(This post is an entry in our spring content contest. If you’d like a chance to win a Beretta APX pistol, click here for details.)
The king is dead, long live the king! In the realm of the modern striker fired pistol, it can be argued that the GLOCK, the pioneer of the genre, is no longer the head of the class. While I am sure fanboys are already angrily typing comments below this post in response to this statement, what is not arguable is that this newest generation of pistols outperforms the Austrian wunderpistole in both form and function.
When discussing this new breed of gun, three specific models are frequently touted as the best in show: The Walther PPQ, the HK VP9, and the SIG P320. It just so happens that I own all three of these guns, and so I have decided to pit them in a three way winner-take-all battle to help determine which one is top dog. All of these guns tested are chambered in 9mm, but there are other caliber options should you want something more exotic. Here is a quick primer on the three guns included in this test.
Introduced in 2011, the PPQ is less of a new gun and more of an updated, re-imagined P99. They even share the same magazines. Depending on your perspective, you could say that Walther had the next generation pistol on the market two generations ago. The main difference between them is the trigger. While the P99 used a DA/SA system with a decocker, the PPQ skips all that mess for a simple GLOCK style system.
The P320 is a striker fired reboot of SIG’s P250 modular handgun. Introduced in 2014, it has caught on rapidly, and now holds a permanent place on most gun store shelves. Unlike the two German pistols in this test, the P320 is a completely modular system.
The internals of the gun can be removed from the frame without tools, allowing the user to customize the grip, slide length, and barrel length to their desired specifications (provided they purchase those parts, of course). It is this modularity that prompted the U.S. army to select a modified version of the P320 as their new M17 duty pistol earlier this year.
The only truly new gun of the three, the VP9 breaks from HKs long line of hammer fired pistols, and is the first striker fired pistol made by HK since the venerable P7 went out of production. Also introduced in 2014, the VP9 is magazine compatible with the older P30 and P2000, which makes upgrading a bit less painful for the HK faithful. A sub compact version has also recently been announced.
You will notice the aforementioned GLOCK is nowhere to be found in this list. There are two reasons for this. First, as I stated, the GLOCK is old hat and cannot compete with these guns in terms of features. Second, I don’t own a GLOCK, and I’m too cheap to buy one for you guys. I’m not made of money like fast cars Farago.
Also noticeably absent is the brand new Beretta APX, because I don’t have one either, but if I win the contest I promise I’ll do a new head to head with it as soon as I get it! *wink wink, cough cough* Also, the Rp9 isn’t here because it’s a Remington and therefore sucks. Let’s get on with it.
Size and Weight
The specific model of P320 I have is the P320 Carry, which has more or less the exact same dimensions as the other two models, so this will be an apples to apples comparison across the board. I will get into the modularity aspect of the P320 later.
All three guns are nearly identical in terms of size and weight. The PPQ is the lightest at 24.5 ounces, with the VP9 and P320 at 25 and 26 ounces, respectively. Overall height, width, and length are all equally close, with less than a .2-inch spread between highest and lowest for any metric.
Just for the record, the PPQ is the shortest in length, the P320 is the shortest in height and the VP9 is the thinnest. Since each one is smallest in one distinct category, the tie will go to the lightest which is the PPQ. In all honesty, this category is the least important because 1.5 ounces or a quarter of an inch is not going to mean a hill of beans in any practical scenario.
Winner: PPQ Loser: P320
This one is very simple. The HK has a 4.1-inch barrel, the PPQ has a 4-inch barrel and the SIG has a 3.9-inch barrel (notice a pattern with these numbers?). Longer is better, and the HK has the added bonus of being polygonally rifled.
Winner: VP9 Loser: P320
From the factory, all of these guns come with two high quality 15 round magazines, so to find a winner we will have to look deeper. Walther offers 17 round factory magazines, while SIG has 17 and even 21 round magazines available for the P320. HK? Nothing. You’ll have to go aftermarket if you want more pills in your gat.
Winner: P320 Loser: VP9
Now it gets a little interesting. The PPQ and HK both have European paddle style releases while the SIG has a reversible button for your thumb. I know there is a lot of controversy over paddle releases on this side of the pond. I am a big fan of them because, being a lefty, I am used to dropping the mag with my trigger finger so it’s a natural motion for me.
Not all paddle releases are created equal, however, and this is very apparent when comparing the HK with the Walther. While the Walther’s release is a generous inch long tab, making it very easy to activate, the HKs release is a lousy little half inch nub peeking out from around the base of the trigger guard.
It is neither far enough back to reach with my thumb nor is it forward enough to comfortably hit it with my trigger finger, requiring me to either use my off hand thumb or awkwardly bend my trigger finger back behind the trigger to activate. I would go as far as to call the mag release on the VP9 bad.
Needless to say, the HK loses this battle. The PPQ also comes in an American version with a reversible thumb button a la the P320 that some of the more colonial among us will appreciate. This Burger King have it your way level of choice is unprecedented among pistol manufacturers, and the PPQ wins this part of the match hands down.
Winner: PPQ Loser: VP9
This is another less than straightforward category. All three guns allow you to customize the grip size to your liking, but they go about it in very different ways.
