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Old November 2, 2013, 12:25 PM   #1
Onward Allusion
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357 Sig

Why isn't this cartridge more popular? Ballistically it is flatter shooting, carries more energy than the 9mm, 40S&W, or 45ACP AND has the capacity of a 40. Finally, recoil isn't bad and is comparable to a hot 40 or 45 load. Price-wise post-Newtown is comparable to 45ACP.

So, is this round becoming more popular? I mean, Glock, S&W, Springfield, HK, & of course Sig - all have pistols chambered in this caliber. Do a few of the national agencies and the few dozen large LE agencies know something that most shooters don't?

I am not trying to start a caliber war nor is this an exercise in trolling as a mod from another forum accused me of and even gave me a freakin' warning against my account. That guy seem to think that any comments against 45ACP amounted to sacrilege.

I want to know who here shoots/carries this round and what y'all think of it.
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Old November 2, 2013, 12:40 PM   #2
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Because shooting jell-o and negligible differences in fps and lb-f don't translate to into real world situations where speed, accuracy, and fast follow-up are king.

Everyone says the caliber they shoot is the best, then tries to use numbers to back it up.
OK, so not all plastic guns are bad
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Old November 2, 2013, 12:45 PM   #3
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I only have 1 pistol chambered in 327 Sig, so I am definitely not a fanboy. However, I am a numbers guy and the numbers weigh in favor of the 357 Sig just like they weigh in favor of the 10mm. In fact I will be getting a pistol chambered in 10mm shortly just to get a feel of the recoil and handling. BTW, the numbers are not negligible. A good 100-200 fps and a 50 to 100+ ftlbs is a measurable difference.
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Old November 2, 2013, 12:48 PM   #4
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I think 357 SIG would be a great round to put into a long slide semi (like a P30L), but it tends to get overused in short compacts where its advantages over 40 are nonexistent.
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Old November 2, 2013, 12:50 PM   #5
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I have yet to see a test that proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it offers anything more than any other pistol caliber, which are all underpowered. The other pistol calibers were already pretty entrenched in LE. It also suffers from a chicken and the egg problem. In order to get ammo costs down it needs to be more popular. But it probably won't get more popular unless ammo costs go down.

From my experience, it is a blast (literally) to shoot. I enjoy it much more than 40SW. My one complaint is that it is LOUD. I wouldn't want to shoot it without hearing protection.
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Old November 2, 2013, 01:03 PM   #6
Brian Pfleuger
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357 Sig

I have (and carry) a 357sig. I like the caliber.

It's really a defensive caliber so some of it's attributes, while real, aren't really relevant to most users. Trajectory is one.

In any case, we can all argue this or that but all that really matters in a defensive caliber is shot placement and penetration. All the major calibers, with one bullet or another, pretty much penetrate the same amount.

What it amounts to is that we argue personal opinion as fact rather than acknowledging that it's opinion.

Shoot what you like, like what you shoot.
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Old November 2, 2013, 01:34 PM   #7
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Yep, enjoy what you like when it comes to pistols & calibers. You only have to suit yourself.

Why would it matter if it's not more "popular" among service (LE/Gov) users, though? What would make it more popular, anyway?

What's "shooting flatter" at typical defensive handgun distances? Does it matter at 5-10 yds?

The .357SIG is more or less a slightly faster .355/9mm using a middle range (for caliber) bullet weight (125gr), as the heavier 147gr offering never really seemed to become popular.

Once you look beyond the original marketing hype of it being the modern pistol equivalent of the "vaunted" 125gr .357 Magnum that produced 1450fps from some 4" service length revolvers ... it's a .355" caliber 9mm bullet being pushed to around 1350fps most service length barrels. (Back in the days when I was carrying a .357 4" service revolver, it wasn't uncommon to find chrono testing which revealed that some of the popular 2 1/2" snub revolvers of the day - M19/66 & Pythons - could be found to produce velocities running 1250-1300fps when checked with some of the 125gr Magnum loads of the day, and 1400-1450fps out of 4" barrels.)

