High velocity law enforcement

High-speed alternatives to big-bullet guns


     The 124-grain TMJ (total metal jacket) bullet averaged 1,481 fps, while the 124-grain JHP averaged 1,476 fps. This is a higher average velocity than many commercial .357 Magnum cartridges, which range between 1,150 to 1,400 fps. This was also a little high for most .357 cartridges, so we ran them through the chronograph a few more times than necessary to gather more data.

     The Load-X 124 JHP averaged 19.5 inches in penetration. The jacket separated from the core in several tests, creating additional wound channels.

     One of the design considerations of the .357 SIG bullets is the fact that it is subject to over-expansion and separation of the bullet lead core with its jacket. One cannot simply use a 9mm bullet design. This is like putting a Ferrari engine into a 1965 Beetle. The bullet must have aggressive expansion cuts and a bonded core.

Sig Sauer P250

     The Sig Sauer P250 cannot be described in conventional firearm terms. It is a semi-auto handgun, but the similarities stop there. Instead of having all the components that make the gun work integral with the frame, it has a chassis that can be completely removed. This chassis is the fire control mechanism, including the hammer mainspring.

     The first time we took it apart we were a little shocked. The hammer mainspring is usually found on the backstrap of a conventional pistol (the portion of the handgun that rests against the palm). On the P250, this spring is contained in the hammer itself. In fact, all mechanisms that make a gun go bang, sans firing pin, is in this chassis, or fire control system.

     The frame is really a magazine and slide holding mechanism, and the slide is all Sig Sauer high-quality engineering. The platform we tested was a medium-sized concealable gun with a mid-sized grip.

     We found that it's possible to disassemble this gun in less than a minute. Considering the DAK trigger and the P250 design, Sig Sauer now has two of only about a dozen or so paradigm breakers in the past 50 years of firearm innovation.

     Consider the possibilities. If one can remove the entire fire control system of a handgun in a single component, how easy would it be to clean it using a dipping solution? For the officer that goes from deep cover to duty, it would be easy to change the size or configuration just by dropping the chassis into a new "shell."

     Although we shot the 9mm for testing, it only whetted our appetites for the forthcoming .357 SIG conversion. Maybe if we sent Sig Sauer the slide and barrel and told them we would like the .357 SIG…

     The P250 will preclude a few paragraphs that firearms reviewers use regularly. For example, "It fits larger hands but..." and "We wish it came with a shorter barrel..." will probably not be part of the gun writing vocabulary when it comes to reviewing this gun. Like we said, this changes the paradigm.

     It took a while for shooters to warm up to this gun. It has a double action-only trigger without the usual sear reset of similar firearms. No one could shoot it without reciting "It looks like an auto; it shoots like a high capacity revolver." However, once they got over this hurdle, officers mowed down tactical targets all day.

     We anticipate this gun will be a blanket purchase for larger departments, owing to its simple manual of arms and versatility. It meets the "one gun" rule and still fits many moulds.

FNH USA FiveseveN USG

     The FNH USA FiveseveN USG is a lightweight, semi auto delayed blowback pistol that fires a 22-caliber bullet. Our test gun turned in respectable velocities of 2,000 fps, near its advertised 2,050 fps. This gun is a comfortable fit in the hand with aggressive moulded checkering. It's so light, it feels more like a hairbrush than a defensive firearm. It also features a light short-pull trigger and a very light slide with ambidextrous controls.

     Testers questioned the placement of the frame-mounted safety — sitting just over the trigger with extensions operating a trigger locking cam. After shooting it, we found that the trigger finger rests on it when outside the trigger guard and the support thumb rests on it when the thumbs are parallel. Thus, it can be operated from either side. It also has a magazine safety, meaning it cannot fire without a magazine.

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