Monday, October 27, 2014

SIG SAUER Elite Performance 40 S&W 165 grain V-Crown JHP Multi Shot Terminal Test

Last January, SIG SAUER launched their own line of ammunition.  In the mad rush to be the first to publish tests on the ammunition, I ran a test of the .357 Sig and .40 S&W back in May of this year.  I published the 357 Sig test right away, but the .40 S&W test sat for several months before I had the chance to publish it.  Part of the delay was caused by the need to re-shoot some of the test when my initial denim test shot passed through the gel block and was lost in the berm.  

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.

Test Pistol:

Test Protocol:
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 has a similar density to 10% ordnance gelatin.  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 similar to 10% ordnance gelatin.

Test Results:

Video Documentation of the Entire Test from Range to Bullet Recovery:

My Thoughts on This Load:
The ammunition looked great and shot well.  I had initial concerns when our 4.5 inch test pistol failed to meet the 1090 feet per second velocity advertised by Sig from a 4 inch barrel.  After capturing the velocity from 9 test shots, we fell 75 feet per second short of the published velocity specified for this load.  The lower velocity had a negative impact on the denim test shots.  Expansion was incomplete and the tested rounds penetrated well beyond our ideal penetration depth of 12 to 18 inches.  The results from the light clothing and bare gel test shots were very good and in line with our desired terminal performance expectations.

Pick or Pan:
Sig Sauer set the terminal performance bar very high with their marketing for this line of ammunition.  After previously testing the .357 Sig and now the .40 S&W, we've worked our way through half of the line.  Bare gel and light clothing test results have been great in both tests.  All heavy clothing tests demonstrate incomplete expansion and exceed our desired maximum penetration.  Both loads have failed to meet published velocity specifications.  Inconsistent terminal performance, across all test scenarios, earns this load a Pan. 

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.


  1. I'll stick with the 180 grains. Seems most of the lower 165 gr and below don't perform as well on denim.

  2. Pretty slow for a 165 grain HP. Even though its advertised velocity is 40-50 fps slower than those of Federal, Remington, and Winchester's 165s (@ 1130-1140fps), it's coming in some 70 fps slower than that. That hampers expansion through heavy clothing but increases penetration beyond what is optimum.