What if there were ways to maximize the potency of your personal-defense handgun? After all, as a civilian or even a law enforcement officer, if a hostile situation is encountered, you will most likely be dealing with it via a handgun. If only we could be “all-seeing, all-knowing,” we’d arrange to have a rifle handy for our tactical emergencies. But when we can’t, pistols like the Sig Sauer P320 RXP XCompact offer an excellent backup option.
The Sig Sauer P320 RXP XCompact
A handgun is a definite compromise between portability and performance when compared to a rifle. A realistic compact concealed carry handgun is even a further compromise along this continuum. For example, not your preferred full-size, compensated extended magazine blaster that you shoot Open Division with on weekends.
So, what would be some of the ways to best boost your carry handgun’s capability/functionality? First, most experts would agree that seeking and receiving ongoing training is a must. You cannot default into thinking it is only about the equipment. Mindset and sound instruction are crucial.
This will also allow you to better decide what handgun best suits you in terms of ergonomics and defense needs. For example, are you looking for a dedicated concealed carry handgun or more of a nightstand weapon?
There is a plethora of handgun options on the market. Constraints caused by weather, clothing or social environment can force a compromise in terms of size and caliber of weapon. However, there are handgun designs that do a great job of providing concealability with performance.
Gear-wise, a handgun capacity of 10 rounds or more of 9mm is a good baseline. The handgun should “fit” your hand. This allows for proper recoil control, sight alignment, and trigger manipulation. You should not overlook the importance of a trigger with consistent and reasonable (4-6 pounds) pull characteristics.
In the last few years, the most obvious upgrade has to be red-dot sights (RDS) on carry handguns. You should not use technology as a false crutch substitute for diligent practice and training. However, red dots are definitely a positive in supplementing centuries-old iron sight concepts.
With a red dot a user can now do as nature intends—focus on the target/threat. Moreover, because the indexing of a red dot is far easier than multiple pieces of steel, shooters find they can perform beyond what was considered possible with iron sights. All simply because the concept uses the eyes in a more normal manner.
Enter The XCompact
A proven reliable, compact, easily carried handgun with high-round capacity that assists with getting rounds on target quickly and accurately thanks to red-dot would be a solid definition of the Sig Sauer P320 RXP XCompact.
Sig is renowned for introducing new variants of already successful weapons. There are currently close to two dozen variants of the P320 listed on the Sig website. This is not counting the Sig Custom Works possibilities. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to have a successful new model. The P320 XCompact is a great example of this.
Manufacturers have caught up to the red-dot revolution with factory-equipped red-dot handguns taking over from custom-milled slide types that dominated early handgun red-dot configurations.
The P320 XCompact has a 3.6-inch barrel, XSeries slide, and flat trigger. Likewise, it includes an ambidextrous slide catch, and M1913 dust cover accessory rail. The XSeries Compact grip module features an integrated magwell all topped with a factory-zeroed, slide-mounted Sig ROMEO1 PRO 6-MOA red-dot optic. Weight is 25.8 ounces.
Sig shows their understanding of what it takes to be a personal-defense red-dot weapon by including co-witnessing XRay3 day/night suppressor-height sights. Two 15-round steel mags arrive with the pistol. Sig 17- and 21-round P320 magazines also work with it. The P320 XCompact is a poster child of what you are looking for with a concealed carry red-dot handgun.
At The Academy
One huge asset Sig has is the Sig Sauer Academy—both range facilities and, more importantly, personnel. For example, I was fortunate to have been part of a small writers group given access to all imaginable 9mm P320 components/option and then handed over to Sig Academy instructors. The best way to let anyone learn or appreciate a product is to let them use it unhindered and without conditions. The P320 XCompact proved a favorite configuration.
Multiple scenarios involving shooting/moving, engaging multiple targets behind barricades while switching magazines, working in/around a vehicle, and then running steel plates at every imaginable range—10 yards out to 125 yards. This left no doubt of the pistol’s potential.
After multiple days spent at the Sig Academy, further evaluation was made possible at my home range—Echo Valley Training Center. T&E priorities were making sure that P320 XCompact’s reliability was typical P320 ironclad and the Sig Sauer ROMEO1 PRO red-dot proved a worthy addition beyond what was expected from a normal iron-sighted handgun.
