.357 sig self defense rounds

This is a discussion on .357 sig self defense rounds within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was talking with a buddy of mine who used to own a Glock 33. He was telling me he loved the round at first ...

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Thread: .357 sig self defense rounds

  1. #1
    Member Array 40calbuck's Avatar
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    .357 sig self defense rounds

    I was talking with a buddy of mine who used to own a Glock 33. He was telling me he loved the round at first ten it became unpractical to carry, I dont know he said that but anyways....I brought up the point that the round is so powerful that it could penetrate someone, go through them and easily hit someone behind the BG you were aiming at. I told him I'd rather stick with my .40 cal although the .357 sig always caught my eye. He then told me that some company makes a special bullet for .357 sig and that is has BB's or something inside of it so when it hits something it kind of stops in it's tracks. Said it is very expensive but works great. Anyone know about this or was he just full of bull?

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  3. #2
    Member Array Chyron's Avatar
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    He was likely (incorrectly) referring to frangible ammunition, where the bullet itself is designed to break apart on impact. Several companies make these, but I would recommend Winchester's Ranger-T Frangible if you're seriously considering it. I would even more strongly recommend a good JHP. I've been carrying .357 sig for 6 months and haven't had cause to worry about it overpenetrating, except possibly in FMJ.
    http://tinyurl.com/yekvucb <--- see here for Frangible Ranger-T in .357 sig.
    Last edited by Chyron; April 6th, 2010 at 12:36 AM. Reason: Edited for link

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    Any round can over penetrate a body. FMJ more likely than others. The .357 Sig is more likely to penetrate a barrier, like say a door that a BG hides behind.
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    VIP Member Array Cuda66's Avatar
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    A quality .357Sig JHP is not going to be any more overpenetrive of a BG than any other quality defensive round in a defensive caliber. Saying:
    the round is so powerful that it could penetrate someone, go through them and easily hit someone behind the BG you were aiming at.
    is, well, showing at best a serious misunderstanding of the facts.



    (iirc, these are all Ranger-T or HST, can't remember which--but they're all the same type)

    Notice that the .357 sig round actually penetrated less than the 180gr .40, or the 147gr 9mm, and the same as the other rounds.

    If you're talking about FMJ, it doesn't matter what you're shooting--it's more than likely going to overpenetrate with enough velocity to be dangerous to someone downrange, regardless of caliber.

    As for the BB filled rounds--aka Glaser Safety Slug--they're a gimmick round. I won't use 'em, period, nor would I recommend them to anyone for anything.
    There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.--RAH

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    In cases of shootings where the .357 SIG was used, the bullets were often found in the clothing on the far side of the victim. Over penetration is not a major concern. Air marshals are carrying the round.
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    Distinguished Member Array Rexster's Avatar
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    Most modern defensive JHP ammo these days is engineered to penetrate to about the same depth in a living target, bore size 9mm to .45 ACP. 40calbuck's friend is misinformed. As Thanis indicated, with certain types of barriers, the 357 SIG will penetrate more than some other cartridges. This was a factor in a Texas DPS shooting incident documented in print by Massad Ayoob, when one senior trooper was using .45 ACP, and his younger partner a 357 SIG, during that agency's transition period. Their opponent was inside a truck.

    State troopers in Texas are likely to engage felons using vehicles as cover, so their use of 357 SIG makes sense. Longer ranges are also quite common in rural areas, where troopers are likely to be first responders, and the 357 SIG has a somewhat flatter trajectory than most defensive pistol cartridges. I don't keep score on such things, but I believe other agencies using 357 SIG are largely state highway patrol troopers.

    FWIW, I am mandated to use .40 S&W at work, but I own my duty SIG P229s, and may well convert them to 357 SIG after I retire. I recently acquired a 357 SIG barrel, and a small amount of ammo, with which to experiment. This is a very interesting cartridge.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Thanis's Avatar
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    As noted by Rexster, there have been a handful number of times that a .357 Sig has penetrated a barrier a BG was behind, in contrast to other calibers that were being fired at the BG.

    Also noted by Rexster, the .357 Sig is acknowledged to have a somewhat flater trajectory.

    However, I don't know of one example where the .357 Sig over penetrated anything it was not intened to penetrate. I could just be uninformed.

    I would state the one disadvantage of the .357 Sig is the type of recoil. It has a snap (not unlike 9mm +p). IMHO, the caliber I keep going back and forth on is .357 Sig vs .45 ACP, and it is because of recoil & capacity. The .45 ACP is less snappy, more of a push back, larger bullet, but less capacity. In contrast the .357 Sig is not as pleasant as the .45 ACP, has a smaller bullet but has plenty of power, greater capacity, and offers additional penetration if needed.

    Not trying to to start a caliber war. Just giving my feel for it. Would add that the .40 S&W is less snappy than the .357 Sig, but it is a slight difference (as they both have about the same recoil) but the .357 Sig offers more power.

    Really, it is as simple as what feels the best for you. All the calibers mentioned provide something different.

