1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

.357 SIG vs. 40 cal

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by giles, Dec 24, 2003.

  1. giles

    giles New Member

    Jan 4, 2003
    New York
    Can anyone offer some advise as to whether .357 SIG ammo is preferable to 40cal? I am thinking of buying a SIG compact classic and am not sure whether to go for the 357 barrel. Also, any problems with availability of the 357? I shot a 40 cal in a Kahr K9 and found that the recoil was more severe than a 45. Any help will be appreciated.
  2. cslinger

    cslinger Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Nashville, TN
    Ok here is my un-educated 2 cents.

    .40 S&W is generally far more available then .357SIG and is usually cheaper by an amount similar to .40 vs. .45.

    .357SIG is a very very very hot 9mm for lack of a better term. Now because of this you can find some 9mm +P+ that basically performs like some of the .357SIG offerings. The best .357SIG will perform better than a hot 9mm though, IMO.

    .357SIG is loud, has lots of flash and a snappier more upward kick then .40. This is of course in my opinion since recoil is very subjective. It is by no means harsh through a SIG P239, just snappier.

    .357SIG has been known to batter even the best guns and puts more wear and tear.

    I would THINK .357SIG would be a better barrier penetrator then .40 but I worry, probably needlessly so, that .357SIG may over penetrate in situations that you may not want it to. I have heard this really comes down to the design of the hollow point and some have great reputations and some don't.

    If I were you I would get the gun in .40 and convert to .357 at your leisure. I personally love .357SIG for fun but carry 165 grain .40 caliber ammunition when I carry my P239. I am sort of a bigger hole is better kind of guy. Not that I want to start any caliber wars as I frequently carry 9mm, .357 Magnum, .40, .45 and I believe that with proper ammunition all are more than adequate in the self defense role. I am just saying that I feel better with bigger bullets making bigger holes as a psychological thing for me, hence my most carried SD gun is a SIG P245 in .45 ACP.

    So in short for me, .357SIG is fun but I prefer .40 for real work.
  3. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Elder

    Dec 24, 2002
    In a practical sense, I'd go w/ the the 40 but, I much prefer shooting the 357sig more. Since I already have my defensive guns covered, I'd go w/ the 357sig for the fun factor :D ...but that's just me!
  4. Beav

    Beav Active Member

    Dec 31, 2002
    You really need to go out and shoot both. The biggest difference IMO is shooting the two rounds. The 357SIG has a lot of bark and flash which translates to FUN for a lot of shooters. For others it may be too much.
    You really can't go wrong with one or the other since all you need is a barrel to convert between rounds. If it was me I would start with a 40S&W even though I have more fun shooting 357SIG.
  5. jc2

    jc2 member

    Dec 27, 2002
    NOT good qualities in a defensive weapon!

    Logically, the better comparison would be 9x19 versus .40 S&W. The 9x19 is consistently delivers the same performance (terminal effectiveness) both in the lab and in actual LE usage as the 357 SIG--and without the negatives associated with the 357 SIG plus an increased capacity. Your looking at about 16 inches of penetration and expansion to approximately .63 calibre with both the 9x19 and 357 SIG. The .40 S&W will deliver about the same penetration and approximately .05 inches more expansion (.68 calibre). As you increase bullet size and mass from 9x19/357 SIG, to .40 S&W more tissue is crushed, resulting in a larger permanent cavity. In addition, the larger bullets often offer better performance through intermediate barriers.
  6. Gary G23

    Gary G23 Participating Member

    Jan 1, 2003
    Corvette City
    If you are buying it for defensive purposes and ever have to use it for such you will be glad you got the 357. Just my opinion.
  7. Mannlicher

    Mannlicher Senior Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    North Central Florida and Miami Florida
    Different aspects of a given cartridge are important to different people. Some go for the most effective cartridge, regardless of whether it 'kicks' or is loud.
    You probably will only get one chance to save your butt when the chips are down. The choice is yours as to whether or not you want, for that instance, the best, or will you settle for something that was more friendly when you were just popping caps at paper.

    Personally, I like a .45 more than either of the choices here. If I were to choose between .40S&W and the .357 Sig, I would carry the sig.
  8. M58

    M58 Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    Better to have a 10mm and load up or down as needed.
  9. Brasso

    Brasso Member

    Sep 27, 2003
    .357sig or .40??? Which do you want to do? Make a bigger hole or brag about untested, unquantified, and marginal (at best) increases in kinetic energy? I'd personally go with a 9mm before the .357sig.
  10. N3rday

    N3rday Active Member

    Nov 16, 2003
    Wow, there are some real .357 sig haters...
    I spent a lot of time at Sigforum.com so I have heard a lot of fans of the cartridge...some extra punch to that 9mm never hurt anyone:D
    I'm sure balistically .40 is a better manstopper, but .357 owns 9mm in stopping power for sure.
  11. mrapathy2000

    mrapathy2000 member

    Aug 4, 2003
    357sig will go through an intended target better than 9mm as well. over penetration. it is possible to go with a pistol in 40S&W and convert to 357sig. if your looking at data corbon 135gr 40S&W will do 1300fps 500ft lbs energy which is comparable to 357sig and 357magnum though a slightly bigger hole. couple other good rounds in 40S&W are remington express 155gr and winchester silvertips think speer gold dots will do 1200fps and 480-500ft lbs energy.

