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I recently picked-up a T&E Baby Eagle. In .40 caliber. I hate .40. Nick Leghorn, our Testing and Evaluation editor, is also not a fan. “I think it’s useless,” he opined, semi-sarcastically; knowing full well that shooting someone [posing an imminent credible threat of death or grievous bodily harm] with .40 caliber bullet is a lot better than not shooting them. But .40 isn’t as controllable as 9mm or .45. So why bother? A quick survey of gun stores reveals that .40 is a dead caliber walking. If it weren’t for police sales – thanks to the infamous Miami FBI shootout — the caliber wouldn’t exist in the first place. Or now, presumably. So, got .40? Got rid of .40? Never bought into .40? Spill.

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241 Responses to DeSantis Gunhide Question of the Day: Is .40 Doomed?

  1. I’ve been tempted to pick up one of the police surplus Glock 22s for sale these days… Mostly because with the swap of a barrel and a magazine, it will shoot 9mm… But for cheaper than a Glock 17.

    • Do it, it’s well worth it. I’ve switched my 23’s barrel for a friend’s ol 19 barrel and it’s been a dream. Plus you can now choose what caliber to shoot.

      • Me too! Just picked up a 23 police trade-in Gen 4 w/three mags for like $419 shipped. Thank you Sportsman’s Outdoor Superstore. It looks brand f-ing new in the box, and plopped in a 19 bbl from Lone wolf and Voila! Got a 19 & a 23 for $535.

        I like the .40, but then again I like the .41 so I may not be the best judge of caliber. Got a .40 xdm that I can’t give away though. I don’t know if it’s dead, but it sure isn’t thriving like the 9 is.

    • I bought one of the trade in Glock 22s. Where else can you get a Gen. 3 Glock in good condition with night sights for $320? Then, I bought a Hi-Point 4095 since it runs the same ammo as the Glock.

      I like .40 well enough.

      Still, I generally prefer 9mm for the cheaper ammo (and .38/.357 since I reload).

      • In most cases, it will with a barrel and magazine swap.

        In a few cases, you might also have to replace the slice recoil spring with a slightly less stiff spring.

        Oh, and you might also have to replace the slide as well if the extractor (located/dimensioned for .40 caliber instead of .355 caliber) does not reliably extract spent 9mm casings.

        • Humph…
          Had a G27. Bought the Lone Wolf 9mm conversion barrel.
          The dirty little secret:
          Used my same G27 mags for the 9’s when using the 9 barrel; ran hundreds of rounds (800 +/-) w/o a single problem.
          Loved it. The stock mags would carry 2 more 9’s vs the 40’s.

      • No because it actually offers something that you can’t get out of other semi auto pistol calibers. The power and Kinetic energy that you are getting out of a 10mm are significant enough when compared to 9mm and .45 ACP to have it fill another niche. It is truly the “magnum” round of semi auto pistols whereas .40 is the round that was created by committee to solve a problem that doesnt exist. Either you go full 10mm for power, or you go 9mm for full capacity OR if you want quiet suppression, you go .45. 40 doesnt give you suppression, doesnt give you noticeably more power than 9mm while offering less rounds. It is the jack of all trades that does non of those trades particularly well.

        • So recoil is not a problem? Follow up shots? Multiple target engagement? Expense? Availability?
          If you want power, use a rifle. Otherwise, the handgun is for portability and concealment. The round should match the intent. 10mm was the solution to the problem that didn’t exist.

        • I am saying that it fills a niche. It is the most powerful production semi automatic cartridge that you can reasonably find in good quantity. Yeah, a rifle is always going to be more powerful but it is harder to carry. If someone wants the most power out of a semi auto a 10mm gives them that. Plain and simply. 40 does nothing. Not a significant power advantage, not a significant round count, not a significant use is a suppressed set up, and not as cost effective as other options.

      • 10mm is actually starting to get the love it deserves. There are more factory options for guns and ammo than ever before. Even SIG has one now and a quick peek at midway shows they offer 40 different factory options for ammo.

        • +1.

          Great round for the outdoors for people who don’t like revolvers.

        • 10mm is a seriously awesome cartridge. Yeah it has recoil and muzzle flip. It is not for shooters with weak hands and arms. I also don’t think that is is an absolute must have. It allows you to push a heavy bullet at high velocity 220gr 1200fps is pretty impressive when you compare that to the 45acp 230gr 850fps. Those are ballpark figures as handloads, +p, barrel length, and weather conditions can effect ballistics. 10mm is not for everyone and certainly not suitable for every use unless you are Sonny Crockett aka Sonny Burnett.

          .40 is just not something I have any use for. I like to shoot recreationally. The .40 is not as easy to control as 9mm and does not give that much more of a power factor advantage over 9mm. .40 costs a bit more to reload. I find 9mm kills the steel just as dead and can penetrate all the paper targets where I live. I prefer the controllability, capacity, pistol size of 9mm handguns. .40 has never been a consideration.

      • 10mm is the bomb:

        Ballistic performance:

        .357 magnum:
        180 gr (12 g) LFN Buffalo Bore Heavy
        1,400 ft/s (430 m/s)
        783 ft·lbf (1,062 J)

        10mm auto:
        180 gr (12 g) DPX Buffalo Bore Heavy
        1,350 ft/s (410 m/s)
        728 ft·lbf (987 J)

        Ballistic performance of the .357 magnum, but most fit 14+1 rounds. My EAA witness does.

        That’s some power right there.

        Compare to a 9mm:
        8.04 g (124 gr) FMJ
        (1,200 ft/s) 360 m/s
        (382 ft·lbf) 518 J

        The energy of a 9mm can get close to it with some +P+ rounds, if your gun can fire them without blowing up.

    • .380 auto (1908)
      .38 special (1898)
      9mm parabellum (1902)
      .45 acp (1910)
      .357 magnum (1935)
      .44 magnum (1955)
      That pretty much covers MOST folks needs nicely. That said, there are many other calibers that are perfectly suitable (or even ideal) for some scenarios. The .40 won’t be quite rrelegated to the obscure status of it’s momma the 10mm, but new buyers willhave little incentive to look at one from now on unless they just run across a really good deal somewhere.

  2. Wont get into it. More expensive to shoot without any empirical data to suggest that it is any more effective than modern 9mm and without the suppressive ability of .45 acp. Don’t see the benefit at all, you arent getting enough performance to justify the increase in recoil, increase in cost, and decrease in capacity over a 9mm. You also don’t get the inherent suppression capability of the .45.

    If you want some more horsepower from a semi auto, make the jump to 10mm.

    • Exactly. I was a 40 fan boy for years, when recoil and uncontrollability weren’t factors in what I shot. I’ve since sold all my 40s.

      For general carry, it’s always a 9mm with HSTs. For hiking or camping, it’s 10mm Underwood GD or HC. The 40 offers me no appreciable benefits over those two primary carry rounds. More expensive, sharper recoil than 9/45, and not nearly as much power as 10mm for 4-legged threats. My G20 with full house loads kicks less than my old G23 due to the wide backstrap spreading out the pain.

  3. Popped my firearms cherry with a .40, S&W and I still have it and shoot it. Traded up to a glock 23 years ago as my EDC. Hell I even have my keltec sub2000 in .40. Can it beat up on you, sure. But I like it and the keltec is hell on the foxes and coyotes around me.

    • Mike,

      I mean no offense or snark … I don’t understand all the people who say that .40 S&W is harsh. I am anything but a hulk and I have no trouble whatsoever shooting .40 S&W very fast AND accurately. I tend to shoot 180 grain bullets … I wonder if those are less “harsh” than lighter loads?

      I recently shot a pistol in 9mm that is basically the same size and weight as my everyday carry .40 S&W pistol. I didn’t shoot it any faster or slower than my pistol in .40 S&W. What I did do the first time in rapid fire is make a shot string that progressively dropped about 1 to 2 inches with each successive bullet. (My final shot was something like 16 inches below my first shot.) The explanation is simple: my brain and wrists are “calibrated” for the extra recoil of .40 S&W — meaning I am trained to use more strength to bring down the slightly greater recoil of .40 S&W.

      Of course many people will shout, “Look! That proves that .40 S&W recoil is more harsh! And it takes longer to bring your hands down!” And now for reality: I was bringing down recoil an extra inch or two at 20 feet away. That means my hands were dipping an extra 1/10 of an inch or so to counteract recoil. Guess how much time it takes to drop your hands an extra 1/10th of an inch? Answer: something like 0.001 seconds. In other words it doesn’t require any significant additional amount of time to counteract .40 S&W recoil. And that matches with the fact that I shoot either caliber just as fast.

