Fc 356 tsw


I bought a box of these because I never saw the name and $10 sticker. What’s the story? Someone markets a new calibre, people buy pistols and production seizes to exist? What do people do with the guns?


This round is a more powerful version of the standard 9 x 21 IMI round. The IMI case has been elongated by 0.5 mm to prevent interchangeability and to improve case capacity and bullet energy/velocity


The .356 TSW was created in conjunction with Smith & Wesson for S&W’s competition shooting team. TSW was short for Team Smith & Wesson. The cartridge was primarily chambered in firearms produced by S&W’s custom shop, the Performance Center. Personally, I think that the .357 SIG would have never been born if S&W had properly marketed the .356 TSW outside of competition use.

Back in the mid-1980s, top IPSC shooters in the US started to drop the old favorite .45 ACP for the .38 Super. Even before muzzle brakes began showing up on pistols, some shooters realized that Colt Government Model magazines in .38 Super held two additional rounds over the .45 ACP. Once muzzle brake technology began to mature, shooters also realized that these muzzle brakes worked better with the higher pressures generated by the .38 Super when it was overloaded to make Major Power Factor. The .45 ACP fanciers started to push back by designing course of fire that would require the Super shooters to reload.

In the mean time, IPSC shooters outside the US liked the idea of the .38 Super, but the cartridge cases were terribly expensive compared to .45 ACP, and especially so when compared to the 9x19mm. So experimenters started to play with the 9x19mm loaded to Major Power Factor. The advantage of using 9x19mm was that most of the pistol designs held even more rounds than .38 Super. Some US shooters quickly noticed these developments, and followed suit. Most of the US developments centered around Tanfoglio’s clones of the CZ75, as it could be carried cocked and locked like the Colt Government Model. Springfield Armory had begun importing these to the US and selling them the P9. Springfield also happened to sponsor the top IPSC shooter of the time, Robbie Leatham.

The Board of Directors of USPSA, the US representative body for IPSC, was already skeptical of the safety of Major PF .38 Super, and the possibility of Major PF 9x19mm pushed them over the edge. There was talk of banning any cartridge that was loaded over SAMMI pressure specifications. Since there were no SAMMI specification for 9x21mm IMI, sponsored shooters simply had the 9x19mm chambers in their barrels reamed out for the 9x21mm. S&W went one step further and had the .356 TSW created by Federal Cartridge Company.

Around 1992, USPSA formally introduced Limited Division as a way of keeping shooters turned off by the growing arms race of of optical sights and ever large muzzle brakes. The latter pistols were segregated into Open Division. At the beginning, the Major PF caliber minimum in Limited was 0.354" just like in Open. The USPSA Board of Directors thought they were being clever when they imposed a production minimum for eligible Limited Division pistols and required three manufacturers to produce Major PF loads for a cartridge to be legal. This ended the moment that S&W appeared ready to succeed with their Model 3566 and .356 TSW. Even as S&W was sending fliers out to dealers claiming that this combo was now Limited Division Major PF legal, the USPSA BOD quickly met and increased the minimum caliber for Limited Major PF to 0.400".