I do love me some caliber wars. It’s not about click bait. It’s about serious discussion of “stopping power” and accuracy under stress. (That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.) Heckler & Koch’s new VP40 handgun is as good an excuse as any to trigger the usual ballistic brawl. I mean, the VP9 is a wonderful gun. A .40-caliber version’s got to be good, too. But you won’t see me carrying this or any other .40. Too snappy. Sure, you can learn to tame the recoil, but why bother when there are .45 caliber guns out there with only slightly less capacity that are easier and more fun to shoot? Accurately. Your take? Press release after the jump . . .

Heckler & Koch added a .40 caliber model to its new VP striker fired pistol line. The VP40 (Caliber .40 S&W) joins the 9 mm VP9 that was introduced to the U.S. commercial and law enforcement markets in June of 2014.

“Just a year after launching the VP series pistol with the 9 mm VP9, we are thrilled to have a .40 caliber model join the line-up,” said Michael Holley, HK-USA Vice President for Commercial and Law Enforcement Sales. “Last year the VP9 took the market by storm and the VP40 promises to live up to its birthright. For civilian shooters and law enforcement agencies looking for a little more power to go with the VP’s well-recognized superior quality – this is it. Once again it shows Heckler & Koch’s commitment to the U.S. market and American shooters.”

The VP pistol line has been in development for more than four years and its debut marked the return of HK to striker-fired models. Heckler & Koch pioneered striker fired handgun designs with the HK VP70 and P7 pistols more than 35 years ago and was also the first company to produce polymer frame models. The 9 mm VP9 has been one of Heckler & Koch’s most successful products – selling widely – and receiving positive reviews from civilian and law enforcement shooters throughout the U.S.

Wayne Weber, President of HK-USA stated, “Like the 9 mm VP9, the VP40 has been through just about every test and challenge possible. Heckler & Koch’s strict company testing program put the VP40 through just about every trial imaginable; NATO and U.S. NIJ drop tests, water, dust, mud, and sand tests worst that the most extreme environmental conditions in the world.”

VP40 function and abuse tests included firing thousands of rounds of a wide variety of ammunition types through several test pistols. Unlike some manufacturers, Heckler & Koch test fires every VP40 pistol for accuracy and function.

The VP40 has the same excellent, precise trigger that debuted on the VP9. And the VP40 grip can be customized to fit any shooter by using a mix of three interchangeable backstraps and six grip panels.

The charging supports – a feature introduced on the first VP models is present on the VP40 as well. These small, removable wings on the rear of the slide make cocking and manipulating the pistol much easier than other handgun designs. VP pistols also have a safer and easier disassembly process than many competing models.

Covered by Heckler & Koch’s limited lifetime warranty, the VP40 is designed and manufactured in Oberndorf, Germany with HK’s famous long-term durability. The VP40 is value priced with a suggested retail cost of $719. A law enforcement configuration VP40 with tritium night sights and three magazines is also available for $819 SRP. VP40 pistols are shipping now (June 2015).

About Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch is the world’s premier small arms systems company and a major supplier to global military, law enforcement agencies, and civilian shooters. An innovative leader in design and manufacturing, Heckler & Koch provides technologically advanced firearms, logistical support, training, and specialized services with the highest standards of innovation and reliability to its customer base. Heckler & Koch’s well-known range of products include the USP series pistols, MP5 submachine gun, the MP7 Personal Defense Weapon, the G36 weapon system, the HK416 enhanced carbine, HK45, P30, and most recently VP series pistols.

172 Responses to Question of the Day: .40?

    • A 9mm, loaded up with +p or +p+ self defense loads, is just as snappy to me as a .40. Lower pressure WWB or similar and it’s a different story.
      Most of the government agencies switching caliber is about cost per round and a little about more rounds in a magazine (capacity).

      • Very true, Don. The .40 is INCREDIBLY versatile (125-200 grains), and almost everything is tops for self defense. If you want lighter recoiling (less power), then there are cartridges for that as well. And, you can buy guns like Glock which have drop in 9mm barrels (best of both worlds). There is a reason the G22 is #1 for law enforcement, as the 180grain somewhat mimics .45 for glass and other barriers, and you get the higher capacity. Its just a nice cartridge option, which is a win win for everyone, as more is better. The lighter weight rounds exceed +p 9mm if you want to go that route, or you can get the welterweight bullets with their advantages. It really is a versatile caliber that has come into its own.

    • STOP WITH THE FREEKIN’ ‘SNAPPY’. If (AND IT’S A BIG DANG IF) .40 S&W is too “snappy” it’s only because the other rounds are not snappy enough.

      My only regret with the .40 is that it’s got fewer options for suppression.

      • Snappy is trying to fire a full size caliber out of a small weapon. Like the folks that shoot 230gr. +P
        .45acp from a 3″barrel, can’t get a full grip & wonder why they have a lot of recoil.
        Same as the guys that bought scandium framed 44 Magnum & complain it has too much recoil. Even Dirty Harry used 44 specials.

        If I could find a. 357Coonan @ a good price or even a 41Magnum 2 of the best defensive cartridges invented.

        • Snappy is trying to fire a full size caliber out of a small weapon.

          Agree. I never understood the appeal of carrying small pistols.

        • @Danny The same concept that pistols were invented in the first place, portability, and concealability. All of the pistol caliber pissing and moaning are pointless if you realize even the smallest rifle round (removing the .22 family) puts almost every pistol caliber to shame in terms of lethality.

  1. With police departments and the FBI leaving .40 in the dust, I think its time the rest of us do too. Course that’s coming from a .380 fan so what do I know.

    • If you wanna have a caliber war fine. Let’s stick to facts though. The FBI IS NOT switching to 9mm. At least, not the special agents in Los Angeles. And its probably true in other cities as well. We just had an FBI special agent for counterintelligence speak to us at work. I asked the agent what gun is issued and the caliber. The agent said the Glock in 40S&W is the stand issue sidearm. I asked if that’s about to change, and the agent said no. The agent has used and will continue to use Glock in .40. Now, is the agent lying, or is the caliber change only in specific field operations?

