Gun Review: SIG SAUER P365-380 .380 ACP Pistol

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SIG SAUER P365-380 .380 ACP pistol review
Sig P365-380 photo by Graham Baates

When SIG SAUER released the 9mm P365, it shook the gun world. Suddenly sub-compact-like capacity was now available in micro-compact single-stack-like size. While slightly thicker than the pocket 9mm pistols and single-stacks of previous concealment kings, the tiny new micro-compacts weren’t always the most pleasant pistols to shoot on the range.

With SIG offering the now-venerable P365 chambered in tamer .380 ACP, there’s a good chance range pleasantness will increase.

The P365’s slight extra width (at a mere 1 inch wide, it’s still thin) certainly helps by adding surface area to grip and disperse recoil, tiny pistols have never been fun to shoot. Less fun to shoot means less likely to practice which means less proficient with the very gun that many have chosen to protect their lives.

By offering essentially the same gun (see video for comparison below) in a slightly lower-powered cartridge SIG SAUER may have just created the ultimate concealment pistol. At least for a good portion of the gun-carrying community.

Yes, .380 ACP

There are those who question .380 ACP as a valid carry option. While it’s certainly not the most powerful option out there, I have yet to find anyone willing to be shot with it. Browning’s American 9mm (.380 ACP’s dimensions are 9x17mm, AKA 9mm short) has been given a boost in effectiveness thanks to modern projectile design. If you don’t have faith in that, you’re welcome to stick to Luger’s 9x19mm round. This post isn’t written to start caliber debates, just to inform you of new options in the 9x17mm round.

I once did an exhaustive study of .380 ACP versus 9x19mm by testing five different matching pairs of ammunition through three matched pairs of pistols (same barrel length, same action type). After calculating the energy created in all combinations, it of course confirmed that 9x19mm is more powerful than 9x17mm. But the margin isn’t always a dramatic one, and some loads of 9x17mm offer greater power than some loads of 9x19mm.

SIG SAUER P365-380 .380 ACP pistol review
The SIG P365-380 slide features an updated top-down optics mounting system. Photo by Graham Baates

A SIG P365 in .380 ACP

With that out of the way we can get back to the new pistol. The P365-380 is nearly identical to it’s older brother. Even the magazines appear to be 9mm magazine bodies with a spacer or shim inserted to make up for .380’s slightly shorter overall length.We’ve seen other manufacturers use this same approach and it works while also keeping costs down.

The SIG P365-380 Uses the same modular fire control unit and grip frames as the 9mm P365s and in most cases, P365 holster will work with the new .380 ACP model, too. Its optics-ready slide means you’re good to go if you like to carry a pistol with a red dot sight.

What excited me about the .380 ACP version of the P365 being so similar to the original is the .380 version’s semi-auto action type.

Using a locked-breech in the P365-380 instead of blowback (as in many .380 pistols), the recoil spring on the P365-380 doesn’t need to be as strong. That translates to a pistol that’s easier to rack for those with limited hand strength.

Locked-breech pistols also have less perceived recoil than direct blowback actions so the potential is there for an even softer-shooting pistol. That’s important if you’re particularly recoil sensitive.

SIG SAUER P365-380 .380 ACP pistol review
Measuring the same size as the original P365, the P365-380 provides just enough grip for large-handed shooters. Photo by Graham Baates

How Does it Shoot?

Eager to see if my assumptions were correct, and to potentially enjoy a nice caliber/gun size pairing, I hit the range for my standard battery of tests. The tests are meant to get a general feel for a gun and its reliability in a time efficient manner.

My tests include: Full magazine plus one (not all guns can do this), testing ten different loads including different projectile designs and case materials (known as “What’s For Dinner?”), a challenge of sights and trigger control, and some practical accuracy before giving my concluding thoughts. You can see all of this in the range video below.

Conclusion

Did I get the shooting experience I was expecting of an accurate, well-made, and enjoyable-to-shoot micro compact? Emphatically YES. Finding a well-made .380 is a refreshing experience.

