Back on March 22nd, Sig Sauer announced the new Sig P322 .22 LR rimfire pistol. Even if you’re not a fan of Sig, it was kind of a big deal. A full-size polymer rimfire, similar to the FN and Glock, but Sig’s pistol boasted an impressive 20-round capacity. That’s quite a jump over the FN 502’s 15 and Glock 44’s less-than-perfect 10, as well as the typical 10-round single stack of most rimfire pistols. It can’t touch the KelTec CP33’s 33-round capacity, but that thing is within 0.15 the length of a Desert Eagle .50AE. Anyway, while I’m not one to jump on any bandwagons, I eventually got my hands on one for a test and evaluation.
Sig P322 RomeoZero Elite specifications
There’s a standard model with a removable rear site/optics plate cut for a Shield or RMSc optic. I skipped a few steps and got the RomeoZero Elite model. As the name suggests, it comes with the Sig RomeoZero Elite red dot already installed. At the front of its 7″ aluminum slide is a fiber optic sight, which works with a notch in the back of the optic. It’s got a 4″ carbon steel barrel, threaded for a 1/2×28 adapter.
So optics cut and suppressor ready. Hidden inside is a hammer, rather than a striker. Under the barrel is a 1913 rail accessory rail. Height is 6.4″, width 1.4″, and the trigger is SAO. Two triggers, a flat and curved one, are included, and they can be swapped without tools. Despite the size, it only weighs 17.7 ounces when empty. Mine was shipped with a pair of 20-round magazines. That’s not a bad package for a pistol that sells for under $600.
About that optic
If you’re not in love with the RomeoZero Elite red dot, get the standard model Sig P322. The optic itself is mostly fine, if a little quirky. But Sig doesn’t include a plate or rear site. So it’s either use an optic of some sort, or use an optic of some sort. No rear sight is available at all for this model. None. I know, because I asked. The good news is that if you are okay with the RomeoZero Elite, it’s a perfectly serviceable option for this pistol. It’s just not for me.
The short version of my discontent is that it uses a single button, located behind the lens. Forget fat fingers, even Sig suggests using something other than a finger to turn it on and off, or set the brightness. I found it inconvenient to turn on and off. This isn’t a combat pistol, and I feel a simplified set of controls for the optic would be more appropriate. It does have a few neat features, like Motion Activated Illumination System. And an odd Touch Activated Programming. The former is self-explanatory. But the latter may need some clarification. You can set it to cycle through the 8 brightness settings just by tapping the body. I’m not breaking down the entire process though. Just look it up before you decide which model to buy.
Loading and capacity
Thoughtful as they are, I found a plastic magazine loader included with my Sig P322. This handy loader made getting all 20 rounds in much easier. Well, 19, as I couldn’t always load it to the to full capacity. And that was even after leaving 19 rounds in overnight. But these were new mags, so that may take some break in time. Loading needs to be done very carefully to avoid rim-lock. Use the included loader to hold the follower button down just enough to drop in one round at a time. That should keep the rim for each new round in front of the one below it. Otherwise, expect feeding issues. I had a few, not related to how the magazine was loaded.
The threaded barrel adapter
In an effort to be innovative, the Sig P322 has a recoil spring that’s basically captured by the thread protector that fits inside the slide. Or the 1/2×28 threaded barrel adapter. But you can’t remove the slide with the threaded adapter installed. This means that after a day of shooting suppressed, you need need to swap back to the thread protector to take it down for cleaning. To make up for that inconvenience, Sig did make it easy to field strip.
Here’s one thing that they really got right with the Sig P322. Drop the magazine, and rack the slide to verify that it’s not loaded. With the slide forward, flip the takedown lever up. And then pull the slide back and off. That provides easy access to the breech face and barrel for cleaning. Push the barrel back into the hole in the slide, and pull the slide back far enough that it can seat on the grip module, to reinstall. Or maybe I could have just said “Reverse process to install slide”. You get the idea. It’s a no-tool, low-effort job.
Before installing my suppressor, I shot a few magazines through the Sig P322, just to make sure it functioned okay. I had been told that until it was fully broken in, it would probably have a clear preference for round-nose ammo. This was confirmed, at least for this pistol. It was a lot fussier about ammo than any rimfire I own, but it’s also a very different design. Some feeding issues aside, it shot great. With a 3 MOA red dot, I wasn’t going to bother shooting any groups. Because I rarely care about small holes in paper, but also because this isn’t a target pistol.
With the flat trigger installed, it had a perfectly ho-hum feel. Some pre-travel, and then a hard break. Not bad, not great. My trigger gauge tells me it’s a bit over 3-1/2 pounds, but it doesn’t feel at all special. Yet I got great results. The public land I shoot on is usually littered with empty shotgun shells, bits of broken clays, and some empty cans. Picking off shells, breaking clays into smaller pieces, and making cans dance are where this pistol shines. Honestly, it was a lot of fun, even if I could only load 19 rounds most of the time. After my ten-shot .22 pistols, this just seems to go on forever. I’ll note here that we bring our own steel targets as well as a target stand, and everything we pack in, we pack back out.
With the addition of a suppressor, the Sig P322 was even more fun. Surprisingly, it didn’t seem as quiet as other rimfire pistols I own. Not sure if that was a real thing, or just my perception. But I’m comparing mostly metal guns that have a fixed slide to a polymer pistol with a reciprocating slide. It was still pretty quiet, and satisfying to shoot. It’s just that rimfire is dirty, and suppressors are dirtier. Having to remove the threaded adapter just to clean it annoys me a little.
Sig touts this as the most advanced pistol in its class. I’m not sure what class that is. I guess the FN 502, Glock 44, and maybe the Taurus TX22 are its competition. They are all so different, but I think Sig may have them beat with its feature set. None of the others have the same capacity, included swappable triggers, optics cut and threaded barrel all in one pistol case. Each comes close, but not quite there. They may be on to something after all.
There’s currently a review out there for the Sig P322 where the owner has put 10k rounds through it. I only managed a few hundred at the time of writing, but it’s good to know that it’s that durable. Really though, one of the main reasons I wanted to try out the Sig P322 was to see how it worked with a suppressor attached. Suppressed rimfire offers the most fun for your money. And if that’s the goal, then the Sig P322 has succeeded. It’s not my favorite pistol, nor my least favorite. But it’s definitely something different and fun. Check it out at Sigsauer.com.