Question of the Day: Who Needs .40 Caliber?

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A newbie I know got a sudden hard-on for 40 cal. “It’s what the cops use,” he said. “It’s not as cheap as 9mm,” I pointed out, knowing that my ballistic buddy was going to be doing a LOT of shooting. “It’s also harder to manage the recoil, so you’ll probably going to be less accurate. And it doesn’t make as big a hole as a .45.” I didn’t get into the .40′s history: the whole post-1986 FBI shooting “we need a bigger caliber so how about we neck-down this 10mm cartridge” deal. I think I convinced him with this: “This isn’t Goldilocks and the Three Bears. There is no ‘just right’ caliber. Big holes (.45) or more filling (9mm); pick one.” Am I wrong?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

118 Responses to Question of the Day: Who Needs .40 Caliber?

  1. avatarGunmart says:

    Thats my philosophy… If you think 9mm isnt enough gun then just go all the way up to .45

    .40 is not really that much more performance then a juiced up 9mm and the extra weight and fewer rounds in a concealed carry package just aint worth it… ammo cost is a deal breaker too.

    • avatarAndrew Snyder says:

      There is a lot more to ballistics than caliber size. As in, despite what you have heard bigger is not always better.

      The 9mm and the .40 are supersonic, the .45 is subsonic. This means the 9mm and .40 are traveling at much higher speeds than the .45. And though the weight of the round does play a role, the speed of the round at impact maters as well. For example most rifle rounds are in calibers smaller than the 9mm even, yet they are more devastating on impact and a large part of why this is true is because they are traveling at much higher velocities.

      As for me personally, I would prefer the 10mm over the .40 but 10mm ammo is really expensive and hard to come by, plus it could be argued that the 10mm is maybe slightly overpowered. So, when going to a bad area, I carry a Glock 22 with 16 rounds of .40.

      It isn’t because I don’t have 9mm guns, I do. My normal CC gun is a makarov which shoots 9x18mm as opposed to the 9x19mm most people think of when they say 9mm. I carry that because it is tiny and can be so easily concealed, yet still extremely accurate even at range. I also have 9mm guns in the standard 9x19mm, but I never carry them.

      Like everyone and their dog, I have fired a 1911 before, even owned one once briefly. The subsonic aspect was a real turn off for me though. I could sometimes literally see the bullets in flight as the shooter when firing the .45 1911, and that bugged me because I never got that with any other gun. Also the range was really crappy. With the .45 hitting something at 50 meters was more like shooting baskets from the half court line, you literally had to aim way up and hope the round fell on the target. Doing the same distance with a 9mm or a .40 or even my 9x18mm is not very difficult at all, you have to aim a little high but it was more akin to aiming at the head to hit the chest than aiming at the clouds and hoping it landed on their head like with the .45.

      Yes, most handgun gunfights happen much closer than 50meters, and yes the .45 is devastating when it connects. But so is the .40, more devastating than the 9mm and if for whatever reason I do need to shoot someone at 50 meters I am at least somewhat confident I could do it with a .40.

      I know there are a lot of .45 fanbois out there, and I am likely to catch flack for my opinion, but I think deep down everyone knows the .45 has a serious handicap when it comes to ranged shots.

      Also, .40 rounds are actually comparable in price to the 9mm. Usually at gun shows I buy boxes of 100 from the same bullet manufacturer for the same price when buying 9mm and .40 rounds. However I will admit the exotic .40 rounds do tend to price a few bucks more a box, I believe this has as much to do with higher demand than anything else.

      The .40 is a heavier round than the 9mm giving it some of the advantage of the .45, however it does not sacrifice velocity to achieve the higher weight unlike the .45. In most situations it is more a matter of where you hit someone rather than what you hit them with when it comes to handguns (some obvious exceptions apply, hitting someone with a .22LR is never going to be as deadly as shooting them with a 10mm, regardless of points of impact). But often in gunfights people head for cover, because it is somewhat natural instinct to do so. If you have to shoot someone through soft cover, like say a windshield, the .40 is the round you want of the three discussed. The carrying weight difference is negligible between the three, as is the cost. And the felt recoil is more a factor of the quality of the gun than it is the caliber of ammo.

      In summary, of the three, the .40 is the best round in my somewhat educated opinion.

      So, if your friend wants to get .40, it is probably because he has spoken to other people like me with some actual experience shooting the different calibers. Let him do it.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        According to the medical analysis that supports the Joint Munitions Effectiveness Manual (JMEM) tissue displacement is the primary determinant of small arms effectiveness. The Springfield model 1861 rifled musket firing a 55 caliber Minie ball was the most devestating infrantry round every used by the US Military. Even with today’s medical capabilities the wounds would still be as crippling. The effectiveness of the Minie ball validates the fact that velocity is a relatively unimportant variable. It was a very slow round by today’s standards. With the exception of the 44 Magnum which has both mass and velocity working for it, there is no round that matches the 45 ACP in stopping power.

        • avatarPatrick Carrube says:

          I tell you what – you can carry a musket CCW… I’ll stick to my 40/45′s! While over a century old, the .55MB is still a rifle. I’d have to check, but my black-power buddy told me that his .58cal will shoot somewhere near 1000 FPS, with a bullet that weighs 500 grains! That means a MB produces over 1000 ft-lbs of energy, significantly more than most pistols. However, when compared to even a .30-06, it is a relatively weak rifle round. It was devastating and effective because of bone trauma and infection – not because of instant incapacitation (other than its ability to occasionally rip limbs off!)

        • avatartdiinva says:

          You realize that was my point right? Big bullets break bones and tear flesh better then small bullets. I would rather get hit in the leg by a modern 7.62 then a Minie ball. Far less damage.

          A 45 ACP does a lot more damage then a 9mm or a 40. Why do you think the Red Brigades or the IRA used a 45 to kneecap their targets instead of 9mm?

        • avatarAndrew Snyder says:

          Sorry, but you are wrong.

          Tissue displacement doesn’t just happen all by itself because someone was touched by a bullet. It is a factor of several things, among the most important are weight and, wait for it, VELOCITY!

          Just to demonstrate the ludicrousness of your argument that velocity is an “unimportant variable”, I would like to challenge you to an imaginary duel (hey, I don’t really want to kill you just because you lack basic understanding of physics). Since you claim velocity is unimportant, I will supply you with a bunch of .45 slugs for you to throw at me, and would ask that you not through them hard, since remember velocity is an “unimportant variable”. I will use .40 rounds fired from a gun.

          Now, I am betting about now you are happy it is an imaginary duel, because while it is possible you get me with a lucky hit to the temple or something, the odds are extremely against you. Even if I give you .55MB shot to throw at me do you think just because you managed to hit me with the mythical .55MB that all of my tissue is going to magically displace?

          Mass you say is king. I say what if instead of shooting .40 I stuck to 22LRs from a gun? There is a huge mass difference between the .45 or .55MB and the 22LR, and since velocity is unimportant according to you, do you see yourself winning this imaginary lead exchange?

          So are you ready to admit velocity is a lot more important than the credit you gave it?

          Well, I am not done yet, because I know next you will just scream that those are extreme differences in velocity. Fine, what if instead of firing my .40 rounds from a gun I got to use a slingshot to fling them at you, while you throw yours at me? I am sure your imaginary self’s well being is feeling quite a bit more comfortable with this scenario, you just haven’t realized yet that the only reason that is so is because the velocity has dropped considerably from my end. Now, I have several slingshots, and use them sometimes for fun (I am betting top gun uses them next season, hey if axes why not a slingshot). Let me tell you, if I was watching this imaginary match up and placing imaginary bets, I would bet a lot of imaginary money on the imaginary you loosing this exchange as well. The velocity differences are not even that great anymore, but the slingshot still has the velocity benefit. I would even go with flinging 22LR shells at you via slingshot over your thrown .55MB shells.