The PPQ has the now ubiquitous replaceable backstrap. Simply drift out the rear pin, pull the backstrap off, and replace it with one of your choice. The gun comes with three sizes, and… that’s it. Nothing you haven’t seen before.
The VP9 takes this concept to 11 with replaceable backstraps and side panels, giving you exponentially more configurations to choose from. It comes with three sets of backstraps and panels.
The P320 goes in a very different direction. Because the gun is modular, SIG makes and sells frames of different sizes to fit your hand. While in theory this would be the best option, it is also the most difficult and expensive option because you have to buy the frames individually for 40+ bucks a pop. It also only comes with one frame, so if you want a different size you’re coughing up cash and probably waiting for the UPS man.
This one is a bit of a toss up depending on your perspective, but I’m calling the P320 the loser just because of the extra cash involved.
Winner: VP9 Loser: P320
All three of the guns come with traditional three-dot sights. The dots on the PPQ are slightly smaller, but all are clear and easy to see. The VP9 and P320 have dovetailed sights that are drift adjustable, while the PPQ actually comes with multiple front sights of various sizes and a click adjustable rear sight. A very nice upgrade, making it the victor in this category.
Between the other two, the stock VP9 sights are luminescent, meaning you can shine a light on them and they will glow in the dark for a little while. A bit gimmicky, but a feature is a feature.
I did a little research on the sights and it turns out some people actually dislike the sights on the VP9 because they are snag free. For those of you scratching your head, it means you can’t catch the rear sight on something and rack the slide one handed. This might be an issue for some people, but I doubt many will care. With that, I declare HK second place. Sorry SIG.
Winner: PPQ Loser: P320
Yes, it’s a release. All of these guns are designed to utilize the slide lock lever to release the slide after slotting a fresh mag. The P320 uses a smaller tab similar to a GLOCK but ambidextrous, while the PPQ uses a pair of nice fat rails down the length of the frame. HK apparently couldn’t decide which version they liked better so they split the baby and used both.
On the left side of the gun you have a large tab that sits in a recessed cut in the frame, and on the right you have a long rail which kind of looks like they threw it on at the last second. This two face level of asymmetry is highly unusual but it gets the job done and in my opinion has the most positive feel and function of the three guns.
The difference between the PPQ and the VP9 in this category is so small it could be in my head, but a winner must be crowned. The SIG comes in last because the tiny tabs on the side are simply not as easy to manipulate. That doesn’t make them bad, mind you. They’re simply less good.
Winner: VP9 Loser: P320
Time to separate the wheat from the chaff. This is what makes these guns special. Before we get into this I want to be clear: All three of these guns have excellent triggers. These triggers are head and shoulders above any other striker fired pistols on the market, and are usually on par with some of the aftermarket GLOCK or M&P triggers offered.
While one may be slightly better or worse than the other, this is like comparing a Ferrari to a Lamborghini. One may be a little faster, but they are both wonderfully fun. Now on to the triggers themselves.
First off we have the PPQ. Those of you with Walthers know that they put a little something special in their triggers, and the PPQ is no exception. It is the traditional GLOCK style with a wide curved face and a safety blade in the middle. The trigger has a considerable amount of take up which is very light and just a touch rough, before a pronounced wall and a break that would make some lower end 1911s blush. There is zero noticeable overtravel. The reset is equally short, crisp, and tactile. The listed trigger weight is 5.6 pounds, but to me it feels closer to 5.
Next we have the VP9, which has the same GLOCK style trigger as the PPQ. The take up is much shorter and slightly lighter, but the break is heavier and there is a noticeable amount of creep on the break. Overtravel is negligible, and the reset is short and pronounced. The listed weight is 5.5 pounds, which feels about right, but definitely heavier than the Walther.
Last we have the P320. This trigger omits the safety blade in the center and has the added touch of being metal instead of plastic. The take up is extremely short and light, but the break is noticeably mushier than the German pistols. There is also a slight but noticeable overtravel. The reset is longer than the other 2 and not quite as positive. The listed weight is the same as the VP9, 5.5 pounds, which also feels about right. For this round, I award the PPQ the winner and the P320 the loser, but remember: There are no actual losers in this category.
Winner: PPQ Loser: P320
Accuracy & Shooting
Here it is, the main event. The most important aspect of a handgun: the ability to put holes in a piece of paper. After a few warm-up mags, I did a series of five-shot groups at 30 feet with each handgun. I then did some general shooting to get a feel of the recoil impulse for each gun in relation to the others. The ammo used was good old Winchester white box. First, the groups. Here is my best group with the P320:
This is arguably my best overall group of the day. Coming into this I fully expected the PPQ would be the best shooting gun and the P320 would be the worst, but I was very wrong. The P320 had the absolute lowest felt recoil and muzzle rise out of the three. The P320 is the heaviest but I doubt 1.5 ounces makes a noticeable difference in shooting. Here is my best PPQ group for comparison:
I got a bullseye as well as that nice one-hole pair above the bullet, but you can see the group is more spread out. The PPQ had the harshest felt recoil and muzzle rise out of the three. Note that I wouldn’t consider any of them to have bad recoil or muzzle rise, but when the competition is this tight you have to split hairs.