      There is an interesting possible benefit to having your wrists and brain “calibrated” to .40 S&W and then shooting 9mm in a real defensive event: if you place your first shot high-up center of mass, you will basically “unzip” your attacker all the way down to their groin!

      • Hate to say it, but all you have is a good old-fashioned flinch. I prescribe more trigger time in general and slow-fire in particular. Sorry 🙂

        Tom

        • I do the same thing with my P228. I’m so used to my .40 P229 that I string downwards with the 9mm. With the lighter “recoil prone” PPQ, my groups are right on the same as the P229.

          If it was flinch, don’t you think he’d flinch worse with the scary .40 cal snap?

        • Tom,

          I am not flinching since my .40 S&W groups are tight.

          Please note that I am talking about rapid fire (like 4 shots per second), instinctive shooting (e.g. “point shooting”). When you dump 8 to 12 shots in 2 seconds with instinctive shooting, there is no time to see where the shots are landing and adjust … and you shouldn’t really be looking for hits from your shots anyway. First of all, looking for hits negates the benefit of instinctive shooting. Second, if you train yourself to look for hits on target, you will be in serious trouble in a real-world self-defense event because hits don’t show up on a human attacker.

        • A flinch? Unless you see it – its kind of hard to diagnose over the internet guys.

  4. Was thinking/debating about adding a 40 or 45 though I like my 9 and I shoot well with it. The 45 bullets are the same pricewise where I live so I was leaning in the direction of the 45. Now the scale just tipped in definate favor of the 45.

  5. .40 is great for plinking around with my 357 SIGs. Quick barrel change and I can shoot the same quality ammo for 1/2 the price.

  6. Never bought one. I have far too many other calibers to stock, to take on new ones with no germane reason. And .40 never fit that bill. 10mm, maybe. But not .40.

    I’ll stick with my 9s and 45s.

  7. I bought into it back in 91. Had to have one of the 1st guns out there. Also one of the worst. A Star FireStar.
    Still have my Hi-Power Practical in 40 S&W. Least shot hand gun I own. Oh also have a Ruger PC40 carbine. Sure do wish it was a 9mm. Maybe Id at least shoot it once in awhile??? UUUUUm nope.

    • If you don’t mind, what was wrong with your Firestar?

      I have the M43 in 9mm and love it, though I have read the M40 didn’t handle .40 all that well.

    • Yep, slow news day. Next they will bring up religion or politics. Hey, I heard Trump carries a M&P 9mm, I’m voting for him!

      The issue is a dead horse in which I couldn’t care less about. I carry a Sig P229 in .40
      I hit well with it and more importantly, I CARRY IT. That is whats important, to embrace the concept, practice, carry, be confident and comfortable. Brand of weapon, ammo, caliber, holster is for the most part a secondary consideration.

      I take the same attitude over the .40 debate as I do now against the anti-gun grabbers. Instead of trying to argue and engage in a meaningful debate or conversation, which most of the time, as we all know, is a galactic waste of time, I have adopted the tough sh–, too fu—– bad, get over it approach. Time is just too short and I simply don’t have the energy or the desire to engage idiots. This is where I am with .40 I carry it, I like it, I don’t care what anyone says or thinks about it. Pull a knife on me and say “give me your effing wallet or I’ll kill you” then tell me what you think of .40 People with bullets flying at them don’t care what caliber it is.

        • I chose .40 S&W for two reasons:
          (1) The bullet is larger than 9mm and gives you an ever so slightly greater chance of slicing an artery to incapacitate your attacker faster.
          (2) In the lighter bullets (135 grain), you are on the heals of .357 Magnum velocities and energies with barrels of the same length. 9mm doesn’t come anywhere near .357 Magnum with 135 grain bullets.

          Think of it this way: a 135 grain bullet with a muzzle velocity of 1420 fps is nothing to sneeze at … and far exceeds what 9mm can do.

        • Michael,

          Interesting thought about not needing hollow-points with .45 ACP. From what I understand, ball ammunition in .45 ACP is far more effective than ball ammunition in smaller calibers. However, ball ammunition in .45 ACP is NOT as effective as quality hollow-points in 9mm or .40 S&W as far as I know.

          So I split the difference: I purchase cheap hollowpoints for .45 ACP self-defense. Who cares if the jacket separates from the lead core? The lead core is still huge and heavy! And who cares if a denim jacket sometimes plugs up the hollowpoint and sometimes fails to expand … you are still at least as effective as ball ammo!

          Oh, other commenters reminded me of the third reasons that I bought .40 S&W as my primary carry handgun: barrier penetration. I am confident that my 180 grain bullets will penetrate intermediate barriers far better than 9mm 115 grain bullets. And I only give up two rounds total capacity (15 rounds rather than 17 rounds) for the enhanced ability to penetrate car doors, automobile windshields, drywall, etc.

        • Watched a seminar from a surgeon who talked about how many lives were saved on the operating table from handgun wounds compared to how few could be saved from rifle and shotgun wounds. He showed a chest xray where a .45 hollow point penetrated the sternum but stopped short of the heart due to the expansion. A faster bullet such as a 9mm or even a.380 would have been fatal or a fmj .45.

    • 10mm is manly, effective and cool, 9mm is a lady’s or Euro chambering, .40 is for guys with weak arms, hands and wrists. What’s the debate?

  8. My first pistol was a .40 FNX. Loved that gun, but it took too long to get back on target between shots. If I had to fire quickly my accuracy was poor. So I sold it and bought an FNS 9, but sometimes I miss that extra kick.

  9. Have a .40. It makes holes. Thought that’s what a gun was supposed to do, don’t know what all the fuss is about. Course I’m near six foot and near 280, so mebbe I’m a bit more solid in the grip, dunno. To be fair I also have .380 and 9mm, looking at a .357 lever gun just for giggles and may also get a Hipoint .40 carbine as a really poor man’s wanna be AR toy. Lots of near orphan ammo calibers out there still being made, the .40 will be around for a long time I think.

  10. My home-carry pistol is a Beretta PX4 sub in 40 cal, works like a charm, no issues with it or the caliber.

    Never understood the bitching about 40cal being “snappy.” I have 9mm & 45acp pistols and for me the 40cal is the best of both worlds.

    Now, my 44mag snubby? That’s a snappy bitch. 😀

    • Never saw the point to magnum snubbies…the barrel is short, which means you lose the power of the magnum load, don’t have accuracy for shit, and you’re turning your money into a big bright fireball.

      I was in the next lane over from a 44 magnum snubby once; I could actually feel the blast on my face. But that blast simply meant he was throwing away powder.

      Snubbies of course, are good for shooting the “special” rounds (38, 44 spl) instead.

      • Maybe so, but so what? My favorite gun to actually SHOOT is my .44 mag Ruger Alaskan. Hogue tamer grips make it really easy (for a couple of boxes, anyway), almost makes me wish i had gotten it in .454 casul. And I’m in love with the way it LOOKs, just a big ol’ hunk o metal. Feels great in the hand. Just a beast, i’m into it. And i want the 10mm next, talking a buddy outta his Taglifero.
        Never had an interest in .40.

        • I’m guessing the Ruger Alaskan isn’t a snubbie, since you described it as “big.”

          I wasn’t saying magnums were pointless (far from it!), I was saying magnums in a snubbie are pointless because they might as well be specials with some useless and expensive audio-visual effects added on.

        • Ruger Alaskans are basically grizzly repellent in firearm form. All the ones I’ve seen have been short-barreled, and considering that spooking a bear and getting it to run off is almost as good as killing it, a big fireball and lots of noise isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

      • LOL, looks pretty snubby to me! 2.5″ barrel is pretty short, and it has a massive muzzle blast. I’m like that guy next to you at the range, it’s a hand cannon. It’s really a purchase that makes no sense unless one lives in bear country, which I don’t, yet I love it. IMO, just a gorgeous firearm, and when you shoot those Buffalo Bore 340 +P+ the effect is just awesome. I’m weird that way, but I can live with it. I don’t have buyers remorse like I do with other firearms i’ve purchased, namely another endangered cartridge, the .300 WSM on Savage. But it’s one of my babies, too.