          By your logic, whenever anyone went to drop a .55MB shell into their rifle, the mere act of touching it should have destroyed the tissue from their fingers to at least the elbow. Good thing you are wrong and velocity does matter, or shooting would be something you can do exactly one, load with left hand which gets destroyed, fire with the right. Hey it is absurdly ludicrous I know, but it is just your argument with the light of day on it.

          As to the .45 for which I assume you are a huge fan. Let’s do another imaginary duel. This time we both get guns, so no worries. We will start under opposing field goals on a football field. You get the .45 I get the .40, when the blow the horn the duel begins. Assuming we are both equal shots and therefore we are both decent, who wins? Well shucks, you have to close on me, because I am well outside your effective range. I can just sit there and imaginarily blow you away at my leisure, because you start well within my effective range. How’s that legendary .45 stopping power working for you when you can’t even reach me with it?

          I blame video games and indoor ranges for perpetuating this nonsense that the .45 is the best round ever no matter what. Video games never heard of bullet drop or effective ranges. Well at least not the FPS games out there, a few older ones like Jagged Alliance had it closer to right. And if all you ever do is shoot your .45 at an indoor range with a max of 50 or even 100 feet, then of course you aren’t going to know that the .45 really sucks at any distance farther than you can physically throw the round.

          If you like the .45, more power to you. The army did, then they woke up and changed to the 9mm (largely because of the range problem). But please don’t tell me that the .45 is the uber round because velocity doesn’t matter, for that is pure nonsense.

        • avatar2Wheels says:

          So, the .45 loses because if I’m dueling at football field distances I’ll lose?

          If we’re dueling at football field distances, I should be able to get back to my car and get a rifle. As long as this is all imaginary… But in the real world, pistol fights happen at extreme close range. “Bullet drop, “effective distances”, these are things you’ll probably never ever need to worry about in the real world.

          When your imaginationland becomes reality, and I need to consistently engage targets 100s of yards away, I’ll pick a rifle… Not a .40S&W handgun.

          Penetration and permanent cavity, these are the things that matter according to the FBI.

        • avatarBlake says:

          The US went to the 9mm for two reasons: More rounds per magazine and all of our NATO allies use 9mm in their sidearms.

          The military did not adopt the 9mm strictly because of performance. I’m not sure it was even a consideration.

          As a side note, if the 9mm is everything you claim it is, then why did Army Special Forces get rid of the 9mm and go back to the .45?

        • avatarAndrew Snyder says:

          Yes, of course. The handgun is only to allow you to safely reach your rifle.

          But why is the rifle better? It is a smaller caliber, and tdiinva’s logic would tell us that means less effective. Oh, right, the rifle has a huge advantage because it allows for much higher velocities.

          Even at close range though, the .45 doesn’t have much advantage over the 9mm or .40. At close range it is where you hit them that matters far more than what you hit them with.

          Also, just to toss something else out there, the .45 is more easily defeated by body armor.

        • avatarAndrew Snyder says:

          Now hang on Blake, I never once argued the 9mm was the best choice. My argument is simply that the mythical .45 is undeserving of its mythical status due to its shortcomings. In fact I believe the .40 is better than the 9mm because they have pretty much identical velocities but the .40 has slightly more mass.

          Why did the Special Forces go back? Simple. The .45 does have one advantage. Because it is so slow, it is actually a rarity in modern rounds because it is subsonic (slower than the speed of sound). The .45 is therefore naturally a more quit caliber than the rest, since it is missing the sonic boom. And therefore it is capable to add a silencer to a .45 and bring the noise to almost silent. To do that to any other round you have to first reduce the powder loads by making what is called cold loads thus reducing them to subsonic velocities and at the same time severely reducing their ballistic coefficient. Special forces like silent, so .45 is the natural choice.

        • avatarGabriel says:

          You understand realize of course that the velocity difference you are fantasizing over is only 200 or 250 fps right? The comparisons you are making aren’t even close to reality. All you have to do to get that out of your 45 is switch 185 grn bullets, and you get to keep your destructive large frontal area. Just because the most common load is the 230 grn round ball at about 950 fps doesn’t mean that is the only one. 200 grn bullets also make a nice compromise between velocity and weight. And, finally, if you want to hit what you are shooting at with a 45 at 50 yards, or even 100, all you have to do is practice.

        • avatar2Wheels says:

          Supersonic or no, 9mm and .40S&W are still too slow to do the same things that a rifle bullet will. They’re still playing under the same rules that the subsonic .45ACP is. That is, unless you want to shoot defensively at people at 100+ yards with a pistol…

          Again, according to the FBI the only things that matter (ignoring shot placement), are whether or not your chosen round will penetrate enough and how big of a hole it makes. Whether you choose a 9mm, a .40S&W, a .45ACP, or whatever to accomplish that goal, I don’t care and I really don’t think it matters all that much as long as you can handle your chosen weapon/caliber combo. Though, the .45ACP has a slight advantage in hole making potential.

          I don’t believe in any “myth” regarding .45ACP, I DO believe that is a very effective pistol caliber and I believe that if I do my job, the bullet I’m firing will return the favor.

          Personally, I carry either a 9mm or a .45ACP. In subcompact guns, I don’t like the snappy recoil of .40S&W and that’s partially why I got rid of my XD40SC, I’d like my followup shots to be as fast as possible.

        • avatarBlake says:

          Andrew, be wary of the body armor argument.

          I guarantee you that with 9mm, .40 or .45, armor penetration is not necessary to put a guy down.

          Yes, you’ll survive taking a couple of rounds to the body armor. However, there’s a good chance it will be a few days before you’re able to move without groaning. (this is assuming standard body armor, not the specialized stuff with ceramic plates)

          Anyway, I ran across an article stating the Delta Forces went back to the .45 because they found it took fewer rounds to put the bad guy on the ground.

          For what it’s worth.

          However, I have to concede that Delta is a special breed that practices constantly with their weapons.

          I suspect the 9mm was also adopted because it’s easier to shoot for a wider variety of people.

          I shoot my 1911 very well. However, learning to shoot a 1911 takes time, patience, practice and a lot of ammunition.

          Heck, my .380 is a breeze to shoot after the 1911.

        • avatarAndrew Snyder says:

          Gabriel, you are being somewhat missleading.

          The .45 at 230 grn has a velocity between 825 and 900. The .45 in 185 typically comes in at just over 1k for velocity. The 9mm at 124 grn has a velocity of between 1200 and 1300 typically. So that is actuall closer to 400 ft per sec difference and percentage wise significantly higher at about %150 percent more velocity.

          And does velocity affect stopping power, well lets look.

          In stopping power, the 9mm will typically incapacitate a 170 pound male shot in the chest in 7.3 to 13.5 seconds. For the .45 it is 7.2 to 13.8 seconds. And for the .40 it is 6.9 to 13.2 seconds.

          Any questions?

      • avatarBuuurr says:

        A lot of the above is true but many tests have shown that there is virtually no difference in the 9mm vs the .40. The only noted difference is the cost and recoil being higher in the .40. I was a big fanboy of the .40 myself until I saw these tests and opted for the 9mm. I do intend to have a .40 one day for myself as I do actually like the snap of it in comparison to the 9mm. Personally for the cost and rounds it can hold, the 9mm would seem to be the better choice.

