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Doctor Roberts on the .357SIG
Zhukov  [Moderator]
This just came up on another board, and I figured it would be interesting to share here.

Originally posted by DocGKR:

I am grateful that the 357 Sig issuing agencies are satisfied with their weapon system performance. By the same token, every single agency that I am aware of that has acquired reliable pistols, diligently emphasizes frequent realistic lethal force training and tactics, and uses good quality service pistol ammunition in 9 mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP are also very happy with their shooting results. Good Training and Proper Psychological Preparedness coupled with Reliable Weapon Systems and followed by Frequent Practice is what will win the battles.

Is the 357 Sig bad? NO! It is a very reliably performing 9mm bullet, but it is does not offer significantly better terminal performance compared with the best current 9mm ammunition. When firing through heavy clothing, automotive steel panels, automobile windshield glass, interior wall segments, exterior wall segments, and plywood, both the 357 Sig Speer 125 gr JHP Gold Dot and 9mm Speer 124 gr +P JHP Gold Dot exhibited nearly identical penetration and expansion results THROUGH ALL THE DIFFERENT BARRIERS, as demonstrated by both our testing and that of the FBI. Most 357 Sig loadings, unless the fail to expand, do not offer excessive penetration; in fact, the exact opposite, under-penetration, can be a problem. Several .40 S&W and .45 ACP loads offered superior terminal performance through barriers compared to the 9mm and 357 Sig loads. In addition to having tested virtually all the handgun ammo available in lab settings, we have also had the opportunity to analyze numerous OIS incident forensic results and have not observed any greater incapacitation in actual shootings with users of 357 Sig loads compared to those users of 9 mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP who are using equivalent modern, well engineered ammunition.

The 357 Sig is not a bad cartridge, it just does not seem to offer anything that is not already available, at the price of less ammunition capacity than the similarly performing 9mm, as well as having greater recoil, muzzle flash, and wear on the weapon compared to other service pistol cartridges. On the other hand, since the 357 Sig is a modern cartridge benefiting from the latest engineering concepts, the bullets loaded with it have generally all been designed and tested using the latest FBI, IWBA, etc... testing protocols. This results in more robust terminal performance, less failures to expand, and thus greater tissue damage than will be found with older projectile designs. In addition, since according to data from Fackler and others, approximately 50% of shooting victims are incapacitated by psychological mechanisms, it is possible that the increased blast, flash, and noise of the 357 Sig enhances psychological perceptions of being shot.

In discussing this issue with an experienced ammunition engineer at one of the major ammo companies, he stated that he didn't particularly like the 357 Sig from an engineering perspective and described their difficulties in designing and producing 357 Sig ammunition which consistently performs as well as their ammunition in other service calibers. In particular, he felt his company's 357 Sig loads offered no better performance than their top 9 mm loads and stated their .40 S&W loads were superior in every respect to their 357 Sig ammunition. He firmly believes their .40 S&W offerings are the best performing duty ammunition his company produces.

We have found .40 S&W 180 gr to perform very well against barriers––better than the 9 mm and 357 Sig. The CHP used a variety of .357 Mag loads, depending upon what was available via the state contract. According to the published CHP test data, the .357 Magnum load used immediately prior to the CHP transition to .40 S&W was the Remington 125 gr JHP with an ave. MV of 1450 f/s from their duty revolvers––CHP has continued to report greater success with their .40 S&W 180 gr JHP than with the .357 Magnum 125 gr JHP they previously issued.

For many agencies, adoption of a new weapon system frequently necessitates more intensive training and instruction than might typically occur, thus officer's shooting skills might be at a higher peak than normal and qualification scores and hopefully officer involved shooting hits might increase. Having confidence in your handgun is a GREAT reason to choose a particular caliber and weapon system; if a 357 Sig works for you, go for it. Neither myself nor any of my colleagues choose to carry 357 Sig––quite a few of us carry 9 mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP. However, if I was at an agency that gave me unlimited 357 Sig ammo, then I would happily carry it! The bottom line is that all of the common service pistol calibers have loads that work––pick something that is reliable and works well for you, then practice......................a lot.

[ETA] Emphasis/highlighting is mine.
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DesertSkorpion  [Team Member]
Interesting read. I never figured the 357 sig any better than the other calibers except it is flatter shooting. That is one reason I own one.
BillyDoubleU  [Team Member]
I am surprised to see under penetration in there.

