Ammunition

The Perfect Mix of Stopping Power, Reliability and Accuracy: Is the .357 SIG Law Enforcement’s Best Defense Cartridge?

Picture shows a red box of American Eagle .357 SIG ammunition.

What an elusive round the .357 SIG is. Hardly talked about, never fodder for forum debate and difficult to find in stock. It has devoted followers and some of our most important law enforcement agencies—such as the Secret Service—depend on the .357 SIG. In fact, falling just under the .40 S&W, it is the second most issued caliber to law enforcement agencies nationwide. Many experts—self-defense gun instructors and writers—along with many law enforcement professionals believe the .357 SIG has just the right combination of features to make it a near perfect self-defense round.

I do not have any real proof the following story actually happened, but when the Texas Department of Public Safety was switching from .45 ACP to the SIG Sauer P226 chambered for .357 SIG, officers were caught in a shoot out with some bad guys. A senior officer, still carrying his .45 ACP, fired into the cab of a tractor-trailer, but the bullet failed to penetrate the metal of the door. Another cop on the scene had his newly issued P226. He fired one round of .357 SIG into the tractor-trailer. It penetrated the steel and into the perpetrator’s head, killing him instantly. The one-shot stop myth might not be myth after all.

Picture shows a red box of American Eagle .357 SIG ammunition.
Essentially, but not exactly, the .357 SIG is a .40 S&W case, necked down for a 0.355” (9mm) bullet.
In the early 1990s, more and more law enforcement agencies were moving away from revolvers and moving toward semi-autos. Reluctant to leave their trusted .357 Magnum behind, Ted Rowe of SIG Sauer took on the task to develop a round that performed like the magnum, but fired from a semi-auto. In collaboration with Federal, the two came up with the .357 SIG. Essentially, but not exactly, the .357 SIG is a .40 S&W case, necked down for a 0.355” (9mm) bullet. (The .357 SIG case is longer than the .40 S&W case.) Not often found in handgun cartridges, the .357 SIG has a bottleneck shape. Distinctive to rifle calibers, a bottleneck case is so deemed because it resembles a glass bottle. The neck is smaller than the bulk of the case. The distinction between the neck and the rest of the case forms a shoulder. The design allows a smaller bullet to travel as fast as a larger caliber bullet. The .357 SIG has the capability to reach velocities of 1500 fps! Not only is it a speedy little round, the bottleneck shape makes feeding issues virtually non-existent.

.357 SIG v. .357 Magnum

Before the .357 SIG’s introduction in 1994, no other round could match the .357 Magnum’s performance in a semi-automatic pistol. Rowe’s goal was to equal the performance of a 125-grain bullet shot from a 4-inch barrel .357 Magnum revolver out of a semi-automatic pistol. The benefits of Rowe and Federal’s round are plentiful. Among them are a higher capacity from an easier to conceal handgun with the same stopping power police officers depended on from the .357 Magnum. The .357 SIG has the capability to travel faster than the .357 Magnum with less recoil and muzzle flash. In some instances, it has shown to create a deeper wound as well

.357 SIG v. .40 S&W

Another giant plus to law enforcement was the fact that .357 SIG could penetrate barriers such as car metal, windshields and heavier clothing that the .40 S&W could not. The .357 SIG can also be loaded to higher pressures than the .40 S&W. Plus a full capacity magazine loaded with .357 SIG weighs less than a full mag of .40. Due to the similarities, .357 SIG guns can convert to .40 S&W with a barrel swap. Though its parent case is the .40 S&W, the dimensions are different. Therefore, you cannot use .40 S&W cases when reloading .357 SIG.

Accuracy

The .357 SIG shoots an extremely flat trajectory at longer ranges than its self-defense round counter parts. And gets even faster in longer, five or six-inch barrels. Massad Ayoob tested American Eagle’s 125-grain Full Metal Jacket bullet out to 25 yards in a 4-inch barrel Glock 32 Gen 4. He achieved highly satisfactory 1.05-inch groups. Push the .357 SIG even further, and accuracy is not compromised even out to 100 yards. Rumor has it the .357 SIG will over penetrate, but this just isn’t the case in reality. If so, the Federal Air Marshals would not be issued handguns chambered for .357 SIG. Not because a hole in the airplane would suck anyone out—it wouldn’t—but due to the confinement and closeness of people relative to the bad guy in a commercial airline cabin.

In tests, the .357 SIG outperformed the 9mm, .40 S&W and the .45 ACP in higher percentage success rates in one-shot stops, fatal shots, accuracy, and less number of rounds used to stop an assailant. Loaded to the same pressure as a .357 Magnum, but 14 percent higher than a .40 S&W or a 9mm, the .357 SIG creates quite the report when fired. Recoil is similar to the .40 S&W—if you need something to compare it to—but less than the .357 Magnum. It can handle a 160-grain bullet, but 125-grain jacketed hollow points perform best for self-defense. Its stopping power is undeniable.

