Sam Hoober writes [via ammoland.com]

In the past few decades, 9mm ammunition has improved by leaps and bounds, to the point where there isn’t much advantage to carrying a larger round, short of the magnum revolver calibers.

This was part of why the FBI announced they would be switching from .40 S&W for their standard-issue duty guns to 9mm. It may not have been the caliber’s death knell, but it sure impacted retail sales.

When you look at so many new pistols that are announced by major manufacturers in the past couple years, they seem to be slower to make one in .40 than in 9mm.

Since small pistols for CCW are more popular, the 9mm round is far more suited to the application given that .40 S&W is harder recoiling and can be tougher on pistols that aren’t designed to take it – as some manufacturers have been guilty of just slapping a slightly larger barrel in a 9mm pistol rather than taking the time to do it right.

Since 9mm is the Goldilocks cartridge for a lot of guns – just small enough to be fired in small, medium or big pistols, just mild enough for most shooters and performs well enough to be relied upon – some think it’s the perfect CCW caliber.

As a result, the bad news for the .40 cal is more pistols are coming out that are only offered in 9mm, whereas they used to be offered in both.

As a result, there are a whole lot of .40 S&W guns sitting on gun store shelves and on gun auction site listings. There they sit, taking up space and not selling, not being shot and not being carried in a concealed carry holster.

This is just the personal, anecdotal experience, but if you look at gun auction and gun retailer websites there’s a good chance you’ll see a popular gun in .40 going for less than the 9mm version. If you’re comfortable with shooting the .40 S&W, that makes right now a good time to act.

Sometimes the difference is marginal (a few bucks) but sometimes it’s a difference of $50 to $100 or more. That could mean the difference putting the gun you want in the safe (or in your gun holster) sooner rather than later, if you’re the “save up until the purchase makes no difference” type.

Gun stores may also be willing to cut a deal on a .40 that’s just taking up cabinet space.

Time to buy a .40-caliber pistol? Why not? Ballistic testing over the years and performance in service with police agencies has shown .40 S&W to be a very capable self-defense round. With the right pistol, with the right technique, the recoil is perfectly controllable.

Keep in mind that a lot of pistols are easily converted from .40 to 9mm and back. In many cases, you just drop in the 9mm barrel and off you go. [You will need the 9mm magazines though.] Also, it’s not like ammunition makers are going to drop the .40 S&W anytime soon.

– Click here for TTAG’s article .40 S&W: The Perfect Middle Ground
– Click here for TTAG reviews of .40 caliber firearms

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Sam Hoober is a contributing editor at aliengearholsters.com, as well as for Bigfoot Gun Belts. He also writes weekly columns for Daily Caller and USA Carry.

181 Responses to Time to Buy a .40 Caliber Handgun?

  1. It’s not the cost of the gun that concerns me and causes me to buy a 9mm. To me, I buy 9mm because of the price, variety and availability (both now and in the future) of ammo.

    • Time to buy a .40? What is this 1995? I thought we were so over the .40.

      Guess they’ll let anybody write anything for this blog now.

    • My concern with .40 has always been the cost compared to 9mm. Then during the Obama ammo shortage, I could always find .40 ammo and price was less important.

      Perhaps as ammo manufacturers adjust capacity down to match lower market demand, there will be good deals on .40 in the future too. At least for a while.

      I’m keeping my Glock 23, but I wouldn’t buy another .40 caliber pistol and I’ll be getting the parts to convert my 23 to 9mm.

      • I’ll agree with you that when, not if, another ammo shortage comes, .40 will be plentiful, 9mm will be scarce. It’s better to have a gun to feed than one that goes hungry if there’s a time you need it. A time that may last longer than one can reasonably stockpile.

        I have a .40 Glock, I have a 9mm conversion barrel, and I’ve not changed the ejector, extractor, or recoil spring and it runs fine. If you want to spend the money for extra peace of mind, get those other parts. You may need them in case one of them breaks.

        I’ll keep my eyes open for a REALLY good deal on a Glock 27, basically the Glock 26 in .40 S&W, and buy a 9mm barrel for that too, but I’m not sure if it’s worth getting a G27 and converting it because it’s not that much of a savings and also I’m wondering if I should buy into the Sig P320 and it’s modular design and whatever.

  2. Any time the Eff BE Eye switches the LE sheep follow. I’ve said this for years. If the F BE Eye switched to sawed of 20 gauges everybody in LE would too. I solved this problem years ago by switching my SHTF gun to a G17L. Stronger than the .40 while shooting the 9mm round. Using the 147gr 9mm it almost makes black holes!

    • I remember when the FBI carried 45 Colt’s, then they complained to Colt that it had to much recoil, and Colt told them they were limp wristing it and the FBI cancelled their contract. I guess the truth hurts, LMAO. So from 45 to 40 and now back to 9mm. Somewhere in there 10mm.

        • “source please!” This was almost pre internet, I can’t give you a source now for something like this that took place around 1990. I can’t remember where I even read that now, but it’s probably from a gun magazine in the 90’s.

      • I think you are getting what actually happened with the FBI and 10mm, confused with some myths about the Colt 45 being a real man’s gun.

        • No, but I didn’t make myself clear earlier, I am talking about the Colt 1911’s they contracted Colt to make for them back then, as in 45ACP not 45 Colt.
          I don’t make caliber mistakes, it was as I said. IF you really care search FBI cancels Colt 1911 contract, maybe you will find it. I can barely type this out with this onscreen keyboard and a mouse so you can research this yourself, it is true.

        • Well, you would be wasting your time with that first link anyway, what do you think the FBI would bother to mention that? Why would they, it makes them look bad. You can take my word on this or not, I don’t care either way. I gave you the information, how you choose to use it is up to you. Their is no such thing as a complete history of anything in any book.

        • “Their is no such thing as a complete history of anything in any book.”

          Such hostility.

          The point was that a two hour search did not turn up much. I also researched the history of the .45 Long Colt, and .45APC ammunition. Nothing there, either. Only means the search may need to be made with tools other than Google.

          We all “hear” or “read” something, somewhere that we accepted as true at the time. Later, it may be impossible to actually find the “thing” again because we do not have specific enough memory to use the right keyword. Many times I searched for an item with every word I could remember, yet stumbled across the item during a different search because the latter search used a obscure phrase/word from the original that I did not properly recall.

        • I admit, I got annoyed, people always expect you to prove something and it can’t always be done. Also I am having keyboard problems and right now everything I type is annoying me. I had to use 2 keyboards just to log on my computer today. Ever tried to click 2 keys at the same time with an on screen keyboard, you can’t do that with a mouse button click. I been trying to to find it, best I found so far was about the 10mm 1076, where one guy mentions prepping the trigger and is also told he is mistaken and it is a rumor, but then an actual FBI agent finally weighs in that knew and verifies it. You can read about that here mith-wessonforum.com/smith-wesson-semi-auto-pistols/85509-fbi-1076-a.html?s=ee744d855cea8f2428abac4e22ce49ea I bet what I am talking about is buried somewhere in one of the pages of one of my gun magazines I haven’t even opened in decades, a literal needle in a hay stack for sure. I wish I could find it, but it but it but it may of never even made it on the net, or if it did may be buried long ago in the sands of time like so much else pretty much lost.

