March 30, 2013

Glock 33 .357 SIG


The Glock 33, or G33, was chambered for .357 SIG and operated just like its medium- and large-size brothers, (models G32 and G31 respectively). The most notable difference was the short grip, which limited the shooter to holding the pistol with only two fingers. The rear of the stubby grip showed a generous palm swell and the trigger guard was generously undercut, or generously under-molded.

Glock 33

Courtesy Gun Tests

Despite its size, the Glock 33 showed no compromise in accuracy. Recoil control was hampered by its lack of grip area, but chambered for 357 SIG, Glock’s smallest pistol produced the most power by far among our test pistols.

Beneath the short slide with standard white dot front and white outline notch rear sight was a 3.42-inch barrel and plunger-style guide rod with two recoil springs. Like the Smith & Wesson SW990L, the only operational levers along the side of the G33 were the left-side-mounted slide release and the takedown levers that were below flush with the frame. Removing the slide required moving the slide back about 0.3 inches and pulling the levers downward simultaneously. Making sure the gun is empty was critical because the trigger must be pulled to release the slide.

The outer edge of the externally mounted extractor acted as a loaded-chamber indicator by bulging outward when a round was in place. We felt this was too vague to be relied upon. The only other obvious safety was the lever placed inside the face of the trigger that released the striker block. The trigger presented about 8 pounds of resistance, so in normal circumstance, just as in the case of the SW990L, the G33 should not go off without a determined effort. Unlike the Springfield Armory Ultra Compact 1911A1, which has a thumb-operated safety that effectively turns off the trigger, neither the G33 nor the SW990L can positively prevent firing if your finger is inside the trigger guard.

Everyone’s first impression of the Glock 33 was how little grip area was available to the shooter. This also affected our ability to release the magazine. Without shifting the hand properly when pressing the release, the lever can shift through to the other side of the grip and press against the inside of the hand. Also, the magazine was likely to be blocked by the palm or bottom finger instead of dropping free. In addition we were concerned about getting a sure grip from concealment. Each of the two supplied nine-round magazines used flat base pads, and we found that it was nearly impossible to shoot the gun with a high grip. Closing the gap between the web of the hand and the undercut of the frame required a separate movement. Aftermarket basepads similar to the one found on the Smith & Wesson magazine that add a third finger groove were helpful, but each of our polymer test guns proved a little too small and top heavy for an ideal draw.

According to Bob Forker’s massive book of reference Ammo & Ballistics 3, (Safari Press), the .357 SIG is rated with a recoil factor slightly higher than .40 S&W. In practice we found that the .357 SIG was louder than either .40 S&W or 45 ACP but less disturbing to the sight picture. We think this is because the bullets common to .357 SIG were smaller and lighter, creating less torque and muzzle flip. Nevertheless, firing from the shortest barrel among our three guns, the Glock 33 produced far more muzzle energy than its competitors. The strongest of our test rounds was the Winchester WinClean 125-grain BEB (FMJ) rounds, producing 458 ft.-lbs of muzzle energy. Second was the Winchester USA 125-grain JHP (452 ft.-lbs.), and third was a new offering, Hornady’s 147-grain JHP/XTP ammunition, which rang up 419 ft.-lbs. of power. Despite the lack of available grip, we were able to find a satisfactory setup at the bench. The WinClean helped print the only sub 1-inch group in the test, but both Winchester rounds printed average size groups below 2 inches across. The Hornady rounds averaged about 2.1 inches across. Reliability was 100 percent.

In our action test we learned that due to the lack of available grip, it didn’t make much difference whether we used one hand or two. Our elapsed time for two-handed shooting varied from 4.35 to 4.52 seconds to complete the course of fire. Our strong-hand-only runs took from 4.55 to 4.63 seconds to complete. We pulled one shot left on the two-handed string for the only miss. We liked the accuracy of the G33, and our first shots after the audible start signal were almost as fast as when firing the Springfield Armory Ultra Compact, (about 0.82 seconds versus 0.79 seconds respectively). But, we were hampered by the small grip, which prevented us from quickly stabilizing the gun after recoil slowing our followup shots.

Comments (23)

What's your rating on this one?