I'll stick with 9mm and 45.
SGAmmo  [Member]
I would like to know if the Speer 357 Sig gold dot that was used in testing was the reduce penetration 53918 or the full power 54234 load
Madcap72  [Team Member]
I've been saying similar things for awhile, and I know others here have also. It's nice to see a respected authority say the same, with testing to back it up.
FMJ  [Team Member]
The ammo engineer likes 40S&W

I wonder what ammo company he works for?





I would think 147gr 357sig loads would do alot better
Zhukov  [Moderator]
The most salient point in there was in regards to the fact that .357SIG does not cause greater incapacitation than other handgun rounds - based on real-life observed OIS's. This is contrary to the Michael Courtney's of the world who ascribe some magical results to the hydrostatic pressure wave theory he's developed.
FreeFloater  [Team Member]
Originally Posted By BillyDoubleU:
I'll stick with 9mm and 45.


Me too.

If I added 40 S&W, I'd need to buy 2 more ammo cans just to store the ammo I'd have to buy.
coldair  [Team Member]
it doesn't matter to me since I have .40 barrels for both of mine and in addition I can by 9mm barrels recoil springs and mags and have three guns in one. I did however switch to carrying .45 with 230 gr ranger plus P but I still love my p229 .357 sigs
mgunner9  [Member]
If we accept Dr. Roberts evidence then we must conclude that
•The .357 Magnum is identical in both ballistics and projectile to the .357 Sig
•That the .357 Sig is not superior (therefore equal or less) to the 9mm Parrabellum in performance
•Therefore the .357 magnum is equal to the 9mmP

I just don’t believe it!
FunBobby  [Team Member]
Originally Posted By mgunner9:
If we accept Dr. Roberts evidence then we must conclude that
•The .357 Magnum is identical in both ballistics and projectile to the .357 Sig Only using 125gr pills
•That the .357 Sig is not superior (therefore equal or less) to the 9mm Parrabellum in performance
•Therefore the .357 magnum is equal to the 9mmP

I just don’t believe it!


KCabbage  [Member]
You need to get over there more Zhuk . I too enjoy reading his material.
Daisycutter123  [Member]
Originally Posted By mgunner9:
If we accept Dr. Roberts evidence then we must conclude that
The .357 Magnum is identical in both ballistics and projectile to the .357 Sig•That the .357 Sig is not superior (therefore equal or less) to the 9mm Parrabellum in performance
•Therefore the .357 magnum is equal to the 9mmP

I just don’t believe it!


I didn't see that part? He lists the m.v. of the magnum @ 1450, sig is ~ 1350.
Zhukov  [Moderator]

Originally Posted By mgunner9:
If we accept Dr. Roberts evidence then we must conclude that
•The .357 Magnum is identical in both ballistics and projectile to the .357 Sig
•That the .357 Sig is not superior (therefore equal or less) to the 9mm Parrabellum in performance
•Therefore the .357 magnum is equal to the 9mmP

I just don’t believe it!

Doesn't matter what YOU believe - all that matters is what can or can't be proven.
Madcap72  [Team Member]

Originally Posted By mgunner9:
If we accept Dr. Roberts evidence then we must conclude that
•The .357 Magnum is identical in both ballistics and projectile to the .357 Sig
•That the .357 Sig is not superior (therefore equal or less) to the 9mm Parrabellum in performance
•Therefore the .357 magnum is equal to the 9mmP

I just don’t believe it!

That's incorrect, the .357 Sig uses 9mm (.355/.356) bullets, while the .357 bullets are .357" diameter bullets. Not to mention different loads and velocities.


.357 Magnum bullets have been designed, tested, and built around .357's velocity since the mid 1930's. .357 Sig was using standard velocity 9mm bullets, pushed to .357ish velocities.

If by your theory 9mm Para is equal to .357 Magnum, I'd like to see you load up some 125 grain bullets that can push 1600 fps.
Zhukov  [Moderator]

Originally Posted By Madcap72:

If by your theory 9mm Para is equal to .357 Magnum, I'd like to see you load up some 125 grain bullets that can push 1600 fps.

The 1600fps will be good for penetrating hard barriers, but it won't really buy you that much in tissue. Just like the .357SIG, you might just see reduced penetration.
Madcap72  [Team Member]

Originally Posted By Zhukov:

Originally Posted By Madcap72:

If by your theory 9mm Para is equal to .357 Magnum, I'd like to see you load up some 125 grain bullets that can push 1600 fps.

The 1600fps will be good for penetrating hard barriers, but it won't really buy you that much in tissue. Just like the .357SIG, you might just see reduced penetration.
Or the gun come apart after a few thousand rounds. I don't think most of them would like it. Maybe race guns.

