.357 sig


December 12, 2008, 10:38 PM
I haven't seen much written about the .357 sig. I know it costs more than the 9 mm but I am thinking of getting one. I have a 40 S&W and a couple of .380's. Recoil is not an issue with me.

Does anyone have any thoughts either way on this choice?

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Marcus L.
December 12, 2008, 10:53 PM
Personally, I think you are better off sticking with your 9mm and .40S&W. Here's a FBI testing of Winchester Ranger Talons and an explaination of what the testing means:

All testing is done in accordance with the standardized FBI protocols. The bare gel test involves 10% ballistic gel calibrated to mimic human muscle tissue. The other tests involve placing various materials in front of the bare gel to demonstrate what it would be like to shoot someone through such materials. After the bullet punches through these barriers it may become damaged /deformed or plugged with material(wood/cloth) which will reduce its expansion capabilities. When a hollow point expands it acts like a parachute reducing penetration. If it is damaged or plugged it may not expand very well which results in deeper penetration with less expansion. The FBI has done continued testing of ammunition for two decades and they take into account the results of actual street shootings and how that ammunition behaved against an actual person and/or barrier. With that knowledge, they still recommend that you use ammunition that achieves a minimum penetration depth of 12” in bare gel. They also conclude that good penetration is always more important than expansion, but as long as 12” of penetration can be maintained every bit of expansion improves terminal damage effects.

FBI Test Protocol:
Bare Gelatin = covered with T-shirt, Shot at 10ft
Denim = 4 layers shot at 10ft
Heavy Clothing = shot at 10ft
Steel = 2 pieces of 20 gauge, shot at 10ft
Wallboard = 2 pieces of 1/2" gypsum board, shot at 10ft
Plywood = 1 piece of 3/4" AA fir plywood, shot at 10ft
Automobile Glass = 1 piece of 1/4" laminated safety glass set at a 45 degree angle with an offset of 15 degrees, shot at 10ft

.380 95gr(1000fps): (Penetration/Expansion)
Bare Gel: 7.65”/.65”
Through Denim: 7.95”/.64”
Through Heavy Cloth: 7.85”/.64”
Through Wallboard: 15”/.36”
Through Plywood: 15.5”/.36”
Through Steel: 9.3”/.36”
Through Auto Glass: 4.5”/NA

9mm+P 124gr(1180fps): (Penetration/Expansion)
Bare Gel: 12.2”/.70”
Through Denim: 13.9”/.67”
Through Heavy Cloth: 13.3”/.68”
Through Wallboard: 14”/.66”
Through Plywood: 13.1”/.65”
Through Steel: 18.9”/.40”
Through Auto Glass: 10.6”/.48”

9mm+P+ 127gr(1250fps): (Penetration/Expansion)
Bare Gel: 12.3”/.64”
Through Denim: 12.2”/.68”
Through Heavy Cloth: 12.2”/.68”
Through Wallboard: 12.1”/.66”
Through Plywood: 12”/.68”
Through Steel: 20.5”/.40”
Through Auto Glass: 9.4”/.48”

9mm 147gr(990fps): (Penetration/Expansion)
Bare Gel: 13.9”/.65”
Through Denim: 14.5”/.66”
Through Heavy Cloth: 14”/.66”
Through Wallboard: 15”/.67”
Through Plywood: 14.8”/.62”
Through Steel: 17”/.45”
Through Auto Glass: 10.8”/.52”

.357sig 125gr(1350fps): (Penetration/Expansion)
Bare Gel: 10.9”/.63”
Through Denim: 12.1”/.66”
Through Heavy Cloth: 10.7”/.69”
Through Wallboard: 15.4”/.48”
Through Plywood: 12.2”/.66”
Through Steel: 23.4”/.41”
Through Auto Glass: 10.3”/.49”

