News|Firearms

Preface

This article is an analysis of how Sig Sauer is challenging Glock‘s market share within the subcompact market. Before delving into the analysis certain parameters should be understood first and foremost.

First, we should understand the classification of what is consider subcompact and compact within the pistol market. When speaking about subcompacts within this analysis I will use barrel length, overall length, and magazine capacity as my baseline for analysis. A subcompact handgun will be a firearm with 3.0-3.7 inch barrel, an overall length of 5.5-6.1 inches and a magazine capacity of 6-8 rounds. A compact handgun will be a firearm with a 3-4.1 inch barrel, an overall length of 6.7-7.5 inches with a magazine capacity 12-15 rounds. The two weapons in this analysis bridge the gap between subcompact and compact features. Within the article I articulate how consumers have wanted the bridging of a the gap between subcompact and compact. In turn how Glock and Sig Sauer answered that market need. In the analysis the G48 and P365 XL will blur the line of the subcompact market.

Second, within this analysis I will use abbreviations for Glock and Sig Sauer pistols. Glock’s pistols will be written as G48. While Sig Sauer pistols will be written as P365 XL.

Finally, information within this market analysis was provided through internet sources and articles. I will not make any direct quotes or citations from those articles. They were used as a reference point to understand the market, asses industry sentiment, provide accurate content for analysis. I will leave links to the content within the analysis if you would wish to read more. Also, while conducting my research I was unable to find actual sale numbers of certain handguns within this analysis. With the lack of concrete sale numbers I used Gunbroker’s Top Seller website. The website breaks down Gunbroker’s top monthly and annually selling firearms that are purchased on their website. Using this I was able gather a basis for the analysis of market trends and how well the handguns are potentially selling.

Introduction

Back in late May I wrote an article about Sig Sauer adding to its P365 lineup with the P365 XL. In writing the article I began to recognize that the P365 XL was Sig Sauer’s answer to the Glock 48 that was released in early 2019. Within that article I make a couple of remarks to that notation of market disruption that the P365 XL will cause by challenging Glock’s foothold with the subcompact market. I firmly believe that the Sig Sauer P365 XL is a direct competitor to the Glock 48 and will push innovation within the subcompact market.

In this market analysis of the P365 XL and G48 I will discuss: The composition of the subcompact market. Sig Sauer re-entry into the subcompact striker-fire market. Compare the Sig Sauer P365 XL and the G48. Finally, I will discuss how Glock should be wary of Sig Sauer’s new feature rich and robust P365 XL.

The Composition of the Subcompact Market

Consumers of the Subcompact Market 

Consumers in the subcompact market for firearms are looking for certain characteristics from those firearms within that market. Those consumers are looking a firearm that provides concealment, portability, and reduced weight in their concealed carry weapon. They want a firearm that leaves the smallest footprint possible when concealing (minimal gun printing) on their body. Also, conceal carry practitioners look for concealment and portability without drastically altering composition of their bag.

Within the subcompact market there has been a few drawbacks to the portable and compact size of these firearms from consumers. First, is round capacity. Most subcompact pistols hold only 6-8 rounds in their magazines. Second, is greater felt recoil because of the reduce size and weight of the overall handgun. Third, many consumers lament the length of the frame which compromises the ergonomics of the handgun. Consumers are willing to deal with these drawbacks and adjust to have greater versatility and concealment with their concealed carry weapon. Consumers have been looking for a bridging of the gap between subcompact and compact characteristics for quite sometime. That is what the G48 and the P365 XL brings to the market.

Glock Dominating the Subcompact Landscape

Before Glock entered the subcompact market it was dominated by snub nose revolvers, or pocket pistols. That’s assuming if you didn’t want to carry anything larger like a compact or a full size handgun for your concealed carry. 

Then, back in 2014 Glock released the Glock 42 at Shot Show 2014. (1)(2) The G42 was an .380 ACP striker-fired pistol that gave consumers the same form and function of those snub nose revolvers, and pocket pistol before it in a striker-fire platform. Users still had a 6-8 round magazine capacity with an extra magazine included with the handgun. When the G42 landed back in 2014 it gave concealed carry consumers a Glock pistol within the subcompact market.