        • I guess if the special effects are (part of) the point of the exercise, then you chose well.

          Personally, I’d want the full barrel for bears–I like the concept of putting all that energy and/or momentum into the bear. But to each his own.

          As an aside, I’ve rented a .500 but it had a 6 inch barrel. (The local range makes so much money selling the ammo for that gun when people just gotta try it, they don’t mark it up much for the customer who buys it.) And I own a .357…a physically large one. These days, it seems to me, the most obvious way a revolver clearly beats a semi is its ability to handle those magnum cartridges (mileage does vary–if you can’t rack a slide, then a revolver is your best choice). The specials are to practice with.

          Carry on, loudly and brightly.

  11. Bought one (Taurus “Millennium 140”), tried it, didn’t like it. Prefer a compact .45 myself. But I will not tell you that you aren’t allowed to buy one, and I hope they don’t stop making the ammo. Quite a few folks seem to like them.

  12. In my experience, both .40 and .45 are dead men walking.

    .40 is more expensive than 9, has a sharper recoil, sometimes lower capacities, and has no appreciably greater wounding characteristics, what tiny differences at the margins one might see usually are much less meaningful than things like ammo selection and velocity/barrel length. Ultimately it’s an answer to the wrong question.

    .45 has similar issues. It’s popular largely through nostalgia and cool factor, but again, has no appreciable wounding capability over 9mm that ammo choice and other factors won’t eclipse, but is more expensive and typically comes in at a lower capacity (sometimes dramatically lower) than 9mm and costs more to shoot.

    I’ve owned weapons on all three calibers, and had great and terrible experiences with all of them, but when you get down to the practical issues in terms of functionality, fitness for role, and capacity and cost, the 9mm beats out both every time, and there’s a reason its the worldwide standard while 40 is limited almost exclusively to the US and .45 only slightly more widespread.

    • The .45 has that nostalgia going for it as well as being the primary chambering of the “america’s pistol” the 1911. You also get suppression capability that is far better than sub9mm loads so as suppressors become more common and cost effective, that will keep it alive. .40 not so much.

    • My EDC is a 9mm. and I recently picked up a RAP (your knuckle) 45. I love that 45 despite the bruise it leaves on my thumb’s knuckle. Still, the reason I picked it up in the 45 over 9 was just in case my stated decided to limit my mag size. I bought the 9mm because it holds 17 rounds in its standard mag. the RAP-45 holds 10. If I cannot shoot more rounds, then the rounds i do shoot should bloom bigger is my thought.

    • .45 ACP is a great round for reloaders. It’s very forgiving, even with cast bullets. The brass lasts pretty much forever too. A caster/reloader can shoot .45 ACP for potentially less than the cost of .22 lr (not counting labor).

      High pressure auto pistol rounds like .40 are problematic with cast lead. The brass has a relatively short lifespan. The guns themselves reportedly wear out faster as well.

      • No problems with my .40 Witness Stock with polygonal barrel. I cast and powder coat all my boolits and depending on my source of lead I can shoot .40 for less than today prices of .22 LR. (Even .44 magnum does not feel expensive.) I never bought any new .40 brass, only use range pickings and so far I had only couple of reject cases.

    • Nostalgia?

      How about enough effectiveness to still be going strong after after over a hundred years. And no, I’m not a 1911 freak (yeah we have two of them), I actually prefer my G21. But it is a proven effective round against a wide range of targets from people to the guy in Alaska that dropped a black bear on his porch with a Hi point .45..

    • Except .45 is superior to 9mm all around as a hand gun round. When your 9mm HP plugs up it’s meaningless. While .45 HP is still making an awfully big hole.

      • >> When your 9mm HP plugs up it’s meaningless.

        Would you like to participate in a controlled experiment to test this hypothesis?

    • >> .45 has similar issues. It’s popular largely through nostalgia and cool factor, but again, has no appreciable wounding capability over 9mm

      I would strongly disagree. Sure, modern 9mm hollow points expand quite impressively. But the same design used in .45 expands even better. Here, have a look:

      http://www.gunsandammo.com/files/2015/06/Federal_Premium_HST_Ammo_Review_2.jpg

      No matter how you slice it, a bullet that has 1.5-2x mass and 1.25x diameter allows for noticeably larger holes. In fact, with hollow points, the size difference is magnified quite a bit in absolute numbers.

      Now, there are valid reasons to still prefer 9mm as “good enough”, and there are things going for 9mm, such as magazine capacity. But even then .45 is a viable choice.

      Once you add suppressors to the mix, it’s a whole different ballgame. If your round has to go slow, you want extra mass to compensate, and .45 has a big advantage there.

      So both are useful options to have. As opposed to .40, which is neither here nor there.

  13. 40 was and is a compromise. Dead? Naw. Limited? Sure
    Great deal for the lovers and little change for others

  14. I think TTAG wins troll of the day for this one.

    Next on The truth About Guns: Is .45acp doomed? The hole is only 1.5mm difference from 40s&w and moves much slower, but it’s better than a sharp poke with a stick…

  15. Never been interested. It doesn’t seem worth it. Its best of both worlds qualities are offset or more by its worst of both worlds qualities. Even that aside, I couldn’t see ever owning more than one firearm in that caliber, which itself is a disqualification from a ammunition inventory standpoint.

  16. If someone is trying to force their way into your vehicle, will you roll down the window to exchange fire with your 9mm? 40 holds up better through auto glass than a 9mm and better than 45 through a car door. That’s why I carry 40. The caliber has served millions of LEOs just fine for 20+ years. If you think it’s now a “worthless” caliber you need to stop reading gun blogs and go shoot some junkyard car doors.

    • For short range engagements with handgunz, 9mm kills people through auto glass just fine.

      Thats also a rather niche role to determine what caliber to use, ammo choice is going to make a greater difference than simple caliber, while capacity, shootability, and cost advantages are far more practical considerations than small advantages in niche shooting scenarios.

      • Absolutely agree, Muih. We can’t prepare for every niche situation. Unless you have XXX’s custom revolver.

        ..380 has also been shown to penetrate windshields with minimal deflection, too.

      • Muih,

        I remember seeing super-slow motion video of 9mm (115 grain?), .40 S&W 180 grain, and .45 ACP 230 grain bullets hitting auto windshields. At oblique angles, the 9mm bullet deflected significantly — enough to potentially miss your target if your bullet would have other hit the attacker. The .40 S&W and .45 ACP did not deflect appreciably if at all.

  17. It won’t die, it’s had too much popularity for that… but it will probably be eclipsed. It’s a round designed by committee to solve a largely unsolvable problem- that handgun rounds are not reliable a man-stoppers. In the Miami shootout it’s true that one of the 9mm rounds stopped a bit before one of the suspect’s heart. But you’re always going to have a potential ballistic scenario where a round just can’t quite make it unless you use something that you can guarantee will go out the back and through two more people other circumstances, so the .40 is still not the magic bullet we’ve been looking for. The only thing its proponents can claim for it- many of whom are probably completely invested in the caliber (‘fanboys’ to use a phrase from a different area) is that it can shoot through intermediate objects somewhat better than 9mm or 45.

    To these people just nod, pat them on the head, and let them keep that little bit of solace that if they ever get into a rolling mad-max style shootout they might be able to shoot through a car door better. Unless the other guys have .357s of course…

  18. I started with 9 because I felt 40 was too snappy. Turns out it was just my inexperience and poor recoil management. Now I have two SP2022s in 40 and love them. Yet, my EDC is a BHP in 9. Would love to get a BHP in 40 though.

  19. Use my 9 for anything range oriented or two legged critter deterrent. I do however know want a 10mm as woods gun and is my planned next purchase. Does that count as a .40?

  20. I shot revolvers for many years and was happy with my .41 mag. Still am but to give the .40 it’s due, I like it. A lot. My first purchase of a semi auto was a M&P 40. Still love it. I don’t see it going anywhere. I know WAY too many people of the gun that own many of this caliber. Cheap to shoot since I handload. As low as .10 per round for target. EDC loads are 135 gr. JHPs at 1360 fps. Plenty of ballistics with low muzzle jump. I won’t give mine up. I won’t give up my .41 either.

  21. First handgun, glock 22. Glad I bought in, I think it made me a better shooter. Sold it, bought a CZ P07. I still handload .40 but find it to be a PITA trying to eliminate case bulge.

