I’ve had to fight for my life…too many times. It is for this reason that I review the SIG SAUER ammunition with all seriousness.
One fight was in a grocery store parking lot where a fugitive tried to stab me with a knife.
Another time it was in a tight hallway when I was trying to arrest a man for kidnapping and beating his ex-girlfriend.
A third time was in a dusty lot in the middle of a trailer park where I was attempting to control a suspect who had threatened his mother with a gun.
Unfortunately, I could go on with many more incidents. Fortunately, I won every time.
Each time, the outcome was dependent on my training, decisions and equipment. That’s one of the reasons why I tend to have a fairly harsh view on training and gear that is marketed for self-defense or law enforcement use.
Without sounding too coarse, I simply won’t recommend a self-defense product or training class to you that I think is a waste of time or money.
– good accuracy, even from short barrels
– completely reliable with a variety of handguns
– modest recoil
– hollow point loads largely unproven (so far)
SIG SAUER introduced a comprehensive line of ammunition several years ago. I suspiciously eye any new ammo that comes onto the market, and I have decided to only carry products that have a positive track record on the street.
When the new SIG Elite Performance V-Crown self-defense ammo made it to the store shelves, I did not recommend the ammo to anyone. Although it looked good on paper, it simply had no track record.
So, what’s my opinion now? Well, SIG was good enough to ship me some of their 9mm loads: a pair of hollow points and one of the ball load. I took them to the range, and this review details my findings including why I am cautiously optimistic about the rounds.
In 9mm, SIG offers three different 9mm hollow point rounds. All are standard pressure rounds and use the Sierra Bullets V-Crown projectile. Since late 2015, Sierra sells a limited number of these bullets for handloaders but does not offer the breadth of caliber and weight combinations that SIG loads in their ammo.
Sierra is widely regarded as being a top-notch bullet manufacturer. Some of the company’s offerings, such as the .308 168 grain Match King, have set the standard for performance in various categories. Sierra states the design delivers “…optimal weight retention and expansion at all effective distances…”
I had the chance to test both the 124 grain and 147 grain loads through a variety of pistols. All of the rounds functioned perfectly and showed good accuracy.
I recorded velocities as shown in the tables below. The data should give you a general idea of what you can expect from these rounds in your own pistols.
124 grain V-Crown
|Bersa BP9CC||1,004 fps||278 ft-lbs|
|CZ P-07 Duty||1,062 fps||311 ft-lbs|
|Diamondback AM2||1,033 fps||294 ft-lbs|
|Glock 19, Gen 2||1,063 fps||311 ft-lbs|
|Glock 19, Gen 4||1,057 fps||308 ft-lbs|
|Glock 43||982 fps||266 ft-lbs|
|Kahr CM9||957 fps||252 ft-lbs|
|SCCY CPX-2||973 fps||261 ft-lbs|
|SIG SAUER Ultra Compact 1911||1,001 fps||319 ft-lbs|
|Smith & Wesson M&P Shield||989 fps||269 ft-lbs|
|Springfield Armory XD9 SC||1,148 fps||363 ft-lbs|
Accuracy was very good with this load. Some of the best groups with this ammo came from the SIG 1911 Traditional Ultra Compact that I was also reviewing. This pairing turned in a best 5-shot group of 1.148″ at seven yards with an unsupported two-hand grip. At 15 yards, the group opened up to about double that: 2.210″.
I shot a total of 100 rounds, and reliability in all guns was 100%. Additionally, this load was fairly mild, both in terms of recoil and velocity measurements. Recoil felt like a practice load.
Prior to going to the range, I examined the data collected by Lucky Gunner on the SIG SAUER ammunition and read they had a five-shot average of 1,072 fps from a 3.5″ barrel Smith & Wesson M&Pc. Based on that, I expected to see the load pass 1,100 fps from longer barreled guns like the Glock 19. Especially considering the factory specification states this load is running 1,165 fps at the muzzle.
Instead, I saw lower velocities across the board – even from longer barreled guns. According to Lucky Gunner, their chronograph was set up at 10′ and mine was at 9′. A negligible difference, but if anything, should have given a slight velocity increase to my own testing.
After returning from the range, I took a look at a video from TNOutdoors9 on YouTube where he tested the same SIG SAUER ammo. He reported a five-shot velocity average of 1,138 fps from a Glock 19 Gen4. That is significantly faster than the 1,057 I recorded from the same model handgun.
An elevation and barometric pressure difference may be playing a role here. I’m shooting at sea level, and I know both Lucky Gunner and TNOutdoors9 are a little higher up in the atmosphere. Should anyone wish to compare their results to mine, the barometric pressure was 30.1 inHg when I was shooting.