Glock 42 References

(1) Revealed: Glock 41 & Glock 42

(2) Glock 42 Pistol- Glock’s Smallest Handgun to date

A year later in the Spring of 2015 Glock released the Glock 43 at the NRA Annual Meeting.(3) The G43 hit the market with a lot of buzz around Glock’s new subcompact. The G43 was a hair bigger than G42. Unlike its predecessor the G42 that was chambered in .380 the new G43 was chambered in 9mm. It was a new 9mm subcompact handgun entering market. Now, consumers didn’t have to settle for the G42 that was chambered in .380 ACP. Now, they had a Glock subcompact pistol the G43 that was chambered in 9mm. Giving customers the ability to choose their preferred concealed carry pistol caliber.

Glock 43 References 

(3) It’s Officially Official: Introducing The Glock 43 Single-Stack 9mm

Within the span of two years Glock added two subcompact pistols. The G42 chambered in .380 ACP and the G43 chambered in 9mm. What Glock accomplished by bringing these handguns to the market was to give consumers an modern and modular striker-fired pistols option. With the option on their preferred caliber within the subcompact market. In doing so Glock has been able to dominate the subcompact market since 2014.

Since 2015 the G43 has been a annual Top Seller 3 times on Gunbroker’s website in 2015 (#4), 2016 (#6), 2018 (#6). (4) The G43 and G42 are routinely one of the most suggested pistols on the subcompact market by shooters in the community. The Glock G43 consistently ranked in the Top 5 for a subcompact concealed carry option.(5)(6)(7)

Reference articles for the Glock 42 & 43

(4) Annually Top Selling Firearms on Gunbroker

(5) 6 Best Single-Stack Subcompact 9mms CCW Ready

(6) The Best Single Stack 9mm Pistols

(7) 13+ Best Concealed Carry 9mm Pistols & Handgun

The Release of the Glock 48 

Since the G42 back in 2014 and the G43 in 2015 Glock has been relatively silent in the subcompact market. The G43 continued to have strong sales within the market during this time. Making Gunbroker’s Annual Top Seller in three of the last four years as stated previously.

For years consumers have been outspoken in the firearms community looking for a subcompact that could bridge the gap between subcompact and compact features in a concealed carry pistol. Consumers were looking for greater magazine capacity, extended frame for better ergonomics, while still keeping its portability, and concealment properties. In January of 2019 at Shot Show members of the media and consumers received their first look at the Glock 48. (8)

What made the G48 different was it increased magazine capacity from 6-8 rounds to 10 rounds. The frame was longer to accommodate consumers who wanted more to grip for better ergonomics. While still keeping the characteristics of a subcompact pistol with portability and ease of concealment. Glock’s new G48 is priced at the same price of the G43 at $449.99. (9) Consumers where finally getting the subcompact handgun they wanted and had been asking for. At the end of the day Glock was able to shake up the subcompact market with the new G48. Reception of the new G48 was positive within the firearms industry. (10) (11) (12) With this new subcompact Glock further entrenched their hold on the subcompact market share.

Reference articles for Glock 48

(8) Glock Releases More Single-Stack Pistols

(9) Price of a Glock 48

(10) Shooting the new Glock 43x and Glock 48

(11) Glock 43x and Glock 48 Hands-on

(12) Glock 48 Slimeline Carry Pistol Big Enough To Enjoy

Sig Sauer Re-emergence Into Subcompact Market

Sig Sauer Releases the P320

Back in 2014 Sig Sauer re-entered the striker-fired market again with the Sig Sauer P320. What made the Sig P320 standout was the modular nature of the pistol, solid ergonomics, with a clean and crisp trigger. With Sig Sauer’s new handgun you had the capability of changing out grip modules and calibers with relative ease as a consumer. Which allowed the user through modularity to create the pistol that best served their needs.