Some have claimed the PPQ trigger is actually too light, and while I won’t go that far I did have a flyer in another string that came from me touching off a round before I was completely back on target. It is not the first time I have done that with this gun, so those of you with less than stellar trigger discipline may not want the PPQ in your collection. Finally, the VP9:
Some of the sharper viewers will immediately notice this is a four-shot group. That’s because the fifth shot is somewhere out of frame near the bottom of the grip. I decided to ignore the one mistake on an otherwise great group, but it happened nonetheless so you should at least be aware.
The VP9 had about the same felt recoil as the PPQ but noticeably less muzzle rise. I attribute this to the low GLOCK-like bore axis of this gun compared to the relatively tall PPQ and P320. The trigger also seemed to help in accurate shooting. If the P320 was too heavy and the PPQ was too light, then this would be the goldilocks trigger, because it was juuuuust right.
One final point: I am not an amazing shooter and I had no problems scoring multiple hits on a 4 inch target at 30 feet with all three guns. I know these guns are capable of tigher groups with a better shooter. Since the P320 had the lowest felt recoil and muzzle rise, and since it had the best group, it gets the big win in the shooting department. The PPQ unfortunately comes in last due to the muzzle right and recoil.
Winner: P320 Loser: PPQ
As much as I complain about overpriced crap on TTAG you knew this would be on here. As close as these three guns come in performance and features, price may be the deciding factor in your purchase, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.
The HK has an MSRP of $719, making it the most expensive of the three (of course). The P320 is listed at $679, and the PPQ takes the lowest bid at $649. I could leave it at this, but I find using MSRP to determine the best priced gun is kind of like measuring a horse’s legs to determine how fast they run.
Using some Google-fu, I managed to find a VP9 for sale for $490, a PPQ for $480, and a P320 Compact for $500. These prices are close enough to be considered equal, but we must find a winner, so PPQ gets another point.
Winner: PPQ Loser: P320
One thing I have not spoken much about is the modularity of the P320 versus the other two pistols in the test. The P320 is at its core a very different firearm than its two German competitors because it is capable of changing to suit a wide variety of needs and users.
By simply purchasing different slides, grips, barrels, and magazines, you can change the size, color, and even caliber of the gun without actually purchasing a new gun. Granted, this sort of modularity does not come cheap, and you may end up spending two or three guns worth of money in order to complete these configurations, but for someone that wants a common manual of arms or magazine compatibility between his range pistol and his concealed carry gun this is extremely useful.
This modularity also allows you to fix broken parts much more quickly and easily than with a traditional handgun. If you were to break the frame on your VP9 it would be quite a big deal to get it fixed, but if you were to do the same to your P320, you could simply order a new one online, slap the old parts into the new frame, and you’re back in business. It also makes the gun much easier to clean when you can pull the whole thing out and spray it with gun scrubber. It is this modularity that caused the US army to choose the SIG over many other competitors for its new modular handgun system.
One other thing that I think is worth pointing out is that the VP9 has its own unique, if less interesting feature. Built into the rear of the slide is a set of hard rubber wings which give you increased grip and allow you to more easily rack the slide of the gun. Is it groundbreaking? No, but it is a nice touch, and one you won’t find on nearly any other pistol.
Finally, you will notice I have not touched on the reliability of these pistols anywhere in this review. That’s because there is no need to. I cannot put too fine a point on this: I have never had a malfunction with any of these pistols. Not once, ever, for any reason.
I have shot competitions with the Walther, carried the P320 every day for over a year, and put a combined total of several thousand rounds of ammo through all three of these guns without regular cleaning and they still work every single time. When I say none of these guns are bad guns, I mean it.
I will be completely honest: I wanted the PPQ to win. In fact after adding up my wins and losses from the previous sections it technically did win. But I just don’t feel right giving Walther the victory on this one.
For all the nitpicking I have done against the P320 in the last few pages, it came through where it really counted: the shooting. It had the best group of all the guns and it had the lowest felt recoil. On top of that, the modularity the P320 provides over the other two makes really puts it in a class by itself. There is nothing the other two guns could do to match that level of versatility.
With that in mind, I am going to rule the P320 the winner by divine intervention. If we must have a winner, then we must have a loser. That loser is the VP9, for one and only one reason, which is the magazine release. Out of all three guns it is the only thing that I can call a badly designed feature, having neither the familiarity of the P320’s thumb button nor the flexibility of the PPQ’s well designed and executed paddle release. If you like your magazine release, you can keep your magazine release, but it is definitely the low point of this test.
I hope this review helped you better understand the differences between these three amazing pistols, and I want to stress one last time that none of these three guns are bad. In fact these guns are such an advancement over the previous generation of pistols that I would recommend you pick any of them over a GLOCK or M&P just to see how far handgun design has come even in the last 10 years.
OVERALL WINNER: SIG SAUER P320
nobody mentions the fns9? not that, you know, i want any of them. but it seems like a glaring omission.
Doh! I knew I was gonna forget one!
Ruger American. A pretty darn crisp trigger on a $400-ish gun.
Would be my pick and it is an American Product made by an American Company.