    9mm would be a better choice in compact defense pistol easier followup shots.
    though 40S&W with federal hydrashock 135gr doing 1190 and 420 ft lbs energy a light load and feals like firing 9mm recoil wise probably the most pleasant round to shoot in 40S&W.

    40S&W can be light,fast with high energy or heavy,slow and low energy. it also comes to a middle performance. want more go with 10mm. wish they would of made brass bit thicker in 40S&W when they shrunk the cartridge from 10mm.

    357sig is not cheap nor widely availible expect to buy in bulk period otherwise you pay out the nose. reloading would be good idea to keep cost down.

    +p+ 9mm does pretty much what 357sig can do though 357sig is bit safer as it stays within design spec pressure.

    overall 40S&W and 357sig will ware a pistol out faster. springs and other parts which could need servicing should be watched and maintained.
  12. clubsoda22

    clubsoda22 member

    Jul 16, 2003
    SE PA
    See: Winchester Ranger Talon 127gr 9mm+P+ and guess again. Marginally better at best. It was a cool idea, but in tests it shows that despite the almost 200fps increase over 9mm, penetration and expansion was identical, that is, if the bullet didn't frag, which was a problem with the higher velocities. Why deal with the increased recoil, noise, wear and flash if terminal ballistics are pretty much identical?
  13. jc2

    jc2 member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Not hardly. The 124-grain +P Gold Dot delivers the same terminal performance as the 125-grain 357 SIG Gold Dot. The Winchester RA9T and RA9TA do as well. The best that can be said of the 357 SIG is that it equals the 9mm in terminal performance, although at the price of less ammunition capacity along with greater recoil, muzzle flash and wear on the weapon. Both the .40 S&W and .45 ACP make larger holes in the target and therefore have the potential to more rapidly incapacitate an aggressive adversary in a lethal force encounter.

    Just stating the facts--not "hating" the 357 SIG. It's a fun little round to play with--lots of flash and noise and does attract attention, but when it comes to personal defence, the 357 SIG is not a great or lousy cartridge, just another choice.

    There are a whole lot better places to get data on handgun ammuniton performance than sigforum.com including firearmstactical.com, tacticalforums.com and ammolab.com (and forum)--they tend to be a whole lot less "faith-based" (more reason-based) than sigforum.
  14. Ky Larry

    Ky Larry Senior Member

    May 22, 2003
    What do you want the pistol for? CCW? HD? Plinking? How much experience do you have shooting center fire hand guns? What is you personal feelings adout recoil? What is your budget for ammo? Without more info, I wouldn't hazard any advise. CSLINGER makes a lot of sense.
    Whatever you decide, good luck.
  15. jnb01

    jnb01 New Member

    Aug 4, 2003
    In .40 S&W, one can select effective bullet weights in 155, 165, and 180gr weights. IMO, this is already an advantage, as variety is a good thing!

    As far as the 357 Sig "besting" the .40 in terms of hard barrier penetration, here is some data directly from Winchester's 2002 online LE catalog for their Ranger ammunition.


    125gr RA357SIGT....Pen: 23.4 inches/ Exp: .41/ Ret. Weight: 125grs.

    180gr RA40T......Pen: 17"/ Exp: .52/ RW: 178grs.

    165gr RA40TA....Pen: 20.4"/ Exp: .48/ RW: 165grs.


    125gr RA357SIGT....Pen: 10.3"/ Exp: .49/ RW: 81grs.

    180gr RA40T......Pen: 12"/ Exp: .61/ RW: 153grs.

    165gr RA40TA....Pen: 11.3"/ Exp: .61/ RW: 139grs.

    I personally consider performance with regards to service caliber handgun projectiles, to be measured in terms of penetration and expansion. Here is some other various data comparing the two calibers using Ranger and Federal Tactical bullets, which overall, are widely considered the best two designs available. The test's are courtesy of Doc Roberts over on Tactical Forums, and David Difabio of ammolab. All results were obtained using 4-layers of 14.oz denim, and are from pistols with barrel lengths between 4 and 4.5 inches.