Anyway, the major ammo makers who do a lot of LE/Gov business offer a range of .357SIG loads which are mostly running only 100-150fps faster than some of the 124gr +P & 127gr +P+ 9mm loads being produced for LE sales, and about the same velocity as some long established 115gr +P+ LE loadings.

Federal Tactical Bonded 1350fps
Federal Tactical HST 1360fps
Speer LE Duty Gold Dot has 2 offerings, 1350fps & 1375fps
Winchester has Bonded & T-Series, both producing 1350fps
Remington has a couple of LE offerings, both doing 1350fps

Yes, some of the small custom ammo companies are advertising faster loads. So what?

Having attended my fair share of armorer classes for a few of the big name gun companies who do LE/Gov sales, one of the common things said about the .357SIG cartridge is that it's considered to be a bit harder on guns than even the .40 S&W cartridge. This is one of those things that may be a factor when considering support & maintenance during the projected service life of a duty weapon. (Of course, the 9mm +P & +P+ loads could accelerate wear & tear on service weapons, too, of course.)

Ammo cost & availability can be factor, too.

"Carrying more energy". Paper ballistics and ME figures are all well and good for those folks who like to peruse them, and ammo companies will certainly make them available in their commercial & LE catalogs ... but how any particular caliber/bullet actually behaves under anticipated circumstances is of more interest to major users of service weapons. Nowadays the engineering behind bullet design and how bullets are made to behave within stated "performance parameters", which can be checked via carefully controlled scientific testing, is often of more interest to LE/Gov users.

Not everybody in LE may necessarily agree with how they want to interpret ballistic performance, either, so the ammo companies still make variety of LE loads so any & all LE/Gov users can find something which appeals to whatever criteria it is they use for making ammunition selection.

If the .357SIG was ever going to dominate LE/Gov sales, it would've done so long before now.

If someone likes it, especially as a private citizen/gun owner, there's enough ammo offerings to be found, as well as a selection of pistols chambered to use it.

Don't be surprised if sales don't meet those of the other common service/defensive calibers, but ask yourself why it would matter for an individual choice.

Several years ago I asked a Glock LE rep, just out of curiosity, how many .357 guns were being sold to LE. He told me the company didn't make those figures available to the reps, but that he'd done some asking around (out of his own curiosity) and had been told that apparently they were making 1 gun chambered in .357 for every 2500 guns chambered in other calibers, and that included LE sales. (He didn't seem to know if that meant out of 2500 in each caliber, or combined out of all calibers.)

S&W originally offered their new M&P pistol chambered in .357SIG. Aside from a rather limited production run of MSW357V (Sigma) pistols done many years ago, the M&P 357 was their first attempt to offer a mainstream LE pistol chambered in that caliber. They sold some to LE and private/commercial buyers, but the sales were such that they've apparently dropped that caliber from standard production (reserving it for any LE orders). Too much demand for the regular calibers.

If you like it, there's nothing wrong with that. Enjoy. The gun & ammo companies will thank you.

It's already done something the 10mm couldn't do, which is remain a service caliber.
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Old November 2, 2013, 01:38 PM   #8
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I got a 5 shot average of 1,340 fps out of my Glock 32 with Win. Ranger 125 gr.
The 357 Sig appeals to those that are energy oriented and appreciate the the inherent feed reliability of the bottle neck round.

