Sig Sauer P365 XL Review [First Look & Field Test Review]

Sig Sauer P365 XL Review [First Look & Field Test Review]

The excellent award-winning Sig P365 that I reviewed here a little over a year ago has won a lot of awards. It is a well-respected, sub-compact concealed carry pistol with excellent features which Sig Sauer designed around a uniquely tapered 10-round magazine. Some of the 365 awards include “Handgun of the Year” for 2018 by Guns and Ammo, the NRA Golden Bullseye Award from Shooting Illustrated “Handgun of the Year,” and the “Top 10 Guns of 2018” by TFB.

Very recently Sig Sauer has started producing its new Sig Sauer P365 XL pistol. The 365 XL integrates ergonomic features that the “X-Carry” variants of the 320 (including the 320 X Compact) also have. This includes the flat-faced X-Series trigger and the X-Series “grip,” which features a more pronounced undercut under the trigger guard and an extended beavertail. There are other distinctive features.

In its early stage of production, I was lucky enough to get a 365 XL and want to put it through its paces and give you my impressions, opinions, and my ratings against my evaluation criteria. I want to help you decide if this is going to meet your criteria and standards for your everyday carry gun, as well as for myself.

Below are the new 365 XL compact specifications and features. I compare it to the 365 sub-compact and 6  top compact 9mm pistols with between a 3.5 and 3.7-inch barrel and similar specs and features.  Here are the comparison 9mm pistols.

Comparison 9mm Compact Pistols with 3.5″ to 3.7″ Barrels

Below, I will give you the detailed specifications, features, and then my in-depth analysis of the Sig Sauer P365 XL to help you. I was anxious to shoot it, especially to see its accuracy, reliability, trigger, press, and felt recoil. As most know, Sig Sauer has a fine reputation for making quality handguns, but how does the shootability of the new 365 XL compare to other fine and similar 9mm compacts? Does it have a high level of performance and shootability? And does this 365 XL live up to the high Sig Sauer standards?

I want to see how this 365 XL compact 9mm compares to other similar ones I have reviewed. In my recent book, “Concealed Carry & Handgun Essentials,” I thoroughly analyze, compare, and rank my Top 21 Concealed Carry guns, including both compact and subcompact 9mm guns.


I must give you my disclaimer that I am not on the Sig Sauer payroll. Additionally, Sig Sauer nor any other manufacturer paid me for this article, for my opinions, nor influenced to say certain things about this or any gun. I want to be honest, objective, and straight-forward with my opinions and ideas the way I see the pistol to help folks sincerely.

Sig Sauer P365 XL- Right Side- No Manual safety- No Ambi Controls


 Sig Sauer P365 XL Compact 9mm Specifications

 Sig Sauer P365 XL Compact 9mm Features

  • “X” Series Extended Beavertail and Integrated Magwell
  • Very Nice Ergonomics with Nicely-Textured “X” Series Grip Module
  • Beveled and Flared Magazine Well
  • Low Bore Axis to help Reduce Muzzle Flip
  • Long Sight Radius to help Accuracy
  • Flat, Straight Trigger Helps Finger Placement and Requires Less Force which Benefits Accuracy
  • Short, Light, Crisp Trigger with Positive Reset; Pre-Cocked Striker
  • Precision Machined Chassis with Full-Length Guide Rails
  • Longer Standard Recoil Spring for Smoother Cycling
  • Undercut Trigger Guard for Higher Hand Placement and Improved Grip Control
  • Front and Rear Nicely Scalloped Slide Cocking Serrations
  • Serialized, Removable, and Interchangeable Fire Control Unit
  • Easy Takedown with No Special Tools or Trigger Pull Required

Kramer Handgun Leather OWB Belt Scabbard Holster

Kramer Handgun Leather makes a beautiful, high-quality OWB Belt Scabbard Horsehide-Leather custom holster for this Sig Sauer P365 XL 9mm Compact. This classic “pancake” design has great workmanship, is very comfortable, extremely durable, has fine gun retention, covers the trigger, and conceals well. The Kramer Leather OWB holster has an optional high-riding FBI forward cant or tilt for easy draw. It is designed for wear on the strong side hip, securely fits my body, and works well for concealment, for the range, competition, and for home use.