The .357 SIG a niche caliber? Perhaps. However, it is certainly one that performs to a greater expectation for law enforcement than other self-defense rounds.

Do you own a .357 SIG? Tell us about it in the comment section.

[suzanne]

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (60)

  1. I carry a model 33 Glock in 357 Sig and it shoots really good for having such a short barrel, but it is a handful in that caliber. I have the same size gun in 9mm and even though I knew 357 Sig would have more recoil, I was totally caught off guard when I shot the very first round out of it. My eyes and mouth were big around as coffee cup, but after I knew what to expect, no problem. It’s not a gun I care to shoot hundreds of rounds out of at one time like 9mm, but it will do the job God forbid I ever have to shoot someone. I have no interest in being in a gunfight. Anyway, is it the best cartridge out there? Obviously that is up to the person shooting it. The one that has the worst reputation is 9mm, but it’s stopped a lot of bad guys and like everyone else, I sure as hell wouldn’t want to be popped with one. I’ve got no interest in being popped with a good ol’ Daisy Red Rider BB gun, let alone anything with gun powder to make it work.
    Best wishes to all,
    Cheers!

  2. Wow! Does this thread have a life of its own or what?
    Re-reading the original article I am struck by the impression that the author seems to think that there are only four suitable semi-auto cartridges for Self Defense use: the 9mm Parabellum, the .357 Sig, the .40 S&W, and the .45 ACP. While these are all good choices for SD use I think there are more (and arguably better) choices that can be made.
    What about the 10mm?
    What about the 9×23 Winchester?
    And what about the .38 Super which actually predated the .357 Magnum?
    And just for grins, what about the 7.62×25 Tokarev (or 7.63 Mauser), the .22 TCM, and the 5.7 FN?

    All the above have more power than a 9×19 Parabellum, all are chambered in semi-auto pistols and all — save the 10mm — have the same ammo capacity as the 9×19 — which is more than the .357 Sig.
    I will freely admit that good SD ammo for the 7,62 Tokarev is difficult to find, but load up some 90 gr. .308 Hornady XTP bullets and give it a try.

    Essentially I am trying to say that as long as we just keep comparing the same old “popular” rounds to each other we are not learning anything.

    Where’s Elmer Keith when you need him?

    1. I believe the writer was comparing the .357 Sig to the most popular, not everything available. Using your manner of thinking then why not include the .500 S&W, .454 Casull, etc.?

  3. I picked up a SIG P229R cpo in .357sig a few years ago and feel in love with the cartridge. To make things even better I got a 9mm conversion barrel for when moneys tight. Now if only I could get a .357sig barrel for my Kahr TP40 that would be my ideal carry piece.

  4. The .357 sig is all that is good in a single caliber. I bought a Glock 31 gen 3 in .357 sig really loved it, but ammunition at that time was extremely prohibitively expensive. I’ve got to tell you it was one of the most accurate handguns that I’ve owned period. Unfortunately I sold it and bought another handgun. Well now five years later I’ve bought myself a new Glock 31gen 4 in .357 sig which truth be told is even better as it comes with three x-tea magazines and hand grip modifiers, so you can change your grip size on your handgun, I really like this feature as I have it on my smith & Weston m&p .40 cal it also has grip extensions. So as much as I regretted getting rid of my first Glock, my second Glock is that much more sweeter ????

  5. I’m thinking of buying the Glock G27 gen4. as a sub-compact for concealed carry. It can shoot 357 Sig, 40 Cal and 9MM with just a barrel and magazine change. Anybody think that’s a good idea too?

  6. I own a S&W M&P in 357 sig and my brother has a Sig Sauer P320 in 357 sig. This caliber is amazing. It’s accurate, very manageable recoil and has awesome stopping power and penetration.

    1. Great cartridge. But why not choose one that has all of those things going for it plus an additional three rounds (on average) in the magazine? Yes, I mean the 9×23 Winchester.

    2. I don’t think I have ever seen 9×23 Winchester ammo. It must be more scarce than .357 Sig when it first came out. Any idea on the price comparison between the 2.
      I love the .357 Sig with my Glock 33. Small, lightweight and powerful. Ammo has become easier to get also so it isn’t a bank breaker to shoot now.
      I also carry my Taurus G2 Millennium in 9mm. I think it is a bit lighter than the Glock 33 when fully loaded but both make extremely good carry guns.

    3. Yeah, Gary — 9×23 Winchester ammo is hard to find and expensive when you do find it. These days it is pretty much a handloader’s calibre. But that does not take anything at all away fron its performance. If more people knew about it and asked for pistols in 9×23 Win. the ammo situation would change. It is a damned good cartridge and deserves a better fate than to be relegated to the dust bin of failed rounds.

  7. Do I need to worry about anything behind the target?

    “He fired one round of .357 SIG into the tractor-trailer. It penetrated the steel and into the perpetrator’s head, killing him instantly”.