        • ” I bet what I am talking about is buried somewhere in one of the pages of one of my gun magazines I haven’t even opened in decades,…”

          BT, DT

        • “I think you are getting what actually happened with the FBI and 10mm, confused with some myths about the Colt 45 being a real man’s gun.” You were wrong when you wrote this, and you are still wrong. You seem to know about the FBI having problems limp wristing the 10mm, yet somehow ignorantly think they wouldn’t do the same with a 1911 in 45 ACP which is of about the same difference in performance. Just because we can’t find it on the net, does not mean I confusing facts with some stupid myth that you fabricated in your head. How about instead of being a prick that thinks he knows something, lets stick with what I do say. I own two 1911’s, I know what caliber I am talking about, because I had one of them when this information came to me to begin with. I remember me and a friend of mine laughing about it one day when we were shooting our regular 50 rounds a week with our own 45’s. This is why the internet is dumbed down, every time someone types something a know it all thinks he would know but doesn’t, this is what they get. I am done with this topic here. I know a lot of things most people don’t know, get over it. I can remember things from as far back as when I was 6, but that don’t mean I know every detail of an event. Einstein had a closet full of the same exact suit, did you know that? I do the same thing with information, I store what is useful and could care less about where I got it 25-30 years latter. I bet you are real fun at parties. Now I am done here. That includes reading anymore updates from you.

  3. For me, .40 cal represents less capacity, higher-priced ammo, and no real gain in capability.

    Unless you are short of guns, a better case can be made for buying the .40 cal parts to convert where possible, versus buying a whole gun, if only as a hedge against future 9mm ammo shortages.

    • For me it’s all about ft. Lbs. Of torque at impact. I know I’m a fairly good shot, and if I can throw a 180gr. JHP at an assailant and hit him with 490 ft. Lbs. It will most likely knock him off his feet. You just can’t get near that type of performance out of a 9mm. Also, I can use the same projectiles, powder and dies to reload 10mm.
      As far as loss of capacity, it seems on average it’s one round on the full size pistols maybe two. For me, not a big deal compared to the ballistic advantage with the right ammunition.
      One thing is true, I have a Beretta 96 an FNX and a few Walthers all scored on the cheap simply because of the caliber. On average fifty bucks or so less, some more.

      • For the record, torque is a measure of rotational force, which is determined by the angle and force applied to a moment arm, not a linear push or pull.

        • I find it a little ironic that the motorheads use ft/lbs to measure force and gun nuts use it to measure energy. (Horsepower is a unit for measuring rotational force applied over time, or energy.)

        • I’m pretty sure a big-ass boolit goin’ whiz-bang fast will torque a bad guy just fine, till he’s way far uptite.

        • Horsepower is what determines how fast you hit the wall.
          Torque is what determines how much time it takes to reach the speed at which you hit the wall.
          Kinetic energy is what determines how much damage is done to the wall when you hit it.

          The more horsepower you have, the closer to insane speed you can go.
          The more torque you have, the quicker you can get to that insane speed.
          The more kinetic energy you have, the deader you will be when you hit an unmovable object at that insane speed.

          As for guns, horsepower has no discernible effect.
          Torque is what gives you muzzle flip.
          Kinetic energy is how much force is available to dump into the target.
          Bullet design is what determines just how much and what kind of damage that kinetic energy imparts to the target.
          (In simple terms)

        • Governor Petomaine… hate to do this but you’re flat wrong… Force is in units of pounds-force (lbf) or Newtons (N, ie kg*m/s) . Torque and energy (somewhat analagous concepts) are the cross product of a position vector and a force (or a force vector and a position) and can be thought of as a force applied AT a distance, or OVER/THROUGH a distance, and has units of pound-force-feet or foot-force-pounds (Lbf-ft, etc) or Joules (J) or Newton-meter (N-m) (and a bunch other). Horsepower is a unit of POWER, which is energy over time, units of horsepower or watts or joules/sec and a bunch other. Can be best thought of amount of energy per unit time, which can be further expanded into a force acting over/through/at a distance, over a set amount of time.

        • That website’s data on the .40 show it delivers more energy (on avg) than 9mm, though.

        • Two distinctions, first those are +p+ loads, not regular pressure loads, second they have to use the lightest possible bullets to get enough case capacity to achieve those levels of muzzle energy. In other words, they’ll beat your gun up and won’t penetrate well. Although, in fairness, since there have been a lot of .40s out there where they simply slapped a different barrel in their 9 mm, the beating your gun up argument may be moot depending on your particular weapon.

        • “That website’s data on the .40 show it delivers more energy (on avg) than 9mm, though.”

          So does a .308. Enough is enough. With the newest projectiles less is required.

        • “… there are a few 9mm loads delivering mid-400 to 500 ft-lbs of energy”..

          Doesn’t that make the case for having the .41mag or .44mag? Six rounds of all those foot pounds should discourage a bad guy

        • Sam I Am,

          Doesn’t that make the case for having the .41mag or .44mag?

          Why yes, yes it does. That is why I am seriously considering carrying a .44 Magnum revolver (with at least a 6 inch barrel) to various venues. As far as I can tell, one hit anywhere even close to the middle of an attacker’s torso is going to promptly incapacitate them every time … assuming that I am using fairly stout loads and quality hollowpoint bullets.

          While the cylinder capacity of only 6 shots is less than desirable, it should be enough to virtually guarantee that I can definitely stop at least one, if not two attackers … at ranges of well up to 100 yards if I do my part. I cannot say the same for a semi-auto pistol in 9mm.

        • I can see the .44mag in a night stand. To carry, will you need a shoulder holster?

          Just imagining the BOOM right now. In a small room.

        • Mr. Sense, I’ve been thinking about buying one of these for CC – http://www.realguns.com/articles/789.htm Small and light enough for con cealed carry but heavy enough to make recoil somewhat manageable. The only downside is being a SAA, reloads take more like 30 seconds instead of 4, but odds are you’ll be able to neutralize the threat or find cove with 6 shots of .44 magnum.

          Maybe make a good BBQ gun?

        • Yeah, and those are the most premium of premium 9mm +P+ choices. You’re looking at almost $1.5/rd, hardly a savings over standard .40 S&W ammunition that delivers the same power.

        • Sam I Am,

          Yes, I would most likely need a shoulder holster. I was also thinking of carrying it in a document satchel or notebook computer case. As for home defense, I am thinking that it might be too loud … although I cannot see how it would be any louder than a 12 gauge shotgun. That is why I was thinking of carrying it for self-defense in public.

        • “That is why I was thinking of carrying it for self-defense in public.”

          Eastwood managed to carry it under his sport coat, right?

        • Governor Le Petomane,

          That is a mighty fine looking single action .44 Magnum revolver! It would be a nice barbecue piece.

          In terms of self defense, I think it is too light (at 39 ounces recoil would be harsh) and the barrel is too short (reduced sight radius for long range accuracy and muzzle velocity for long range shots).

          When it comes to .44 Magnum, my mantra is, “Go big or stay home!” And if your revolver is 53+ ounces, ported, and has rubber grips, recoil will be amazingly tame.

        • The 511 ft-lbs load from Double Tap is listed as just +P, not +P+. Can that even be right?

          I’m content to carry standard pressure 124gr HSTs these days, after seeing the AmmoQuest test results.

        • “after seeing the AmmoQuest test results.”

          Did you see his video on the Winchester T&D rounds? 147gr. Both Train and Defend bullets are same conical shape and weight. Expansion and penetration appear as good or better than HST.

        • u_s, at 885 to 994ft/lbs muzzle energy, I wouldn’t worry too much about ‘stopping power. Weight wise, it’s 3 ounces heavier than my EDC ( http://www.ruger.com/products/gp100/specSheets/1753.html ) and 7 ounces lighter than my .44 ( http://www.gunblast.com/Ruger_Flattop44.htm ). Biggest argument against is that I already have a pretty Ru ger .44 magnum Blackhawk (even have the Ru ger rosewood grips). That and hol ster selection’s a bit sparse.