Kramer Holsters wants to offer my readers an exclusive 20% Discount off all purchases through September 10, 2019, for their high-quality holsters. When ordering, mention Col Ben, and use the Discount Code “COLBEN-USAC20.”

Kramer Leather Custom OWB Horsehide Leather Belt Scabbard Holster & Double Mag Pouch with Sig 365 XL
Kramer Leather Custom OWB Horsehide Leather Belt Scabbard Holster & Double Mag Pouch with Sig 365 XL

Criteria And Considerations

Here are just ten of my criteria and factors I use for evaluating any handgun. So I will use them for the P365 XL. In addition to my criteria, other subjective features may be appealing for some. I combined these into my last Miscellaneous criterion. I must admit that ALL gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want ALL of my criteria to be met. Each of my ten criteria can have a total possible point score of 10 points for an overall possible score of 100 points.

Sig Sauer P365 XL XRAY3 Day-Night Tritium Steel Sights
Sig Sauer P365 XL XRAY3 Day-Night Tritium Steel Sights

Range Test: Sig Sauer P365 XL 9mm

I shot about 370 total rounds of a variety of grains and loads for the range field test. I shot 115, 124, and 147 grains of FMJ, JHP, and TSJ rounds. Given the general guideline to break-in a handgun shooting primarily FMJ rounds, I shot various high-quality premium FMJ and TSJ rounds at first, followed by JHP rounds:

  1. Sig Sauer Elite Performance 115 grain FMJ (1185 fps Muzzle Velocity, 359 fl lbs Muzzle Energy)
  2. Sig Sauer Elite Performance 124 grain FMJ (1185 fps Muzzle Velocity, 359 fl lbs Muzzle Energy)
  3. Sig Sauer Elite Performance 147 grain FMJ ( 985 fps Muzzle Velocity, 317 ft lbs Muzzle Energy)
  4. Federal Premium Syntech 115 grain TSJ (1130 fps Muzzle Velocity, 326 ft lbs Muzzle Energy)
  5. Sig Sauer V-Crown 115 grain JHP (1185 fps Muzzle Velocity, 359 ft lbs Muzzle Energy)
  6. Sig Sauer V-Crown 124 grain JHP (1165 fps Muzzle Velocity, 374 ft lbs Muzzle Energy
  7. Sig Sauer V-Crown 147 grain JHP (985 fps Muzzle Velocity, 317ft lbs Muzzle Energy

Shooting this variety of ammo gave me a feel for how the 365 XL could handle different ammo grains and types. I did not shoot +P rated ammo, even though the gun is rated for it. Usually, I shoot 500 rounds over a couple of days to decide if I want to carry the gun or not, but I had the information I needed after shooting about 370 rounds.

Ammo Sponsors

A big “Thank You” to Sig Sauer for providing me several rounds of different types of ammo to test and evaluate this new Sig Sauer P365 XL Compact 9mm pistol. And another “Thank You” to Persistent Motivation of Texas for providing me 100 rounds of the Federal Premium Syntech TSJ soft-shooting, polymer-coated, reduced lead fouling rounds.

First Thoughts

I was surprised when I first picked up the 365 XL since it was so very lightweight with its 20.7 ounces. Without any doubt, I could tell the usual Sig Sauer quality and tight fit, finish, and machined parts. The slide racked very easily, it had rounded edges, and the small 1.1″ width and 4.8″ height felt great in my hands. I recognized that this XL would make an excellent concealed carry gun option. Of course, the apparent advantage for the 365 XL is its 3.7″ barrel and longer slide with its 5.6″ sight radius for a compact gun. And the twelve-round capacity of its two included steel mags would be helpful in a deadly-force encounter. There is also an optional 15-round mag sold separately for even more capacity.

365 XL Felt Recoil VS the Original 365

Having experienced a stout recoil from the 3.1″ barrel of the original 365, I was expecting heavy felt recoil from this light compact. I was surprised that the recoil was not stout at all, and I easily handled it. My wife, with her weak hand strength, could also control it well. The various loads did not produce stout recoils. We both liked the 115, and 124 grain weight rounds best for better control and accuracy in this compact gun. The Federal Premium Syntech 115 grain TSJ and Sig Sauer Elite Performance 115 grain and 124 grain FMJ rounds shot the smoothest and softest for us. But, this is a self-defense gun calling for Jacketed Hollow Point rounds. The 124 grain V-Crown JHP performed best for me. The 365 XL felt great in my medium-sized hands, and I couldn’t put it down.