  8. All things are a compromise. The 357 sig is a short case,medium caliber, high pressure round. It fits the hand of of a wide variety of people and (in the Speer and Remington bonded offerings) gives excelled accuracy and superior performance as a standard offering, and all of this in a manageable package.
    It is the upper end of the capabilities of 90 percent of over 100,000 police officers in America today.
    It is a compromise. And a darn good one.

  9. The round you mentioned already exists… its called 9×25 dillon. And it is a screamer. Its a 10mm case necked down to 9mm. If I recall you can get 1900 fps out of a 115 grain 9mm bullet. Holy crap… right?
    As for carbines chambered for it? Nada… but anything can be done if you have the clams… go for it!

  10. Wow. Caliber wars again? Really?

    In truth, the .357 Sig, .40, 10MM, 9MM, .45 and all the rest are great rounds. But it boils down to hitting the target doesn’t it? I mean, a well-placed .22LR will do the job. The key point being the placement. To boil it down you’re throwing a hunk of lead at someone. The two variables are how much and how fast. A lil bigger or a lil faster will help, all else constant. But hitting the target helps more. Have a nice day.

  11. Wow. Caliber wars again? Really?

    In truth, the .357 Sig, .40, 10MM, 9MM, .45 and all the rest are great rounds. But it boils down to hitting the target doesn’t it? I mean, a well-placed .22LR will do the job. The key point being the placement. To boil it down you’re throwing a hunk of lead at someone. The two variables are how much and how fast. A lil bigger or a lil faster will help, all else constant. But hitting the target helps more.

  12. The 9×23 Win should be more population with law enforcement than it is. It offers equal or better performance than 357 Sig and the thinner case allows for greater capacity. Yeah it’s a little longer of a bullet and it requires a slightly larger grip, but these are duty guns we’re talking about.

    1. I agree, Ricardo. The 9×23 Winchester matches the .357 Sig and the .357 Magnum with 125 gr. bullets. The 9×23 Winchester will do anything the .357 Sig will do and carry more rounds while doing it. My EAA Witness spits out a 125 gr. JHP at 1605 fps (chronographed) and holds 17+1 rounds. Yes, the .357 Sig is a good round, but the 9×23 Winchester is even better. I do not understand why the 9×23 Win gets no respect. The only drawback to the 9×23 Win is the lack of ammo availability, and whose fault is that?

  13. “The design allows a smaller bullet to travel as fast as a larger caliber bullet.”

    – I don’t understand this comment. Don’t larger caliber bullets travel slower?

  14. One little detail however, the 357 sig is badass, but the article says no semi auto could beat 357 mag… wrong. The best caliber ever created the mighty 10mn easily beats 357 mag and sig, it may be a tad much for self defense, but the 10mm is the perfect caliber and thats without a doubt.

    1. 10mm ain’t got nothing on the 357 Magnum. Those two cartridges are about as close as two cartridges can be in performance. It comes down to what you’re shooting them out of more than anything.

    2. As powerful as the 10mm can be loaded, it is still far from the efficacy and power of the .357 magnum. It is no contest, sorry. (And this from a 10mm fan!)

    3. I carry a G29 10mm almost everyday!!! it is far from to much for self defense!!!

      Even though i am a 10mm Fan, i can not agree with the statement that the .357Sig or 10mm Auto is superior to the .357 Magnum. On the other side of that, i would never trust my life to a Wheel Gun Caliber!!!!

    4. The .357 Magnum (or the .41 Magnum, for that matter) will always be a more *versatile* round than the 10mm. That’s mainly due to the fact that many more bullet weights and types can function well out of a revolver (or a single-shot) than from a semi-auto. If you compare “apples to apples” and use the .357 Mag’s 125 gr. JHP load to the 10mm’s 135 gr JHP load I think you will find out that the 10mm can hold it’s own. I have measured my own load with the 135 gr. Nosler JHP at 1560 fps out of a *ported* 4.5″ barrel — that makes an honest 730 ft-lbs. at the muzzle. Were I to carry a revolver for Self Defense it would very likely be a .357 Mag with 125 gr. JHP ammo — but I carry a semi auto.

  15. See the comment below from dwight looi. He hit I right on the head about the 40S&W. With the right load the 40 is an awesome round producing the same or more energy than the 357sig. I can get close to 600ft-lbs of energy out of my 3.1″ Shield 40 with a 135gr. Pretty amazing. The 357sig is also an amazing round.