The overall initial reception was positive with Sig Sauer’s new striker-fire. With the initial success of the P320 in the civilian market, along with the inclusion of the X-Series, police agencies adopting the P320 over Glock, and winning the government contract for U.S. Military. (13) (14a, 14b)(15) (16) The industry wondered if Sig Sauer would join subcompact market to challenge Glock’s dominance. 

About four years later in January of 2018. Sig Sauer’s social media teased a new pistol coming to Shot Show 2018. On January 8, 2018 Sig Sauer released an official press release introducing the Sig Sauer P365 to the Sig Sauer family. (17)

Reference articles on P320 and P365 XL press release

(13) First Impressions Sig Sauer P320

(14) More Law Enforcement Agencies Select Sig Sauer P320

(14b) From Military into Law Enforcement Sig P320

(15) Army Picks Sig Sauer’s P320 Handgun to Replace M9 Service Pistol

(16) Sig Sauer’s New P320 X-Series Introduced  for 2017

(17) Sig Sauer Introduces P365

Initial reception of the Sig Sauer P365 were positive. Sig Sauer had introduced a subcompact handgun with increased magazine capacity (ten and twelve round magazines), a solid trigger, and solid ergonomics. The new P365 hit the ground running and received many industry awards. The P365 from within the industry and firearms community is touted as a supremely good option in the subcompact market. Last year the P365 was Gunbroker’s #1 Top Seller in 2018. (18)

Sig Sauer P365 Industry Awards

Sig Sauer Awards for Sig Sauer P365 are: NRA’s Shooting Illustrated Magazine as their Golden Bullseye winner for 2019 Handgun of the Year. Guns and Ammo Magazine’s 2018 Handgun of the Year; the Industry Choice Award for Handgun of the Year; 2018 Ballistic Magazine’s Editor’s Choice for Compact Semi-Automatic Pistols; and the NASGW-POMA Caliber Award for Best Overall Product

Rumors of a Larger P365 

Back in May the internet, blogs, and firearm websites where circulating with rumors of a new P365 XL hitting the market this summer. (19) Low and behold those rumors where true. What the new P365 XL offered was increased magazine capacity of twelve and fifteen round magazines, increased length on the grip module, longer slide and barrel, with Sig Sauer’s X-Series trigger, and Slide cut for an RMR. The new P365 XL comes in at $80 dollars more than the smaller P365 at $579.99 versus $499.99 respectively.(20)

References For P365 XL 

(18) Gunbroker’s Top Selling Handgun of 2018

(19) New Sig Sauer Pistol: The P365 XL Set To Ship in June

(20)  Price of P365 XL on Brownell’s

(21) Sig P365 XL Hands-on Review

Initial response on Sig Sauer’s new P365 XL has been a positive one for industry insiders with an early access to the new pistol. (21) The new P365 XL provides users an option to bridge the gap between subcompact and compact for consumers who prefer the Sig Sauer P365 pistol. With the new P365 XL coming out soon and P365, Sig Sauer looks to cement its company as contender within the subcompact market and a direct challenger to the G48.

Comparing The Glock 48 and Sig Sauer P365 XL 

With the G48 and Sig P365 XL you are getting comparable handguns when it comes to magazine capacity, length of frame and slide, while maintaining portability and concealment characteristics. In this comparative analysis I will compare specifications, features, aftermarket parts and accessories, and price of each pistol. By doing this we can get a greater sense of differences between these two firearms.

Specification Comparison

 

Sig Sauer P365 XLGlock 48
Caliber:9mmCaliber: 9mm
Overall Length: 6.6 in/168mmOverall Length: 7.28 in/185mm
Overall Height: 4.8 in/122mmOverall Height: 5.04 in/128mm
Overall Width: 1.1 in/28mmOverall Width: 1.1 in/28mm
Barrel Length: 3.7 in/94mmBarrel Length: 4.17 in/106mm
Sight Radius 5.6 in/142mmSight Radius: 5.91 in/150mm
Weight w/magazine: 20.7 oz/588gWeight w/magazine: 25.12 oz/712g

As, you can see from the chart that the specifications between the Sig P365XL and G48 are relatively close between them. The G48 is slightly an overall bigger handgun than Sig’s P365 XL.