An American company whose former CEO said he never intended for Ruger’s high capacity magazines to be in the hands of regular citizens. Springfield, Rock River Arms, and Ruger will never get a penny from me. If HK continues their anti-Semitic policies I will not be purchasing their weapons either.
Well, obviously nobody needs three essentially similar handguns! Your article is a perfect example of why we need reasonable gun control laws that limit the total number of handguns a single individual can own. All those guns, all those clips, and bullets are just too dangerous for one person to own. //sarc//
For those wondering why their favorite isn’t in the article, just buy the author one and I’m sure he will critique it in a future post.
Funny you mention it, cuz I submitted a comparison of 9 striker fired. The three here, plus the FNS, Glock, M&P, RAP, XDM, and Steyr. I couldn’t go as in depth as this author for the sake of space. Although I have different opinions in some areas, I too kinda expected the PPQ to be contending for tops. I didn’t end up ranking them, but I would put the SIG and FN (gotta check out the 509) towards the top and the RAP solidly at the bottom. As someone else said, get me the APX, 509 and P-10 and I’ll make it an even dozen!
Nice review, but I see nothing here to cause me to dump my Glocks. For folks just getting started, then this review may be more on-point, but none of these pistols exhibits enough of an improvement over a Glock to justify dumping my extensive familiarity and practice with Gaston’s gat, just to jump to the latest/greatest/bestest. Folks who jump around from gun to gun never build deep skills or reflexive “muscle memory” use, and that should be valued far above any minor improvements shown in these models.
I’ll stick with my Glocks, and will wish good luck to those who chose one of the above.
That sounds just like the arguments 1911 users made when the Glock hit the scene…
History repeats itself.
Not exactly, since GLOCKs were smaller, lighter, and held more rounds then 1911s.
And are smaller, lighter, and hold as many rounds as these new poly pistols.
30+ years on and still no one can come up with a pistol that’s as size and weight efficient as Glock.
Preach it, folks!
In all fairness, if you are right handed, have average sized hands, never need or want to change the caliber of your gun or the size of the frame or barrel, and are good enough with a Glock trigger, then there is no need for you to upgrade. If you don’t happen to fit into that relatively narrow box, however, then these guns become considerably more attractive, and if you’re a new gun buyer you might as well get the extra features since they are no longer more expensive than a boring old Glock.
Many Glocks can change calibers quite easily; I have several that get caliber-converted regularly. Same thing with the size of the barrel.
Trigger competence cannot be bought, but deity knows that hasn’t stopped people from trying. Stock triggers in most pistols are just fine nowadays, and Glock is no exception. I’ve modified the triggers in less than 10% of my Glocks, and shoot all of them to a much higher level than “good enough” (as do most of the shooters who have been trained with them).
You said “…and if you’re a new gun buyer you might as well get the extra features since they are no longer more expensive than a boring old Glock.” Extra features like different calibers, barrels and frame sizes don’t come with these guns; they are extra-cost options, so implying they come with these “features” and comparing them to the price of a stock Glock is quite misleading.
Glocks ARE boring; I’ll give you that. Boringly reliable, boringly accurate, boringly easy to work on yourself, with factory and aftermarket parts that are easily available and inexpensive, for the most part; in that context, boring sounds pretty attractive, especially if it a pistol to be used for serious purposes.
You should try going into it with a open mind. I’m not a HK fan by any stretch of the imagination but the VP9 is one hell of a pistol. it’s EASILY better than any Glock I own (and I own a lot). It’s more ergonomic, it’s much more accurate, the factory trigger is better than ANY aftermarket Glock trigger (I’ve tried nearly all of them), the controls are better. There is literally NOTHING that the Glock does better other than aftermarket support (which Glock requires) but now with the Trijicon HD XR’s available for the VP9 and everyone making holsters for it, there’s really no reason to stay with Glock other than you’re mentally stuck in the past. HK did their homework and came out with a clear winner.
I’d have to disagree a bit. I think the 30 years of aftermarket support is a gigantic advantage! Not to mention all the other gun platforms that accept Glock mags such as Ar9’s, keltec sub2000’s, Kriss vectors, etc. The ability to have a handgun and carbine that can share not just ammo, but mags too (and hi capacity mags and drums) is extremely beneficial, not to mention convenient. There’s not another gun on the market that can touch that.
Then there is the fn 509 and cz p-10 as well….
I only have the vp9 of these options, which I like, but the trigger paddle works like my other HK guns so I prefer it.
HK did recently show some optional button mag releases for the SFP (Europeon version of VP series), so we will see if those eventually show up in the VP guns.
These plastic fantastics are becoming more or less homogenized falling into the “pretty good” problem. Any one you choose will do its job just fine. With few design exceptions like the trigger guard mag release the end purchase will more likely than not come down to two basic things: how does it feel in your hand and do you like how it looks/brand identification.
It’s a good thing because the buyer really can’t go wrong whichever they choose it’s a bad thing because I want them all.
In a world of Polymer……some don’t !
I have to go warm up my 1966 Ford pick-up and go buy some Pall Mall smokes
I’d roll up my Lucky Strikes in my t-shirt sleeve, but wife-beaters, err, differently cis-gendered spouse annoyers don’t have sleeves.