The SIG P365-380 is obviously a relatively simple adaptation of the already well-established P365, but that’s what makes this pistol so good. It’s a contrast to so many other .380 options from major manufacturers which often come across as an afterthought or “B-string” production, feeling cheaply made or produced without much care about quality.

The P365-380 feels every bit as “SIG” and “P365” as the 9mm version.

Specifications: SIG SAUER P365-380 Pistol

Caliber: .380 ACP
Capacity: 10+1
Action: Striker-fired
Frame Size: Micro Compact
Barrel Length:Β  3.1in.
Overall Length: 5.8in.
Overall Height: 4.2in.
Overall Width: 1.0in.
Sights: SIGLITE night sights
Weight:Β  15.7oz
Price: about $499.99 retail

Ratings (out of five stars):

Reliability * * * * *
With 11 loads tested only one malfunction occurred…a stovepipe from low-grade ammunition that I can’t fault the gun for.

Ergonomics * * * *Β 
The exact same feel and sizing as a P365 9mm. Nicely-designed, but overall dimensions may be a challenge for larger-handed folks. The pistol is very manageable, and if it was larger it would lose concealability.

Accuracy * * * * *
Accepting that most handguns are more mechanically accurate than most shooters, the low recoil makes for exceptional controllability and reduced flinch impulse.

Concealability * * * * *
The P365-380 is about as small as it gets for double-stack capacity. Slide and grip heel are nicely contoured to reduce printing.

Overall: * * * * Β½
Grading the SIG P365-380 is tough. When a pistol is this specialized by design, it will, of course, come up short in one way or another. Overall I found it to be one of the best micro-compacts out there as it not only serves well as a carry pistol, but it’s also enjoyable enough to practice with. Now if we could only get ammo makers to lower their .380 ACP ammo pricing….

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63 COMMENTS

  1. Nice review. I watch your YouTube channel. I’m not interested in 380(had one)but some are. Gonna hit the subscribe button!

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        π‘¨π’‘π’‘π’π’š π‘΅π’π’˜ 𝒉𝒆𝒓𝒆__________π’π’†π’•π’„π’‚π’”π’‰πŸ­.π’„π’π’Ž

    • Probably not a mistake. Shoot it, and if you can control it you definitely made the right choice by buying a .380-sized .380. If you can’t, you might want to consider the P365-380.

      • I pocket carry so the Max fits the bill. No complaints, but as potg, we always want the best in a given category.

        • Then you have your answer. The Max is definitely the best at being concealable. The P365-380 is better for people unable to control either the Max or the 9mm P365, but it doesn’t make sense to me outside that market.

        • On the jeans I wear as daily wear, a compact semi-auto like my CZ RAMI fits, but just barely, in my pocket. Drawing it is not easy or comfortable. This gun looks to be substantially smaller and will likely be a better fit, but I decided to make my RAMI a bedside gun, and pocket carry my LCR .355 in a ‘Sneaky-Pete’ style holster. Even when seated in my vehicles, I’m able to draw it pretty quickly, so I’m sticking with it for the time being.

          Find a gun store and compare your Max to the Sig and let us know…

        • The LCP Max is smaller. I always pocket carry, and rotate between the old basic LCP, the S&W 642, and Ruger Max-9 (these days it’s usually the Max-9). The Max 9 is about as big as I’d go for pocket carry.

          Frankly, for pocket carry, the LCP Max in .380 seems just about perfect (but I can’t justify buying one since I have the old LCP, 642, and Max-9).

          Unless you are recoil averse, I wouldn’t go for the P365 in .380. Just go with a P365 it in 9mm, or your LCP Max.

    • I too bought an LCPMax when they first came out and have been pleased with it. I only wish the front sight was a little narrower to give more precision on longer shots.

      Not knocking the P365….nice pistol in either caliber. But the LCP s certainly easier to carry in a pants pocket.

      A visit to hand gun hero illustrates the difference well. Shorter in length and height and nearly half around lighter for LCPMax.
      https://www.handgunhero.com/compare/ruger-lcp-max-vs-sig-sauer-p365

      That said,I understand the attraction of a slightly larger, heavier 380.