Design Philosophy 

It seems by the design philosophy that Sig Sauer wanted was to keep P365 XL little smaller than the G48. By doing so allowing the P365 XL to keep its subcompact roots in the design of the pistol.

Where the G48 design philosophy seemed to lean more to the compact side without the size and the bulk of traditional compact yet, aiming to keep its subcompact roots. 

Both manufacturers sought to bridge the gap with their perspective pistols. While potentially opening a new fusion between the subcompact and compact pistol markets. 

Conclusion

When it comes down to choosing which pistol is better versus the other will be completely down to the consumer. One consumer may want a handgun that is bigger but leans more to the subcompact as does the P365XL. On the other end a consumer may want a slightly larger handgun that leans more to the compact side while maintaining subcompact characteristics. In the end consumers will decide what is best for them. 

Winner

Tie. It will come down to user preference on what they are looking for in a subcompact handgun.

Features comparison of the P365 XL and Glock 48

Sig Sauer P365 XL

The Sig P365XL is a feature rich handgun. The P365XL is technically apart of the X-Series lineup. The X-Series is the performance lineup Sig P320 series of strike-fire pistol. Now, with the inclusion of the P365XL Sig has added a subcompact to its performance line. The P365XL comes with X-Series grip module and extended beavertail, a flat trigger w/ 90 degree break, Day/Night sights, optic ready slide, and (2) 12-round magazines.

Glock 48

The Glock 48 is a pretty standard Glock experience. It comes with the optional sights of standard, steel, and Glock Night Sights. Also, included are two standard magazines.

Conclusion

When comparing Sig Sauer P365XL to the G48 it is clear that Sig Sauer offers a more feature rich offering to the G48. Yet, we must remember that the P365XL is apart of the X-Series performance lineup so it naturally be a more feature rich handgun. If we compared the G48 to the P365 it would be more of a balanced playing field. At, the end of the day the P365 XL is a more feature rich pistol out of box compared to the Glock 48.

Winner

Winner is the P365 XL for providing a feature rich and complete handgun out of box.

Aftermarket Parts for the P365 XL and Glock 48

With the P365XL coming out of the box as a performance pistol many people might not see the need to enhance the pistol with aftermarket parts and accessories. Since the P365 XL is a new product to hit the marketplace naturally support for aftermarket parts will be lower. Currently, the P365XL has aftermarket parts with True Precision,  Apex Tactical, Bravo Concealment, Trijicon, and G-Code Holster. Consumers also have the ability to shop at Sig Sauer X-Series performance lineup of parts.

Where the G48 lacks in out the box features it makes up in aftermarket parts and accessory. Glock has a large aftermarket infrastructure of companies who make parts and accessories for Glock pistols. You have companies such as Agency Arms, Zev Technologies, Trijicon,Apex Tactical,  G-Code Holsters, and many other third parties making aftermarket parts for the G48. Glock aftermarket infrastructure is big which allows for users to make build their Glock to fit their needs as a shooter. 

Conclusion 

At the end of the day the P365 XL might provide a more feature rich experience out the box but, when it comes to aftermarket parts and accessories it is lacking. The new P365 XL does not have the aftermarket infrastructure that Glock has. When it comes down to it Glock and it’s G48 has a large and growing aftermarket infrastructure so you can build the Glock designed to meet your needs as a shooter. In the aftermarket analysis Glock has the advantage.

Winner

Winner is the G48. Glock has a stack infrastructure of aftermarket parts. So, a consumer could adjust their G48 to meet there needs.

Price Comparison

Editor’s Note: Using prices from Brownells website.

The Sig Sauer P365 XL comes in at $579.99. At, that price point you are getting X-Series performance pistol in subcompact form that is ready out of box to meet your needs. The Glock 48 comes in at $449.99. Glock gives you a competent pistol that is ready out of box minus the features. 

The Glock is cheaper than the P365 XL by $130 dollars. Yet, with that $130 dollars more you are getting a feature rich and robust subcompact handgun experience. With Glock you are getting a competent pistol at $449.99. What Glock offers you is a strong aftermarket parts and accessories infrastructure to build the G48 to meet your needs as a shooter. 