        • avatarBuuurr says:

          “In stopping power, the 9mm will typically incapacitate a 170 pound male shot in the chest in 7.3 to 13.5 seconds. For the .45 it is 7.2 to 13.8 seconds. And for the .40 it is 6.9 to 13.2 seconds.

          Any questions?”

          I have one. If the 9mm is only a fraction of a second off either way. Why not go with the cheaper option? Seems to be splitting hairs to me. Plus the recoil is nicer on a 9mm and keeps you on target.

      • avatarWill Arbler says:

        You people have way too much time on your hands. They all do the same thing if you know what you are doing. Some large, some small, more expensive, less expensive, whatever.

    • avatarAcewolf says:

      Let’s see, If the 9mm isn’t enough just go up to the 45? Why not 50? The FBI wanted a round with more stopping power than a 9mm, and more capacity than a 45. Some like the 9mm, some the 45, The 40 falls in between them both in almost every aspect, knockdown, round capacity, weight, size, and ammo price. The 40 has more penitration than a 45, the 40 caliber mushrooms out to make almost the same wound channel as the 45 because of the extra speed. If you like the 45 and 9mm, the 40 has some of the best features of both.

      • avatarDavid W says:

        I think several people miss the main point. It’s not always the diameter or the bullet weight, its the amount of bullet energy which causes stopping power. My defense round is a 40 caliber 155 grain Gold Dot behind 8.2 gr. SR4756 powder, and 1,200 fps. This gives me 500 ft/lbs of bullet energy. My second defense round is a Speer 135 gr at 1,280 fps, which releases 563 ft/lb energy.

        A 45 caliber 185 gr bullet traveling at 1,000 fps releases 410 ft/lb. A 9mm 90 gr bullet traveling at 1,200 fps releases 288 ft/lb energy. It’s all about bullet energy. Heavier bullets retain energy over a greater distance than lighter bullets. In most defense situations, it will be at close range.

  2. avatar2yellowdogs says:

    This has always baffled me, too. It’s the worst of both worlds. Not as powerful as a .45 and a lot more expensive than a 9mm. I don’t see anything to recommend it.

  3. I’m totally with you on this. I cannot understand why its such a popular caliber.

  4. avatarPaul R says:

    The .40 is my favorite round and my carry gun is an HK Compact in .40. The .45, while a great round, is a little much for me on recoil and breaks my weak hand grip. Moreover, I like the increased MV (180gr V 230gr) of the .40 as velocity is king regarding wound ballistics.

    Just my 2 cents.

  5. avatarChris Dumm says:

    My first defensive auto pistol was a 1911, and when you know you can handle a .45 ACP there’s not much reason to downsize to a .40 except higher magazine capacity. A .40 has no concealment advantage over a .45, but a lot more recoil than a similarly-small 9mm.

    And the ammo cost can eat you alive. The rest of the world uses the 9mm, so there’s no huge stockpiles of foreign ammo keeping domestic .40 prices low.

  6. avatarRyan Finn says:

    The .40 is just so snappy that it always played hell with my follow up shots. Even the .45ACP seems milder in the muzzle rise department to me. And as many have stated, the cost is ridiculous.

  7. avatarHunter S. says:

    I like the .40… Shooting my XD(m) in .40 with a DPM recoil reducer is a treat. I agree with Ryan that it was very snappy before the aftermarket part.

    My question to the people here: what is the cost of pistol ammunition in your community? I typically buy from WalMart here in Louisiana and it’s usually the Federal brand.
    The prices here are typically: 9mm – $10.49
    .40 cal – $13.49
    .45 cal – $16.49

    I am just not understanding the complaint about the price for .40 cal from my perspective.

    • avatarmiforest says:

      The price diff is a larger when you go to JHP. nothing wrong with a 40, but I don’t think its any better than a nine.

      • avatarRyan Finn says:

        Yea I should have pointed out I meant JHP, not FMJ rounds. And Hunter your prices listed look dead on to what I pay.

      • avatarHunter S. says:

        Well good to see that Walmart is consistent in its pricing structure on some things… the prices I quoted are for FMJ as you probably realized. I figured that the only time price is going to be a consideration is if you are practicing. I’m going to spend the big bucks on the Speers and Hornadys for self defense and skimp on the practice rounds. So I prefer FMJ to JHP for the price difference.

    • avatarScott Porras says:

      I agree. Here in south Florida .40 is usually no more than $3 more than an equivalent 9mm and less than .45, the whole cost thing is kind of exaggerated. I am upgrading my Smith & Wesson M&P compact carry gun from 9mm to .40 actually.

  8. avatarTim says:

    I shoot my XD40sc the best of the three I own. The ammo for practice can be had fairly inexpensive at the shop I go to ($14.95/50). I don’t notice much recoil. And in CA, you are limited to 10 rounds anyways, why not? – I can’t carry more than 10 of 9mm or .40 anyways. I like my 1911 commander too – and carry it about 50%. My XD is a bit thicker, but the Height and Length can be more accommodating, depending on where I carry.

    I can also throw out the old caliber argument – It’s not size, it is placement, placement, placement.

    My philosophy, shoot what you like, not what someone else does….

    • avatarLeo says:

      I agree, it s placement that is important. I have used 9mm, .40 cal., 10 mm and 45. I personally like the 10 mm, It’s really is a man stopper. Whatever you use, practice, practice.

  9. avatarRalph says:

    I love the .40. I’m not recoil shy, so the extra snappiness over the 9mm doesn’t bother me. Rounds are a bit more costly than 9mm, but bulk buys on the Internet cut the cost by plenty. The .45 is also a terrific round, but there is the issue of capacity. I wouldn’t necessarily feel outgunned if I were shooting a 9mm, but there’s one thing that always disturbs me when I’m shooting targets with the 9mm and the .40 — the .40 makes a much bigger hole. I know, I know, I know, but the fact is that the bigger round just inspires a little more confidence. Rather than regard the .40 cal. as a round that’s neither fish nor fowl, I think of it as a well-executed and damn effective round combining the best of the 9mm and the .45. Still, in the end these caliber wars are a fool’s errand. From 9mm to .45, every round is a widow maker and none of them will let you down in a time of need.

  10. avatarTTACer says:

    I think that a really hot 9mm beats the .40 on capacity and cost. If anyone can recommend a single stack, deep conceal 9 rugged enough to eat +P+ I’d buy it tomorrow. Police departments seem to love the .40 though. I like 10mm but it never caught on.

    • avatarBruce says:

      I tend to agree with Ralph -Just my opinion and anecdotal experience.agree. Recoil over the 9mm a minimal factor and than the .45 middle of the road for the all around blog talk. If you need a 9mm to control recoil just put in some more time learning some better skill sets regarding recoil. There are many fine shooters who would be happy to help you. I felt the same way and with experienced advice I love my sig P229 .40 better than my P229 9mm and the recoil is no issue and I not hampered at all as a carry weapon , also not being hammered with a medium frame .45. Try it, you can overcome your concerns and be happier with the .40. A little heavier than the 9mm sig but you get used to it. Just an old State parole Officer and Deputy. Try them side by side and make pour own choice. You may be surprised. Good Luck

    • avatarKiel Frey says:

      I believe boburg would solve your problem

  11. avatarRob says:

    My first handgun was a .40. It is the only .40 I own. I like it a lot and shoot it well( for me) but I’ve gotten over the hype. I havent and don’t think I would ever again pick a .40 over a 9 or .45 unless it was a screaming deal.

    • avatarsdog says:

      hey me too, my first handgun is a ruger p944 and i still have it, even if i shoot my g17 more these days.