Old Region Fan, when you get into your truck, bounce on that vinyl seat a few times, be sure to fondle the plastic knobs on the dashboard, and if you need some fresh air, use the plastic knob on the window crank to open that window. You’ve got to go back farther than ’66 to get away from plastics in vehicles.
As I understand it, early plastics are short-chain polymers, where modern stuff is longer-chained polymers bonded together; but they are all technically polymers.
You’ve convinced me that these guns are excellent options, and I’m willing to award them 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place behind the GLOCK 19.
Take notes people. This is how you fan boy properly!
The first time I shot a Glock (a model 17), the only other handguns I had ever fired were a couple of old Ruger .22s and a WWII era 1911. I shot the Glock along with a Ruger GP100, and even firing full .357 loads I was more accurate with the revolver. Then some kids brought their guns out one day and I got to shoot an XDM, which pointed very nicely and made me look like a hero. Last fall I shot an XDM and the P320 back to back and liked them both.
I noticed that when Hickok45 tried the P320 he said he was too invested in Glock to start over, but heartily recommended the P320 to new users.
I don’t get this sudden industry wide obsession with full-size polymer.
Not to mention, pistols seem to be putting on weight and bulk at an alarming rate. GLOCKs remain minimalist and sleek, at least until Gen 5 adds forward cocking serrations and ruins a good thing.
But to be honest, I’m more likely to carry a Star Ultrastar than any of these, because I’m a douchebag hipster millennial. 🙂
Gen 5s don’t have forward serrations.
Stranger things have happened.
I’m just going to watch the glock fan boys bitch and moan lol. HK is the original anyways. I don’t hate glock by any means but the fan boys always give me a good laugh. Sure if you replace the trigger, sights and barrel you’ll be on your way to owning a decent hand gun.
The VP70 was the first polymer pistol……it was also a huge pile of shit.
I’ll just drop a quote here:
“Mr. Madison, what you’ve just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”
Good review. They are all great guns. I’ve been saying since I first shot the P320 that it was extremely underrated. I replaced my EDC Glock with it and now the Glock doesn’t get shot. Shooting it side by side with the VP9, the Sig really shines for me. But really as mentioned in the review, the modularity puts it in a class all it’s own. No one can touch it for that reason alone.
in my opinion, for non-competitive shooters, a trigger is either bad or good. I have shot lots of striker fired, DA/SA. Take up and grittiness are excuses for shooting poorly.
Trigger weight, distance from break position to the grip (Length of Pull, like a shotgun or rifle), and repeatable feel are more influential on what makes a good or bad trigger. Again, good or bad, black and white.
For some reason, I shoot my Security Six–in double action–better than any of my other guns (roughly on par with my AR15’s even; I’m not much of a rifle shooter), even though, objectively speaking, it has the WORST trigger.
Practice makes perfect.
Good if endless review. Probably going with a Ruger 9E for fullsize 9mm. Lots of bang for the buck…
I actually LIKED the P99AS. I think Walther made a bad call going to a single action (yes, I know it’s not really, but close enough) over a very good and far less prone to used stupidity SA/DA design. I would buy a Glock 34 sized P99 with 17 round factory magazines in a heartbeat.
As for Glock, the reason it still owns a huge chunk of the market is twofold. You get a decent, shootable gun for not a lot of money and you have aftermarket support that is only rivaled by the AR15 and the hodgepodge of AK platforms.
I own a p99 in 40 and i actually prefer that trigger mechanism over the ppq because it gives your second strike capability and no trigger blade. That being said I understand why they got rid of it, because with reliability of modern ammunition the added complexity wasn’t worth it.
The 320 has second strike capability too, if I recall correctly.
Negative, ghost rider. Although the trigger will click if you pull it a second time, it isn’t actually moving the firing pin.
Interesting, and a handy thing to know. Thanks, Vhyrus.
I never could understand the big obsession with second strike capability. By all means do what you want, but when shtf, I’m not taking the time to fire a second time on a dud round. I’m racking and moving on.
Funny thing was, after requiring it in the M9 competition, when the Beretta was finally adopted, many (most?) services trained to check safety position and try to fire again after a misfire, then go straight to tap/rack/fire, vs. tugging on the trigger a second time. They specified a double-strike capability, and then didn’t use it.
Huh – thanks for the correction. That is some misleading functionality.
As far as polymer goes Glock has been dethroned long ago Sig 2022 and, Springfield XD. In striker fire, Glock is fighting an uphill battle, Perfection can’t be improved yet there’s gen 1-4, and most people still replace sights, triggers, recoil springs, and guide rods, traded in my g19 for a Sig2022, and my g17 for a Springfield XD, and I’m looking at HK USP or Sig 320
I have owned both a 2022 and an xd and I would not call either one of those of objectively superior to a glock, certainly not their triggers.
Would totally agree with you. Have owned an XD , a 2022 and five Glocks. Wouldn’t trade any of the Glocks but sold the XD and 2022. I own other guns which I like but the Glocks have given me the most reliable performance.
