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If you’re looking to learn more about the SIG Sauer 357 caliber and the pistols that SIG Sauer has made for this round, you’re reading the right article.
First unveiled in 1994, the .357 SIG Sauer was designed to replicate as much as possible the performance of 125-grain .357 Magnum bullets (hence the same caliber name) only out of a semi-automatic pistol that could carry more rounds.
This is why the caliber remains one of the most unique defensive pistol rounds still in use today.
This guide covers the pros and cons of the .357 SIG cartridge, the best SIG Sauer 357 pistols that are available, and some accessories that you should consider for your SIG 357.
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The SIG Sauer .357 is actually based more on the .40 S&W cartridge rather than the .357 Magnum. This was accomplished by bottlenecking the .40 S&W casing in order to accommodate a 9mm-sized .335 bullet.
Since the .40 S&W and .357 SIG share the same parent shell casing, converting between the two cartridges in the same handgun only requires a barrel change. For example, switching your .40 S&W SIG Sauer P229 to .357 SIG only requires you to replace the barrels during field stripping. All other parts, including the magazine, are cross-compatible.
The SIG Sauer 357 offers plenty of advantages. Recoil is marginally less than the .40 S&W and significantly less than the .357 Magnum. The round also produces exceptionally high velocity for a pistol round (approaching or exceeding 1,500 feet per second) with a very flat trajectory. Each of these qualities greatly helps aid inaccuracy. This is why the round has become as successful with American law enforcement as it has.
Additionally, the bottlenecked shape of the .357 SIG not only gives it a distinctive look, but also is very reliable since the smaller bullet being channeled into a larger chamber greatly reduces the odds of feed jams.
The .357 SIG is not without its cons. It delivers more recoil than a comparably sized pistol chambered in 9mm Luger, and it’s also notorious for its higher price point than both 9mm and the .40. These are the primary reasons why .357 SIG has never found the same level of success as 9mm has on the civilian market, and the round currently retains a small but dedicated niche following amongst American shooters.
The .357 SIG caliber has been adopted by numerous law enforcement units all over the United States, as well as the United States Secret Service and the United States Federal Air Marshals (although the latter recently switched to the Generation 5 Glock 19 in 9mm).
Take note of the fact that SIG Sauer announced late last year that they would be discontinuing production of all pistols chambered in .40 S&W and .357 SIG, in order to focus on their 9mm models. This decision parallels the recent trend of several law enforcement units across the country switching back to 9mm. Thanks to advancements in bullet technology that have made 9mm more effective for self-defense than it was in years prior.
That being said, SIG pistols chambered for the .357 SIG round remain in great abundance on the used market, and if the caliber experiences a resurgence among the civilian population (as 10mm Auto has over the last few years) the possibility of SIG reintroducing guns in the round in the future should not be discounted.
SIG’s primary pistols that were offered in .357 SIG include:
The SIG Sauer P226 has long been SIG’s flagship model since its release in the mid-1980s. A double-action single-action pistol initially chambered in 9mm, SIG later released the .40 S&W and .357 SIG versions of the pistol as well. The .357 SIG P226 carries 12 rounds of ammunition in a standard factory magazine. Extended magazines are available from other manufacturers such as Mec-Gar.
The P229 is a more compact version of the P226 and was the first commercially available pistol that could chamber the .357 SIG round. As with the P226, the standard flush-fitting magazine holds 12 rounds. Extended magazines are available from other manufacturers such as Mec-Gar.
The P320 is a striker-fired pistol that was also adopted as the new United States military sidearm in 2017 to replace the Beretta M9. The big feature of the P320 is its modularity. As the fire control unit inside of the pistol can easily be swapped between frames. This also allows you to swap between calibers as well.
In other words, you can own 9mm and .357 SIG frames and barrels for the P320 with one fire control unit to swap between them. The fire control unit is the only part of the gun that you need to buy through an FFL dealer.
Here are some accessories that you should consider for your 357 SIG pistol:
The Fobus OWB holster, like this one for the SIG Sauer P229, is a passive retention holster. It’s very lightweight at just two ounces. Also has a rubberized paddle that helps make it very stable so it isn’t drawn out when you draw the pistol. Fobus holsters are likewise made for the P226 and the P320 pistols.
For concealment purposes, give consideration to the Pole Craft IWB holster for your SIG 357 pistol. Very affordable and built out of durable and yet lightweight Kydex. This holster has an adjustable cant and retention pressure, along with a lifetime warranty from the manufacturer.
The Ameriglo Classic Tritium 3-Dot Night Sights are an excellent upgrade over standard SIG Sauer sights like you get on the factory. These sights are designed to fit over both a standard 220-series of SIG pistol. Or on the SIG Sauer P320 series. Built out of a very durable bar stock steel. And equipped with enhanced Tritium to glow brightly in dim conditions. The Ameriglo Classic Night Sights represent one of the best values for night sights on the market today.
The .357 SIG cartridge shouldn’t be counted out, nor should the SIG pistols that are chambered to use it. Hopefully, this guide on the merits of the round, the SIG-made pistols that are available in it, and accessories for those pistols will help you make an educated decision.