I recently had a chance to try out my friend's Sig 320 Legion, which is kind of a cross between a tactical and competition pistol. It had a huge flared magwell, and it completely fucked me up, mostly because I wasn't used to it.
When I first got my training, I was taught to index my mags aggressively -- finger seated as far up to the round's nose as possible. That way, I use the tip of my finger to "find" the front of the magwell and confidently slam home the reload. I found this completely impractical with a flared well -- sure, it's a bigger target, but ultimately I found it compromised my grip on the mag itself.
Additionally, with the 320, I noticed that the standard mags fit flush with the well. If you had to clear a Type 3 failure, you'd have a harder time stripping out the mag, so in that sense, the well puts you at a disadvantage. Even if you're big enough to carry something like a full-framed XFive concealed, are you also gonna carry extended spares? What about having an extended one loaded? You're treading into Paul Bunyan territory there, but who knows, I'm not a huge feller.
I bring all this up because there's a growing trend in the tacticool mall ninja industry, where a flared magwell is implied as the preferred choice for every top notch basement operator. For instance, Taran Butler (of Taran Tactical, of John Wick fame) puts that shit on all his custom, severely overpriced Glocks. Salient Arms does the same thing on their 1911 compacts. And now, Springfield's latest offering, the XDM Elite, has one.
It's one thing to put a flared well on a comp gun -- after all, it's not life and death, the gear is different, built for speed and not combat, etc. But on a concealable, presumably EDC package?? Is there some value I'm not seeing here? From my perspective, it's a gimmicky, unnecessary addition that only compromises your tactical advantage under stress, and on smaller folks, compromises concealability. After all, the grip is the bit that pokes out the most (which is why some newer models offer a "contour" cut).
Thanks for your thoughts in advance.