Sunday, May 17, 2009

Why 357 SIG?

My main handgun of choice is the Glock 31. I really like Glocks and I specially like the 357 SIG caliber.
On occasions I also keep a Bersa 9mm handy, loaded either with special EMB ammo or Gold Dot +P+.
Some people don’t know much about 357 SIG and think it’s equal to 9mm +P+ or even a notch worse than good 40 S&W.
This is some performance information found in Wikipedia on 357 SIG.


Performance

Because of its relatively high velocity for a handgun round, the .357 SIG has a very flat trajectory, extending the effective range. However, it does not quite reach the performance of the .357 Magnum with bullets heavier than 125 grains (8.1 g), with the same usable barrel lengths, the typical commercial loadings using 125-grain (8.1 g) bullets, fired from a four-inch (102 mm) barrel; a typical commercial .357 Magnum load propels a 125-grain (8.1 g) bullet to 1,450 ft/s (440 m/s), while a typical .357 SIG load propels the same bullet to 1,350 ft/s (410 m/s), with only a usable 2.85-inch (72 mm) barrel. Specialty loads, such as Double Tap Ammunition, are able to propel a 125-grain (8.1 g) bullet to 1,450 ft/s (440 m/s) from a four-inch (102 mm) barrel. Offsetting this general slight disadvantage in performance is the fact that semi-automatic pistols tend to carry considerably more ammunition than revolvers.
Also like the Tokarev, the .357 SIG works well when shooting through barriers. There has been a documented case in Texas where a police officer's .45 round did not penetrate a tractor-trailer's shell, but a .357 SIG round from a backup officer's gun did, killing the suspect inside. The round's ability to penetrate barriers is the main reason for its adoption by law enforcement agencies. However, other documented police shootings have confirmed the round's ability to not over penetrate the body, even though ballistic gelatin shows 16 inches (410 mm) of penetration through heavy clothing (125 grain Speer Gold Dot). The Virginia State Police have had several documented officer-related shootings involving the .357 Sig, and in every case, not only were the felons stopped instantly with one shot (except one who was shot several times while attempting to murder an officer), the bullet either didn't exit the felon, or was stopped in the clothing upon exiting, proving that even at such high velocities, the round when used with adequate expanding hollowpoints will not over penetrate soft tissue. The same department has also reported that attacking dogs have been stopped dead in their tracks by a single shot, whereas the former subsonic 147 grain 9 mm duty rounds would require multiple shots to incapacitate the animals.[11]
The reputation that the .357 SIG round had for losing its crimp (allowing for bullet setback) was partially true when the cartridge was new and ammunition manufacturers were just beginning to produce the round. These problems have since been corrected by major manufacturers. As a result, the round now exhibits nominal setback characteristics, similar to other cartridges.[citation needed]
The bottleneck shape of the .357 SIG cartridge makes feeding problems almost non-existent.[citation needed] This is because the bullet is channeled through the larger chamber before being seated entirely as the slide goes into full battery. Flat point bullets are seldom used with other autoloader platforms because of feeding problems; however, such bullets are commonly seen in the .357 SIG chambering and are quite reliable, as are hollow-point bullets.
One disadvantage of the .357 SIG is that it fires a .355" bullet at higher velocities than most bullets of that caliber are designed for. Very few bullets have been designed specifically for the .357 SIG, and .357 Magnum bullets that are designed for the same velocity range cannot be used due to their slightly larger diameter. Because of this, there are fewer ammunition choices in .357 SIG than one might expect for a cartridge using .355" bullets.
Another potential drawback of the .357 SIG is its somewhat harsh treatment of pistols that are not designed to handle its high pressure that coupled to its case head area yields a for a semi-automatic service handgun cartridge high bolt thrust.[12] Firing .357 SIG through modified pistols that were originally designed to fire the .40 S&W can accelerate wear.
The "Accurate Powder" reloading manuals claims that it is "without a doubt the most ballistically consistent handgun cartridge we have ever worked with."[13]

Implementation

The SIG-Sauer P229 in .357 SIG is currently the standard issue firearm carried by agents of the United States Secret Service, the Bastrop County Texas Sheriff's Office, the North Carolina State Highway Patrol, Delaware State Police, Rhode Island State Police, Alameda County Sheriff's Office, Virginia State Police, Federal Air Marshals and the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration. In most cases, it has replaced 10 mm, .40 S&W and 9 mm loads. In 1995, the Texas Department of Public Safety became the first government agency to implement the .357 SIG. The Tennessee Highway Patrol presently issues the Glock 31 pistol chambered in .357 SIG. The Bedford Heights Police Department (OH) currently issues the Glock 31/32 in .357 SIG.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/.357_SIG

FerFAL

13 comments:

theotherryan said...

So what does it do that the .40 s&w which is far more common doesn't?

M.D. Creekmore said...

Good post. My local police department issues the 357 sig. The 9mm loaded with Corbon 115-gr. +P gives similar ballistics and performance.

FerFAL said...

" theotherryan said...

So what does it do that the .40 s&w which is far more common doesn't?"


