Today, we’re going to take a look at what are arguably the two most popular duty-sized handguns on the US market. When comparing the SIG Sauer P320 vs Glock 17, you’re looking at a newer design vs. evolution of a design that has been around since the 1980s.
From a mechanical standpoint, firearm technology hasn’t changed drastically in the last 40 years, but there have been major refinements. We’re going to dive deep into both guns and compare all their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision on which gun is best for you.
|Metrics||Glock 17||SIG P320|
|Weight w/ no mag (Oz)||22.2||26.2|
|Weight w/ empty mag (Oz)||25||29.2|
|Weight w/ full mag (Oz)||32.4||36.6|
|Height (top of slide to bottom of magazine baseplate) (Inches)||5.31||5.43|
|Width of grip (Inches)||1.18||1.33|
|Width of slide (Inches)||1.01||1.06|
|Width across controls (Inches)||1.33||1.30|
SIG P320 vs Glock 17 Concealed Carry
From a concealed standpoint, there is a difference between the SIG P320 and the Glock 17. Surprisingly, the Glock 17 is significantly smaller than the SIG P320: around three-eighths of an inch shorter in the grip and roughly four ounces lighter than the P320. When you’re just handling the guns, this doesn’t seem to make that big of a difference. There are some features on the P320 that we’ll get to later that make it seem similar in size to the 17.
The reality is, size doesn’t lie and the Glock 17 is going to be a little easier to carry than a SIG P320. An additional four ounces is notable considering the size of the grip and the lack of extra ammo capacity. Having both a thinner and shorter grip on the Glock 17 affects concealment with anywhere from an appendix carry to a carry from three to five o’clock.
Frame-wise, these two guns take completely different approaches in their buildout designs. With the SIG P320, there is no modularity on the frames themselves, but you do have the ability to switch out the entire frame. SIG makes all their frames in a variety of sizes and it’s really awesome that you can add a shorter frame to the SIG P320 or change up the style. You can have either an X series or a standard SIG P320 frame.
There are also a variety of aftermarket manufacturers like Wilkinson Combat and Akers Precision that make frames for the SIG P320 series. A nice thing about the P320 is that the frames themselves are not serialized so you can easily ship them off for custom stippling or buy an entirely brand-new frame for $40 to $50 instead of ruining a serialized part on a firearm like you risk doing when stippling a Glock 17.
The Glock 17 has a little more modularity and grip if you get a Gen4 or 5. The Gen3 Glock 17 has a very large grip and no adjustment whatsoever comparatively, but the Gen4 and Gen5 models have a small grip and four different backstraps that you can add to the gun to increase the trigger reach and size of the grip. Two of these medium and large backstraps come with beavertails while the other two do not.
Now, as far as the feel of the grip, the SIG P320, in my opinion, feels a little bit better than the Glock 17. (Unless you’re using the SIG X model, in which case, it feels similar to the Glock 17.) Both of those grips have a blocky feeling. The SIG P320 X series is their performance line, so it’s kind of ironic that to get a better-performing pistol, SIG had to make their pistol feel worse and feel more like a Glock 17.
That said, I think there’s something to a grip feeling like a two-by-four that makes it shootable even if it doesn’t feel the best when handling it at the gun store counter. The X series has flatter sides, which makes a big difference in how the grip feels, whereas the standard SIG P320 frame has a much more rounded feel that fills the hand really well.
Now, overall, as you can see from the chart above, the grip length of the SIG P320 is a lot larger than the Glock 17, at least in terms of the top height of the slide to the bottom of the grip itself. In reality, there is less space on the SIG P320 grip than the Glock 17. The bore axis on the SIG P320 is much higher than the Glock 17, so the distance from the bottom of the trigger guard to the bottom of the grip or magazine baseplate is much shorter on the SIG P320. In fact, it’s almost as small as a Glock 19.
If you have larger hands, I can easily see how your pinky might hang off a SIG P320 grip while you likely won’t have that issue with a Glock 17. Because of this, I’m going to have to give the Glock 17 a major advantage when it comes to the length of the pistol if you have larger hands. If you have smaller hands, then it’s obviously a non-issue.
The texture is something that’s always going to come down to personal preference, but the texture on the Glock 17 is a little more aggressive than the texturing on the SIG P320. I would honestly say both textures come out around equal in terms of quality. Personally, I prefer the SIG P320 slightly to the Glock 17, but the Gen5 Glock texture is pretty good. I’m primarily focusing on the Gen5 because that’s going to be the most common variant you currently see in stores.
Now, the Gen3 Glock 17 texturing is slick and absolutely horrible, making the SIG P320 the clear winner in that case. The Gen4 texturing is similar to the SIG P320, but then the Glock Gen5 texture is a little bit more aggressive overall. I think the average person is going to be very happy with the texturing on the SIG P320 and regardless be comfortable with any of the Glock textures.