  22. I’d shoot both .40 and the .357 Sig when I still had my Glock 32 and a .40 barrel. There wasn’t anything wrong with either caliber but I was never satisfied with them.

    Sold that glock to help pay for my 686+ and couldn’t be happier with the true .357. I do have both a G17 and M9 so I’m happy with 9mm too.

    With the Smith on my belt and the Beretta in a Galco VHS I can carry both under a light jacket or opened button down shirt and not feel under gunned.

  23. Only a few years ago, .40 was the belle of the ball due to superior terminal ballistics and availability (remember 2013, when you couldn’t get 9mm if you sold your soul?). Now, only a scant few years later, the panic has abated AND every ammo maker and his brother has some newfangled 9mm load. Now, we all be like “Oh yeah, nine mil has ALWAYS been better. I NEVER looked at .40.”

  24. No, there will always be a group that feel that 9mm is too weak and .45s don’t have enough capacity. 40 fills that gap quite well at a somewhat reasonable price. I have no desire to ever own one, but that’s just me.

  25. I won’t dis the .40. i am a JMB fanboy so a hi-power in 9 or 1911 in 45 are always top picks. i prefer to shoot 9 and 38spec so it just makes sense to stay there.

  26. i think that and 10mm are useless. Like many have said, if a 9mm or 45ACP won’t do the job then you need to use a rifle. its really that simple.

  27. I bought a couple. I’m going to hang onto them for a couple of reasons.

    1) When working on correcting a bad habit, it’s less forgiving, so I can see if I’ve got it handled.

    2) Sometimes it is available when 9mm isn’t.

    3) If I travel to a place with a real mag restriction (not like the one here that’s universally ignored, because grandfathering), I’d rather have 10 rounds of .40 than 10 rounds of 9mm

  28. No, your just admitting that you are in fact a wimp. This is the country of Dirty Harry and .44 Magnums. When did we start whining about something being too powerful? Besides pointing out that I think your a wimp, let’s look at other reasons.

    Stupid ban states. I’ll take 10 .40’s over 10 9mm’s any day.

    Again, stupid ban states. They are why a double stack .45 is hard to find with more than 10 rounds. Stupid. Who knows what happened to Para Ordinance and their awesome capacity firearms. Glock is fine and all but I don’t want everything to be Glocked up. HK USP, wish the HK45 was over 10. Sig 227, 320. Way to drop the ball. Walther is the only quality manufacturer with a new 12 round .45. I’ll take it over their 12 round .40’s all day.

    And further, the one round I don’t have is probably the best all around made and that’s the .357 sig. Use to be the .40 kept it alive now it may be mutual. Would love a shield in .357. The bottle neck design just clicks in my mind when it comes to carry reliability.

  29. My first NIB sidearm was a PPS in .40, then sometime later I ran a Sigma in .40.

    Then I stopped kidding myself and got a .45.

    Then I really got serious and got a 10mm with full power loads.

    So I shoot .40 all the time (at the range), but I’ll never carry .40 Short and Weak again. If S&W dropped a 10mm M&P, I’d be the happiest man on the planet.

    • By similar logic, I’d love to see a 10mm CZ (and not a Dan Wesson jam-o-matic–yes, I said that, because the two I tried, did).

  30. I have owned 2 – .40 cal handguns and got rid of both of them.
    The round was too expensive at the time and the follow up shot after
    the barrel rose just enough to throw the aim off requiring shooting
    more rounds which cost more money.

    I went back to 9mm and .45acp both of which I have boatloads of ammo
    for weekly range time and reloading generally just the .45acp. Defensive ammo has
    come a long way over the years and properly placed shots using 9mm will mess
    up someones day. The .45acp has been proved over the decades to be a man stopped
    and modern ammo makes it all the more potent.

    I see weekly ads online for used in new condition .40 cal firearms that have been
    dumped by various LEOs around the US for the cheap. Well it would be fine buying
    a .40 on the cheap I would rather spend my money on a surplus Makarov or SKS which
    is what I did although ammo for the SKS is creeping up.

    The .40 is kind of like the .357 Sig both being a good idea at the time but not proving their
    worth over the long haul.

  31. Meh… .40S&W has always been a solution in search of a problem. No reasonable handgun caliber is ever going to have the stopping power that you really want and modern 9mm loadings (especially 9mm +P) are more than adequate for any reasonable scenario. I always considered my handgun the weapon I use to fight my way back to the rifle I should have never put down in the first place. For defensive use, a .380ACP will do the job just as well 99.9% of the time.

    The thing that bothers me is that 40 is markedly inferior in many ways due to the fact that it is a fairly high-powered cartridge.

    1. Your gun wears faster. That might not sound like a big deal, but if you’re firing thousands of rounds per year, it stacks up quickly.
    2. It’s more sensitive to bullet setback. (Turning your gun into scrap metal.)
    3. It’s more expensive than 9mm. Meaning that you can’t afford to shoot as much. (One of the main reasons why my .45s tend to be safe queens.)

    • 9mm +P wears a gun just as fast as 40 ( faster if said gun wasnt designed for +P)

      40 S&W is cheaper, still faster and larger diameter than 9mm +P…

        • In which case I’d rather plink w/ 9 and carry 40

          Simple as an m&p 40 with a spare factory 9 barrel. Recoil impulse really isn’t that much “snappier” in my experience and I much prefer 40 180grain hst to the more expensive 124 grain +p hst for carry…

  32. The Glock 23 that was traded for a Glock 27 that was traded for something else were good enough guns…just nothing to write home about. Not planning on another .40 S&W, and the 9 mm works fine for me for my EDC.

  33. I recently picked up a 1911 in .45, as I always liked the 1911 grip and the push of the .45, just never cared for the price of ammo. But now I hand load. Skipped right over the .40 from 9mm.

    On the other hand my brother is getting excited about the FNS-40 and will probably get it. So I think the .40S&W is safe for now.

  34. Dying maybe, but not dead yet. The good news is that ammo and gun prices are way down based on rumors of its death, making it a good deal for someone shopping for a compact gun with significant power.

    As a fan of 1911s, .45ACP and 10mm, it feels like a step down, but in a P239 it’s a pretty potent little package.

    But keep up the death watch so I can stock up on ammo.

  35. I really do enjoy my Glock 23C. Not a fanboy by any means. Just like shooting .40 in this particular gun. It scares the blooming daisies out of me and makes me hold it like there is no tomorrow – shooting 9mm is a walk in the shadow after that.

  36. Had a .40 once. It was a Dept. issues duty weapon, and I was never a big fan. I would carry my .45 off duty. The Dept. I am with now has gone back to 9mm and our qualification scores have gone up as a whole. All in all I believe 9mm is the way to go for police work.

  37. I have a couple .40s because you just never know in this climate when the next ammo or gun shortage is going to come along, and the ammo’s been both plentiful and reasonably priced. Both can be converted to 9mm if ever needed or wanted. I definitely limit my calibers to more general purpose, not exotic, but don’t consider .40 to be exotic like, say, .22 TCM or FN 5.7. Try finding those during a zombie apocalypse.

  38. 10mm Special, no thanks 😉 Shooting and reloading for a P220-10 mostly. For SD my Model 66 (loaded w/ 38 Special +P) or One Pro .45 will do just fine.

  39. Since I’m currently without a semi-auto pistol, second on my to buy list is fixing that. I’m either getting a Beretta PX4 Storm in either 9mm or .40 with a slight preference for .40, or splurge on a 1911, probably in .45 but possibly 10mm. I’m used to full house .357 so recoil is not much of a factor. Capacity (9mm) vs. power (.40) is kind of a wash IMO. Either way, if you can’t stop a threat with 14 rounds you’re in pretty deep doodoo.

    • Go with the 1911. Being a revolver guy, it’s the next logical step.
      I only went with the Glock because I didn’t have a gun and I went with a need, not a want.
      I never got that pair of Match Champion Rugers. The wife reminded me that we already had my son’s car painted for his birthday and I can’t get mine until I finish building a retaining wall.
      Life happens.

      • Ah, well, life happens. I doubt Ruger has any plans to stop production on the Match Champions.

        I have a hard time getting passionate about autos, even 1911s. Mostly a SHTF weapon or a buddy gun, so the Beretta fits the bill there. I’ve seen them on Gun Broker as low as $400. Also, my wife has the Storm subcompact and the trigger is noticeably better than the one on the 92fs I had.