      • As most know the .40 S&W was developed for the FBI after the Miami shootout. I can’t imagine them going away from their personally design handgun.

      • You know you could just use google if you want to see that the FBI has put out a solicitation looking into 9mm and pretty much said that the 9mm is the way to go for a large variety of reasons. A lot has changed since the 80s.

      • Very true, Stan. The caliber is still #1 by a significant margin for various reasons. It mimics the .45 in performance with law enforcement with its 180gr. (for barrier), and mimics 9mm +p (with 125-140gr), yet with bigger diameter pill. The welterweight (155-165) kind of nicely split the difference. It took more of the .45’s thunder than the 9mm, as I see more of a 9mm vs .40 war, but, why can’t all three get along (quoting Rodney King). Snappy puts you on target faster, but you have to get used to it.

    • You know the old standby answer to that. If the FBI were to jump off the Golden Gate Bridge, will you?

    • Didn’t the Indianapolis PD recently switch (from 9mm, I believe) to .45 ACP? Yes, yes they did.

    • I just bought my first .40 last week. A local store has a bunch of gen 3 Glock 22 trade ins on sale for $318 (with 3 mags, plus night sights).

      That was just way too good a deal to pass up.

      After shooting it, it doesn’t seem much snappier than my G19, or the G21 I use to have. It is less snappy than my 642 and P3AT.

  2. Your money do with it what you will. I for one love my .40 cal. If you don’t do not buy it. I have a 300 Black out SBR and a LWRC 6.8. Why? I like them. My cash.

  3. “I do love me some caliber wars. It’s not about click bait. It’s about serious discussion of “stopping power” and accuracy under stress. (That’s my story and I’m sticking with it.)”

    Yes RF I imagine you will 🙂

    Shoot what you like to shoot, shoot it well and shoot it often. Be proficient and at that point, why should anyone GAF what you like to carry (other than the inevitable keyboard commandoing of course). This free will thing, it is a strange and powerful deal. The same reason you may like to wear sandals in public and I wear cowboy boots or Vans. As long as youre carrying and can hit what you need to, good enough for T.

    Love the VP9, I just dont think I will ever be able to get over the Euro style mag release enough to buy or carry one.

    • Oh man, I happen to LOVE the HK mag release. No other pistol I’ve ever shot has a mag release that feels nearly so intuitive and natural to me. The slide release is awesome too. Maybe it’s that I’m a lefty? Or maybe that an HK was my first pistol, so the controls just seem normal to me? To each his own, I suppose.

      • The first pistol thing is a big factor imo, particularly if you are that comfortable with a particular brand like HK.
        Ive never owned a pistol that didnt have what I guess we could call the standard mag release or whatever is the correct terminology. Im a righty and I honestly loved every part about shooting it, except the mag release, it is a great pistol in my book still.

        “To each his own, I suppose.”

        Absolutely, time to cue the Different Strokes theme song 🙂

  4. Out of everything I have shot out of a handgun (which isn’t really very much), the 9×18 Mak and .22 Magnum consistently went right where I aimed them. So that’s MY story and I’m stickin’ with it…

    • As much as I didn’t want to like the 92FS (insert the military design here, cuz I don’t know) when I was in the service, I hit with it better than anything else I’ve ever shot. Dangit.

  5. .40 cal is the first pistol I bought (used HK P2000). I still own it, still love it. I haven’t bought another .40 cal since, and may not buy another. But I’ll never part ways with my first pistol, and don’t regret owning a .40.

    • Unusual choice for a first handgun. Glad that it has worked out well for you. The .40 is one of the few caliber handguns I don’t own (yet). My first handgun was a Ruger Single Six in .22LR. Second one was a .357 revolver. Of course that was 40 years ago, before the explosion in popularity of the semi-auto. I shoot from .22 LR to .44 mag. My arthritic hands won’t take the pounding of anything heavier in a handgun, that is why I have rifles. Thinking on it a little bit, I have never shot the .40. I’d probably like to try it out in a Glock first to see how much different it is from shooting 9MM.

      • It’s pretty snappy out of a Glock. Gun lights and stainless or tungsten recoil springs / guide rod assemblies are nice additions. They’re nice add ons for 9mm and .45 Glocks, too.

        • What’s great I you can used reduced, or less powerful rounds and still take advantage of the larger bullet diameter.

      • Yes, in hindsight, I agree that a .40 was an odd choice for a first handgun. But then again, I was a very new shooter, and everything I had read about .40 being the “best of all worlds” appealed to me.

        • I started shooting in the early 90’s when .40 was new and Glock, then S&W came out with .40 models. I shot and carried .40’s for years. Trying to stick with one caliber I bought many .40 pistols. Eventually I switched to .45 ACP with a Kahr K40 as a BUG. After a year or two I switched to 5.7. I still carry a .40 BUG and occasionally a .40 primary in certain circumstances.

  6. I’m not too terribly crazy about .40. I carry one for work, and I can shoot it very well, but I find follow up shots to be much faster with a 9×19 or .45, and one handed shots are much easier to make with one of the aforementioned calibers.

  7. I’d like a VP45. Really. Though I want the new Jericho .45 first.

    My only .40 is the conversion barrel for my G20 with LoneWolf longslide and 6 inch barrel. With that massive slide and the right recoil spring, the .40 is a pussycat to shoot – like shooting .38 Spl out of a nice .357 Mag revolver.

  8. My dad and I bought 40s together as first pistols, me because listened mostly to hype and didn’t do a lot of shooting beforehand, and what shooting I did do was with anemic 180grain range fodder, and my dad because he mostly listened to me. My problem is that in practice when you step down in weight to 165grain projectiles especially hollow point defensive ammo, that thing turns into a completely different animal, an unpleasant jumpy wrist cranking temperamental animal.
    After about a year of putting up with it, pistols got stolen during a vehicle break in when we were road tripping together. Dad bought a 9mm and I bought a full size 45 with the insurance payout, we are both much happier with our current choices.

