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Old 01-15-2010, 20:52   #19
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Location: CA Central Coast
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Originally Posted by uz2bUSMC View Post
Phew! Another long one...

In the greater scheme of things and in the words of Fackler or Mcphearson. "The handgun must prevail". The mantra of "The handgun is to fight your way back to your long gun" is cute at best. 'Cause... no you won't, you're going to begin and end the fight with the handgun. The grey area of difference between short barreled metal or metal/plastic bullet launchers could be that step that puts it into a different, favorable category. A punch vs a knockout punch. One has a varied effect, depending on the recipients abilities, mindset, etc. -the other demands incapacitation regardless of it's recipients wishes or desire to maintain the fight. I think law enforcement agencies may finally be putting 2 and 2 together and getting .357 because of the cartrides ability to be a knockout show stopper more frequently than it's fellow service counterparts.
Hey, if you don't care to follow my rambling, I won't be offended. I certainly acknowledge that I'm often prone to wordiness. I tend to enjoy the writing part without worrying about whether or not folks are going to be willing to read what I write. Don't feel obligated to spend time reading my stuff that you could use to better advantage elsewhere.

I've been exposed to the thinking of many of the better known folks who have been influential in the use of handguns as service weapons. Job hazard, so to speak.

To make it short, the ability of the same punch to consistently turn into a knockout punch isn't easy to predict. If someone only had to develop their strength and limit their skill development to throwing a single type of knockout punch, there might be a huge number of worldclass level champions constantly climbing over each other to be the ONE who has the chance to throw the first punch and be the winner.

It's not that simple, though.

Having spent my fair share of time getting together with firearms instructors and talking shop over the course of my duties as a firearms instructor (since '90), I have yet to hear more than a few folks seriously espouse the idea that any handgun cartridge ought to be labeled as a 'knockout show stopper'.

Matter of fact, while there's always going to be folks who have their personal preferences (for whatever reasons), it's sort of been my experience that among LE/Gov professionals the disagreements over caliber/cartridge "effectiveness" are much more cordial and less vehement than portrayed among isolated instances which make it into print, or are commonly portrayed among internet forums.

Handguns are still relegated to being pieces of issued (or authorized) equipment which are handier and more convenient to carry around than shotguns and rifles. They're what we have for most everyday use, and while there are some inherent advantages & disadvantages to be considered when comparing them (including caliber suitability for various circumstances, including shooter, accuracy, and even felt recoil tolerance/management), it's not like they've come up with one which renders all the rest of them obsolete.

The last 'big wave' in LE selection was the 9mm, with the .45 experiencing a couple of periods of what we might call a resurgence of interest (this is one of them). Then the .40 S&W came into our midst and started making itself hard to ignore. (I tried to ignore it for about 10 years, myself.)

The largest collection of LE/Gov handgun carriers/users seems to have convinced themselves that the .40 S&W and 9mm cartridges are the best for their needs (whatever those may be and for whatever reasons they've used to arrive at their decisions). I'm talking FBI, ICE, NYPD, CHP, LAPD, LASD, etc. Agencies which issue upwards of 9,500 or more handguns and have accumulated some service weapon usages over the years from which to keep drawing conclusions. Sure, there's some sprinkling of .45's in the mix within specialized units/assignments, but the mainstream calibers remain .40 S&W and 9mm.

The .357SIG just hasn't seemed to have developed the numbers which the 9mm and .40 S&W developed in their earlier careers, so to speak.

FWIW, one of the things I've heard mentioned among a small number of instructors who had considered the .357SIG at one point or another 9and an agency who did adopt it) was the problem with getting sufficient quantities of training & duty ammunition at prices similar to that of other calibers. I've heard more than a couple of folks lament the use of .40 S&W barrels in .357SIG guns reportedly necessitated by the availability & cost of ammunition needed for training.

As a matter of fact, there isn't even a .357SIG load on the CA state contract when it comes to handgun ammunition (which can be used by local agencies who want to benefit from the very low pricing, and who can buy even 1 case quantities last time I looked). Not sure there's a lot of putting "2 & 2 together" out this way and deciding the .357SIG is a superior LE cartridge, but ammunition selections are made for many reasons, and determining 'effectiveness' can vary in such things.

Please don't mistake my comments ... or lack of personal desire to own a .357SIG pistol, or even a .357SIG barrel ... as any indication or implication that I don't think the caliber has any 'worth', because I don't mean it that way. I'm just saying that we're apparently not choosing it or buying it out this way in any great numbers, let alone in an increasing amount.

LE ammunition selection is influenced by many things, and sometimes there's a geographical/regional influence present which has more to do with piggybacking on a larger agency's ability to order, or wanting to follow another agency's lead, than in picking the "knockout show stopper".

Now, private owners/shooters can choose anything they want, for whatever reasons they want, at whatever costs they want to afford ... and don't have to worry about trying to justify it to anyone other than themselves (although some folks do seem to enjoy trying like to try n internet firearms forums ).

I think I may know a couple of guys who own personal .357SIG weapons. I've never tried to convince them they had 'lesser' calibers, nor have they tried to convince me they were 'greater' calibers.

One guy bought his because he was curious about the caliber, and I think I remember the other guy said the caliber looked really cool because of the bottle-necked cartridge. I'm going to have to say that of the cops and private citizen shooters I've worked with, I can't think of more than a couple or so of them who owned .357SIG's. I haven't heard of any increase lately, either. It must be different where you live.

That's cool.
Sub Club #9; .40 S&W Club #1953; S&W Club #3913
Retired LE - firearms instructor/armorer

Last edited by fastbolt; 01-16-2010 at 03:25..
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