  16. The relative performance inferiority of the 40 S&W is NOT the 40 S&W round itself, but the stubbornness of some of its users and proponents — those who insist that the ONLY good loads for the 40 S&W a deep penetrating, sub-sonic round in the mold of the 45 ACP with it’s traditional 230 gr loadings. Basically, the 40S&W — being a high pressure cartridge with a smaller diameter than the 45 ACP — should not be limited to the 180 grain 995 fps JHP loads. That is a sure way to guarantee that you’ll drill a smaller hole than the 45 with no redeeming qualities in terms of terminal ballistics. In fact, I’ll argue that the 40 S&W is not even optimal with the 165 and 155 grain bullets. The 40 S&W, if you are looking for 357 Mag or 357 SIG like performance, is fully capable of delivering a 135 grain JHP at 1425 fps from a 4″ barrel all within it’s pressure specs with commercially available powder. With the 135gr bullet and 11.0~11.5 grs of Longshot powder will do just that. Now that’s more mass, more velocity and more energy than the full pressure 125 gr 357 SIG rounds. Like the 357 SIG and 357 Mag, that Nosler or Sierra hollow point is guaranteed to expand that the hydrodynamic pressures associated with an impact above 1300 fps. It is guaranteed to not only expand but fragment and create a huge stretch cavity and shot gun like multi-prong wound channel inside the target. It’ll most likely not penetrate more than 10~12″. Again… all the same characteristics as the 357 Mag. It’s all there, you just have to look beyond the 180 grain bullets that leave insufficient room for powder and moves too slowly to expand, fragment and shock. Slow 40s are a bad idea just like slow 9mms. Don’t limit it to stupid loadings, just like you don’t limit the 9mm to 147 grain slugs, and the 40 S&W will come onto it’s own.

  17. Yes, the .357 Sig is a very good handgun round. It proves that .357 Mag performance can be had in a normal-sized autopistol.
    But why isn’t there more interest in the 9×23 Winchester? It propels the same bullet at the same muzzle velocity as the .357 Sig but it allows magazine capacity equal to a 9mm Parabellum pistol.

    Just a thought.

  18. Nice comments on the .357 SIG capabilities. I first experienced the round in a cheaply rented Glock 32 compensated. I subsequently purchased a ‘standard’ Glock 31, Springfield XD 357 sig and a RARE new-gen Steyr M357-A1.
    I love the straight-to-the-rear push, not a flip-up, that the 357 sig provides. My Steyr is my favorite and the grip is angled perfectly for the round.
    44 Mag in a short barrel, 460 or 500 S&W, the 357 sig actually makes me and my friends smile more, of course we are not facing huge animals either.
    Retired Nuclear

  19. Thanks for a great write up on the 357 SIG. I have the Springfield Armory XD-357 Tactical. A great firearm for the 357 SIG. The 5″ barrel squeezes even more performance from the ammo. It is easy to get over 1500fps from Underwoods 125gr ammo. More people need to try this round out, and see for themselves why so many are impressed with the rounds performance…

  20. I’m not suprised that your NYC cop is retired! If he’s giving out advice like that I’m guessing he was as much a danger to himself as to others.
    .38 Spec and .357 Sig have so little in common as to be apples and oranges. About all that is common to them is that they are ammunition. DO NOT EVEN ATTEMPT TO USE DISSIMALER MUNITIONS IN ANY FIREARMS.
    You may wish trying to GOOGLE “.357 Sig Ammuniation, for sale” and see what turns up. There is more available out there than you may think with a little bit of hunting.. I’ve seen it pop up faily often of late.

  21. DO NOT SHOOT .38 SPECIAL IN A .357 SIG!!! They are not the same round or even close! The Sig round is a bottleneck, rimless round. The .38 Special is a straight-wall, rimmed round. Using any ammo in a gun it is not designed for is VERY dangerous!

  22. I own and shoot both a G31 .357 SIG and a G33 .357 SIG and would not give them up for anything. I find that finding/buying ammo is an almost mission impossible and when you can find it it is too expensive, thus limiting my range and target practice sessions. Can any tell me where I can buy bulk ammo in this caliber. A retired former NYC policeman told me that .38 Special rounds will work in a .375 SIG, with no modifications, I find that hard to believe and wonder if any of you fellow gun lovers know if this is true? Thanks

  23. A lack of interest likely stems from this history as far as I can tell.

    If I remember correctly the original factory loading for the 10MM created for the Colt Delta Elite 1911 and the Smith and Wesson 1076 was made by Norma, a Norwegian company formed around the turn of the last century, was a 200 grain bullet at over 1,200 fps and around 750-60 lb. Ft of energy. That loading produces significant recoil, blast overpressure and flash in the 5″ barrel of the Colt.

    Originally developed for the FBI following the disastrous 1986 shootout in Miami where 4 people died and 5 were wounded including the subject of the action, two armed robbers the first loading turned out to be too much for most field agents to handle comfortably. FBI ballistic requirements revolved around the ability to penetrate auto windshield glass and door metal eventually ended up in a so called 10MM lite loading. Smith and Wesson found they could produce the same 10MM Lite exterior and terminal ballistics in a shorter case and so the .40 S&W was born. With the advent of the .40 S&W what demand there was for the 10MM largely died off. Also the full power 10MM loads tended to beat frames and slides on early guns badly with frequent use. The later development of the polymer frame Glock 20 gave us flexible platform that handles the full power loads better and reduces felt recoil as compared to the all steel 1911s and S&W 1076. I have shot both and while reduced power loads are similar in feel in both the 1911 and the Glock, to me at least the difference at full power is noticeable.

