The original snag-free pistol, the American Q, spies, and the history of the P365 SAS.
The P365 SAS design seemed to be one of the more creative and inventive designs we’d seen in a long time. SAS stands for SIG Anti-Snag but did you know the P365 SAS isn’t the first SAS gun in SIG’s lineup? Although it is the most anti-snag model they make, previous SAS Models have melted lines, reduced the hammer size, and control but the P365 SAS went nuts. It eliminated everything, including the sights.
The design took out your traditional sights and replaced it with a new and innovative rear sight that is blended into the slide. It sits flush with the design. The slide lock is reduced quite a bit, and the takedown lever is gone. On top of that, the barrel and slide are ported for muzzle rise reduction.
While the P365 SAS is quite innovative, it wasn’t the first gun to try something like this!
Enter Mr. Paris Theodore
There was this guy in New York City in the 1970s named Paris Theodore, who was an interesting cat. You see, he designed unusual guns, for dangerous people doing dangerous things. He was a holster pioneer with an extreme focus on concealing weapons in a time where it was thought only criminals concealed guns. Today, Theodore is often referred to as the American version of James Bond’s famous Q.
Theodore had a hidden room in his holster shop where he built guns but not just any guns. The man produced lighters and clipboards that were secretly guns. At one point, Theodore once declared, “There is no such thing as knock-down power. It is a figment of the collective imagination of the Hollywood scriptwriters,”
This was a man vastly ahead of his time.
The Original P365 SAS
He went on to design a pistol known as the ASP. While the ASP began as an S&W 39, an excellent gun already, Mr. Theodore made over 200 changes to the model 39s like shortening the barrel, slide, frame, and grip. These changes also included melting the gun’s edges to make it a bit more round, the hammer was made flush with the frame, and the safety was trimmed and slimmed quite a bit.
The gun was a 9mm, which was rare at a time when 45 ACP was the automatic cartridge of choice. For low profile carry, the 38 Snub nose was the weapon of choice. A small 9mm was barely on the radar as far as firearm manufacturers were concerned.
Photo Courtesy of Rock Island Auctions
Theodore knew that it was impossible for someone in a close-range shooting situation to keep track of how many rounds they had fired so he fitted his firearm with clear grips, allowing the shooter to visually track their ammunition.
The SIG P365 SAS Sights have received glowing reviews from gun owners.
The ASP even had a rather attractive rear sight solution that’s a bit similar to the P365 SAS. Consisting of a rear sight only system with a high visibility rear sight that narrowed into a V shape, Theodore called his sight design the Guttersnipe Sighting System. The purpose of such a sighting system was speed and accuracy at close range.
Photo Courtesy of Mr. Vladamir
Engagements at Realistic Distances
Most gunfights involving a concealed carry handgun aren’t long drawn out affairs, therefore speed is more important than long-range compatibility. Combine a melted design allows for a fast draw and sights that allow shooters to acquire targets quickly, and you’ve got a gun capable of ending a gunfight swiftly.
From Then to Now
The ASP was not a big production gun but rather built-to-order with the user required to send in their own firearms for Theordore’s team to modify. This was an expensive process, and users who had ASP’s made would be the type who typically needed them. The chief of security in Saigon reportedly carried one, and allegedly the weapon was carried by spies and rough men who did rough things.
The ASP is a fascinating pistol, and original models go for about the same as a used compact car but the good news is if you’re looking for this firearm for its usefulness, the P365 SAS is an affordable gun that fits the bill.
The new SIG anti-snag SAS model incorporates 45 years of weapons manufacturing and improvements in its design to make it one of the most potent pistols on the market.
This includes a higher capacity, a much lighter weight, and more efficient design and the incorporation of a night sight. The grip is also textured, and the ASP had a rather smooth grip design. I would love to see the ASP’s clear grips make a comeback, but polymer frames tend not to be a bit tricky to make clear.
The saying ‘what’s old is new’ is most certainly true when it comes to concealed carry guns. The ASP was a unique take on concealed carry handguns and 50 years later, the legend lives on in the hands of SIG Sauer.
This handgun may not be for everyone but for specific individuals, it fits the bill unlike any other!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.
He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms based hobbies.
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