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.357 sig?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by .380awsome, Oct 27, 2008.

  1. .380awsome

    .380awsome Well-Known Member

    i've been looking at the .357 sig cartridge and pistols,how is it for self defence?
  2. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Well-Known Member

    I don't have any specific numbers on it, but what I see using it for would be for a bug-out or ankle gun, where I would be trying to get as much velocity from it as possible. A sub-compact Glock.
  3. UnTainted

    UnTainted Well-Known Member

    It's good enough for the president's guards...
  4. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Well-Known Member

    It's loud, has more muzzle flash, and more recoil than the 9mm. When ever I've seen LE officers make a switch to .357sig their scores go down after switching from the 9mm or .40S&W. In qualification, not only is accuracy measured but the speed of your shots. Funny thing though, in all measurable testing the .357sig doesn't really do all that much better if at all in comparison to the 9mm. Bullet construction makes more difference than velocity:

    Here's Winchester's Ranger Bonded ammunition:

    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

    9mm+P 124gr(1180fps)BONDED: (Penetration/Expansion)
    Bare Gel: 12.6”/.68”
    Through Denim: 18.7”/.54”
    Through Heavy Cloth: 18.2”/.56”
    Through Wallboard: 11.9”/.64”
    Through Plywood: 15.8”/.57”
    Through Steel: 22”/.42”
    Through Auto Glass: 12.7”/.58”

    9mm 147gr(995)BONDED: (Penetration/Expansion)
    Bare Gel: 14.7”/.62”
    Through Denim: 16.5”/.59”
    Through Heavy Cloth: 15.8”/.58”
    Through Wallboard: 16.7”/.56”
    Through Plywood: 16.5”/.59”
    Through Steel: 19”/.42”
    Through Auto Glass: 12.6”/.55”

    .357sig 125gr(1350fps)BONDED: (Penetration/Expansion)
    Bare Gel: 12.5”/.59”
    Through Denim: 15.9”/.57”
    Through Heavy Cloth: 16.9”/.55”
    Through Wallboard: 14.7”/.62”
    Through Plywood: 16.0”/.60”
    Through Steel: 21.7”/.44”
    Through Auto Glass: 12.8”/.62”

    There's really no point to the .357sig. Secret Service uses it along with a few others because they still have some hold out old vets from the energy dump stopping power crazy of the 1980s. I've talked to various veteran officers and agents at FLETC about ballistics research and it is amazing how many still believe in energy dump and when I ask them how they came to such conclusions they have nothing really to back it up other than belief that more energy is somehow better. Its amazing the night and day differences between ballistic knowledge of some agencies and the ignorance of others. Ballistics science really isn't taught in academies unless you are studying the medical aspects of it.
  5. Crazy Fingers

    Crazy Fingers member

    Uhm, I certainly wouldn't relegate .357 Sig to the role of a "back up gun." It is one mean round, with plenty of power. When you pull the trigger, you know you've let the dogs out. They do call it .357 for a reason... it was designed to be very similar to the .357 magnum but from an auto loader. It blows 9x19mm +P out of the water in terms of energy and speed, by the way. Although I do agree that bullet choice for the application is still important.

    Here are some sample loads I found:

    .357 Sig:
    115 gr @ 1550 fps
    125 gr @ 1450 fps
    147 gr @ 1250 fps

    .357 Mag
    130 gr @ 1410 fps
    158 gr @ 1250 fps

    9x19mm (the hottest loads I can find, including +P)
    115 gr @ 1300 fps
    124 gr @ 1250 fps
    147 gr @ 1000 fps

    As for the penetration data, all it is showing is the penetration and the expanded diameter of the bullet. It doesn't show the wound track that is generated. The .357 Sig has more energy, period. If it doesn't expand as much, and doesn't penetrate as deep, where has the extra energy gone? It had to go somewhere.... like making a nasty wound cavity. Although I will agree that the .357 Sig isn't necessarily the best cartridge for fighting, as I think it has too much recoil and muzzle blast to be easily controllable, and it's extra power is irrelevant.
  6. AK103K

    AK103K Well-Known Member

    I own and shoot pistols in 9mm, 357SIG, .40 and .45acp, and personally, I really see no real difference in shooting any of them. Perhaps if all you shoot is standard 9mm, it may seem to be hotter, but in reality, using bullets of the same weight, 357SIG in its standard commercial loadings is equivalent to 9mm +P+ (the difference is in what the guns can handle) I really doubt anyone who carrys +P or +P+ in their 9mm's, would notice any difference between them and the 357SIG in comparable guns.

