Article The .357 SIG

By Overkill338, Jan 30, 2017 | Updated: Jan 30, 2017 | | |
  1. Overkill338
    The .357 SIG wasn't the first bottleneck handgun cartridge. In the 1960's Winchester necked the .357 Magnum down to to .257.Then the 9x25 Dillon came along in 1988 by necking the 10mm Auto down to .355". Finally in 1994, SIG Sauer and Federal with a joint venture, shorterned and necked down the 10mm to create the .357 SIG. Some think you can form it using .40 S&W brass, but the .40 is 0.009" shorter than the .357 SIG.


    The idea of this cartridge was to try to match the 1450 feet per second 125 grain .357 Magnum, which is #1 in 1 shot stops in history. In a 4" barrel service pistol the Speer 125 grain Gold Dot .357 SIG is advertised at 1350 feet per second. Federal HST 125 grain 1360 feet per second. These two listed loads are two of the best we have to use in .357 SIG and I would feel confident with either, but Im a long Gold Dot fan. In chronograph comparisons I was able to find, you get 3%-4% more velocity when using a 4.5" Glock 31.

    357 2.png

    While it is not EXACTLY a .357 Mag, the .357 SIG has proven itself to be a very capable cartridge. Its very effective at barrier penetration (windshields,car doors, etc). Several Police Agencies have adopted it. The Virginia and North Carolina State Police, and even our local Sheriff's departments. As its popularity has risen with LEA's, its also became more popular as a personal defense caliber. Recoil is very comparable to a .40 S&W, just not as snappy. I'd take the .357 SIG over a .40 any time. Id also carry Underwood Ammo's 125 grain Gold Dot, thats advertised at 1475 fps and 604 ft/lbs, which gives you an amazing proven bullet at the original 357 Mag speed. They also offer a 147 grain XTP at 1250fps & 510 ft/lbs.

    If you have not tried the .357 SIG, you really should. For us Glockaphiles, its as easy as a barrel from Lonewolf and your 22/23/27 can be a 31/32/33 no magazine change needed. Also the 10mm Glocks can be converted to .357 SIG with just a barrel, but the 10mm can also be a 9x25 which Im considering for my own G29 if I can find a bullet that can hold up to the speeds.

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    William H, badbaois, Guser and 7 others like this.

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  1. mikeh1
    "Overview of the .357 SIG cartridge"
    Nice overview! Cleared some mis-information I had in my head since myP239 purchase in 1999! BTW, it always has gawkers at the range...something about the "report" that everyone has to ask "what is that?".
    Cheers, here's to another 18 years of happy .357 SIG shooting.
  2. Awan
    "Good Information"
    Thanks for this article. I have been contemplating purchasing the G32 and this article may have sold me. Hickcok45 has a couple of videos on the G32 and the interchangeability of the G23 .40 barrel and mags. I believe I would rather purchase the G32, then buy a .40 barrel, rather than buy the G23 and buy a .357 SIG barrel. The cost of the ammo is a little higher, but not THAT much more.
  3. DubfromGA
    "Great info"
    interesting read

    I've wanted a .357 Sig for a while now and this may have been what temps me to go ahead.

    It'd make for a decent woods gun possibly, as well.

    I'll look around at possible 40 cal offerings and see if a .357 barrel doesn't find its way, too.


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  1. oldjarhead
    For many years, research and analysis showed the old .357 magnum in a 125 HP, has had the highest percentage of mid torso one shot stops. The .357sig is generally slightly behind it in energy and muzzle velocity in a four inch barrel. A lot of Federal and State agencies use it to good reports of its effectiveness. The only downside to this round is the cost. Double the cost of most 9mm ammo.
  2. evoli
    My first Glock was a Model 32 and I love it but have retired it from my EDC and now use a Glock 43. I put a laser guide rod in the 43 and it works well for the need. I still take the 32 to the range and run ammo through it but not as often as the cost is a factor against 9MM.
  3. wanderson
    I just got in to .357 sig recently with a new gen 4 G32, so far I'm liking this caliber. Yes it does have quite a bit of bark but like .40S&W there's not lot of 'light range' loads. I've found Speer Lawman & Sig Elite for 16-$18/50 round box which is not much more than those same brands in .45acp. I'd love to get a .357 sig conversion barrel for my G40 just to shoot .357 & 10mm side by side to compare performance.
  4. rottglocken
    Like the article. Not sure when it was written, so hopefully I'm not resurrecting some long-dead discussion.
    One thing to mention as a counter-opinion: I find the recoil of my 357SIG barreled G23 quite a bit heavier as well as snappier than the same pistol with the .40S&W barrel. However, I almost exclusively shoot 180 pills in my G23, which could have something to do with it. I find 155-165 grain pills in .40S&W more snappy as well, so if I was comparing those two, with the 357SIG, I'd probably agree with you wholeheartedly.
    The only bad thing I can say about the 357SIG is the cost. SEEMS a little louder, too, but that could just be that it is well supersonic when it leaves the muzzle...
  5. Steelburner
    I've got a Colt New Police made in 1920 which fires .32-20 ammo. The cases are bottle-necked. It's a wimpy cartridge, but it was popular in the Colt's revolvers and in the Winchester '73 leverguns. Yes, it's a rifle cartridge, too, but it was way more popular in revolvers than in rifles.
  6. TexasRaider
    Let me add, it's my understanding the Illinois State Police thought so much of the .357 Mag that when they went to the S&W m39 9mm in the late 60's, they essentially told Federal to make the 9mm into the 125 gr. SJHP .357 Mag and the +P+ 9BPLE was born. I don't know if the ISP collected specific shooting data back then, but anecdotal evidence and street word was everywhere in the 70's that that round flat *worked*.