Posted by: Islands7 | September 23, 2017 5:57 PM    Report this comment

Would love to find a trigger as nice/better as Mod.2 45 from SA in a
Carry 357sig
NOT Glock ...
double stack ...
CT green laser fit a big plus

I would feel pampered ... thoughts from those that own one or in the business?

Posted by: Islands7 | August 18, 2017 11:14 AM    Report this comment

Having shot in a while looking for a good concealed carry. Going to be traveling here and there for a while. Thought Glock 33 may be what I'm looking for. Doing my homework first though. Like the little naa .22 mag looks fun too.

Posted by: not2bad | December 17, 2012 5:49 PM    Report this comment

I am a big fan of Gaston Glock's design. The only mods I make to them is to add the "Slider Lock" to the trigger, Pearce +1 Extension for magazines for my baby Glocks, and Plugs for the cavity at the bottom of the grip. Yesterday I bought a Glock 33 in .357 Sig. (I already have a 26 and 27.) I plan on ordering a .40 barrel so I can shoot both calipers in this gun. I am also a big fan of Sigs, CZs, Walthers, Smith & Wesson revolvers, 1911s, etc.

Posted by: Robert K | July 12, 2012 11:08 AM    Report this comment

i love small guns

Posted by: naveed | June 9, 2011 6:17 AM    Report this comment

Don't know much about handguns...never owned one, until Obama came to the White House.

That being said, I am an Army Veteran and was only interested in 2 things, as far as handguns were concerned: reliability and accuracy - the 2 things that the Army instilled in me.

With my rigorous research, I narrowed it down to the Glock 33. I added a Pierce extension and Agrip. When I tell you there's no other gun to own for accuracy and purpose, I mean it!!! I have shot over 1000 in less than a month - I'm addicted to this 'pocket-rocket'! Accuracy - shot groups so tight, I can not tell which group shot into the same hole!!!! Unbelievable power, ballistics are off the chart, and never a fail/jam of any sort (reliability).

I'm a poster child for life, when it comes to this weapon; now, my weapon of choice for me and my family of four!

Posted by: blively2 | May 14, 2009 9:58 PM    Report this comment

I Have ag27 just bought a wolfe 357 sig barrel am waiting for it to arrive can not wait to shoot it also had a thumbsafty jnstalled by TEN-RING Precision looks and works good

Posted by: flogger11 | April 30, 2009 5:37 PM    Report this comment

Tim C. and Canovack,
Thanks for the recommendation. The G32 Grip is a perfect fit for my hand and I favor the .357" round as well. It appears the G-32 is the perfect choice for me. I can't wait to get back home to read all of the G&A magazines that have accumulated at the post office. I'll be looking forward to reading Canovacks letter to the editor.

Posted by: JWallace | April 16, 2009 9:54 PM    Report this comment

Yes, Robert J, that was my letter in G&A. I had completely forgotten that I had e-mailed that comment to G&A, and when I was reading the comments section, I thought to myself: "Gee, those thoughts sound familiar", and when I read who had submitted it, I experienced one of those "Of course it sounds familiar.....duh". Anyway, it's proof positive that the gun magazines really do print some of what their readers provide.

Posted by: canovack | April 13, 2009 11:01 AM    Report this comment

Hey C.A. Novack, I was reading Guns&Ammo Handguns and saw a letter you wrote to the editor about small pocket guns. I recognized the name and thought it had to be you.

Posted by: Robert J | April 13, 2009 9:02 AM    Report this comment

Jeff W, Like Tim C, I would also recommend the G32. With reference to my comments above
concerning the G32, I also have installed magazine extensions that provide one or two additional rounds of capacity. Also, as I noted above, the Sigpro in .357 Sig is also a very nice rig. I have heard that they are available someplace, but I have yet to encounter a Beretta PX4 or a Mauser M2 in .357 Sig. Since I have the PX4 and M2 in other calibers, and I like them very much, it would be cool to find them in this caliber, as well.

Posted by: canovack | April 7, 2009 10:36 AM    Report this comment

Jeff, I'd go with a 32 if I could only have one. If you have trouble with the grip, it is the best option. It is small enough to conceal, but the longer barrel gives you a larger fighting radius. I have one and I can tell you, they are as accurate as the 10mm, without the recoil. They also damage folks with a larger wound channel than the 45. a 30 is a fine weapon, but if you have trouble with the grip, you might want a 36. They are most like a 1911.