        On the other hand I’m leaning toward a Magnum Research DE 1911. It appears to have the best trigger in the price range ($650 of so online). Or maybe really splurge and get a Kimber or something extra pretty. Eventually I figure I’ll get both, but first I’ve got a lever action .30-30 to buy. Worst case senario – one gun per year. I’ll have quite a collection before I die.

        • Heard bad things about Kimber reliability. Have a friend that had a Magnum Research and swore them off. Go with a series 70 1911 and if you don’t want to splurge, get a Springfield or Remington.
          That’s what I’m going to do. I have a military flap holster just waiting for an M1911.

        • Why is it that the prettier and more expensive a 1911 is the less reliable it is?

        • >> Why is it that the prettier and more expensive a 1911 is the less reliable it is?

          Because they make the fit tighter for it to look prettier and/or shoot more accurately. And tight = less reliable when dirty. Same reason why AK fares better than AR in sand and dirt.

        • In my opinion, if you want a single semi-auto handgun for mostly practical reasons, and you’re coming from revolvers, just get some modern DA/SA 9mm. 9mm because magazine capacity is the main practical difference vs revolvers, so you want to maximize that; if you wanted more energy, a .357 revolver is a better choice anyway, and the extra 2 rounds (if that, since there are 8-round .357 revolvers) you get with a 1911 are hardly worth it. DA/SA because it’s closer to what you’re used to, and generally quite practical and flexible.

          Which one, doesn’t really matter. If you want something more classic, and also really nice, but reasonably priced, get a CZ 75 (possibly SP01). All-steel construction will last, the gun feels nice and hefty in your hand (and also more controllable than modern plastic frames ones), is very accurate, and has decent trigger. If you just want something practical and boring, get any plastic framed one that has a good price at the moment.

        • The upside on the 1911 is that the better ones have a trigger pull similar to the SA trigger pull on my revolvers. The DA/SA autos all have a lot of take up and a bit of creep. And the DA pulls are heavier and not nearly as smooth. I think any striker fired auto would drive me nuts with a whole magazine full of really crappy trigger pulls.

          I’m not planning on changing my EDC (GP100 Wiley Clapp) but if by some freak of nature I should need a back up carry weapon the Beretta Storm would fit the bill nicely. I even have a holster I bought for a Ruger P95 that should fit perfectly. A 1911 would be more of a range toy. The CZ might be worth a closer look though.

        • If you want a range toy primarily, 1911 is definitely a better choice, trigger and otherwise ergonomics-wise.

          As a tool / backup, though, I think DA/SA is a better fit. Realistically, for “real” use, handgun triggers don’t matter anywhere near as much (and there are DA/SA guns with pretty good triggers, too – not as good as a good SA, of course, but good enough).

          PX4 Storm is a great gun, too. When I was shopping for a full-size handgun, it ended up second on my list, right below CZ. Between the two, I liked the trigger in CZ slightly better, and also the extra weight from all-steel construction making recoil more controllable. I also liked CZ grip better, but that is a very subjective metric – it fits my hand better than any other handgun (save for 1911) that I tried, but all hands are different.

          Also, Storm had the most controllable recoil of all the polymer handguns that I’ve tried – presumably due to their rotating lock system. I’ve heard good things about their reliability, too. Not a fan of European-style placement of safety on the slide, though. CZ is more ergonomic in that regard, placing it where God and JMB intended.

        • The Storm is the logical choice for a backup carry / zombie apocalypse SHTF weapon. I probably put 5000 rounds through my 92fs without a single malfunction and my wife’s subcompact has been flawless except for some very light loads we tried when the gun was brand new. When it comes to sending a bullet downrange every time you pull the trigger you can’t beat Beretta IMHO. Slide mounted safety is not an issue if you’re used to it, although it probably helps if you have large hands.

          The 1911 would still be my back up carry gun, but really, what are the chances my GP100 is going to shit itself? So range toy might take precedence. Eventually I’d like to get both, but the CZ might fit the bill instead of both. Haven’t read fully up on them, but I’m thinking the 75BD (decocker) sounds pretty cool.

        • While you’re looking at CZ, consider also that they have an SA model in the line-up – CZ 75 B SA. I haven’t tried that, but presumably it would have a better trigger, more akin to 1911.

          I ended up getting SP-01, because I wanted the bottom rail for lights etc, and because it has nice tritium sights out of the box.

  40. The statement that the 40 is less controllable than the 45 is false. So not starting on the right foot. Guns that shoot the 45 might be more controllable since you don’t usually see them in compact format. A 230 grain 45 traveling at 800 fps has more free recoil than an 180 grain 40 at 950 fps. Put either in a full sized 1911 equivalent and they are well controlled. Put either in a single stack (Springfield XDS) and they feel like a snub nosed 357.

    • Had a Browning Hi Power in .40. Nice shooting gun, but it became a safe queen due to the weight. Sold it to offset the expense of my XDS .45, which actually gets carried and makes slightly bigger holes.

  41. This is hilarious. By sales volume, .40 caliber is still one of the top 5 calibers in the US. People have been claiming that the .38 Special was going to go away since the 1950s, and look at that one. Also, sorry, but it needs saying: what is with the younger crowd always whining about how “stout” the .40 is??????!!! The top handgun by sales from 1973 to 1993 was the .357 Magnum, with 6.6 million sold!!!! This data is all available from the ATF. The .40 is barely less controllable than any of the low-end calibers. Good grief, folks, the .44 magnum is still produced in enormous volumes every year. .40 serves no purpose?? A friend just picked up a CZ P09 in .40 (great gun many of you would love, by the way). That gun, loaded with Winchester PDX1 165 grainers puts 16 rounds at 465 ft. lbs. apiece in your hand. I was in Aurora the day the clown-b*tch shot up the theater. I will never again carry something that can’t slap a clown in body armor as hard as possible. A .40 is too light! Haha.

        • Just my humble opinion, but I think the .38 special’s continued popularity has a lot more to do with the availability extremely light and compact revolvers in the round than the fact that you can shoot them in .357 revolvers. You only save about a buck a box shooting .38s, so I never buy them. Now on the other hand the .44 special does benefit a great deal from the existence of the .44 magnum. My wife has no problem shooting the more common (downloaded) .357 rounds (which are still much stronger than .38 +p), but when I break out the .44 magnum she shoots .44 special.

          As pertaining to the .40 S&W, it has it’s own niche in the availability of affordable double stack autos and the fact that it packs just a bit more punch than a 9mm +p. Being a compromise round though, it does one thing better than 9mm and a different thing better than .45 but doesn’t necessarily do anything particularly well.

      • The fact that it dumps incredible energy per round with large capacity and heavy bullets in moderately-sized guns. The Glock 22 is one of the finest law enforcement weapons ever carried. Fantastic balance of capacity, energy, and not-at-all annoying weight.

        • I meant that the .38 had help. You say the .40 will ride it’s own wave. I think so too. I just don’t think overall there is an advantage to the .40 but as long as it sells, it will be made.

      • I hear that 10 mm Glocks can shoot .40 without any changes of barrel or magazine. Extractor holds the cartridge so it doesn’t have to headspace.

  42. Shot placement is king, magazine capacity is queen, caliber is the humble duke. Shoot what you got and work on keeping them on target.

    • I’d say somewhere in there between king and queen is bullet choice, but well said.

      .40 S&W is a choice. Choices are good.

  43. We will be having this same conversation about .300 “Gimmickout” – I’m sorry, “Blackout” one day. Whoever takes over Forgotten Weapons after Ian retires will probably do a full episode on it.

    • *chuckle*
      My thoughts exactly. I remember when 6.8SPC was going to be the next big thing; dead-tree gun magazines sang it’s praises, and now .300BO is picking up where 6.8 left off.

    • .300 actually has at least two significant reasons to stay around: suppressors, and SBRs. There was a need for a rifle/carbine cartridge that can deliver in those configurations, and .300 did just that. It’s not a big niche, but I don’t see the niche going away, and therefore the cartridge will stay until something better comes along.

  44. I’ve never bought a gun that was natively .40, but my FrankenGlock is a G20 with a big honkin’ Lone Wolf slide and an RMR. I usually use it to shoot .40 with a conversion barrel, since it feeds properly from the G20 mags and that big chunk of steel tames the recoil nicely.

