I’ve been shooting the snot out of Sig Sauer’s (relatively) new FMJ ammo the past couple of months and even taking careful notes. As the FMJ line is intended for practice and competition, and not self-defense, I wanted to test a couple of calibers in a variety of guns before reporting back on how it performs.
As the purpose is practice and competition, I’ve tested both velocity and accuracy over time for two different caliber offerings from Sig.
Sig Sauer Elite Performance FMJ 9mm: This full metal jacket round includes a 115-grain projectile with a rated velocity of 1,185 feet per second. It’s loaded in an all brass (read: reloadable) case that won’t muck up your pistol like the cheap steel and varnished stuff.
Sig Sauer Elite Performance FMJ .45 ACP: The .45 ACP load also has full metal jacket construction but includes a 230-grain projectile. Like the 9mm load, the case is quality brass.
I’m reluctant to refer to this stuff as practice ammo as it’s made to match specifications. I had the pleasure of touring the Sig Sauer ammo factory a couple months back and saw first hand how it’s made. There’s no “less expensive” production line for the FMJ ammo. It’s made on the same line, using the same equipment, as the Elite Performance V-Crown self-defense ammo. While I can’t go into too much detail, I can say that each and every round is lasered, weighed and optically inspected 17 ways from Sunday as it makes it’s way from brass cases to boxed ammo. Sig Sauer uses the tray loading method, so, with the exception of priming, which is done one case at a time, 210 rounds go through each step together. Among other benefits, this allows excellent batch tracking of every cartridge the leaves the factory.
I tested each caliber offering in-depth for velocity, consistency, and accuracy. For velocity testing, I used a Shooting Chrony Beta Master Chronograph placed 15-feet down range and fired ten-shot strings. For some of the accuracy testing, I used a UM Tactical scope rail mount which allowed me to put a Bushnell Elite 2-7x handgun scope on both a Sig Sauer P226 Elite SAO 9mm and a Springfield Armory XDm .45 ACP. The idea was to take out as much human eye error as possible when shooting at 25-yards. The optic allows me to get a very precise sight picture, far better than iron sights alone. Function testing was kind of a non-issue. In the thousand or so rounds I’ve fired between these two calibers of Sig FMJ, I haven’t had any duds or ammo malfunctions.
For primary velocity testing, I used the Sig Sauer P226 Elite SAO 9mm single-action handgun. The average I recorded for 10-shot strings was 1,233.7 feet per second, almost 50 feet per second over the figure stated in the marketing material. The extreme spread, or difference between lowest and highest velocity in the string was just 54 feet per second. The calculated standard deviation, or measure of “closeness” of all shots to the mean, was just 15.27. That’s very consistent stuff for practice ammo.
Accuracy was excellent, with 5-shot groups at 25 yards averaging 1.63 inches. The best three were virtually on top of each other in a center to center group of just .63 inches.
For kicks, I also fired 5-shot groups from 15 yards with the new FNS-9 Compact pistol. That center to center group measured 1.59 inches.
.45 ACP Results
I did velocity testing with the .45 ACP FMJ load with a variety of pistols because… range fun! Here are the average velocities.
Springfield Armory TRP 1911 (5-inch barrel): 862.5 fps
Smith & Wesson SW1911 TA (5-inch barrel): 834.0 fps
Smith & Wesson SW1911 Sc (4.25-inch barrel): 783.1 fps
Smith & Wesson SW1911 Pro Series (3.0-inch barrel): 783.1 fps
Springfield Armory XD(M) Threaded (4.5-inch barrel): 858.8 fps
As a side note, I clocked the Springfield Armory XD(M) threaded model while using a SilencerCo Osprey 45 suppressor, mainly because it was awesomely fun.
For a couple of the guns, I did the full spread and deviation math. When fired from the Springfield Armory TRP 1911, the extreme spread was 46.8 feet per second, and standard deviation worked out to 13.62. For the Smith & Wesson SW1911 TA, velocities were even tighter with an extreme spread of just 38.7 feet per second and 11.67 standard deviations.
I did accuracy testing with the Smith & Wesson SW1911 TA, again using the Bushnell Elite handgun scope at 25 yards. Five-shot group? 1.49 inches. Not so shabby.
The net-net is that this “practice” ammo performs more like match ammo. Shooting a match where consistency and accuracy matters? Here’s your huckleberry.