    Of the four of them, the 357SIG has become my favorite, or at least until I find something better. I carried a .45ACP for most of my adult life, and was a die hard fan, up until I got my first 357SIG.

    As far as the muzzle blast and flash comments, I havent seen anything dramatically different. Your choice in ammo may be the difference. I mostly use Speer, Federal, and my reloads, using AA#9, and have seen little to no flash, including shooing indoors. The 357SIG does have a slightly louder bark to it, which is more noticeable indoors.

    The other usual complaint that comes up, is cost of ammo. I suppose that will depend on how and where you buy your ammo. I buy mine online, in bulk. 9mm is the cheapest, .45acp the most expensive, and 357SIG and .40 are the same. The difference in price up or down between the cheapest and most expensive, is usually not more than a couple of bucks a box either way.
  7. Marcus L.

    Marcus L. Well-Known Member

    Crazy Fingers,

    The wound tracks of the .357mag have been studied for decades and comparisons have been made in gel so that researchers can get an accurate measure of its effects in relation to lower velocity calibers. Up until the late 1980s ammunition manufacturers tested their JHP designs in water which allowed for more reliable expansion than that of tissue or gel. The problem was that in actual shootings the JHPs didn't open up reliably except in higher velocity cartridges like .357mag.......thus, you get the "legendary" knockdown reputation of the .357mag from the early 1970s into the early 1990s. Gel testing more accurately simulates tissue consistancy and from about the mid 1990s ammunition manufacturers began testing their designs in ballistic gel. Since then the lower velocity calibers like the 9mm, .40S&W, and .45acp were consistantly opening up and causing equal or greater trauma in comparison to the .357magnum. This is one of many reasons why you are seeing less and less use of magnum level calibers and more use of standard service calibers by law enforcement.

    Permanent cavity is the only observed wounding mechanism of service caliber handguns. The temporary cavity stretch which seems to be more pronounced with higher velocity loads expands and then returns to normal in tissue in less than a second. Temporary cavity stretch only improves terminal effects if tissue is stretched to the point of tearing. The tissue does not tear unless you get super high impact energy levels of well over 1000ft-lbs. This is a documented observation that trauma doctors have reported on for decades to their perspective agency contacts. If you want to talk hydrostatic shock or pressure wave, this has also been debunked in many instances because of the elastic nature of arteries and internal tissues that compensate for the sudden introduction of a projectile in the body. Water does not compress, but tissue resists the hydrolic force that water might place on the brain in the localized region of the wound.

    This has all be well documented in books by Dr. Martin Fackler, Duncan MacPherson, and the IWBA. There are plenty of other experts that agree with this like Shawn Dodson, Urey Patrick, and Dr. Gary Roberts. There are no credible counters to this established science which hold any foundation of collective agreement.

    If we look across the pond, the Russians have been experimenting with the hydrolic pressure wave for decades. Their most recent cartridge was the 9x21mm which duplicated .357sig velocities. After some trial runs in the various satellite state conflicts from the mid 1990s until now, they have instead adopted the 9x19mm as their standard service caliber. They used a number of expansion loads and armour piercing loads with the 9x21mm, but with enough combat time they came to the conclusion that it was little better than the weak 9x18mm. Necessity and results determine trends in equipment. No one is really trending to .357mag clones.

    If you own a .357sig and can shoot it quickly and accurately more power to you. However, do yourself a favor and do a standardized qualification course. With time limitations you "might" see a significant difference in your shooting scores between the .357sig and using 9mm 147gr loads.
    Last edited: Oct 27, 2008
  8. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Well-Known Member

    Crazy Fingers,

    Your 9mm data neglects the Winchester Ranger T 124g +P+ loading, which I have personally chronographed out of a Glock 17 at 1350 fps.