It’s faster and have better hydraulic shock, similar to 357 magnum in 124gr JHP at 1400fps.
Feeds more reliably, at least to me it has less felt recoil and is more accurate, in spite of the loud bark.
As mentioned it has lots of penetration in hard targets, more than other handgun calibers, but in soft targets it expands the energy well enough so that it doesn’t overpenetrate.

FerFAL

DaShui said...

Que Pasa FerFal!


According to Buffalo Bore ammo page. They get a 124 grain 357 Sig, shot from a Sig to 1430 fps. Their 124 grain 9mm +p+,from a Beretta is 1304 fps. So a difference of 125 fps. I'm not sure there is difference enough to justify the cost. Also I read statistics indicating that .40, .45, 9+p+, 10mm, .357 Sig all have a 90%-95% one shot stopping record.

I wonder if criminals start using body armor more, as they do in Mexico. if pistols will become next to useless for self defense. I hear the Secret Service carries the FN PS7 for this reason.

FerFAL said...

"DaShui said...
I hear the Secret Service carries the FN PS7 for this reason."

Hi!,
They use 357 SIG.
"Special Agents and Uniformed Division Officers carry the SIG Sauer P229 pistol chambered for the .357 SIG cartridge."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Secret_Service

FerFAL

DaShui said...

I believe that some members of the Secret Service detail carries submachine guns now chambered in 5. 7 in addition to their sidearms.

If you can remember when Reagan was shot, the SS man was running around with an UZI that he pulled out of his briefcase.

And I hear they wear ($5000) Dragon Skins body armor which is resistant to common assault rifle rounds, so they must be acutely aware of the limitations of commercial pistol and rifle ammunition against cutting edge body armor.

FerFAL said...

Supposedly they use Gold Dot, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they used armor piercing EMB.
You dont need 5,7 to go through armor, EMB 9mm will punch through soft BA and has better stopping power.

FerFAL

Bones said...

FerFAL, Aren't you concerned that .357 SIG might be harder to get than 9mm in another economic collapse? After thinking long and hard about this issue I went with a Bersa UC in 9mm as it seemed that 9mm rounds of all types might be easier to get. Also, Corbon dxp in 9mm is supposed to be a great performer.

FerFAL said...

Bones, a 40 S&W barrel costs about 100 bucks, not really that much money, and it allows you to shoot 40S&W in seconds, using the same gun and magazines. There's also a 9mm barrel but you need new mags.

Also, I stil own guns in almost every caliber, and gnrated, the one I shoot the most is 9mm.
357 SIG is the "creme de la creme", in terms of teh best you can have,at least in mt opinion.
No 357 SIG ammo? No problem, I have other guns, like my Bersa 9mm, and know hoe to use them too.
But notice that in defense, you rarely shoot, I mean, even with a few incindents in oyur life, you'll rarely ever live to shoot more than 200 rounds or so, and I'm tlaking abotu a very rare, very dangerous life. ( civilian self defense, not warfare)
Still, 9mm with the right ammo is above 90% ne shot stop, a darn fine round.

FerFAL

FerFAL said...

Oh my God, that was the comment with the crappiest spelling I've ever made. :)

FerFAL

Bones said...

FerFAL, If someone were only to own one gun, I would still suggest 9mm. Here's an interesting link on the topic of handgun ammo:

http://ammo.ar15.com/project/Self_Defense_Ammo_FAQ/index.htm

another but with no .357 sig data:

http://www.goldenloki.com/ammo/gel/tests.htm

and another because it's funny:

http://www.theboxotruth.com/docs/theboxotruth.htm

BTW your english spelling errors are sometimes very hilarious, but please don't be embarrassed since you do great and I can't even speak a word of spanish. The firefox browser has a built in spellchecker and it's more secure than IE. Identity theft happens too!

Anonymous said...

I agree about the scarcity of ammo making 357 SIG a less desirable caliber. Ammo is very scarce now and if the manufacturers do catch up, they will be making 9mm first, because they can sell much more of it than 357 SIG. Rare calibers are harder to find, and much more expensive.

As for what the police shoot, who cares? Cops drive Crown Victorias, but is a Crown Vic the best car in the world? Hardly. They drive (and shoot) what is given to them.

Shoot a common caliber and you will be better off.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, we are NOT talking about police, we are talking about SECRET SERVICE the guys that protect one of the most powerful men in the world, a man who heads a nation which has the highest defense budget worldwide. The President of the United States (along with his SS bodyguards) rides in a US $400,000 dollar car, nicknamed "Cadillac One". (hardly your run-of-the-mill Crown Victoria) Due to the importance of their protective function, the agency receives the latest weapons and training. Its agents receive the absolute latest military technology, all this, due to specific legislation and directives. The United States military must fully comply with requests for assistance with protection for the President and all other people under protection, providing equipment, and even military personnel at no cost to the Secret Service, if they use it, i'll trust they did their homework (ballistics testing, penetration, fps, etc...) and give it a look myself...Its not cheap, (as good things rarely are) But still, I would carry a .357SIG over a 9mm or 9mm +P+ any given sunday...