The .357 Sig is an exceptional cartridge for duty and personal protection use. The size of the cartridge and the impressive ballistic performance of the cartridge make it hard to beat. In choosing a .357 Sig Pistol, you may consider looking through our article on the best .357 Sig Pistol, which showcases the current market offerings, which have been sparse of late, and why they are the best available. This article will also talk about the potential uses of the .357 Sig and the market conditions for the caliber/pistols.
As far as a defensive pistol, there are very few that can match the utility and power of the .357 Sig for the actual cost of shooting it. Essentially, the cartridge offers an exceptional value given the capability of the round. The process of finding the good .357 Sig pistol for you can be a daunting task because the market reception and the manufacturer attitude towards the round seems to change frequently.
Make no mistake, there are reasons for this set of market conditions, and we try to cover those reasons here. But in the end, it’s crucial to understand the importance of the cartridge in the shaping of modern day contemporary ballistics, and why it is such a popular choice for certain users, including highway patrols around the United States.
The .357 Sig represents some of the best there is in the engineering of modern ammunition and it has proven to be a very potent threat stopping caliber.
Are they still making the .357 Sig Pistol?
The .357 Sig is still being made by several manufacturers, though, recently, the .357 Sig has seen some makers bow out, at least temporarily of manufacturing the guns as new. There is some speculation as to why this is happening.
There are only really two mainstream manufacturers making full time production variants. (Steyr also makes one SKU, the M38, but it can be hard to find at times domestically; Springfield and Smith & Wesson, purportedly will offer one but you have to contact the manufacturer).
Currently the only full-time manufacturers that include a mainstream SKU of .357 Sig firearms in their normal product catalog are Sig themselves (lead developer of the cartridge originally bringing it to market), and Glock, a gun known for its toughness.
Toughness may have something to do with the changes in manufacturing quantities. Many makers have cited concerns about the round’s high pressure and wear and tear on firearms. Furthermore, many consumers have complained about the high recoil and muzzle snap of polymer framed firearms. This may have had some impact on the change in market availability.
As of now, ammo prices have remained low for the relative standard and power of the cartridge. This signals that no major shifts in production policy have occurred.
Several manufacturers have stopped making the barrels available for their standard dimension firearms and have made comments about the relative “danger” of using a .357 cartridge and the associated pressures in a gun that is made specifically for a lower pressure cartridge like the 9mm.
This shouldn’t be seen as an industry indictment on the round, rather as a manufacturer covering their legal liabilities.
The truth is, the currently manufactured firearms for the .357 Sig are the best purpose-built guns for the cartridge. And with the power and energy that a .357 Sig has, this is the proper way to do it. The .357 Sig, like the 10mm and other stout cartridges should be built to an exacting standard in materials that can handle the extra pressure and basic ballistics of the cartridge.
Is the .357 Sig dangerous to shoot out of a gun made for .40 S&W or 9mm?
Some manufacturer representatives have made that comment. And it is best practice from a safety perspective to shoot guns that are capable of handling the pressures of the cartridges being fired out of the guns.
That doesn’t mean it is inherently dangerous to use the cartridge, it just means you cannot sue the company if you alter their firearm by shooting a different barrel/cartridge in the gun.
There have been no legitimate cases of catastrophically failing firearms as a result of shooting the .357 Sig in the gun made for 9mm or .40S&W. It’s not our recommendation that you do this however, we recommend that you shoot a factory designed and marketed .357 Sig for that particular cartridge, just like we would recommend for other high-pressure cartridges. It helps with warranty and legal liability coverage for you as the shooter.
The power of the .357 Sig
The .357 Sig offers astonishingly good static ballistics. The range is pretty simple in factory loads: about 1200-1500 feet per second velocity and about 450-600 pound feet of energy delivery at the muzzle. For the size of the cartridge, that is a massive amount of sheer power. It creates a huge pressure in the SAAMI certified design.
It is of particular interest to highway patrols and those who will be shooting through traditional barriers like windshields, and car doors. It is known as a round that is inherently somewhat “Barrier Blind”; that is: it does not care that it needs to be shot through a barrier, the ballistics will generally remain intact after traveling through traditional barriers enough to remain semi-effective on the target terminally.
About the Manufacturers
Glock is known as the first company to mass produce polymer firearms in a worldwide fashion (though they were not the first company to produce and market a polymer framed firearm - they were the one who made it famous). Since their introduction in the early part of the 1980’s on the pistol scene, the frame and plastics technology has become the de facto standard for the industry in pistols.
Sig Sauer Firearms
Sig Sauer is a combination of a Swiss company and a German company That now has outsold both as a combined entity; and is known for its top-quality service pistols and longstanding agency and military and law enforcement contracts. The company is famous for producing high precision long lasting firearms out of aluminum alloy frames and steel slides. They are the developer primarily responsible for the design and development of the .357 Sig cartridge and they have made a lot of money from the law enforcement aspects of the design (firearm and ammo contracts, etc.).