    This is very very close to what you get with 357 sig, but without the hassle of using a difficult to find caliber.
  9. threefeathers

    threefeathers Well-Known Member

    I respectfully disagree. I've gone to 357Sig and here are my reasons.
    1. It is the flatest shooting handgun round I've fired.
    2. It doesn't recoil as much as 40, or 45 ACP. I am very fast with me second and thrid shots.
    3. I can make the 50 meter head shot if necessary using a low kneeling position without changing my sights picture. The Speer 124 grain Gold dot shoots to the same POA between 25-50 meters.
    4. It wants to feed in all guns I've seen it fired in. In fact in 4 years I've never had a ftf in a Sig or P2K. Now I'm getting a Glock 32.
    5. My next door neighbor just retired from a Federal agency that uses it. He is as old as me and he carries his Sig CCW in that clliber. Both of us have large collections, (I have 34 handguns) and I can afford exactly what i want.
    6. I reload on an RCBS Pro 2000 and my formula exactly dups my Speer carry load. (Montana Gold 357 Sig bullet, 800X, Starline brass, magnum primer.) I can carefully make 300 rounds an hour and that is one healthy practice session.
  10. Beagle-zebub

    Beagle-zebub Well-Known Member

    What kind of round would it take to shatter a person's pelvis? I would think that a person would be put down by that, and while they wouldn't necessarily want to give up the fight, it seems that they would have a better chance of surviving a blow to the pelvis than a blow to the chest. Naturally, greater kinetic energy would be better for this purpose.
  11. AK103K

    AK103K Well-Known Member

    I dont know where you live that its difficult to find, around here, I can find it just about everywhere I go, including Walmart. Not that it really matters, its readily available on the web, and like everything else, usually at better prices.

    While the +P+ 9mm is in or approaching the 357SIG range, its also beyond the limits of what the 9mm was meant to handle, especially on a regular basis. I only know of two makers, Ruger and Hi Point, who will put its use in writing, the rest wont and dont.

    I have personal experience with hot 9mm causing a major failure in a gun not made to handle it, and that was within 2000 rounds. If you want 357SIG performance, your better off getting a 357SIG than trying to make your 9mm into one. The guns made to shoot the round, were made to do so, and can handle the pressures.

    Also, while the +P+ 9mm's are in the range of the 357SIG, they are also topped out at the 357SIG's base loading. There are hotter 357SIG loadings available.
  12. Erik

    Erik Well-Known Member

    Bravo, Marcus L! And obviously... What he said; all of it.
  13. IdahoLT1

    IdahoLT1 Well-Known Member

    The 357SIG comes kinda close to the 357 mag in lighter bullet weights. The heavier it goes, the better the 357mag performs. I personally dont see a need to go to the 357SIG when you can use a 9mm +P for SD or a 357mag for hunting, especially considering the cost of the ammunition. Heres some numbers from double tap ammo:

    9mm Ballistics : 124gr @ 1310fps / 473ft. lbs. from a G17.

    357SIG: 125gr @ 1525fps/4.5" barrel

    357Mag: 125gr. @ 1600fps / 4" Ruger GP-100 or 1725fps froms 6" barrel
  14. Seven For Sure

    Seven For Sure Well-Known Member

    The Winchester 124 +P+ chronod' @ 1350 from a Glock 17. O.K., here's the best 357sig 125 I could find from a Glock 33. They are not even close. I consider 175 fps substantial in handguns. Guy's who use 9mm for SD (and argue it's virtues on the internet) seem very insecure about their decision. I never understood choosing the weakest caliber and choosing the most powerful load in the caliber. Why not move up a little? That way you can practice with what you carry. Most guys practice with 115's @ 1100-1150, far from a 124 @ 1350.

  15. Timthinker

    Timthinker Well-Known Member

    As the preceding posts indicate, the .357 SIG certainly possesses enough power, however you decide to define that term, for self-defense. Now, the blast factor, my term for noise and recoil, is more than that of a 9mm or .40 S&W. The price of its ammo is also greater than more popular auto pistol cartridges also. Think about these factors when making your decision.

  16. AK103K

    AK103K Well-Known Member

    And the rumor perpetuates. :rolleyes:
  17. Seven For Sure

    Seven For Sure Well-Known Member

    I can get brand new top of the line (the best practice ammo available) 357sig cheaper than .40S&W, .45ACP and .45GAP. The only caliber that is cheaper is 9mm. 380 usually costs more than 40 and 357. 38special costs more than 40 which is why I love my 646.:)

    It's moving at 1350 fps too which is the same velocity or 25fps less than my carry ammo. 9mm is the only caliber I can think of where practice ballistics are so far off of what most people carry in the caliber. Both in bullet weight and velocity.
  18. Timthinker

    Timthinker Well-Known Member

    The cost and availability of .357 SIG ammo does vary somewhat by locality. In my area, one noted firearms dealer does not carry the .357 SIG but will order it upon request. To be fair, my previous posting could be misinterpreted as stating that SIG ammo is much more costly than more conventional auto pistol rounds. Such is the difficulty of communicating on the internet rather than in person.:D


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