To a novice shooter, it can seem a bit confusing when they learn of a given cartridge caliber that bears the name of a particular manufacturer and/or model that ends up getting chambered in guns manufactured by one or more competitors to the original manufacturer. For example, the .40 Smith & Wesson (S&W) may have started in 1990 with the S&W Model 4006 pistol, but you see it now in all sorts of makes & models, from Springfield Armory to Beretta to Heckler & Koch (HK). Meanwhile, the “ACP” in .45 ACP may stand for “Automatic Colt Pistol,” but Colt long ago ceased to be the market share leader in M1911 pistols.
And then you have the co-subject of this article: the .357 SIG cartridge. Designed by the venerable German-Swiss firm SIG (Schweizerische Industrie-Gesellschaft), you’d better believe that other gun manufacturers were going to cash in on the profit potential of this round once it debuted and demonstrated its market viability. Hence the other co-subject of this article: the Glock 32 .357 SIG autopistol.
.357 SIG Cartridge History & Specifications
As noted by self-defense guru Massad F. Ayoob, the .357 Magnum 125-grain jacketed hollowpoint round has such a legendary reputation as dynamic gunfight finisher – even more so than the .44 Magnum and the .45 ACP cartridges – that some have (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) dubbed it “the magic bullet.” The .357 Mag is primarily a revolver cartridge – although there have been a few plus-sized oddball autopistols chambered for it such as the Desert Eagle, Coonan Arms, and LAR Grizzly – so the .357 SIG round was conceived as an effort to replicate the 125-grain Magnum ballistics in a cartridge that could be chambered in more practically-sized duty semiautomatic pistols. The Clark Armory website elaborates further:
“The .357 SIG is based on a .40 S & W case, necked down to accept .355 (or 9mm) bullets. The .357 SIG was designed to get the same level of performance of the .357 magnum, but with less recoil. The .357 SIG has become regularly used by law enforcement and government agencies. Many regional law enforcement agencies continue to use the .357 SIG, due to such success with high muzzle velocity and added ammo capacity in a semi-automatic platform. Whether you’re looking for practice ammo or the latest in full copper, high penetration rounds, check out our selection and grab the perfect box.”
The .357 SIG cartridge entered into both design and production phase back in 1994 and has remained with us ever since.
Glock 32 History & Specifications
The Glock 32 is to the manufacturer’s .357 SIG line of offerings what the Glock 19 is to the company’s 9mm, i.e. the second-in-line after their full-sized brothers, the Glock 31 and Glock 17 respectively. The G32 made its debut in circa 1997. As the manufacturer’s official info page states: “Designed as a compact model, the GLOCK 32, in 357 SIG, offers a unique combination of versatility, convincing ballistics, optimum carry comfort, and the legendary GLOCK pistol reliability.”
The G32 has a barrel length of 4.02 inches, an overall length of 7.36 inches, a slide width of 1.0 inch, an overall width of 1.26 inches, and a height (incl. magazine) of 5.04 inches. Empty weight is 21.87 ounces, whilst weight with a fully charged 13-round standard-capacity magazine is 30.34 ounces.
Personal Shooting Impressions
I got to try a Glock 32 back in 2004, courtesy of an Air Force buddy who owned one, whilst I was TDY (Temporary DutY) to San Antonio, Texas, for the USAF Security Forces Officer Course (HOOAH) that was split between Lackland AFB and Camp Bullis. Stan (the aforementioned buddy) and I went to an outdoor range somewhere in Bexar County whose exact name and location unfortunately escapes my senile old coot’s memory (don’t let my dashing good looks in my 19FortyFive official author profile photo fool y’all).
All of the shooting was done at the 7-yard line. I don’t remember exactly how many rounds I put through Stan’s G32, but I do recall it being quite enjoyable to shoot in terms of ergonomics, felt recoil, and ability to put the rounds exactly where I intended to land them.
Christian D. Orr has 33 years of shooting experience, starting at the tender age of 14. His marksmanship accomplishments include: the Air Force Small Arms Ribbon w/one device (for M16A2 rifle and M9 pistol); Pistol Expert Ratings from U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP), Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE), and the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) Criminal Investigator Training Program (CITP); multiple medals and trophies via the Glock Sport Shooting Foundation (GSSF) and the Nevada Police & Fires Games (NPAF). Chris has been an NRA Certified Basic Pistol Instructor since 2011. In his spare time, he enjoys (besides shooting, obviously) dining out, cigars, Irish and British pubs, travel, USC Trojans college football, and Washington DC professional sports.