357 Sig vs. 10mm

357 Sig vs. 10mm


When it comes to power in handguns, revolvers still rule the roost. From .44 Magnum up, you’re in revolver country. Semi-autos can still be plenty powerful, and you want a hot-rod, American Muscle, pistol cartridge in your favorite autoloader, look no further than the 10mm Auto and the .357 Sig. Both of these cartridges pack a serious punch.

Which one is right for you? That’s what this article hopes to explore. We will take a look at both of these cartridges’ purported virtues: their power, ability to shoot over long range, and handgun availability. But first, let’s talk about a brief history of these two cartridges.

The 10mm Auto was born of tragedy. The Miami Shootout in 1986 was a hallmark even in law enforcement and firearms. One of the bad guys – a man who killed two FBI agents and seriously wounded several others – took a 9mm bullet through the arm and into his torso. It stopped one inch shy of his heart. Shortly thereafter, the FBI adopted a new cartridge, the 10mm Auto. It’s heavier bullet and mean velocity would ensure adequate penetration in the future. Those 10mm came with heavy recoil, though, and it was soon dropped by the FBI, but not by serious hand gunners.

The .357 Sig was born on a drawing board, as a collaboration between Sig Sauer and Federal. The intent of the .357 Sig was to create a pistol cartridge that replicated .357 Magnum ballistics. The .357 Sig cartridge enjoyed a much longer run in prominent law enforcement agencies than did the 10mm Auto. The Secret service used this powerful, bottleneck cartridge for decades, and it was the darling of the Federal Air Marshals Service (FAMS) for decades, as well.

Both the 10mm and .357 Sig have largely fallen out of favor with law enforcement agencies. Both retain a very loyal following, and plenty of guns and ammo for both are available. If one of these cartridges catches your eye, they are both viable options.

Ballistics Comparison of 357 Sig and 10mm

Let’s take a look at the ballistics of these two cartridges. Both were built to provide better ballistics, and both deliver, albeit with slightly different flavors.

Let’s start with the .357 Sig, firing a cartridge loaded with a 147-grain bullet and pushed to 1,500 feet per second (this is an actual Grizzly Cartridge loading, not a though experiment!). Keep in mind for a moment that a .357 Magnum is only expected to push a 125-grain bullet is at around 1,400 feet per second! This bullet will have a whopping 734 ft-lbs. of muzzle energy. Compare that to mid-300s of ME for a 9mm cartridge! The .357 Sig has power to spare, and this shows when we look at trajectory. This loading only drops a little over an inch at 50 yards. At a distance of 100 yards, it only drops a little over 5 inches, meaning a high-chest hold will still make solid contact a football field away.

The 10mm Auto is no slouch either. Where the .357 Sig shines with lighter bullets at ridiculous velocities, the 10mm gains its edge in being able to push heavier pills. The 10mm can push bullets from 165 grains to over 200. The 10mm can push a 200-grain FMJ or a 200-grain JHP from the muzzle at 1,250 feet per second. That’s 694 ft-lbs. of muzzle energy – plenty to spare, and with a wider bullet than the .357 Sig or for that matter, the .357 Magnum.

Now, the power of both of these pistols comes with a cost: recoil. Both have substantially more recoil and louder muzzle report than comparable 9mms or .40 S&W pistols. Both are manageable to seasoned shooters, however.

Comparison of 357 Sig and 10mm Terminal Performance 

With high ballistic performance you would expect high terminal performance out of these two cartridges, and you would not be wrong. Both the .357 Sig and 10mm Auto deliver plenty of penetration and expansion on target. The 10mm Auto may be the slightly better choice when it comes to penetration on heavy game. The wider bullets coupled with a 30-40% heavier bullet will be harder to stop than a lighter bullet. A wide, flat-nose bullet in 10mm would also cut a wide wound track in a game animal, leading to quick incapacitation.

The .357 Sig’s lighter bullets and flatter trajectory would be just the ticket for longer ranges. The blistering speed of the bottleneck bullet is able to stay flatter, longer, leading to better accuracy over range. This isn’t to suggest the 10mm is impotent at longer ranges, but the bullet drops would make accuracy slightly more challenging.