        • Gov. Le Petomane,

          “I already have a pretty Ruger .44 magnum Blackhawk (even have the Ruger rosewood grips).”

          Oh, well there you go. That sounds like a fine revolver to me. (Queue up Survivor’s The Search Is Over …)

        • On the other hand, I don’t recall anything in the Bill of Needs that says I don’t need another pretty .44 magnum.

      • I am 100% certain that pistol rounds don’t “knock people off their feet”. I mean, a 12 gauge slug sure. Those things will knock an off balance shooter down and therefor will knock an off balanced attacker down. But a .40? Naw. Not even a .50AE from a Deagle will knock a person down.

        Pistol rounds in any common caliber will make holes in a person which can quickly lead to incapacitation depending on shot placement. Holes is all, none will knock the receiver down anymore than they’ll knock the shooter down

        • Yeah, I’m sure that a 10mm 200gn hardcast has never knocked anyone backwards….even though it can stop a brown bear. Also, a .44 magnum I’m sure would prove you wrong.

        • Maybe I’ll carry a 12 ga with 3 1/2 ” slugs around for maximum damage. Or a Barrett .50, in case I need to engage through walls.

        • Like the sun rising in the morning, you guys predictably fall for the caliber wars clickbait.

      • “if I can throw a 180gr. JHP at an assailant and hit him with 490 ft. Lbs. It will most likely knock him off his feet.”

        I would have you consider Newton’s Third Law of Motion and understand that if the above were true the recoil would knock you off your feet also.

        • Ok, so if I hit you with baseball bat as hard as I could I garrantee that I knock you off your feet. As in the force of the bat lifting you off your feet and moving you backwards. At the same time I can garrantee that I stay feet firmly planted on the ground. Your argument is invalid.
          For the pistol to create an equal but opposite reaction, it would have to displace the same amount of energy into the shooter as it does the target in the same amount of space (i.e. the diameter of said round) instead of the displacement of energy being spread throughout the pistol and absorbed by the shooter. If you think you could keep your balance and not encounter any rearward momentum while catching 200 gr. rounds in the chest good luck…the rest of us will be here in the real world.

        • I know this is an argument everybody loves, but after watching all the videos of people shot, I didn’t see a single person knocked off their feet, even at 4-5 feet. One video shows a killing at almost contact with the head of the victim. The victim did not move at all, until dropping straight down like a stone. It is important that a handgun be able to blast people across the room?

        • OK, Ed. You win. Tell you what – go to the gym and hit a heavy bag as hard as you can with a Louisville Slugger and report back.

        • Those bags are tied up. I don’t really want to get into this argument, but Newtons law is BS, and you are both wrong. Go stand down range and let someone fire a 50 BMG at you, tell him if that round cuts the shooter into pieces as well as the person that got shot, that would be an equal reaction. If people are going to quote laws, they really should understand them better.

  4. If you plan on shooting more than 1000 rounds with the gun then a cost savings of even $100 is nullified.

    • ^ right answer ^
      If you could pick up say, a Glock 23 for major cheap in the second hand market as a hedge against ammo availability issues it might be worthwhile, but you would likely be better off to spend that money on spare 9mm ammo and put it away instead.

  5. In the same damn article you clearly stated that manufacturers “slapping” a .40 barrel in a 9mm frame was a bad idea and a cause of well known failures. AND that we should go run out and buy the .40 version of a gun that is manufactured in both 9mm and .40 because the .40 will be cheaper (which cartridge do you think that frame was originally designed for?) or one that we, ourselves, could “slap” a .40 or 9mm barrel back and forth between the same frame on.

    “.40 cal is a terrible idea, so stock up!”

    • There hasn’t been a manufacturer that has “slapped on” a 40 barrel to a 9mm gun in I don’t know how long.

      In fact, the M&P series pistols were designed for 40, and when they truly did slap on a 9mm barrel it caused some bad timing issues that messed with accuracy.

  6. I have a GLOCK 27. I dislike the .40 out of that gun so much I bought a lone wolf 9mm conversion barrel and GLOCK 26 mags. I flipped a dirt bike and compound fractured my arm just above my wrist and the .40 out of a sub-compact doesn’t agree with it. I have a tough time with pistols in general because of it, except full size heavy ones or small caliber. My favorite is the FN 5.7 that says it all.

    • “My favorite is the FN 5.7 that says it all.”

      I’ve had Glocks in .40, the 22 and the 23. Definitely ‘crisp’ shooting, but for me, manageable. Recently, my thoughts have been going towards the sheer magazine capacity and the controlability of the 5.7. Your particular injury makes that a no-brainer, an elder family member of mine broke their arm in a similar location and healing has been very slow. Watching someone visibly wince when doing regular daily things is a reminder I’m also on that long (I hope!), slow, ride down as my foot gives me a reminder every time I step.

      Thanks for verifying for me the choice on the 5.7 tack-driver as a carry piece.

      Aging sucks. Avoid it at all costs… 🙂

      • I’m not a spring chicken anymore and I find that the .40 is too harsh for recreational shooting these days. I’m not even sure I’d go for my .40 for home defense if any of my others were available.

        I’d kind of like to see what the 5.7 in a full steel frame (non-polymer) gun might be like. Well, heck, while I’m at it, I’ll wish for a steel integrally suppressed 5.7 like the Maxim (but with the weight to make recoil completely non-existent).

        Also, the periodic sales at Palmetto State Armory for 5.7 mm at $15 a box of 50 are really nice.

        • My Five-seveN is my home defense firearm, with a Dead Air Mask suppressor. Unfortunately, it doesn’t cycle subsonic ammunition. Once Uncle Sam blesses my sbr’d PS90, that will assume HD duty.

          I still love my .40s…And my revolvers…And…

        • Shot a .22TCM, steel 1911 (10rounds). Isn’t the .22 a 5.6mm round? Lot of fun to shoot. Noise and flame. Saw something on YouTube where the .22TCM penetrated 1/4 in steel plate.

    • My old Glock 27 was a chore to shoot until I got the Glockstore + mag / finger groove extension. After that, the gun was much more comfortable to shoot and held another 1-2 rounds. Pierce and Taran Tactical mag extensions are also legit.

  7. I bought my sw mp 40c after Sandy hook because of ammo availability. There was no 9 or 45 to be had but you could find 40. I went the conversion barrel route. It shoots nines like a champ and to me the difference in recoil isn’t all that much.

  8. In the search for “my” pistol, I tried all the calibers, all the different sizes (it is good to have friends and a well-stocked rental desk at the shooting range). I actually liked the .45 in full sized guns, but they are expensive to shoot. I liked the 9mm in any size. I don’t get the .357 (why not just go for .41 or.44 [11mm]?) in revolver or semi-auto. The difference between 9mm and .38 escapes me (haven’t found anyone with a .38 super). As I understand it, the bullet diameter from .380 to .357 is too close to be of any dramatic difference in “miss” shots (shots that would be a complete “miss” except the larger bullet diameter resulted in a nick that would not happen with a smaller diameter bullet). With all that, I am still looking for a handgun that has the mechanics to pretty much eliminate muzzle flip in a caliber greater than .32 (which everyone says will not penetrate normal clothing at more than five feet).

