Is the Sig P322 a Good Gun?
From single-action revolvers to high-tech semi-autos, there are plenty of choices if you are shopping for a .22 pistol. Of course, they all serve different roles. While we generally don’t recommend .22 pistols for self-defense, they still have a place in the world of defensive shooting. Let’s take a look at that role and, in particular, the Sig P322.
Why a .22 Pistol?
Note: For the rest of this article, when we say .22, we are talking about the .22 long rifle (22LR) round. There are a few kinds, but that’s our focus here.
There are a number of reasons why we don’t recommend a .22 for defensive purposes, but that’s a discussion for another day. That leaves the question of why you would want one. There are two main reasons: Ease of practice and cost. Let’s take those in order.
- Ease of Practice: When we have a student who has no, or almost no, real training in handguns, we nearly always start them on a .22. It allows the student to master the mechanics of things like grip, trigger press, sight alignment, etc. without having a lot of recoil and noise to deal with.
- Cost: Using .22 costs much less than even the least expensive quality practice ammo for a 9mm. For other calibers, the price difference is even more pronounced. While the 9mm ammo will cost you between 21-25 cents per round, the .22 is usually 5-6 cents per round.
About the Sig P322
The Sig Sauer P322 is a semi-automatic pistol chambered in .22 LR. It has a polymer lower and an anodized aluminum. Unlike many polymer pistols, the P322 is hammer-fired, not striker-fired. What that means to you as the shooter is that the trigger squeeze will usually feel a little different. In this case, it’s a bit lighter than its corporate siblings, the P320 or P365. It breaks right about 4 pounds. See all the specs for the pistol on the Sig Sauer website.
The gun, in its stock configuration, comes with excellent sights. They are green fiber optic 3 dots sights and the rear one is adjustable for windage and elevation. It has an ambidextrous slide release and manual safety controls. Like many other Sig pistols, the magazine release is reversible for those of us who are left-handed. The slide had usable serrations on the front for those of you in the press-check crowd, as well as rear serrations. There is a short Picatinny-type accessory rail if you decide you want to attach a light. A magwell is built into the gun for ease in reloading.
The P322 Differences
There are a couple of features about the pistol that make the 322 a little different. First, the base model comes optics-ready. It is cut for a Shield RMSc footprint, which includes the Sig Romeo Zero Elite optic that I am currently using. (See my review of it here) Many guns in this class and price point don’t include an optics cut.
Second is the threaded barrel, allowing you to use suppressors and compensators right from the box. This is a feature I love on my excellent Taurus TX-22, the other .22 I use for teaching. Other pistols, like the Glock 44, do not come with a threaded barrel standard.
The 20-round magazine is another thing that makes the P322 stand out. Most .22 pistols end up with 10-round magazines. Taurus successfully upped the capacity to 16 rounds reliably with the TX-22. The Sig P322 ships with 2 20-round magazines (10-round for those of you who don’t live in a free state) and 25-round ones are available on their website.
The last feature I’ll address here is the trigger. Specifically, the ability to change the trigger shoe. The gun ships with 2 trigger shoes that allow you to swap from a traditional curved trigger to a more modern flat trigger in seconds without tools. This was a genius move on Sig’s part in my humble opinion and I’d like to see them try it on some of their other guns.
Where does the Sig P322 fit?
At first glance, one may think the P322 is a training clone of the P320 compact, but it is not. While the dimensions are similar, with the 322 measuring only .2 inches shorter in length and .2 inches taller. However holsters are not interchangeable, and you will notice a difference in the grip diameter. Similarly, the P322 is .4 inches longer than the P365 X Macro and 1.2 inches taller.
So, unlike the Glock 44, which mimics the dimensions of its big brother, the Glock 19, the P322 falls into a weird space where it’s close to some of its corporate siblings, but not exactly. That said, it still feels very much like a Sig Sauer pistol. For low-cost training to augment your use of the P320 or P365 XL/ X Macro pistols, it’s a valid choice.
So why did I buy one?
Initially, I purchased the P322 for low-cost training purposes. Specifically, wanted a .22 that has a red dot on it so I could get more repetitions in as I transitioned from being gun Amish to red dots. Since I was carrying the P365 as my EDC and the P320 series were my main range guns, picking this one was the closest I could get. Trigger press and some handling characteristics are different, but it’s close enough for me.
After proving itself, I have begun using it on occasion as a teaching gun to introduce red dots to students wanting to make that transition.
How does the Sig P322 shoot?
In a word, excellent. As I mentioned earlier, this gun is hammer-fired, so the trigger pull is a bit lighter than the striker-fired guns, helping it shoot accurately. In terms of accuracy, the gun shoots nice tight groups. I’m not an accuracy nerd who dorks out on recording measurements of groups, so you will have to look elsewhere for that. For me, the gun shoots where I aim it. That’s what I need it to do. I’m not shooting precision matches.
I’ve put a few thousand rounds through my P322 at this point and it has been very reliable. Like most .22’s, I experience the occasional failure to fire (one reason we don’t like the caliber for defensive purposes). Usually, it’s the round itself that is the problem. I have also experienced a couple of feed failures. It almost always happens when I haven’t cleaned the gun for a while. I do not clean my frequently used pistols after each range trip. While Sig says that they have shot thousands of rounds through 322s without cleaning, I’ve found mine works best if I clean it every 400 rounds or so. The .22 LR is just a dirty shooting round. By the way, the P322 is very easy to disassemble for cleaning.
Related to reliability, I’ve seen some complaints about the magazine being less than reliable. This has not been my experience. I haven’t had any malfunctions I would attribute to the magazine. Just load them one round at a time, as the instructions tell you to do, and you’ll be fine.
The gun has good handling characteristics. It points well and has been an excellent platform for me to fully transition to red dots. In fact, it’s so much fun to shoot, that I almost lose track of how much ammo I’m going through. When you have 20-round magazines and a reliable gun, a .22 can burn through a lot of ammo quickly.
Is the Sig P322 a good gun?
If you are looking for a reliable pistol for target practice, small game hunting, or economical practice, yes, it’s a very good gun. If you’re looking for a pistol to protect yourself and your family, I’d have other recommendations. That said, it’s also better than a sharp stick, so if you have to roll with a .22, there are worse choices to make. I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up.
We don’t sell firearms, but we know great places to get them. If you’d like to purchase the Sig Sauer P322 with the RomeoZero Elite optic as shown in the pictures, you can get that by clicking here.
If you’d like to schedule firearms training with us, please contact us and we’ll be happy to find out how we can help you become a Better Protector.
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