This cartridge appeared not so long ago in 1994, thanks to the work of the designers of SIG-Sauer with the participation of specialists from Federal Cartridge. The main goal was the creation of ammunition, which would be superior in its characteristics to the popular .40S & W, but at the same time had a reasonable return when shooting, and was also relatively cheap. In other words, the main idea was to shake the popularity of .40S & W, and the designers succeeded. It was possible to do this with a minimum of body movements and with the maximum result. It was possible to obtain higher performance by simply reducing the caliber of the cartridge when re-crimping the liner for a new bullet. Immediately, the first positive thing was that it became possible to use the new ammunition in the pistols, which were originally designed for the .40S & W cartridges, simply by replacing the barrel, the magazine, the bolt, they all remained in their places and did not require replacement. Many manufacturers were quick to add another barrel to their .40 caliber pistols, which really increased sales. weaponsreally not for long. With the active use of .357SIG cartridges in weapons designed for .40S & W ammunition, pistol wear significantly increased, and therefore it can be said that simply replacing the barrel is not a normal adaptation of the weapon for a new ammunition. Despite this, many manufacturers still complement their pistol sets with only one barrel, although not a smaller number of manufacturers simply created parallel models of weapons already fully calculated for the new ammunition. Thus, some interchangeability between .40S & W and .357SIG is preserved, but it cannot be called complete.
In addition, it is worth noting that, thanks to a new form of ammunition, the supply of ammunition during reloading has improved, which in general has increased the reliability of many samples. Due to the fact that the powder charge remained the same, and the mass of the bullet was significantly reduced, the initial speed of the bullet increased, and its trajectory of movement became more flat. Reducing the caliber also led to the fact that the bullet began to have better penetrating power, which allowed the ammunition to maintain its trajectory during the passage of light obstacles, as well as to hit the enemy in the means of individual armor of a low class.
It is also necessary to mention that when firing this cartridge creates quite comfortable return comparable to .40S & W, however, the kinetic energy of the bullet is comparable to the bullet of the .357 Magnum cartridge. .357SIG cartridges can be equipped with various bullet options, which actually determines the speed of the bullet. Thus, the standard cartridge with a bullet weighing 6,12 grams accelerates into a 100 millimeter barrel to a speed of 460 meters per second, the “fastest” ammunition is characterized by the speed of a bullet in 520 meters per second. The kinetic energy of the bullets can reach 820 Joules, while the .40 S & W has a maximum of 790 Joules at a speed of 360 meters per second.
Thanks to a well-thought-out advertising company, this cartridge quickly gained popularity, and even government customers could not resist the pressure of advertisers. If you evaluate soberly given ammunition, then it is really good, but it is far from being good for everyone. So, for the civilian market as a cartridge for self-defense, I still like the .40S & W with an expansive bullet. The possibility of hitting the enemy in a bullet-proof vest, and of a low protection class, is better left to law enforcement officers and the army. Say what you like, and the heavy slow bullet .40S & W allows you to certainly stop the enemy, regardless of where you hit. A higher speed for self-defense purposes is also not needed, since short distances for the use of weapons simply do not provide a clear advantage. But for amusement and sport shooting this ammunition already has a really tangible advantage in comparison with .40S & W. In general, there is no way to call .357SIG a full-fledged replacement for .40S & W.
The problem with the adaptation of weapons for the new ammunition was partially solved by the craftsmen, who simply replace the return spring of the pistols with a more rigid one. This reduces wear on the parts of the pistols when using the .357SIG, but their life is still less than that of those models that were originally designed for this ammunition. In addition, due to the high pressure in the barrel when fired, the resource of the barrels for this ammunition is not the highest. This problem could be partially solved by barrels with a polygonal rifling, but for some reason they are used with this ammunition very rarely.
Summing up, it’s impossible not to say that the .357SIG cartridge turned out to be very good, but it cannot be a replacement for the .40S & W as the manufacturer wants to convince. In some ways this ammunition is definitely better, but in some moments it is still inferior to .40S & W. A super armor-piercing cartridge for a pistol also did not come out of it, so, nevertheless, this cartridge complements, and does not replace, the already widely distributed ammunition.
PS Do not look at the fact that the cartridge looks funny, the appearance of the ammunition is not determined by the appearance.