For those serious about safety, a good supply of personal defense and training ammunition is vital. I practice rapid, aimed fire, and do not aim for the whole target. Instead, I aim for a small area on the target. Precise fire is important, and getting the bullet to where it will do the most good is vital.
Personal defense ammunition doesn’t always have a valid understudy for training. A high velocity loading may strike to a different point of impact in relation to the point of aim compared to a standard velocity, training load. SIG Sauer has developed a line of ammunition that is well suited to personal defense and training. The line is called 365 after its successful compact 9mm handgun.
These loads are manufactured on the same machinery and each has the same powder charge of fast burning powder and each load uses a 115-grain bullet. The training load uses an inexpensive full metal jacket bullet while the defense load uses a specially developed V Crown hollow point. The premise is to use the FMJ load for practice and the hollow point for carry use. Of course, a certain amount of the V Crown hollow point must be fired to proof the load for feed reliability. I doubt any modern 9mm pistol will fail to feed this well designed projectile. SIG stresses the need to train like you carry. A practice load with the same recoil and point of impact is an advantage. The SIG 365 load is designed specifically for short barrel handguns of any make. Standard loads lose velocity when fired in short barrel handguns. +P loads generate a lot of recoil in a compact pistol and are contra indicated for use in light pistols such as the very compact 365.
In a full-size handgun, such as the Glock 17 or Beretta 92, the full-power SIG V Crown 115-grain JHP generates over 1,250 fps. This is a good choice for personal defense with a bullet that penetrates optimally and expands well. On the other hand, with the popularity of ultra compact handguns, perhaps these pistols are not the place to be attempting to deploy a load that mimics the .357 Magnum. Besides wear and tear on the handgun, control is difficult, and the recoil may actually startle some shooters. Slide velocity may outstrip the ability of the magazine to feed properly.
SIG developed the 365 load for compact handguns. The bullet penetrates an optimal depth of 14 inches in water testing and expansion was good. This makes for an ideal personal defense load.
SIG rates the 365 hollowpoint at 1,050 fps from the SIG P365. I tested fired the load in a new Beretta APX 9mm handgun, Smith and Wesson Shield 9mm, and Beretta 92FS. Velocity was 1,049 fps, 1,060 and 1,090 fps, so SIG is dead on with their velocity figure.
A handgun with a longer barrel than a compact pistol will enjoy a modest increase in velocity. As you can see from the illustrations, expansion is ideal. This isn’t a service load for firing through bad guy’s car doors. Instead, it is a home and personal defense load that will do the business, if you place the load correctly. Recoil is mild and function ideal. I fired a 2.5-inch, 20-yard group with the Beretta APX Compact. This load is good enough to ride with.
I fired 100 rounds of the FMJ 365 in a brace of 9mm handguns both compact and full size. Function, accuracy, and a clean powder burn were all part of the package. This loading did strike to the same point of aim as the V Crown load when firing from a solid bench rest position with the Walther APX 9mm Compact. The combination of the two SIG 365 loads is a viable one for personal defense and personal defense training.
Have you tested SIG’s ammo? What were your results? Share your answer in the comment section.
Bob Campbell is a former peace officer and published author with over 40 years combined shooting and police and security experience. Bob holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Bob is the author of the books, The Handgun in Personal Defense, Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry, The 1911 Automatic Pistol, The Gun Digest Book of Personal Protection and Home Defense, The Shooter’s Guide to the 1911, The Hunter and the Hunted, and The Complete Illustrated Manual of Handgun Skills. His latest book is Dealing with the Great Ammo Shortage. He is also a regular contributor to Gun Tests, American Gunsmith, Small Arms Review, Gun Digest, Concealed Carry Magazine, Knife World, Women and Guns, Handloader and other publications. Bob is well-known for his firearm testing.