“California Compliant” Handguns, Why Can’t You Buy a P365 In California?

NOTE: On Nov 4th, 2023 The P365 was added to the California roster which makes the specifics in this article about that firearm no longer accurate though the general information about California's list is still valid.

Out of control, lunatic lawmakers are making the decisions to ditch California's beautiful beaches and idyllic weather for states that value freedom and safety much easier. Unfortunately, it doesn't get much worse than California, at least when it comes to states hostile toward gun owners.

california gun list

There isn't any doubt that if gun-grabbing politicians had their way, the uber-restrictive gun laws in California would not only be the law of the land for all Americans but would be even more restrictive.

The California Gun List —

If you don't live in California, you may not even be aware of one of the most destructive anti-gun laws (and it's a long list) that's hurting gun owners in the state. And, it started back on January 1, 2001.

The law in question states:

no handgun may be manufactured within California, imported into California for sale, lent, given, kept for sale, or offered/exposed for sale unless that handgun model has passed firing, safety, and drop tests and is certified for sale in California by the Department of Justice

Lawmakers promoted the legislation, not as the gun-control power grab it was. Instead, as essential to providing, you guessed it…public safety.

How Does A Gun Make it on The List —

glock handgun

Gen 4 and 5 Glocks are not California “safe.”

Okay, so why can't you buy a Sig Sauer P365 in California? The simple answer is because it isn't on the approved list. So the next logical question is, how does a gun get added to the list?

First, the manufacturer submits three unmodified handguns to an independent testing laboratory, certified by the California Attorney General. Then, the lab begins testing by firing 600-rounds through each gun.

Testing is paused for 5-10 minutes to let the gun “cool down” each time 50 rounds get fired. Additional testing involves checking for loose screws and quickly cleaning each time the gun fires 100 rounds.

To pass, all three models submitted to the laboratory need to make it through the first 20-rounds of ammunition without a malfunction caused by ammo.
All three submissions must also have no more than six malfunctions during the 600 test rounds, not due to ammunition.

After the 600 rounds, the gun must be free of cracks or breakages to operating parts of the handgun that increase the user's risk of injury.

If the three guns make it this far, it goes through a series of drop safety tests to ensure the gun doesn't fire if dropped. The test involves a series of six trials, each with a primed case and no powder or projectile in the chamber. During the trials, the primer must not ‘fire' to pass.

Hooray, the gun is safe and can be added to the approved list, right?

Not so fast!

Unfortunately, the proletariat in California won't be seeing Sig P365's on the shelf for purchase anytime soon.

Pay Your Tax —

It isn't enough that the guns passed the rigorous safety trials. For each model the company wants added to the approved roster, they must pay an “annual maintenance fee” of $200.

The company must send three samples for testing and pay the $200 fee for each gun variation each and every year. This requirement applies even to entirely cosmetic differences, like a different slide or frame color.

And the fun doesn't stop there.

Some Guns “Just Aren't Safe”–

Some guns would most assuredly pass all the safety tests with flying colors. But they aren't “safe” under California law.

For example, any gun with a capacity of over 10 rounds cannot make it on the list.

In addition, any center-fired handgun manufactured after January 1, 2006, must have a loaded chamber indicator or a magazine disconnect mechanism. Also, any rimfire handgun manufactured after January 1, 2006, must have a magazine disconnect mechanism if it has a detachable magazine.

And lastly, any center-fired handgun manufactured after January 1, 2007, must have a loaded chamber indicator and a magazine disconnect mechanism if the handgun has a detachable magazine.

For those not familiar with what a magazine disconnect is, here is the scoop. A magazine disconnect disables the gun from firing unless a magazine is seated.

Apparently, this is a safety feature designed to reduce the chance of a negligent discharge. The idea is that if someone removes the magazine and doesn't realize there is still a live round in the chamber, they wouldn't be able to fire the gun.

Typically, folks make this error when they go to clean the gun.

SIG SAUER P365 10 and 12 Round Magazines

Imagine the level of insanity one must achieve to carry one of these Sig P365 magazines that hold 12 rounds! Any magazine that contains more than 10 rounds is considered “high capacity” and, by definition, “unsafe” by California standards as opposed to, say, methamphetamine or heroin, which is “totally safe” and okay to possess in the state.