With expanding bullets, against human attackers, both are expected to perform similarly. Which is to say exceptionally well. Both are pushing bullets fast enough to easily achieve their expansion thresholds. Either cartridge should create a minimum of 1.5x diameter expansion. Both should also do so while penetrating to the depths recommend by the FBI, 12 to 18 inches.

Though not as popular as 9mm, .40, or .45, ammunition is available for both of these American Muscle cartridges. Grizzly Cartridge offers the .357 Sig in a 90-grain JHP (at a blistering 1,900 FPS!), 125-grain JHP, and a 147-grain JHP. We offer the 10mm Auto in a 180-grain JHP, 200-grain JHP, 200-grain hard cast flat point, and a 200-grain FMJ.

Firearms Chambered in 357 Sig & 10mm

There was a period in the early 2000s and 2010s when very few handguns were offered in 10mm while the .357 Sig was well represented. Today those tables have turned; way more guns seem to be offered in 10mm nowadays. You shouldn’t have a problem finding an autoloading .357 if you want one and you can have it in any color you like as long as it’s Glock grey!

The most prolific example of either is the Glock pistols the Glock 20 is the standard-size, flagship 10mm pistol, the G28 is a subcompact 10mm, and the Glock 40 is a long-slide 10mm. Other options are available like the G20SF (Slim Frame) and MOS-compatible versions. The .357 Sig is represented as the full-size Glock 31, the compact Glock 32, and the subcompact, “baby Glock” 33. The Glock family of pistols is by far the predominant .357 Sig pistol on the market, though plenty of used pistols from other manufacturers are out there. Since both of these cartridges have similar diameter (and diameter comparable to .40 S&W), both have comparable magazine capacity, as well.

But that’s not all. Sig – having dropped its own .357 chambering – does make the Sig P220 Legion in 10mm Auto. Smith & Wesson recently introduced a variant of the M&P in 10mm Auto, and the M&P has been offered in .357 Sig but appears to have been dropped from S&W’s catalog. Numerous 10mm 1911s are on offer from Springfield Armory, Ruger, Dan Wesson, and many more. One could presumably have a custom 1911 built in .357 Sig and one imagines the bottleneck cartridge would be wonderfully reliable in the feedway, but that would be a very costly proposition.

The one edge that .357 Sig may have on the 10mm is size and weight. The .357 Sig cartridge fits into a .40 S&W-sized pistol. The 10mm on the other hand, generally gets put into a .45 ACP-sized frame. This means .357 Sig pistols are both a little smaller, and fit in holsters commonly available for their .40 and 9mm counterparts, i.e., the Glock 17/22, 19/23, and 26/27. The 10mms are usually larger, and holster fits may be a bit more difficult to come by.

Applications of 357 Sig and 10mm

Both the .357 Sig and the 10mm Auto are viable candidates for concealed carry and self-defense. Both offer adequate power – as defined by penetration and expansion – to accomplish this mission The .357 Sig may be the slightly more appropriate candidate here, if law enforcement adoption is any indication, but either will work perfectly fine. Both also share similar magazine capacity. Both also have tremendous muzzle flash and recoil relative to their softer-shooting counterparts (9mm, .40 S&W, and .45 ACP) but both can certainly be tamed with good technique.

Both are also capable cartridges for hunting and outdoor applications. The 10mm may be the slightly more appropriate choice here, especially as the game gets larger and heavier, but again the differences are pretty small. The 10’s larger diameter and heavier bullets allow it to smash through tough hide and bone perhaps a little better than a lighter .357 Sig bullet. On the other hand, the .357 Sig is an exceptionally flat shooter and is a phenomenal cartridge for longer-range shooting. Both of these cartridges would be well suited to medium, light-skinned game like whitetail, and both would be more than enough for varmints around the farm.

Shop Grizzly Ammo for all your 357 Sig and 10mm Ammo!

Maybe you’re shopping for a new hunting-, trail-, home-defense, or concealed carry pistol.  Maybe you just caught an awesome deal on a 10mm or .357 Sig and are wondering what is this thing good for. Or maybe you just want the Super Sport Malibu or Shelby Mustang of autoloading pistol cartridges, just for fun. Regardless of the why, get your ammo at Grizzly Cartridges. We offer premium, top-of-the-line ammunition for the 10mm and the .357 Sig for the utmost performance.