Bones45  [Team Member]
Science, we needs it. Here's a quote from Dr Roberts from one of those thread on that other board. Interesting how well the "slow" 9mm in 147 gr penetrates compared to "fast" 357 sig. against all barriers. What does that velocity do for you?

[QUOTE=DocGKR;268123]Lot of myth surrounding this issue...Let’s compare apples to apples—below is factory test data from various Winchester loads in different calibers, Ranger-T as well as Ranger Bonded. How does the 357Sig compare in intermediate barrier penetration compared to the other service calibers?

FBI Test Protocols:
Bare Gelatin at 10ft
Denim, 4 Layers at 10ft
Heavy Clothing at 10ft
Steel, 2 pieces of 20 gauge at 10ft
Wallboard, 2 pieces of 1/2" gypsum board at 10ft
Plywood, 1 piece of 3/4" AA fir plywood at 10ft
Automobile Glass, 1 piece 1/4" laminated safety glass set at a 45 degree angle with an offset of 15 degrees at 10ft


9mm 127gr +P+ RA9TA at 1250fps:
Bare Gel: 12.3”/.64”
Denim: 12.2”/.68”
Heavy Cloth: 12.2”/.68”
Wallboard: 12.1”/.66”
Plywood: 12”/.68”
Steel: 20.5”/.40”
Auto Glass: 9.4”/.48”

9mm 147gr RA9T at 990fps:
Bare Gel: 13.9”/.65”
Through Denim: 14.5”/.66”
Through Heavy Cloth: 14”/.66”
Through Wallboard: 15”/.67”
Through Plywood: 14.8”/.62”
Through Steel: 17”/.45”
Through Auto Glass: 10.8”/.52”

357Sig 125gr RA357SIGT at 1350fps:
Bare Gel: 10.9”/.63”
Denim: 12.1”/.66”
Heavy Cloth: 10.7”/.69”
Wallboard: 15.4”/.48”
Plywood: 12.2”/.66”
Steel: 23.4”/.41”
Auto Glass: 10.3”/.49”

.40S&W 180gr RA40T at 990fps:
Bare Gel: 13.8”/.60”
Denim: 14.3”/.70”
Heavy Cloth: 13.4”/.64”
Wallboard: 13.1”/.66”
Plywood: 15.1”/.64”
Steel: 17”/.52”
Auto Glass: 12”/.61”

.45ACP 230gr +P RA45TP at 990fps:
Bare Gel: 13.2”/.79”
Denim: 15.2”/.78”
Heavy Cloth: 15.7”/.78”
Wallboard: 13.8”/.75”
Plywood: 14.6”/.77”
Steel: 20.6”/.53”
Auto Glass: 13.6”/.60”

How about bonded bullets?

9mm 124gr +P RA9BA at 1180 fps:
Bare Gel: 12.6”/.68”
Denim: 18.7”/.54”
Heavy Cloth: 18.2”/.56”
Wallboard: 11.9”/.64”
Plywood: 15.8”/.57”
Steel: 22”/.42”
Auto Glass: 12.7”/.58”

9mm 147gr RA9B at 995fps:
Bare Gel: 14.7”/.62”
Denim: 16.5”/.59”
Heavy Cloth: 15.8”/.58”
Wallboard: 16.7”/.56”
Plywood: 16.5”/.59”
Steel: 19”/.42”
Auto Glass: 12.6”/.55”

357Sig 125gr RA357SB at 1350fps:
Bare Gel: 12.5”/.59”
Denim: 15.9”/.57”
Heavy Cloth: 16.9”/.55”
Wallboard: 14.7”/.62”
Plywood: 16.0”/.60”
Steel: 21.7”/.44”
Auto Glass: 12.8”/.62”

.40S&W 180gr RA40B at 1070fps:
Bare Gel: 14.8”/.67”
Denim: 21.8”/.51”
Heavy Cloth: 19”/.59”
Wallboard: 16.7”/.61”
Plywood: 15.5”/.62”
Steel: 14.8”/.55”
Auto Glass: 12.4”/.63”

.45ACP 230gr RA45B at 905fps:
Bare Gel: 14”/.73”
Denim: 15.8”/.67”
Heavy Cloth: 15.8”/.68”
Wallboard: 14.7”/.69”
Plywood: 16.5”/.74”
Steel: 14.8”/.56”
Auto Glass: 12.5”/.66”[/QUOTE]

Madcap72  [Team Member]

Originally Posted By Bones45:
Science, we needs it. Here's a quote from Dr Roberts from one of those thread on that other board. Interesting how well the "slow" 9mm in 147 gr penetrates compared to "fast" 357 sig. against all barriers. What does that velocity do for you?