      Easy to IWB or Cargo pocket carry. Easier to rack than a similar 9mm. Good sights and well made.

      If I’m going to belt carry owb or iwb, then I go to a heavier caliber than 380. An LCR in 357, Jframe in 38, or small 9 if I’m going bigger and heavier.

      I reserve the right to change my mind as I get older and perhaps lose hand strength.

      Options are good …. glad to Sig is trying to catch up to Ruger. 😁

      • Do you carry .357 loads in your .357 LCR? What load and how rough is it to shoot? I didn’t enjoy .38 +P loads in my air weight J-frames. Usually stopped at 10-15 rounds per range session and then a box of 50 lighter loads. Thinking about an LCR and on the fence for .38 vs .357

        • I do. 125 golden Sabres if I will mostly be indoors. And Corbon 125s if I will be outdoors. These are easily controllable for me but the Corbons are much sharper and louder.
          I regularly carry Remington 158 +p LSWCHP or Golden Saber 125 +P in my 042 Centenial and I personally ont have an issue with recoil being painful. I use standard wood panel grips with a TGrip adapter. Everyone’s hand is different.
          My 640 Centennial is rated for +P+ but I carry underwood 158 SWCHP+P. …….it does sting but has better velocity than most 158 357s in the LCR.

        • I recommend the 357 LCR.

          I have owned 6 LCRs. 4 38s and 2 357s.

          All the 38s have ended up going back to Ruger for a loose firing pin bushing. This always ended with Ruger telling me they had to send a new gun as it was not repairable.

          I think the steel bushing doesn’t seat well in the aluminum frame. A shame since they are so light.

          This has not been a problem with the 357 as the bushing is different in the stainless frame. If they made a stainless frame with a 38 cylinder I would buy one. 38 special usually has higher velocity from a 38 cylinder than a 357. I think the longer chamber allows some gas loss and lower velocity. Usually around 50 fps but can higher with performance loads.

          Just a suggestion.

  2. Not bad, but Sig keeps putting out stuff other than a 10mm p320, other caliber kits for the MPX, and threaded barrels for the p320 in other calibers besides 9mm (specifically 45 acp). Also, more optics ready slides for other pistol models in a variety of different calibers would be nice as well. There’s something attractive to me about a suppressed p320 in 357 sig with an rds. I feel like it would be great for extending the range of a relatively customizable pistol. But maybe it’s just me.

      • Yeah, but the size of the can will often exceed the size of a tiny semi-auto like the Sig you reviewed… πŸ™‚

  3. I’d have to try one 1st, just looks too small for my grip. The shield 380EZ is a inch taller & 1/2″ more barrel & 1″ longer. And this Sig 3oz lighter, but holds more in capacity.- – – – ->
    Now before long our friendly Walt E The IIIrd wil stop by to boast he can catch a .380 with his teeth and spit them out. But Jailers are tough that way .

  4. I LIKE MY KIMBER MICRO 380 , HOWEVER HAD TO ADD UNIVERSAL RUBER GRIP FOR THAT GIVE IT A 4.5 STAR RATING , HEY , 380 BETTER THAN A FIST OR KNIFE FIGHT .
    WELL MADED IN 1911 STYLE , TAKE DWN , WELL SUCKS BIT HARD FOR ME AND NEED PLACTIC $9 TOOL TO HELP . A 4 STAR OVERALL RATING .
    WOULD LIKE TO HOLD A SEE IF SIG 380 RIGHT FOR ME . 12 ROUNDS UUUM . WEIGHT .
    THANKS FOR INFOR ALWAYS , O , IF AFTER TRYING A 380 AND NOT TO YOUR LIKING ALWAYS PAWN OFF AND GO FOR A SMALL 9MM , HOWEVER REM: RECOIL .

  5. HAVE KIMBER MICRO 380 AND STILL CARRY THE S&W 38 AIR WEIGHT , SHROUDED HAMMER
    I CHOOSE MY REVOLVER ALWAYS OVER ANY AUTO I OWN , JUST ME .