  45. I have a .40 barrel that I got second hand cheap for my P320 chambered in .357 SIG. I have shot it one time with the .40 barrel. Good to have if ammo becomes scarce to give me some diversity, but I am not a fan of the . 40.

  46. Pretty much.
    Worst caliber to teach from. Bad kick and muzzle flip.
    Worst caliber for sub/compact carry. Jumps like a mofo.
    Even pros tend to gravitate over to 9 and/or 45 eventually.
    Doesn’t mix well in the NFA world either. Sucks for suppression. And most subguns and machine guns are 9 and 45 anyway.

  47. My first pistol was an original Walther P99 in .40. I still have it but my wife likes it so it’s what she uses (she’s better with it than I am anyway).

    • This is such a good problem to have, I wouldn’t even consider it a problem. 1) Wife shoots 2) Wife shoots well.

    • Ditto, the wife loves the M&P40c, so we keep .40 around. I had her try identical 40c and 9c back to back and she shot the .40 better.

    • Small world: The first gun I bought was a Walther P99 in .40 cal, too.

      Back when I bought it, .40 was the thing and being a good American, well, damn it, we go for the biggest caliber we can get, right? (Yeah, I was 21 yr old at the time, I’ve learned). .40 was it in the P99.

      Now?

      I’d go 9mm all day long. And in fact, picked up a Beretta M9 a few years ago and it’s currently my favorite pistol I own. It’s also the one I’m most accurate with. That said. I’ll keep my P99 for sentimental reasons as my first gun.

      But from here out I’ll probably be sticking with 9mm for semi-auto pistols. I’m also working on acquiring an MPX in 9mm this season.

  48. Wow, Haters got to hate. I like them all. Talk about dead cartridges, my favorite small game round is .17 hm2!

  49. Meh-I still don’t get it. I shoot 40 very well. I don’t get to the range often,don’t compete and I don’t hunt. And during the ammo famine I always saw 40. Will that last? Beats me. If I get a deal on a 40cal I’ll get one. Great ballistics out of a rifle too(like Hi-point or Kel-tec)…and yeah I shoot 9mm pretty well too.

  50. “But .40 isn’t as controllable as 9mm or .45. So why bother?”

    Of course .40 S&W is just as controllable as 9mm or ,45, but you have to practice with it. I don’t have any problems handling a .40 compact. I trained my 14 yo ex-stepson on a .40 and he performed very well, and he was a skinny kid without a lot of strength. I trained women noobies and they were fine, too. One of them managed to shoot rings around everyone at the range on her first day with a .40 cal.

    I’ve been shooting .38Spl snubbies for a long time. Compared to shooting an Airweight revolver, firing a .40 cal pistol is a walk in the park on a fine spring day.

    You get what you train for.

    • Yeah, Todd Jarret would agree. What a bunch of wussies. Must prefer 410 in the shotguns too. I love all the major calibers and I don’t pick my SD cartridges on flaky government trends or media created scare tactics. Rather have some hardball 40/45’s in SHTF than 9mm FMJ’s too.

    • When I first got my .40s (two totally different brands) I took ’em to the range and shot HORRIBLY with them. Well, it had been a while since I had gone shooting (shame on me!) so I just figured I really needed to get some practice. But the ammo drought was in high steam and I couldn’t. Shooting that badly, I decided I needed to stop carrying.

      Lo and behold, I shot my nine a few months later and did as well as I usually did (back then–I’ve gotten better). I was able to fix issues I had with my shooting by working with the 40, so now I shoot both it and my nine better than I shot the nine back then.

      You’re absolutely right; it’s a matter of training. I was having minor issues with the nine, that the .40 exacerbated. Once I started doing things right, I improved with both calibers, and shoot about equally well with both now.

  51. I doubt it will die soon since there are so many 40s already out there. Many have noted the police trade-ins already.

    Is it “snappier” than a 9mm? Most think so. A 357 is also “snappier” than a 38 special. If the ballistics appeal to you, learn to control the weapon or get something that “snaps” less.

    People seem to only feel comfortable with their choice if they talk smack about someone else’s choice. The 40 did fill a roll in a larger diameter bullet than a 9mm with a smaller frame size than a 10mm or 45.

    A compact 45 can be tough to control and carries fewer rounds than a similar-sized 40 (Glock 30 vs Glock 23).

    You pay your money and make your choice. Spend a little time to get good with what you carry because you cant miss fast enough to win.

    Hell, the 38 special is obsolete but that doesn’t mean it can’t be effective.

    The 40 will be around for some time to come. There are plenty of people who like it.

  52. SR40 (mine) and SR40C (which is my wife’s now). I like recoil and liked the 40s&w from the get-go. 9mm is ok too, my summer carry is a Kahr CM9. .380 is nice when I need to pocket carry (Kahr has larger slide release). 10mm is grrreat when in the woods or mountains. .357 mag is for the homestead.

    Oh and I like my .40 cuz the reloading dies can do 10mm as well.

  53. For me it is ‘how does the whole thing hang together?’ I would carry anything from a .30 Luger to .50 Special depending on the strength of all of the attributes together. I also very much suspect that shot for shot the .40 can be significantly more capable than the 9mm. More material and more energy undoubtedly allow for more damage. Just because the data available does not resolve it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

  54. Another click bait article.

    Sponsored emails.

    Ads a plenty.

    It’s getting harder and harder to get quality articles here.

    • One generally endeavors to give customers what they want when one is in business:-) Also, although these sorts of articles get the most comments (probably because they are easier and safer comment on), it doesn’t mean the deeper stuff isn’t getting viewed.

  55. I offer no insight on 40’s benefits to others, but it has none for me. I already own firearms chambered for 8 different calibers so I have no interest in adding another anytime soon. I still need to build up my stocks of ammo for guns I own!

    So I doubt I ever buy a 40.

  56. Historically .40 is significantly harder to design guns for than 9 or 45. The fatigue life cycle is just shortened (the gun wears out faster). Most quality designs still last 20X longer than 98% of end users are ever going to shoot, but the bottom line is they just put more abuse on parts than even a 45.

    Personally, I can’t wait for the 40 to die.

  57. I like my ammo like I like my women. Available! That’s why I have pistols for most popular calibers. Ammo makers have made great strides in the last few years.

  58. Going to build a polymer80 Spectre in .40. If I don’t like it, I can just change to a 9mm slide/barrel.

  59. During firearmageddon 2013, I had a .40. Guess what ammo I was able to continue to buy off of the shelf while 9mm and .45 were sold out? .40! I have two pistol in .40 that I am keeping for thay reason alone. I’m only down 1-2 rounds to most of my 9mm pistols. (CZ P09 is the exception) I can also reload for it fairly cheap as nobody wants to pick up .40 brass at the range.

  60. I own 1- .45acp, 1- 9mm 1- 10mm 1-.38 special 1-.357mag and 2- .40 S&W, l carry the.40s. Because I shoot them better than the others. The last skills assessment I took, I got 4/ A-zone hits at 12yards, drawing from concealment in 1.5 seconds. I believe I’ll do okay.

  61. First semi auto handgun I ever bought for myself was a .40. I don’t know if it was the gun or the caliber, but I just never really cared for it as much as I thought I’d enjoy it. Everyone in my family had 9mms, so after I sold that handgun off due to financial difficulties, I replaced it when I could with a 9mm just so we could shoot together and share ammo. I’ve been with 9mms ever since. I don’t really regret it.

  62. The only time I considered .40 was when I was looking at the Hi-Point carbines a couple years ago. The caliber seems to make a lot more sense in a carbine than a pistol.

  63. It wont go away but the civilian side is definitely leaning towards 9×19. Most likely due to lower cost of ammo since we in a depression and all. I dont like to .40 either btw. But do love the .357sig. But have one only for the cool factor and to change it up a tad.

  64. First ever pistol I bought was a .40 cal Glock G22 Gen4. Won’t sell it as it has my name and graduating class laser engraved on it.

    Sure it’s snappy, but I feel like learning how to shoot on that particular pistol really helped my recoil control, especially once I bought my .45 Range Master.

  65. For me it was dead on arrival. Too much recoil, it’s hard on the guns and accuracy suffers. Now .357 Sig?

    • Does that mean u like .357sig. ? I think its a great lil round. Much more interesting than .40. And i think has more benefit too for having to give up capacity. Ballistics are great.

  66. During the huge ammo shortage several years ago, the one caliber I was always able to find was 40 cal and in spades. So I’ll stick with my 40 until ammo becomes scarce. For future purchases I will look towards the 9mm variant instead the 40 cal.