The .357 Sig cartridge is a powerhouse in the industry for duty and personal defense firearms and is here to stay. That said, temporary declines in manufacturer appetite for producing the guns should not have an impact on the longevity or the capability of the cartridge or the remaining market available firearms.
Because of this, we highly recommend the newly manufactured variants of the .357 pistols as listed below. It’s hard to recommend a non-production model that is not in current production anywhere.
Therefore, we have chosen the following items for our Best .357 pistol list:
My best .357 Sig Pistol Recommended
This is the high end of the .357 market available options and it shows. The clean aesthetic and typical (anything but typical compared to the broad market) Sig Sauer attention to detail and fit and finish of the Sig line of duty pistols makes this a stunning firearm from a “function”, and a “form” perspective.
The relative light weight of the firearm makes it easy to carry and use, but it is still a bit heavier than most firearms in polymer, including the competitor list items on our “best of” list here.
This extra weight relative to peers gives it the some of the best recoil control and muzzle flip mitigation in the industry currently from factory. It is a proven platform for duty firearms and has been sued by the FBI and countless elite law enforcement and military units around the world (both the P226 design and the .357 Sig cartridge chambering). This is the exotic variant and the best looking gun of the bunch.
- Gorgeous attention to detail
- Sig proven quality
- Heavier weight build for better control and durability
- The company that makes it was the lead developer of the original development project of the .357 Sig
This is best for:
Owning a legacy firearm. Using for full service carry or large build concealed carry. Great for home protection and made to last so it can be shot a lot at the range.
Glock’s full-sized option will offer those with bigger grip sizes a very effective tool for mitigating recoil and muzzle snap which is pretty potent for this frame. The longer sight plane and good ergonomics of the gun will help most shooters stay on target easier. The polymer frame is lightweight and offers a good carry gun weight. Glock is a proven reliable performance pistol that has a reputation for being the most durable gun on the block. As a duty weapon it is hard to find a more proven platform. There are countless law enforcement agencies and military teams who rely on Glock pistols daily. This is for those who want the highest capacity of .357 Sig available in a handgun from factory in a standard configuration.
- Cheaply obtained relative to most firearms on the market and particularly for the cost of entry for most .357 Sig firearms
- Glock reputation for being a powerhouse durable pistol
- Polymer doesn’t do much to alleviate concerns from recoil and muzzle flip on a .357 Sig
This is best for:
Full time use, with thousands of rounds being shot out of it. Full time full size carry, when you need extra cartridge capacity.
This is Glock’s standard “compact” frame. Though it fits well with a majorly of users around the world. Many shooters prefer the build size to accommodate their average sized hands better than a full-sized frame. This is the best compromise for capacity and carry size/weight of any .357 Sig on the market and is a perfect carry companion for those who must rely on their weapon and remain in a state of concealment most of the time.
- Great design
- Lighter weight, but still every bit as durable as the other Glocks
- Still has a high capacity and a decent sight plane
- A bit harder to control for recoil and muzzle flip
This is best for:
Those who need a full time carry firearm and don’t want or need a full-sized carry gun.
This is the backup gun that can function as a primary gun. It’s a ridiculously potent, sub-compact Glock pistol that will be a bit harder to handle because of the small grip frame and the light weight, but will offer full, hardcore ballistic performance. This can also be a carry weapon for those who need a more compact gun on the hip or in the purse.
- Premium reliability
- Glock performance
- The smallest gun on this list
- Will be much harder to handle than the full sized, heavier guns on this list
- Sometimes the accessories like extra magazines can be harder to find, though this is a versatile multi-caliber platform, so it won’t be exceptionally hard to locate something if in a pinch
This is best for:
Concealed carriers that need the smallest gun with the biggest bang. Duty officers or those with a need for a potent backup firearm.
Sig Sauer’s take on John Browning’s 1911, but with modern touches and chambered in a modern caliber that offers exceptional ballistic performance. This is the heaviest weight gun on this list and therefore will have the least perceived recoil. Additionally, it is made of all steel/stainless steel, which will improve the longer-term wear characteristics. The trigger is excellent and the ability to carry “cocked and locked” in “condition one” makes it a very effective carry gun. Not to mention the inherently slim profile of the 1911. Great ergonomics and proven reliability.
- Well balanced and performs extremely well
- Fit and finish and quality control for this line are second to none.
- 8+1 capacity isn’t nearly the firepower of most of the guns on this list
- Somewhat expensive
This is best for:
For purists that don’t mid a little bit of bending the traditional rules. For those that want a familiar platform or the maximum in recoil reduction through firearm design.
The .357 Sig firearms are not as plentiful as they once were, but as one of the finest innovations in ballistic performance in the modern era of firearms and ammunition, this is a gun and a caliber/platform that is here to stay. The ammunition is relatively cheap, given that, the cartridge case it is manufactured from (10mm), and the quality of the existing manufacturers who are making production guns is second to none. If you want the ultimate in stopping power, portability and terminal ballistics out of a higher capacity firearm, look no further than at one of the fine firearms on our list of best .357 Sig pistols.