However, in my estimation, the function is entirely unnecessary and potentially harmful. The safety rules are sufficient for safe gun handling and demand the person handling the gun to know the gun's condition. Gun owners should understand that a gun is only as “safe” as the person holding it.

In addition, a magazine disconnect could disable your handgun during a violent encounter.

For example, imagine a close-quarters fight where you or the attacker engages the magazine release. Even with a round in the chamber, your gun won't fire. Sure immediate action can get the gun up and running, but let's go one step further.

Consider what happens if the magazine is stripped entirely from the gun. Without the ability to fire the round in the chamber, your gun is essentially an impact weapon.

But the unreasonableness doesn't even stop there!

Microstamping Insanity —

California law requires manufacturers to make new semi-auto handguns with “microstamping” technology. Microstamping is the method of producing each gun to stamp the shell casing with a unique I.D. microscopically.

The hope is that this feature would help investigators identify suspects based on casings found at crime scenes. But, of course, this would only be helpful if all guns had the microstamping ability. Additionally, national, universal gun registration is also required. And it all is useless, considering altering the gun to hide the micro stamp is quite simple.

How does microstamping affect the guns added to California's approved list? Well, in addition to microstamping technology being pointless, it is costly for manufacturers. At this point, the cost of producing a micro stamp compliant gun is not worth it, mainly because older models without the technology are still allowed on the list.

california microstamp law

courtesy of Jews For The Reservation of Firearms Ownership website http://jpfo.org

For example, generation 4 and 5 Glocks are not on the list. But as of today, someone can purchase a gen 3 Glock. Glock can make more money selling only gen 3 Glocks in California than they can by retooling to produce a California compliant Glock with microstamping ability.

Similarly, Sig Sauer's fantastic P365 won't be on the shelves in California because of the requirements for new semi-automatic handguns. But even with the demand, it doesn't make sense financially for Sig to produce a California compliant model.

At least not yet.

They Aren't Finished —

The totalitarian overlords in California won't stop as long as citizens in California can own any guns whatsoever. So legislators are continually working to propose legislation that would remove models of guns that don't meet the most current requirements but are allowed because they were grandfathered in.

If this legislation were to pass, the number of guns available for the average Californian to legally possess would be almost zero.

rob bonta assault weapon ban

Gun grabbers, gonna' grab.
Photo Courtesy of The Associated Press

Government Exemptions of Course —

Of course, law enforcement and other entities would always have a carve-out in the law to allow their possession of “off roster” guns. For example, take a look at the 28 governmental agencies exempted from the over-restrictive gun list.

Suppose you're a gun owner or value freedom, and a hasty departure from California isn't possible. In that case, I recommend that you get involved with local organizations whose focus is protecting the individual's Second Amendment rights.

Owning an “off-roster” gun —

Some of the most popular handguns for concealed carry, such as the Sig Sauer P365, aren't on the list. The odds are remote, but you may be able to find a Californian who owns one. Things that are rare fetch higher prices, and people are not usually willing to part with them.

If you find someone willing to conduct a private party sale and pay the premium, a person with a Federal Firearms License (FFL) can complete the transfer. You will still need to wait 10 days, complete California DOJ paperwork, and pay an additional fee to the government, But you could be the proud owner of your very own used Sig P365.

Sounds fun right?

Invaluable Legal Resource —

Gun laws in California are bad, but it isn't the only state with whacky rules prohibitions of gun owners. If you travel and carry a gun, I hope you consider our smartphone app. We spent a lot of time creating the best legal resource that you can use to determine any state’s firearm laws, and much, much more. Our App called Concealed Carry Gun Tools is completely free and provides legal information for every state and DC.

The App is available for Android and iPhone and is FREE.

About Matthew Maruster

I follow my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ who is the eternal co-equal Son of God. I currently live in Columbus, Ohio with my wife and daughter. I served in the Marine Corps Infantry. I was a Staff Sergeant and served as a Platoon Sergeant during combat in Iraq. After I was a police officer at a municipal agency in San Diego County. I have a Bachelors's Degree in Criminal Justice from National University. MJ Maruster Defense.