.40S&W 165gr(1140fps): (Penetration/Expansion)
Bare Gel: 12.7”/.61”
Through Denim: 13.2”/.70”
Through Heavy Cloth: 14.3”/.68”
Through Wallboard: 11.4”/.69”
Through Plywood: 13.1”/.71”
Through Steel: 20.4”/.48”
Through Auto Glass: 11.3”/.61”

.40S&W 180gr(990fps): (Penetration/Expansion)
Bare Gel: 13.8”/.60”
Through Denim: 14.3”/.70”
Through Heavy Cloth: 13.4”/.64”
Through Wallboard: 13.1”/.66”
Through Plywood: 15.1”/.64”
Through Steel: 17”/.52”
Through Auto Glass: 12”/.61”

When it comes to what damage a bullet actually inflicts onto something, there is no measurable advantage in using the .357sig other than greater penetration through steel. The heavier bullet weights in 9mm actually perform better than the .357sig and the .40S&W is an overall improvement on the 9mm and .357sig.

When it comes to street shootings, here's an explaination of how the parent of the .357sig(the .357magnum) gained the "manstopper" reputation......and most importantly, why it is no longer relevant today:

"The .357magnum earned its “manstopper” reputation in the early days of hollow point design which was from about the late 1960s to the late 1980s. During that time period ammunition manufactures tested their hollow point designs in water tanks. Water does not compress. So, when a hollow point bullet impacts a hydraulic substance the water that is constantly being fed into nose of the bullet as it penetrates must escape at the weakest point of resistance. That weakest point is along the sides of the hollow point. So, the hydraulic force opens up the hollow point and causes the mushrooming effect. The problem with the water tank testing is that human tissue is not 100% water. So, the hydraulic forces involved in shooting a person are weaker than that of a water tank. This problem was very evident with lower velocity loads such as heavier bullet weights in 9mm, .38spl, .357mag, and .45acp. The poor engineering behind these early hollow points made for unreliable performance unless you cranked up the velocity of the bullets and used lighter bullet weights(this of course led shallow penetration characteristics with the 9mm and directly to the deaths of two FBI agents in 1986). In this time, the .357magnum was the ideal cartridge because it had the velocity to open up these poorly designed early hollow points and still have deep penetration.

In the 1987 FBI Wound Ballistics Workshop various calibers and ammunition types were tested and this problem was exposed to the ammunition industry. Since then, ammunition manufacturers started testing their hollow point designs in ballistic gel which more accurately mimics the density, elasticity, consistency, and water percentage of human tissue. With a more accurate model to standardize their ammunition by, calibers like the .357magnum and .357sig simply offer no measurable advantage over calibers like the .40S&W and .45acp which enter the body bigger, penetrate to ideal depths, and expand to larger diameters with consistent reliability in actual shootings. Also, the 9mm is capable of damaging more tissue and penetrating commonly encountered barriers better than the .357sig due to its ability to use longer, heavier bullet weights such as the 147gr bullet. The .357magnum can be loaded with much heavier bullets like the 158gr and 180gr, so it offers better capabilities over the 9mm should you wish to hunt or shoot through barriers.

The law enforcement trend in the 1970s was to move towards the .357magnum because it seemed to do better in the field over the 9mm, .38spl, and .45acp. As I mentioned above, it performed MUCH more reliably with early hollow points and actually expanded to a diameter greater than that of any of the other calibers. So, it damaged more “stuff”. There was none of the mythical energy dump, or other assumed effects to the body that were a result of impact energy, pressure wave, or neurological shock. With the technological advances in bullet designs in the last 20years, things have changed. The law enforcement trend of today focuses on the big three calibers which are the 9mm, .40S&W, and the .45acp…….very distant is the .357magnum and its auto clone the .357sig. Not only that, but the trend in ammunition use favors heavier bullet weights which penetrate more deeply and reliably than the light and fast, high kinetic energy bullets. Equipment trend is a direct result of measurable and observable results."