    The .357 Sig should be given a chance, it not just a 9mm +P. Unlike say the .45 GAP, the .357 Sig fills a role.

    IMHO.
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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Hi. I've been carrying 357SIG for years, now. There was a time on this board, not so long ago, when I was one of two people who represented 357SIG carriers on this forum. Now, there are more and more trying this cartridge and sticking with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by 40calbuck View Post
    ...I brought up the point that the round is so powerful that it could penetrate someone, go through them and easily hit someone behind the BG you were aiming at...
    Any cartridge that meets the FBI standards for performance, regardless of caliber, has the potential to overpenetrate, particularly with FMJ ammo. Consider that, if you shoot someone with a .380 standard power round, and hit the arm or the trapezius muscle (the muscle above the collarbone that goes from the shoulder to the neck) or parts of the leg, the bullet will likely exit the body. Just about any cartridge powerful enough to be a reliable self-defense cartridge has the potential to overpenetrate in the case of a shot to the periphery of the body. The truth is that the key to any SD cartridge is the bullet design, and in the past 20 years, JHP bullet design has very much standardized penetration across calibers. The 357SIG was designed to provide performance approaching a .357 Mag in a standard semi-auto cartridge. With a 125 gr bullet, it largely meets that goal, although people argue that the semi-auto round is slower than the equivalent .357 Mag (sometimes test barrel length skews the rated velocity, but most 357SIG loadings are 75-125 fps slower than equivalent .357 Mag loadings). The point of all this is that there is nothing magic about the 357SIG round. It is powerful, but not hugely so. From everything I've been able to glean, talking with ballistics professionals who study this for a living, the 357SIG most often fully penetrates, without overpenetrating; it's also been pointed out to me that some bullet designs can cause the 357SIG to expand too quickly, resulting in underpenetration. In COM frontal shootings, the bullet is often found in the body, under the skin of the back, or outside the body, in the clothing, having fully penetrated with just enough energy to break through the tough back skin. If the JHP fails to expand, and behaves like an FMJ, then it is more likely to overpenetrate, but this is also true for everything from 9mm to .45.
    He then told me that some company makes a special bullet for .357 sig and that is has BB's or something inside of it so when it hits something it kind of stops in it's tracks. Said it is very expensive but works great. Anyone know about this or was he just full of bull?
    The class of bullets your friend is talking about is called a frangible bullet, meaning that it breaks up when it hits something solid. There are several frangible bullet designs. Your friend is probably referring to the Glaser Safety Slug, but there are other frangible rounds on the market, and they are, indeed, very expensive. Frangible rounds are a specialty round with a very specific performance goal. IMO a well-designed premium JHP is a better general purpose SD round.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rexster View Post
    ...I don't keep score on such things, but I believe other agencies using 357 SIG are largely state highway patrol troopers...
    Largely, it does seem to be a service cartridge. It was picked up, first, by state police agencies and some federal agencies, but its use has expanded to broader use by federal, state, and from what I've seen in the mid-Atlantic states, local law enforcement. Its popularity in the civilian market continues to grow.
    Quote Originally Posted by Thanis View Post
    ...However, I don't know of one example where the .357 Sig over penetrated anything it was not intened to penetrate...
    The only real example I've heard referenced is the FAM shooting at Miami International, and the overpenetrating shots were at the periphery of the bodies, going through only 2-4" of flesh. I think just about any round would overpenetrate under that circumstance.
    ...IMHO, the caliber I keep going back and forth on is .357 Sig vs .45 ACP, and it is because of recoil & capacity. The .45 ACP is less snappy, more of a push back, larger bullet, but less capacity. In contrast the .357 Sig is not as pleasant as the .45 ACP, has a smaller bullet but has plenty of power, greater capacity, and offers additional penetration if needed.
    Me, too. Every handgun cartridge is a compromise. So far, I've stuck with the 357SIG, because with the right round, it really does offer the same performance as a .357 Mag in a semi-auto.
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    Member Array greyeyezz's Avatar
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    Several companies make these, but I would recommend Winchester's Ranger-T Frangible if you're seriously considering it.
    Been shooting the 357sig for many years. The frangible loads you quoted aren't as frangible as you think. I have a nice stash of Speer 100gr frangible. Shot an old refrigerator in my barn with my G32, the frangible round completely blasted through it it and out the side of the barn to my surprise.

    They will act like FMJ on soft targets, will only spatter on hard steel. I'll bet they go through wood and drywall with no problem. I can post pics of the fridge if you like.

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    Senior Member Array Tom357's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greyeyezz View Post
    ...Shot an old refrigerator in my barn with my G32, the frangible round completely blasted through it it and out the side of the barn to my surprise...I can post pics of the fridge if you like.
    I think we're always interested in seeing pics!
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    Wow. What distance was that fridge shot at?

    Frangible. There's another new word!

  14. #13
    Member Array greyeyezz's Avatar
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    About ten feet. I thought it would shatter in the fridge, instead i was patching my barn.

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    Glad I am not a refrigerator..
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