.40 S&W vs. .357 Sig


April 15, 2008, 09:58 AM
.40 S&W vs. .357 Sig for Law Enforcement.

Looking for a caliber that will be the most effetive, (not .45 ACP, since the guns I maybe looking at now aren't in that caliber).

What do you all think?

I need to consider:

1.) Muzzle flip (ability to re-aquire target quickly)

2.) Stopping power/effectiveness.

I am not too concerned about mag capacity.

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Ghost Tracker
April 15, 2008, 10:08 AM
To try & find a difference between the .40 S&W & the .357 SIG in the two criteria you mention is like trying to find a particular needle...in a stack full of needles. The only real difference is ammo cost, you'll find the .40 S&W less expensive only because of the relative popularity of the caliber. Everything else is going to be simply your preference.

April 15, 2008, 10:15 AM
I prefer the 357 sig. It penetrates hardened barriers much easier than 40 S&W plus it has 50-100 ft lbs more energy than the 40 S&W. As far as recoil they are close enough to not make much of a noticeable difference. As far as stopping power I would still choose the 357 sig over the 40 S&W anyday.

April 15, 2008, 10:36 AM
I've read on another forum someone posting the "recoil types" between the .40 S&W and .357 SIG. They said that the .40 was more of a "snap up" type recoil; the .357 SIG was more of a "push back" type recoil. They were comparing the Sub Compact Glock's 27 (.40) and 33 (.357) when they said this.

Don't know what gun you're looking at, and if these rounds'd have different effect on it compared to Sub Compact Glocks or not. (?)

The bullet effectiveness, as already said above, I've also heard the .357 is superior at barrier penetration compared to any of the service calibers (9mm, .40, .45), but never tested this myself, so I can't say this with certainty. However, I don't doubt it that much. ;)

I've seen tests for both of these calibers in gel, and usually they came out roughly the same. The .357 might have more velocity, but it has lighter grain than the usual .40.

Someone on another forum said he loaded his own 135 grain .40 rounds, and they flew in at 1500+ fps. I guess it's proof that the .40 in general is not "inferior" to the .357, but rather, the manufacturers do not load it to its full potential. In gel tests, both are similar, because the .40 makes up for lack of velocity with more weight and mass.

Still, for that added "bonus" on the "good barrier penetration" word about the .357 SIG, I'd probably go for that, if I didn't mind shelling out just a little more money for practice and self defense rounds. :)

April 15, 2008, 12:02 PM
You'd better not be too concerned about magazine capacity since it will be identical between the two!

Both are fine cartridges. Do you want a larger projectile (40 S&W) or do you plan on shooting through a barrier (357 Sig)? In actual effectiveness there is very little difference between the two. I question how much better the 357 Sig will actually penetrate a barrier, I'm sure that it is better because it's a smaller cross section but how much I don't know. The 40 is of course a larger cross section and might be a bit better against soft targets.

Best thing you can do is try both, get a good feel for which one you like and then run them over a chronograph to get some velocity information, then you can make an informed decision.

April 15, 2008, 12:27 PM
Shoot both and then decide

April 15, 2008, 12:53 PM
.40 S&W and .357 SIG have the exact same magazine capacity for every single model they're chambered for.

Personally, I like that the .357 SIG will go through an old, steel hard drive while the .40 only makes dents. (Check out the Anarchangel's blog for the video and photos on that.)

I also get a giddy rush from the .357 SIG P239...

April 15, 2008, 01:11 PM
They're both good rounds. Don't let people fool you into thinking that the .357 is a much better penetrator. It's not. You get quite good penetration from 180 grain .40 , when it's a good bullet design. Look on Tactical Forums and the ordnance gelatin shots will show you this. As far as hard barriers go, the .40 also does well (it's heavier). The .357 does okay, but you need to research this thoroughly before just settling for what one or two people say. Also, is hard barrier penetration ALL you're looking for? Versatility is the key....

April 15, 2008, 02:37 PM
Boomstik - I'm just going on photographic evidence of two rounds against the same hunk of steel. Maybe the photographs lie...

April 15, 2008, 03:13 PM
then you could have both all you have to get is a barrel same mag and spring...I shoot them both regularly with my sig 229 recoil and bang is defienately more with the 357 but still manageable. I am more accurate with the 40 though.

April 15, 2008, 03:27 PM
You could also buy a Glock 23 and drop in a .357 barrel if you choose. Only thing that has to be changed is the barrel. Glock factory barrel runs less than 200 bucks. I think Glockmeister sells them for 120$.

April 15, 2008, 04:44 PM
Like the last two posters said you could always just narrow your search to guns with readily available OEM barrels. For instance, all the Glock .40 and .357 models can swap barrels back and forth at will. The only reason I haven't gotten a .357 barrel for my G27 yet is that ammo is really expensive and I don't get to shoot my other guns as much as I'd like anyway. Glock barrels can be found at many places for right at $100.

Sig .40/.357 pistols are exactly the same, in fact I think I remember seeing marketing for the 226 and especially the 229 touting the dual-caliber utility of them. EAA Witness pistols also switch caliber easily, I don't know about other CZ clones like the Baby Eagle, but I would think the biggest difficulty would be finding a barrel for most guns.

April 15, 2008, 06:45 PM
The only reason I haven't gotten a .357 barrel for my G27 yet is that ammo is really expensive
This is what I thought I couldn't find it cheaper than $22
for fifty locally but I just bought 500 rounds of ultramax on Sportsman Guide for $145... I know it's remanufactured but it's good for plinking. Also Georgia arms has it a little cheaper I think $130 or so.

