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Rooting for the underdog: the .357 Sig

Rooting for the underdog: the .357 Sig

Posted by Adam Devine on May 2nd 2018

Our first Great Dane, Blue, was a big beautiful boy. He stood 33 inches at his broad shoulders, had the great, square jawed head of European Mastiff influence, and thanks to lots of rigorous exercise, he had he physique of a world class athlete. Jet black and ropey, he was an imposing stand-out in any crowd. Everyone who met him reflexively uttered the same word: magnificent.

Blue wore the mantle of alpha protector as naturally as you might expect. He had a wisdom, confidence, and gentlemanly restraint that reminded me of a couple of elite Spec Ops guys I knew. But it never failed, every time we took him to the dog park, some little scrapper would hurry over and get in his face, challenging his clear dominance. Fortunately Blue met these overtures with amusement rather than ire, and the smaller dog would get nowhere with his prison yard game.

I did see Blue confront an attacker once, a snarling, muscular seventy-pounder who just didn't agree with the natural order. The only thing more impressive than Blue's breathtaking speed was his absolute restraint. In one blurred motion, Blue was standing above his overturned challenger, calmly wagging a finger: behave yourself son, or this will end badly for you.

When the .357 Sig cartridge was launched with well publicized fanfare, I looked on, much as Blue might, with amused disdain. A challenger to my beloved .357 Magnum? It didn't seem so, despite the hoarse yelling of the media. But even the name of the cartridge invited a comparison. In my view, this marketing tack was a mistake. The .357 Sig simply can't stand shoulder to shoulder with the bigger alpha dog.

Compounding my disinterest was the misguided assumption--shared by others, I think--that the little beast was going to be snarling and unruly in a semi-auto platform.

I passed it over as a snot-nosed upstart playing prison yard games.

TIME TO RECONSIDER

I've had some years to reconsider now. Since we began making .357 Sig barrels for the Steyr A1 handguns, I've shot the cartridge extensively (for testing purposes, of course) and have come to respect it on its own merits, which are many. In fact, the .357 Sig has become my preferred carry round.

To begin with, the little Sig, while more of a new and improved .38 Super than a .357 Magnum, is no slouch. In factory loads it delivers over 500 ft/lbs of muzzle energy, easily besting the other common defensive rounds, including the venerable .45 Auto.

With so much development having gone into 9mm bullets, the .357 Sig is well fed, and delivers pills with a 200fps increase over its 9x19 sibling, with a corresponding increase in penetration and energy. With the 9x19 once again given the nod by the FBI, the .357 Sig cartridge is a natural choice for those willing to deal with a little bit more recoil.

And that's the other thing. The .357 Sig offers gains at a modest price to the shooter. Recoil is more than manageable. In well designed platforms like the Steyr A1 pistols, follow-up shots are surprisingly quick, and fatigue and flinching are non issues. Truth is, the .357 Sig recoils less than the .40 S&W (same pressure, smaller bullet) while delivering more energy. The Sig round does have more bark, but that's the price you pay for more bite.

As our boy Blue grew rapidly to adulthood, we realized that we didn't have a vehicle that would comfortably carry him. So we bought a larger vehicle. Similarly, if you want more power than the .357 Sig offers, you will find yourself in a larger or lower capacity (or both) platform. A 10mm Auto requires a larger frame, and a .357 Mag generally requires a revolver, which is fine if you like a wheel gun and don't mind the reduced capacity. But if you prefer semi-autos like I do, then the .357 Sig represents a very good compromise.

Our current Great Dane, Rose, is a relatively petit female but she's got a bite like the .357 Sig. She will never replace Blue. She doesn't quite have Blue's presence or power. But like him, Rose has the instincts of a guardian, breathtaking speed and hunting prowess, and a big enough stature to make all but the desperate stop at the door. We feel pretty safe with her.

If you haven't already, give the .357 Sig some consideration. It deserves to be more than the underdog.