  1. Dave on November 10, 2021 at 8:44 am

    Great article, one of the many reasons we left California for a more friendly state. Arizona is night and day thankfully. I had always wondered about the specifics of the stupid roster. This really was a complete explanation. Thank you!

  2. Joe Shahoud on November 12, 2021 at 6:07 am

    Matthew, you keep churning out one great article after another. Keep up the great work, bro.

  3. Dan C on November 16, 2021 at 9:28 pm

    Great info! It’s not too often I’m glad to be in NJ, but even with our 10 rd magazine capacity, NJ is gun friendly compared to CA! I look forward to moving south in a couple years after retirement and I’ll definitely check your resources as we decide on which state. Thanks for the great info!

  4. Steven on November 26, 2021 at 7:59 am

    I can’t wait for the decision in the scotus about the NY carry case!!

  5. Shane on March 30, 2022 at 12:05 am

    I’m a super progressive that’s also a gunnowner in Los Angeles and you need to understand that your emotional meltdown hyper political temper tantrum writing is not doing anyone any favors. Yes, our gun laws suck, but your lunatic rantings aren’t helping. At all. Reasonable gun owners hate you. You’re a cartoon fascist that gives fuel to the well meaning but uninformed progressives here use to demonize guns. F—. *I* demonize guns as they are portrayed by fanatic terrorists like you. I just want a small modern carry gun while I ride my bike in LA. F— your stupid culture war garbage and try coming to the table reasonably. You and I agree on guns mostly, but when you wrap it all in cultish authoritarianism you just make it worse for everyone.

    • Matthew Maruster on March 30, 2022 at 9:48 am

      Shane, you’re their representative, so I’m entrusting you to convey this message to all the “reasonable gun owners.”

      I now understand their universal hatred for me. My cartoon fascism, fanatical terrorism, and cultish authoritarianism have no place in a civilized country. You’re only standing up because silence is literally violence, and I applaud your bravery. I have pretty thick skin, or so I thought. I mean, I can handle the run-of-the-mill micro-aggressions, but your eloquent use of adjectives, hyperbole, and ad hominem attacks rocked me to my core. You persuaded me to see the truth. Maybe not ‘the truth’ because what is truth, am I right? I mean, perhaps I have “my truth,” but the important thing is I see your truth. Because in the end, that’s the truth that is really the truth.

      I’m not sure how or when I started to have opinions that weren’t the same as all the “reasonable gun owners.” Maybe it was that one night at a Donald Trump rally when I took a dose of Hydroxychloroquine. The guy who sold it to me said it would open my mind; who wouldn’t want that. Legend has it that while under the effects of the powerful drug, I listened to 2 straight hours of Joe Rogan’s podcast and even said criminals don’t follow gun laws. It was a lapse of judgment, and I apologize to anyone who was hurt by my insensitive words and actions. Or it could have been when I smoked crack with Hunter Biden; the jury is still out on that.

      Anyhow, the point is that me expressing my opinions is making it worse for everyone. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone. I just clapped my hands together on each syl-la-ble for emphasis. I see that now. And in light of that, my “stand with Ukraine” Facebook profile picture overlay seems pointless. If only there was a “sure CA gun laws suck but let’s not make a big stink out of it” overlay. I would jump on that bandwagon in a heartbeat. I’ll be eagerly awaiting my next authorized thought.

      • Chris on September 10, 2022 at 4:09 pm

        Shane sure sounds like a fun guy to be around. Not.
        Politicians in CA are the reason Shane needs a gun to feel safe riding his bike in CA.
        Progressives perpetuate this liberal anti gun nonsense.
        As soon as I have the means I will be leaving CA.
        Shane sounds like a miserable man, boy, woman or whatever he identifies as.
        Great article Matthew.

    • Steve on April 6, 2022 at 3:13 pm

      Comical and disgusting that the most regressive force in our nation call themselves “progressive.” The “soft on crime, criminal justice reforms” pushed by “progressives” (aka regressives) are a major contributing factor in your need to be armed while riding your bike.
      Every year 100’s of new laws are passed in CA by so called progressives, restricting more and more of our freedoms. The latest garbage from the regressive crowd is a ban on the sale of portable generators in CA. REGRESSIVES ARE CONTROL FREAKS, and you have the nerve to call the author an authoritarian, just more projection, it’s the regressive go-to.

