SIG SAUER recently launched their own line of ammunition. First sightings and reports started hitting the internet during the 2014 SHOT Show. The ammunition started showing up in the stores a few weeks ago. Rumors have been plentiful about who's actually producing the ammunition. Many think it's being produced outside the US while others think SIG is manufacturing the ammunition at the same locations they produce their pistols. I can confirm the ammunition is being produced in the US. All boxes of Elite Performance I've looked are all labeled as made in the USA.
SIG has targeted their Elite Performance ammunition to the personal defense market. The ammunition features SIG's proprietary V-Crown jacketed hollow point bullet, Techni-chrom coated brass cases, and low flash propellants. It's currently available in .380 Auto, 9mm, 40 S&W, 45 Auto, and naturally .357 Sig. I was pleasantly surprised to see Sig's Elite Performance ammunition with retail prices similar to other premium personal defense ammunition brands.
Step 1) Measure and record temperature and relative humidity.
Step 2) Run a 2 shot velocity average over a ProChrono Digital Chronograph at a distance of 10 feet.
Step 3) Run various terminal test shots, with and without simulated clothing barriers, into a block of Clear Ballistics Gel that is calibrated to 10% Ordnance Gel density. Shot distance is 10 feet.
Step 4) Run a 600 fps calibration test bb shot into the Clear Ballistics gel block and record penetration depth to verify density.
Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:
My Thoughts on This Load:
My first thought, as I was pulling a few rounds out of the box for pictures, was the ammunition looks amazing. Every cartridge in the box was clean, shiny, and had the appearance of being crafted with care. The next thing I noticed was the Techni-crom coated cases really are slick to the touch. If you suffer from "butter fingers" you may have a difficult time holding on to this ammo.
The V-Crown bullet has a wide nose cavity with a very small secondary hollow point cavity behind the main cavity. It really does look like a much smaller hollow point cavity in the center of the main cavity.
SIG publishes a very exact 1356 feet per second muzzle velocity for this round when fired from a 4" barrel. We fell a bit short of that in our testing with a 4" barrel. That was really surprising because I thought if anyone was going to load SIG'S namesake cartridge to its full and safe velocity potential, it would be SIG.
Terminal performance demonstrated mixed results. The bare gel and cotton tee-shirt test shots performed well. Both test shots expanded to greater than 1.6 times their starting diameter and penetrated more than 12, but less than 18 inches. The denim test shots were a different story. We lost the first denim test shot when it penetrated greater than 18" and exited the gel block. After adding a second block, we caught the second denim test shot at just over 21" of penetration.
Pick or Pan:
Light clothing test results were exactly what you would want from a defensive ammunition. Terminal performance during the heavy clothing test demonstrated incomplete expansion, and too much penetration. Inconsistent performance across the three test scenarios makes this load a pan for me.
Disclaimer....This test should not be considered an endorsement or recommendation for the product(s) tested. All tests represent actual performance in ballistics testing media. Terminal performance in all other media will show different results. It is up to each individual to make their own personal decision on which specific ammunition to use for their needs. It's also critically important to test any ammo in YOUR SPECIFIC FIREARM before relying on it for any purpose.
Ammunition labeled as +P or +P+ should only be used in firearms that have been certified by the manufacturer as safe for the additional pressures generated by these ammunition types.