Wednesday, October 24, 2012
I Need a .357 Sig - Sig P224 Please?
I have always had an affinity for the .40 S&W. Primarily because it was being developed and launched at about the same time I was sponging up every gun magazine and reloading manual I could get my hands on. The late 80's-early 90's were a special time for me because I had left my childhood home in the 2nd Amendment challenged state of NJ and embarked on an epic relocation to the South Central US. I traversed half the country in the smallest Ryder moving truck available that I couldn't even half fill with all my worldly possessions. Two of my first purchases, after arriving in Arkansas, were cowboy boots and a brace of Ruger pistols. From these humble beginnings, my interest in shooting and firearms got started. I felt some personal ownership in the 40 S&W because I had read so much about it that I considered it "my caliber".
After reading about the .40 S&W for a few years, I finally got one of my own. A 2nd Generation G23-C that I've nicknamed Ol' Reliable for it's longevity and reliability over time. Other pistols may come and go, but the G23 is what I grab when it's time to re-qualify or I want to go to the range with something that's as close to 100% reliable as mechanically possible.
Funny recent story about Ol' Reliable. Last Winter, I decided it was time to send it off for refinishing. I've become a fan of XS 24/7 Big Dot sights so I requested the sights be added after the slide was refinished. I checked it over when I got it back and it looked fantastic. Never did get the chance to shoot it so I just put it away for future testing. I was due to re-qualify for my CHCL so I thought I had better send some shots down range and make sure Ol' Reliable was still shooting straight. About 30 rounds into my testing the rear sight flew off. The re-finishers had installed the rear sight with set screws only and I needed to apply the red locking fluid. I had incorrectly assumed they had taken care of that step of the sight installation process. It makes perfect sense that they would let the owner make sure the sight was properly positioned for them before locking the sight down, so I can't fault them. I ended up re-qualifying with my XDm 9mm instead. Not really a funny story as much as a warning to test your kit every time someone messes around with it.
The .357 Sig came along a few years after the .40 S&W. By that time I was spending more time with scatter guns than pistols, so I didn't get super excited about the cartridge other than being pleased that it was based on a necked down version of MY .40 S&W cartridge. I never gave the .357 much thought until I found out you could get a .357 Sig add on barrel for any of the .40 S&W Glocks. I also have a soft spot for caliber switch barrels so I ordered one and waited about 4 months for it to finally show up.
Last weekend I had the chance to shoot the G27 with the factory .40 S&W barrel and also the 9mm and .357 Lone Wolf conversion barrels. Aside from some early failure to chamber issues with the .357 barrel, the G27 worked like a charm with all 3 barrels. I ended up terminal testing three different calibers of Speer Gold Dots and came to the conclusion that the .357 Sig is a really good terminal performer when it's loaded like Underwood loads it. Even in the little 3.3" barrel, the bullet was making very close to 1400 feet per second and expanding in heavy barriers that were restricting expansion of the .40 and 9mm loads. I guess that's the one real downside to terminal testing. I keep finding stuff that seems to work better than stuff I currently own. So now I'm thinking that a small .357 Sig might be a better choice for my Winter carry. If Kahr made a PM357 or MK357 I would have one on the way. Since they don't, I'm thinking Sig P239 SAS. My recovered rounds are pictured below so you can see how big the terminal performance difference was between the test shots.
Before I do anything, I'd like to see, and handle, the new Sig P224 shown in the picture at the top of the blog. Regular readers know I've struggled with the P938 this year, but after demonstrating the patience of Job, it's now running well with premium defense ammo. I'm willing to give Sig another shot at showing they can release a new model that doesn't have a bunch of problems so I'll throw out this challenge. Sig, if you are listening, I would gladly join your T&E Review program for the P224. I prefer to review the .357 DAK, since that is what I will most likely purchase.
The P938 review ended up being the most popular subject that I've covered on the blog this year. This portion of the review has been read almost 10,000 times since it was published in July. I fully expect it to pass the comprehensive 380 ammo test article from 2011 and end up being the most read article of the 160+ published since the blog was started last year. I imaging a review of the P224 would be equally popular. What do you say Sig?