      • Andy Randazzo on June 18, 2022 at 6:30 pm

        Is there a legal way for a Californian to purchase a gun like the P365 outside California and legally bring it to the state?

        • Michelle on July 2, 2022 at 5:38 am

          No, as a California resident, you can’t legally go to another state and purchase a gun and then bring it back to California. If you want the gun, people are selling them and there are forums for arranging these sales. The process basically just involves agreeing to meet the seller at a gun shop and legally transferring ownership. Then coming back 10 days later to actually pick up the gun. The article mentioned these types of sales. It’s actually not very rare for people to go this route and it’s totally legal.

        • Janelle on August 29, 2022 at 9:24 am

          You can legally buy and obtain a gun outside of CA as long as you then put it in the mail, legally register it and pick it up from an approved dealer in CA. If you want to go out of state to buy a gun that isn’t allowed in CA, you’ll be possessing it illegally in CA without exception.

      • Janelle on August 29, 2022 at 9:32 am

        Hi Steve,
        It’s not likely that every single person who belongs to a group with many thousands of members is identical. I don’t think anyone can accurately say that everyone who considers themselves conservative is “this way” or “does that” any more than you can accurately say that everyone who claims to be progressive or that “progressives” do this or that. Generalizations and stereotypes are factually incorrect and they detract from your credibility.

    • Sean on April 23, 2022 at 10:24 am

      Shane shows his true colors. Soft and soft. Liberial and gets offended by a true talk writer who puts it like it is! Shane I’m offended that you are a resident of CA. Stop your attack on Matthew and pull your big boy pants up. Damn dude. California legislation is ruining gun laws period. So I’m not happy about it as that’s why so many ppl have left CA. Soon all CA residents will be just as soft as my boy Shane is.

    • Janelle on August 29, 2022 at 10:02 am

      Whoa Shane! I’m like yourself in my progressive views and opposition to conservative dogma, but your post was delivered in a super unkind & offensive way. Your thoughts would be more impactful & helpful if they were expressed in a more thoughtful and diplomatic manner.

    • Mary A. on September 28, 2022 at 6:55 pm

      Wow. Shane, why is your post written in such an offensive manner, yet Matthew points out hypocrisy sprinkled with a healthy dose of humor? It’s your rude manner that would shut down communication if it weren’t for guys like Matthew that can rescue the conversation with his cleverness. Thank you, Matthew!

      Now then. I’m looking for a small good quality 9mm pistol that doesn’t cost over $500. I have small hands. My husband likes Smith and Wesson, but I’m having trouble finding a CA compliant pistol that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg that I can buy from Bass Pro Shop or Cabela’s. Is there any other way that I can buy one and be sure that it’s CA compliant? I’ve looked at the list of CA compliant guns on the govt website, but i’m getting more confused as I look. I’m new to this and my husband can’t help me at the present time. Any help would be appreciated!

    • Scott on November 15, 2022 at 12:32 pm

      Quite a diatribe from an LA a–hat. You don’t like his writing buttercup? Then DON”T — read it!

  6. Gail on May 9, 2022 at 4:19 pm

    Good article, but did I miss it? I get it that the Sig P365 is not on the approved list, but WHY is it not on the approved list? I’ve read this a couple of times, and I see all the hurdles a gun must clear to be listed, but I still haven’t seen which particular hurdle has prevented this fine gun from being listed.

    • Matthew Maruster on May 9, 2022 at 4:50 pm

      You’re right I didn’t say specifically why the P365 is not on the approved list. Sig did not employ the micro stamping on the P365. It also does not have a magazine disconnect. So clearly a super dangerous gun. Lol

      • Gail on May 10, 2022 at 9:41 am

        Haha! Ok, great…thanks so much for the reply and clarification.

    • Aldo on July 17, 2022 at 7:37 pm

      Wow..it sure seems to me that it’s you that is the lunatic. You come across as an angry person who doesn’t think that these unconstitutional laws are ridiculous.

