Even my medium-sized hands are able to easily access the release with only the slightest outward rotation of the pistol. The little things matter to me, and there is a lot to love about this magazine release. By the way, this and all other controls are nickel plated for a classy touch.
The XSeries trigger is flat faced and skeletonized with a single cutout to enhance the custom look. A great trigger is subjective to be sure, but I would argue that this particular trigger from Sig is the best of the striker-fired pistols on the market. The initial take-up is exceptionally short up to a well-defined stopping point. The break is smooth and consistent. Reset is short and efficient. It is impossible to praise it enough. It made me more excited than usual to get to the range.
The black-anodized AXG Carry grip module with stainless-steel screws round out the appearance of the package perfectly. Importantly, the texture on the module along with the aggressive checkering on the front strap take the “oh-it-was-slipping-around-in-my-sweaty-hands” excuse away from the owner whose recoil anticipation problems allow a few shots to go astray on the range. This only enhances the experience provided by one of the few pistol frames that feels as if it was custom designed for my hands. At this moment, only one other comes to mind.
The pistol immediately felt right the first time I took hold of it. After verifying its unloaded condition, as we do whenever we pick up any gun, I hastily pointed it at the nose of a deer mount in my FFL’s office. The X-Ray3 Day/Night Sights with the U-notch rear were perfectly on target without even the slightest movement of my hands. The bold, green front dot absolutely drew my eyes to it. I want a front sight that screams at me, and this one does. As their name would suggest, the sights have tritium inserts for effective use in low-light conditions.
Of course, this is of less consequence to an owner who chooses to mount an optic in the space atop the slide designed for it. Sig has done a good job with its simple optics mounting system. Sig’s own ROMEO1PRO and ROMEO2 are compatible optics along with the DeltaPoint Pro from Leupold and the RMR from Trijicon. An owner can’t go wrong with any of these options.
Two of the virtually unrecognized, or at least underappreciated, components of many Sig guns are the slide lock and takedown levers. The slide-lock lever is exceptionally easy to manipulate. I am old-school and use it only to administratively hold the slide open or practice Class-3 malfunction clearances. For those who use it to complete reloads, this beefy, but out-of-the-way lever, is a game changer. Unlike this move using a number of other pistols considered P320 competition, it cannot be botched with this gun.
Moving on to the takedown lever, righthanded shooters are able to position the left-hand thumb on the sizeable ledge it offers. This allows the shooter to place downward pressure with the thumb to help control muzzle flip. Of course, this facilitates faster, more accurate follow-up shots. Too many guns simply do not allow any purchase for this thumb, and it ends up along for the ride with nothing good to do.
Shooting this pistol was pure pleasure. After having fun with some steel at 15 yards, I shot my favorite James Jarrett Expert Qualification Course from my college days at Arizona State. The times from draw are a high-pressure stress test, and a premium is placed on accuracy using the Jarrett target. Shooting better than 95 percent is a true accomplishment, and this gun gave me a 98 percent. It is one of the best showings I’ve had in 30 years. I then shot a full 17-round magazine off-hand at a 12-inch steel plate at 50 yards with only four misses that were on me. A total of 250 rounds were fired before returning the pistol to its quality combination-lock travel case. For filing in the “no surprises” department, there were zero malfunctions. It’s a Sig.
Sig Sauer clearly does not mean for this limited edition version of the P320 to go to every one of its millions of customers. It is intended to go to the dedicated fan or discerning collector. It gives true meaning to the term “functional art.” However, its sexiness cannot be allowed to detract from its exceptionally great performance as a pistol meant for real work on the range or as a personal defense tool.
ACTION: Recoil-Operated, Striker-Fired, Semi-Automatic
CHAMBERING: 9mm Luger
SLIDE: Stainless Steel, Equinox polished 2-Tone, Front and Rear Cocking Serrations
FRAME: Stainless Steel
BARREL TYPE: Carbon Steel, 1:10 Twist
BARREL LENGTH: 3.9 in.
MAGAZINE: Steel with Orange Follower, 17-Round Standard, 10-Round Where Restricted
SIGHTS: Ray3 Day/Night Tritium with U-Notch Rear
TRIGGER: XSeries Flat, Nickel Coated, 5 lb.
WIDTH: 1.3 in.
OVERALL LENGTH: 7.4 in.
HEIGHT: 5.5 in.
WEIGHT: 30.3 oz with Unloaded Magazine
ACCESSORIES: Rail, XSeries Red Dot Cut for ROMEO1PRO, ROMEO2, DeltaPoint Pro, RMR