Australia and Canada Choose the Sig P320 By: William Lawson


The Australian and Canadian militaries have both adopted the Sig Sauer P320 to replace their aging Browning Hi-Power pistols. The contracts were announced only four days apart, marking continued success for the Swiss gunmaker after landing the US military contract in 2017, as well as equipping the French and Danish armies.

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Australian soldier with new Sig Sauer P320 pistol
(Australian Defence Department)


The Australian contract is part of a larger weapon systems overhaul replacing individual small arms across the board. The Lethality System Project (Land 159) selected a new carbine, shotgun, sniper rifle, anti-material rifle, sniper scope, and fighting knife along with the new sidearm.

Major General Andrew Bottrell said that Queensland-based NIOA has been contracted to acquire and supply the new arms, as well as ancillary equipment such as optical and laser systems and suppressors. NIOA will distribute the equipment through subcontractors.

“This is a bold step into modern weaponry to quickly improve Australia’s defense preparedness,” continued Bottrell. “The collaboration between Defence and industry means we will acquire the best available weapon systems for our troops.

Australian Army Sig Sauer P320 XCarry Pro Pistol
Australia chose the Sig Sauer P320 XCarry Pro with a light and red dot optic. (Australian Defense Department)

The project chose the Sig Sauer P320 XCarry Pro. Shorter than the US military’s M-17, the XCarry Pro has a 3.9-inch barrel. Australian Defence Department photos show the gun equipped with a weapon light and an optic. Sources identify them as the Sig Foxtrot 2 and Sig Romeo 2 open reflex sight, respectively. This will make the Australian military the first major conventional army to include red dot optics on their sidearms. Delivery will begin in mid-2023.


The Canadian contract is more modest, focusing on sidearms and holster systems. Like the Australians, the Canadians are replacing the classic but dated Browning Hi-Power pistol. Unlike Australia, Canada chose the full-sized Sig Sauer P320, which will be designated the C22 Full Frame Modular Pistol. The Canadian Defence Ministry cited several reasons for their choice:

  • Similar ballistic performance to the current Browning pistols using existing 9mm ammunition
  • Expanded magazine capacity
  • Lighter weight
  • Improved ergonomics
  • An easily visible loaded chamber indicator
  • Ambidextrous controls
Sig Sauer P320 pistol
The Sig Sauer P320 has significant advantages over the old Brownings. (

The initial contract calls for 7,000 pistols and holsters for the Canadian Army. There are also options for an additional 9,500 pistols for the Army, Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, and Military Police.

Canadian Defence Minister Anita Anand said in a statement that:

“The Government of Canada is committed to providing the Canadian Armed Forces with the equipment they need when they need it. Replacing the Browning 9mm with the C22 full frame modular pistol (Sig Sauer P320) will help ensure the continued operational readiness and effectiveness of all our members. We look forward to the delivery of these new pistols and holster systems in the coming year.”


Minister of Public Services and Procurement Helena Jaczek called the selection the result of “an open, fair, and competitive procurement process,” but it hasn’t been without controversy.

Glock, who participated in the trials along with Sig Sauer and Beretta, filed a complaint with the Canadian International Trade Tribunal. The Austrian gunmaker alleged that the Canadian government’s requirements favored the other two companies. The complaint said that the Canadian military’s requirements included “certain design types which serve no legitimate operational requirement and favour certain bidders.” The complaint caused the trials to be restarted, with Sig winning the contract.

Sig Sauer P320 pistol
The Sig P320 won in the end, despite the controversy. (

Canada’s quest for a new service pistol has been ongoing since at least 2011 and the Glock complaint is not the first rough spot. The 2011 search was hamstrung by the government’s requirement that any new service pistols be built by Colt Canada in Kitchener, Ontario. Other companies balked at turning over their proprietary research and development to a commercial competitor. The contract floundered and was never awarded.

C22 pistol deliveries will begin in mid-2023.