SIG SAUER P322: Quality and Fun at an Affordable Price
by Serena Juchnowski for the IHEA-USA
SIG SAUER, a company most known for military and duty arms, has released a product accessible to many more — the P322. The P322 rimfire semi-automatic pistol is something different than you’d expect from SIG. One clear thing — it’s not the SIG Mosquito. The SIG P322 is Made in the USA and has been thoroughly tested — it works. According to SIG SAUER staff, one goal of the P322 was to make it run with any .22 lr ammo on the market, even low-cost ammunition famous for jamming.
Rimfires have always been popular, especially among new shooters, youth and families. With minimal recoil and cheaper cost per round, gun enthusiasts have found them affordable and just plain fun. In the thick of “ammogeddon”, more and more have realized the value of training with a .22. To be clear, the P322 is not a rimfire version of the P320, SIG’s popular, modular semi-auto pistol line. The P322 is still considered a compact pistol and isn’t compatible with P320 holsters. Why you may ask? Designing a 20+1 capacity .22 up to SIG’s standards took a bit of a different direction.
One of SIG’s key goals in the development of this pistol was to make it accessible to everyone. This meant a reliable pistol at a more affordable price — one that would fire any .22 lr ammunition someone has at home or can find in the store. SIG SAUER representatives noted that the P322 had a mean stoppage rate of over 1,000 rounds. It also exceeded extensive dry-fire tests. This is key as dry-firing is a crucial part of the training process. There are some rimfires that you just can’t dry-fire. Doing so risks breaking components of the firearm. This is not the case here, making the P322 an even better training tool and introductory pistol. Also built-in is a 1913 rail, perfect for mounting accessories like the MantisX, a tool designed to help users self-diagnose and improve their shooting.
Each gun ships with two 20-round magazines, a magazine loader, adjustable fiber-optic sights and is optics and suppressor ready. The P322 has a stainless-steel frame and polymer grip, weighing just over a pound without a magazine. It is a SAO pistol with an enclosed hammer, front and rear cocking serrations and fully ambidextrous controls. One of my favorite features of the P322 is the modular trigger. It is easy to swap the pre-installed flat trigger shoe with the included curved shoe. Use the thin part of the included chamber flag (which is designed specifically for this gun) to push the inside edges of the upper trigger shoe out. Simultaneously slide the trigger shoe down and forward. Install the replacement shoe by starting it at an angle around the metal tabs and slide it up until it clicks into place.
Unlike the P320, the P322 is not a modular pistol. It doesn’t have a removable firing control group. In fact, the 4″ barrel is fixed and the frame and grip are one piece from an industry perspective. It isn’t a full-size P320 trainer and is considered a compact pistol. P322 specific holsters are currently in production — this rimfire isn’t compatible with P320 holsters.
Most importantly, this gun is smooth, accurate and fun to shoot. As part of a launch event, I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with the P322, running it through a Steel Challenge course at Volusia County Gun Club, a SIG Academy Outpost. The iron sights were quick and easy to acquire though I did prefer shooting it with the ROMEOZero Elite Micro Red-Dot Sight. The pistol was comfortable to hold and while I didn’t accuracy test off a rest, professional shooters in the group, including SIG SAUER’s Max Michel, Phil Strider and Jack Barnes, showed the full potential of the gun — ringing steel at impressive speeds.
I also appreciated the 20 + 1 capacity, burning through several magazines each stage. This was definitely an advantage that differentiates the P322 from similar rimfire pistol options on the market. SIG SAUER will also offer a 25-round magazine and has plans for a smaller magazine for restricted states. The first 18 rounds fit into the magazine with minimal effort. I definitely needed the aid of the magazine loader to load the last two rounds. One mistake I made when using the magazine loader was pulling it down to the bottom of the magazine and proceeding to stack rounds. It is better to push the follower down just enough to load one round. Any farther causes rounds to stack vertically and get stuck.
Cocking serrations on the front and rear of the slide made it easy to grasp. The safety and slide lock were also easy to manipulate. The textured grip helped me to keep hold of the pistol even with slightly sweaty hands in the Florida heat. It was also an easy pistol to field strip. Ensure the gun is empty and the magazine is removed. Close the slide and rotate the takedown lever counter clockwise until it is vertical. (I also liked to pull the trigger to make it easier.) Grab the slide as if to cock the gun and pull backwards and up. Reassembly is the same process in reverse.
Overall, I was very surprised and impressed with this new offering from SIG SAUER, but even more delighted with the purpose — to introduce more people to shooting and to the SIG SAUER brand. Shooting shouldn’t just be a rich man’s sport and with a retail price around $400.00 and the ability to run any rimfire ammunition, the P322 helps make the experience of shooting with a quality gun accessible to more people.
Regardless of experience, a .22 lr is a great starting point as it is affordable compared to other ammunition and has almost no recoil. The P322 also has a specially designed empty chamber indicator. Empty chamber indicators (ECI) are used to show a firearm is unloaded and empty. They are notorious for falling out. The included ECI is easy to grasp from the top and remains in the chamber when placed. Though this gun can be dry-fired, unlike many other rimfires, without damage, you may feel better and safer dry-firing the gun with the ECI in place. This is not possible with all ECI’s.
The P322 is particularly great introductory firearm. It is from a quality manufacturer and is designed to work with a variety of ammunition types. This limits jams, stoppages and other situations that may discourage new shooters.
Interested in learning more about firearms and safe gun handling? The IHEA-USA now offers online Firearm Fundamentals classes in handgun, rifle and shotgun. These online courses can be taken at your own pace and are designed to provide basic firearm safety information and an overview to being a firearms owner, offering everything from how to clean your gun to proper and safe uses.