    • I think .40 has this mystical misconception about it that somehow makes it end up or almost end up as many peoples first pistol round. I almost went because “9 doesn’t have enough power” and “.45 doesn’t have enough capacity.” This of course quickly got debunked for me when the salesman told me .45 won’t snap and if you need more than 2 13 round magazines you better have some backup.

      Well that and cops use .40 which by default has made it mainstream whether it’s a good round or not.

      • +1 for both accounts. My first pistol was an XD40, because they didn’t offer a 45 at the time. I bought into the “it starts with a .4” hype hard. Next was a Kahr P40, Glock 23, HK P30. I eventually sold every one of them. Ammo is more expensive to shoot than 9, much snappier than 9/45 in any size, and STB410’s short barrel 9mm tests have shown just how awesome the correct load can perform if you’re willing to research.

        6yrs ago I was convincing all my friends to buy 40’s, and several did (3 Sigs, a hi-power, a glock). These days I recommend 9, 45, or (in limited situations) 380, depending on the individual. I invite them to shoot a couple of each to prove how easy they recoil.

  9. If the .40 didn’t kick hell out of the firearm, I may go for it. However as I understand it, Putting that much pressure into kills the frame, the spring and so forth. If I want the speed of a 9 I carry a 9. If I want the size of a 45 I carry a 45. However that is just me.

    • Nope. My CZ75 has 10000 rounds through it. Not one failure. If the manufacturer doesn’t design the gun properly, LIKE GLOCK, then the 40 does adversely affect the gun.

    • 40 out of a full sized firearm is easy peazy. The only snappy 40 I own is the CM40 from Kahr.

      • “Too snappy”. What does that mean? Snappy implies light and quick. If recoil is unmanageable, I don’t think the adjective “snappy” would have been used. I never gave much attention to recoil until I shot a .44 magnum. Then again, I am a grown ass man. Before I bought my Glock 19, I shot a S&W 40c. I liked it. I couldn’t tell you if it was “snappy” because it was the first gun I tried. (not counting when I shot .22s as a kid). A week later I shot the Glock 26. That gun surprised me being so snappy. Maybe it was perception because of all the BS caliber wars on the internet. Hickok45 did a comparison to the 9mm vs. .40 and he did not confirm the “snappy” cliche saying “I don’t know. You tell me”.

        • I shoot a lot of 40, and occasionally 9. I think snappy is overused by people that try to justify why the 45 acp has “less recoil” than a 40. The 40 has less recoil than 45, but more than 9 mm in comparable weight handguns. After shooting my 357 magnum revolver with full house loads, my full sized 40 feels like a 22lr.

      • You got it, Randall. I wouldn’t want a .40 S&W Glock, but my metal-frame Sig P226 in .40 is a pussycat.

        • Full size Gen4 G22 (and larger) with fully loaded high cap mags are very decent (and you can always choose reduced recoil rnds and drop in conversion barrels).

    • I have a Kimber Compact (4″ barrel) in .40. I love it. It’s been my EDC for 14 years with over 5,000 rounds through it still on the original springs. Most of the ammo through it has been Federal Premium Hydra-Shok in 165 and 185 grain. I believe in practice with what you carry. I’ve tried emptying it and laying it on the bench, then immediately picking up a full size 45 and emptying it. I can’t tell the difference. I have been carrying a 1911 since 1978. I like every caliber I’ve shot in this platform and all seem to be equally accurate.

  10. If you think you can get by with just one shot……………………………..
    TC Contender, 45-70……………. BANG!

    Kidding!

  11. If you ask me (and even if you didn’t), .40 is the worst of both worlds when it comes to pistol chamberings.

    It’s snappy and harder to control than 9mm, while offering significantly lower magazine capacity and negligible benefits in terminal performance. (And it’s more expensive to practice with.)

    It’s marginally more difficult to control than .45, has only slightly better magazine capacity, and has marginally less terminal performance (though it is a little less expensive).

    Considering all those things, I’m a 9mm believer. But of course the real point is that you find something that you like to practice with and can shoot well. Once the bullet leave the barrel, they’ll all poke holes in things in much the same way.

    • It seems to me that defensive gun uses are mostly luck; reading ShootingTheBull410’s blog is a good reminder of that.

      So I’m happy with 9mm, because it gives me the most chances to succeed. Compensate for your own shortcomings (in this case; marksmanship while under attack).

  12. List of legitimate uses for 40:

    Making major in USPSA Limited.
    Overcompensation for small shoe size.
    [End of List]

  13. I agree that 9mm is the perfect caliber for little girls, metrosexuals and pixies. Men might prefer something stronger.

  14. I guess I have to admit… in my old age, I’m more preferable to 9mm now too… But still like my 40’s.

    When looking at ballistics, it seems the new 9MM ammo has really come a long way to bridge the gap

  15. During the last faked shortages of ammo the only one I was able to find in defensive bullets, quantity and affordable was. 40S&W.
    The F.B.I. was the reason for the. 40 either, the feds are going to stop working or the FBI plans on more names on the memorial. The 147gr is basically the same round and Gerry Dove was a helluv’a. shot I was at a match he competed in in the early 80’s. If you notice the agencies that are involved in hostage rescue or protective details are carrying. 357 SIG, .45 or. 40.
    PD’s & agencies that have smaller agents or practice less are going 9mm.

    If I could afford. 45 acp for full time carry I would but. 40 &.357Sig are cheaper locally. If I need to carry a box of ammo on my belt as back-up I need more practice or backup. Not counting 15 rounds of. 357Mag on my ankle.

  16. I’ve never been a fan of anything I’ve fired in .40…

    Fact of the matter is, the deadliest rounds are ones that land on target. If you land rounds with a .38, .45, 9mm, .40 then who gives a shit? I can consistently land .45 and 9mm on target stanced up, one-handed, and off-hand (though admittedly not so well with my 9mm off-hand.) .45 provides easy follow-up shots with lower capacity where my EDC (FNX9) allows volume of fire in a light but full-size package even if it whips around a little more than I’d like. As much as I want to hate it, my FN fits me and it runs clean, dirty, and wet.