  12. avatarRob says:

    Well, I think we need to keep in mind, the .40 S&W fits in “9mm sized” frames, while the .45 generally requires a larger frame gun. Maybe not an issue for a duty weapon, but significant for civilians restricted to conceal carry.

    Rob

  13. avatarPatrick Carrube says:

    I’m with Hunter in that I don’t get the “cost argument”. The cost is smack between .45 and 9mm – and for a long time is was only a $1.50 more per 50-round box at my local Wally-World, which is now up to about $2.00 more. I’m a .45ACP guy 80-90% of the time, but I just started carrying a .40S&W for “summer carry”.

    People compare the power of a “juiced up 9mm” (assumably +P or +P+ rounds) to that of the 40S&W, but then say that that the .40S&W has more recoil. Well, anyone who has shot +P, or +P+ out of a 9mm knows that the recoil is equal to or greater than that of a modern .40S&W. For the 92A1 and CZ75 reviews, I tested +P rounds in both guns and I would say that in both guns, recoil is greater than my XD(m) chambered in .40S&W. Keep in mind, both of these 9mm +P were shot in “all metal” guns.

    • avatarIce says:

      Agreed. 124 gr. +P out of my G19 is closer in recoil to a 155 gr. round out of my G22 than it is too a standard 115 gr. 9mm round, IMO. Then again, most of my range time is not spent with +P rounds…

  14. avatarDon Curton says:

    You’re all missing the boat. Everyone and their dog already owns a 9mm and a .45, so manufacturers won’t sell too many more of those. Thus the .40. And once everyone owns a .40, then they’ll come out with a .41. Or maybe a 9.5mm. They also got the .327 mag for the revolver fans (me!).

  15. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    I love powerful guns with lots of recoil, it keeps things interesting. I shoot my 500′s first every week, so when I switch over to the 45′s it’s like shooting a 22. I practice on the Army L target at 75 feet on a regular basis and then I add up my score for fun.

  16. avatarBlake says:

    I prefer the .45. I’m comfortable with the gun and can hit what I’m shooting at.

    Which I think is key. The only relevant argument when it comes to 9mm, .40 and .45 is: “Can you hit what you’re aiming at?”

    The rest is just arguing for sake of argument.

  17. avatarRichard says:

    I think want gun in 9mm size lots more stoping power go 357 sig cal which 9mm bullet bottleneck round buy 40sw case. It duplicate the performance of 125-grai 357 Magnum loads fired from 4-inch barreled revolver. It proven in police world be good man stoper. For people like 45acp got loads like Cor-Bon 185 45acp +P hollowpoint that are shooting out gun about 1150 velocity that pretty good stoping power size speed. Just matter what size gun you like your stoping power in. Lot people like 9mm size gun instead of 45apc do not like 9mm performance pick 40sw becuase gives them 9mm size gun with great stoping power.

  18. avatarSam Wright says:

    In the coming Zombie Apocalypse of 2012 the 9mm and the .45 will be more available than the .40. Any caliber you choose stock up plenty. The 38 super is great if you can reload your own.

    • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

      NOW we’re talking! But for the worry of wound/shock value-I’ll go with my Fred Perrin Military Bowie! Michael J Perrine

      • avatarSam Wright says:

        I would rather use a rifle at a safe range from the zombies. you think .223 in an AR configuration or a .308 in a scout rifle would be best? The knife option kinda a last resort for me.

        • avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

          6.8SPC Brother! I just like the silence of a good blade. The 6.8 military round was designed to basically explode after penetration. A plus is the Ruger feeling “right” in your hands, like a cherry M60 or M14.

  19. avatarOfflow says:

    if you shoot enough for ammo price to matter, you shoot enough to start reloading. And if you’re gonna reload, just buy a 10mm. See what I did there ;)

    • avatarSA Operator says:

      or upgrade to 45 super, and end the whole discussion, having a 200 grain
      hollowpoint that can go upwards of 1250 FPS is just badass, plus with over 660 ft lbs, it ends the discussion of which has more power. 10mm or 45 super, cant go wrong either way!!!! And +1 to reloading!!!

    • avatarBob H says:

      You are assuming that everyone has the space for a reloading bench. I don’t. No basement, no room in the garage (I would have to sit on the hood of a car). I believe my wife would object to reloading in the family room, living room, dining room, kitchen, computer room, bedrooms, bathrooms and foyer…

  20. avatarBob H says:

    I use Remington golden sabre .40 JHP
    Ammoengine shows a one penny price difference per round between the 9mm golden sabre and the .40 golden sabre…
    Where are all y’all buying your ammunition? I buy in 500 or 1,000 round lots off the internet to keep the price down. When I am at a range which requires purchase of ammunition THEN I see about a dollar per 25 round box difference between the .40 and the 9mm.

  21. avatarMartin Albright says:

    I imbibed the .40 cal koolaid after reading all the stories about how it kicked 9mms ass. Then I bought a G23 (Compact .40) and it was the most unpleasant pistol I’ve ever fired. The recoil actually left my hand stinging after each shot. I almost traded it in and then I discovered that I could get a “conversion” barrel that replaced the stock .40 with a 9mm. Using G19 magazines it works fine.

    For those who don’t understand the cost factor of ammo, it’s not in the high-end domestic cartridges, it’s in the bulk ComBlock stuff from overseas. Most of that stuff isn’t made in .40 cal but 9mm is widely available. I note that this is starting to change as I think Wolf and some of the other Russki companies are making .40 S&W now. But 9mm is still significantly cheaper and more common.

    Now if we could convince the Russians to start making cheap .38 Special or .357 I’d be really thrilled!

    • avatarAndrew Snyder says:

      Yes, but who actually buys the Russian stuff for non Russian guns?

      If you do buy it, then I hope you are really diligent about cleaning your gun after firing. Some of the really cheap Russian stuff uses corrosive primers that are so bad you literally should carry a spray bottle filled with water and run water through your gun after shooting with one or two runs through with a snake or good cotton swab cleaning rod head to dry it some. If you don’t then by the time you drive home and unload and start cleaning (say 30 minutes), irreparable damage has already been done.

      If you want to go cheap for practice, reload or buy reloaded. I buy 2000 rounds of once reloaded .40 for $90 at gun shows. I sometimes reload myself for even less. Not even the Russian stuff from the internet is that cheap, and it is better for my gun.

      • avatarMartin Albright says:

        I’ve never seen 2000 rounds of any center-fire caliber for $90 anywhere.

        As for Russian bulk ammo, I’ve been shooting it (and the cheap Chinese stuff we got before it) for over a decade with no ill effects so far. A lot of the horror stories you hear about that ammo are simply internet old wive’s tales.

        • avatarsdog says:

          exactly, my Arsenal eats, Tula and ulyanovsk for breakfast. same for my 40 cal p944

      • avatarChris Dumm says:

        Is that the price for once-fired brass, or for .40 projectiles, or for ready-to-fire ammunition? If you can buy 2000 rounds of centerfire ammo for $90, I GOTTA start going to your gun shows! Even .22 long rifle runs about $60 per 2000.

      • avatarBob H says:

        OK, now I understand. Commercial reloaded .40 FMJ from MBI is about $265 per thousand, while Wolf steelcase 9mm is about $170 per thousand. 9½ cents difference per round would add up. My usual cartridge is about $450 per thousand.
        I use a middle grade domestic commercial cartridge because I want to practice with the same round I will defend myself and my wife with.

  22. avatar2Wheels says:

    I eliminated .40S&W from my collection, now it’s 9mm or .45ACP with a .380 backup. I have no real use for an “inbetween” caliber.