Initial Thoughts on Ergonomics

This 365 XL is well designed with excellent ergonomics. It has a nice grip angle, a comfortable fully-textured grip, and shoots to point of aim. The extended Beaver Tail addition to this XL from the original 365 really helps get a high and secure grip. There is a higher grip to bore axis which means there is more control and a somewhat lower bore axis than other Sig handguns.

The trigger is closer to the slide, which helps with a lower bore axis. The included as standard SIGLITE 3-Dot steel X-Ray3 Day/Night Tritium night sights were a bonus and are great sights for both daytime and at night. I really like them. The front sight dot was large enough and really stood out during the day. There was no manual safety. My review package included two steel 12-round flush-fitting magazines. I had no pinky finger dangle, and the grip module helps with a full grip. There is also an ample trigger guard undercut that allows a high hand position and better retention. The Loaded Chamber Viewport indicator is also a nice addition.

Takedown Process and Testing

This gun was easy to takedown. You are not required to press the trigger for disassembly, and you use a 3-point routine takedown process. The fire control unit is serialized and removable, similar to the Sig P365 and Sig P320. The gun was extensively tested through standard drop-safety testing protocols, and there is no trigger safety, like on many other striker guns.

Accuracy and Concealability

I was pleasantly surprised that the 365 XL was very accurate for its compact size, light weight, and barrel length. Understand that the 365 XL is not a precision target gun, nor duty gun, nor a competition gun. It is a compact, very concealable, lightweight, short-barreled concealed carry gun for up-close personal protection. I did not expect it to perform like my other long-barreled, very heavy, full-sized guns. But, I was pleasantly surprised at its accuracy and performance, with its diminutive dimensions and specifications.

I found the 365 XL to be accurate enough for closeup, combat tactical situations. It had a short and crisp audible and tactile reset, great ergonomics, and was for me a reliable (with only 370 rounds fired by me) self-defense gun. The trigger was just a very little harder than I am used to, of course, with my 1911 pistols. But, overall, I would say that it is an excellent flat trigger. It was very smooth and crisp.

Shooting the 365 XL

This XL pistol was very reliable during my field test, without any problems at all. All the mags dropped freely for me, and mag changes were smooth and effective. I did not experience any malfunctions or stoppages with the 370 rounds fired. The felt recoil and muzzle rise of this XL compact 9mm were not a problem. Felt recoil was actually mild and very manageable for my wife and I. It did not have a magazine disconnect and it fired even when the mag was out. Be careful– Safety First Always!

My first 15 rounds fired with a mag change for the 365 XL were rapid-fire at seven yards using my timed Concealed Carry Drill. All 15 of my hits were in all five circles and done in less than 20 seconds, with draw and mag change (see Target below.) In fact, I really enjoyed shooting the gun and did not want to stop my field testing. I repeated my Concealed Carry Drill at 3, 5, 7, 10, and 15 yards. This pistol will probably be in my Concealed Carry pistol rotation. Here are my 15 rapid-fire hits at 7 yards with the 365 XL.

Sig Sauer P365 XL 9mm- 15 Draw & Rapid-Fire Hits in 5 Circles at Distance of 7 Yards
Sig Sauer P365 XL 9mm- 15 Draw & Rapid-Fire Hits in 5 Circles at Distance of 7 Yards

Range Test Results for each of my 10 Criteria:

1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10

The accuracy of the 365 XL was excellent for me at distances of 3, 5, and 7 yards, and acceptable at 10 and 15 yards, given my aging eyesight and average shooting skills. My groups at the closeup distances of 3, 5, and 7 yards all averaged a respectable about 2.5 inches. At only 3 yards, my group sizes were 2 inches or less for all five circle targets. At 10, 15, and 20 yards it averaged about 3 to 3.5 inches. The 5.4 pound trigger press was just right for me since I prefer the press to be really between 4.5 to 5.5 pounds. So this was fine, and this new pistol is not even broken-in yet.

But, the nice trigger press, long sight radius, mild felt recoil, and full grip helped me to be very accurate with this pistol. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and the cover-up sight picture (usually recommended for all Sig production guns.) I shot mostly premium Sig Sauer V-Crown JHP and FMJ ammo, with some Federal Premium Syntech 115 grain TSJ. The gun was reliable, not picky about ammo, and digested it all. I was more accurate with the gun with the 115 grain FMJ and 115 grain TSJ rounds.

