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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

What's going on with .357 Sig? Conclusion

Sorry for the delay, but I have been waiting for responses from several ammunition manufacturers, and not one of them has gotten back to me. That's disappointing, but I do have one more tidbit of information that I learned while at the NRA Convention. Two more major manufacturers will still be supporting this caliber although one in more of a limited capacity. These two manufacturers are S&W and Glock.

The S&W booth was very busy and it was hard to get to talk to anyone. The rep that I did pin down was very short with me, and seemed to be interested only in any direct questions about the firearms they brought to the show. He did take a minute to ponder what I asked him and said this: S&W will be discontinuing regular sales of the .357 Sig caliber in their M&P line, but will continue to sell this caliber in large contracts to law enforcement agencies. They will of course support any previously sold .357 Sig models that are under warranty. He had no information about conversion kits. I'm not sure if this means that they won't be selling this caliber straight out of the box, but will have the conversion kits for later purchase. I found this both semi-reassuring and puzzling. Why would S&W stick with the large volume contract sales if HK and FN - who are mainly concerned with those types of sales - are pulling out? Maybe S&W has more volume in police sales?  Maybe they have a lot of remaining departmental interest in switching to it? Possibly they have a lot of .357 Sig pistols out there to support. Your guess is as good as mine.

And now for the better news. I went to the Glock booth after all the whoo-ah had settled down from Gunny's visit and tried to talk to some of the marketing people there. To my surprise I was able to speak to several of them, and they were very interested in talking about all the calibers that they offer. They said Glock would continue to sell and support .357 Sig and there were no plans of dropping it. They didn't think it was exactly selling like hot cakes but they thought sales were steady. I didn't arrive to their booth with any real appreciation for Glock, but I left with a much better attitude about them. The reps were very nice, they answered all my questions and were knowledgeable about their products. I thought about this as I walked away. You see, I'm not a fan of their pistols. I think they're well made and relibale, and I have nothing against them, but they're just not for me. I now have a new respect for them. You see, Glock has sort of become a catch all for calibers. They still make and sell pistols in a variety of not so popular calibers. The more I thought about it the more I realized I really appreciate that. I appreciate a company that provides choice. Maybe they do it because they make so much money off their 9mm sales that they don't care if they only sell a few in the other calibers or maybe they actually care about the consumer.

As a side note, I made a quick stop at the Springfield Armory Booth. The do sell XD pistols in .357 Sig. Other than the reps saying yea we have those, they didn't have any other information about sales or plans to keep or drop the caliber..just "Yep we have em."

So what does it all mean? Without the ammo sales information I don't feel I can make a resounding conclusion. I will of course follow up, if they ever do get back to me. I think .357 Sig is here to stay. I don't think it's the hot ticket any longer, but I don't think it falling off either. It may have reached a plateau and I think it's going the route of 10mm. It's generally accepted and not an obscure caliber. Ammo is expensive, but not hard to find, and seems to be made by most manufacturers. The pistol choices may be limited more in the future, but right now there's still full support from several major manufacturers, and as many of you pointed out there's always conversion kits.

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