What is the secret to winning? Putting every shot on target. How do you do that? Well, if I can borrow an old phrase—practice, practice, practice. Certainly, practice matters, but your gun and ammo have to be capable, as well. Even if our guns might not be the most accurate guns around, precise ammo can bring out their best.
A few manufacturers make match quality ammo for pistols, such as Federal, ASYM, Atlanta Arms and Wilson Combat, and now SIG Sauer has jumped into the market with a Match Elite 9mm Luger load. It features a 147-grain V-Crown bullet, made by Sierra, which also fill SIG’s defensive Elite line of pistol ammunition.
SIG’s Match Elite 9mm ammunition is loaded in their premium nickel-plated cases for maximum reliability. The powder weighed 4 grains. The overall length of 10 rounds was very uniform, ranging from 1.105 inches to 1.109 inches.
The Match Elite 9mm was designed with competition shooters in mind, and, “... was developed by SIG ammunition engineers, working very closely with Max Michel and Lena Miculek, to be the ultimate pistol competition load.”
The Match Elite 9mm is loaded to lower velocity than SIG’s defensive round with the same weight bullet. The 147-grain match round has an advertised velocity of 900 fps while the defensive load has an advertised speed of 985 fps. The lower speed of the match round reduces recoil, a great benefit to reduce wear on the gun and shooter fatigue, and aids faster follow-up shots. And in many shooting sports, the ammunition only needs to make a power factor of 120 or 125 (bullet weight times velocity divided by 1000) to qualify for minor scoring. At 900 fps, the 147-grain bullet makes 132 power factor. It comes in nickel-plated cases and uses a fast, clean burning powder to enhance the reliability.
Heavy bullets, like the 147-grain V-Crown, have another benefit compared to lighter bullets pushed to the same power factor. They produce less recoil force (when using the same gunpowder) and also have a softer feel to them attributed to their slower acceleration to their lower required speed. Lighter bullets tend to have a snappier perceived recoil. The 147-grain SIG load’s lower recoil and softer feel will help you get back on target faster.
The new SIG Match Elite 9mm ammunition was test fired from a 1911 pistol with a 5-inch Kart barrel. The pistol is not a match-quality gun—but the Kart barrel does have a good fit in the slide. Accuracy at 25 yards was tested with the gun mounted in a Ransom Rest.
The ammunition clocked an average of 981 fps through the 5-inch barrel, for a power factor of 144. One would expect it to be faster in my barrel than the advertised speed since most 9mm ammo is tested with a 4-inch barrel. This should ensure that it will be more than fast enough in shorter barrel guns to make power factor. It had an extreme spread of 42 fps over the entire 50 rounds. This is good consistency based on my experience with other ammunition.
Accuracy was excellent, with an average 10-shot group size of 1.70 inches. The wide hollow point made large holes in the paper target that are easier to see than smaller holes produced by round nose bullets or smaller hollow-point and flat nose bullets. The ammunition fed, extracted and ejected flawlessly.
Velocity was recorded with a Shooting Chrony chronograph at about 8 feet, and is the average of 50 shots. Accuracy is from five consecutive 10-shot groups at 25 yards.
This is high quality and capable ammunition. It’s certainly up to the task of delivering rounds on target, with the benefit of being soft shooting. The price is $29.99 per 50 rounds and is available at SIG Sauer’s website.