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SIG pistols and the dreaded "bore axis" critique Login/Join 
Frequent Denizen
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Picture of SIGWolf
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I've heard this before. I heard it over 20 years ago from the first gun store employee with whom I interacted about SIG Sauer. He was a 1911 and Glock guy (this is important later) and was, to give him credit, a gunsmith and built custom 1911s.

This came back up watching a video entitled, "Why the P320 is the worst pistol", or something like that and the lead critique was bore axis.

Looking at an article, interestingly, the 1911 generally has a bore axis of 1.74 or 1.75. The Beretta 92FS, 1.78 and the CZ 75B 1.57. The Glock 17 is 1.26.

So, yes, the SIG P320 is 1.78 and the P226 Mk23 is 1.80. But that's only .03" difference from the two 1911s on the list, only .02" more than the Beretta 92FS and about .23 from the venerable CZ 75B. Yes, the Glock is about .52 less than the P320, but how much difference does that really make?

The article also mentioned "alignment", that is the line between the postion of your trigger finger knuckle when high on the grip to the trigger. Is that alignment straight or at an angle. Generally lower bore axis buns have an alignment that is at an angle, higher bore axis, the allignment is straight, as with SIGs.

So, while it is a fact, SIGs tend to be higher (although the P210 is the lowest in the SIG inventory), their alignment is straight and the differences is not that much more than pistols that don't seem to get the same flack for high bore axis like Beretta 92FS, the 1911 and even CZ 75B.

It seems to me more of a "talking point" and perhaps less of a real significant difference. It seems like people who don't like SIGs for some reason just use this as a whipping horse.

What is your perspective? I'm neither a gunsmith nor do I have a degree in physics.
 
Posts: 17342 | Location: Northern Vermont | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Physics will dictate that as the slide rebounds, and is stopped by the frame, the upward movement of the muzzle will be greater in a “high bore axis” gun than one with a lower bore axis. What “high bore axis” critics forget that as the slide returns to battery, powered by the recoil spring, the higher bore axis gun will return to neutral faster than a low bore axis gun. Physics works in both directions, as the slide retracts, and as the slide returns to battery. If your split times(time between shots) is around 0.15 seconds or less, then it might make a difference. Over 99% of shooters will not notice any difference in muzzle rise between the two guns. But it makes an interesting debate, just like 9mm vs 40 vs 45.


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Posts: 369 | Location: St. Louis, MO | Registered: June 15, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
E tan e epi tas
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My take is bore axis absolutely makes a difference and can be felt. Something like a CZ75 is easier for me to shoot flatter.

Now that said, is it a big fat hairy huge deal?? Absolutely not. With a modicum of fundamentals and practice will it matter outside of a highly skilled competition environment…..probably not

Now I am not even a remotely talented or skilled shooter so my opinion means basically nothing but I have shot one or two guns in my life.

Chris


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Posts: 7710 | Location: On the water | Registered: July 25, 2002Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The other nice thing about a high bore axis gun in there less felt recoil to the shooter compared to a low bore axis that sends all it's recoil into the shooter. Why do I care how flippy a gun is when it comes back to the same place when I want to shoot again.

TheHumbleMarksman did a video on that and I'm with him that gun ergos and balance are more important that "bore axis."

 
Posts: 4266 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I prefer a lower bore axis, but from a practical standpoint it doesn't make a perceptible difference to me when it comes to actually shooting outside of competition. You want high bore axis? Smith and Wesson N frames.
 
Posts: 2596 | Registered: November 13, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by DanH:
TheHumbleMarksman did a video on that and I'm with him that gun ergos and balance are more important that "bore axis."

[FLASH_VIDEO]<iframe frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RKg8Mlzyxro?si=Af1bi4DNQMMNNBpV" title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe>[/FLASH_VIDEO]


This is great! Thanks!
 
