Guns & Ammo
Modern Self Defense: .357 Sig
Check out .357 Sig for self-defense and weigh in on the facts to see if you get one of your own.
RELATED: Selecting Personal Defense Weaponry: Handgun
In this article:
.357 Sig Self-Defense Round | What You Need to Know
.357 Sig Self-Defense Round
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The .357 Sig pistol cartridge is one of the most underestimated and undervalued self-defense cartridges ever invented. Shooters who truly understand its performance carry this round for every day carry (EDC) and vow to never go back to carrying anything else.
There is a lot of confusion out there about it and where it came from. Is it like a .357 Magnum? Or, is it like the .40? Truly, this cartridge is misunderstood.
Let's dispel some of the myths flying around the .357 Sig ammo self-defense round, so keep on reading!
In order to get a true grasp of what this pistol cartridge is capable of, you need to think of it as a 9mm, .40S&W, and .357 Magnum all at once—taking some positives from each one, without some of the negatives.
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Comparing the .357 Sig vs 9mm, both ammo essentially has the same size. Both 9mm and .357 Sig ammo are basically in 124 or 125-grain bullet sizes with a .355 diameter.
This is the same diameter as the Parabellum round. The good thing about using this size projectile is superior penetration—sometimes to the point of over-penetration.
RELATED: 5 Calibers For Self-Defense | Self-Defense Firearms
The casing for the .357 Sig pistol cartridge is nearly the size of a .40 S&W. When I say “nearly,” I mean it is close. The Sig's casing is just a bit too long to call it a .40.
Why is this significant? Well, you are essentially taking the same amount of powder used to shoot the .40, with a smaller grain size bullet, causing devastating effects on those who are on the receiving end.
In fact, some have clocked the Sig to .357 Magnum velocities, which is the plus factor it gets from that cartridge.
When you take everything that we have talked about so far and realized that the extra powder propels a smaller projectile to Magnum speeds, you begin to realize just how much potential this smaller self-defense round actually has.
There are some reports where they have been used to shatter automotive glass, something that many of the other self-defense cartridges tend to ricochet off of.
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Sadly, this venerable self-defense round is not without its own problems. Even though more law enforcement agencies are picking them up as a standard issue, the .357 Sig is harder to find and can be a bit expensive if you don't know where to look.
Buying .357 Sig in bulk is always an option. Hopefully, as more people climb on board and buy it, prices will dive down as more companies will eventually manufacture it.
Know more about the .357 Sig in this video courtesy of Jordan Winkler:
The .357 Sig is a mighty alternative to your current EDC. It has stout ballistics and is capable of keeping up with and even surpassing the most deadly of self-defense cartridges.
Take a bullet basically the same size of a 9mm with a cartridge size to that of a .40. This combination spells more penetration power for the .357 Sig.
Do you carry .357 Sig or know someone else who does and can't live without it? Tell us your story in the comments section below.
- Shooter’s Guide To Choosing The Best Self-Defense Cartridge
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- 9mm vs .40 vs .45 | Which Is Better For Self Defense?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on June 26, 2018, and has been updated for quality and relevancy.
October 19, 2022 at 12:56 PM
Very cool and informative website! Silly comment though…both pics associated with t article are not .357 sig rounds!
Been a .357 sig fan for years! Stay safe, shoot straight and reload!
December 7, 2017 at 11:32 AM
Sorry for the late post, but by this recent update, hopefully it will generate some comments from the readers. Always benefical to read what others have learned and experienced.
Like most, we all have an inventory of firearms, different, but specific to our individual preferences. As to the 357sig,
my CCH is a Sig P229 SAS Gen 2. Yes larger than my compacts, but in rotation, it is a perfect winter carry for a number of reasons. Winter Clothing allows no printing and the caliber is perfect for personal defense against those bad ones dressed in winter clothing. Penetration is superior to most other handgun calibers, did not say all. The recoil is same to less as a 40, and for sure a heck better than my S&W 686 357 mag (which I rotate as well). Dependability has been flawless and most important, accuracy is tops.
My desire at this point is to continue to press Sig Sauer to release the 357sig conversion kits for the Sig MPX. I have the 9mm configured to my liking, including a suppressor, but feel the MPX firearm configured in 357 sig would be a dream.
Here is the question to all of you? (because my suppressor will handle 300 subsonic)
Many of you have AR platforms, not all have 300 ACC Blackout uppers. Knowing the benefits of the 300 and the limitations, and the awesome ballastics of the 357sig…..is it worth the effort and cost to go 300 ACC and what are the advantages and disadvantges in the AR 15 in 300 vs the MPX in 357sig (knowing no one has yet tested the MPX in 357sig)?????