    I actually do like .40S&W, but it doesn’t do anything that 9mm or .45ACP won’t do for me, and I’d rather have to worry about stocking up on one less caliber. That means more savings, and more shooting!

    • avatarSeth says:

      I believe that .40 has something that 9mm and .45 don’t: penetration power. .40 can more consistently penetrate through obstacles and maintain sufficient energy. And it makes sense that as a LEO you would want to have the ability to make hits on perps in vehicles or behind cover. I don’t see myself in that situation, so I’ll take the cheaper and more manageable 9mm. And if I ever can afford it, I’ll upgrade to the .45

    • avatarRed says:

      Correct me if I am wrong but your sayin your not a fan of a “middle Caliber” then why pick the 9×17 (.380) it is a 9mm that has been shortened just like the .40 from the 10mm how is that any different?

  23. avatarjay says:

    Wow this far in and not one person quoted jeff coopers quote on .40

    • avatarHunter S. says:

      I’m not familiar with the quote…

      • avatarWes says:

        I don’t know what quote he’s thinking of unless it’s the “why do you need so many rounds” quote. But on the other hand, some other popular gun guy whose name I forget said something like, “Pretty much all handguns will get the job done, so use the one with the highest capacity.”

  24. avatareggyknap says:

    I’m glad to see we’re coming to a consensus here. Silly me, I figured this would descend into just another caliber war…

    • avatarAK says:

      How about next we argue about what toothpaste is better?

      Whitening is all that matters… no wait! whitening wouldn’t be effective at all, its all about tartar control! er… I read on ARFCOM that cavity protection was the most important variable! and mint, by God it better be mint.

      As long as you’re brushing twice daily, that’s what matters. Also 9 out of 10 dentists shoot .40 S&W

  25. avatarJames Felix says:

    Honestly, if we’re talking self-defense/CCW use, I think the single most important question is “what’s more comfortable for you to shoot?”.

    I think we’re all agreed that any pistol fight you’re in will be within 21 feet, and at that range I think any modern handgun ammo in a major calibre (.38 special and up) is going to get the job done. So whatever round is the most comfortable and accurate in your hand is the right one to use.

    (full disclosure: I love my .40 H&Ks and won’t own a 9mm)

  26. avatarIce says:

    To compensate for the dearth of facts here…

    According to http://www.speer-ammo.com/ballistics/ammo.aspx:

    9mm 124 gr. +P:
    Velocity (muzzle): 1220 fps
    Energy (muzzle): 410 ft-lbs

    .40 S&W 155 gr.:
    Velocity (muzzle): 1200 fps
    Energy (muzzle): 496 ft-lbs

    .45 ACP 185 gr.:
    Velocity: (muzzle): 1050 fps
    Energy: (muzzle): 452 ft-lbs

    Caveats:
    – Bullets weights listed are those with best ballistic performance for Gold Dot JHP, not necessarily the most common weights for their caliber
    – .45 ACP measurements are out of a 5″ barrel, while .40 and 9mm are out of a 4″ barrel

    Thoughts (in my humble opinion):
    – Performance numbers are pretty similar among all three calibers
    – Bigger holes are better, especially at these velocities, where remote wounding effects are unlikely (See http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi-hwfe.pdf for the FBI’s take on this, circa 1989). However, once expanded, the size of the wound channels produced by all three bullets are pretty similar
    – As noted above by Patrick Carrube, differences in recoil among the three are less pronounced when discussing 9mm +P
    – Magazine capacity is perhaps the most notable difference, with 9mm and .40 allowing for generally similar capacities and .45 allowing for slightly less capacity. However, common wisdom is that most self-defense shootings will not require more than a few rounds fired
    – Price of the rounds is a notable difference. According to LuckyGunner.com:
    – 50 rds 9mm 115 gr. FMJ: $12.00
    – 50 rds .40 S&W 180 gr. FMJ: $15.50
    – 50 rds .45 ACP 230 gr. FMJ: $19.50
    – Caveats:
    – All prices listed are for Sellier & Bellot FMJs (around the cheapest on the site for each caliber)
    – You can find them cheaper if you buy in bulk (or, obviously, reload)

    Conclusion: Life is all about compromises :)

  27. avatarPatrick B. says:

    I see how this works…. Farago wants to take the afternoon off, so he stirs the pot with a “stopping power” teaser – and the feeding frenzy begins. Worked like a charm!

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      Working on the SR1911 review, if it’s all the same to you Mr. Brown. Check out the SR1911 gun porn I’ve uploaded to TTAG’s Facebook page.

      • avatarPatrick B. says:

        That’s some good gun porn there! But isn’t Sam’s a little overdressed? How are you going to agitate mikeb302K?

  28. avatarCUJO THE DOG OF WAR says:

    You didn’t take it apart did you?

  29. avatarKen says:

    So then, it’s settled. Whew!!

    • avatarRyan Finn says:

      Is it ever really settled?

      I am proud to see that the Armed Intelligentsia has conducted one of the most civil “caliber wars” I have seen though.

  30. avatarGreg in Allston says:

    F = ma. In other words, for a few tens of foot/pounds of energy either way (+ or – 10 to 20%), the most significant factor contributing to the intended performance result of a given pistol round in a self defense situation would be shot placement. I don’t feel out or under-gunned with a 9mm. Quantity has a quality all of its own.

  31. avatarADK says:

    For what it’s worth, all police/civilian multiple gunfight winners I’ve heard of, read about and/or spoken/trained with prefer bigger rounds (.40 and .45). Granted, there may be some out there that don’t. Plenty of military folks in country have shouted for larger calibers to replace their 9mms and 5.56s. I’m told by someone who trained with some early SFOD-Delta guys that because they were limited to 9mm FMJ, they trained to run their pistols like submachine guns, putting multiple round bursts (like 5+ rounds) on target at cyclic speed, due to lack of confidence in the round’s stopping power. Subsequently, I’m told, they switched to .45s for the most part.

    I’ve never heard of anyone surviving a gunfight and thinking, “Hm, I think a less powerful round would have worked better.”
    I believe Jim Cirillo wrote something along the lines of, “Whatever the theories say, when a guy’s trying to murder you and you’re pumping rounds into him, looking into his eyes and wondering why they won’t close or fall, you’ll wish you had the biggest, most powerful elephant decapitator in the world!” or something like that.

    The FBI reductionist theory (just penetration and final expanded diameter, which BTW says little about what the bullet did en route to its final resting place) is way too simplistic to account for all the variables inherent in combat. All those variables were simply thrown out because the FBI’s lab guys couldn’t get a handle on them. That doesn’t erase them from reality though. The human body is not homogenous and bullets of all kinds can do weird things. Certain organs CAN be affected by hydrodynamic forces at handgun velocities and energy levels, while others may not. Bones, clothes and accessories, angles, movement, drugs, mindset, toughness, etc. can make all the difference, which is why there cannot possibly be any “unified theory” of stopping power where real combat is concerned.

    Confidence in your own ability and your own equipment is key to success.

    Personally, I listen hardest to those who have been there multiple times, in contexts closest to what I’m most likely to encounter. Everyone else can enjoy their own theories for what they are.

  32. avatarBob H says:

    The voices in my head are quieter when I shoot the .40. You want the voices to be quiet, believe me. So everyone repeat after me .40 is wonderful. .40 is good…

  33. avatarMatt in AZ says:

    The most reliable one shot stopper is a .357 mag with 125 gr. JHPs at about 1400? fps. Please fact check it. I carry a G17 with Speer 124 Gold Dot +P at a listed 1220 fps and 410 fpe at the muzzle, this is comparable energy-wise to a 230 gr. .45acp or 180 gr. .40 cal. I have never been in combat and hope I never see it, but from what I understand everything goes to shit faster than the speed of thought. I like the capacity and lack of recoil that a 9mm gun provides. If a person is worth shooting once, he is worth shooting repeatedly and if I miss with the first 6 or 8 (lets call it suppresive fire) I still have plenty left to try some more. The 40 is way to snappy in recoil and the 45 twists the gun too much. With modern bullet design in the current premium SD ammo the 9 mil is more than adequate.