    Just because they didn't have the recording requirements of today doesn't mean the perception of those historical rounds is wrong or the testimony of those police shooters discarded simply because it can't be measured by today's standards. That's like saying every murder conviction that occurred before DNA testing came along must be thrown out and the prisoner freed because that conviction can't stand up to today's testing capabilities.

    Whether we believe the .357 Mag is the best manstopping round of all time is a matter of opinion, almost faith. Even by today's standards, one must believe in a specific grading system before a round can be graded. If you believe the FBI's current protocol is right, then the current crop of 9mm's are the best we can carry. But if the FBI is wrong, better rounds exist elsewhere. And if no definitive standard for current loadings exists today, how can we call into doubt what apparently worked so well for numerous Troopers, Deputies and Officers so many years ago?

    It comes down to this; Do we believe those old guys when they say they used it, it worked superbly, was a stellar manstopper and they trusted it? Because in the end, that's all we really have from those days. I for one believe them and think the 125 gr. 357 Mag is the best overall handgun round a person can carry. But it's a 6 shot revolver round. The next best thing? The .357 Sig, about 93% of .357 Mag with a capacity twice that of the revolver. But again, it's a matter of opinion bordering on faith.

    Good article!
      badbaois, lgjhn and Poohgyrr like this.
  7. TexasRaider
    Proving the .357 Magnum was the number one 'one shot' stopper of all time is problematic not only due to the innumerable number of variables at play in a gunfight (was the guy coked up, was he in poor health, was the shot dead center in the heart, was it a shoulder hit, was it from a few feet or 50 yards, et cetera), but I think the biggest issue with proving that is that during the time the 125 gr. SJHP .357 Mag did rule the streets, it was when no real databases for police shooting widely existed, nor was the practice of cataloging the specific types of loadings widely conducted. I wish we could jump into Mr. Peabody's Wayback Machine and record those events from the late 60's up to the early 90's (when my dept finally moved away from the S&W m28 and on to Sig pistols), it would probably be eye opening or at least serve to confirm or debunk some current theories.

    However 'unreliable' and anecdotal the evidence is, it is there and shouldn't be disregarded. Just as many a GI may have exaggerated the power of the 1911 .45 ACP ("a real wrist-breaker!"), the truth is that word of mouth and anecdotal evidence is correct that it was far, far superior to the FMJ 9mm of the same time period. When talking to the old grey beards that carried the .357 Mag in that famous loading, especially the ones who were in shootings or the Rangers who investigated those shootings, it's clear that if the shooter did his job and put the round in or darn near the A Zone, the perp would nearly always go down, and NOW. It was a tremendously powerful round, and no other police round had the trust, word of mouth or street cred that that round did in those days.
      Poohgyrr likes this.
    1. evoli
      I worked for an Oklahoma sheriff department in the late 70s and we all carried .357 Mag. I never had to shoot anyone with it but was never worried it would not stop someone. We practiced shooting the rear window of the "fastback" style cars so we could see if it bounced off like reported and it would if the conditions were right. But then so would most hand guns so we relied on the riffle or shotgun to do the job.
      William H likes this.
  8. Railsplitter
    With the Underwood Ammo 125 gr Gold Dot you get about 100 fps more velocity than the 357 Magnum and a superior GD bullet. This round in a G31 4.5 inch barrel easily outclasses the traditional 357 Magnum round for round and has 10 more rounds to spare.
  9. jeremiahjj
    I've seen ballistic reports from DoubleTap, etc., and the .357 Sig caliber with the 125-gr. projective beats 'em all in both velocity and energy. High ammo price is the only objection.
      lgjhn likes this.
  10. wganz
    You missed the .38-40, the original forty, as a necked down .44-40.
      Overkill338 likes this.
    1. Overkill338
      I mentioned the 38-40 in my 10mm Auto article but forgot it here.