Lastly, one of the most factual, and conclusive statements you ever hear on handgun wounding ballistics:

"Kinetic energy does not wound. Temporary cavity does not wound. The much discussed "shock" of bullet impact is a fable and "knock down" power is a myth. The critical element is penetration. The bullet must pass through the large, blood bearing organs and be of sufficient diameter to promote rapid bleeding. Penetration less than 12 inches is too little, and, in the words of two of the participants in the 1987 Wound Ballistics Workshop, "too little penetration will get you killed." Given desirable and reliable penetration, the only way to increase bullet effectiveness is to increase the severity of the wound by increasing the size of hole made by the bullet. Any bullet which will not penetrate through vital organs from less than optimal angles is not acceptable. Of those that will penetrate, the edge is always with the bigger bullet." -Agent Urey Patrick of the FBI

December 12, 2008, 10:55 PM
The debate between the .357 Sig and .40 is a long running one and there are now shortage of threads on THR discussing the topic.

December 12, 2008, 11:02 PM
OK thanks for the responses. I will do more research on the forum. I thought of the .357 because I heard that it fed very reliably due to the necked down design.

Marcus L.
December 12, 2008, 11:08 PM
I thought of the .357 because I heard that it fed very reliably due to the necked down design.

It does. Basically, your are shoving a 9mm bullet into a 10mm sized hole. Also, it allows you to have full chamber support. There are some advantages to it.

December 12, 2008, 11:08 PM
I thought of the .357 because I heard that it fed very reliably due to the necked down design.

I've heard that as well but again people like to debate as much about that as they do about it's stopping power compared to other rounds. I think the rumor was that since its a bottleneck design its less likely to have a ftf. Maybe its true, maybe it isn't, I'm not going to assume anything since I don't know.

December 13, 2008, 12:02 AM
I love my 357sig and I love my 9 and there is probably not a whole heck of a lot of difference in them truthfully. But there are some better ammo in the 357sig than the Ranger T's. I like the Rem. Golden Sabre Bonded and I carry Double Tap and it is 125gr at 1450 fps, 100 fps faster than Ranger T's. I believe Buffalo Bore is about 1437 also. I believe the expansion should be greater with these hotter rounds. Double Tap also makes 147gr gold dots for the 357sig. That is what I carry in my 357sig when I am in the woods because you get a lot more penetration. Hornady also makes 147gr xtp. The Double Tap's 147gr is rated at 1250fps on a 4 inch barrell. I would like to see these exact tests done with Double Tap's 125gr and 147gr just to see how they measure up. Just my opinion.

Marcus L.
December 13, 2008, 08:32 AM

ATK did a test that would duplicate the results of testing the DT 147gr load. They used a Beretta 9mm carbine to demonstrate that there is little advantage in using one over a rifle cartridge. They used 115gr, 124gr, and 147gr bullets in which a 16" barrel increased the factory velocites to 200-300fps faster than out of a pistol. What they observed in standardized testing was that most of the rounds tested reached a expansion threshold. All JHPs are designed to expand to a certain level which maintaining bullet integrity. The carbine launched bullets reached those thresholds and the petals of the hollow point overexpanded, lost integrity, and fell back around the trunk of the bullet resulting in a smaller frontal area. So, the bullet penetrated, expanded, and then got smaller resulting in deeper penetration. Those that did not lose integrity did penetrate more deeply, but expansion was not that much more than standard velocity loads. Either way, the 9mm bullets could not expand to levels that would equal the capabilities of the .40S&W or .45acp. Against barriers such as car doors and windshields, the bullets were greatly damaged and none of them expanded beyond .42" resulting in just a deep penetrating small hole. With modern day ammunition, there is simply no measurable advantage is using .357sig over its slower velocity alternatives like the 9mm, .40S&W, or .45acp. This comes from years of analysis both in the laboratory, and on the streets via sworn officer statements in case incident reports, and on the trauma surgeon and medical examiner's tables.