  34. avatarDon says:

    I think the caliber debate between .40 and .45 is kind of ridiculous. They are both more than enough to do the job.

    I say the biggest factors in a self defense handgun are:
    1. Are you comfortable shooting the particular gun?
    2. Will you always have it on you when you need it?

    In that respect, bigger boys like .45, .40, middle children such as 9mm, .38+P, .380, and even the little guys like .32 and .22 WMR may fit SOMEBODY’s bill.

    They’ll all put a hole through bone and tissue better and at a safer distance than a knife or a fist, but only if you are comfortable carrying, drawing, aiming, and firing them.

  35. avatarCC Coleman says:

    When the 40S&W first came out the ammo was more expensive than 9mm or 45ACP. I got a PT100 in 40SW to check it out (this was some 14 years ago). It was a big gun with limited rounds that seemed to perform marginally better than 9mm (IMHO), recoiled a lot more, and ate more expensive ammo. I have never owned a 40SW caliber pistol since that time as it never interested me after. 9mm has always been enough gun and my small collection of 45ACP’ers are a fun step up.

    40S&W, 357SIG, 45GAP all seem to be calibers trying to find question for their unique solutions. Sure the 40S&W will survive and the other two will probably end up in the boneyard of history but it will never rival the popularity of 9mm and 45ACP.

    Whoever wants a 40S&W can have them but it does not excite me as a caliber.

  36. avatarDerek says:

    Am I the only who’s gotten tired of the whole caliber debate and just switched to 10mm?

  37. avatarme says:

    “Stopping power” is 80% bullet placement, 10% terminal ballistics, 10% dumb luck.

    Yes, double-column magazines can hold more 9mm rounds than .40 or .45 rounds, but if you’re defending yourself with a handgun, the fight’s going to be over one way or the other long before the slide locks back on the first mag.

    The .40 doesn’t particularly excite me nor repel me. I will note, though, that during the spring-2009 Obamamania ammo shortage, the only centerfire handgun caliber that my local Wal-Mart ever had on its shelves was .40. Two years later they still have plenty of .40 and damn little of anything else.

    Stipulated, all handgun cartridges pretty much suck when you compare them to a real fighting longarm–12 gauge with buckshot, .308 battle rifle loaded with softnose hunting ammo, etc.–but you could do worse than a .40, if that’s what you can get ammo for right here, right now, in your part of the country.

  38. avatarB.A Robinson says:

    To hell with the rifle, I’ll be grabbing my Shotgun

  39. avatarJames says:

    you all can suck it any bullet hurts no matter caliber it is. Slingshots hurt too. Dumbasses

  40. avatarLarry W. says:

    It is totally amazing how many men or women can talk about weapons and never been to war never experienced the killing of a man or women. The stuff that comes out of their mouths is nothing more than speculation. In Viet Nam the awful experience and truama of “putting” a man down (sending him to his maker) is not something a soldier sits around and gloats about, but there is a certain sadness that we must do these things EVEN if they are part of what we were called to do. Ther are a lot of “little boy’s” frequenting gunshops, fanning their future guns around as if they were the “warriors” they are not. My son is a Special Forces Army Green Beret” and has never sat around enjoying those he had to destroy. He has more honor and dignity than that speak out of a vaccum don’t know the weight real warriors carry. Killing is a verious serious business , because it is FINAL! The rest of you need to grow up, your running around playing soldier, it is sad this generation is so imature. Finis

    • avataryitzhakbenavi says:

      I agree Larry. Home defense is a serious issue. It is good to be prepared, but one must understand that pulling that pistol and firing is the very very last resort. It is not a game. I have always been taught that if you pull a weapon you intend to kill. I am a Vietnam vet as well. 1969-70. People need not only to learn how to shoot, but when to shoot and when not too shoot. No one should ever want to “kill” someone. If you’re a Vietnam vet Larry, welcome home.

      • avatarJoseph says:

        Hello Larry and Yitzhakbenavi, Everyone else,

        I whole heartily agree with Larry and (sorry your names killing me); If you are so eager to put your mouth in the line of the metal join a service and LEARN what it means to END someone else’s life. Someone who might not be to much different then your father, brother, or lover (male or female). Like the sword, a gun has only one purpose, to KILL another human being. I have 14yrs in service to our country which I volunteered for, to follow in my fathers/brothers/uncles/grandfathers foot steps and help defend our way of live and our believes. I severed in the first gulf war and honestly it wasn’t over in the short months that the media said it was. As everyone sees it is still ragging plus another place was added because the government fears the true end to the Persian Gulf war. I am not anti-war, sometimes its necessary. I also served in other conflicts through out our beautiful planet and was rewarded with my life. I have paid for my travels with my blood and the blood of dear friends I had to send home before me in a box. I am disabled in many ways and the Vet’s before me had a Harder time then I did. Thank you Larry and Yitzhakbenavi.
        I will tell you about my belief in the cal. of 9mm, .40, and .45′s. I’ve used all 3 in combat, in buildings where my m4 was more of a problem then help. I’m not a fan of the 9mm because every-time I had to use it in an attack or defense it normally took have a mag. to stop 1, (ONE) person. Mostly do to the fact a 9mm tends to over penetrate. That’s why the government chose it because it could penetrate a person with winter clothes that acts kind of like a bullet resistant vests or to go through walls to reach the target. I demanded to exchange for a .45 because in a real world combat it might have been more useful to through it then shoot it. Sorry 9mm lovers but this is my opinion and experiences. In a tight raving that took use into a cave our m4′s where only good for forward and rear security so we where using our loving pistols. We ended up in a fire fight and let me tell ya shooting a 1911A1 up and incline really isn’t fun nor is the recoil and the delay from it to re-sight. However at the range they are great. Shooting them single handed around a corner to try to put out suppressing fire is worthless because of the recoil. How ever if your inside 10′ I will guarantee it will slow a person down enough that catching them before they pass is not hard to do. Just remember not to stare in there eyes. 3 months later I was given permission to carry my personal pistol which was becoming common in my unit. It was a Ruger P91DC (.40), oddly enough it was also common in my unit, Ruger makes some rugged arms. First it only carried 10+1, however the recoil was a lot less then the .45′s plus we could get aftermarket recoil spring set’s that help the recoil to be less then a 9mm. However we could get higher capacity mag.’s like the 15+1 and such. A point blank hit would stop a person, not cold, but enough to keep the shooter safe from the attacker. The .40 bring with it a physical shot not unlike the one that the .45 has. It’s not as hard or strong of a shock as the .45 but much more massive when com paired to a 9mm with it’s over penetration issues. When shooting a .40 at a distance of 7′ to 20′ it does the job almost a good as a .45 and with less ammo then a 9mm. Now at distances greater then 25 yrds the .40 has a wonderful ability to reach out and touch a person like a 9mm but will still hit as hard (almost) a .45. Where as a .45 begins to drop to much at 25 yrds and farther. I hope that this will help tie into what ICE, Larry, and Yitzhakbenavi, had wrote.
        Remember this is only my experiences mixed with my opinion, which everyone has a right to express as well as have. I would also like to make a note that if anyone has noticed that lately the .380′s is being compared to a 9mm in performance. I have not personally verified if the .38 and .380 lines are close to the 9mm but with less of a charge. Also the .40 is comparable to the 10mm’s but not exchangeable. I personally think that for home defense that a Mosseburg 500 (modified) is the best home defense, mainly for it’s shock and aw factor and the ability to purchase and use less then lethal ammo. For ccw it really comes down to what you as an individual feels most comfortable with. No matter how large or small a gun is being used.
        Best of luck to everyone and keep safe….