    The cannon calibers don’t make much sense for indoor defense. The “boom” is enormous indoors (yes, I lifted the ear muffs once to hear a single .40 gunshot). The result of hearing a gunshot indoors makes me question whether I can recover my senses enough to protect myself after the first shot. Training without ear protection is beyond foolish, but I don’t know a way to train for the reflex response after shooting a big caliber indoors. Putting on/in ear protection during a home invasion seems imagination more than probability.

    In the end, caliber is not a religious experience for me; shoot what you can, accurately.

    • 180 grain .40 is subsonic so that would cut the boom down a little. And 147-150 grain 9mm is also subsonic

        • That’s actually the premier benifit of a large slow moving bullet like the .45. Allot of Internet commandos who’ve never been in a real gun fight like to write off calibers and guns to make themselves seem superior. In reality, you should analyze your situation and make the choice that will benifits you the most. Wether that’s .45, 9mm, .40, or .44 mag, the choice is yours, and don’t let some douche on the net tell you their favorite caliber is godlike. I personally use handguns in .45, .38, .44 mag, and .40, depending on what I’m doing.

        • Noise from a gun comes from 3 places. The first and biggest is gas escaping the front of the barrel. This is where suppressors come into play catching, slowing, and cooling the gas before it exits the gun. The 2nd is the action where on a semi auto, spare gases are used to cycle the action and if you watch slow motion video, you can see fire coming out the ejection port. The 3rd is that super sonic crack from the round breaking the sound barrier. The only true way to get a gun to be “quiet” is a manual action (read bolt or pump) so that all the gases have to exit the front of the gun with a suppressor large enough to catch most or all of the unspent gases and a sub sonic round.

          As for effectiveness of rounds, Hank there is right about choosing whatever round works best for you and then not acting like it’s the only round in the world worth having. I can site a couple of studies that show that 9mm and .380 have extra capacity that makes up for the smaller holes they poke. And that .40 and .45’s larger diameters poke big enough holes to make up for the comparative lower capacity.

          Get what works for you and if you want quiet, try to eliminate/reduce as many of those 3 noise makers as you can and understand what you can’t limit will still be noisy.

    • “I don’t get the .357 (why not just go for .41 or.44 [11mm]?)”
      this is a comment from someone who has obviously never tried to carry or shoot a 44 magnum. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some hand cannons, but your average 44 ain’t exactly easy to carry, even if you’re just walking through the woods with it in a hip holster. Go lighter, and you’re looking at borderline broken wrist territory.
      I have a Smith and Wesson air-weight 44, and I fear shooting it (one of my wrists is messed up already. I don’t want to add to it). I don’t want to part with it, so it just stays in my safe until one of my friends thinks I’m just sissy for avoiding it, at which point it like to get it out, let them fire it, and see the expression on their faces and swelling in their wrists.

      • Hi,

        Already noted that I am a fan of guns, just not an owner. Shooting a goodly number of guns and calibers, I just don’t understand the reason for people loving certain calibers. As to questioning why not just get a big revolver, my thought was home defense, not mobility; not there yet (not anywhere right now). Also, thinking that the size differential between bullets is not enough to attach absolute certitude to any of them. Keep seeing articles of people shot 8,9, 10 times and still remain a threat. My limited experience tells me that big bullets are usually aligned with big guns that may not result in the best accuracy. Just got the recommendation to consider sub-sonic ammunition. Haven’t tried that yet in all the calibers.

        • A revolver is a nice gun because of how simple it is. Press the trigger and the gun goes boom until you’re out of bullets. They suffer in capacity and outside of one old design by Nagant, they’re impossible to suppress. I ended up machining myself an AR for .300 blackout for home defense. .300 blackout makes commonly available subsonic rounds and the gun has them 30 round magazines for capacity. It’s noticeably quieter, but without a suppressor, I fully expect to have hearing damage if I ever have to use it in my own home.

        • The big advantage to 357 magnum over 44 Magnum is that 357 mag is the most powerful round that everyone can learn to handle, whereas the 44 Magnums recoil is beyond what some people will ever be able to train up to. The advantage of 357 over 41 Magnum is ammo availability and price. Unless you reload, you have a spotty chance of finding 41 ammo, and it costs between 1.5 and 2 times as much.

          If I am hiking in black bear country, I carry the 357, in grizzly country I carry the 44.

        • People still dangerous after 8,9,10 hits are probably shot with bullets which did not expand. Finding reliable info on which loads actually expand in flesh, whether or not they passed through heavy clothing first, can absorb most of your free time. THAT is one distinct advantage to the beloved .45, if it does not expand at all, it is still .45.

    • .38 Super is a nice round that works well for me in a 1911 frame. It’s a slightly sharper recoil than 9mm but it’s very accurate, has a lot of energy and I’d have no problem recommending it for any reasonable purpose. You even get a couple of bonus rounds (9+1) as opposed to normal 1911 7+1.

      A buddy of mine has been recommending a .38 super with a comp. I have yet to try that, but guess it would be a real smooth shot. Meanwhile, my current fave is the STI Marauder in 9mm. Very manageable, incredibly accurate, 20+1 capacity, all-around awesome piece.

      • “….38 super with a comp…”

        What is a .38 super with a comp? How does it work?

        And why does it keep saying all those bad things about me?

    • “.32 (which everyone says will not penetrate normal clothing at more than five feet).”

      I’m not sure who everyone is, but if they’re saying that, they’re idiots. “Normal clothing” won’t even stop most pellet guns… The .32 calibers aren’t much for big-game hunting, but they’re plenty enough to mess your whole day up, and a couple layers of cotton isn’t going to change that.

    • Having been there before, the noise of the shots is not even registered, at least it wasn’t for me, and mine was a 45 indoors.

      Even more interesting is directly afterwards small noises felt enormous and large noises seemed non existent until I came down from the adrenaline.

      I was successful and my training was all from line shooting, with hearing protection, I think that one single time you shoot to save your life without protection won’t hurt too much, compared to to dying of course

  9. I joined the .40 club last year with a full-sized M&P, but none of the reasons in the article were primary. My main reason goes to what I saw on store shelves in the year following SHTF (Sandy Hook total freakout) where .40 S&W was the only auto-loading caliber in my area that either never disappeared or returned to the shelves the fastest depending on the store.

    I did opt for a 9mm conversion barrel just in case new issues appear with .40 availability.

    • I wonder if that will stay true in future shortages. It seems like lots of people are bailing on the caliber (based on all the used .40s recently flooding the market), which will likely lead to stores stocking less of it, and ammo makers reducing their output. So there might be lower demand during a shortage, but will that be offset by lower production?

    • During the last Obama ammo shortage, there was literally no 9s, no .45s and no .22s like ever. High end HPs were going for a buck a round. And .40 was always in stock. I thought it was a little strange, since I live in a gun friendly area, that no one wanted .40s. I have only shot one mag out of a Glock in .40, and frankly, it wasn’t all that noticeably different than 124 gr. pills out of my pocket 9 (3.5″ barrel). In fact, 9 mm. Lehigh Xtreme Penetrators are much hotter than the .40s I fired. So Yeah, I thought about it, but there are always other guns that get in line first.

      • I didn’t have to worry about other firearms jumping ahead in line since my current watch/wish list contains several Kel-Tec’s and they won’t appear until sometime after the EPA allows the Unobtainium mines to reopen and the Interior Dept. allows the free-range unicorn ranchers to resume the use federal grazing lands.

  10. Meh… It was a boutique cartridge when it came out and it’s a boutique cartridge now. My guns are all chambered in battlefield proven cartridges.