Why is it not more popular?
Competes against 40 S&W which is a slightly bigger bullet.
Ammo cost.
Ammo availability: may not be found at the local Mart which for some is the determining factor of whether they will own a caliber.
If I have to defend my life, I'd prefer more than "better than nothing" in my hand.
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Old November 2, 2013, 01:49 PM   #9
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Loud and allot flash, other than that it's ok. On the indoor range when firing the 357 sig we began to use double ear protection because of headaches. Also it beat up our Sig P229s. The all steel 229s didn't hold up as well as our older/carbon steel P226s in 9mm. Parts started breaking with fewer rounds. We probably had twice as many rounds through our 9mms when we traded them in and none had gone down whereas several of the P229s needed replacement parts and two had to go to the factory to be fixed. My off duty 357 Glock seems to be holding up well.
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Old November 2, 2013, 02:18 PM   #10
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1. Expensive and difficult to reload.
2. Uncommon, which makes people worry about feeding it in the future.
3. If 9mm holes are too small, this is 9mm.
4. If 9mm over penetrates, this penetrates more.
5. Has less capacity than 9mm.
6. Has the same capacity of .40, which has a bigger bullet.

Really, the one that has me scratching my head is why 9x23 didn't catch on. It performs the same or better than .357 Sig but has the same capacity of 9mm. Seems like just the thing for IPSC and shooters looking for .357 Mag performance out of a full size pistol.

Even 10mm is a dying load, and that stuff is pretty impressive.
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Old November 2, 2013, 02:37 PM   #11
Brian Pfleuger
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357 Sig

The difficult to reload thing is really just an internet myth that won't die. First cartridge I ever reloaded. I consider it no different than any other. Most folks who've done it don't either, only exception/difference being that most size in two steps instead of one.

Most arguments are exaggerations/fabrications so someone can list "down sides".

For instance, 9mm over penetrates? First I've heard that. Usually the opposite argument is made when someone argues AGAINST 9mm.

Most studies and tests show that the major, popular calibers are all nearly identical in INeffectiveness. We only use any of them because rifles are inconvenient.
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Old November 2, 2013, 02:43 PM   #12
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Whether it is true or not, I'm a bit shocked that you've been on internet boards this long and never heard that people believe that 9mm over penetrates, Brian.

It really doesn't matter if it is true or not. If someone believes that, it is going to influence their view of other 9mm diameter rounds. That's what I was getting at.

Did you use some sort of glue with your .357 Sig loads, or have the original set back problems from the small case neck surface area get fixed somehow?
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Old November 2, 2013, 02:54 PM   #13
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I haven't compared everything but noticed that .357 125 gr Speer Gold Dots have a slightly higher muzzle velocity than the Speer Gold Dot 124 gr. 9mm +P. They penetrate more (which may or may not be a good thing) but expand less (from links supplied above by Fastbolt). I don't think the premium defense ammo is any higher than 9mm but practice ammo is more expensive. So, the average shooter is thinking, "Why fix something if it's not broken??
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Old November 2, 2013, 03:16 PM   #14
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You know, I'm just as happy carrying 9mm, .357SIG, 40S&W, .38Super or .45ACP equally. I believe one's about as good as the other so I like, own and carry them all (not at the same time).
I'm also a big fan of .38Spl and .357Mag.
Luckily, this opinion has been formed through reading and practice and not real world combat experience.
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Old November 2, 2013, 04:03 PM   #15
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I've got four that shoot 357 sig, and two of them are Sig made, I love the round and was not phased at all by the ammo shortage during the panic, if there is another one ill still be good
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Old November 2, 2013, 04:16 PM   #16
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I guess what appealed to me and gave me the spark to pick up a 357 Sig was its ability to take a drop in 40S&W barrel. Use the same mags, too! It is also nice to have options during an ammo shortage. I think 357 Sig was one of the few rounds available at my local Bass Pro and online at the height of the shortage.

As for the numbers; they are just numbers and what really matters is shot placement. Think about this...even someone armed with a measly .25ACP can permanently stop someone with one shot by shooting them in the eye. Of course, it is nice to fall back on "Hey, but it has almost 200 ft lb more than +P 9mm!".
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Old November 2, 2013, 04:27 PM   #17
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If you are trying to punch through steel or glass in a car, larger caliber is a disadvantage.
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Old November 2, 2013, 04:32 PM   #18
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I am a fan of 357 Sig, but a few months ago I got rid of my last 357 Sig chambered pistol.

