Personal Experience In Competiting With The SIG P320 MAX

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Nearing the end of 2023, the competition series are wrapping up their last matches for the year. As competitors are gearing up for the 2024 matches, some athletes are taking the time to assess their performance from this past season and establish their training plans, while making any adjustments needed for the next year. A topic that often arises during these self-assessments, is the athlete’s gear and how it held up from this past season. As a competitor myself, this is one of the many questions I will reflect on as well with the largest topic being, “How did my gun perform and should I make any changes for next year?”

What I Shoot Now and What I will Be Competing With

Firstly, I’d like to introduce the pistol I use and then discuss if I have made the decision to switch to another pistol from the top-competitive pistol line-up. Each year manufacturers are tweaking their products and releasing new and improved models, including my version. I currently run the SIG Sauer P320 MAX and have used this gun for the past 2 years in almost all of my local and major matches. So let’s first talk about what this gun brings to the table.

The P320 MAX

The part that needed to be replaced, unfortunately failed on me right in the middle of one of my 2-gun matches late last year. I quickly realized something was not right during this match, when I was unable to seat my magazines all the way nor able to easily disassemble it. This happened with around 11k rounds through the gun. This minor issue was very quickly resolved after sending the gun to SIG, where only 5 days later I received a repaired fire control unit, along with all new springs replaced from SIG’s 10k round maintenance service. It was back in business with no time! However, learning from this experience, I made the decision to purchase another P320 MAX just to be sure I had another fire control unit, and other parts ready to go or used as a back-up if ever needed again. And for those that are not familiar with the SIG 320 line, the fire control units have the ability to be completely removed and placed in another P320 module. Pretty darn cool if you ask me.

Comparing the P320 MAX to the Lockwood by Grayguns

Although the P320 MAX is right out of the box ready to go for competition use, over my experience of learning the art of shooting, and from training, I discovered a couple modifications that have further helped push my personal shooting to another level. The first modification made, was I switched out the lower grip module for the same one, but a size small (size medium comes standard). I have small hands and this helped with my grip (as pointed out by Max Michel himself when attending one of his training sessions). Further to assist my grip, I also added a Hogue Wraptor Adhesive Grip which created a nice gritty wrap for my hand placement and helped with those slippery hands, especially in the scorching summer days where sweaty hands are life on the range. Another modification I made was I added an extended magazine release from Grayguns, from the standard release it came with. Again my small hands (shout out to the small hands club!) made it very difficult to hit the magazine with my shooting hand thumb, making reloads not very smooth. The extended magazine release coupled with the smaller grip module, greatly helped me with this. I also added an Align Tactical Thumb Rest. The last modification I have made and probably the most significant modification made is I changed out the entire upper unit. Yes I know I just raved about the 5″ barrel, the guide rod, spring and slide it came with, but after trying the Lockwood by Grayguns slide unit, I had to have it on mine. This new Lockwood by Grayguns slide came with a 4.7″ bull-barrel, and all of the internals such as new Grayguns guide rod, and spring. I preferred the springs that came with the MAX personally, versus the Grayguns, but because these would no longer fit from the switch I stuck with the Grayguns. And to be honest, I could not tell any difference in the muzzle flip or recoil control, but the main reason for the switch of the upper was the weight and the feel from this new slide. This truly made an incredible difference in every shot I took. And no I have no affiliation with Grayguns and not paid to say this, but my honest review on this modification is this was the best thing I had improved on my P320. Also due to the slide I purchased, I mounted a Trijicon SRO red dot on top. Both the SRO and the ROMEO3 are very similar in window size and ease of use. 

Custom P320s may not be 320’s Anymore

So is my Frankenstein pieced handgun still a SIG gun at this point?  Ehh.. maybe?? I sometimes switch back and forth between the two set-ups. I will still shoot both setups for competition because that’s what makes me feel the most comfortable when the pressure is on. I have absolutely “beaten” the gun and magazines up from countless hours on the range, and I could not be happier with how well everything has held up and my experience shooting competitively with these pistols.

When at the range and slinging lead with some friends and shooting their handguns, I am always reminded of the incredible accuracy and reliability from my P320. I also stick with Federal FMJ Ammunition and 124 grain is my go-to ammo on the range and in matches. I have had almost no malfunctions with this ammunition and running it through my handgun; this provides me with peace of mind when it comes to matches. 

So.. drum roll for the big question: Is this the pistol I take into the next year and keep as my competition gun?

In Conclusion on the P320 MAX

The P320X5 Max has been incredibly reliable and a fantastic pistol for my competition journey, I keep debating on moving to the 2011 platform of some sort, but the P320 Max will always hold a special place in my heart when it comes to a competition pistol. So YES, for now I will continue to use this pistol for USPSA Carry Optics and 2 gun into the next year. 

If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing one, I would certainly give it two thumbs up and recommend it myself. Let me know what you guys think about the P320 MAX down in the comments below. If you have questions about the handgun or competitions in general, be sure to send me a message on my Instagram @marcee.mae. Have fun, shoot safe, and I will see you guys in the next article. 

-Marcee Finn

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