  7. M Brown on May 13, 2022 at 6:34 pm

    It’s sad that republicans immediately look to California as evil or anti gun. The reality is that state has a HUGE crime problem and they’re trying to get ahead of it. The NRA has shown for many decades to be totally unreasonable to work with on legislation so instead the state ends up having to draft and pass legislation without their input and the NRA has no one but themselves to blame for the outcome.

    If the NRA stopped being so against reasonable regulations (like universal background checks, assault weapon restrictions, and supported stopping ghost gun manufacturing) then stuff like this wouldn’t happen. But the public is sick of school shootings, drive bye shootings, criminals getting ghost guns, etc.

    Since the NRA lives on another planet with their firm entrenched mindset so expect more laws like this to happen throughout the country as time goes on. Again I blame the NRA more than anyone else.

    • Roberts on August 16, 2022 at 5:32 pm

      If you think for one moment that thug’s, criminal’s I don’t know family members are committing crimes against law bidding citizens using guns that they legally obtained to own you must be a Californian. Most criminals are following no laws with the gun that was stolen from a law bidding citizen

    • Mary A. on September 28, 2022 at 7:07 pm

      Do you live in CA? I do and have for 26 years. Parts of the state have tons of crime, but the govt isn’t trying to get ahead of anything. LA is the worst city, and it has the most crazies like Gascon, who obviously loves crime because it gives him a job. Personally, I’m sick of Governor Newsom who thinks he’s a king, and Nancy Pelosi who thinks she’s a queen. They both feel superior to the people they are elected to SERVE. The govt in this state is so corrupt it’s ridiculous.

    • STEPHEN E LINDSEY on February 12, 2023 at 1:31 pm

      If CA would simply lock criminals up and KEEP them locked up, restrict the flood of illegals into the state and bring back just a little common sense, it would be a huge step in the right direction.

      “There are two types of people in the world: those who wish to be left alone and those who will not leave others alone.”

  8. Ash G. on May 24, 2022 at 10:28 am

    If I am moving to CA from SC where I purchased my Sig P320 Compact can I bring it in state and register it?

    • Michelle on July 2, 2022 at 5:33 am

      My understanding is that if you already own it, yes you can bring it with you and register it. It’s an off roster gun but not banned, which is why those private sales that were mentioned in this article are still legally allowed. The gun just won’t be sold in stores, but can be registered if you brought it in from another state where it was legally purchased while you were a resident of that state, or if it is sold privately within California and the ownership is transferred legally in the process.

  9. kevin wethington on August 10, 2022 at 10:56 am

    I appreciate a simple yet slightly sarcastic review of the California gun laws
    passed in the last decade. I like Northern California; I was stationed in Monterey, California three times while in the Navy and love the area. But, because of the crazy gun laws, which crimiinal ignore, I will never live there oermanently.

  10. That_Redhead on August 29, 2022 at 9:16 am

    The heightened safety standards in California are frustrating, due to the majority of firearms being illegal here. However, I was wondering why you stated that California has deemed methamphetamine and heroin “safe and totally fine.” Those are both very much illegal and were never deemed “safe” by anyone who speaks for the state. Was that statement meant to be factual or dramatic?

    • Matthew Maruster on August 29, 2022 at 9:53 am

      Janelle, the statement was partially hyperbolic and partially factual. I was a law enforcement officer in Southern California for 9 years in a border city with a unnaturally high level of methamphetamine and heroin abuse. When I began, simple possession of either were felonies. By the time I left the state, both were misdemeanors, and the jails didn’t even want us to book people arrested for possession in jail. Essentially an arrest for possession resulted in a ticket and a court date. As you might imagine nobody showed up for court, and even when a bench warrant was issued for failing to appear, the jails wouldn’t take them until there were several FTA’s. I make the statement about it ‘being fine’ because not only was possession essentially decriminalized, but so was arrests for paraphernalia, and for being under the influence of a controlled substance. So in totality, the effect of this was more drug use and tweaked out people wandering the streets committing crime, living on the streets and destroying their lives for those using drugs and a worse quality of life for citizens in the community.

