In today’s Tactical Wire, Tiger McKee (above) added his .02 to the ongoing .40-caliber debate In Skill Set: Why I Don’t Like the Forty, the director of Shootrite Firearms Academy (Stride Rite shoes optional) shoots down .40 fans with extreme prejudice. “With the .40 you must use a good aggressive stance, arm position with isometric tension between the arms, and the proper grip to provide the resistance necessary for the pistol to function properly.” And that’s bad because “Failures to eject, commonly called stovepipes or smokestacks, are more frequent with the .40 than 9mm’s and .45’s. This is especially true when shooters are working with one hand, during injury drills, or firing using a less than ideal platform, like laying sideways on the ground.” But wait! There’s more! Mckee is down with James “I’m my second favorite trainer” Yaeger’s suggestion that .40 guns wear out faster than similar guns in other calibers . . .

The sharp recoil of the .40 literally beats pistols to death. No, you probably won’t see a problem if you only run a few rounds through your pistol a couple times a year. But with heavy shooting sooner or later with the .40 you’ll likely see problems develop, and a lot sooner than with a 9mm or .45. A few years ago one area department we train sent several of their officers here for five-day handgun classes. We worked hard and during the class each officer fired approximately five thousand rounds. After the classes the officers’ pistols had send their pistols in due to problems with the rails on the slide and frames. They had been beat out. (The pistols were replaced, but they were never given a good reason from the factory why this problem appeared in the first place.)

Anecdotal evidence for sure. Meanwhile, do you recall the recoil kvetch re: the snappy ass for-tay? Here it is again:

The recoil also presents a problem with individual shooters who come to fear the snap of the .40 and begin anticipating the recoil, which of course drastically affects their accuracy. You can take the same shooter, give them a 9mm or .45, and their accuracy improves. I know recoil shouldn’t be an issue, but with most shooters it is so we might as well go ahead and acknowledge it. Several departments I deal with have switched from .40 caliber pistols to .45acp weapons with a noticeable increase in their qualification scores.

I don’t shoot .40 for that very reason and no other. But I’m with Steve Lee: I love guns! I would no more criticize someone for carrying a forty than I would suggest that Nivit Bash needs to go on a diet. Just don’t ask me to wear that bikini, if you know what I mean.

Recommended For You

88 Responses to The .40 War Rages On . . .

  1. News Flash-if you shoot your gun a lot, its going to break parts no matter what its chambered in. Run enough rounds through any pistol and you’ll break *something*.

    Second point,recoil is an individual consideration. All of us have different size hands with different body types. I find a Glock 23 to have excessive recoil for my taste,while .40 S&W out of a Glock 22 felt great to me. 9mm+P out of a full size SR9 beat up my hand pretty well, but the same round out of a Beretta 92FS didn’t feel nearly that bad.

    Its all relative to the shooter, and as such the advice of the so-called “pros” means absolutely squat.

    • After an hour of shooting standard 9mm cheap ammo through my Glock 19 I tried the 92F. I couldn’t feel any recoil at all. The shells were ejecting and the slide was working but the 92F was so quiet and still by comparison that it took some getting used to.

    • Perceived recoil is subjective. Recoil force is not. Different rounds (and platforms) will have different recoil force as well as perceived recoil.

      Recoil is not totally subjective, there is physics behind it you know.

    • Own 3 9mm pistols and 1 40 S&W. The 40 has been flawless so far but have had jams with 2 of the 9mms. The recoil of the 40 doesn’t bother me. Hardly notice the difference. I think the 40 gets bashed because the 9mm has been around longer and is more popular. People like touting what they have and bashing the choices of others. I like them all and the 9mm is adequate but I will reach for the 40 first if my life is on the line. It defies logics that the 9mm is equal in stopping power to the 40 and 45. Kind of like saying the 243 kills deer more effectively than the 3006 because it is easier to shoot. Maybe for some shooters who can’t handle the recoil but quit bashing the choices of others if you can’t handle it.