My reason being is that ammo was getting too hard to find, and fmj practice ammo is ridiculous in price.

Typically, I can get 100 rounds of 9mm fmj for $26 where I live. A 50 round box of 357 Sig, when it could be found, was $29-$36 a box.

I am a numbers person as well, and the ballistics of the 357 Sig round is impressive. But it is not much better than some 9mm +p loads ballistic numbers.

In 9mm, I carry the CorBon 115gr +p jhp round, which goes 1350 fps from a 4" barrel. The ME is 466 ftlbs. I can carry 16+1 of these rounds in my Springfield XD-9.

Long story short, while being a fan of the 357 Sig for a long time, I finally got rid of them and now only own semi autos chambered in either 9mm or .45, and that works for me.
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Old November 2, 2013, 04:36 PM   #19
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It's a good cartridge, not really sure why it isn't more popular, but likely because nationwide there isn't wide spread usage of it in LE circles.

I had a G32 barrel for the 23 for years, and it shot good. I have nothing bad to say about it, but I personally prefer bigger bullets. The 357 Sig falls into the light and fast category as a whole, which I'm not a big fan of. It can shoot the heavier 158gr-180gr .357 Mag bullets...but it's stretching things a bit and at that point I'd still rather have the larger bullet of the .40.
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Old November 2, 2013, 04:55 PM   #20
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Because if you can't kill it with a 9MM or a .45, you really should be using a rifle.
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Old November 2, 2013, 05:20 PM   #21
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.357sig; M&P....

The topic of why the .357sig caliber isn't very popular has been posted a few times on TFL.
If you review the older posts you'll see the # of reasons the .357sig didn't gain any support in the US shooting sports/LE.
Author & noted tactics instructor John Farnham carrys a SIG P229R in .357sig.
He said the round is powerful, feeds great & is very fast(high vel).

I didn't read or hear that S&W ended the M&P series in .357sig for the general public.
I saw it on S&W's main website in both the full & compact size.
I also see them listed NIB(brand new) on & .

I'd carry a .357sig on duty or as a CCW if I had the $$$ to get a good brand like a HK or SIG Sauer.

The only serious -s I've ever heard about the .357sig is the noise(blast) & the recoil. I'd think proper training & shooting methods could overcome those problems.

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Old November 2, 2013, 05:26 PM   #22
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.357 Sig... better hard barrier penetration than 9mm, slightly reduced capacity as compared to 9mm, similar trajectory to 9mm, more snappy recoil than 9mm, better expanded diameter than most 9mm...

Sounds a lot like .40 S&W, doesn't it?

Same pros and cons, with a bigger price tag.
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Old November 2, 2013, 05:37 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Onward Allusion
Do a few of the national agencies and the few dozen large LE agencies know something that most shooters don't?
My suspicion is that if these agencies didn't have access to the taxpayers' coffers, they'd go with 9mm or .40....
Don't invest in idiots....the market's flooded!!!
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Old November 2, 2013, 06:50 PM   #24
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My only current handgun is chambered in .357 Sig. That said, I can't say that I would ever recommend the caliber to someone. It's not that it's a bad caliber, it just doesn't really offer anything over the cheaper and more readily available service calibers.
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Old November 2, 2013, 07:29 PM   #25
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357 Sig is a good round. And I think they are becoming more popular.

That said, when I was in the market for a high-performance semi-auto, I went 10mm. In fact, I liked my new Glock 29SF so much, I turned right around and bought the full-sized 20SF immediately thereafter.

I'm a pro-caliber person. I like big holes

I used to think reloading Sig was drawback, but heck, I resize in two steps now (bulge-bust, then de-cap), so Sig would be no harder.

I may get one some day, who knows. I guess I could test it out with a conversion barrel for one of my Glocks.
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