In the world of compensated pistoled, the market has become overwhelmingly crowded with different options. There are a number of companies making products for a wide variety of popular pistols in today’s market. Parker Mountain Machine (PMM) was one of the first and still is one of the biggest companies in the market producing compensators for almost every popular pistol model. Recently, PMM has unveiled their own take on the P320 line of pistols with the Tardigrade model. This is PMM’s take on what a contoured P320 could look like. Let’s take a closer look at the PMM Tardigrade P320.
Parker Mountain Machine @ TFB:
When I first saw the PMM Tardigrade, I thought it looked completely different from a standard P320. PMM wanted to contour their P320 slide with more of a winged shape with their compensator to make it look like a single seamless piece. Their newest version of the dual chamber compensator has had its chamber angles and geometry slightly changed to get the most performance out of the compensator to minimize the felt recoil. In addition to the new dual chamber compensator, the Tardigrade has a new barrel made in-house. This new barrel design ensures a tighter tolerance and reliability over time.
Each Tardigrade comes standard with a Gray Guns Competition trigger installed. These triggers are much lighter than the standard factory trigger making them extremely fast firing with a short reset as well. The Tungsten grip module has also been modified with aggressive stippling for the added traction to keep the gun in place. The standard model Tardigrade will come with blacked-out iron sights but my review model was one of their earlier prototype models with irons forward of the red dot.
Along with the Tardigrade, PMM ships two 21-round magazines as well as a custom laser-cut Pelican Vault case. Lights and red dots are available for purchase as well from the factory and can be mounted and zeroed at no additional cost. MSRP on the Tardigrade starts at $2,499 but can go up to $3,400 depending on if you order optics and lights as a package. Parker Mountain machine is taking orders on their P320s and they can be purchased as complete slides or full pistols as well.
|Manufacturer||Parker Mountain||Compensator||Dual Port|
|Manufacturer Part #||Model||Tardigrade|
|Type||Striker Fired||Size||Full Size|
|Accessories||2 Mags/ Pelican Vault||Sights||Blacked Out Irons|
|Subcategory||Pistols – Polymer Frame||Material||Tungsten Polymer|
For my testing of the PMM Tardigrade, I started out in mid-December and shot a total of 875 rounds so far. For my testing, I used a mixture of Federal American Eagle 115gr, Blazer Brass 124gr, and Magtech 115gr ammunition. Starting out, I did run into a break-in period which is consistent with my other Parker Mountain Machine pistols. With 115gr, it would run sluggish with the occasional failure to eject or stovepipe round. Switching to 124gr as well as the 147gr ammo significantly improved performance overall until the break-in period was complete. At roughly 350-400 rounds it started to consistently feed all ammo including the 115gr but it’s important to know it may take some time to run absolutely perfectly.
When the barrel to slide lockup starts to break in though, boy it’s truly something special. It’s rare to feel like a firearm is something as smooth as a sewing machine but that’s exactly what this Tardigrade does. Combine the light recoil with the aggressive texture on the frame, and this handgun feels like an extension of your hand. The dual-port compensator along with the lightened slide makes recoil almost nonexistent and allows you to shoot incredibly fast double taps on targets.
Trigger and Slide
The unique contouring of the slide makes this feel very different from a standard P320. The slide serrations are tactile but not distracting. Personally, the inclusion of a Gray Guns Competition trigger was a great addition making it have a very light trigger pull with a short tactile reset. The stippled tungsten grip may be aggressive for some, but for me, it was extremely stable under fast shooting. The gun locks into your hand which I had no problems with but if you have sensitive hands, it may be good to stay away.
Accuracy & Reliability
When it comes to accuracy, the PMM Tardigrade does exceptionally well for having a 3.6″ barrel compared to its full-size P320 competitor. At 20 yards, I was getting roughly 1.5-1.75 inch groups standing with a red dot. Even with a shorter barrel, the P320 is incredibly accurate and easy to keep on target with the dual port compensator. The lack of recoil also helped a ton with quick follow-up shots. Not having to work as hard to bring the gun back on target made my follow-up shots significantly faster than using something with a standard 4.7″ barrel. If you go further out, you’ll start to see the effects of the shorter barrel but for anything within 30 yards there’s essentially no change which is more than enough for the majority of pistol shooters.
I kind of dove into the reliability a little before but once the break-in period was done at the 400-round mark, the pistol was 100% reliable across the board with all ammunition. After speaking with PMM, they said it’s common to have a break-in period and it’s the tradeoff for a tight-fitting barrel and lockup. This ensures having a tight-fitting action over a long period of time and offers longevity of the barrel lockup. Once everything was running well, I threw some Wolf steel-cased ammunition into the Tardigrade just to test it out and everything still ran 100% reliability. This is a huge plus for people who may want to shoot a lot and don’t always have the money for brass-cased ammo. Knowing it can take the cheaper steel-cased ammo is a good testing point but I’ll stick with brass ammo.
What’s it For?
Is this a pistol for the first-time gun owner? Probably not but if you’re a serious shooter or want to get serious and have one pistol that will perform, this is certainly a great contestant for that. The addition of a slide cut for optics, Gray Guns Competition trigger and the stippled tungsten grip really are a number of expensive upgrades straight from the factory. The contoured slide and compensator aesthetically do something for me that the regular P320 just lacks in various models.
If you want to dabble in competition but have the modularity to change out certain parts over time, the Tardigrade offers an incredible amount of options that will allow you to have a fully set-up gun straight from the factory. There’s not much I would change on this gun truthfully and if you want to have one pistol to show off at the range, this is a fantastic option. I purchased this handgun and I have no reservations about it. I know it’s expensive but as a range gun to train with regularly, it’s a really strong option even at its price point.
This may be an expensive option starting at $2,499 but it has so many aftermarket features straight out of the box, it’s truly tough to compete with a package like this straight from the factory. Plenty of people customize their own P320s but there are some positives to having everything done from the factory. With all things considered, once you get past the break-in period, the PMM Tardigrade has been 100% reliable and it’s one of the better examples of factory-compensated handguns in my opinion.
Let me know what your thoughts are on higher-end compensated pistols. Are they worth the money in your opinion or having a regular pistol with training better? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below. If you have questions about the Tardigrade or firearms in general, feel free to shoot me a message on Instagram @fridgeoperator. Stay safe out there and we will see you in the next one.
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