Posted by: tim c | April 7, 2009 8:25 AM    Report this comment

Okay, Glockers. I'm a Sig guy but wish to add a Glock G-30 or G-32 to my collection. The G-30 is too small for my hand so I'd have to go with a grip extender. I have 9mm, .357" and .45 in my Sig collection so caliber isn't a factor. Which of these two Glocks would you choose if you were limited to one choice (For 2009 anyway)?

Posted by: JWallace | April 6, 2009 11:31 PM    Report this comment

This gun is a specialized weapon for concealed carry use. It's certainly not the best choice for a home-protection, small-game hunting, plinking, etc., but excellent for C.C.W., ONLY IF YOU CAN CONTROL IT.

Posted by: RackEmPunk | April 3, 2009 12:50 PM    Report this comment

I got a G27 and a OEM .357 SIG barrel for it. With the grip extension (wouldn't consider any of the baby glocks w/o one), this little gun is a wonder! I particular like the G33 for its stout cartridge. I find I can shoot it far better than the G27 set-up with 180-gr, with less recoil, and better ballistics.

Posted by: Michael P | April 3, 2009 9:52 AM    Report this comment

hey by now you already kno i'm looking for the firearm of my dreams and i believe that is nothing then the glock-17 for me iam newly in the law enforcement it has been recomended to me..FMZ

Posted by: | April 2, 2009 9:48 PM    Report this comment

Like Markbo, I am not a big fan of Glock pistols. The grip angle feels odd for my hand, but the G19 feels pretty good in my hand. That said, I purchased a G32 a couple of years ago. Since the G32 feels just like the G19, my G32 works OK for me. I purchased mine used, at a gun show, and it came with the butt plug in place, along with tritium night sights.
It shoots nicely, and I usually carry it in a Blackhawk CQC holster. Recently, I installed a Lasermax sight that dramatically improves my grip of the pistol, because the laser mounts on the backstrap, just under the slide. In this manner, the laser provides a beavertail that keeps the strong hand very well positioned to deal with the somewhat sharp recoil of the .357 round. By the way, I also purchased a used Sigpro M2340 in .357, which is a very good platform for the cartridge.

Posted by: canovack | April 2, 2009 4:19 PM    Report this comment

I have a Baby Glock .40 with the extended grip and magazine for ham-handed guys. Shoots like a dream. Bought the .357 SIG conversion barrel and I can only say - WOW! Where the .40 was great, the .357 SIG is even greater. For such a smallish pistol to be as or more accurate than my favorite wheelgun (an S&W M28-6") is astounding to say the least. If all .357 SIG's shoot this well, I'll be adding to my repertoire soon.

Posted by: ShooterDan | April 2, 2009 12:43 PM    Report this comment

I bought one for the caliber, and the fact I was used to the 27 as a carry gun. With a Pearce grip there is plenty of purchase on the weapon. You can shoot out to 60-75 yards and remain accurate. (Which for me is a mild miracle). I was not a glock fan either, but this in 357 sig is one of the best combat weapons in production

Posted by: tim c | April 2, 2009 11:49 AM    Report this comment

I carry IWB Glock and have since 1986. I find with an IWB holster the grip is only slightly longer with a full size than with a baby Glock with grip extension. The longer barrel is down in my pants and never noticed. I switched from my baby Glock to full size. both .40

Posted by: garlec | April 2, 2009 9:51 AM    Report this comment

I shot one of these (belonged to a friend) and hated the darn thing. Cut my thumb with the slide and nearly jumped out of my hand. The only Glock I disliked more was the 10 mm. I love my G19 and G22 however.

Posted by: chuckr | April 2, 2009 9:50 AM    Report this comment

I have had a glock 33 since Oct. 1999. It's my carry gun. I love it, once I added the aftermarket butt plate to the clip so I could wrap 3 fingers.

Posted by: xct84 | April 2, 2009 9:04 AM    Report this comment

I am not a huge Glock fan... I don't like the way the trigger guard pinches my trigger finger. But I must say, these are accurate little guns! My last civilian training class had a retired man with one of these and he routinely shot some of the best groups in the class, equally and occasionally besting my custom Kimber CDP. I would not mind at all having one in .40 if I could have it with a slightly enlarged trigger guard

Posted by: Markbo | April 2, 2009 9:00 AM    Report this comment

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