Manipulating the slide on both these guns is fairly easy, but there’s a definite edge (again) on the SIG P320. The texturing on the finish of the P320 slide isn’t nearly as slick as the melonite or nitride finish on the Glock 17. The board serrations and restorations on the SIG P320 are a little better designed. The serrations on the Glock work, but they’re a little bit slick and have some room for improvement.
Both the Glock 17 and the SIG P320 have a variety of sight offerings. The variant you get is going to determine which sights come on the gun. Now, the Glock 17 is available with the standard Glock plastic slot fillers, which are not a good set of sights and I would consider replacing right away as they just won’t serve you well in the long-term and their sight picture is absolutely horrible.
The SIG P320, on the other hand, will come with standard three-dot sights, which are okay but not great. They’re better than the Glock plastic sights, but they’re not better than the other Glock options. You can also get them with standard three-dot or Siglite night sights.
The Siglite night sights are honestly really good for factory sights, but they aren’t as good as the Glock 17 offering with the AmeriGlo night sights. The AmeriGlo sights that Glock shipped from the factory have a blacked-out rear with a square notch and two tritium vials, while the front sight is tritium surrounded by a bright orange ring that is very bright during the daylight and much brighter than the green ring on the SIG P320 series night sights.
The aftermarket for the Glock 17 is bigger than that for the SIG P320, but not by a whole lot. You’re going to be able to find sufficient offerings for both to keep you happy unless you buy a gun where the rear sight is mounted to an optics cover plate. If that is the case, then you’re going to be stuck with the sights that come on the gun.
Both the SIG P320 and the Glock series come with red-dot offerings. The Glock red-dot series is called the Glock MOS (modular optic system) and will fit a variety of optics on the market. The SIG, on the other hand, comes with a red-dot set up that is designed to work specifically with the SIG series of red-dots.
These dots have had a variety of mounting and screw patterns over the years, so if you’re looking on the used market, there’s no telling what mounts your SIG will be set up for and it might require modification to fit a more modern optic.
Due to the confusing nature of SIG’s optics lines, I’d tell you to definitely do your research on the gun you’re buying to make sure it has the correct mounting plate you want. I’m going to have to give an edge to Glock here just because their guns are set up from the factory to work with so many red-dots. Now, you can buy adapter plates for both the Glock 17 and the SIG P320, and a lot of people consider adapter plates necessary for the Glock 17 as the factory ones have been known to have reliability issues.
If you’re mounting a SIG dot to your SIG P320, then the SIG is probably going to be the better option. But if you’re planning on mounting something like a Trijicon RMR or a Holosun, then you might want to consider the Glock 17.
As you likely know, there is no external safety on the Glock 17. The SIG P320 normally does not include the thumb safety, but they are offered on some of the models. The thumb safety on the SIG P320 is pretty well-designed and similarly placed to the 1911. They’re large enough to be able to ride your thumb on top of the safety when you’re shooting, which is a nice feature, but they’re small enough, they do tend to stay out of the way. The safety can also affect holster fitment.
Overall, if you like having safety, it’s nice knowing that you have the option. The unfortunate part is that you’ll have to order your SIG P320 from the factory since the safety is not something you can add on at a later date.
The triggers on these two guns are quite different. So we’re going to describe each one in detail for the Glock 17, we’re going to describe the Gen 3, Gen 4, and Gen 5 triggers since they’re all slightly different.
Glock 17 Gen 3 Trigger
The trigger on the Glock 17 Gen 3 has very light take-up before you reach a wall. That wall is very stiff, heavy, and has a clean break. There isn’t any creep in this trigger. That said, the reset resets right to the end of the wall and again, it’s a very clean but heavy break. If you like a really heavy wall on a trigger, then the Glock 17 Gen3 is going to be the gun for you.
17 Gen 4 Trigger
The trigger on the Glock 17 Gen 4 also has that light take-up before you reach a bit of creep, get to the wall and then finally break. The reset is also short and again, resets right at the wall. The Glock 17 Gen 4 trigger isn’t quite as stiff as the Gen3, but it also doesn’t have the rolling break like the Gen 5.
Glock 17 Gen 5 Trigger
On the Glock 17 Gen 5, you’re going to feel the same light take-up, and then you’re going to feel a little more creep before the trigger continues into a rolling break. On the reset, it resets again right before that rolling break. It’s a very good trigger to use and very easy to shoot. While it doesn’t sound that great on paper describing it, it performs very well on the range and there are a lot of shooters who never liked the original Glock triggers that seemed to leave these ones stocked and aren’t replacing them with as many aftermarket parts as they used to.
The Glock 17 Gen 3 and Gen 4 have a slide lock mounted on the left side of the gun set up for a right-handed shooter to use with their primary hand thumb. The slide stop is positioned well and in the same exact place as the SIG P320. The only downside of these generations of Glocks is it’s not an ambidextrous design. The Glock 17 Gen 5, however, is ambidextrous. I’m going to say that if you’re running a Gen 5 Glock 17 vs. a SIG P320, the slide stops are going to be almost identical in use. It’s going to be a tie comparing the SIG P320 vs Glock 17 here.