Glocks lives on hype, pours hundreds of thousands of dollars in advertising. Most people don’t do their homework, believe FBI field agents chose Glock, do some research you’ll realize Sig 320 was the choice. Some Special Operations forces got the Glock beacause of price, and availability at the time, but price wasn’t much of an issue with the U.S. Army, and did intensive testing with a few hundred of each pistol and chose the best, and its not because of the modular platform although that was preferred. See the Army times for full report
I have a Steyr M9-A1 I would put up against any of them. They’re all great guns by I love my Steyr.
Shhhhh MB! Didn’t your gun dealer make you sign the non-disclosure agreement? Steyr’s are not for the unwashed masses! The secret shall be remain secret!
Vhyrus, I was gonna fuss at you for crowning the P320 even though it came in last on most of your metrics. But as you hinted at, those data points don’t tell the whole story. Or the story is just a matter of degrees.
The metrics it scored low in were either so close as to be a judgement call or they were relatively trivial things like weighing a ounce more or having a slightly shorter barrel. Bottom line is it was objectively the best shooter, and it had no glaring shortcomings.
What’s the use of having standards if you’re going to ignore them? If lighter is better, then the heavier gun is not the best.
When the Glocks were introduced, all I heard about was how thick they were. Like sticking a 2×4 in your pants! Blocks! But you don’t hear much about that any more; I wonder why that is?
Maybe because all of the tested pistols (and many other newer designs) are thicker than a Glock?
1.4 is actually a rounding error in wikipedia. It’s 1.34. I double checked with a pair of calipers (I figured that much detail didn’t need to go into the article).
Still the thickest one, though.
Dude, learn to shoot better. Spend more money on ammo and less on guns!
Are 2 – 4 inch groups at 30 feet offhand really that bad? Thats within a human head. I’m not shooting the wings off of flies, man.
He shoots better than I do.
I’ve fired the PPQ quite a bit, though it is owned by my best friend. I’ve never handled either of the other two mentioned here. I carry an XD compact 9mm, and find it completely satisfactory, but not that much different than the PPQ as far as I’m concerned. The trigger on the Walther is a bit lighter than I care for, but that wouldn’t be a real problem if I decided to carry one. Just a matter of practice.
Thanks for a very interesting comparison. Next trip to the city I’ll have to look at one of those Sigs.
Glock use to be my self-defense platform for many years. I had a Gen 3 G19 (Truck Gun), Gen 4 G19 (OWB Carry), Gen 4 G26 (IWB, ankle carry), Gen 4 G17 (nightstand gun), and a Gen 4 G20 (Woods Gun). They all worked fine (save for the occasion spent casing to the forehead coming out of the Gen 4’s), but I never really loved them because I didn’t like the ergonomics; the grip angle was never truly comfortable and I hated the finger grooves. But, they were pretty darn reliable and simple, and relatively affordable. When the P320 was released in 2014, I was casually interested, but not “I have to try one now!” I actually didn’t pick up my first one until fall 2015 and it was second hand from a guy that had bought one on an impulse at a gun show and immediately incurred the wrath of his wife, so he had to sell it quickly. It was a 9mm Compact with night sights and two mags and I paid $450 for it. A week or two later, I took it to the range and boy was I impressed. It just felt so right in my hands, unlike the Glock, which always felt off, even though I was quite proficient with it. I had brought my comparable Gen 4 G19 to the range with me that day and I did some head to head shooting and the brand-new-to-me Sig out-performed the Glock that I had been shooting for several years almost immediately. I remember setting the guns down side by side and looking at them for a couple minutes and then audibly said, “Well crap. Now I have to start all over.” Long story short, the P320 is my SD platform today. I have two 9mm Compacts (one for carry and one for a ready-to-go bug out bag), a 9mm carry with a threaded barrel (night stand with a Yankee Hill suppressor attached), a 9mm fullsize (truck gun) and a .357 sig compact exchange kit (woods gun, and I know not nearly as powerful as the 10mm, but the Underwood ammo I use gets the job done in my neck of the woods). Additionally, I have a .40 S&W barrel that is interchangeable with the .357 sig barrel. Lastly, I have a fullsize .45 ACP that is just a fun range toy and gun that I keep in a safe at my office. I also have a subcompact grip frame that I put on the 9mm compact slide with a 12 round magazine when I want a little less grip for IWB carry. The one Compact with the extra grip and magazine replaced the G19 and G26 except for the ability to ankle carry because the Sig is too big (which I did very little anyway and when I did, it was usually with my Kahr CM9). I no longer own a single Glock, sold them all. I also owned a PPQ and I sold that as well. Just my personally experience.
I shot a 9mm p320 and considered selling off all my glocks. If they somehow squeezed a 10mm into that fire control group, I’d definitely be sold.
It would work on the .45 ACP frame and could have the same capacity as the .357SIG/.40S&W, which is 13 in the compact and 14 in the full size. I would buy it in a heart beat.
My PPQ .45 is, for me, the most accurate handgun I can shoot not called “1911A1”. I don’t know why – I like the trigger, but the rest of the ergos are not my favorite – yet I just seem to shoot it very well.
My wife loves the VP9 – she first shot it at Robert’s little Texas party in 2015, and I bought her one right after. I HATE the mag release.