  2. I agree 100%. I dont like 40 (or any other high pressure cartridge) particularly for those reasons.

    Of course, the discussion is about the disadvantages of the 40, and why some instructors dont prefer them, not why the faults of the 40 are “subjective to each individual person”. Lets refer to what Tiger McKee says in the first paragraph, “I do not like the .40 caliber. I’m sure there will be plenty of people who disagree with me on this, but since it’s my column I get to state my opinion.” Thats it. If your 40 works for you great. When a professional speaks, drop your ego, listen up, and put the advice in your toolbox.

    All guns break parts and higher pressure guns consistently break parts at a faster rate. That is a given. In defense of 40, most shooters dont even fire their weapons enough to encounter malfunctions or parts breakages; they do happen (yes, even with the famously indestructible and utterly reliable Glock 17 or HK USP).

    Finally, “Get a pistol that works for you, plenty of ammo, and practice the fundamentals until you can perform them under any conditions.”

    Hardly shooting down 40 fans with extreme prejudice… LOL. lets not translate the original message incorrectly.

  3. What I want to know is how people who are professionals in the field talk about how unmanageable .40 is without directly saying they can’t handle it. How can they pick it apart so thoroughly but still claim perfect mastery of the pistol in any other caliber?

    Maybe I’m a .40 fan but I’m seeing a logical discrepancy. You can’t dispute .40 without -experiencing- what makes it bad. Does that mean all professionals shoot .40 badly? It isn’t just this article either, as it is a relatively tame opinion that isn’t pro .40 but still this is in the same vein and line of thought.

    • They’re not saying it’s unmanageable. They’re saying it requires a greater amount of training, concentration, and muscle control over 9×19 and .45 ACP. This is disproportionate to the dubious increase in performance.

      • Looking at it from your phrasing, it does take more training. Disproportionate is only comparable to the relative additional difficulty of the shooter to adjusting, however. As I’m sure there are enough .40 shooters who have minimal issues and the “dubious” increase in performance is more justifiable.

        But…you gave me a nugget to think about. I certainly do not recommend the .40 for general purpose use and if I had to articulate a reason why, this would be it.

        Thank you Matt

  4. After 5,000 rounds a .40 Glock was “worn out”? That has to be one of the most retarded things I have ever heard. Besides the documented cases of Glocks having tens of thousands of rounds (some with hundreds of thousands) put through them with zero parts failures, the fact that Delta… who probably shoots more than anyone on the planet… shoots .40 cal Glock 23’s should pretty much dispel this guys ridiculous story. Having a personal preference or a strong opinion about something is fine. Distorting or making up “facts” that people may buy into because they think you are an expert… just because you don’t like something… is not.

    • No handgun goes hundreds of thousands of rounds without extensive maintenance. Barrels don’t even last that long (especially taking jacketed rounds). Guns are machines, they break, increasing wear on a gun (by using higher pressure rounds) will decrease the lifespan.

      Also, there is a difference between shooting 5000 rounds in one weekend and shooting 5000 rounds over 10 years.

      Also, Delta uses pistols of virtually every caliber in existence depending on the mission. Even if they exclusively used 40s, it wouldn’t contradict half the things in the post since they are the most experienced shooters on the planet, and most of the criticisms of the 40 are directed to less practiced individuals.

    • I dont agree with your assertions on multiple points.

      For the first part, you are assuming that those weapons fired by the law enforcement officers were 1.) Glocks (the brand was not identified) 2.) brand new, unused. Both of which are assumptions that you hastily concluded that are not factual.

      Yes, there are Glocks that have been used heavily, though there are parts breakages when you dont replace parts after 5-6000 round intervals (especially when you push to the 10K mark). We see the claims all the time, “Ive shot 50,000 rounds through my Glock with no parts replacements” or something equally asinine that is completely untrue.

      Yes, certain Special Operations units use Glock 22s chambered in the 40 without a doubt. They also use Glock 19s in 9mm, SIG P226/229 9mms, Mk 23s, and Mk 24s in 45.

      I doubt that you read the article because there is no strong opinion about anything Tiger said. Ill repost the closing paragraph so that we nip this in the ass and nobody draws to the conclusion that he said “40s suck” or “40 cal owners are stupid” or something else completely off-base, “Get a pistol that works for you, plenty of ammo, and practice the fundamentals until you can perform them under any conditions.”