Due to being a metal magazine release on a metal magazine setup, the SIG P320 just seems to have a slicker build. The Glock 17 has a plastic magazine release with plastic magazines and while they don’t stick, there’s definitely a lot more resistance getting the magazine out of the gun.
They both work about the same, but the SIG P320 magazine release just feels a little bit better than the Glock. Both of these magazine releases are reversible as long as you’re not using a Gen3 Glock. All other generations and variants have the ambidextrous release capability.
Magazine Well Glock 17 vs SIG Sauer P320
If you’re shooting in a competition like USPSA where you are not allowed to add an aftermarket magazine well onto your gun, then the Glock 17 Gen 5 is going to be the clear winner here vs. the older generations of the SIG P320. Now, if you’re comparing the Gen 3 and Gen 4 Glock to SIG P320, the SIG P320 has a slightly better magwell than those Glocks in particular. That said, the Glock 17 Gen 5 magazine well is absolutely massive and just a wonderful setup.
Quality Glock 17 vs SIG P320
This is probably going to make some people mad, but the frame on the SIG P320 just feels cheap. There’s a reason you can buy them for $40 to $50 and they’re easily replaceable. I like having that feature, but they don’t feel great from a quality standpoint.
Now, the slides on the P320s seem to be of a higher quality than the Glock 17’s. I like the finish better, and the serrations are just nicer overall. That being said, the frame on the Glock 17 seems far superior to that of the SIG P320. It’s just going to come down to personal preference, and the quality of these guns seems like a low-level draw in my opinion.
The aftermarket for the Glock 17 is going to edge out the SIG P320, but not by a whole lot. SIG is gaining a massive amount of ground in the aftermarket and has even started helping aftermarket manufacturers support their guns. So I think we’re just going to watch the aftermarket for the SIG P320 continue to grow while the Glock 17 aftermarket is probably what you would call stabilized at this point.
Glock 17 vs SIG P320 Aesthetics
This really comes down to personal opinion. I’ve never found the SIG P320 and its standard variation to be a real good-looking gun, but the same thing can be said about the Glock. It really just comes down to what you prefer.
Both of these guns are fairly proportional. They just have a different look about them and I really can’t tell you one way or the other. It’s like choosing between Ford, Chevrolet, or Dodge in terms of who has a better-looking pickup truck. Everybody’s going to have their own opinion and can make a solid argument for which one they think is right.
Shooting SIG P320 vs Glock 17
Shooting these guns is very similar. The Glock 17 has slightly faster cycling with less muzzle flip, but it’s also going to have slightly more recoil. The SIG P320, due to the higher borax, is going to have more muzzle flip, but that muzzle flip is going to help dissipate a lot of the recoil of the gun. Because of that, I think the SIG P320 is probably going to be better for newer shooters, but the Glock 17 might be a little faster for more experienced shooters to run due to the flatter cycling nature of the gun.
Again, this comes down to personal preference. What do you like more? I can run both of these guns about the same. I’m a little bit faster with a Glock 17, but the SIG P320 seems a little bit easier for me to shoot. Personally, it’s kind of a tie. I think some shooters are going to shoot better with a Glock and others are going to shoot better with the SIG P320. There’s no massive flaw on either firearm.
There are lots of variants that fall under the SIG P320 category, but for simplicity, we’re only going to cover the 4.7-inch varieties. They range in MSRP from $549 to $679 if you exclude the models that include a SIG Romeo optic. Street price tends to run between $500 and $630, which is identical to what Glocks go for.
At the $500 price point, the SIG P320 comes with better sights than the Glock 17 plastic sights you get on the base model. You can get a Glock 17 with Ameriglo sights for $550 to $600, which will be better than the Siglite night sights that come standard on the optics-ready SIGs.
These guns really flip-flop when it comes to the value they provide out of the box. Factory magazines for the Glock cost $25 while the SIG P320 magazines cost a little over $40 apiece. If you’re the type of person who buys a ton of magazines for your guns, then the Glock is going to be a better value, but if you only need one or two they become equal.
At the end of the day you can’t go wrong with either gun — it just depends on what features you prefer.
SIG P320 vs Glock 17 Pros/Cons
Glock 17 Pros
- Magazine cost
- Faster cycling
Glock 17 Cons
- Lack of modularity
SIG P320 Pros
- Soft recoil impulse
- Limited factory red-dot options
- Multiple frame modules
SIG P320 Cons
- Magazine cost
- High bore axis
- Muzzle rise
- Short grip length
This is an opinion piece, but I always aim to eliminate bias. Look, we’ve all read them before. Gun reviews that claim to be helpful, but they’re really thinly veiled hit pieces trying to get you to buy something before you’ve even started your research. Or, even worse, a review put together by a content writer who has never even held a gun.
I’ve trained with some of the best in the business to learn various shooting styles and ideologies to better serve our customers. I’ve purchased guns of all price points, calibers, and action types to build the best products for the market. I want you to walk away knowing you have the information you need to make a sound purchasing decision.