  11. Janelle on August 29, 2022 at 9:53 am

    Matthew – I just have to say how well-written that was! It was a pleasure to read your response with the ironic & witty cultural references that are not often included in forums such as these. The entertainment value of your comment outweighed the fact that you were mocking my people (haha) – people who strive for equality, kindness, acceptance, tolerance, safe public spaces, reduced destruction of the planet & wildlife, compassion, etc. – a group I’m proud to belong to! We are not as bad as someone with a more restricted world view might claim we are using generalizations.That said, I really enjoyed your impression of us! 🙂

    • Matthew Maruster on August 29, 2022 at 6:36 pm

      Janelle, thank you for the respectful conversation. We may be part of the same group because all those qualities you described, I’m for them as well. I don’t want to assume, but I can’t help but feel like you’re under the impression that I don’t strive for kindness, safe places, protection of wildlife etc. If that is the case, what have I written that makes you feel that way? I’ve put a lot on the record with over 200 articles published. So there is a lot to pick apart, but I’ve never advocated for unnecessary violence, environmental destruction, for anyone to treat anyone unfairly or purposefully unkind. My world view is likely different than yours, but to say it is restrictive is to assume a lot and make a generalization. I’m not sure how you came across my article but I am sincerely grateful because I am always happy to have respectful conversations with people with differing points of view, and this is certainly one of those. Thanks again for reading.

  12. Janelle on August 29, 2022 at 10:23 am

    I am commenting up a storm because this is a fascinating topic of discussion. I am what people would label “progressive,” and I completely agree with this statement – “The safety rules are sufficient for safe gun handling and demand the person handling the gun to know the gun’s condition. Gun owners should understand that a gun is only as “safe” as the person holding it.” That’s following the discussion of magazines being inserted for the gun to fire. That is an unreasonable requirement. There is some truth to the idea that if you are reckless, you can hurt yourself or someone else with a loaded firearm. That doesn’t mean we should cater to the reckless folks by child proofing guns in this way. Don’t change the gun to fit the misfits – just keep guns away from them. I think guns should be legally reserved for those of us who are responsible, safe, mature, and law-abiding. I understand this will not keep guns out of the hands of criminals, but it will keep them out of the hands of stupid people who are not smart enough or resourceful enough to illegally get their hands on a weapon.

    • Matthew Maruster on August 29, 2022 at 11:14 am

      Janelle, I think we can agree on a lot of points. I think the devil is in the details, and where I think where we might disagree is on defining who is responsible, safe, mature and law-abiding. Especially when we are talking about a right listed in the Bill of Rights. If you read our content you’ll see we are very much in favor of responsible gun ownership and that is really the thrust of our content. I am
      Not comfortable with a means test for any fundamental rights. If the second amendment is outdated or needs restraining, the constitution provides a method for doing that. I do appreciate the thoughtfulness of your comments.

  13. James Cash on February 2, 2023 at 9:35 pm


    My brother in Christ,

    Thanks so very much and may Jesus bless you and yours!

    • Matthew Maruster on February 2, 2023 at 10:13 pm

      Thank you brother. Stay encourage, Perhaps tomorrow!

      • Matthew Stone on February 7, 2023 at 11:15 am

        Can you purchase a used SiG P365 and use it in California. M. Stone

        • Matthew Maruster on February 7, 2023 at 12:56 pm

          Yes Sir you can. A private party could sell one to you. You would have to go to a FFL for them to do the transfer BG check and wait the mandatory period of time.

  14. R. Walker on March 9, 2023 at 2:43 pm

    This whole “unsafe handgun” is complete BS. They allow people in law enforcement to own the handguns not on the list.
    So someone more likely to have to fire a gun in public is allowed to do it with guns “unsafe” for you to use at a gun range? That makes no sense whatsoever.
    This is about two things, money and leftist agenda to ban guns. This has nothing to do with safety.

  15. Van on May 9, 2023 at 10:41 pm

    My dad was in Vietnam during the war. I was in the Persian Gulf war and a veteran too. My dad from Oregon legally transferred his P365 to me here in California. Now I have it and registered under my name here in California.

    My question is, can I add my P365 to my California CCW permit? My California CCW renewal time is this year.

  16. Jim Griffiths on November 3, 2023 at 11:55 pm

    Just case anyone cares, a P365 was added to the roster yesterday.

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