  41. avatarSam says:

    Any of those calibers is going to be very effective if it hits the target. The velocity and energy calculations for how devastating the damage is not as compelling to me as getting back on target with a second or third shot. So for me, the edge goes to the 9mm. Maybe in combat or swat scenarios, a 40 or 45 makes sense. But for self defense in my home, a 9mm makes perfect sense to me.

  42. avatarJoe says:

    I liked the 9mm pistols when I started shooting, but that does over penetrate, I had a friend who had a .45acp and wanted to shoot my Hi Power, so we traded and I was hooked on the recoil. The Army went to .38′s late in the 19th century and were let down when encountering Morros. They pulled out old Colt .45s to counter. In the 1980′s we went to 9mm to have same ammo as our NATO Allies. I shoot steel plates and shoot from one plate to another…kinda trying to become more proficient. I can control my G21 fine. I do well with it. I got the urge to buy a 40 and had an opportunity to shoot one, and after a clip ,thought that it felt like a 9er. So I’ll stay with my Glock 21. Anyone looking for 1 shot performance, go back to .357 magnum with a 125gr jhp for best 1 shot stops. Period. But I still keep the .45ACP ready for intruders. Don’t want to shoot anyone, but if I feel threatened by someone in my home, flying ashtrays (185 gr jhp .45ACP) will be going downrange . That’s 14 rounds from the Glock. Don’t suspect I’ll need that many rounds. I like the big bullets to protect me. Just like the English with their slow moving Webley .455 revolvers during the Empire time. They worked. Just like the .45 Colts same reason. Yes I too put a stiffer recoil spring in my Glock to help with recoil. Placement is more important than spraying rounds into your neighbors houses. Just be proficient with what you use. They all will do their job, can you hit something when the adrenaline is working? That is the question you need to know the answer to. And this 75 yard 40 cal shooting stuff is moot, because if you are shooting at someone at that range, it isn’t defensive shooting and you should have a rifle.

  43. avatarJoe says:

    Also it seems that the Elite guys are going back to m-14′s and .45acp pistols. My buddy who is a swat guy with the FBI gave me a box of .45acp hollow points for the house. They are using 1911′s. Funny how things come full circle. The only issue is, can you hit what you aim at?

  44. avatarVictim says:

    As a survivor of an Armed robbery attack, i can tell you that if you had no training of not just shooting a pistol but as far as knowing how and when to draw and shoot then you all could just sit here and argue all day about calibers it will never mean nothing in real world, well in a civilians real world.

    I was packing a .40 cal and i had no chance to pull it out on the robbers and to be honest, i wouldn’t care what caliber i had .. any caliber would do in a real life self defense situation as most happen within 20 ft. I would either carry 9mm, 40 or 45. because any of those calibers within 20ft will be just enough and im sure will be better than nothing and it will still poke holes. Shoot until the attacker is down whether you have 17 rds of 9mm or 9 rounds of .45acp.

    but with that said, practice shooting with different calibers and choose which one you can accurately make follow up shots with.

    I was a hardcore .40 fan and i shot it sloppy and i hated 9mm because i just didn’t like anything smaller. Well i shoot way better with the 9mm with two hands and with one hand shooting. Load it up with hollow points and you have a very deadly weapon.

    Either way,

    You better be more aware of your surroundings, know when and be very quick to draw and shoot. You need training to make it muscle memory.

    I thought oh ok im packing ill just shoot someone if something happens.. well i was in shock when men with ski masks came in pistols pointed. I was on lunch so they caught me off guard but either way situation awareness and quick draw, point, cover and shoot is vital is a real life SD situation. Take it from a victim of an actual armed robbery.

  45. avatarDennis Mccollough says:

    45 will have more nock down power every time hands down, and as far as the test about throwing them by hand that is the most butt backwards example I’ve ever heard of, let’s take your test rules and re apply, you take your marble and throw it at me as hard as you can, then I get to take my cueball and throw it at you at half the speed you throwed, your marble might sting a little but I bet the cueball will knock you out!!!!

  46. avatarD fash says:

    There’s a reason why the majority of police forces use the .40 and why homeland security just ordered boatloads of .40 hst hollow points. Best all around round. Period. Has great velocities especially with match grade. The .40 hst hollow point is like a ninja star being shot out of a gun.
    The .40 penetrates deep and hits hard. .45 hits really hard, but slow and serious drop and round capacity sucks. If u want an all around duty gun that can do the most damage and hold just a few les rounds than the 9mm in most magazines. The .40 is the way to go if your looking for practical effectiveness in high stress situations where one shot one kill is all u want to rely on.
    Hard hit big hole high velocity
    The slight cost over 9mm for the significant increase in benefits of the .40 is well worth it. I see the .45 as being about the same idea as a shotgun. Good, actually great for home defense and very close quarters. Tears stuff up pretty good. Not good In the field of accuracy.

    Straight up….

  47. avatarmodrifle3 says:

    It is interesting to read the comments about the comparison of the 3 main stream auto pistol calibers. With modern bullet technology there is in fact little difference between the 40 and 9 mm, but the 40 does give a slight advantage in using a heavier bullet traveling at a higher speed through tissue those giving a larger wound channel. Taking all other factors out of the equation, drugs etc, cns damage and blood loss are the key factors in bringing down a human target. No matter how big you are, bleeding out will cause you to pass out. The average 180gr bullet of a 40s&w offers the advantage of higher retained mass than the 9mm, and therefore requiring more mass to stop it. The 45 auto has the advantage of firing a 230gr bullet at 900fps in ball form and a 185 grain bullet at nearly 1100fps before approaching the +P side of the round. The 230grain ball used by specialized US military forces is generally fired at a range under 25yrds, so the extra velocity is not as important as the larger mass and larger wound channel. Also the ball round benefits from its subsonic nature in that it is commonly fired from suppressed weapons. In the civilian law enforcement world the 40 is a great compromise because the use of expanding ammunition is allowed. In the military world it is not.

    In terms of round count, excluding military, private security and LEOs, this should not be why you choose a caliber or weapon system. A guy who can place 6 22lr shots center mass into a criminal is more effective than 15 40s&w rounds if the target is missed. For me 7 rounds of 45 auto is more of an advantage at the self defense engagement range than 17rds of 9mm or 15rds of 40.

    The US department of defense chose the 9mm for two reasons only, the 1911 platform was antiquated in its issued form and the push was to keep all weapons NATO spec to ensure ammunition interchange. There was also a feeling based on WWII and Korea that more was better in terms of the amount of ammo a solider could carry.

    I like the 40 and carry one everyday, but if you said pick one, it would be the 9mm only because of the number of high quality weapons that function flawlessly in the caliber. Most 40S&W handguns are not ground up designs and there is always an aspect that makes them less reliable than their 9mm counter parts. Also the nature of the 40 seems to really beat on a pistol. As for the 45, I love it and enjoy shooting it for hours on end. I reload SWCs and love it, but to me the only real 45 is a 1911 platform. Many other designs have feeding issues. The PX4 doesn’t like ball ammo and the XD45 can’t shoot SWCs and the Glock does take lead bullets.