    • During the drought, the shelves were full of .40–and nothing else. 9mm was always out of stock, and .45, except in high end SD rounds, usually out of stock. Around here, the other two are king. It might be worth acquiring a .40 just in case the others dry up again in a few months.

      I have only shot a .40 once, a full size Glock. My EDC is a 9mm 16 oz Kahr with a 3.5″ barrel, usually with 124 gr ammo. Quite frankly I didn’t feel any significant difference between the two. Then again, I also shoot .45 out of a 4″ barrel and recently acquired a .45Colt with a 4.75″ barrel. Those two have some significant muzzle flip!

  67. Unless I missed it, no has talked about the competition angle. USPSA limited class minimum caliber to make major power factor is .40 S&W. Limited class is still dominated by the .40. I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I don’t think it is doomed, or anywhere near dead. Unless USPSA changes the rules set, .40 will be around for a while.

    • I forgot to mention, I shoot an STI EDGE in .40 s&w, and to everyone that says .40 is a snappy round hasn’t shot it from an STI. Its probably my favorite round to date.

  68. Single round for single round 40 wins, based of the FBI 10mm light test data.

    Multiple rounds 9 & 45 win for controlability. 9 wins simply for how many rounds you can place on target the fastest.

    My 5’2″ ex-wife hand me my old 40 after 1 round and said “no”.

    Never complained about anything else ever.

    From an instructor/ general issue stand point 40 sucks.

    40’s first round beats the rest, but do you really want to depend on it? Or the other 3 rounds you can get off with a 9 before you can fire the second round of 40?

  69. never saw the point of .40. the upside (availability) to me is outweighed by the downsides (more expense, beats up the guns from what i hear)

    but i won’t begrudge anyone who likes it

  70. I have a m&p 9, Xd 40, 1911 45, love the Xd , 9 mm is a weak round, not enough of a punch, 9mm fans say shot placement or mag capacity, well then why not a 22 lr or 22 mag, test the the 9 mm yourself, grab a 10lbs block mark the placement & step back and shoot mark distance then compare with the 40 s&w. Use same barrel size . I’ve been hog hunting with both 9 mm & 40 s&w same type of ammo, the 9 mm didn’t work so well. The U.S. Military agrees, no don’t say it’s the ball ammo, because it will be replaced with ball ammo, and my daughter doesn’t say 40 has to much kick and she’s 14, so when grown men say this it’s the new era of metrosexual

    • There’s absolutely no data to support the hypothesis that 9mm is a weak round.

      No trauma surgeon in the world is going to be able to tell a .40 gunshot from a 9mm or a .45 because, despite what some people say, the kinetic energy they deliver is all within the same approximate range, with ammo choice and barrel length making far more difference than simple caliber. The 9×19 was developed for one of the most effective and capable armies of all time, and the fact that its now used over a hundred years later by that army’s former adversaries speaks volumes.

      If you cant kill it with a 9, a 40 or 45 wont do it any better, and vice versa. Given that such is true, recoil management, gun stress/wear, and cost are all far more relevant factors.

      One will notice that 9mm is used around the world. 45 is only very rarely outside the US (largely in places that relied on the US for arms during the cold war) while .40 basically doesnt exist at all outside the US. There is a reason for that, and its because the 40 just doesnt offer anything meaningful over 9mm Parabellum.

  71. Is the .40 dead? No, because there are still plenty of people in the world who actually believe that there is a measurable different in wounding potential and “stopping power” between 9mm .40 and .45ACP and who dutifully go around preaching to any new person who asks them for advice on guns and writing doctoral thesis length articles in Internet forums about their choice.

    Which is fine, luckily the second amendment doesn’t protect only the right to keep and bear NATO spec cartridges.

    ‘Merica y’all!

    • No, because there are still plenty of people in the world who actually believe that there is a measurable different in wounding potential and “stopping power” between 9mm .40 and .45ACP and who dutifully go around preaching to any new person who asks them for advice on guns and writing doctoral thesis length articles

      I’ll admit I bought .40 because I thought so. I never preached it, though, and I don’t believe it today.

      I hung onto them for other reasons, mainly because it does a job no other gun I already own does, and the fact that ammo for it wasn’t as badly affected by the great ammo drought. I’m NOT claiming that 40 will be easier to get the next time, but it did teach me having multiple options is a good thing. And with the money already spent, the cost of having the option now is zero.

  72. Been working in a gun store for a few years, and I, and everyone else in the store carries either a 9mm or a .45 acp. .40 S&W is snappy and it’s harder to get your shots off quickly with the degree of accuracy necessary at anything closer than “can’t miss range”.

    Since the FBI trials, everyone has been trying to dump their .40 guns on us and we’re just not interested.

  73. 40 is the best hand gun caliber for autos, it’s the do it all caliber, punch of a 45, capacity of a nine, the major reason FBI went to the nine is because female agents had the most trouble with accurate follow up shots, under a set time, I’ve got a nephew in the US Army experimental unit, said they were testing hand gun calibers, and it seams that the 40 is getting the best reviews, next will be testing the hand guns

  74. I’ve got a 2nd Generation Glock 22 that I’m not that fond of.

    The recoil is extremely sharp. It’s not painful, merely FAST, and makes it hard to control. It’s difficult keeping two hands on it.

    In the right package, the .40 S&W is probably fine in a metal framed handgun, like a Browning Hi Power or a CZ75SA.

    I can’t say I’ll never buy another .40. I can say I’ll never buy another polymer .40.

  75. Regardless of what you think of the .40 S&W, the round will live on simply because there are so many handguns already out there chambered for it. The demand for the ammo will always be there, so new handguns will always be chambered for it.

  76. The .40 was created specifically by S&W and Winchester at the request of the FBI to provide something better than the .38 Special but with less recoil than a 10mm. In essence, a detuned round intended to be easy to shoot by people who didn’t practice enough.

    I’m not saying that’s a bad thing or that it’s a bad round. Lot’s of rounds were created to fill a specific purpose. The .40 was just something that was created within a very narrow band of performance and tolerances, and in the end it doesn’t seem to really perform well enough to be viable in the field of shooter experiences to hold its place between the 9mm, the .45 ACP or the 10mm. It isn’t going to matter how much we argue about it here or on any forum, it’s going to be consumer demand that drives the trend of its success or shooter indifference towards it.

    I doubt it will ever actually go extinct because there are always going to be shooters to whom it genuinely appeals. For me, I haven’t seen any reason to use it strong enough to motivate me to give it a go. I like my 9mms and .45 ACP gun well enough to stick with them. And in the end, that is what will make or break a round.

  77. Kahr T40. Stainless with colobo (?) wood grips. Three bills at pawn shop because it was missing a grip screw. I like it with 180 grain loads. Fairly heavy to damp recoil, but not to heavy to carry. Disappears in an Alien Gear IWB. Nice, accurate pistol.

    And back in 2013 when I couldn’t find 9mm or 45 for love nor money, there was always boxes of 40 on the shelf.

  78. I carry it at work because I have to. I own one personally because it was a gift, it sits in my safe. I prefer my 9mm CZ and my .45 ACP Colt. Between those two guns I have all my handgun needs met. Wants are an entirely different story (dreaming of a Wilson Combat).

  79. 40 s&w is here to stay, the 9 mm will dwindle in popularity as soon as the US Military drops it, for lack of effectiveness in stopping a determined combatant (lack of stopping power)

    • Handgun stopping power is a myth. Unless you’re talking about .32 ACP and lower, then you’re looking at significant risk of under penetration. Penetration, placement, and number of rounds on target equal stopping power, not bullet diameter. Bullet weight need only be sufficient to retain enough energy to carry the bullet through flesh and bone standing in the way of vital organs. Seeing as 9mm, .40 SW, and .45 ALL tend to overpenetrate with ball loads and many JHP loads, penetration (and therefore caliber) are a moot point. The advantage in 9mm over the others is the ability to accurately deliver shots in rapid succession, and even .45 beats the .40 at that. There is no advantage in the .40, save maybe penetration and retained energy through hard barriers like auto glass. In which case the .40 has found its niche on the road with law enforcement where that is a common occurrence. I suspect, however, that .357 Sig would likely out perform .40 SW at that as well.