    • I’ve gotten very comfortable carrying the LCR in .357, comfortable enough I don’t mind it only has 5 rounds in the cylinder…

        • You cared enough to post a reply. Obsessively trolling the same person on message boards just shows how butt-hurt you are about something they did or said. It’s a sign of emotional weakness and bitterness. You should probably seek professional help.

  6. I cant get no,, , no no no, bullets for .380
    An I try an I try
    Cant get no………..
    Why?
    Dont tell me about the deals
    I can get on ammotrackdotcom.
    I want emus without a paper trail.
    Cant get no,,, no no no

  7. I question the point of a P365 in .380 when there is a perfectly shootable model in 9 mm. If maximum concealability is your goal, there’s the Ruger LCP Max. It’s smaller all round but has the same capacity. Kahr’s P380 or CW380 is even smaller and gives you a capacity of 8+1 with their 7-round magazine and a MagGuts kit. The longer magazine does make the gun taller than an LCP Max but that means room enough for three fingers on the front strap.

  8. β€œ I have yet to find anyone willing to be shot with it”

    This is the only thing that made me groan while reading your otherwise good review because I want that feeble overused argument to die. It’s a pet peeve, and every man over 50 needs to cultivate a few of those to be a well-rounded curmudgeon before he dies. I wouldn’t volunteer to be shot with a BB gun, but that’s no justification to carry one for self defense. Ugh, now I’ve resorted to an overused counter-argument. Goddamit.

    Anyway, that’s not a knock on .380 ACP. I carry an original Ruger LCP when I don’t feel like toting a bigger gun. It wasn’t fun at the range until I put a Hogue Handall pinned grip sleeve on it. Now it’s a hoot to shoot, and still about as small as they come.

    • Thank you! I have the same pet peeve, and think an ARFCOM member has the right response in his signature line – something along the lines of “I wouldn’t want to be shot with a urine-filled Super Soaker either, but you wouldn’t EDC that!”

  9. I didn’t know the pistol I was saving my life with was supposed to be fun. I think someone mentioned that in comments. I just picked what I thought was best pistol to kill someone with that was trying to kill me. Carried one since then. Never had to kill a man with it, but I did have to screw the muzzle into more than one man’s ear and promise that I would blow his brains out the other side of his head if he didn’t do exactly what I said. They did what I asked. There’s just something about a large caliber centerfire handgun pressed against the side of a suspects skull that seems to acquire there compliance. I never had a taser. Didn’t need one.

    • Doesn’t have to be fun, but you might shoot it more often if it is, and that can make you a better shooter when you have to kill someone that is trying to kill you.

  10. I find the recoil on my 365 to be close to what it is on my LCP, steel vs Polymer does offer some benefits. The LCP however is light enough to slip into a pocket and forget about it, the 365 not so much.

  11. If *killing potential* were the only/major criteria, we’d all be carrying a caliber beginning with .4… or 10mm. Okay, I’ll also include .357 for us OFRG’s (brownie points if you figure it out). However, there are a bunch of other factors, weight, conceal-ability, recoil, etc. While it’s certainly not scientific, I tend to carry something equivalent to what cops carry off duty, which isn’t always helpful. I’ve talked to officers who carry anything from a .22 or .25 up to their duty piece (no snarky jokes, please). However, .38 Special and 380 acp seem to be very popular. It’s all a matter of choices and trade offs.

    • Everything is a tradeoff until it isn’t. There are lots of potential complexities, but most of them are irrelevant here because it’s the exact same pistol – one version with more power and a little more recoil, and another with less of each. The .380 version makes sense for people who can’t control the 9mm, and not much for people who can (although there are situations where a more concealable .380 like the LCP Max might make more sense).

      • Plus, should push come to shove, in any large scale conflict there will be literally millions of rounds of 9mm all over the place wherever in the world. .380 not so much. Perhaps training to tolerate a tad more recoil, or buying both .380 and 9mm P365s would be a good plan?!

        • Very true. Also, even in present conditions, economies of scale mean that with .380 you’re paying significantly more for less performance.

        • Larry you completely missed the point.

          Training and recoil have nothing to do with it.