Increases the expansion rate, which increases the surface area, which decelerates the bullet faster. While also increasing muzzle flash, felt recoil, and muzzle rise. In a nutshell, not a whole lot.

9x23 Winchester is even worse, it can be as fast or faster in velocity, but only penetrate 9" of bare gel.



I think higher velocity pistol bullets would greatly benefit from modern research and design of soft nose JHP's for controlled expansion.
HoodyHoo21  [Team Member]
No suprise really about the .357 Sig.

I too picked up on the praise for the .40 and I can tell you, after shooting the 180 grain HST in informal home tests, I am very pleased. It was better then the 230 grain .45 GoldDot.
America-first  [Team Member]
P40HST1 180 grain HST is my carry load, but I've also stocked up on plenty of the 180 grain white box HST XM40HC.

I shoot 2 boxes of my carry ammo at least once a month and the white box stuff appears to be a perfect analog for the more expensive Tactical HST with the exception that the cases are brass rather than nickel plated.

At only $19.95/ box rather than the $24.95 cost of the P40HST1, what's not to like?

I'm also storing it up as a backup to my stash of the P40HST1 as well.

If you like 180 grain HST you might want to consider buying some of the white box ammo which is supposedly overrun ammunition from a law enforcement contract rather than seconds.

It shoots great, exactly like the nickel plated ammo, and you should practice with your carry ammo as often as you can.

And if need be, you can carry it as well.
greyeyezz  [Member]
DocGKR had negative opinions on the 5.7x28.

The Secret Service did their own testing and disagreed.

He doesn't care for the 357Sig, oh well thanks for your opinion doc, I'm keeping mine, next

Zhukov  [Moderator]

Originally Posted By greyeyezz:
DocGKR had negative opinions on the 5.7x28.

The Secret Service did their own testing and disagreed.

He doesn't care for the 357Sig, oh well thanks for your opinion doc, I'm keeping mine, next

Your post demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the salient points. Next.
ANIMUS  [Member]
Originally Posted By Madcap72:

Originally Posted By mgunner9:
If we accept Dr. Roberts evidence then we must conclude that
•The .357 Magnum is identical in both ballistics and projectile to the .357 Sig
•That the .357 Sig is not superior (therefore equal or less) to the 9mm Parrabellum in performance
•Therefore the .357 magnum is equal to the 9mmP

I just don’t believe it!

That's incorrect, the .357 Sig uses 9mm (.355/.356) bullets, while the .357 bullets are .357" diameter bullets. Not to mention different loads and velocities.


.357 Magnum bullets have been designed, tested, and built around .357's velocity since the mid 1930's. .357 Sig was using standard velocity 9mm bullets, pushed to .357ish velocities.

If by your theory 9mm Para is equal to .357 Magnum, I'd like to see you load up some 125 grain bullets that can push 1600 fps.


Last I knew, the 125gr Gold Dots used in the .357 Sig were designed and built to perform at the higher velocities of the Sig.
ANIMUS  [Member]
Originally Posted By greyeyezz:
DocGKR had negative opinions on the 5.7x28.

The Secret Service did their own testing and disagreed.

He doesn't care for the 357Sig, oh well thanks for your opinion doc, I'm keeping mine, next



He didn't write that the .357 Sig sucked, just that it didn't offer any real advantage over anything else.

Madcap72  [Team Member]

Originally Posted By ANIMUS:
Originally Posted By Madcap72:

Originally Posted By mgunner9:
If we accept Dr. Roberts evidence then we must conclude that
•The .357 Magnum is identical in both ballistics and projectile to the .357 Sig
•That the .357 Sig is not superior (therefore equal or less) to the 9mm Parrabellum in performance
•Therefore the .357 magnum is equal to the 9mmP

I just don’t believe it!

That's incorrect, the .357 Sig uses 9mm (.355/.356) bullets, while the .357 bullets are .357" diameter bullets. Not to mention different loads and velocities.


.357 Magnum bullets have been designed, tested, and built around .357's velocity since the mid 1930's. .357 Sig was using standard velocity 9mm bullets, pushed to .357ish velocities.

If by your theory 9mm Para is equal to .357 Magnum, I'd like to see you load up some 125 grain bullets that can push 1600 fps.


Last I knew, the 125gr Gold Dots used in the .357 Sig were designed and built to perform at the higher velocities of the Sig.
Which would mean it's still not identical to the .357 Magnum.

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