April 15, 2008, 07:10 PM
I would tentatively second that the 357 pushes, whereas the .40 flips. I haven't shot them out of the same-type of guns, but when I shot a Sig in .357 it seemed to push strait back for a while without too much flip. The .40 in my CZ on the other hand bites back and up. Northalius said thats been his experience with a glock with a .40 and .357 barrel as well, so I would draw that this is a "representative" recoil description.

All in all, I found the .357 sig's recoil much more pleasant then the snappiness of my .40

One thing with the .357 is that you can get higher sectional density. Load it up with 147gr rounds and you have the highest density of anything, short of .40 200gr'er hardcasts.

My hesitation with 135gr .40's is that in Gel-O they tend to fly apart and produce a measly 10" of penetration on average. I personally like something that does closer to 14".

April 15, 2008, 07:15 PM
+1 to getting a model with both caliber capability, then you are only out the cost of a barrel (which you could probably sell, or keep for a spare anyhow) if you don't like it.

Also, correct me if I am wrong, this is just something I heard. I have shot a .40 and it was relatiely tame out of full size guns, but not a .357SIG, Is it true its a little heck raiser (loud and fireballs) in indoor ranges? My indoor range does not have any for rental so I can't test this out...yet. ;)

My $0.02


April 15, 2008, 07:26 PM
Is it true its a little heck raiser (loud and fireballs) in indoor ranges?
Yeah it was pretty intense...not sure I would want to have this as my home defense gun(would go deaf). It was pretty close to my 357mag full house loads

Taurus 66
April 15, 2008, 08:10 PM
(not .45 ACP, since the guns I maybe looking at now aren't in that caliber).

What guns are you looking at that aren't in 45 ACP?

April 15, 2008, 10:31 PM
I would tentatively second that the 357 pushes, whereas the .40 flips.

agreed here as well.

i just want to point out that for some unfortunate reason 180g became standard weight for the .40.
And I think it is not the optimal weight -- 155 to 165 is. I think .40 in 155 or 165 is very different round than in 180.
It is flatter, more consistent shooter with less flip recoil.

April 15, 2008, 10:54 PM
I'd get a .40. If you absolutely have to use light and fast ammo, you can get 135 gr .40 that goes at about 1325 to 1375 fps, compared to the standard .357 SIG load which is 125 at 1400. Not a whole lot of difference, and you can easily go up to 200 gr in .40, whereas even 147 gr loads in .357 SIG are rare.

April 16, 2008, 03:20 PM
What guns are you looking at that aren't in 45 ACP?

Probably a Sig or HK.

April 16, 2008, 06:30 PM
I agree with the above guys. Get either one and buy the replacement barrel in the other caliber. Best of both worlds.

Master of Arms
April 16, 2008, 09:28 PM
Look on Tactical Forums and the ordnance gelatin shots

Also look at a ballistics chart and you`ll get your answer. It may not be what people are saying because people will be bias due to ownership. I shot a deer last year with my .40 from about 30 yards with simple jacketed HP and it didn`t go far. Penetration thru and thru,literally. Check the ballistics between the Sig 357, the .40 and the .45 icluding exact or close to exact grains from 180 down and you`ll be surprised.

April 16, 2008, 09:53 PM
I can't say which is more effective but, for what it's worth, the .40 has been around longer and has a more proven track record.
And I prefer a heavier and bigger slug over a lighter and smaller slug....especially if the smaller lighter slug is'nt going to increase my magazine capacity.

As for the recoil.....I can't feel a dime's difference between the two.
Both are very controllable and neither is really any worse than a .45 or a very hot 9mm+P....especially fired from a full-sized service pistol.

Good luck,

April 16, 2008, 11:55 PM

I don't seek to undermine what you've contributed. And I'm not going to call you or your photos a liar.

I've personally watched what a 180 grain .40 bullet will do against a metal (steel that is, on both sides with insulation in the middle) door (when one of my fellow officers at the range decided to begin cleaning his loaded weapon in the cleaning room). It wasn't pretty. Perfect penetration, nice exit hole, and bullet in the dirt (took a while and some digging to find it). I've watched .40 caliber penetrate more reliably where .357 sig wouldn't. It happens. Depends on the nature of the test medium, the cartridge design, and other things.

As for the two bullets you were talking about, did the person who did this fire just two rounds (one of each caliber) or several? Which brands were used? How many times did each caliber of bullet penetrate the steel barrier? Were different brands of cartridges used? Cartridge design iaccounts for a lot.

April 17, 2008, 12:08 AM
Think of your ears :)

I've fired just a few rounds of .357 Sig, rather more of .40, and while both are fun rounds at the range, and both shot rather nicely (I thought they were both more of the "snap" recoil rather than the "push" of the .45ACP, personally), the sound of the .357 Sig was tremendous. I don't think I'd want to shoot many rounds of that without keeping my ears in a locked box in my car ...


April 17, 2008, 05:39 AM
Sig P229 in .40 S&W. Fine duty weapon.

April 17, 2008, 04:20 PM
Agree with the others about the recoil impulse of most semi-auto handguns chambered for .40. This is comparing it to 9mm, since I haven't shot a gun chambered for .357. I prefer .40 for it's availability and cost over .357 SIG.


Master of Arms
April 18, 2008, 11:50 AM
Looks like the .40 wins. Never had a doubt. Obviously the better of the 2 calibers.

April 19, 2008, 10:25 PM
No the 357 wins :neener:

April 20, 2008, 01:28 AM
.357 SIG wins. But then, I cheer for the underdogs, not the underperformers. :D

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