          From the story “..a pistol that’s easier to rack for those with limited hand strength.”

        • Rally,
          While nitpicking Larry’s reading comprehension, did you notice that the word “recoil” appears five times in the article – once in relation to the lighter spring, and the other four in relation to the thing that you think “ha[s] nothing to do with it”?

  12. Will they make this P365-380 in a SAS C? I have the P365 9mm SAS C added a Wilson Combat Grip. Will get a P365-380 even if not a SAS.

  13. Other than barrel length my LCP MAX beats this Sig in every measurement category and weighs 5.1 oz less. I see quite a few comments regarding control of the Max. My 5’1″, 100 lb. wife shoots this gun well and coming from a Colt Junior .25 has no complaints about recoil. It was my pocket gun until she shot it. Now I’ll just have to get by with my Tomcat .32.

  14. When working with shooters who have carpal tunnel issues, I have found a new respect for softer shooting handguns. There are people who need a means of self-defense and using a harsh feeling handgun is not the answer.

  15. The whole point of .380 is that the pistol is smaller than a 9mm.

    This gun is pointless – it’s the size of a 9mm in an objectively inferior cartridge. Why not just get it in 9mm?

      • Not to mention modern .380 loads improvements. But two gals here tried my P365 with 12rd mags and Zero Elite, and just-added FCU. They love it, and say they will get one! Mine works just great. FWIW

  16. busyB – If U had read the whole story – “suppose” to be less recoil & easy to rack. My wife had wrist problems years back, almost impossible to rack her 9mm Shield. The .380 EZ was a god send. 95% of short 9’s are hard to rack and several R hard to manage for accuracy.
    Now that said, after getting her wrist strength back her favorite is back to the shield due to better accuracy for her. I installed tritium night sights and Apex tactical trigger for her.
    As for that lowly .380 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FhfKSXWLNxg 380 thru auto windshield and a Melon. Surprising !

    • Glad you wife recovered. My siblings and I at the age where many things are no longer 100% and not likely to get much better. I’d tried the EZ in .380 but found the grip safety pinched the web between thumb and forefinger and occasionally bit my hand anyway. Not a “bad” gun, but I liked my Glock 42 (.380) better, especially after adding the aftermarket racking ears and the Arachnigrip decal. But no red dot capability, which I’d found I liked on my mid- and full-size 9mm pistols. I ignored the P365 initially, but got to shoot a friend’s 9mm and recoil was a bit too much. Got the .380 P365 and with fluch and pinkie extension, was slightly more snappy than the 42. Then got the P365 12rd mags and red dot and found the P365 slightly easier to handle. Two women here who had carpal tunnel surgeries decided they preferred my P365 and are getting their own. FWIW To each, what works for them!

      • Dick, I may have to find one of those sigs at a local store/range here to try out. Something about Glock handles just don’t fit for my hands. Worse shooting gun for me & we own one. SO to each their own! It’s pretty much the safe queen compared to my CZ’s, FNX & her S&W’s, but she does ok with it. She keeps it because it’s same mags for her 9mm carbine.
        Odd, neither my wife or I have ever had a pinch from the grip safety on the EZ. Hers was a early model. One thing I changed on her M&P’s was to the Apex trigger, except for the EZ model (not available). Once I did one, she wanted them all the same. Although her 9L pro-shop model was an improvement over the older two.
        You definitely must have better eyes! RD’s on a pistol never worked for me, took too long to find it. Had 2 on carbines, and a Etched glass on 1 other for years. Now those RD’s are getting switched out > & glasses make the double star worse.