    To conclude, no matter what you carry, there is no magical bullet and most of you in the civillian world will never shoot more than one person in your life if ever. And God help you if you do, because justified or not, you will never forget it. Most criminals never expect their victim to pull a gun, much less shoot it and most times this act causes them to turn and run.

    Find a gun you like and train, train, train.

  48. avatarBrandon says:

    Watch James yager on Glock 19, on you tube. That should sum it up the best I have seen or heard. Also watch James yager on 1911′s on you tube.

  49. avatareric says:

    I love all three calibers, however I wish I could remember an old article written by a corroner about gun wounds. This is not me dissing 9mm as it will work with multiple shots center mass, and all pistols are best used multi-shot vs relying on mythical one-shot stops. But that being said the corroner in the article mentioned bone deflection. He said more often than not 9mm deflected off bone especially the lighter 9mm irregardless of being std or +P. For those 45 lovers who at the same time hate 40 and think that only noob nose picking mall ninjas and gang bangers like the 40 and older mature working men will never use a 40, the article says that both 40 and 45 were excellent for defense because of the way they wacked bone, broke bone, and continued to the vitals. Broken bone is probably more incopacitating than a bleed out as well but maybe just speculation. BTW many gangbangers are carrying 45s more and more nowadays as 45s are becoming more available in lower cost guns. To Larry who thinks all this talk about calibers is a bunch of warrior wannabes. Most civilians it is true are not at the same level of skill or courage as the average spec-ops soilder or Marine, I humbly acknowledge that. But while they are fighting evil thugs threatening brutality to them overseas, everyday citizens are dealing with more and more visceous individuals who want to strap you down and yank your teeth and cut things off of you while they rape and torture your wife and kids as well, so while the ave. guy is not a warrior, they by no means are fools who don’t realize what the real world is all about, for crap sake we hear about it more and more on the news as the economy goes tits up and both borders remain wide open that home invasions and street killings are going up and while the soilders are protecting our freedoms and way of life overseas its up to us to do the same at home! Again I like all three but for all the 40 haters the 40 and 45 are close enough that its a matter of what gun you like best. I will conceded the new sig p227 will probably damage 40sw popularity a lot more than has been done in over a decade especially if aftermarket mags hold more rounds. What hurt 40sw in the past was not its ineffectiveness but the clinton 10rd mag limit. That same gun law simultaneously reinvigurated the popularity of the 1911 and with this the 45acp has been rejuvinated with manufacturers adding their own 1911 flavor or creating other 45 guns! I will admit 45 popularity is going up at the expense of 40 popularity, but the 40 is no damn slouch!

  50. avatareric says:

    Why do I get the impression that everyone who hates the 40 so much is actually someone trying to get themselves to stop lusting over the 10mm short, and those who defend the 40 viciously are trying to force their egos to quit regretting buying a 40 when the heft of a 45acp round in the hand gives them a warm fuzzy feeling? Both groups need to meet in a back alley and trade their guns and they will go home happy and these silly online calibers wars will end! I stand by what I said before about the popular three being all up to the task but I admit I regret recently buying a 40 because even though 40 ball ammo is significantly cheaper than 45, I’d rather only have two types of pistol ammo rather than three to stock up on.

  51. avatareric says:

    James Yeager is a great guy and I trust his wisdom, but his hatred of 40 is hyperbolic. Take care of your 40, keep an eye on the recoil spring, keep the rails greased, your good to go, the gun will last. Don’t chamber 180gr 40s more than once, and honestly you shouldn’t chamber 9mm or 45s more than like two or three times max! Don’t buy overly exotic hard to find HP ammo that you’ll endup chambering in a gun 15 times! You need to find deffense ammo that is readily available, chamber at most twice in your 40 and than put it into your range fodder and replenish it with new defense ammo! Yes chamber preasure and KBs are more likely with 40 than 9 or 45 due to bullet setback but common sense people don’t be dropping the slide on any auto pistol round too many times!

    • avatarDavid W says:

      I reload and find bullets between 155 gr and 165 gr are more accurate than 180 gr. The 180 gr is too long for the 40 S&W case. Any deviation from the seating depth of 180 gr bullets greatly increases the chamber pressure. I also give my reloads a slight (soft) crimp, which helps with keeping the bullet seated at the correct depth.
      As for home defense, I think Gold Dot is a very good choice. Hornady Critical Defense is a good choice, but the bullets aren’t available for reloading.

  52. avatarchris says:

    Now I have no claim of being a ballistic expert by no means but having a background in physics I can tell you those that claim velocity as important factor is wrong. It’s the acceleration of the bullet that is important and determines the force at which it hits the target (Force = mass x acceleration ^2). Acceleration and velocity are two different entities but tie into each other, acceleration being the change of velocity over time. So if the bullet reaches a terminal velocity(meaning it’s top speed), it may be traveling at a faster ‘speed’ but since it’s not accelerating anymore the bullet’s speed becomes negligible in the above equation and mass becomes the main factor. This in no way defends the 45 over the 9mm or the 40s&w but would be interesting if there is a ballistic study that determines when each reach their terminal speed before a given distance. Think when considering all factors that they would come out fairly even, give or take a small standard of deviation.

    • avatarRay says:

      Chris (October 4, 2013 at 00:49): You might want to double check your physics assumptions. When a bullet decelerates down to zero fps, that is an acceleration for the Force equation.

      I shoot a .45 because I have bad eyes and a .45 semi-wadcutter makes nice, clean holes in paper that I can see. Since I don’t normally take shots out past 25 yds I don’t see the need for spending the money to change everything I have for a chance at a better 75 yard shot. BTW I used to watch a guy practice shooting .45 at 75 yards. As with any accurate shooting, training is essential to good, consistent accuracy…FYI one of my .45s seems to be sighted in for shooting at 50 yards.

  53. avatarDavid W says:

    I purchased a 40 S&W a long time ago when they first came out. I went with it because I was told “that’s what the FBI uses”. I also bought a reloading press and dies in 40 S&W. I have countless cases and not a lot of money right now. I do load my rounds less than full, so the recoil is manageable, and actually more accurate than full factory rounds.
    45 ACP is fine, but the number of rounds is limited because they are all single stack magazines.

    When my finances improve, I will get a 9 mm conversion fo my Glock 23 40 S&W and get new dies. I wish I had listened to myself and gone the the 9 mm, instead of believing the hype.

  54. avatarNick says:

    I’ll take 00 buckshot over any handgun, 18 pellets on every pull of the trigger would definitely do the job quicker

  55. avatarAngel says:

    I’m a fan of the 40. I’m impartial to the argument of the 40 being an “in-between” round. Yes, it’s in between the 9 and 45…BUT I don’t anyone that carries both the 9 and 45 AT THE SAME TIME. So if you don’t carry the 9 and 45 at the same time, then why not go with what’s in between…a good comprimise if you will.

    Also, IMO if anyone complains about the snap then I’d recommend to practice more. Personally the extra snap of a 40 in comparison to the 9mm is minimal.

  56. avatarBryan Coleman says:

    9mm, 10mm, 40, and 45 can all be relitively similar in cost per round. Going by internet ammo prices, and if you are trying to be thrifty the internet is where you should be buying ammo, the all range from .25ish to over a dollar depending on the load.

    Performance wise you can also find similar performing ammo. A weak 45 or 10mm load is going to be outperformed by higher power 9mm ammo.

    Check out the underwood ammo for both a high performance round that is in expensive.

  57. avatarMatthew says:

    In either caliber If you know where to put those rounds your target will go down… period

  58. avatarMatthew says:

    I like 9mm because you pack more rounds 3 can make a difference when it counts

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