For some unknown reason, we’re kind of nuts about the the .357 Sig round. Perhaps it’s a carry over from the old original Star Trek days. “I need more velocity Scotty!” Anyway, we’ve tried most of the commonly available .357 Sig personal defense rounds out of both a Glock 32 Gen 3 and a Glock 31 Gen 4 and observed generally good results.

The vast majority of .357 Sig rounds we’ve tried perform well. We think that extra velocity can hide all sorts of bullet design sins. An extra 100 feet per second or so makes the exact same projectile capable of amazing performance in many cases.

Recently we picked up a box of Federal Premium .357 Sig 125 Grain JHP Personal Defense to test.

The advertised velocity of this round is 1,350 feet per second. We always take that with a grain of salt because it seems that every ammo maker uses different test platforms. Some use long test barrels to achieve the claimed velocity. Others, like Buffalo Bore, use common pistol length barrels for the same measurement. The Federal Premium .357 Sig load outperformed its claims as measured by our Shooting Chrony placed 15 feet from the muzzle.

Average Velocity

Glock 31 Gen 4

1,354 fps

Glock 32 Gen 3

1,359 fps

We have no idea with the Glock 32, with it’s 1/2 inch shorter barrel, clocked a slightly higher velocity. We would have expected to see about 20 fps less on average. Perhaps NBC News has been doctoring our numbers.

To get an idea of tough-scenario expansion performance, we did our now-standard two layers of leather and 2 layers of cotton fabric test. We back this with thoroughly soaked newspaper to catch the projectiles. This is a tougher barrier than a pristine water jug without a doubt. Of course, we haven’t heard of anyone being attacked by water jugs. Or wet newspaper for that matter. So take all of this with a grain of salt.

The expansion results were disappointing. Of the bullets recovered, none exhibited any significant sign of expansion. All were visibly clogged with leather and/or fabric, which apparently prevented them from opening up.

At the same outing, we shot three other self defense rounds into the exact same scenario and all exhibited noticeably better expansion results. The Speer Gold Dot projectiles expanded and held together, as would be expected for a bonded projectile. The CorBon DPX rounds mostly expanded, although one clogged and did not show any sign of expansion. The CorBon Pow’R Ball performance was mixed. Two of the recovered rounds expanded and separated from the jacket, and two did not expand.

Compared to other .357 Sig loads we’ve tried, the Federal Premium in this particular caliber does not appear to be up to par. It’s a 1 Nun rating.