Posts: 17342 | Location: Northern Vermont | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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There's a certain popular modification to certain pistols that has a detrimental effect of accuracy. In discussing it with people over the years, there was no way to explaining without sounding like a dick. lol Basically, "You don't notice it, because you don't shoot well enough to notice the difference." Which isn't something anyone wants to hear, but it's true.

High(er) bore axis is sort of the same thing. Originally I wasn't sure. The more I started shooting things with higher bore axis, like SIG P series guns, I started to think it didn't really matter. The more I progressed in what I was doing with them, how I was using them, I started to see that it actually did matter.

So now my take on bore axis is "Yes it matters, but only sometimes." To most shooters and how they're going to use them most of the time, not really.
 
Posts: 21136 | Location: 18th & Fairfax  | Registered: May 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by cas:
There's a certain popular modification to certain pistols that has a detrimental effect of accuracy. In discussing it with people over the years, there was no way to explaining without sounding like a dick. lol Basically, "You don't notice it, because you don't shoot well enough to notice the difference." Which isn't something anyone wants to hear, but it's true.

High(er) bore axis is sort of the same thing. Originally I wasn't sure. The more I started shooting things with higher bore axis, like SIG P series guns, I started to think it didn't really matter. The more I progressed in what I was doing with them, how I was using them, I started to see that it actually did matter.

So now my take on bore axis is "Yes it matters, but only sometimes." To most shooters and how they're going to use them most of the time, not really.


That's kind of what I've been thinking. First, I'm not good enough to really notice or for it to make a difference. So, there is that.

And, yes, SIG does have a higher bore axis, and as the guy in the video points out, "physics is a thing".

The question is, "Is SIG bore access really THAT MUCH higer than other guns" and how much difference does THAT difference make.

SIG is often represented as if the bore axis is so high and so different that it's the only gun that "has this problem" when there are other venerable, well respected guns that aren't that different, but not one dumps on them regularly for having a high bore axis.

It's not just a comparison between a Glock, the lowest on the list, and a SIG, the highest on the list, but also others like Beretta 92fs and CZ 75B, as well as the 1911, all of which have higher bore axis than a Glock, are within spitting distance of SIG, but don't get this criticism routinely leveled at them.

As he also points out, there are other considerations that may significantly mitigate the high axis so that even for a very experienced and expert shooter, make it of no consideration at all. and lower bore axis pistols may suffer as a result.

Life is complicated, it's not always only about one thing, it's a complex of considerations and factors that have to be taken into account.
 
Posts: 17342 | Location: Northern Vermont | Registered: September 20, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Maybe I'm in the minority, but I actually prefer a higher bore axis (but not too high). They are just more "pointable" to me. Glocks and I don't really get along. I don't think it an absolute that the lower the bore axis, the better.



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Posts: 16407 | Location: SF Bay Area | Registered: December 11, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by SIGWolf:
The question is, "Is SIG bore access really THAT MUCH higher than other guns" and how much difference does THAT difference make.


It's not, but with the exception of the P210, and only recently on that one now there's an affordable version, Sig's handgun line has stayed around the same bore height even with their striker fired guns which are generally lower. Most makers have a mix unless you're Glock and only make 1 gun in different sizes.

It's mostly whiners or the ignorant parroting James Yeager talking points.
 
Posts: 4266 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm sure there are those who can sense the difference, beside those who just parrot the talking point. Me, I'm just an average shooter whose sensory system is not good enough to discern any difference.


Q






 
Posts: 26588 | Location: TEXAS | Registered: September 04, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by cas:
High(er) bore axis is sort of the same thing. Originally I wasn't sure. The more I started shooting things with higher bore axis, like SIG P series guns, I started to think it didn't really matter. The more I progressed in what I was doing with them, how I was using them, I started to see that it actually did matter.

So now my take on bore axis is "Yes it matters, but only sometimes." To most shooters and how they're going to use them most of the time, not really.