      This is the kind of stuff that rubs me raw. Just because a prominent instructor may not be kissing the holy altar of a particular caliber, and offers legitimate criticism of it, fans of that certain caliber call for blood and even resort to ad hominem attacks against the instructor. This happens with 9mm, 45, 40 and every other caliber out there.

    • The G23 is Hickok45’s favorite pistol. Is the FBI still only using the G22 and G23. Sounds like some of these people should be using a 9mm conversion barrel if they are worried about wear and tear. I gots alot of cash so it aint no thang. Is the G22 still the most popular service gun in the US? All these breakdowns…..maybe the Gen4 will put that to sleep (the big complaint was that the lights underneath were shaking loose). The 9mm Glocks did not need this fix (and many think the duel recoil spring made 9mm worse) but the 40 Gen4 reduced felt recoil by 12% AND increased wear resistance by a wide margin. This means that the most popular service pistol in America just got better.
      Lots of people hate the 40 for gettin’ in the center (literally) of the ol’ 9/45 feud. NOBODY can argue that the 40 is a worthy member of the ‘big three’ along with the 9 and 45 as this modern caliber took its position with a bullet. It was its versatility (135-200 grain weight and regular 9mm to near 357 energy while having the larger diameter) that did it. 19 rounds (G17) vs 17 (G22) is no big ammo loss either.

  5. I love my G23 and I don’t mind the recoil at all. I think caliber and gun are personal preferences that boil down to what works best for you. In my opinion, I want the largest caliber I can comfortably carry and shoot. If that’s a .22 fine, if it’s a .500 fine. I also agree that if you run 5000 rounds through a gun in a week, you are more likely to have issues. That’s one of the reasons I have a Glock… fewer issues. But that’s not to say they are indestructible. Anything mechanical can and will eventually have a failure.

    • I’m with you brother. I am a recent glock convert (G23), I previously had a Taurus 24/7 in .40. I have three 9’s, a Kel-Tec p11, a Sig 239 and a Beretta 92, like them all, the Beretta is particularly accurate. I also have an XD 45 compact, accurate, pleasant to shoot, except a tad heavy. But, I love the G23. I like the capacity, the size, weight and the ballistics. If you can’t handle it, go for what you can.

  6. No problems with recoil here. But then again I’m using a G20 with a .40 conversion barrel. I haven’t tried to shoot the same cartridges with a lighter slide. I have to say that .40 is still a round to consider for competition shooting, especially for major power factor in USPSA

  7. I can honestly say that I have not experienced any of the problems Mr. McKee writes about in his article. After more than ten years of firing thousands of rounds of .40 through three different pistols; a Beretta model 96, Sig P226, and a Glock G27, I have never had a single stovepipe. I cannot recall ever seeing any of the other LEO’s on the range with me experience one either. This includes the last four years as a certified LE firearms instructor. And yes, it includes one handed injury drills with both strong and weak hand in non-standard firing positions. As a sig armorer, I have performed technical inspections on our department Sigs and none of them seemed any worse for wear after thousands of rounds. Granted Sigs are very high quality guns. I guess, to each his own, but it is hard for me to understand how someone can have such a completely different experience. I do agree with one thing. Shot placement is key and the difference in terminal ballistics between 9mm, .40, .45, and .357 sig is not huge.

  8. I didn’t read the above post. I haven’t read any of the above comments. My wife’s favorite pistol is her G22 Gen4. She loves that gun. She has never had a FTE, FTF, Stove-Pipe, etc. In fact, she believes if you’ve had one with this gun, you’re a limp-wristed pussy. 10,000 rounds later…you’re still a girly man. BTW – her carry gun is either a S&W .357 LadySmith of a G29.

    Man the F up.

  9. As much as I wanted to love my 40, the reliability problems have kept me from getting there. I LOVE my 9mm and 357. The recoil doesn’t bother me at all in any of my handguns. But when 1 in 100 fails to feed, I can’t count on it to protect me and my loved ones. I believe I traced the problem to the factory hi-cap magazines, so I’ll try picking up a standard one and see if that works. I really do WANT to love my 40.