147 grain V-Crown
|Bersa BP9CC||895 fps||262 ft-lbs|
|CZ P-07 Duty||934 fps||285 ft-lbs|
|Diamondback AM2||978 fps||312 ft-lbs|
|Glock 19, Gen 2||930 fps||282 ft-lbs|
|Glock 19, Gen 4||926 fps||280 ft-lbs|
|Glock 43||865 fps||244 ft-lbs|
|Kahr CM9||844 fps||233 ft-lbs|
|SCCY CPX-2||854 fps||238 ft-lbs|
|SIG SAUER Ultra Compact 1911||864 fps||244 ft-lbs|
|Smith & Wesson M&P Shield||863 fps||243 ft-lbs|
|Springfield Armory SA-35||1,039 fps||352 ft-lbs|
|Wilson Combat WCP320 Carry||979 fps||313 ft-lbs|
Of the three loads I tested, the 147 grain V-Crown turned in the tightest groups. The best 7-yard group I shot – again 5 rounds, free standing – was only 0.7375″ across. At longer distances, the groups grew in size, but they remained smaller than the other loads tested.
As with the lighter load above, this was a mild shooting round. Reliability was perfect with 100 rounds fired.
The factory spec on this round is 985 fps. Out of the CZ P-07 and Glock 19 pistols, the velocity came in about 50 fps under that. All of the remaining guns have shorter barrels and lower velocities: 844 – 895 fps.
SIG’s Elite Performance FMJ round is a good round for practice and informal target shooting. It is available with a 115-grain bullet only, so it is not a perfect analog for the V-Crown rounds I test above. However, at 3-15 yards, I did not observe any obvious change in point of impact as compared to them.
115 grain FMJ
|Bersa BP9CC||1,062 fps||288 ft-lbs|
|CZ P-07 Duty||1,115 fps||318 ft-lbs|
|Glock 19, Gen 2||1,108 fps||314 ft-lbs|
|Glock 43||1,050 fps||282 ft-lbs|
|Kahr CM9||1,012 fps||262 ft-lbs|
|SCCY CPX-2||1,018 fps||265 ft-lbs|
|SIG SAUER Ultra Compact 1911||1,052 fps||283 ft-lbs|
|Smith & Wesson M&P Shield||1,050 fps||282 ft-lbs|
|Wilson Combat WCP320 Carry||1,209 fps||373 ft-lbs|
This load proved to be both reliable and accurate across eight different pistols. I encountered no malfunctions of any kind with 150 rounds of the 115 gr FMJ load.
For a practice load, this was a fairly accurate round as well. I managed a best of 1.4625″ at 7 yards: hand held, five-shot group. At 15 yards, my best group was slightly larger at 2.219″.
The SIG SAUER Elite Performance ammunition has only been on the market a few years now. That makes the ammo a relative newcomer to the industry. As such, there is little data available on it from ‘real world’ shootings. That is where the rubber meets the road – so to speak.
In November of 2015, SIG announced that the Hawaii Department of Public Safety updated their service pistols to the SIG P320 and chose V-Crown ammunition to run them. The SIG SAUER representative I spoke with was not aware of any shootings involving the V-Crown in Hawaii or elsewhere. SIG declined to share any information on which public safety agencies were issuing its ammunition.
At the end of the day, this ammunition is quality built and may be a very good defensive round. My only serious reservation with the ammunition is the lack of real-world examples of performance.
Until I see street performance results that suggest it is as good or better than what I carry now, I have to stick with the proven Federal HST and Speer Gold Dot rounds. As data comes in on the SIG rounds, I will happily include the rounds as a recommended load if the information is positive.
Keep in mind that the ammunition has several things going in its favor including flawless reliability in my test firearms and the bullet being designed by Sierra – one of the top bullet manufacturers. I am cautiously optimistic that these rounds will deliver if relied on.
Last update: July 12, 2021.
You deserve to know about any potential influences or biases that affect my reviews. Hence, I offer complete transparency.
SIG SAUER provided most of the ammunition I used in this review. All of the ammo was shipped to me free of charge for the specific purpose of being used in gun reviews and in a review on the ammunition itself.
No request was made by SIG, nor did I offer any promise, to provide a positive review of the ammunition. SIG did not pay me any money or offer any other consideration for me to write a review on their product. The company did not ask for, nor did I promise, any links to their site(s).
SIG is not an advertiser, nor are we in any talks for them to be one. I have no financial interest in SIG SAUER or any other firearms manufacturer.
After I wrote the article, I elected to send a draft copy to SIG for them to review for inaccuracies. The company representatives did not advise of any technical errors nor suggest I unfairly portrayed their product. No changes were made to the draft that was submitted to the company.
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