    Federal Tactical 125gr 357 Sig: Vel= 1390fps/ Pen= 13.5"/ Exp= .62

    Federal Tactical 180gr .40SW: Vel= 1000fps/ Pen= 12.4"/ Exp= .73

    Federal Tactical 165gr .40SW: Vel= 1013fps/ Pen= 12.9"/ Exp= .65

    Ranger 125gr RA357T: Vel= 1340fps/ Pen= 13.5"/ Exp= .63

    Ranger 180gr RA40T: Vel= 910fps/ Pen= 14.2"/ Exp= .65

    Ranger 165gr RA40TA: Vel= 1166fps/ Pen= 13.5"/ Exp= .66

    For the sake of comparison, here is the data for the 127gr +P+ RA9TA through 4-layers of 14.oz denim, fired from a G19. Test is courtesy of ammolab.

    Ranger 127gr +P+ RA9TA: Vel= 1219fps/ Pen= 14.8"/ Exp= .63

    Additionally, if one wanted "357 Sig like" performance from the .40SW, the new 135gr .40SW Corbon PowR'ball loading is fairly similar. The downside, is that it does not do well in barrier testing eg: autoglass and steel, so it would not make for an effective LE loading. However, in the 4-layer denim test, it has indeed performed well.

    135gr Corbon PRB, from a Glock 22, through 4-layers of 14oz. denim. Reference source is ammolab. (Vel= 1311fps/ Pen= 14.1"/ Exp= .64).......

    As shown, the .40SW can and does outperform the 357 Sig in barrier penetration tests and the 4-layer denim test, when using the better loads for each. While the 9mm and 357 Sig are on par with each other when utilizing the better loads for each.

    IMO, one of the main reasons the 357 Sig has enjoyed some level of success, is that it is compatible with the .40SW. While it has garnered attention from some of in LE circles, it seems less civilian shooters are enamored with it. As was previously noted, Ruger, S&W, and Walther, do not even chamber guns for it. Additionally, HK never released a full-size USP chambered for it, and it has been said they will discontinue the compact version do to poor sales.

    I like shooting the 357 Sig at the range, and it has proven itself quite effective in LE field use. However, it is my opinion that it offers nothing significant over any of the other available service calibers, and actually a bit less in some cases.

    Best, jnb01
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2003
  16. Poohgyrr

    Poohgyrr Active Member

    Dec 27, 2002
    Sutter's Fort
    FWIW, I'd try to shoot both calibers in different pistols and see how I did with them. Recoil can be personal, and I know it's easier for me to do my best with some loads/pistols than with others.
  17. fastbolt

    fastbolt Senior Member

    Dec 26, 2002
    Within the lightning
    If you want a "hot" 9mm, buy a 9mm ...

    If you want a .40 S&W, buy one ...

    If you want to shoot "lightweight bullets", buy a 9mm ...

    If you want to shoot "heavier bullets", buy a .40 S&W ...

    If you want a "fun range gun", buy whatever fits that description for YOU ...

    If it's a "defensive weapon", then the slight "performance" differences among the major calibers are probably more noticeable when it comes to "debating" them, then when actually comparing their real-world effects ... ;) . These are just defensive/service HANDGUN calibers, you know.

    There ARE some subjective handling and recoil management considerations when comparing them, though ...

    Have fun ... :)
  18. Bobarino

    Bobarino member

    Mar 12, 2003
    western Washington
    the solution to your dilema is simple really, buy the .40, and also buy a spare .357Sig barrel. or vice versa. its a simple barrel swap to convert between calibers. perhaps a recoil spring too. if you decide you like one better than the other, sell the extra barrel here on THR or ebay. you'll recover most of your expense. or keep it and have two guns in one. either one will serve you well as a defensive round, as long as you practice lots and lots with it. that said, i'm a fan of the .40S&W. i use the Cor-Bon 135 grain round and feel very comfortable with my setup. i have limited expereice with the .357Sig. it was fun to shoot. pretty snappy, but certainly not unmanagable. practice ammo for it is a little more spendy than the .40. let us know what you decide on.

  19. AnklePocket

    AnklePocket Guest

    I've got a P229 with both barrels (from Bar-Sto). IMHO, the .357 Sig shoots like a laser and is more fun to shoot. The .40 is probably more practical (in most cases) being larger and slower. I'm the opposite of a pack-rat or collector so I try to keep it minimal, but I can't decide which I like better overall so both is the only viable option, I think. If I had to absolutely pick one it would probably be the .40.
  20. Gabe

    Gabe Member

    Jan 5, 2003
    San Jose
    I don't have an opinon about the 357sig. However its detractors tend to only use the 125 grainer tests to prove their point. That is hardly fair. While 9mm tend to work better with lighter bullets that doesnot mean it's appropriet for the 357sig.

    I'd like to see tests with 147 grainers and double deniem over gellatin before any conclusions are drawn.

Share This Page