Rising In Popularity, This Round Has Proven Itself For More Than 17 Years
About 20 years ago, SIG executive Ted Rowe noticed police departments switching from .357 Magnum revolvers to SIG’s 9mm and .45 ACP pistols. The one thing said about trading in their old sixguns was they missed the devastating stopping power of the 125-grain Magnum round. Texas Department of Public Safety personnel said they’d found the SIG P220 .45 ACP to be a decent manstopper, but it lacked the “lightning bolt effect” some of their personnel had reported when they shot armed felons with the 125-grain .357 Magnum.
Rowe brought SIG together with Federal Cartridge, and the result was the .357 SIG round of 1993. Its bottlenecked case allowed enough power to drive a 125-grain .355″ 9mm bullet 1,350 to 1,450 fps out of a service pistol. Led by Delaware State Police, LE agencies started buying it. Today, there are more state police/highway patrols issuing the .357 SIG than issuing .45 ACP, and the .357 round is second only to .40 S&W in popularity among the state trooper agencies. Texas DPS adopted it, for one, and has been delighted with its performance since. Apparently, so have the others.
Felt recoil is a subjective thing, and shooters debate whether the .40 S&W or the .357 SIG kicks more—proof positive they’re in the same ballpark in that regard. The .357 SIG can be tougher on the gun, though. Glock suggests armorers replace recoil springs on the .357s every 2,000 rounds or so. By simply purchasing a new barrel, you can swap from .40 S&W to .357 SIG or vice versa. Magazines will usually interchange between the two calibers, though the little SIG P239 is a notable exception.
The .357 SIG is a remarkably accurate cartridge. SIG’s own P226 in that chambering has put five 125-grain Speer Gold Dots into 1″ at 25 yards for me (slightly better than I’ve ever gotten from the same model in 9mm, and distinctly better than I’ve ever achieved with any SIG in .40). In service-size Glocks, my G31 in .357 SIG clearly outshoots my G22 in .40 S&W.
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