      • Beretta 96A1. The left lip of the magazines leaves a 1/4″ scratch in the brass which I believe is slowing down the slide just enough to prevent the action from closing all the way sometimes. Doesn’t matter if the mag is full or nearly empty.

        • I am not familiar with that. If you cant square that gun away then there are many other brands that shoot 40 to consider.

      • Beretta 96A1. The left lip of the magazines leaves a 1/4″ scratch on the brass which I think is slowing down the cycling and causing the action to not close.

  10. I’m fairly new to the handgun fold ( less than one year) and my first and only purchase was an XDM 3.8 .40 compact. I have probably put 700 rounds through it and did find it to be snappy despite my size and strength. I’m 6’5″ 285 pounds. My accuracy hasn’t seen much improvement and all this anti. 40 talk has got me second guessing myself. I grew up with rifles and find the handgun game to be completly different. I’m wondering if I should stick with it or maybe trade for the sweet used m&p .9mm at the local gun shop. Any thoughts or advice guys?

    • If your Springfield works well for you and you like to shoot it, keep it and enjoy it. Your accuracy will improve with practice. If you get to a point where you aren’t happy with your progress, seek out a class, an instructor, or a knowledgeable friend to learn some tips. Never switch just because of someone else’s opinion. I bet you’ve read plenty of articles about the guys that sold their first gun and later regretted it.

    • My best suggestion is to go to the range and try out a 9mm or two. See what you like and if you find the recoil in them to be something you can manage and if accuracy improves. In THAT event I’d recommend going for the 9mm if you like the weapon platform. Don’t just trade for it on a whim, do some legwork.

      There is no substitute for practice but if you don’t plan on shooting a lot then there may be a reason to switch weapons. It depends on what you really like and what you want out of your gun. If it’s strictly self-defense and you don’t plan on shooting recreationally then perhaps you should change. Otherwise, practice will solve your problem in time if you put your mind to it.

    • If you haven’t taken a handgun class, I recommend you do that first, before you trade away your XD(M). That, and what the other folks have said here. Yes, you grew up with long guns but as you noticed, not everything you learned translates to a pistol, especially a compact one.

    • Can you try a lighter weight bullet and or lower velocity round in your gun? There is always a bigger gun (you are a big dude) and you could try that (if you have not).

      • I’ll second that. Try a box of Winchester Silvertip 155-grain JHPs, and then try a box of Federal Hydra-Shok 135-grain JHP personal defense rounds, model PD40HS4H. Link:

        http://www.federalpremium.com/products/details/handgun.aspx?id=402

        The 135gr Hydra-Shoks shoot like a frickin’ laser beam for me, but they’re damned expensive. I only cycle through one box per year to maintain familiarity with them since they’re my home-defense load.

        • Are those 155 Silvertip the same the border patrol used and also very high energy (over 500 ftlbs)? Those things performed great in the original FBI tests.

        • Pat, the Winchester 40 Silvertip 155gr is in fact 1205fps and 500 ft-lbs at the muzzle. I don’t know first-hand whether CBP uses them, but I do believe that they are some of the best personal-defense rounds you can buy.

          A 40 round exiting the barrel at 1205fps is going to be significantly less affected by barrel movement post trigger pull than the more typical (slower) round moving at 1000-1100fps. I have absolutely noticed this effect when shooting Silvertips.

        • Yup, those are the ones. They learned over the years that you could have different performance levels by varying the weight of the bullet and the amount of powder. You have the slow 180, variable 165, killer welterweights in the 150 range, and 135 grain screamers where they are getting better and better at making them perform in penetration through clothing while still giving the 357 like stretch cavity incapacitiation punch effect.

  11. NEVER had any of the .40 “problems” that “Tiger” mentions. HK USPc/Walther 990/Walther PPS/Walther P99c all four-tay;never a problem!

  12. The only thing I know about .40s (never having fired one myself) is that our local constabulary carries them (Glocks), that in a shoot out the officers will usually empty their weapons and reload, and the BGs don’t get up. There was only one incident where the officers, chasing a bankrobber on foot, loosed a fusilade that resulted in a few rounds coming down a block away. Luckily, no bystanders were injured.

