Glock 33 Review: Best .357 SIG Pistol?

The Glock 33 review that you haven’t seen yet is about to unfold for you. We welcome your feedback.

As one of a tiny pool of companies that still offer a .357 Sig firearm from the factory, Glock surprisingly is the highest volume seller of such a gun. Surprising because the company that pioneered the .357 Sig wasn’t Glock, as the name denotes. Surprising also, because most people would think the weight and heft of steel frames would help tame the .357 Sig. it is proven to be just the opposite in fact.

But Glocks tight pricing range across all models helps to make that a benefit to the rest of the world. You can get a super potent offering in a mainstream gun that has proven reliability for a relative pittance compared to other frame material options, thanks to the lower cost of manufacturing a pistol frame from polymer instead of aluminum or steel.

Normally the review for a Glock 33 goes along the tagline of “Maximum potency for minimal size – perfect carry” but the review is more akin to “Glock 33 Review: An excellent carry gun that really is the backup gun you wish you always had on you”.

Rest assured: you don’t always want a super potent, blisteringly fast round in a carry gun that is as tiny as the Glock 33 is. If you have never shot the .357 Sig in a full-sized pistol, where is it already snappy and stings a bit, you don’t necessarily want to subject yourself to a gun you cannot handle thanks to a 1 inch shorter grip Frame.

More than that, you often don’t want to carry such high velocity rounds in a normal concealed option. It simply amplifies the potential for unintended overpenetration when the stopping power is already adequate with rounds moving at 2/3’s the velocity. This isn’t a debate on ballistics though. It’s a review for a very competent handgun that is about as good as it gets for a backup concealment weapon, and pretty darn good as a full-time “only” CCW weapon.

Let’s get into the nitty gritty of why it’s so much better as a second concealment weapon, even if it is uncannily good as a primary CCW choice, albeit a bit small for most.

  • It’s tiny. That’s a good start. It is the smallest format that Glock offers for their pistols (though some are slimmer). That means it fits just about anywhere.
  • It has an exceptional, proven, high potency round. The .357 Sig is known for stopping bad guys and it’s got the type of ballistics any duty or civilian carrier could ever want.
  • It’s got the type of backup characteristics, ballistically speaking, if you are engaged in an extended firefight. If you can’t get through a barrier in your first two magazines (from say, a primary defensive weapon); the .357 Sig offers something most mainstream guns cannot: barrier penetrating capabilities and excellent potential for penetration behind real world structures.

Of course, these are some very situational observances.

It’s not all roses though, with the carry capabilities of the Glock 33.

  • It’s harder to handle than just about any gun most people will routinely use.
  • It’s got limited capacity (sort of), as a primary carry gun for some.
  • Overpenetration is a legitimate concern in public spaces.

Because the .357 Sig is such a snappy round on the front end it’s hard to control with a small grip frame, like that featured on the G33. It is also very loud, made louder by the short barrel; and hot, made hotter because of the short barrel and the close proximity to the shooting hand. That said, you’d be hard pressed to find a round (other than maybe a 10mm or .357 Mag) that this author would rather have as the basis for a last ditch gun.

If you have to trust your life to a subcompact and a specific round, of which you only get 9 shots, the .357 Sig is about as good as it gets. Bear in mind you are getting 4 more shots than the next closest .357 Mag revolver and the performance differences are minimal.   

So in the end, you’re getting the best backup you will likely never want to have to use. But that goes without saying, no defensive concealed carry advocate ever wants to use any gun. Why wouldn’t you have the best you can physically handle?

In the case of the Glock 33, if you must have a sub-compact pistol, and you want the best potency for your footprint, then the Glock 33 is at or near the top of the available market offerings. Any more power and it’s absurd. Too much less power, and you are getting into the mainstream again. The Glock 33 is for those who want it all and can handle the drawbacks that come with a hand cannon.

Because that’s what you get when you combine a hot round with a lightweight, small grip handgun that gets used infrequently. You’re going to know when you are shooting it. For some, that’s a good thing and something to look forward to. If you disagree, you might want to look elsewhere. What is absolutely clear is that the Glock 33 is made for duty use as a secondary gun, probably much more than it fits as a purpose-built daily carry firearm.

Though with a reasoned argument you could make the case that the gun will have such a low chance of being used that the small drawbacks of wielding the pistol are outweighed by the enormous benefits of having a huge engine under the hood.

Final thoughts

You could read this review as negative, or partially negative. You could also read it as all good stuff. It really depends on which side of the fence you fall on. With the Glock 33 you must determine how you feel about the characteristics and situational contingencies that come into play with this style and type of gun.

What should be abundantly clear in this review is that Glock has done it again: outshone the rest of the market by producing consistently good guns. They have also provided a focal point for the insatiable appetite for more performance in a smaller package, of the people who are constantly looking for bigger power and smaller form factor.


  • The cool factor of owning such a beast that seems so diminutive
  • Pure performance on all aspects
  • Reliable, potent and easy to understand


  • VERY snappy, almost wildly so, without experience with such a small gun and powerful round, especially for those with very small hands or very large hands
  • Risk of overpenetration can be very real, where in normal carry situations, you want stopping power, but you don’t want to be careless with the public aspects of carry

This is best for

Seasoned shooters who want the very best backup they can get for when things could potentially go wrong. Duty professionals and law enforcement that must be able to count on their tools from a life or death perspective.

2 thoughts on “Glock 33 Review: Best .357 SIG Pistol?”

  1. At the time I shot to pass my concealed carry class I didn’t own a pistol. Instructor lent me this beast out of his holster. OMG THIS WAS A RAGING MONSTER.. I WAS ABLE TO PASS QUALIFICATION BUT JUST BARELY. IT SOURED ME ON SMALL FRAMES.. BUT IF ONE CAN TAME THE ACCURACY OF THIS BEAST.. NOTHING CAN STAND AGAINST IT.


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