    I have an early Delta Elite and I reload for it. I have fired numerous loads from the original Norma factory loads to 135 gr. self defense loads in factory ammo and currently use a supply of 180 and 165 Federal HydraShock for that purpose. I originally used the gun for pin matches, (bowling pins placed on a flat metal table that are hard to knock off without a high energy round) and later reworked it for Bullseye matches. It is extremely accurate and in most loadings the recoil is manageable though I’m not particularly recoil sensitive. For most of my loads I use either 155 or 180 gr. Hornady XTP HP for the serious stuff and the same weights in Hornady HAP for practice. I also load 180 gr. LTCFP for general training although the use of lead requires lower velocities to keep down barrel leading. I like to use Alliant Blue Dot for a powder as it is a slower than the fast burning powders like Bullseye and is easier to control pressures with. Blue Dot fills the case better and in higher gr. loadings doesn’t smoke much and provides excellent accuracy, at least in my gun. In lighter loads I find Blue Dot smokes a little more and burns less efficiently. I can load moderate power levels of around 1,000 FPS with a 180 gr. bullet easily at moderate pressures and recoil and still have a potent round for any but hunting purpose. If I used it for hunting as some do, I would load at the upper reaches where the 10MM approaches .41 Magnum levels and great penetration on game including white tails.

    In summary most would say the 10MM lacks popularity due to the availability of the .40 S&W at the loadings used today and the .40 is the most used round by law enforcement today which is always a significant factor. Like the 7.62/.308, 5.56/.223, .45 ACP, 9MM, .38 Special and .30-06, anytime a cartridge is standard issue or in wide use with either military or law enforcement it is almost guaranteed popularity due to compatibility with civilian firearms and availability. Surplus ammo and guns have in decades passed been a primary reason for adoption and use by everyone else.

  24. I have been following this [.357 Sig Blog] and have found the discussion branch concerning munitions interesting. BRASS#17 seems to have a good handel on the realities and condensed it into a few concise and well chosen words. I agree that the realities of factory vs. home/bench loading does not have the gap in specification and preformance that may have existed a decade or more ago. Reloading today, given the precision equipment and dies, powders, bullets, specification books and tables and manufactures production specs that are available in some respects may actually be producing a more consistant product round for round than mass production can. The other edge of that sword is the fact that mass production has also improved at nearly the same rate. It is no surprise to me that the legal issues that may have existed when using “reloaded” ammo for “self defense” do not have the impact that they once did. Given that there are a number of manufactures now producing “once fired” production reloads for sale further bridged that gap to make it nearly non existent. Now if someone would come up with a home reloading system for .22 cal Rimfire munitions . . . . Ahh, if wishes were horses!
    I’m still confused at the lack of this discussion involving the 10 mm as it stands along side the common “pistol” rounds. If one is looking at preformance specifications as they are parented by the .357 Magnum it would seem that the 10mm would have to be part of this conversation were the .357 Sig is considered. I have on several occasions had the opportunity to fire the 10mm, .357 Sig, and .40 in a side by side shoot. I do not find a noticeable differance in recoil between them and “thru shot” geometry seems much the same. But thats just me. From a munitions avaliabity POV I think that production 10 and 40 may be a bit more easily found than .357 Sig or so it seems from what I’ve seen on the shelves.
    This blog has provided a lot of great info on the .357 Sig. Information is power! I appericated all that was put for here, thanks for increasing my own store of knowlage. Pete sends…

  25. I have owned a G32 for years now and love it. I’ve been a handgun hunter ever since I bought my first .44 Mag on my 21st birthday, so I have no recoil issues with this round. I used to work in a local gun shop and have listened to more stories than I care to remember. In that environment you quickly learn to tell the difference between BS stories and factual ones. There were several older lawmen that hung out in the shop that shared stories now and then. The one that stuck with me the most was from a retired LEO. His background consisted of joining the Marines at 18 years old and doing recon missions in Nam. After that he joined a small town sheriffs office where he was trained by old school lawmen. He then went to Border Patrol and later became a DPS trooper. While in border patrol he carried a .357 Mag loaded with some sort of 125 grain hollow point. He had to use it on night to shoot a man that was charging him with a knife. He said when he fired into the mans chest, the first thing to hit the ground was the back of his head and he was done. .357 Mag with 125 grain hollow point bullets get the job done and I’m sure the Sig round does also.