    I’ve never been one for caliber wars, but I really can’t wrap my head around the fascination with .40…

  17. I’ve never fired VP40 so I can’t comment on it but the Sig P226 in .40 is one of my favorite handguns so I guess you can put me down as pro-40. That said, I try to avoid the whole caliber war thing since I think the idea that one caliber is objectively better than another is BS. If you’re buying a gun for sport buy whatever you enjoy shooting. If you’re buying a gun for self-defense buy whatever you can carry comfortably, shoot accurately and are confident you will want to practice with regularly. After all, a .22 in the bad guy is still better than a .45 that missed (or even worse wasn’t fired at all because you left it at home)

  18. I have a USP40. I like it. Few guns are anywhere near as comfortable.

    Now, shooting .40 with any other size/shape pistol? Might not be as fun.

  19. I own semi-autos in 5 calibers 9mm /.357sig / .40S&W /.45acp /and 10mm auto. My carry pistol is a.40 S&W. Reason is because of all my pistols, I shoot that one best. With my M&p40 pro 5″ I’m as fast and far more accurate than any other pistol I’ve ever shot. And I trust the load I carry.

  20. To amplify John Sager’s comment, the truest of them all:
    Once upon a time, my significant other decided to take up shooting after ending a long career as a volleyball player (a good one, too) due to injury. Her brothers are gun nuts so she hung out with them, and at the recommendation of one of them, bought a Glock 22 .40 cal for her first gun. Even for a strong, athletic, coachable woman, that’s just not a great choice. It was gone not very much later.
    Spin the clock hands years ahead- now she’s one of the top women in USPSA shooting, a sponsored, A-class hotshot in Limited Division… and it’s .40 S&W with which she makes her way.
    Okay, not exactly the same .40 S&W that comes in a box with 165gr JFNs loaded with Power Pistol equivalent canister. More like super-tricked-out 200gr coateds loads with teeny doses of very fast powders not in the manuals.
    But still, the irony is exquisite.
    The good news is, I don’t own a .40, only ever had one, an XD 5″ I detested, and so am never tempted by the reloading devil to pilfer any of those 200s she’s given by the truckload from her bullet sponsor, thereby avoiding one path of marital discord, anyway.
    So not liking .40 is a domestic tranquility plus!

  21. Never been an HK fan, softest shooting. 40’s I’ve fired are the S&W 1006,1076 & XD .40cal. The Sig 226 in. 40 DAK is the best current hammer fired imo.
    My older P99 is the most accurate.

    • The 1006 and 1076 shoot 10mm, not 40

      Though admittedly given how they weenie-load a lot of 10mm loads today, they might as well *be* .40s.

      • Wanted to see if anyone even knew the development of the. 40
        So far as I can tell maybe 3-4 actually know how it came about & why the FBI had to water it down in the name of political correctness. Hog hunting with the 1006 I take Georgia Arms canned heat been in storage for a few years. Helped a friend get his fields back not long ago. Destructive but tasty if soaked & rice field is what they have been destroying.

        • “So far as I can tell maybe 3-4 actually know how it came about”

          I’m not sure a post about .40 S[hort] & W[eak] goes by on TTAG without someone bringing up the sordid tale of its genesis.

        • Oh, I am well aware of the history of the full house 10 then down to the weakly loaded 10, then to making the round shorter (since there was all that wasted space in the case anyway) to come up with the .40.

          For the record, my nightstand gun is a G20 and I own a 1006. I also own a couple of .40s. I rarely actually shoot the 10 because my ammo choices there are slim to none. For practice, I’d like a round significantly stouter than .40 without pushing the very edges of the envelope; but there doesn’t seem to be any such animal, everything is either just barely more than .40 OR it’s super hot, just barely below gun-busting, and super expensive. Not good for practice.

          Plus it seems like every defensive loading I’ve ever seen is designed to expand only after 3 feet, so it becomes a good gun to carry in bear coutnry, but that’s about it.

          So as much as I’d like to consider the 10 a practical round…it really isn’t anymore, killed by ammo manufacturers who cater to either people who like risking blowing up or breaking their guns, or those who can’t deal with a bit of recoil. No happy medium.

  22. Funny that some people ridicule the .40 but don’t the 10mm. Last time I looked at a ballistics chart the .40 was close to the 10mm.

    • Don’t confuse watered-down “FBI-Lite” loads like the Hydra-Shok, for real 10mm. Real, full-power 10mm is much more powerful than .40 S & W. 10mm can deliver around 750 ft/lbs of energy; .40 is normally around 400-450 or so.

      • I have the same issue with .357 magnum. The Double Tap and Buffalo Bore loads aren’t +p but full pressure loads whereas most common .357 loads are much lighter. Some of the carry loads aren’t any more than 9mm+p. If you’re going to pick 10mm there’s no sense in loading it with .40S&W.

      • A quick switch to Underwood or Double Tap and 700 foot pounds or more is achievable with 135 grain JHPs through the 5.3″ barrel of the Glock 35. The .40 Smith can’t push the 180 and 200 grain bullets to 1200 FPS+ like the 10mm, but is nearly as fast as the 10mm with 135 and 155 grain bullets. The .40 has a “+P,” it’s just not defined by SAAMI.

      • ShootingTheBull410, that’s what I’m comparing, Federal Premium ,40 S&W and 10mm. .40 is 410 ft/lbs. and 10mm is 424 ft/lbs.

        • Yea, if you look hard enough you’ll find a thumb sucking pajama boy beta male load in just about every caliber.

        • I could be wrong, but I don’t think you have to look very hard. I think just about every major manufacturer’s 10mm is loaded up like this. You have to go to Buffalo Bore or maybe one or two others to get max power loads.

        • @Danny

          Precisely. Target ammo is weakly loaded; you might as well save money and shoot .40. The defensive ammo out there is designed to expend after it’s gone through three feet of bear meat, not a good choice for defense against BGs. Thus, there’s just no frigging point to a 10mm, but it’s not the gun’s fault, it’s not the round’s fault, it’s the fvcking ammo manufacturers who make it pointless. I’d love to find a supplier of 10 mm that put out stuff that was loaded maybe 75 percent of the way up the range, instead of just barely over 40 or almost enough to break the gun.