The 320 is the best gun from a design, engineering, cleaning and logistic standpoint. That said, I like it but can’t love it, the way I do the M&P 9mm with 5 inch barrel.
I knew this wasn’t Jeremy’s review.
If it had been him comparing these three pistols, (HK, Sig, Walther)
…..the Canik TPSF would have won.
You know its true….
The TP9SF is basically a straight clone of a PPQ/P99 anyway.
A clone with hybrid vigor according to Jeremy.
He LOVES that pistol.
Is this a first, an original TTAG article that DOESN’T EVEN MENTION: St. John Moses Browning or the Holy 1911 Grail? Well pigs’ll fly!
Don’t worry about Glock, they’re the Vanilla Ice of the plastic fantastics, laughing all the way to their sketchy offshore bank accounts while the more talented white rappers are trivia questions.
It seems that the online retail $$ on the VP9 is beginning to decline while the color choice is creeping up. Is there a 2.0 coming? (See Walther PPX fire sale prior to CREED).
I love this comment.
Nicely done. No Legos on your floor…. For now. (Well, at least none placed there by me.)
Walther P99 is much better then PPQ..
Nothing was mentioned about the sig sights, yet they are rated last? Sig lite night sights are great IMO, better than the VP9’s luminescent.
All of these guns are the base model, so the p320 is not equipped with night sights. If sig wants to make them the factory standard and ship me a set I will gladly adjust my ratings.
A similar argument occurs when other countries attempt to justify how much better they are than the U.S. But no matter how hard they try and regardless that certain attributes are interesting and may be better (e.g. Canada’s “niceness” and Amsterdam’s Red Light District) they simply are not as a good as a whole or proven as the good ole US of A.
The Glock 19 is still the U.S. of the compact striker fired market. And while the Sig 320 is a great pistol, the fact that the Rangers, SFOD-D, Force Recon, Raiders and SEALs are using the Glock 19, in light of all the “superior” designs, speaks volumes.
P.S. I just picked up some 21 round PMAGs for my Glock 19 for under 20 bucks each. Try doing that with your fancy eurotrash guns.
Did you just actually say “my glock is better than your euro trash sig”? Please tell me you’re being funny.
The irony, huh?
the fact that the Rangers, SFOD-D, Force Recon, Raiders and SEALs are using the Glock 19, in light of all the “superior” *kick-backs pricing and customer service (i.e. expensive dinners with strippers and handies)*, speaks volumes.
I carry a Glock 19, but this whole “oh yeah but the military uses them” is the height of stupidity. Nobody in the military is breaching doors and clearing rooms with their Glocks. Military side arms get shot at qualification and then strapped into a holster for the rest of their meaningless existence because the military uses long guns. Primary concerns in a pistol contract are price, price, and field support as long as it doesn’t cost extra.
Glock is a European gun made in Austria
A bunch of striker BS. Yawn
Ive come to the opposite conclusion about the mag releases: the Walther paddle releases suuuuuck……stiff as hell and irritating to my top grip finger because their paddle is one piece that leaves a gap between the grip and the triggerguard. The VP9 (and P30sk) on the other hand, have small unobtrusive paddles that stay out of the way while remaining extremely easy to hit and the mags rocket out of the mag well with authority.
The trigger reset on the PPQ is about 1/10th of an inch. Without care you can do a double shot/ bump fire. But it’s the only gun my friend with the little baby hands can fire well and eject the mag (Paddle on trigger guard) easily.
I didn’t think it was possible until I pulled the trigger once and double tapped a target. It happens.
When it comes to plastic fantastics, I really like how Grandpowers shoot. They probably are not the cat’s meow for carry, but the way they aim and recoil makes me quite happy.
I owned a PPQ M2 9mm and put about 5,000 rounds through it. It was one of my favorite 9mm guns but you are correct, it is very snappy and the trigger reset was almost too short for me. I had a lot of unintentional double taps with that gun. I eventually sold my PPQ and got an HK P30 and I am quite happy with it!
One thing that will always bug me about most of the “German” (Sig, H&K, Walther) fullsize nines is ammo capacity. How is it that Glock can get 17+1 into a magazine that is almost 1/4thicker than it has to be because it is wrapped in plastic? Glocks are too chunky you say? Fine, an XDM gets 20+1 in a gun that is roughly the same thickness. Meanwhile FN gets 17+1 in the FNX/FNS which is slightly more ergonomic at least to my hand than either of those. If all of those have you feeling a little small handed, even the lowly M&P holds 17+1. Again I am talking full size 9mm handguns here. Sig p226, bigger than all but the chunkiest 2011’s out there only gets 15+1. P320 is the same albeit alittle less chunky than the 226. H&K P30/VP9/USP? 15+1… Walther PPQ 15+1. How is it they can’t fit 2 more like every single other modern full size handgun without going to extended baseplate magazines? They are 20-25% bigger in every dimension but still can’t hold any more ammo on board than a Glock 19.
They are all nice guns but that “feature” has always bugged me.
CZ P-09 on line 1 for you, something about 19 plus 1.
/yeah I know, hammerfired
+1 cz p09 all day, every day!
Can’t beat that round count! Love mine!
I’ll keep my Walther P99 AS. I have each of these and I still keep going back to it.