    I’ve seen several post mentioning the 10mm. That is/was a good round as well. It’s been since the mid nineties since I have messed with this round. The trouble back then was that the firearms that were chambered for it couldn’t handle the full power loads without cracking slides and what not. Then the ammo manufacturers began reducing the rounds down to 40 S&W velocities so it didn’t make a whole lot of since to pay more for 10mm when the .40 was at the same power level. Since I no longer work in the gun shop I haven’t kept up with what the ammo manufacturers are offering or if someone finally made a firearm that could handle the full power rounds. I’ve thought about trying a G20 and loading my own rounds for a nice carry companion in the woods but unless they started making full power factory loads one is better off with the smaller S&W round for self defense.

    As for over penetration unless you live in an apartment complex where you are divided by only thin walls I wouldn’t worry so much about hitting the neighbors. If you have other people living in your house like your children then you just have to keep that in mind because even a 9mm will go through sheet rock with no problem.

    It’s kind of puzzling to me that the 10mm and the .357 Sig are two great rounds but they are hard to find and seem to be going the way of the dinosaur. I guess if it gets to where I can’t find ammo for my .357 Sig I will have to get a .40 cal barrel for my G32. Or I may just go old school and get a small .357 Mag wheel gun. I ain’t scared to be called old fashion. Al my hunting handguns are wheel guns anyway.

  26. Though the situation may arise, I don’t think LE’s main concern is defeating barriers to hit their targets. I would hope agencies would care more about not creating unintended GSW from over penetrating bullets. The .357 Sig sounds more like the 7.62×25 round, which is known to be inherently armor piering because of its smaller bullet at a higher velocity. I know that’s FMJ vs JHP, but look at Hornady Critical Duty ammo.

    The story given was useless other than maybe indicating they should have just been using 40SW.

  27. On average good advice but not necessarily true. Most are well served by following this advice due to the relatively small number of rounds needed for carry and the infrequent use in training. Practice ammo with similar exterior ballistics is common and more affordable and not impossible to duplicate by individuals. However, for those with the knowledge and equipment which is much more attainable and wide spread today than in previous years this is not an iron clad rule.

    Some lawyers may still offer this advice as an absolute but the caution against loading your own personal defense ammo is somewhat outdated and has been overcome, largely by the common use of hollow points by law enforcement and the testimony at trial by experts like Massad Ayoob and others.

    A career police officer, nationally renowned trainer and classified expert witness in too many trials to count, Mr Ayoob explains this thoroughly in two books titled: In the Gravest Extreme and Concealed Carry.

    The urging by some to load personal defense weapons with only factory ammo these days comes largely from a concern for reliability, performance and the distrust of individual abilities. Decades ago when many police departments issued revolvers and the standard load was something on the order of a 158 grain solid lead round nose .38 Special or .357 Magnum Some firearms experts and others who have a learned and proven ability for precision and reliability in their own loading practices do load personal defense ammo and practice with what they both load and carry.

    The introduction of the Smith and Wesson model 59 and other semi-autos started the revolution in ammunition development and where high performance ammunition production was strictly the province of a few commercial makers and neither components nor ability allowed for the production of its equal by individuals that is no longer true. The components, knowledge and equipment to enable the production of safe and reliable high performance ammunition is no longer restricted to Federal, etc. Most

  28. That’s good for practice ammo but any lawyer will tell you to only use ammo that comes from a well known company and is labeled personal protection or self defense and even better if it what police departments in your area use in there duty weapons as you can easily defend the use of ammo like that . Reloads when used for self defense allow lawyers to sue you for making your own ammo with the intention of getting more power out of each shot putting excessive use of force issues into a lawsuit if you do shoot your weapon In a self defense situation.

  29. Several people have commented on the high price of 357sig ammo. I found reloading is the way to go.It costs about the same as 9mm– same bullet,primer, and slightly more powder. It’s not the easiest round to reload, but well worth the effort.

  30. Makes sense for law enforcement but I don’t think I’d use it in a personal defense weapon unless it was with a fragmenting round like a Glaser or similar. I have no desire to shoot into the next room or neighbors house should I miss. Shooting through car doors or windshields isn’t a likely shot choice for me, possible but not likely. Over penetration is a problem for civilians and defensive shooters while law enforcement usually isn’t held to account for the consequences of errant shots, etc.

  31. I sometimes carry a Sig P239 in .357 Sig. It’s an 8+1 with the extended mags. For practice I just drop in a .40 barrel. Personally, I don’t notice any difference between shooting the Sig round vs the 40. Both are snappy but manageable. Compared to .357 magnum the Sig round seems a bit tamer recoil wise. I think it’s a very valid carry option.

  32. I’ve worked in law enforcement for 21 years and have carried the good old model 66, the Glock 22 and in 1997, was issued a Sig Sauer P226 chambered in .357 sig. We all looked at each other with a “what’s this?” look. Then we shot it. Point of aim out to about 60 yard is pretty nice. I’ve carried this pistol ever since and never had an issue of any kind. We’ve had officer involved shootings over the years and the round has performed flawlessly. Through windshields, rear windows, car doors, wood house doors, you name it…nothing stops it but a human body. We have never had an issue of over penetration and is an immediate stopper. My off duty gun is a 239 also chambered in the round because I want to win the fight with the first round. Price is steep, I agree, but how do you put a price on your life or that of your loved ones?