        • Target ammo is weakly loaded

          I was talking premium defensive ammo like Federal HST and HydraShok, not target ammo like WWB.

        • So let’s see, in addition to might-as-well-be-40 target ammo and ridiculous, overpriced, not-usuable-on-people defensive ammo, there’s might-as-well-be-40 defensive ammo too. Appreciate the further info, which just adds to my point (and yours too, if I’m not mistaken).

  23. In 10 yrs. or so, TTAG will come out with a post telling everyone how great the .40 is and how shooters really need to take another look at this venerable round that fell out of favor with people because of the recoil.

      • Yeah, is TTAG currently championing the 10mm as the ultimate carry round? I don’t see it.

        And probably never will.

        • That’s because there isn’t an ultimate carry round. The ultimate round is the one you are comfortable with.

        • In ten years this site may have morphed into ‘The Truth About Unicorn Horns’ – if we’re still able to express an opinion on the ‘net’, or whatever it has mutated into by then.

          I hope not, but that’s the threat we’re currently facing.

    • No need to wait, i’ll say it now. The .40 is great, it is essentially a “super 9mm”. Bigger, faster, more powerful, more energy, more momentum. Shot to shot, the .40 is a more powerful round than the 9mm.

      Yes, you do pay a price for that, in that there is more recoil and slightly less capacity. But hey, there are tradeoffs in everything in life; pick what compromises best fit your needs.

  24. Does anyone else think that that is a bad way to rack the slide, with thumb and index finger only instead of the whole hand on top of the slide (that is 4 fingers and the whole butt of the hand)?

    Seems to me the 2 finger approach is way more prone to slip off the slide before going all the way back if your fingers are sweaty.

    • I’ll tell you a little story about that…
      A year or so ago I introduced shooting to an older lady friend of mine. She suffers from arthritis in both hands, so racking the slide on damn near any gun can be a challenge. After several trips with me and my brood of tools, she was all set to pick up a P30. When she got to the store they had just gotten in their first shipments of VP9s, and she got to try one on the range. Those little charging supports were like a Moses on the mountain moment for her. They took care of nearly all her difficulties in racking the slide.

  25. XD40 right on
    My shield9 low left, trouble fixing
    XD to big to carry so goes to the range an sits on my night stand

  26. I have many .40’s. .40’s satisfy a wide spectrum of circumstances. I’ve always liked the caliber. And my hand suffers no backlash from it at all.

    But then I like all the calibers. Each has it’s most useful advantages and limitations. In my view .40 blankets the widest range of uses in the automatic handgun realm.

    I’ll eat .40 click bait all day long, hook, line and sinker.

    None the less, each person is different and should choose what is best for them – after shooting a variety of handguns in different calibers, and considering the purpose for which they own the handgun(s).

  27. As the saying goes what you have available is better than nothing, so between the standard defensive calibers the discussion is pretty much moot except for special purposes.

    I’ve owned more 9mm pistols than .40 or .45 and for single shot accuracy a H&K P9S or a P7 in 9mm are hard to beat. I’m a big fan of the 9mm.

    But .40 is a good compromise between .45 and 9mm, and for close range knock down power I’d go with .40 or .45.

    Lately for use on our ranch or for security gigs I’ve been carrying a Glock 22 in .40. It’s cheap (LEO discount), super reliable, and reasonably accurate. What’s not to like?

  28. The answer to a question that nobody asked. I haven’t ever heard someone say “Gee, I like this .45 but I was wondering if I could get a smaller bullet with snappier recoil.”

  29. I have an either-or philosophy to handguns. I used to carry a Beretta 92 with 17+1 rounds of 9mm. The philosophy is that even though the 9mm isn’t the most powerful round, you can make up for it by placing a lot of shots on target in a short amount of time. I’ve since started carrying .357 magnum revolvers with 6 full pressure Double Taps. The philosophy here is that if you’ve only got 6 rounds on tap you’d better make them hit hard. The reason I prefer the .357 these days is mostly for the range and accuracy. That and I’ve just decided revolvers are ‘cool’.

    The .40 can’t put as many rounds on target as fast as 9mm but doesn’t hit as hard as .357 or 10mm. I guess for some that’s the perfect balance. Maybe it’s a cup half empty vs. half full thing.

  30. until CC became legal, my ultimate carry round was a 22 mag in a north american arms in the summer and a 357 in a security six in the winter. Ultimate depends on the situation. I mostly carried a lightweight 380 or air weight 38 +P then if the circumstances dictated it the compact or full size 40

  31. My personal opinion is that any notion of “knock down” power in an SD handgun is a myth. The well-known stats for actual shootings pretty much bear this out. The conclusions of the latest FBI report on this topic bear this out.

    There are two ways handguns stop people. 1) A CNS hit, or 2) “Decompression” hits, where the pressurized hydraulic (blood) system that is the human body has holes poked in it and ceases to function. Any major caliber will be effective with CNS hit and any major caliber will poke holes in the hydraulic system. Bigger calibers may poke bigger holes, but the difference is marginal.

    I have never made any sense out of the .40 S&W. Its adoption seemed like like a knee-jerk, bureaucratic over-reaction to a bunch of FBI agents totally F-ing up a car stop on two bank robbers. All the calibers that were popular before: 9mm, .357, .45 were still great choices and are even better now with advances in ammo design.

        • To be precise, HST was offered as LEO only beginning 2005 and didn’t become available to the public until 2012.

        • According to Federal Ammunition LE sales rep: in conjunction with the FBI HST gen 1 ammo was developed to act as a stop gap first developed. In 1988 & released for manufacture under US Gov. Contract until the gen 2 HST ammo was released with the development of higher pressure.

          Basically they made a halfway attempt to keep the 9mm in the field until the 10 was ready. By that time they figured most agents couldn’t handle it. They started working on an acceptable loading with a better expansion.
          In the mean time agency armorers started dumping budgets into ranger. Still my preferred load in 9mm.

        • Gen 1 was HYDRA-SHOK-TECHNOLOGY. According to the rep. He’s retiring in December after 34 years so he was one of the original guys that suckered agencies into thinking the. 45 was overkill for street cops.

