Back in March, I reviewed SIG’s new M17 9mm NATO Military ammunition … and I have been carrying my SIG Sauer P320 M17 as my official duty pistol ever since. The P320 M17 is not only a great military pistol but also a great police duty and civilian pistol. But there is one issue with it: the coyote-color frame.
For military, law enforcement or SWAT teams with tan uniforms, the coyote color works well. But for the vast majority of law enforcement across the U.S., where basic black polymer-frame pistols are the duty standard, the coyote grip color may not be as well-received.
Fortunately, I work for a small agency that allows us to furnish our own duty pistols. So the fact that I was carrying a gun with a coyote frame didn’t really cause a problem. However, I wasn’t personally satisfied with the way the color contrasted with my uniform.
Time to Change My P320 M17
Obviously, I was aware of the ability to swap the existing grip module when I reviewed the M17. Since it seemed to be an easy enough process, I decided to upgrade my M17 to a black grip.
Two-tone pistols (silver slide/black frame, tan slide/black frame, etc.) seem to be all the rage these days, and many of the two tones look very sharp! While SIG had an all-black version of the M17 — the P320-M17 Bravo — a coyote and black version of the M17 wasn’t available. Because of this, I really wanted to “make” one of my own, creating an M17 that would stand out.
The P320 series is built around a stainless-steel interior chassis with serial number. The chassis contains the trigger group, slide release, takedown lever and safety mechanisms. Different-sized grip modules are available to accommodate various hand sizes instead of a system of backstrap adaptors. In order to make the change, you simply drop the chassis into a new grip module.
As it turned out, finding the correct grip module for the M17 was a bit challenging because of the M17’s dual manual thumb safeties. This requires cuts in the grip module to accommodate them. I ordered a black grip module for my M17 from a local gun emporium. I purchased the module, trusting that it was the correct one, and began switching them as soon as I got home.
The Changeout Process
The directions in the P320/M17 manual weren’t quite detailed enough for me to fully disassemble down to the stainless chassis with my limited mechanical skills. For additional visualization, I turned to a helpful YouTube video.
After watching the video, I got the chassis separated from the grip with little trouble. It wasn’t until I started the re-assembly process that I noticed the module I purchased was for a standard P320 sans manual safety cuts. Oops.
I returned the module to my retailer and contacted the folks at SIG to obtain the correct frame. Though few seemed available, I had one in just a few weeks.
The second strip and reassembly process went much faster. Overall, changing the grip module is simple considering what you are doing: substituting the entire frame that came on your handgun for another more suitable to your needs — without tools. That’s pretty amazing!
When you re-install the chassis, make sure you work the action vigorously several times to ensure that everything is fully operational and seated. Check trigger and safety function as well. You may need to work the magazine release button several times on a new grip module before seating the magazine. My “new” M17 was ready to rock.
The Final Result
I am really pleased with the final result: a striking M17. Now it fully blends in with my uniform when holstered. You have to look really closely to notice the coyote-colored slide. I also obtained an additional magazine with a black base to complete the effect. Once drawn from the holster, the two-tone M17 is attention-getting! The black ArachniGRIP Slide Spider further enhances the overall look and functionality.
Replacement P320 grip modules from SIG are priced around $50. If you aren’t quite satisfied with the feel (or look) of a P320 or M17 you purchased, the solution is quite simple, inexpensive and easily changed — something I now know firsthand.
About Scott W. Wagner
Scott W. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer since 1980, working undercover in liquor and narcotics investigations and as a member, sniper and assistant team leader of a SWAT team. He currently works as a patrol sergeant. He is a police firearms instructor, certified to train revolver, semi-automatic pistol, shotgun, semi- and fully automatic patrol rifle, and submachine gun. Scott also works as a criminal justice professor and police academy commander.