  17. Bought P365-BA (=basic) in .380 because my age and damaged hands don’t like sub-compact 9mm guns (full-size or compact mostly ok). Bought 12 rd as they came out because flush mag left my pinky hanging, pinky extension helped but still not excellent for me. 200 rds found it a little snappier than my Glock 42, but easier to rack. Bought the Zero Ellite red dot, which is very good, but the button is just behind the front glass and not that easy to push going up 8 levels and down when done. Still, not bad for my old eyes, and added weight negligable. But 12 rd mags add significant weight with better grip length. Bought a Wilson Combat grip, like it, but it’s for 9mm, so won’t work well with .380 slide/barrel. No specifically .380 XL barrels yet to make my BA into an X. Last night bought an Icarus aluminum grip in XL, and realized it too is for a 9mm, not my .380. Awaiting their response. Hoping the .380 15rd mags will come out soon.
    I choose my built-up P365 .380 over my trusty Glock 42 (racking ears, night sights, Arachnigrip decal) because now the 365 has slightly less recoil with 12rd. Very good accuracy and feels solid in my old hands. No ammo so far has caused problems. That’s my experience so far.
    But I have chosen my P365 .380

  18. I chose a Sig 238 to fit between my Ruger SR9C and my Taurus 738 TCP. The Ruger is plenty accurate but too large to carry in a variety of clothing. The TCP is wonderfully small and accurate enough if I practice, but that long trigger is horrible. I don’t mind the recoil but it is snappy. I tried the Sig 938 but felt the recoil was greater than what I wanted. The 238 fit the bill perfectly with minimal recoil, good accuracy, night sights, and perfect size for carry IWB or large pocket. This new Sig would similarly fit the bill in a bit larger package. I expect many people with smaller hands and many women will like and buy this gun if it is as easy to rack as the 238 and has as little recoil.

  19. I started out with a S&W MP Bodyguard .380. With it I was more than disappointed. The only good thing I can say about it was the price.

    The Sig Sauer P365-380 is a joy to shoot. The trigger mechanism is superb! In terms of pull, travel and reset it gets very high marks. Not only is it smooth, you know at what point the round is going to fire. I never had that confidence with the S&W, which felt like the trigger housing was filled with sand and one kept pulling and waiting for the round to be fired.

    I also like having the 12 rd capacity, which is far more (double) than most other .380 pistols.

    The iron sights are very easy to use, and spot on. So much so that I find myself favoring them over the Lima 365 laser on my pistol.

    On the subject of recoil, it is so minimal that I am able to drill a rather large whole in the paper when shooting in rapid fire mode.

    Lastly, take down and cleaning is simple.

    This is a well thought out firearm which is both a joy to own and a joy to shoot!

  20. I just picked up my first .380 firearm, a Sig P232 Stainless Steel model. It’s larger than the P365 but boy is it a work of art.

  21. A Walther PPK/S in .380 was my CC Weapon g or nearly 25 years. It was relegated to Range Baby status solely because of my aging eyes. I could no longer make out the sights in Low Light Drills. It was replaced with a P365 in 9mm. I’ve no complaints with the SIG, it functions well, is as accurate as I need it to be, and it handles my preferred 9mm round, Hornady Critical Duty 135 gr +P, and actually has a tighter group with it than it does with the SIG proprietary ammo.
    I too, won’t get into caliber debates about .380 v whatever. While I carried the PPK, I never felt underarmed. Besides, a.380 started the Great War. None of the others can make that claim.
    I too get tired of the “Nobody wants to get shot with it” statement. Only an Idiot wants to be shot with anything, and as responsible gun owners, I’d like to believe Idiots are few and far between.
    Is the slide easier with the .380? How does it compare to the Walther CCP for ease? My wife still depends on her old S&W model 36 I bought her as a wedding present 40 years ago, because her arthritis makes working the slide difficult, but I’d like to get her into a semi auto. The 9mm P365 is too much for her hands to cycle (so is the PPK, but it’s a much older design ergonomically).

  22. At my age and with damaged hands, I find the EZ much easier to rack, but I didn’t care for the grip safety pinching the web between thumb and forefinger. My P365 .380 is a tiny bit more stiff to rack, but I found it easier than the 9mm P365, so the .380, with a little less recoil, has become my carry. I enjoy practice at the range. Right now the negative is really the excessive cost of .380 ammo. Hope that’s of value to you. BTW, loading the mags and brand new gun racking were harder until “broken in”, as with most any gun. Maglula solved the loading, and practice has solved the racking issue. Typical of Sig (I have 3 P320s), initial take down is a real bear to move the lever, but it also “breaks in” with repetition.

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