        • I have no idea what you are saying. The HST is not HydraShok Two. It was developed 15 years after HydraShok and performs much better. You probably know this.

          My point was that, by-and-large, we didn’t have the ammo tech we do today. We did have Black Talon in the early 90’s, though!

    • More time was spent on firearms training 30 years ago. You would be shocked at the number of cops today that can’t believe we did the job with revolvers and no BDU’s. We also weren’t covered in tattoos & dressed like police not marine corps rejects.

  32. During the last Obama 2 Ammo shortage 40 and 38/357 was in stock the whole time at multiple stores. 45 was spotty and 9 was out or behind the counter, if they had it you could buy 2. I will be keeping my 40’s and 357’s.

  33. “I think modern ammo design is the key here. HST didn’t exist 20+ years ago.”

    The problem with this theory is all boats rise. Modern 40 and 45 is also much better than 20 year old 40 or 45.

  34. I for one love me some 40’s. I went through 45’s for years but outside of a 1911 I dont care for it plus a full mag dump is downright painful without ear protection.
    I tried both sizes of the 9’s, parabellum and kurz, they just never did anything for me no matter how much I tried to like them, just to small, closest I got to liking 9 was in 357SIG, a fine round but to pricey to shoot very often.
    Now 40 has come to be my round of choice it has worked perfect for me. Not to big not to small. Accurate enough and not “snappy” in my Sig P226 and P229 as some plastic gun fanboys claim (but thats a topic for another thread!)

  35. I was thinking of giving the Coonan Compact a try and was wondering if anyone has taken one for a spin?

  36. No. Never shot a 40 cal in any platform. Never went the way of the 40 because I just did not want another handgun caliber to keep up with, buy dies, bullets, etc. The 40 ruled a couple of USPSA gun classes at one time but Ive been out of that for a while and dont really care anymore. Still love to shoot 9mm fast and 45acp a little slower.

    • Repeat something enough times and it becomes common knowledge.
      I was looking at my Glock 19 grip last night and thought “that grip sure looks ergonomic to me”. It has two curves on the back strap and finger groves in the front. It angles just right so it points naturally. So I thought “why does it get so much hate?” The answer is, when the Glock hit the market, revolvers and full size single stack metal frame auto loaders were popular. The mantra “feels like a brick” was hyperbole relative to the gun of the day. Today with so many polymer framed double stack pistols in use, the Glock is just one of the boys. However, there aren’t many complaints about the other “fat” grips on other double stack frames. The criticism sticks with the Glock because it originated the Glock. I love the grip of the Glock, but I don’t follow fashion.

  37. I got no problem shooting the “snappy” 40-maybe someone needs to be a mite stronger or work on their grip. AND I can’t find any difference between 9 and 40-but shoot whatever works best for you(and yeah during the great ammo famine I could ALWAYS find 40). In fact I remember being in wallyworld and seeing 40 as the ONLY handgun caliber in the case(along with weird rifle rounds and 12 gauge)…

  38. Coming from a very happy vp9 owner hk imho should have done it vp9, vp9 sk, vp45, vp40 unless they’re going for le or something with the 40 but that’s just me

  39. Most of the “No caliber less than does not start with a 4″ compensators would crap their pants after James Butler Hickok shot them through the heart or in the head. I’d like to see him compete in action matches with a .38 wadcutter auto pistol.

    For the .40 guys (no offense earlier), the full power 10mm solves the 9vs 45 debate. It was the round the FBI chose after the Miami shootout. The 40 Short and Weak was the underpowered 10mm the FBI had to adopt for certain more recoil sensitive agents. The .400 CorBon allows 10mm power from a .40, and .45 mags. This would be an excellent conversion for a G21 and other ,45 Glocks because it’s a barrel change like the .357 Sig in a .40.

    For the .38 caliber crowd, the old Strausberg” data helps. (French goats overseas, right?. Do not imagine they could have happend in the US, because it was “privately” funded). It seemed to favor the more frangible loads, like the earlier frangibles. The 55gr 5.56 in a 1:12 barrel worked in Vietnam, but the .62 grain 5.56 in a 1:7 not so much in Somalia. The data collected from Marshall and Sanow favored the Federal 1450fps .357.

    Energv = mass x velocity squared. This is why a bullet must dump all of its energy into the target like a good defense HP. The M193 tumbled upon impact, the M855 did not. It was like bringing an Icepick to a knife fight. The Rapier was the last sword carried for personal defense before handguns came about, It was the fastest blade in the game, and why fencing competition uses soft tipped ones. Flame on…

  40. I really liked a USP40 I shot many years ago, but I haven’t purchased one as yet, and it seems to be becoming less and less popular as a caliber. Still, for those of us residing in “10rd limit” states, .40 provides for an interesting and ergonomic compromise, just in terms of grip width.

  41. I never saw the point in .40 from the beginning. I have never owned anything chambered in .40, nor will I.

    In any instance where .45ACP won’t do the trick, I will personally go for the 10mm – even a 9mm – before I reach for a .40.

  42. I am considering getting a glock 23 with a 9mm barrel. It’s way easier to find 40 during an ammo sortage and easier to find the best defensive ammo.

  43. I absolutely love my Glock 22 and haven’t shot another handgun in any caliber that made me want to replace it.

  44. Well REAL men carry 500 s&w snubs for personal protection anything less than 350gr hollow points is akin to a spit wad

  45. What if TTAG just ran a PSA like BUY AMMO, or CLEAN YOUR FIREARMS, or STOP DOING YOUR FAKE-DRAW TO THE MIRROR. ?

    We could do a market study after the “BUY AMMO” one (what left the shelves in a higher percentage [count brass & bullets for reloads])?

  46. Look, as long as you don’t go full retard and carry a freaking .380 or .45, carry whatever is reliable, in 9 or 40, is a Glock, and a is Glock is fine with me. Dang it, it appears I repeated myself.

  47. .45 GAP ERRY DAY

    ok no but seriously, .40 filled an important gap 30 years ago. Today, the gap is so small that it makes no sense to fill it. If you’re going to go .40 then just go .357sig instead, get some more power for that snap. otherwise 9 has higher capacity and .45 has diameter.