  13. I still like my .40, and it doesn’t stovepipe when I shoot it one-handed. Our departmental guns are decently reliable – mine will perhaps jam roughly once out of 250-500 rounds if they are 180 JHPs. Mine has roughly 4500 – 5000 rounds through it with zero breakages. It is less reliable with 141 grain frangible, but it was designed for that, and we don’t carry frangible on duty.

    The .40 is a high pressure round, and will have a higher wear rate on average than lower pressure rounds. If I had the chance, I would consider switching to 9mm, if I could get more capacity and accuracy. I may e eventually switch my carry guns from .40 to 9mm, but I may be able to accomplish that with a magazine change and a barrel swap.

    • If the police surplus .40 Glock 22 is uncomfortable, screw going to 9mm. I’m changing it to .357 SIG. Besides .45 1911s and an HK, my main carry weapon is a Sig P239 in ,357 SIG. For a so-called “compact” pistol I can shoot .357 SIG from it all day long. The recoil of the .357 SIG from the P239 is much like a .45 – it’s a push back, as opposed to the .40’s flip. It’s a little expensive to shoot .357 SIG, but I get Georgia Arms “Canned Heat” in bulk quantities.

  14. Get something that you can use to put rounds on target that will do enough damage deep enough. In my case, when my bank account gets too full, I go looking for something I don’t already have.

  15. I’ll keep my Glock 23 .40 cal as every day carry gun. I’ve never had a Glock of any calibre wear itself out. Sure, parts need to be inspected and replaced from time to time, but that’s with any semi auto, I am going to carry for self defense. 9mm is a fine calibre, just means you have to shoot them more. I can fire multiple shots and get good combat accurate hits with my Glock, but I also train with it regularly. I say, carry what you can shoot well. Who cares on the calibre.

  16. Well all I can say is that I have carried, and trained
    with a Sig 229, shoot thousands of rounds down
    It and the only problem I and my department
    have had, is picking up empties. Get a power
    grip use it for a week then shoot one, your what
    we call on the range limb wristing it!
    .

  17. I don’t like 40’s.I have a 10mm that I shoot better than I ever shot a 40..A 38 Super Auto is a high pressure round and has little recoil out of the 1911 platform-I find it comfortable to shoot and accurate.I find 45 ACP easy to shoot well from the 1911,but less so from revolvers..I’ve owned two 40’s and couldn’t shoot worth a damn with either..I am not recoil shy-i do real well with the 357 and always did-the 40 recoil is sort of “twisty”and makes sight alignment re-acquisition more difficult..just my 2 cents on the subject.

    • .40S&W resulted from reducing case length since lighter 10mm loads didn’t require the volume. Perhaps returning to the reduced pressure of .40 loads in a 10mm case in the larger 10mm pistol would fix the issues?

  18. I don’t mind the .40 caliber at all. I own a Glock 23 and a 35 and shoot both of them well, especially the 35. I do agree that you need a strong grip but no stronger grip than a .45 would need. I shoot strong hand and weak hand, never had a FTE, FTF or anything. I guess it depends on the individual.

  19. Lordy, Lordy, not another bash on the .40

    Have a Springfield XD Service and have put 4500 rds thru so far. it runs fine. It has NEVER stovepiped, failed to eject, failed to feed or anything. I ran 500 rds with a few drops of Breakfree out of the box. It hits what I aim at everytime. High pressure rd is louder but the recoil is not bad enough where I cannot get 4 quick rds into a target within 2 inches. It’s like Yeager hatin’ the 40 and hatin the non-Glocks, and non-9mm.

    Have seen Glocks fail. All guns can fail. Any machine can. Take care of it. Shoot it.

    • Firstly they didn’t all carry magnums. About 75% of the old school cops carried .38’s. For the most part the magnums were carried by hi way cops.

      In the old days the cops had height and weight requirements that have in recent times been done away with as being “prejudiced” against women and physically small men of different ethnic groups.