This concurs w/ my experience. Bore axis matters, but not as much as the people who like to harp over high bore axis make it out to be. A gun is the sum of its parts. A great gun is greater than the sum of its parts, which is to say that in spite of a high bore axis, mediocre trigger, or wrong grip angle, the gun as a whole may work well for you if you give it an honest chance.

P-classics have high bore axis, but I can still get a relatively high grip on them and shoot them well. I can't say the same for P320s. P-classics & P365s work for me where P320s don't. I'm also not a fan of 1911s, b/c I can't get a high grip on them.

One of the first guns I owned was a Shield M1.0. All the accolades I read about it on SF and other sites convinced me to buy it. I wanted to like it but couldn't shoot it worth a damn. When the Shield Plus came out, I had zero interest in it due to my prior experience. I stumbled on a good deal on one and bought it on a whim. The slightly thicker grip, different texture, new trigger, etc won me over. It's one my favorites and part of my carry rotation now.
 
Posts: 3193 | Location: Texas | Registered: June 17, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Yes, the Glock is about .52 less than the P320, but how much difference does that really make?



Yes but they make up for the lower bore axis with a worse grip angle Razz
 
Posts: 23642 | Location: Florida | Registered: November 07, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by cas:
There's a certain popular modification to certain pistols that has a detrimental effect of accuracy.


Out with it, man! No need to be coy, Roy.


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Posts: 15925 | Location: Florida | Registered: June 23, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by RichardC:
quote:
Originally posted by cas:
There's a certain popular modification to certain pistols that has a detrimental effect of accuracy.


Out with it, man! No need to be coy, Roy.


 
Posts: 4266 | Location: Kansas City, MO | Registered: May 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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Of the pistols mentioned in the original post, I shoot them best in descending ordeR:
- 92
- P226
- 75
- 1911
- Glock

Also, I remain unconvinced by the bore axis thing, not only because of the above list, but because not all else is equal with these bore axis comparisons.
 
Posts: 453 | Location: Shenandoah Valley | Registered: February 15, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
quote:
Yes, the Glock is about .52 less than the P320, but how much difference does that really make?

Yes but they make up for the lower bore axis with a worse grip angle


Not to mention the abominable trigger on any Glock. The out of the box trigger on any Sig is so significantly better than that on a similar Glock, that it more than makes up for any perceived Glock advantage in "bore axis" height. Best regards, Rod


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Posts: 734 | Registered: April 04, 2012Reply With QuoteReport This Post
Diablo Blanco
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quote:
TheHumbleMarksman did a video on that and I'm with him that gun ergos and balance are more important that "bore axis."


I’m also in this camp. The P320 with its high bore axis in the carry size balances very well in my hands. My MK25 and CZ PCR have become my two favorite guns to shoot. My Beretta M9 continues to not shoot for crap in my hands. I can shoot Glocks well too, and in fact think the biggest reason is the trigger. I get a hard prep on the trigger, deliver the round on target, and get a very fast return to hard prep. In the end, I know what I like to feel the results I expect to see and don’t pay much attention to bore axis.


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Posts: 2982 | Location: Middle-TN | Registered: November 05, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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The relationship of the barrel lug to the locking block and placement of the locking block within the frame relative to hand position affect a lot of this too. It's a lot more complicated than a simple measure of bore centerline relative to hand placement.

Striker pistols recoil differently than hammer fired due to the difference in recoil spring weights and the presence or absence of a hammer and/or striker spring.

Just shoot what you like and don't bag on stuff you don't like.
 
Posts: 4739 | Location: Indiana | Registered: December 28, 2004Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I’m in the camp of texturing and recoil spring being the biggest factors for me.

While I shoot a standard P320 well, I shoot a P320 with X grip or Wilson grip much better/faster, more controllable etc. Feels like a lower bore axis, but it’s not.

While the VP9 feels awesome in the hand, when I shoot it, I f’ing hate it. It’s probably got about the same bore axis as the P320.

The FN509 or MP feel the best, and are the most agressive textures out of the box.

FInd what you like and the bore axis hullabaloo is just that.


Joe
 
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