The p320 subcompact has a rail for a laser. But, if you select the “small” sized grip, Sig DELETES THE RAIL. What the hell were they thinking??? Sig lost my purchase to S&W because of this stupidity.
They were probably thinking that if a person selects the smallest available frame in all three dimensions, then they want a concealment piece, and the smallest concealment pistols aren’t usually used with rail-mounted accessories. Many manufacturers do the same thing; the smallest pistols in their lineups often have no rails.
An excellent review; thank you.
I’m an old man. Been a gunner and shooter my whole life. Also served in the military. I used to pride myself at the movies; I could state every gun that hit the screen & knew it’s offered calibers and stats. Now all I can say is “It was black or charcoal, looked plastic, and it had a muzzle like a pistol when the SOB pointed it at me.”
“Sorry officer I just can’t say.”
My brother had been doing research for a long time in preparation for buying his first handgun and had settled on the P320. He thought the modularity thing was cool and planned on starting with a full size and moving to a smaller size later for concealed carry. I told him it was a solid choice. He went to the gun store I recommended about three weeks ago, ready to buy, and they apparently talked him into a VP9 instead. Which had no smaller equivalent at that time. I wish I could have been there for that conversation.
Luckily I was there when my buddy went to the same store to purchase an affordable striker-fired pistol for his wife’s first gun and they tried to talk him into a Sig P938 instead. I’m not sure if they just try to steer people to more expensive models, or maybe they have some incentives to sell some models more than others, but I’m not going to recommend them to people to don’t know some shit already.
Virginia Arms Company, I’m talking about you.
“[W]hat is not arguable is that this newest generation of pistols outperforms the Austrian wunderpistole in both form and function.”
Seriously? Let’s take the Glock 26 for example. Name me a subcompact pistol that beats the Glock 17, 19 and often the 34 in competition? Like Massad Ayoob said, there’s something special about the Glock 26. Name me a subcompact that is more dependable, more accurate, AND as concealable as the Glock 26.
Walther p99c , H&k VP9 sk, Walther ppq sk, CZ rami do everything your glock 26 can do and all have better trigger than glock and my p99c costed 367 dollars brand new out the door you can’t find a used glock for this price unless it’s beat to hell l am not knocking glock but my opinion is there are better choices at better prices and the grip on glocks suck compared to any gun listed above again my opinion l do own a keltec gen 2 sub2000 in 9mm that takes glock 17 magazines
I’ll vote for the VP9. If you have small hands (like I do) the customizable grips make all the difference. Really, I’d guess that anybody with hands that don’t fit “normal” for a gun manufacturer will benefit from this, as the ability to have a really solid grip makes a huge difference while shooting. I’ve held a Glock 19 and it’s just impossible in my hand. I own a Glock 43 and despite being tiny (or because it’s tiny) I hate shooting it. As for the paddle mag release on the VP9… I use my middle right finger (right handed) and I can hit it smoothly without adjusting my grip. Nice.
My wife is a lefty with small hands and none of the other top listed guns fit her hands or were fully ambi. We looked for the VP9SK but hard to find because they were selling as fast as local dealers could get them in so we got the VP9. The grip is fantastic with side panels in addition to backstraps. Great shooters too. We found a SK so now I get the full size and am loving it!
I admire the authors conclusion. No matter how you parse it accuracy trump’s everything. Trigger weight, grip, sights and muzzle flip may contribute to ones individual performance but never ignore a remarkably tight group. Which gun would you want Yhyrus to use to take out the terrorist using you as a shield?
Great review!! Thank you for posting this!
Finally, an unbiased comparison between 3 great guns that was not swayed by advertisement or endorsements. I’m an owner of Glocks, Sigs, Springfields, Rugers, and a few other makes. All are good guns in their own right, however I’m looking for a new CC gun that is highly accurate. Currently my Sig 20222 out shoots my other pistols including the beloved Glocks. I’ve been trying to decide between the PPQ, VP9 and the P320 Compact. Your article helped me based upon your comments and the outcome of your range test. Although I wanted the VP9 to win out just because it felt better in my hand; but when I actually shot one at the gun range last week; my groups like yours, fell low and to the left of center. My old Sig 20222 punched holes in the center of the targets at every distance. I’m going to try the Sig P320 compact. I bet it’s what I’m looking for. Thank you again for a great review.
I have the PPQ, the WC P320, WC EDC X9, WC Compact (in.45 ACP), Kahr CW9, Colt Comander LW in .45 (as God and JMB intended it be). I have carried and shot all of them a lot except the WC P320. I really appreciate your reviews. They are honest and all anyone can hope for.
Just about all gun manufacturers have passed Glock as far as features, ergo‘s and accuracy. They have rested on their laurels too long! I have the HKVP9 and VP 9SK and love them! Also I have a Walther PPQ 45 that is an incredible shooter! Also great Ergos. This article was obviously written well before the P3 20 drop safety problems and accidental discharge issues which have injured many police officers and military personnel. Sig, face up to your issues and put a trigger safety on your guns! In the meantime, people don’t buy unsafe guns! sig. has lots of lawsuits going on as we speak!
I love the mag release on the vp9