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GUNS Magazine December 2011 Digital Edition - Page 26
• M A S S A D A y O O B • Rising in popularity, this round has proven itself for more than 17 years. 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. the .357 siG is controllable. bottleneck case (inset) fly, but the muzzle is still on target as herman Gunter iii shoots an iDpa match with his daily carry Glock .357. thE .357 SIG IN PERSPECtIvE bout 20 years ago, sIg executive Ted Rowe noticed A police departments switching from .357 Magnum revolvers to sIg’s 9mm and .45 ACP pistols. The one thing the beginning: the siG p226 with 125-grain .357 siG Gold Dot ammo designed to replicate the .357 magnum 125-grain Jhp load long proven as a manstopper with pDs across the country. 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. In addition to SIG and Glock, S&W makes their M&P in .357 SIG (carried by New Mexico State Police and North Carolina Highway Patrol), and the most accurate S&W Sigma I ever benched was the short-lived .357 SIG version. HK and Springfield XD .357s are out there too; Beretta used to chamber the Cougar for it; SVI Infinity and Steyr have made .357s, too, and I may have missed some. Most any other brand of .40 can be made a .357 SIG with a quality aftermarket barrel. A good friend of mine cherishes his 1911 in this caliber. A downside to .357 SIG is that ammo is thin on the ground, a particular problem if you’re traveling with one. Bringing a .40 barrel with you goes far toward fixing that. Downrange Effect It took me a long time to get comfortable with the .357 SIG round. One reason was recurrent case neck separations I saw on the range, with some brands of ammo more than others. The gun didn’t blow, but before another shot could be fired, it had to be disassembled to remove the little brass collar that usually remained trapped in the chamber. That problem pretty much disappeared over the years as the ammo industry learned the subtleties of containing high pressure in this little, bottlenecked case. WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • DECEMBER 2011 26