This is a hypo question, but many of you are knowledgeable enough to make reasonable comments,
April 27, 2017 at 1:17 PM
Up until about 18 months ago I was strictly a .45acp carrier. Nothing else existed AND DAMN SURE NO ‘WILDCAT’ ROUNDS. A very good friend came to my range to test some cartridges. I watched as he shot them and then he handed me a Glock 31 .357 Sig. I fired the 31and around the 5th or 6th round I was in love. Couple of weeks later I obtained a Glock mod 32 and I was hooked. Ammo is a bit pricey but I buy it in bulk and have found some great deals. Today, I carry a Glock 31 & 32 for EDC. I have found that the Federal 125 gr HST. Put the power of the HST & the .357sig cartridge together and you have an awesome self defense round. I even converted my son from his 1911 for a Glock 31. I have been seeing several other gun makers dabbling in the .357sig arena. I have my sights set on the Springfield Armory Nightmare Carry chambered in .357Sig. OORAH!!!
April 9, 2017 at 7:49 PM
Just ordered my Glock 32 haven’t had the opertunity to shoot .357 sig, I hope it lives up to the hype
March 23, 2017 at 8:11 AM
It’s a round I abandoned years ago in the G32 because the muzzle blast was fatiguing. I was trying to make it a paper punching/target round due to it’s great accuracy and reliability. I went back to to the .40 and sold the gun. Next I purchased on a whim a G35 slide with a 40 and 357 barrel. Now the 357 seemed at home in a hunting length vs. the 40. I just purchased a P226 Legion in .40 and decided to also get a 357 barrel. Sights are perfect for both barrels and the 357 works awesome in the P226 Legion. I actually started hand loading the 357 Sig again! The 147XTP is interesting with Blue Dot and the 124XTP with Unique. Sometimes we need to just go full circle and revisit a chambering we thought was just annoying yet offered performance I was not appreciating. I do have a P226 in 9mm and a P220 in 45ACP. Maybe getting a G32 again sometime or a G32 barrel for my G23.
March 22, 2017 at 9:38 PM
I have 31, 32, & 33.
I carry whichever one floats my boat on any given day. Usually the 32…
I have Lone Wolf barrels in 9mm and 40 for all three pistols. That way I can shoot on the cheap when I need to, however cheap FMJ Sig can be found if you look. The “good rounds” cost the same as the “good rounds” in any other caliber. This is the ammo that you won’t burn up at the range, so once you build up a little hoard, you need not really but it very often. The best selection for the good roundswill be online. You can find good HPs locally, but usually not much variety to choose from.
The Sig round was developed to match the ballistics of the 125 grain 357 Magnum round…. Nowadays most ammo manufacturers load the Sig light, compared to what it was intended. Even Sig loads their Sig rounds light. You can find 357 Magnum equivalent Sig, but you have to look and compare.
February 12, 2017 at 10:58 PM
I carry the Sig P320 full size and love it! The recoil is stout but no different than shooting magnum rounds. It does go straight back than up which helps improve accuracy. I have shot a wide variety of calibers, and this ranks with the .357 mag.
Chris In Minneapolis
January 10, 2017 at 4:08 AM
Carry both the Glock 33 and 31 and I will never switch back to any other caliber for self-defense. Snappy but more back then up for recoil, makes for quick follow ups after some practice. The caliber itself is superior to the most carried calibers of 9mm, 40 and 45. Shoots straight more consistent smaller groupings on benchrest at 25, 50 and 100 yards then the three other cals. Defensive same price as 9mm but target is almost twice the cost. Reloading is advanced compared to other cals but can be done. Not a budget shooter but a powerful compact caliber that has high energy 550-675 and perfect speed at 1450-1675. Any over penetration issues for carry are solved by basic loads of which most big brands are. Exceptions are UW, BB, DT, Grizzly and a few more hot load brands which are great but have tendency to OP and for carry that is risking legal ramifications.
April 26, 2016 at 9:02 PM
Wish there was an “edit” button. Can’t go back and fix my typos! Sorry!
April 26, 2016 at 8:58 PM
I purchased a Glock 32 as my one and only carry weapon. Shoots 147 Hornady hollow points at 1350 ft/sec and 506 ft/lbs of energy at muzzle. Compared to a .45 or a .40 Cal, it is a better round, of course the best round is one that a person can shoot and hit what you aim at of course! Have carried it concealed for 8 years, using IWB Galco holster which once you get used to the weight, I sometimes forget I have it! The cartridge is a little expensive, so… RELOAD IT yourself!!!. I don’t the 115 grain hollow points (.355) loaded hot doesn’t have too much recoil compared to the 147 gr bullets. Can also load 124 gr bullets too. The 115 gr can whiz at nearly 1500 ft/sec too! I resize the .40 Cal casings to a ..357 Sig resizing die. It is slightly shorter, but, I find that they do load and fire without any trouble. Have had several folks who load this round say not to do this as it is shoulder spaced instead of head spaced that positions the cartridge in the chamber but if you do try the .40s in resizing, please use caution. As I stated, I have never had any problems, but that forms necessarily mean my luck won’t run out one day. Just an AWESOME cartridge.