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Entries in .357sig (2)

Tuesday
Oct022012

Sig Sauer P239 SAS .357sig Conversion 

If you read the forums, you wont find too many .357 sig fan boys.  You may even be lead to believe that the .357 sig is a passing fad.  H&K quit making a .357 sig model.  I believe the primary reason the .357 sig is the least popular self defense round is the cost of the ammo.  Its the most expensive, hardest to find and most difficult to hand load of the most common handgun rounds (.380 through .45).

Many gun owners dont realize what a great defensive round the 357 sig is. The ammo is expensive, which is why I think the larger agencies have stayed with .40 caliber. Federal Air Marshals, the Secret Service and Texas DPS carry this round in their standard issue pistols because it spreads out considerably more than the 40 S&W when penetrating a target.

We purchased the P239 before I retired from DHS HSI. It was not approved for carry back then but last year DHS, decided to purchase Sig P229 DAK pistols as their standard service weapon.

We purchased a .357 sig barrel from Sig Sauer and dropped it in our P239SAS.  Ive shot the SIG SAUER P239 in .357 sig with only 200 rounds so far. The SIG SAUER P239 (henceforth called the P239) is a single-stack, semi-auto pistol with classic SIG SAUER features, including a hard coated anodized aluminum frame and a stainless steel slide. It comes in the DAK, SRT, or DA/SA trigger. My model is a DAK trigger version, originally sold as a .40 S&W model.

This gun has performed without a hitch having fired over 1,000 rounds of .40 S&W before converting to .357 sig.  The P239 is a smaller and slimmer version of the P229 and the SAS model comes out of the Sig Custom Shop.  SIG SAUER uses quality components like hardened roll pins and full-length slide rails. The barrel and chamber of the P239 (and the P229) are markedly reinforced compared to most compact handguns.  This suits the .357 sig round, which is loaded considerably hotter than the .40 caliber round.

The DAK trigger is a smooth double action trigger that gives the user the same pull all the time if the shooter allows the full reset.  There is no decocking lever on DAK models. After the pistol fires and the trigger is released forward, the trigger has an intermediate reset point that is approximately halfway to the trigger at rest position. The trigger pull from this intermediate reset point is 38 N (8.5 lb). If the trigger is released all the way forward, this will engage the primary trigger reset and have a trigger pull of 29 N (6.5 lb). To engage the intermediate reset, the trigger must be held to the rear while the slide is cycled, either manually or by the recoil of a round being fired.

The .357 SIG cartridge was designed to mimic the .357 magnum in an auto pistol. It is a bottleneck cartridge, which means the bullet has a narrower diameter than the base of the cartridge. In this case, the bullet diameter approximates a 9 mm bullet and the base of the cartridge approximates a 40 caliber cartridge.

The .357 magnum had a reputation of excellent performance in ballistic gelatin tests, especially after barrier. That is, one fires through tempered glass into ballistic gelatin to test one aspect of bullet performance. There are several factors including the weight retention of the recovered bullet, the amount of expansion and what it actually does inside the gelatin.

FBI tests resulted in the .357 SIG cartridges generally duplicating or exceeding the 357 magnum performance, except in heavier bullet weights. It appears that the nominal bullet weight for the 357 SIG was about 124 grains, simply because the 124 grain combinations were more accurate and tore up the gelatin.  The 357 SIG gave after-barrier performance, which could only be described as remarkable.

SIG SAUER has a reputation for design ergonomics in their handguns, which are more expensive than most of the other major manufacturers.  The P239 should fit a variety of shooters comfortably, especially the grip angle, which tends to absorb the recoil of this cartridge. The inherent design advantages of the 357 sig cartridge are perfect for this handgun. I am able to shoot a superior cartridge that feels like a +P 9mm in a handgun package small enough for comfortable concealed carry.  The carry weight (7+1) of my P239SAS is just over 2 lbs.

Another reason to carry this gun in .357 sig caliber is its accuracy.  Using duty rounds, I consistently hitting 4’ steel plates at 50 yards during my first test.  The only handgun that I consistently shoot more accurately than my P239 is my single action S&W 1911SC series E .45 ACP pistol. 

Heres a good video on the Sig P239 SAS from my YouTube buddy Tom at Weapons Education

The great object is that every man be armed. and Everyone who is able may have a gun.
Patrick Henry

Monday
Oct012012

Is the .357sig the Best Concealed Carry Self Defense Caliber?

I converted my Sig P239 SAS from a .40 S&W caliber to a .357 Sig this summer.  My plumber, who happens to be one of the most knowledgeable gun guys who I have ever met, changed his EDC pistol to the Glock 33 .357 sub compact. 

My EDC varied based on a number of factors. Lately Ive been carrying a S&W M&P Shield 9mm around my small town and a S&W 1911SC Series E .45ACP when I venture into the jungle (Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington). In the past I reguarly carried either my Glock 36 slimline .45ACP sub compact or a Ruger SR40c.  I still own all four and have no plans to sell any of them.  They are all great concealed carry pistols that I plan on keeping in the rotation.

Its October and change is in the air.  Hopefully we have seen the last of the days of temperatures in the 100s and 90s.  Today Im putting the Sig P239SAS into the rotation.  I purchased this fine pistol before I retired.  ICE in all their wisdom refused to approve it for duty carry.  Carrying pistols that ICE would not approve is one of the greatest pleasures of retirement!  None of the five pistols above were listed on the ICE/HSI approved list for either duty of off duty carry.

The .357 SIG cartridge was introduced in 1994. SIG executive Ted Rowe had noticed representatives of many departments, which were trading in their .357 Magnum revolvers for SIG auto loaders had appreciated the firepower and shoot ability of the SIGs, but didn’t think any auto pistol would equal the power of the 125-grain .357 Magnum hollow points they’d carried in the old six-shooters. Texas Highway Patrolmen spoke wistfully to Rowe about the “lightning bolt effect” the 125-grain Magnums, with nominal velocities of up to 1,450 fps, delivered on the street in their actual gunfights.

Rowe reached out to Federal Cartridge in hopes of creating an auto pistol round that could do the same, and the .357 SIG was born. Resembling a necked-down .40 S&W (though the construction is actually more complicated than that), the result was a jacketed hollow point that weighing 125 grains and actually delivering 1,350 to 1,400 fps.

Among the premium loads, the 125-grain Speer Gold Dot is by far the most street-proven .357 SIG round. It has long been used by Richmond (VA) Police, Virginia State Police, and the Texas Department of Public Safety. It has amassed an awesome reputation along the way for tactical penetration and for what is colloquially called stopping power. It also has an excellent reputation for accuracy.

All that being said, Mr. Wolf declares October, .357 Sig Month.  Dont leave home without it!