2. Trigger Press – Score: 9

The trigger press averaged 5.40 pounds with ten readings from my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge, after shooting about 370 rounds. This is acceptable for me, but I was hoping it would be nearer 5 pounds. Some prefer a little heavier trigger for added safety, but I believe this is a training issue for your particular gun. Again, I like my 1911 single-action and striker-fired single-action semis with lighter presses. The XL trigger press, however, was smooth and crisp.

3. Trigger – Score: 10

The trigger had a definite audible click and a tactile feel with no creep and no stacking. It had a consistent audible and short reset. I really liked the short and positive reset and the crisp trigger. There was no grit at all, and the reset was very recognizable. The X Series trigger face was flat, did not irritate my trigger finger, and helped with my accuracy.

4. Barrel Length: Score: 10

The longer (than the original 365) 3.7-inch barrel with the compact’s 20.7 ounce weight and 5.6″ sight radius really helped to tame recoil, especially compared to the original 365, and helped accuracy. I was very surprised and very pleased with the very manageable felt recoil and control. This is a great concealed carry gun and is small enough to be concealable. Of course, there are tradeoffs among concealability, capacity, and controllability. But, the 365 XL is an optimum blend of accuracy, reliability, great grip, excellent trigger, capacity, and all my criteria. I really believe that this gun is a “situational changer” and an excellent self-defense gun.

5. Sights – Score: 10

The Sig X-Ray3 Day/Night Tritium Sights worked great for me, and they came stock. I had no trouble seeing them at dusk or nighttime or in daylight. The two tritium rear dots and the high-contrast green front sight made target acquisition fast in any light condition for me and my Mr. Magoo eyes. The bright, glowing illumination in low light and the bright and white in daylight worked consistently.

I conducted my usual test of putting the gun in my completely dark closet. I could see the front and rear sights very clearly, after brief light exposure. The front dot was big and stood out fine. However, I do wish the rear two dots were larger. This was better than some other sights I have reviewed. These sights surpassed my expectations, and I was very pleased with their performance. Note the rear iron sights are part of the optic plate which must be removed to install certain red dots.

6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 9

The overall 20.7 ounce unloaded mag weight was light and nice for concealed carry. The ergonomics, Tritium night sights, accuracy, and capacity advantages combined nicely with this weight.  And the rounded corners and low profile make it a worthy consideration for concealed carry. I gripped the gun very tightly and concentrated on the front sight, getting decent and quick hits up close. Really, overall it was not too light a gun for carrying and accuracy, so I would certainly, and probably will, buy it and carry it.

7. Caliber – Score: 9

I prefer the 9mm caliber, used with appropriate ammo with the right ballistics and grain weight. So, it was easy and natural for me to shoot the 365 XL and its 9mm caliber. I shot it best with 115 grain and 124 grain FMJ, TSJ, and JHP ammo. The heavier- grained hollow point rounds did not perform as well with this 365 XL for me, as compared to the lighter FMJ and TSJ loads. I do want to shoot heavier loads with it for testing and evaluation. I did not shoot +p rounds and do not believe I would until I practice more with it and get more rounds downrange.

Types of 365 XL Mags: Optional 15 Rounds (with additional base plate) and 12 Rounds with Various Base Plates
Types of 365 XL Mags: Optional 15 Rounds (with additional base plate) and 12 Rounds with Various Base Plates

8. Capacity – Score: 9

Only two steel magazines were included, and this is always a concern for me. But, the two included worked well. 15 round magazines available for about $43. The 12-round mags hold a sufficient number of rounds and really help you acquire a full and solid grip on the gun. No pinky dangle and the extension is not absolutely necessary, but helpful.

As always, I want manufacturers to supply a minimum of three mags, to save from additional expenditures and as a minimal necessity. The standard capacity of 12 rounds for the flush-fit mag was better than other similar guns like this. The mags were of high quality and made of steel with witness holes. My medium-sized hands were comfortable with the mags, and I had a full grip for control. (The magwell was extended and flared at the end, to help get the mag in for quick reloads.).

