.357 Sig

Or as I like to call it, another answer in search of a question.  First off, I want to say that I’ll never knock a new cartridge simply on the basis of its newness; the industry needs new rounds and new ideas to keep stimulating it, and if someone wants to buy the newest .394 Destroyer simply because it’s new, more power to them, buy often and buy guns to shoot your cartridge.

But I never really understood the .357 Sig; especially with the developments in 9mm +P ammo these days.  If I can get a 124 grain 9mm +P going 1100-1200 FPS out of my Taurus, why do I need a 125 grain .357 Sig going 1300 FPS?  Or on the flip side, if I can get a 165 grain .40 S&W round at 1100 FPS out of a Glock, again, I don’t see the real need for a .357 Sig.  It’s just my personal opinion, but it’s almost like it’s filling a ballistic gap that doesn’t actually exist.  If I want “.357 Magnum like performance”, I’ll just carry a .357 Magnum, and load it with itty-bitty 110 grain HPs at 1300-1400 FPS.

The .357 Sig hasn’t really been widely adopted, and I think what’s really going to spell its death knell is the sunset of the AWB.  If I have two pistols of the same size, producing similar ballistics, but one of them carries 3 or 5 less rounds than the other, I’ll carry the one with more ammo.  I don’t see a reason to clip my magazine capacity down to .40 S&W sizes if I’m just carrying a souped up 9mm.

But to each his own, and that’s what great about this.  I’m not going to tell you what to carry, or what you should carry, or what rounds you should use; I’m going to tell you what I like and what I carry.  If you’re in love with your .357 Sig, that’s fantastic.  Buy lots of ammo and shoot a lot.


  1. I LIKE .357 sig, but I agree it’s a niche that most people don’t want to bother with.

    Of course I’m also a 10mm and .45super shooter.

    There is one area where the .357 sig excels though (and this is why it’s been selected by so many highway patrols) and that is barrier penetration. The .357 SIG pops through window glass and car doors better than any auto pistol rounds short of the 10mm.

    Funny enough, the .357 magnum the SIG was designed to replicate (and it is ballistically identical to a low end .357 magnum load, as would have been carried by highway patrols in the wheelgun days) was also pretty good at that.

    My preference in defensive handguns is 10mm, or a +p+ .45acp. If I have to carry a smaller gun that can’t load either though; I prefer .357 sig over .40 or 9mm.

    ‘Course, Since I bought a custom Colt Defender, I’ve had a .45 that was as small as all my smaller caliber cary guns, ‘cept my Kel-Tec PF9, or my P3AT pocket gun. I haven’t carried any of my mid sized pistols since; and I wouldn’t want to try to shoehorn .357 sig into the larger Kel-Tec… it’s hard enough to control with 9mm as it is.

  2. You know, I used to be a 10mm guy. I had a 10mm Glock 29 that I loved to death, carried it everywhere. Then I was moving to Virginia, so in a fit of stupidity, I sold it. I still have 10mm ammo sitting around my house from 4 years ago, just waiting for the day when I get a new 10mm.

    My problem now with the 10mm is that it’s not economical for me, a non-reloader to shoot it all that often; plus I have a house full of .357 Magnums. If I want a bigger bullet, I’ll end up with a .44 Special or a .45 ACP.

  3. Oh and the .357 sig isn’t really “new”. It was created starting in 1992, and released to the market in 1994.

    It also isn’t really a market failure; though certainly it’s nowhere near as successful as it’s parent, the .40 S&W. As I said, it’s been adopted by many law enforcement agencies, because it gives you the most possible power in a 9mm sized gun.

    From wikipedia:

    “The SIG-Sauer P229 in .357 SIG is currently the standard issue firearm carried by agents of the United States Secret Service and Federal Protective Service, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Virginia State Police,Federal Air Marshals, and various other local and state departments. In most cases, it has replaced 10mm/.40 S&W and 9mm loads. In 1995, the Texas Department of Public Safety became the first government agency to implement the .357 SIG. The Tennessee Highway Patrol presently issues the Glock 31 pistol chambered in .357 SIG.”

  4. Yeah, I didn’t mean to imply that it was new, more like “cartridges that I’d never blogged about before”.

    But it definitely falls into the area of “I don’t get it” rounds, right there next to the .45 GAP. I’m hoping that Taurus chambers one of their excellent Titanium snubbies in the new .327 Federal Magnum; I like the concept of the cartridge but want to shoot it for myself before I pass judgment.

  5. Oh I agree with you. I actually wrote a post comparing the .45GAP (unfavorably) to the .357 sig.

    I’ve been saying for a long time that the .32 H&R magnum had a lot of potential as a subcompact defensive chambering, if someone would just make some decent factory defensive ammo for it. This is the next best thing… or if successful, the next better thing.

  6. I do hope it catches on. You can’t have too many compact revolvers. Or at least that’s what I keep telling my wife.

  7. 115 grain Gold Dot @ over 1600 fps, or a 147 grainer @ 1300 from 4.5″ barrels are what the boutique mfg’s are generating, and for those who like light & fast this is an interesting cartridge. Falls in line with the new pressure-wave-theorems that are desperately trying to be all the rage. Personally never saw much to write home about when using sub-gun 9 mm’s in a handgun, but they were fmj’s so I have no idea what modern hp’s can do.

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