    9mm
    .45ACP
    5.56×45
    7.62×39
    .308

    Almost every gun I own shoots one of the above. The only things that don’t are part of my C&R collection and don’t really get shot all that often. (I still have a sealed spam can of 7.62x54R that’s been sitting in my armory for the better part of a decade.)

    I’m not in a hurry to jump on the 5.45×39 bandwagon, why would I buy a pistol just to shoot more expensive ammo that doesn’t do anything that my existing collection doesn’t already do?

    • 200 gr (13 g) Doubletap FMJ-FP1,050 ft/s (320 m/s)490 ft·lbf (660 J)
      How is that a boutique round? Show me a 9mm that can come close to these numbers.
      And don’t whine about recoil, that’s the girls way out.

      • Boutique doesn’t mean small or weak or slow. The literal definition of boutique is a business that servers sophisticated or specialized clientele or items. I think he’s claiming that the .40 was more of a solution looking for a problem than it was an actual solution. The FBI wanted something stronger than 9mm, so they switched to 10mm and quickly discovered overall accuracy went way down as agents struggled to deal with the recoil. Then the FBI switched to a .40 which is called by many a 10mm short. The .40 outperforms 9mm in a bullet to bullet comparison, but not by much and it cuts capacity down. If you want a .40, that’s fine. Ballistically, it’ll do the job just fine.

        • Those are some great rounds, no doubt. I just prefer to shoot a heavier round. My EDC is either an FNX 40 or a Walther PPS in 40. I’m only giving up one round in the PPS compared to the 9mm variant and the FNX is 14+1 so no great shortage there. Also, I reload 10mm so I can use all the same components, powder, primers and dies so that is a huge bonus. Plus, if you were so inclined to do some suppressed shooting, most 180 gr. factory loads are sub-sonic without having to pay the 9mm sub-sonic premium.

    • It wasn’t boutique when it was and might still be the most popular LEO cartridge used by duty officers, Highway Patrol, across the country.

      Why? Too many alive and well convicts, gangbangers, and thugs that are proud of their 9mm scars.

      That being said, I own both 9’s and .40’s, and others to celebrate diversity. Bought my first .40 in the 90’s and loved it; a S&W Model 411. Grip on the full size M&P .40 was perfect for my hand. Plus I’m a lefty, and the ambi features are a bonus.

      What caliber works with a shooter, simply works for that shooter. In a defensive situation, caliber won’t matter as much as proficiency and accuracy.

      • Well, with the FBI dropping the round and military affirming their commitment to 9MM in the Sig P320 I don’t think the fate of .40 is quite sealed yet, but the abundance of .40 guns and the drop in price as people are losing interest sure don’t look good for the poor little round.

        You’re wrong about the .40 being the choice of most law enforcement because the 9MM isn’t sufficient at stopping bad guys. The trend would be towards .40s instead of towards 9mm if that were the case.

        But you’re right that each person should pick the caliber that works best for them. I’m not gonna get in front of a .40 even wearing a vest anymore than 9mm haters are gonna step in front of that round. All of the common carry rounds are plenty fine man killers if you’re proficient and horrible man killers if you just miss.

  11. I have 9’s, .40’s and 45’s. love em all and shoot all fairly well. I don’t think .40’s going away. Too many guns out there and tons of LEO trade-ins still to come.

  12. “Time to Buy a .40 Caliber Handgun?”

    “In the past few decades, 9mm ammunition has improved by leaps and bounds, to the point where there isn’t much advantage to carrying a larger round, short of the magnum revolver calibers.”

    Given the price advantage of 9mm ammo negates the cost differential on the gun itself, the answer to the headline seems to be in the first sentence.

  13. Like a lot of people are saying, I prefer 9mm for the significant cost savings on ammo. I do have a .40, which I will keep mostly to hedge against future ammo shortages, but I also have the same gun in 9mm.

  14. I already had some 9mm handguns, and I saw a pistol I wanted in .40SW for an amazing price, so I snagged it because why not?

  15. I just never have saw much need for a 40 caliber handgun. I do own a Kel-Tek P-11 9MM, and that’s my shorts gun for summer time when I need a lighter gun. This gun could be had in 40 but I couldn’t find one at the time, so I went 9mm. That’s he only time I ever even considered a 40, and only hen because I couldn’t get the same gun in 45 with Smith and Wesson 59 series magazines, because they don’t make it.

    All in all, I am happy with this gun in 9mm, I can slap a 17 to 21 round mag in this if I want, and I own 17 rounders. It has one in it now.

    • I bought a Sig P229 in 9mm once, long time ago, before they made a 229 9mm in fact, when I tried to load it the 9mm bullet fell out the muzzle. I didn’t believe it the first time, so I did it again, and then took it back to the sales desk to tell them “I don’t know what this is, but it is *not* a 9mm. They had to do all the paperwork over, and voila’!, I owned a .40.

  16. Any new caliber/handgun requires more that just the price of the weapon. You have to test it with self defense ammo to find what it likes and shoots best that in and of its self can be costly. Of course you could buy a few boxes of ammo and hope for the best.

    I’ve got a weapon that shoots 40, it’s a conversion barrel but I’m covered. I see no real need to go out and buy another weapon just because they are on sale. If I wanted a dedicated 40 then sure but between all the other calibers I own I just don’t see a need and the money can be spent elsewhere on ammo or optics.

  17. I love carrying and competing with .40 S&W. I don’t understand why the internet hate. I love firearms and our 2A culture. Please, internet don’t kick me out my gun click because I love the .40 S&W.

  18. Let’s see, bought a .40, didn’t like anything about it, traded for a 9mm. Shot a friend’s. 40, still didn’t like it, so I’ll pass. I can do bigger holes with a .45, or have faster fps out of a 9mm. Dead is dead when it comes to bad guys, and I don’t see them lining up to be my next target, regardless of it being a 22, or a 30/06. No one cares about the .40 other than a few die-hard trying to play l.e.o. anyway.

  19. Eh, .40 is fine. Lots of conversion barrels to do things like turn a Glock 23 into a Glock 19. Whereas if you buy a Glock 19 it’s more difficult to convert it into a G23 (swapping barrels versus swapping uppers).

    The Winchester Ranger RA40T .40 cuts through windshields much better than 9mm and hot .40 loads can hit over 600 foot pounds. You can also load 200 grain .40 JHPs. The 9mm can’t do that. The “9mm can do everything as well as .40 crowd” still has a thing or two to learn about ballistics. The 135 grain .40 is less snappy to shoot if you want to go that route. I’ve got stockpiles of .40 that will be effective for decades even if someone tells me it’s obsolete.

    With that said, I still love 9mm and shoot it a lot. It’s wonderfully efficient in size, space and weight. It’s cheap and comfortable to shoot. If you love 9mm than carry on.

    • I agree with you that the 9=40 crowd are simply wrong. Paul Harrell did an excellent video on this topic on YouTube. That being said, 9mm and 45acp are my preferred calibers, the former because it’s cheap to shoot and the second because I shoot them well.

  20. “In the past few decades, 9mm ammunition has improved by leaps and bounds, to the point where there isn’t much advantage to carrying a larger round…”

    Why is it that only the 9mm has improved by leaps and bounds?

    Another cartridge bubble expands. Don’t get me wrong, I never went for the .40 one (it has its uses) but 9mm is not magically getting better than everything else. Everything is getting better but everything still has tradeoffs.

    • It is, of course, absurd to think that only 9mm has improved; the same bullets are available in .40 and .45 as well.

      The point is that the 9mm has improved from sucktacular to sufficient. It used to be awful. It is now sufficient. By crossing that threshold, it has become a favorite.