  48. 1. .40SW is not too snappy as long as I use 185gr bullets. The 155 or 165 gets a but jumpy.

    2. When the Sandy Hook frenzy happened, I could not find 9mm on the shelves anywhere, and very little .45ACP. I had no problem finding .40SW. This is the same reason my next rifle will be a .30-06 instead of .308. It’s a perfectly capable round (won 2 world wars), not much worse to shoot than .308, and a lot easier to find when the SHTF.

    • On the other hand, you could stock up on your favorite calibers now while they are cheap and avoid the next ammo shortage and price gouges, er, increases when politicians get stupid.

  49. Looking at ballistic gel, pistol calibers are anemic compared to rifle and shotgun rounds. My experience is the handgun caliber must be matched to handgun in question. As a general round, .38 special and 9mm are okay. I like .45 acp in slightly heavier gun. I like .357 magnum in a larger and heavier revolver. Small handguns will go better with smaller and less powerful cartridges.
    I prefer a shotgun for defense if I can get to one under emergency conditions.

  50. The .40 S&W is great and maybe the best pistol round, the 9mm is great for concealed carry and economy plinking, and the .45 ACP is technologically outdated by both.

    9mm gives you the most capacity, generally two more rounds than .40 and four more rounds than .45 in double stacks and one and two more rounds in single stacks. If a person’s philosophy is capacity over performance and less recoil as possible, then they should choose the 9mm. If a person is of the opinion that overall performance is most important, than the .40 is the best choice. If someone really likes the .45 ACP, the M1911 platform, and shoots best with that combination, then that’s the best choice for them.

    IMO, the .40 is the best choice. Its capacities are higher than .45 ACP, its energies are better than 9mm and .45 ACP, its power to punch through objects is better than 9mm, and it generally cheaper to shoot than .45 ACP.

    But most importantly, the .40 S&W design is 85 years newer than the .45 and 9mm and was created utilizing the technology of the 90’s while the 9mm and .45 was created using slide rules.

    • You’re presuming that newer is necessarily better. Maybe that’s true … maybe not. Some might say that those “older” cartridges are tried, true, and proven. Personally I own and shoot and like all 3 calibers (9mm, .40, and .45). My EDC is 9mm, but I love to shoot the .45. I sometimes carry my same EDC pistol in a .40 (just because).

  51. No one has mentioned that in the .40 S&W you can shoot light fast bullets or slow heavy ones. 9mm is only light and 45 is only heavy unless you get exotic ammo. Plus .40 can penetrate barriers better than 45.

  52. Id rather do just about anything then debate 9/40/45. 99% of the time, your choice of theze 3 wont matter. Ive killed hogz and deer with all three, they all do a decent job of incapacitating a 150-300 mammal.

    Pistols i want built:
    1. Take a micro 380 and make it a double stack 32acp. Id luv an 11 shot, 10 ounce backup gun.
    2. Glock in 5.7.

  53. Most people who shoot big caliber bullets out of light weight Pistols like hand pain! accuracy sucks then stops, if you have large mitts like I do the mini cannons are hard too grasp and shoot effectively! the Keltec .32 with extended magazine was my carry piece while riding a Motorcycle up until the Accident! it would fire but not load another round, Keltec rebuilt it at no cost!
    big bore mini Guns are still hard to conceal, Caliber really doesn’t matter if you can hit a moving target 5 out of 5 times it will slow them down enough so you can use a K-bar! Semper Fi

  54. 40SW is the perfect cartridge, excellent performance and relative low cost and good availability. Even during the ammo scare 40SW was available. The whole “snappy” argument is just blather when the 9MM fanboys are packing +P rounds anyway. Never understood that, practicing with 9MM standard loads then carrying +P Corbons, at least 40SW practice ammo shoots just like the hollowpoint ammo. I like the extra bark and the recoil is not an issue unless you have icicles for wrists. Abandoned 45ACP long ago for 40SW for the lower recoil impulse and higher capacity. After shooting every possible 40SW load and doing extensive expansion and accuracy tests my faith rests in the Hornady XTP 155 gr. loading, absolutely the best factory 40SW round available.

  55. I’ve shot quite a few 40 cals. , small and large frames and 45’s and still can’t get the confidant accuracy I need to say I could hit a bad guy in a vital at 25 yards in a stress draw defensive shoot out . I probably would truthfully miss 80 % . I wouldn’t do much better with my 9 m/m pistols . Lets face it , most bad guys aren’t going to stand still when you are pulling your gun or pulling your trigger and if they do , you really don’t need to shoot them . What we are really talking about is someone charging you , someone holding one of your loved ones or someone shooting at you and in all these stress filled scenarios I will be most comfortable with my 22 magnum that I wouldn’t hesitate to shoot a bad guy in the head if he was holding a knife to my kids throat or charging at me I know I could put multiple rounds in their knees or their head and if they were shooting at me I feel more confidant I could hit them with my PMR than my 40 cal. and I could theoretically unleash 1200 grains of kill or wound . I know this is not PC in the current gun caliber debates but I’ll stick to shot placement and follow up shot placement over big bore stopping power on a human adversary , every time . I’ve seen too much news footage of cops in a shootout with 40 and 45 cal. where 50 rounds are fired and the target is never acquired . I just like my chances more with my PMR in most scenarios I feel I may encounter in the real world . I just shot this weekend and literally was able to put 58 holes in a 8 inch target at 20 yards with 2 magazines . No FTF or FTE and no misfires . I still need more practice to make it 60 for 60 .

  56. I also dislike the .40 caliber intensely. Ironically I shoot one all the time. I own a .40 Glock model 27. I also own a Springfield Armory XDm 3.8 in 9 mm. I also own and obsolete Smith and Wesson model 39 9 mm. The 9 mm pistols are easier to shoot quickly and accurately . Glock puts on a fair number of IDPA style matches where I live. Forced to use the .40 Glock in the matches I always shoot a lower score than when I do a similar run with either of the 9 mm identified above or with one of my .45 caliber 1911 style pistols.