Again, at the end of the day it will be a consumer choice on which handgun better fits their needs as a shooter. Some consumers will want a pistol that is ready to go out the box with no need to upgrade. Naturally, those potential consumers would lean towards the P365 XL. Consumers who want a competent pistol and flexibility to upgrade would lean towards the G48. Tastes and preferences will guide consumers to pistol they prefer.

Winner

Wash. The matter of price point and value will be dependent upon the consumer. Also, if a consumer prefers Glock products over Sig Sauer and vice versa.

Sig Sauer increased presence in the striker-fire market. 

Glock should be wary of Sig Sauer’s re-emergence into striker-fire market it has dominated for decades. Back in 2014 Sig Sauer re-entered the market with The P320. With Sig Sauer‘s re-entry into the market they built and designed a modular, ergonomic, and accurate shooting handgun. Sig looked to challenge Glock’s dominance with the P320. The P320 has garnered positive reception with the market and has been well received by the community at large.

Slowly Sig’s market share began to grow and gave a solid alternative to the Glock pistol for consumers. Law enforcement agencies began adopting the P320 as their preferred platform for their officers over the Glock. Sig Sauer was showing the firearms market that their was a viable competitor to Glock’s dominance of the market.

About three years later in 2017, Sig Sauer’s (P320) and Glock’s (G19x) striker-fired pistols battled to win the government contract to replace the Beretta M9 service pistol. Sig Sauer won the military contract beating out Glock. The P320 was renamed the M17 and included a manual safety. This was a devastating blow to Glock to lose that hefty military contract to Sig Sauer and their P320 pistol. Again it let the industry know and Glock know that the P320 is here to stay and it is contender to Glock’s established dominance.

Since the release of the P320 over the last 4-5 years Sig Sauer has acquired notable market share and challenged Glock’s dominance within the market. Sig Sauer continued to grow the P320 platform with the inclusion of the X-Series performance lineup. Winning the military contract and law enforcement agencies continuing to adopting the P320 platform.

Jump to 2018 and Sig Sauer releases the P365 to the subcompact market that is a direct competitor to the G43. The new P365 comes with greater magazine capacity, solid ergonomics, good sights, and a solid trigger. The P365 hit the market running and gaining critical praise form the industry and shooters. Glock has taken another blow to their market share with the new P365 from Sig Sauer.

Glock responds a year later at Shot Show 2019 with the Glock 43x and Glock 48. The G43x is a direct answer and competitor to the P365 with increased magazine capacity and with better ergonomics for shooters. Also, released was the Glock 48 which is a hybrid between the subcompact and compact families. 

Rumors of a larger P365 started circulating back in mid May. Those rumors where true and the P365 XL was introduced. The P365 XL is apart of the X-series performance lineup from the P320 platform. With the P365 XL you are getting a feature rich subcompact which includes: X-Series grip module and extended beavertail, flat trigger with a 90 degree break, optic ready slide, and (2) 12-round magazines. Sig doesn’t just offer a competitor to the G48 it offers up a feature rich and enhanced P365 experience.

Conclusion

Glock should be wary of the Sig Sauer P365 platforms. Both models provide a competent and complete subcompact handguns. With both models offering more value at its base prices compared to the G43 and G48. In terms of the G48 against the P365 XL; Sig is providing increased magazine capacity, better ergonomics, optics ready slide, and night sights at purchase. When it comes to out of the box features and value at purchase the G48 struggles.

With the success of the P365 and the addition of the P365 XL that released yesterday. Glock should be worried. Sig Sauer is now encroaching on Glock’s dominance of the subcompact market. Sig Sauer has answered the G43x and G48 with the P365 and P365 XL. Sig Sauer is challenging Glock’s dominance of the subcompact market by creating thoughtful designed, well built, and feature rich subcompact pistol for consumers. Unless Glock answers the P365 XL down the road with a more feature rich G48, they could be in trouble. Sig Sauer will continue to gain market share within the subcompact market that Glock has dominated since at least 2015.

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