  80. Then as a few posts above why not use a 22 mag, and try shooting at 10 lbs block see what caliber moves the block furthest, 9mm only became popular whe the military switched from 45 because of nato, but ask any member of the armed forces what they prefer, not what they have to use

    • Soldiers always want what they don’t have. And they lust after kit from other countries. Most soldiers carrying the 9, or the .45 for that matter, have never actually fired that pistol in battle.

      I carried, at seperate times, a TT33 and a detective special .38 because I did not trust the m16 I was issued. Never fired either one in combat but they gave me a little more confidence that if my rifle did fail I had a backup.

      • This. Absolutely this. Other Marines I served with thought the British SA80 was cool when in reality it’s been a very troubled platform since it was introduced.

        • Having read reports on the production and support issues of the SA80, there’s no way I’d use one for anything more than a wall hangar.

          If the British taxpayers knew anything about guns (and it is quite clear that they don’t, and they like their ignorance big and persistent), they’d lynch the people responsible for the SA80 – just on grounds of the waste of tax monies.

    • I don’t have to ask. I’ve been in the Marine Corps for 6 years with one trip to Afghanistan. I don’t really prefer the M9A1 and while I used to be a “.45, because they don’t make a .46 guy” I’ve done a little personal research and the evidence just doesn’t support a difference in “stopping power”. Handgun rounds all generally suck at stopping people. The best study I’ve ever read on “stopping power” was this one: http://www.buckeyefirearms.org/alternate-look-handgun-stopping-power Read the whole article and draw your own conclusions. I concluded that the drawbacks to 9mm versus other calibers were the equivalent of splitting hairs and that the benefits could mean the difference in winning and losing a gunfight, especially against multiple attackers.

      • Another Marine from an earlier era, Jeff Cooper, used to say that a handgun was what you used to fight your way back to the rifle you should have never allowed to become separated from your person in the first place.

        Cooper was a huge advocate of the .45 ACP, and later one of the stepfathers of the 10mm and the Bren Ten pistol, so the pistols he was envisioning as inferior weapons to a rifle weren’t the M9.

  81. True most combat personal never fired a side arm, but those who have preferred the larger caliber, that’s the reason the US Military is getting rid of a 9 mm lack of performance

    • Nothing has been decided yet. They are considering switching rounds and also considering switching to jacketed hollow points. The entire program could be dropped and they might just keep the M9 like they did with the carbine trials a few years ago. And it’s also just the Army looking. The Marine Corps will get the Army’s 10 year old ragged out M17s one day, if they switch.

  82. I just bought a glock 23 fde that was on sale at my LGS with a couple hand fulls of police trade in 22 mags. I’m nowhere near a big fan of the .40 but I don’t hate it either, and when the mass panic buying starts it’s usually the only caliber left on the shelf which is fine by me. I keep my other calibers stocked up nicely but I never have to worry about the .40. I can walk in and 9 times out of 10 .40 will be stacked to the ceiling while a couple of guys fight each other to the death for that last box of 9mm.

  83. Balance, balance, balance

    Suppose we have cartridges of all projectile diameters, and they all give 12″ penetration at least.

    From .17 to .50, all else being equal, what is YOUR best balance of capacity, recoil and permanent wound channel diameter?

    Caliber wars go on and on cuz we only have like 3 to choose from, and data ranges from “they look the same as told by coroners”, to “saying all pistol calibers suck the same amount is like saying all cars suck at fuel economy and let’s all drive tractors to work”

    I honestly dont foresee a way in the near future to accurately evaluate the effectiveness, as actual gunfights where an opponents is physically, not psychologically, stopped, are very rare events, reliable recounting is even rarer, and other variables are never held reasonably constant. Gel tests are just that, we all know how much different they are from actual humans of all kinds of build and shape, in a dynamic environment.

    So heck, pick what you emotionally like and be done with it. I pick 45 cuz i run FMJ for reliability under adverse conditions. I shoot 9 better than 40 better than 45, but that’s called tradeoff. YMMV

  84. During Sandy Hook and other ammo runs on stores, 9mm and .45 were always sold out yet there always seemed to be .40 on the shelves. I shoot what I can get ammo for. And the 180 grain shoots fine without too much snap. 165 a little worse.

  85. No, .40 isn’t doomed, but it’s being propped up by those of us in magazine-cap states.

    Were I able to own a pistol with a standard-capacity magazine, I would choose 9mm without a doubt, but given only 10 rounds, the extra muzzle energy in commercial self-defense rounds makes me feel a bit more secure.

  86. I only have .40s and I like them a lot. I think they are a good balance of attributes. I don’t think I’m ever going to move to something different, partly because it works for me and partly because my budget is limited. But I can certainly understand that other people would make other decisions.

  87. 40 s&w is king from the slow 180 grain to the very fast 150 grain Very close to 357 sig but wider, shot placement! Get hit anywhere, will be a bad day, follow up shots, I dought you need more than a fraction of a second for a possible 2nd shot

  88. Over 200 comments-does that answer the question? If you can’t handle “snappy” recoil-work out…

    • No shit man. Everytime I read someone say .40 is too much for them I’m thinking ok put down the Big Mac and lift a couple times a week. The weaklings these days astound me.

  89. I know some have mentioned it before but 40 is the dominant round in USPSA Limited. My wife shoots an STI Edge in 40 and has an Eagle also in 40. She likes it a lot.

  90. I got no beef with the .40. But I’m already feeding multiple .38’s. 9×18. 9×19. .22lr and .22 mag in handguns.

    Do I need another caliber?

  91. Yay! A caliber war – I missed you so!

    Sorry I’m late to the party, folks…

    The .40 was my first pistol purchase, and like my first lay, I now know how much I didn’t know… And I wept… More than once.

  92. Just switched back to 9mm from .40. I still have a .40 but I don’t shoot it. I like the original 180 grain at just under 1k fps loading in a duty sized pistol. It has a credible reputation from the results of actual police shootings and I think that it’s mild to shoot in a duty sized weapon. In smaller guns like my Kahr K40 Covert, it sucks.

    I don’t think that it’s dead, nor do I think that it will ever be, but I think that over the past few years civilians have started to collectively come to understand that whatever terminal ballistic advantage the .40 might give in a small carry sized gun isn’t worth the extra cost, extra recoil and lowered capacity. Thus, sales of the caliber will surely decrease but I think many agencies will stick with for some time to come.

  93. The .40 does nothing that a 9mm or 45 acp won’t do, and does it with more felt recoil. Along with that benefit, it beats up the gun more than the other two cartridges mentioned. A few years back I wanted a HK USP Compact in .45 but they weren’t making it yet, so I bought the .40 version Never have liked it.

  94. Me too. I prefer 9×19 because I think it’s the smallest pistol caliber that’s still strong enough and also the most variety and availability.

    But I bought a 40 anyway, so I can shoot 3 different calibers through it with just a barrel and mag change.

    • And by the way, the 40 wasn’t a complete waste of time. If not for the 40, the 9mm wouldn’t be where it is today.

  95. What an inane article. Yeah. 40SW is dead, thats why 60% of the cops carry them and the gunstores are full of them for sale. And a case of 40SW is only 25 bucks more than a case of 9MM ammo. While 357 SIG and 45GAP might be going the way of the dinosaur, 40SW is going strong.

  96. The .40 S&W will never die out. There are far too many pistols chambered in .40 for it to do so.

    Look at the .38 Super. You can still find .38 Super ammo today, and even at the zenith of its popularity (the 1930’s), it was such a small minority of pistols sold that it was always a footnote. You can still find the ammo, loaded, or in components.

    If the .38 Super had been chambered in more semi-auto pistols, the 9×19 wouldn’t be more than a footnote today in the US gun market, and there wouldn’t have been much flailing around with nonsense like the 10mm and resulting .40 S&W. In a contest between the .38 Super and a 9×19 for penetration, I’ll take the .38 Super eight days a week, especially if I’m the one loading the cartridge.

    Better yet, I’d take a 9×23. Now I’d have .357 Mag performance in a semi-auto.

  97. So many “glass half empty” shooters! More energy, larger diameter and weight than 9mm and better capacity and speed than .45. What’s there not to like, right? At least that’s what I have listened to growing up.

    I like the hot handloaded .40 short and weak in my full size steel framed pistol better than 9mm adapter on the same gun. I also like to shoot hot handloads from .44 Super Redhawk though.
    Yeah, .40 is a Jack of all trades and master of none. But hey – so am I.

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