As in the words of Agent Patrick, given that you are using equally advanced bullet technology, and that penetration meets the 12-18" penetration standard, the only way to reliablity increase lethality and make incapacitation more rapid is to increase the size of the bullet diameter used. Shot placement is key though. A .22lr placed well will be more effective than a .44magnum not placed well. However, with identical shot placement......the larger caliber will always inflict more trauma than the smaller caliber and will thus make incapacitation of your target more rapid.

Jed Carter
December 13, 2008, 10:09 AM
If you target shoot, the .357Sig will have a definite edge in the accuracy department over the other rounds. Cost wise, it is comparable to the 9mm +P
but more expensive than the .40S&W. I have a Sig P226 that I purchased in
.357Sig, bought a .40S&W barrel... just like having 2 guns. At 15 yds. the .40 shoots a 12 rnd. group average at 4.5 inches, the .357Sig however, shoots a 12 rnd. group at 2.0 inches or less! Thats 12 rounds, not 3 or 5 rounds but a full magazine! Accuracy is the real key to enjoying the sport, or in saving someones life... I do keep this pistol for home defense but I use 165 gr. Hornaday XTP in .40S&W, not the .357Sig, for reasons well stated in the other postings.

December 13, 2008, 11:47 AM
The 357 Sig is one of the more accurate semi auto pistol cartridge I have worked with from service pistols. My groups are typically half the size as I got from using 40 S&W service pistols.

It is interesting to note that the Chicago Transit Authority Police chose the .357 Sig cartridge because it was the only semi automatic pistol cartridge shooting hollow points that they tested that would reliably penetrate the seat backs on CTA trains.

Than there was the infamous Texas truck incident. Where a veteran LEO shot at a truck driver many times with a 45 ACP. All rounds failed to penetrate the cab. Backup LEO fires his 357 Sig and ended the mess than an there.

December 13, 2008, 11:54 AM
OK, well gives me something to think about.

December 13, 2008, 04:20 PM
I find the felt recoil of .357 sig to be less then a .40 S&W when firing SD/duty loads. Just my .02.


December 13, 2008, 06:26 PM
I'm reading these posts with great interest. I had the privilege of firing 100 rounds of 357sig through a U.S. Sky Marshal's Sig Sauer. Man, what a treat. I shot it 2-handed; I shot it 1-handed. I shot it at 21ft and 50ft. I've read of guys saying it has little to no drop at 100yds. It is the next firearm on my wish list. I currently own 2 45's, a 380 and 22lr. As I intend to reload, I could care less about the cost of the ammo. You guys keep on sharing, will ya? Rodentman, go to Wikipedia and type in 357sig in the search box. There's a little there that might interest you. Lurkin', learnin' and lovin' it. :cool:

December 13, 2008, 09:19 PM
Basically you are not going wrong with the 357 Sig. If you want it get it. It really does not do a whole lot more than a 40 but it does give you 357 Magnum type energies with an automatic pistol.

December 14, 2008, 01:45 AM
GoldDots from Ammoman.com, per thousand:

9x19 $450
.357 sig $499
.40 S&W $525

Gary in Pennsylvania
December 14, 2008, 06:53 AM
GoldDots from Ammoman.com, per thousand:

9x19 $450
.357 sig $499
.40 S&W $525

And I thought the .357 Sig would be more than that (greater than 9mm).

But then, that's Ammoman. your local dealer may have the .357sig priced proportionately higher in the shop non-bulk.

December 14, 2008, 11:58 AM
i love the .357 sig i think it is an awesome caliber defensive wise, if i didn't have so many componets in .40, bullets, brass etc, i would probally convert totally to .357sig. i just wish the cases weren't bottle necked, that means lubing everyone but that is my only complaint.

the good thing is that on alot of guns sigs and xd's i know for sure all you have to do to a .40 handgun is change out the barrel with a conversion barrel, you can use the same magas and everything. that would be a cheaper route to go, and if you wanted a 9mm handgun too then you could get the 9mm conversion barrel and you have 3 handguns in one.

December 14, 2008, 06:06 PM
Marcus L. that was some good information, thanks for posting it.

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