Established shooters will need some orientation/training to get comfortable finding the red dot as seamlessly as their normal front iron sight. It will be worth it. New shooters will take to the concept like ducks to water, as there is nothing to “unlearn.”
With that said, certain handgun/red-dot combos are easier to utilize. I have found the P320 XCompact/ROMEO1 PRO combo one of the more trouble-free red-dot handguns to transition to. Especially compared to other popular handgun models/red-dots handled.
This stems from P320 ergonomics and ROMEO1 PRO design. Sig’s use of suppressor-style iron sights bracketing the red dot acts as both back-up sights and quickly fixes the shooter’s eye to the red dot stationed above the front post during initial experience. Soon, the dot is “just there” upon presentation.
Range testing included DeSantis and Galco holsters to determine if the pistol was worthy of consideration for daily concealed carry. Galco Combat Master belt, Paragon IWB, Corvus, and Miami Classic shoulder rig all participated. I also used DeSantis Speed Scabbard and Cozy Partner IWB.
Drills consisted of drawing from concealment to see if the red dot was easy to obtain when operating in haste. Various scenarios engaging targets from behind cover or on the move were also employed. Magazine change drills were done for the dual purpose of getting a feel of manipulating the gun. Likewise, it makes sure the red dot was seamlessly picked up after reloading and back on target.
Well-done front and rear serrations ensure solid purchase when handling the slide. It was quickly determined that the handgun has great potential in terms of accuracy, speed and extending effective engagement distances.
Reactive Shooting Via Red Dot Optics
Quick reactive shooting with the pistol is still very possible using the red-dot’s window as a ghost ring—albeit a large ghost ring—if forced to react spontaneously to a threat.
The natural pointability of the P320 XCompact comes into its own in this realm. A premium is placed on a quick-handling accurate handgun such as the XCompact with multiple rounds fired in quick succession.
The advantage offered by the use of red-dot sights in the competition environment is well known. The ability to place the red dot on the target and not having to align the front and rear irons proved much more adept at moving rapidly from target to target.
This is achieved due to the Sig ROMEO1 PRO’s 6-MOA dot being able to superimpose an aiming point on target. However, it still does not obscure the target due to the dot not being that large.
The sight withstood the recoil and heat generated by long strings of fire. It weighs only 1 ounce, which aids its ability to withstand the inertial forces experienced as a slide reciprocates.
The pistol/red-dot combo came into its own for precise fire at any range desired by placing the dot on the target and applying correct trigger control. The Sig XSeries straight trigger offers a 90-degree break for better geometry and is less likely to pull sights off target.
Groups with the gun were markedly smaller versus iron sights. This statement became even more true as distances increased. The ability to consistently ring a steel man silhouette targets at 50 yards, even out to 100 yards with regularity, was validation of why red dot-equipped handguns are here to stay.
Wrapping It Up
While technological quick fixes aren’t to be used in lieu of training, red dots on a personal-defense weapon cannot be ignored. The Sig P320 XCompact has already found its way into several roles.
Do not let nomenclature such as compact fool you. It performs beyond any preconceived notions based on labels. It is superior carry handguns that excel in gunfighting, just not reactive defense most associated with smaller-framed handguns.
Many will find that the handy nature of the XCompact will make it indispensable and never left behind. The reliability and accuracy of this handgun leads the author to believe that it should be considered by anyone considering a handgun. Period. Not just a concealed carry version.
The goal of any end user attempting to pick one handgun model is that it performs every imaginable job description with equal aplomb. The Sig Sauer P320 RXP XCompact satisfies this quest and enhances performance beyond what most are capable of with iron sights only.
For more information, please visit SigSauer.com.
Sig Sauer P320 RXP XCompact Specs
Barrel: 3.6 inches
Overall Length: 7 inches
Weight: 25.8 ounces (empty)
Sights: ROMEO1PRO with XRAY3 suppressor sights
This article originally appeared in May-June 2022 issue of Tactical Life magazine. Get your copy or digital subscription at OutdoorGroupStore.com.