      9mm always had several advantages — it’s cheap, it’s got the least recoil of the service calibers, and because it’s so small it gives the most capacity. Those are all advantages, but when the bullets sucked and they didn’t get the job done, those advantages were meaningless — just like they are for .22LR. I mean, .22LR is even cheaper, it’s got even less recoil, and it gives potentially even more capacity, so why don’t we all use .22LR? ‘Cause it sucks at stopping humans.

      9mm used to be in the same boat. So no matter what the advantages, the suckness was so strong that it wasn’t a serious consideration (hence the old adage that serious self defense means a caliber that starts in “4”). Now that the newest bullets are delivering acceptable performance in 9mm, its other advantages become more meaningful and are legitimate considerations.

      • .22
        ‘Cause it sucks at stopping humans.

        But isn’t the .22 responsible for more human deaths than any other caliber? What accounts for that majority?

        • The majority counts for the majority. .22s are everywhere. They are cheap to buy and people have them when they have nothing else. People tend to forget that the .22 drought we’ve experienced is a new experience. The .22 was the first cartridge and for it’s long run the most common and available.

          So more people get shot with a .22.

        • There are a dozen other calibers so we can argue which is best forever (before deciding on .45 acp, of course) but nobody argues over .22, just EVERYBODY owns a few. Of course, the major reason is that Mossad uses them for assassinations. Seems like I heard they use .22 SHORT, in fact.

        • Ok. The saturation of .22 guns would likely mean it would be the most available for use in the moment. That seems to be a good explanation of why the .22 turns up most often in shootings (I don’t think .223/4 would be considered .22 for statistical reporting).

          Thanks

      • You got it right there buddy– 9mm sucked 20 years ago, as almost none of the HPs on the market would actually expand, and then only from full-length barrels. I’ve still got a box of Golden Sabers, Hydrashoks, Starfires, Silvertips, Gold Dots, and I don’t remember what else that did not expand when fired through two layers of denim, directly down into a barrel of water. Which is pretty much the easiest case.

        Now there are half a dozen HPs that will do what they are supposed to, and under conditions that none could handle in the mid-90s. It is true that those same design improvements have occurred with the .40s and .45s (and .38s!!!), but for 9mm is was from “nothing” to “acceptable”. The others were “acceptable” even in 1995.

        You hit the nail on the head; I cannot figure out why no one talks about this more. Pretty obvious to me, but I’ve been actually testing and recovering bullets since like 1990.

        HSTs are your best bet– a box of 50 costs less than $30 in 9mm, which means everyone can afford the occasional practice session using their real carry ammo. At a buck a shot for the others, realistically, no one does.

        • Yeah, I bought a HiPower in the late ’70s to try out the capacity. It was a bean shooter, I was carrying a .357 with only 6 absolutely devastating shots, and the 9mm turned out to be one of very few firearms I have ever sold, after about a year. Now I own several, and even a .380 which is no longer a bean shooter. Most recent is an XD(m) (c) with 19+1 available, and certainly no beanshooter.

      • I hate to say this about calibers starting with a 4, but Nick Leghorn on this site did a statistical evaluation of a solid ~8 rounds in a post titled something like “22 Best for Defense?”, and found that calibers starting with a 4 don’t perform notably better in aggregate than calibers starting with a 38/9. Essentially, 380ACP and up all works pretty darn well and reliably.

        I don’t care much for what Jeff Cooper has to say about it. The man was a sport shooter and writer far more than a doer. Don’t forget that he thought it impossible for women to make good cops, said 9×19 was pointless, considered the DA/SA and DAO wonder 9’s and plastic fantastics with strikers and polymer and double digit magazine capacities to be a fad, poopoo’d SCHV and fire superiority tactics, pushed for an ultralight high caliber bolt action “scout rifle” in the era of semiautomatics, pushed a combat shooting style which performed noticeably worse than those of Fairbarn, Applegate, and Weaver, took pride in being opinionated and ignorant and arrogant, and was a POG who was always quite evasive about his actual combat experiences, of which he had at most two. His opinions and conclusions seldom matched those of men like Fairbarn and Ayoob, both of whom wrote that just having a gun in something other than a pocket caliber would make even a moderately practiced shooter good to go. Fairbarn especially saw hundreds of fights personally, knew of thousands, and had great experience and respect for calibers Jeff would have derided such as 7.63×25 (not a typo), 38spc, and 9×19. For these reasons, I consider Jeff Cooper to be more of a James Yeager figure than a Travis Haley figure, if that makes sense.

  21. Flawed logic on the cost savings. The total cost of ownership is the cost of the gun, plus spare mags, plus a holster or three, plus enough ammo to prove in the gun, plus some monthly allotment of ammo to keep skilled with it. Add all that up and saving $50 on the front end is irrelevant. A good deal is buying the gun the you wand and that fits you needs for the next 10-20 years.

  22. I have 3 Smith & Wesson M&Ps that have barrels for .40S&W, 357Sig, and 9mm. I’m surprised S&W didn’t do this as a package deal. My carry is an M&P compact configured in 357Sig. I shoot that caliber much better than .40 for whatever reason.
    The new M&P 2.0 is not being offered in .40 yet. I doubt it will ever be offered in 357Sig.

  23. I love my FNS40 and Sig P320. Both shoot very well, with manageable recoil.My wife loves her 9mms. Everybody’s happy!

  24. Not for me. Converting my XDm .40 to 9mm was one of the best decisions I’ve made regarding firearms. I’ll only ever have standard size autos in .45 or 9mm; the former is easier to handload than .40, and the latter is cheaper to buy factory. Though I do still have the .40 components for that gun in case of ammo shortages.

  25. It’s even easier to convert from .40 S&W to .357 Sig – same parent case, same magazines.

  26. Well, you’ll have plenty of choices on Armslist. A non-scientific perusal of Armslist regularly gives one the feeling that many more folks want to trade/sell out of a .40 than any other specific handgun caliber. You’re sure to pick one up if you have a G19 to trade-they seem to be the most wanted trading partner-Gen4 slightly more wanted than Gen3.

    G22’s seem to be the most “on the block”.

    • Glad you noted the large number of .40 for re-sale. That brings to mind a curiosity for me: why so few Armscor/Rock Island pistols being sold off?

      • Because their 1911s beyond the basic GI are some of the best valued pistols on the market.

        • “Because their 1911s beyond the basic GI are some of the best valued pistols on the market.”

          I was hoping one day to find a Rock Island for around $150-$200, and try it out (a cheap trial might be worth doing). None of the folks I know have an Armscor, so there is no place to “test drive” before drive.

        • I have a TAC II in 10mm. It’s my field gun. You will not find another $700 1911 that shoots as well

      • That is an interesting point.

        I do see some RIA’s, but they always seem to be hot rodded. This is my theory: guy buys reasonable $ gun (Glock, 1911, AR etc), goes full custom Operator operating operationally; girlfriend come home pregnant or he blows his rice burner’s engine. Asks just less than full retail for his mall ninja Zev/LoneWolf/full Ceracote/threaded (and ported!) zombie slayer (LNIB, only 100 rounds!). Bumps ad every few days, no takers at $1,195.

        BTW, my American Classic II 9mm is 3/4inch, 7 yards, 5 shots of WallyWorldWinOneOneFive. Less slide rattle than RAI. Can’t see myself upgrading to Colt, Sig, STI, to shoot any better than my $375 Philippine 1911.

        • Yeah, don’t see many American Classics or Metro Arms 1911s on the boards, either.

        • I thought it was because of the giant billboard sized rollmarks they print across the slide.