  33. To put it much simpler I have a Glock 40 caliber that I have 357 sig and 9 mm conversion barrels for and can use the original 40 caliber magazines for both 40 and 357 sig but must change the barrel and use 9 mm Glock magazines to convert it to 9 mm . I would not buy a gun that could only fire the 357 sig round as it may become unavailable to get ammo for .

  34. I have a Glock 27 with the factory .40 cal barrel and a Lone Wolf 9MM conversion barrel. Both function 100%, the LW 9MM is more accurate than the Glock .40 and can shoot lead w/o problems. I also have a G19 Gen. 3 that I checked into converting to a .40, but found it not possible unless I buy a new slide. I also find that at normal self defense distances the sights work equally well for either caliber.

    I find with Glocks it is only a matter of swapping barrels and magazines (which are not always needed) to step down in caliber like the G27 .40 cal conversion to the G26 9MM as they are the same frame and slide but stepping up to the next larger caliber often requires a slide as well as barrel as in going from the G19 9MM to the G23. Although the frame is the same and the exterior dimensions of the slide are compatible the barrel opening in the front of the slide is too small on a G19 to accept the barrel from a G23.

    I don’t own a G33, the .357 Sig version in the same frame size as the G26/27 but as the .357 is essentially a necked down .40, the exterior dimensions of the two barrels may be the same. I have found that although I don’t do it when carrying my G27 that 9MM rounds will feed fine in the G27 mags. I haven’t had a failure to feed when experimenting with them but just to be both confident and safe I don’t try to use the .40 cal mags with the 9MM barrel. So, due to the nature of the relationship between the .40 and the .357 I am wondering if the G33 .357 Sig barrel would fit and work safely in the .G27 .40 slide. Also, if the .357 round is slightly longer than the .40 I would have to carefully check the mags for interchangeability.

    If the G33 barrel will work in the 27 that means that I can have three pistols in one for the cost of two barrels and mags if necessary and that enables valuable flexibility in the intended use and for ammo availability.

    I find the G27 fine for me in stock form, however the recoil and blast are too much for my wife. My motivation for the 9MM conversion was to see if it would lower both of those detractors enough to make the G27 a comfortable pistol for my wife to use also. It did, she is willing to practice with it in the 9 mm configuration. Although still too snappy for a long session or a shoot for fun gun, it is fine for building skills and confidence in reasonable length sessions. I reload both calibers and that increases the flexibility and affordability as the casings are the easiest to get for me and of course use less powder. The 9 mm use small pistol primers and the .40 large pistol but that is a manageable inconvenience most of the time. They both use the same powders and similar data for the most part and that does offer advantages in this time of non-availability as I can shoot either caliber depending on my primer inventory.

    I mention all this of course as examples of why it would be great to be able to shoot the .357 in the frame series of Glock whether full size, compact or sub-compact by simply switching barrels and maybe magazines. By the way, if you check the recoil spring assembly part numbers for the G27 and the G26 they are the same. I haven’t checked the G33 or the G32 which is the same frame size as the G19.

    I think with careful planning and a little research of factory gun part numbers with a question or two to Glock for technical and safety information, one could build a very affordable and flexible grouping of capabilities for about 20% higher cost than buying them all. It takes me about a minute to change my G27 to a G26 or vice versa and in a pinch the G27 mags could be used for the shorter 9 mm but not vice versa. I find this interesting, useful and fun. I don’t think I would reload the .357 Sig as I doubt I want to mess with a bottleneck pistol cartridge that I would shoot very limited quantities of but I haven’t tried it so I won’t rule it out. At this point I would probably stick to buying factory .357, at least to start. I do find the possibility intriguing and if time allows I may explore this further. It would be interesting to have a pistol that can fire three or four different calibers with only quick parts changes and no drawbacks to safety or reliability. It is possible to do the same with the 1911 family of pistols buy swapping barrels, recoil spring assembles and magazines if planned ahead. 10MM, 9MM, .40 cal and another that I have forgotten at the moment (.357 Sig or Dillon 9×21?) can be swapped out although with a little more expense and inconvenience than the striker fired Glocks.

  35. I do believe that the 357 sig is the best performing self defense handgun round but also think the inability to find ammo and the governments ability to restrict civilians from getting a hold of the ammo is its biggest drawback .the rounds could become the next ss192 wich where available to the public for the FN five seven and pending government pressure removed them from public access wich could also happen to the 357 sig.