Sig Sauer P365 XL Extended & Flared Magwell
Sig Sauer P365 XL Extended & Flared Magwell

9. Ergonomics – Score: 9

Overall, the ergonomics of the 365 XL compact were excellent. I really like its full grip and the way it feels in my hands. It did not slip in my hands, and my grip was firm and very comfortable. The overall high-quality build, smooth, rounded edges, and low profile were very fine for concealability, even with the longer slide and barrel. This is a reliable gun, and I did not have any malfunctions.

The slide lock lever was quick to locate and operate. The mag release button seemed for me to be not far enough away from the back of the trigger guard, for me to quickly reach it and release mags. The two (minor) things I would change would be the slightly-altered location and size of the mag release, to make it just slightly enlarged and back some. I had to significantly adjust my medium-sized hands to eject mags easily.

SUGGESTION: For me, I would like to see the mag release button be larger, flat on top, serrated, and level with the grip’s side panel and moved back on the grip some.

All mags did not drop freely and quickly, and I had to adjust my grip. But, most did. Overall, the ergonomic features of this fine gun helped minimize my felt recoil, enhanced my full grip, helped with control, and were very comfortable and functional.

Sig Sauer P365 XL Compact 9mm, with Case, Cable Lock, Instruction Manual, Bore Flag, & 2 Magazines
Sig Sauer P365 XL Compact 9mm, with Case, Cable Lock, Instruction Manual, Bore Flag, & 2 Magazines

10. Miscellaneous – Score: 10

As always before shooting any new gun, I disassembled, lubed, cleaned, and re-assembled the 365 XL before I shot it. I did not have to press the trigger to disassemble it, and it was very easy and quick to take apart. (Remember, do your SAFETY check to ensure any gun is unloaded before disassembly.)

This is a high quality and solidly-built gun which is fitted very tightly. The price of the gun is very reasonable for the quality and features you get. Again, it is accurate and reliable with mild felt recoil. It comes with a hard lockable case, instruction manual, cable lock, and two mags. It does not include accessories like some have, e.g., a holster, mag pouch, loader or other accessories… or the third mag. There are several nice features for this very quality compact, striker-fired, pistol. There is not a magazine disconnect safety. So it will fire with the mag out. It has a rail, loaded chamber indicator, and front and rear slide serrations. Sig Sauer also offers a Lifetime Limited warranty on the 365 XL.


Total Points = 95 out of 100 Possible.

I certainly RECOMMEND this 365 XL handgun for consideration as a strong concealed carry gun and even for home defense. It has several great features, with many included standard equipment features that cost extra on other compact guns. It is very reliable and accurate. The P365 XL is easy and very comfortable to grip and control. Being lightweight, having excellent tritium day/night sights, an outstanding flat trigger with short reset, and overall ergonomics make this a very fine pistol. The price is also very reasonable. The capacity of 12 rounds is very acceptable to me, with a nice 15-round optional mag available.

While the trigger press is just slightly a little harder and longer than I prefer in my striker-fired triggers, it certainly is acceptable. I have no problem with it at all. And practice with it will improve my learning curve. The felt recoil, and muzzle flip are not stout at all, given its longer barrel and slide, full grip and a bigger butt, and slightly increased weight over the original 365. Make your own tradeoffs among capacity, concealability, and accuracy, etc. The custom-fitted Kramer Horsehide OWB holster works and looks great. And you can get it in the next few weeks using the 20% discount code in this review from Kramer.

Try Before You Buy

I hope this review of the Sig Sauer P365 XL compact 9mm pistol has helped you gain some information you did not previously have. Consider that these are just my opinions with limited live-range fire and shooting myself about 370 rounds of ammo. Like always, I recommend that you shoot any handgun yourself before you purchase it. Decide on your criteria, how you will primarily use the gun, and what features are important to you and you are willing to pay for ahead of your range time. Then critically evaluate the gun YOURSELF per your criteria and purpose, with standard drills (several mentioned in my book), with various ammo types and brands, over an extended break-in period of about 500 rounds. Remember, Safety First Always!

Continued Success!


Sig Sauer
Newington, NH 03801

Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown & Performance Ammo
Newington, NH 03801

Kramer Handgun Leather Holsters
Tacoma, WA 98411

Federal American Eagle Syntech Ammo
Humble, TX 77396

Photos by Author.

* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.

© 2019 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at [email protected].

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