  27. The only reason to get a .40 over a 9mm is if you want a bigger, heavier bullet that hits harder and delivers more force than the 9mm can.

  28. This makes no sense. If the whole reason for buying a .40 now is to save $50-100 that is a terrible reason. The extra price of ammo will negate those savings after a year or more of shooting.

  29. I would only consider a 40 for s range gun that I wouldn’t shoot a lot and was cheap to buy.

  30. Don’t care how much they improve the 9mm, it’s still a round that only ladies should carry. When a male carries it, he should also make sure he has his lipstick and eyeliner on so it looks proper.

  31. Just no, I have an XD45 I keep thinking about trading away for another 36 caliber gun (wheel or semi) so why would I use a .40 which makes yet smaller holes instead of just going all the way.

  32. I like to own all of the common calibers. During an ammo shortage a few years back 40 was easy to find here in central Ohio, 9 and 45 were gone. I have no interest in what the agencies carry and don’t find any of them difficult to shoot. Never understood the snappy recoil complaint against the 40. They are all better now than they ever been. Besides, guns are like puppies I would give them all a home if I could. Buy what you like, can afford and get good with it.

  33. The FBI is switching to 9mm for three reasons only one of which is valid — life cycle cost. The other two reasons, i.e., shootability and wear are dubious at best. In order to get a 9mm round to perform as well as a .40 cal you have to pack the case with more powder so you will get approximately the same recoil and pistol wear and tear. As mentioned above, modern technology can make the 9mm an acceptable self defense or LEO round but the same technology applied to 40 and 45 calibers makes those rounds more effective as well. The Laws of Physics cannot be repealed.

      • I assume you are being sarcastic.

        Hornady Critical Duty 220 grain 45 ACP +P = 479 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. That is 10% more than a .357 out of a 1911 sized revolver.

        • Sure it is. If you are looking at the cheapest .357 ammo on the market as opposed to the most expensive .45. Otherwise, BS, .45 has never held up against .357.

        • So you think Federal Hydra-shok is cheap ammo?

          (1) The Hornady Critical Duty round is an example of how modern technology improved every round. And FYI it is cheaper than most quality .357 self defense rounds.

          (2) What part of .357 degradation don’t you get when shot out of a 3″ or shorter barrel. This link should help you with that.

          http://www.ballisticsbytheinch.com/calibers.html

    • I don’t think “more effective” is really a player, here. Modern components have transformed .380 and 9 mm (probably .38 Spl) from ineffective to effective ammo. .40, .45, .357, etc were effective already, are not really changed except perhaps at longer ranges.

  34. If i had half a brain i would buy a 40 slow and weak for 1 reason…there is always 100’s of of pieces of that brass on the ground at my range.

  35. No no and no.

    Had a MP shield 40 and hated it. Got rid of it, loved the 9mm though. Shot a couple of other 40s and didn’t like them.

    Ended up switching to a ruger LC9s

    • .40 is a round best suited for a duty sized handgun. When you get something smaller than an XD Service or equivalent the recoil becomes an issue. 9mm is the best round for subcompact pistols.

  36. OK, I’ll bite. I carry a Sig P229 Elite .40 stuffed full of Remington Golden Saber 165 gr JHP. I like it, I hit well with it, I like the safety of the heavier DA pull and with the short reset trigger (SRT) follow up shots are damn fast. Carried appendix, I’m very confident that if a boogie man, or any armed scum-bag meth head / heroin addict walks up and says the magic words like “give me your f–ing money” he’s deader than fried chicken.

    Nothing against 9mm though. My first two semi-autos were 9mm. The first being a S&W and then the P226. I’m eventually going to buy a PX4 compact in 9mm for an alternative. And none will be a freaking striker!
    My neighbor across the street just today bought the new Springfield XD Mod 2 Sub-Compact in 9mm. It’s OK for a striker. He’d have it but even with a CPL, he got delayed on the background check. He’s pissed. So he bought a gun safe. Guess who helped him move that thing in his basement. God what a heavy bastard.

  37. You know if all these magic 9mm bullets that are coming out image what a magic .40 would do.

    Of course I was never taken in by the cult of 9mm to begin with, as I know that human bodies are not made of raw gelatin. And as such I don’t put my life behind something that just tests really well.

    • I generally don’t get to try out ammo by shooting a few people, so I submit that bullets which test well are preferable to those which do not.

      • “I generally don’t get to try out ammo by shooting a few people, so I submit that bullets which test well are preferable to those which do not.”

        Gelatin is one of those “all other things being equal” things.
        I watch Youtube videos of tests on different calibers shot into gel, and the gel is, for a very large extent, the same for all these tests.
        From what I see, whether it’s 9mm or 10mm or .40, the general effect is the same: massive damage when shot into gel.

        Also from what I see: we can argue which caliber is better, and while there are indeed differences, usually showing that the larger calibers will produce more damage than 9mm, the 9 delivers enough trauma, given proper shot placement, the same as 10mm or .40 will, to get the job done, eventually.
        It’s the “eventually” that’s the bugbear.

        • @Larryin TX
          C’mon, Larry. Any hit on the human body with any .4x caliber bullet will instantly kill, and vaporize whichever part of the body was hit. One shot kills are automatic, regardless of shot placement. Don’t you watch movies? It’s all there.

          Any bullet less than .40 is pretty much useless, unless the attacker stands motionless, upright, facing you, and you are within 9 feet of his/her body. Every analysis of deadly shootings is unanimous in concluding that .4x caliber bullets are responsible for the majority of deaths, with near-99% “one-shot stops”. Never has been a case of police needing more than two hits to terminate a perp when the cops used .4x ammunition. No cop ever found him/herself needing over 33 rounds of .45 to end a gun fight (https://www.policeone.com/police-heroes/articles/6199620-Why-one-cop-carries-145-rounds-of-ammo-on-the-job/). You can always be sure with .4x.

        • Thanks for that link. I can’t tell you how many times in the 90’s I had to hear morons tell me if you need more than 6 rounds you are doing it wrong. You will never need more than that as most gunfights end with just a couple of rounds. I thought man, these guys are idiots. If they want to carry that little ammo let them have at it, it’s their funeral. Looking back on it now, I can almost bet you they were all cops not wanting citizens to carry more ammo than they could.

        • ” I can almost bet you they were all cops not wanting citizens to carry more ammo than they could….”

          Interesting, but darkly skeptical, thought. Will keep that in mind.

  38. Unforunately, the .40 may be headed for obsolescence. It’s a shame even though It was a compromise cartridge to bridge the gap between cartridges deemed too powerful (by some) for LE use (.45 acp and 10 mm) and the 9 mm which at the time didn’t offered more rounds, but not enough stopping power.

    There are no free rides and the .40 has more recoil and apparently many can’t shoot it well. Enter better ballistic engineering which resurrected the 9mm. In many ways, the 9mm vs. .40 debate is analogous to the much older .38 special vs. .357 magnum debates 30-40 years ago.

    Bottom line, I wouldn’t turn my nose up at a LE trade-in Glock 22/23 and neither should you.

  39. I love my XD40! Manageable, accurate, fun. I have other calibers, but my .40s are more enjoyable than my 9s and as much fun as my 1911s.

  40. I love my Shield in .40. I love the wife’s full size M&P in .40. Heck, I even love my Hi Point carbine in .40. You do not have to sell me on the cartridge. However, where are you seeing these great deals on .40 guns? I haven’t seen them.