  36. Back in the 90s, I purchased a Glock 32 in this caliber when it was first released. I replaced the plastic guide rod with a steel one and use a Wolf main spring. I have fired about 3,000 rounds with no malfunctions(factory ammo.) The most accurate ammo I tested was Corbon 125gr. At 20 yards I was able to shoot 1″ groups with the Corbon.
    Early this year, I shot in a Glock match with my G17L, G20, and G32. I got the best results(6th overall out of 30) with the G32. I have a “no name” .40 barrel for it that I bought on ebay for $60 and it works great.
    The only pistol I own that is more accurate then the G32 is the FN 5.7mm. The reliability and stopping power of the Glock 32(357 barrel) are why this gun defends my house. My Wife also enjoys shooting it, so she can use it if I am not home.

  37. There are a few problems with the 357 SIG that can be worked around pretty easily. One of these problems is the cost of the ammo. It you buy a semi-auto pistol, manufacturers such as Kahr, clearly state in their manuals that a recommended minimum of at least 200 rounds are fired through it before trusting the pistol. I do this for all of my pistols that I consider a carry gun or a house gun. If you’re going to shoot 200 center fire rounds through a pistol, it is not an inexpensive proposition. When I fired the first 200 rounds through my Ruger SR45, it ran me a little over $120.00. Breaking in a 9mm costs a good bit less than the 45 ACP, while the 40 S&W costs somewhere in between. The 357 SIG costs significantly more to break in than the 40 S&W.
    Another problem with the 357 SIG, is the availability of the ammo. If you can’t find the ammo, you can’t buy it. If you can’t buy it, you can’t shoot it. My solution to this, was to buy a S&W M&P Pro in 40 S&W. I was able to find a brand new, factory made barrel in 357 SIG online. I broke this pistol in with the 40 S&W barrel, then switched to the 357 SIG barrel. After running a couple boxes of 357 SIG ammo through it, I was satisfied that I could trust this gun with either caliber enough to use it as a house gun. I always have the option to switch back to the 40 S&W barrel and ammo, if 357 SIG ammo can’t be found.
    The bad part to this solution, is that not every manufacturer produces models in both calibers that are essentially the same. S&W makes their full sized M&P in both 40 S&W and 357 SIG. They use to make M&P Compacts in both of these calibers, but they dropped the 357 SIG model from their inventory. The S&W SD series never offered a model in 357 SIG. Glock makes pistols that have models that are twins using the same frames and slides in both 40 S&W and 357 SIG, they are models 22/31; 23/32; 27/33. The following manufacturers do not make pistols in 357 SIG, Taurus, Ruger, Kahr and Springfield. I do know that SigSauer does make pistols in 357 SIG, but have no idea if they make twin models like S&W and Glock. I know even less about H&K.

  38. My concealed carry is a SIG SAUER P239 chambered for 357 SIG that I also use with a Bar-Sto 9mm conversion barrel and SIG 9mm magazines. Recoil with the 357 SIG is snappy and fast, but not hard (more and quicker than the 9mm). The fast snappy recoil translates into a bullet that travels extremely fast. You can actually feel and see the speed compared to the 9mm. Hits on a metal target are much stronger with the SIG 357, leaving much deeper dents. Current availability of 357 SIG is poor. You can find good (expensive) self defense rounds, but less expensive target rounds are nearly non-existent. This is the only reason I bought the 9mm conversion. BTW the semi-fit conversion barrel works great after having it fitted by a gunsmith.

    1. Isn’t the P239 a great CCW Weapon? I don’t understand why it’s not more popular.

      I just changed out my .40 bbl for a .357 Sig bbl. Haven’t had a chance to shoot it yet but I’m interested in doing a side by side comparison.

  39. Interesting post, Suzanne. I’m not at all familiar with this round, as I always used .38/.357s and recently bought a 1911 in .45 acp. Oh yeah, I had quite a love affair twenty five years ago with a Super Blackhawk and some loading dies. I could head shoot rabbits with one hand. That one, I really, really should’ve kept. But, I was a hunter. I can see the logic and benifits of law enforcement for that round……….now, you got me thinkin’bout that .44.

  40. I have a glock 33. While the 357 sig is hard to find sometimes, my glock is the only pistol I have that will spin my metal targets all the way around, besides my 357 magnum revolver. I have one round magazine extenders, so one in the chamber and ten in the magazine makes and my baby glock in 357 sig a true pocket rocket.

  41. I agree with another commenter about the 10mm. I believe it had matched the .357 Magnum in power well before it’s grandchild, the .357 Sig. (The .40 was derived from the 10mm and the .357 Sig from the .40…) I think this article is incomplete without the 10mm which can be had in 2 different Glocks, several 1911s, and the EAA Witness Platform!

  42. Lot of good info here and all. I did wonder why you made no connections between the 357Sig and the 10mm? If stopping power is the issue or one shot stops then I would have considered the 10mm an essitental data point along with .40, .45 and the 357 mag. They are all much within the same ballpark. Inquiring mind ….

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