Monday, May 16, 2011

What's up with .357 SIG continued

So, in my earlier post we heard from SIG. They are concerned, but not in a panicky way…more like a “how do we get this cartridge and our name out there?” way. I moseyed across the floor past the Ruger Booth and its multitude of people trying to see their new 1911 when I spied a whole herd of 5.11 tactical pants and vests. I figured I must be close to my next target. Sure enough, I looked up and there it was: the FN USA sign. I tracked down a rep over by their FNP pistols and gave my spiel about the .357 SIG. I asked him if they were dropping the caliber and why. He kind of smiled and half laughed. He said they had indeed dropped it from their pistol lines and that the reason was pretty simple. It didn't sell. He said it was more of a “try out” for them. They wanted to be ready if it did catch on big, but it hasn't. I asked if there were plans for conversion kits for their remaining pistols and he responded with a resounding no. FN would, of course, service and support the existing .357 SIG pistols they had out there, but no new pistols or kits would be available. He finished by saying it really didn't sell at all. I thanked him for his candor and realized he didn't have anything else to say. He was very matter of fact, .357 SIG was no longer at FNUSA.

I walked away and tried not to jostle any operators as I contemplated what I had just learned and its meaning. I walked over a few aisles and became disoriented by the huge crowds at the Glock booth waiting to see R. Lee Ermey. Due to the congestion I figured I would hit them later and pushed onward. As I stumbled ahead, there it was: my next target. At an undisclosed, central location in the exhibit hall, under huge black and red signs I had found HK. Of course it had to be away from FN and Glock. You don't want to bunch up your operators, do you? I thought I was going to have to give the secret Gecko45 password to get in, but I was allowed access with nary a sideways glance. After making it through the ring of tactical force, mall operatives contemplating the insurgent stopping capability of the HK lineup I was surprised to be greeted by smiling friendly representatives. I looked at them a little puzzled; I asked where the stern looking German engineer types were. The sales rep chuckled and said, “We keep those in the back next to strike team Zulu, just in case we need them. How can I help you?” I explained again my quest and he nodded and said yes, HK will be discontinuing the .357 SIG pistols by the end of the year. He gave me pretty much the same story the rep at FNUSA had, .357 SIG is not selling. He went on to say he wasn't sure of any conversion kit offerings, but of course they will continue to support exiting pistols. He said that was about all he knew and that he thinks while the caliber is interesting and has some following, it just doesn't sell. That, as they say, was the end of that.

So what had I learned? Two very large companies are discontinuing their pistols in .357 SIG. What does it mean? I'm not sure. These 2 companies are primarily interested in contract sales, usually military contract sales. Due to regulations, agreements and sheer number of existing pistols owned by their usual clients, I can't see them successfully selling a whole new pistol caliber there. Because of this I'm not sure these two are good indicators of the calibers popularity or success. Maybe they were going to push harder into the law enforcement market and decided to try .357 SIG due to interest there, but then changed marketing plans because of poor sales. FNUSA has definitely dropped the caliber, but HK still has it listed. Perhaps they will change their mind and keep it around.

Whatever the case may be, it appears the people interested in this caliber are going to have fewer choices of pistols in the future.


Old NFO said...

I think you are correct, it's going to be a 'one off' caliber and ammo is going to be the hard to find item. Gone are the days of wildcat cartridges catching on and becoming 'available'... Of course there really have never been too many wildcats in pistol caliber.

NotClauswitz said...

Sig tried but the .40 S&W has taken the law-enforcement market by storm, and then there's the .45 GAP - I wonder how it is going to fare?

Mike W. said...

.45 GAP is FAR less popular than .357 SIG.

Personally, I'll start worrying if we see lots of law enforcement agencies dropping it.

Weer'd Beard said...

I don't think the .357 Sig will ever die so long as you can buy a conversion barrel for whatever gun you have.

.45 GAP is never going anywhere as you need a gun built from the ground up for the GAP, and the benefits gained over its larger ACP cousin are almost non-existent.

NotClauswitz said...

Yeh I was kinda thinking my buddy with the .45GAP-Glock is in trouble...unless the popularity drop also reduces ammo costs (which I doubt).

NotClauswitz said...

Perusing the S&W E-series I noticed that the M&P series still lists ".357 Auto" as a model choice.