  57. When I first bought a .40 (also a CZ-75), i shot so poorly with it I was afraid I’d become too bad a shot to be able to carry with a clear conscience. When I finally had the chance to get back to the range with 9mm (this was the height of the Great Ammo Shortage of 2013-4), I shot much better, realized my issue was with the caliber, and I felt vindicated. Back to carrying!

    I was able to isolate, then begin working on, my tendency to push the gun down just before it fires (it comes back when I try to fire quickly, though), which was far, far worse with .40, and now if anything I’m slightly more consistent with the .40 than with the 9mm, (I’ve managed to put an entire box of practice ammo through one ragged three inch hole at 5 yards instead of stringing them all over the place, provided i take 2-3 seconds between shots.) However that could be a combination of multiple factors; the front sight is easier to see on my .40, and the ammo I am presently using for practice is really anemic in 9mm and probably very inconsistent (I call it Federal Champiosquib; I use it because the aluminum casing eliminates the OCD brass hunting).

    To sum it up, I am quite sympathetic with those who find the .40 “too much” for them because I was there myself at one point. I also quite understand those who have no issue with it at all. Meanwhile I get to spend a lot of time trying to lose the conditioning to push the gun down during more rapid fire. Dangit, I have to shoot THOUSANDS of rounds to work on this! 🙂

  58. I think most people blindfolded would be hard pressed to guess the pistols caliber by recoil if u gave them a full size pistol in 9/40/45. People who say they shot like crap with one caliber and better with another, i dont buy it being the calibers fault at all.

  59. Simple fix if you think .40 is too snappy. Shoot .44 magnum or .50AE for awhile (I use a desert eagle). Then go shoot .40 (or 9mm, or .45). There really isn’t much for recoil or snap after shooting the bigger rounds.

  60. let me add one more comment about a fine shooting 22 magnum , like the PMR . I wear this pistol daily in a Dead Eye Luke holster , appendix carry , very comfortably , without a belt . I can’t begin to say what a difference it makes to carry a fully loaded , 28-30 round pistol , about a pound . I shoot this gun at a minimum , once a week , and consistently get inside a 3 inch target , with stress draw training , at 25 feet . I am comfortable I could match most gun calibers for “grain in target” in these situations and I would recommend everyone to at least give it a try .
    Speer Gold Dot 40 grainers feed through my PMR with Glock efficiency .

  61. Maybe I’m just strange……but I have never found the 40 S&W to be snappy like everyone says. Now granted I am what would be considered in shape compared to most of the public and I do have larger than average hands. Bit no 40 I have ever shot did I find to be so snappy that I couldn’t get back on target quickly. Even the shield in 40 wasn’t that bad. I hear people comparing the recoil to a 357 in a snub nose. Not even close. You want a nice snap, try shooting a 357 in a smith and wesson model 60 2 inch barrel. It could also be that I’m used to shooting revolvers and the 357 that make the 40 feel not so bad. But I have just never understood how people claim this round is so uncontrollable. It’s not. And while 9mm +p is a wonderful round. It doesn’t match the ballistics or the expansion of a 40. Tests have proven this. And studies also show the 40 has better one shot stopping power than the 9mm or 45. So having a bit of extra snap could also mean saving your life

  62. If you’ve ever fired 9mm and 40sw side by side at a steel target. 40sw simply pounds steel and hits like a sledge hammer. The impact sound alone makes you forget about any recoil and gives you pure satisfaction. 9mm and 380 sound about the same when they twang off the steel. Yes, shot placement rules supreme. But, 9mm is for the masses. The industry in general and the NRA need the new shooters and to keep them interested and comfortable in buying and shooting guns. 9mm is the great compromise as its easy to shoot and yet still can be effective. If you’re a serious shooter and want to elevate your game stepping up to 40sw is an inevitable progression. It’s like anything else when it comes to any possible advantage in a fight. For example, do you absolutely NEED night sights. Not really, but it cannot hurt to have them and it’s a potential advantage should the fight occur in lower light conditions. Sure, 45 acp is even better but getting that calibre into small enough pistols for the average shooter to carry or perhaps even simply hold onto makes the round best used for offensive combat and in larger 1911 type pistols, now that statement is considering the modern average edc person. I know several Vietnam era Men who would insist that if you are carrying or firing anything less than a 45acp 1911 you’re a sissy and voted for Obama. I love seeing all the people at the range with their shiny new 9mm and 380 pistols. Not only are they practicing but it shows the interest in shooting is growing in spite of all the anti gun news these days. Besides, I love it when all those kids and attractive females turn to pay attention when I let loose the 40sw & 45 acp thunder.

  63. Let me just say this please, I have a glock 24 with a drop in 6.02″ barrel of 357 Sig and this firearm is sweet to shoot in either caliber of 40 or 357 sig. I have an H&K VP 40 with the HK drop in 357 sig barrel also, I have a CZ P09 40 with a drop in barrel of 357 sig made from CZ Custom for my P09, and lastly I have a Glock 31 357 sig with a drop in 5″ 40 sw barrel also. I shoot Underwood, Speer Gold Dot, and Federal HST or Federal Bonded Tactical in 165 or 180 grain 40 SW and Speer Gold Dot 125 gr. 357 sig JHP and all these firearms kick butt. The Glock 24 is sweet with the long 6.02″ barrel for hardly no recoil on either caliber of 40 or 357 sig. My Goal lastly will be to get a CZ shadow lower with a CZ 40 sw with a 6″ plus long slide for my baby of all babies being it will be all steel with custom all over it and then have CZ Custom make me a 6.02 357 Sig barrel for it that way I have the best of all worlds. 40 and 357 sig rocks the world and there is a reason Secret Service and a lot of rural highway patrols carry this round. 357 sig is a 9mm on steroids with a 40 sw read end. I can get all the 357 sig 125 grain bhp I want on the net from Speer for about .22 to .30 cents per round depending and Speer is the BEST n the world because they are bonded and will go through windshields and metal doors and so forth. 9mm is ok for practice and if you have to carry I would go to 147 grain only. I rest my case.

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