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.
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.