  41. While carry a .45 these days my favorite pistol is a .40. I also think the G27 is pretty spiffy.

    Personally I don’t think you can “go wrong” with any of the “big three”. It’s a question of what you want and what you shoot well.

    While I don’t understand why people think that ,40 is too snappy in a smaller gun I know that they do and IMHO that’s why 9 is so popular. Smaller calibers get a bad rap but people still want small guns and 9 is a good compromise for most between shootability and compact pistols while still retaining halfway decent capacity.

    For better or worse, CCW changed the market to favoring small guns. I don’t think the majority of people who buy them do it for size but rather for weight. You can see some evidence of this in the comments on pocket dumps. Yes, some are OTT but often people comment on perfectly reasonable amounts of gear in terms of not wanting to carry that much weight.

    People in general are lazy. They want the minimum. They want a gun but not one that weighs much. So, as an example, they complain until Glock makes a single stack 9. Glock gave them what they wanted: a gun that’s “enough” to make those people comfortable but with the obvious sacrifices it comes with.

    This is why people have described “the perfect carry gun” as one that’s small, lightweight, has little recoil, hits like a howitzer and has unlimited ammo. People want it all but when the rubber meets the road weight becomes their primary concern so other considerations often fall by the wayside.

    • I don’t know what “snappy” is supposed to mean, but I can tell you that shooting .38 +P out of my wife’s S&W Airweight flat out HURTS! I shot a heavy loaded .44 Mag a few times once, and it was not comfortable, but it did not hurt like that! She has fired it with +P ammo, and said it “hurt like Hell” but was what she wanted to carry, because she did not plan to ever shoot it again. Since then I have replaced the +P with standard velocity Lehigh penetrators, and fired it for comparison, significantly reduced recoil and I trust Lehigh ammo, carried in in my LCP. In 9mm Lehigh is actually too powerful, I carry Winchester Defend 147g 9mm ammo, works great for my current needs.

      • Understand your experience. I rented three “snubbies” (even .357). All had rubber grips. Every round was painful. Finally determined that somehow, the trigger guard was banging against my fingers. The palm of the hand wasn’t sore. No matter the grip hold, the front of the fingers on the grip kept getting banged. Just figured these little revolvers were good for a few rounds, contact distance. Practice shooting seemed useless, as trying to be accurate beyond 5ft was too difficult. Rented full size .38 revolver. No problem with the trigger guard, but couldn’t keep constant grip, and coming back on target took 2-3sec; not good for defense. Semi-autos seem easier to manage, but I do like the looks of the big revolvers.

  42. During the post-Sandy Hook ammo panic, local stores still had cheap .40 – and no 9mm or .45. On the other hand, the day-to-day price of .40 is much closer to .45 than it is to 9mm. So it’s really not a bargain to shoot.

  43. Modern bullet technology!

    It’s hard to take any article that begins with such a willful disregard of physics seriously.

  44. Lots of sound and fury here. 9mm, 40, 45-even a 22 or 32 will work if you put the rounds where they’re supposed to go, and none of them will if you don’t. Shoot what you have and prefer, shoot it well, and forget the arguments.

  45. A number of years ago Combat Handguns actually told the truth about the .40 Smith & Wesson Cartridge proving “there is a God”. They detailed the fact that 3 modern well built handguns all blew up using factory 180 train bullets and all guns were new. The problems was traced to not enough air space in the design of this defectively designed cartridge so the factories quickly cut back on the hot loadings in the 180 grain loads and then everyone switched to the inferior 160 grain loads that were faster but had way less penetration.

    Many .40 S&W handguns were actually reversed engineered 9mm guns which were never designed to take the recoil of the .40 cartridge and especially the cheap plasticky framed guns often broke their frames right behind the trigger guard. Internal failures of parts were also common.

    Ammo is more expensive and people practice less because of it. Not a good idea if you need to shoot accurately under stress.

    Recoil is more severe resulting in slower follow up shots. Again not a good point for the 40 cartridge.

    The big bore fanatics reject the .40 as well because they still believe the 107 year old Prostitute Gun Writer Myth that the .45 acp will knock a man down, spin him around like a top or make him disappear in a red puff of mist and no amount of logic will convince them otherwise never mind that the only documented evidence on lethality in the rape of the Philippian Islands came not from any of the pistols or even rifles used in the slaughter of 3 million Philippian people in 1899 to 1912 except when shotguns were used. It was found the shotgun was the best weapon to finish off the women after they were raped and tortured. So the real lethality test had nothing to do with the .45 acp mowing down drug crazed machete chopping Morrow warriors in lurid Prostitute Gun Writer fantasy stories rather it was close up and brutal rape and murder of the women. The Morrow Warriors used quick hit and run tactics. They were out numbered and out gunned and they knew it and fought with a quick hit and run tactics. The fact that the U.S. troops often not only could not find them but even see them led to the mass slaughter of the Philippine civilians including children. News Reporters from around the world documented much of this slaughter. Even in the primitive days of 1900 word got back to the American people and even letters from the troops themselves confirmed the News Paper stories were indeed true in the regards to the slaughter of so many civilians. Every intellectual of the time including Mark Twain condemned the Imperialistic war, designed only to fatten the wallets of Businessmen and history would again repeat itself with the grandsons of these men years later in Vietnam. History repeats itself often and for the same reasons, greed and lust for power equals invading another country to accomplish this.

    In the 1980s Pistolero Magazine went to Mexico to shoot pigs to test the lethality of hand gun calibers in .38 special , 357 Mag, 9mm and .45 acp. They found no difference in killing power with any of the anemic pistol rounds. They all sucked big time and that was even with expanding bullets.

    Conclusion: If you want to commit suicide use a handgun in a fight and if you want to survive us a shotgun if the range happens to be short in the jungle or the bad guy coming in through your window at night. With the shotgun you will blow him right back out the window and with the pistol, make the sign of the cross and hope for the best.

    • I should have mentioned the handguns that blew up in .40 S&W as reported in Combat Handguns Magazine were a Glock, a Ruger an a Browning High power all brand new and all with factory 180 grain ammo. Bullet set back caused the blow ups as the .40 S&W has no air space with hot 180 grain loadings.

  46. I have been using 40SW for 20 years. First with a BER 96, then with HK P2000 and now with Sig Pro. No complaints, accurate and hard hitting like a 357 Mag. I like the 9 mm but I feed my Ber 92 and SIG P226 124 gr Rem JHP or 124 Golden Saber+P. My 40’s get fed 155 gr JHP Remington at 1200 FPS. for about 500 Foot pounds of kinetic energy. The 9mm barely makes about 380 foot pounds and some loads can get to 400 Foot pounds.. Good ergonomics is the key to control recoil and Sigs are great at that. So I really do not care one bit for the FBI’s rationale for the change. They should just state they prefer a softer shooting weapon instead of finding things wrong the 40SW now to justify the change. Bureaucrats!!! When I worked for USINS and later USCBP I started with a 357 SW686 model and only some small women without experience developed wrist problems. When we changed to 40 cal we did not give up anything in hitting power but gained more firepower. The FBI will loose hitting power and gained firepower; it’s all good if you can hit you target and that requires a lot of practice for the agents beyond initial training at the academy. Agents do not seem to get into too many fights, mostly their ERT’s take care of those situations and those guys carry rifles and 45’s so the 9 mm maybe a good move for them and their delicate wrists and self confidence as shooters.

  47. Shoot the largest pistol round that you can accurately shoot. Nothing has changed except that the FBI has found that more of its agents are more comfortable and more accurate with a 9mm. I carry a .40 S&W. Every day. For years now. I have no reason to change.

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