      Since these changes the harder kicking guns like the magnums and the 12 gauge have started to fall out of favor with PD’s. I have seen small statured shooters that weren’t properly trained injure themselves on 2 occasions, once with a 12 ga. and once with a .357 magnum.

      • There is a TITANIC difference between a 38 (175-200 ftlb) or 38+p (250 or so ftlb) energywise and a low, regular, or high energy 357 (400-800 ftlb). The guns (the Registered Magnum) were extremely expensive from the mid 30’s-50’s, and extremely popular as the Feds and everyone wanted them (they were shot out of guns that were later dubbed N frames like the model 27 and 28). The loads got better and when a bad guy was hit with one……it only took one. Thus started the legend of the ‘manstopper’ (it was Pattons ‘killing gun’) and issued to the feds until the semiauto explosion. The temporary incapacitation of the stretch cavity as a pressure wave hits a nearby nerve center like the Solar Plexus (like getting hit in the Kidney by a big league fastball) is the secret to the rounds success.

  20. It’s not about being a sissy or any of that. Modern, quality hollow points for pistols all perform about the same on 2 legged predators. The added recoil impulse and lower capacity of the .40S&W to a given gun isn’t worth a PERCEIVED advantage over 9mm in performance. Pistol fights are often won by volume of fire (according to compiled reports of police shootings), as many hits that are lethal do not incapacitate, because pistol ammo all equally sucks. So more shots on target is what we should search for, not one shot incapacitation.

    • Is there a PERCEIVED advantage between the 9 and the 357? 45 and 40 have rounds that are close to that performance. If you believe the 9 is the same then why does anyone use a 45? All ‘the big three’ have their advantages and disadvantages.
      Going from 19 (G17) to 17 (G22) REEAALLY aint that big a reduction in a world of 5 shot snubbies and 7 shot 1911’s with regards to volume of fire (we are civilians and as such rarely shoot more than two or three rounds anyway).

    • I have seen those reports. It is mostly miss with 11 and hit with 3. They rely on volume of fire to make a hit.

  21. I read a great insight into a similar debate yesterday on DGU:
    Shot placement is King, Capacity is Queen, Caliber is but a boastful jester…

  22. That anticipation stuff is just BS, I learned to shoot handguns on a .40 and don’t anticipate a thing. I was just taught properly how to shoot a gun, and as long as it’s a proper learning gun, not an ultralite scandium titanium wieghtless wonder, it could be a .44 magnum and you still can learn not to anticipate.

  23. Jason, that is why I don’t believe in science. Science can tell you yes or no. Belief is much more relevant because it can give you room to argue.

    Seriously, you are correct. Gun weight, propellant charge, bullet weight… these are measurable factors. Recoil force is measurable.

    As to the article, I think the problem I have with the .40 is that it was designed as a compromise that never achieved the goal. More bullets than the .45ACP but bigger bullets than the 9mm. Yes, but the 9mm bullets are comparably lethal and the .45ACP uses fewer bullets to do the damage. What you get is a work truck with a V6 engine. It is better on gas than your V8 truck but can barely pull the trailer.

    • Never achieved the goal? You have been around these last two decades, right? The most popular caliber for law enforcement (both state and federal) that delivers near 357 magnum power (or standard 9mm level energy if desired) with 135 grain to 200 grain bullets (talk about versatility) with a greater cross sectional diameter. All this while going from 19 rounds (G17) to 17 (G22)…..NOTHING….in a world of 5 round snubbies and 7 round 1911’s while being the same size.
      Goal…..achieved (and then some).

      • NO pistol caliber has reached that goal, not even 40. Get that idea out of your head. With a gain in a particular attribute, there is a loss in another.

        There are still tradeoffs in increased recoil and increased wear on the gun, which are large enough to equalize or counter the marginal advantages in kinetic energy and larger diameter (which is a even smaller gain with the 40 since the 45 already has a minimal advantage).

        Also, “near 357 power” is deceptive. There are 9mm and 45 cartridges that also cross into the 357’s power realm. When you are comparing hot cartridge versus hot cartridge, the 357 squashes all three (predictably).

        I disagree that the 40 counters the problems of the 9mm and 45 while not creating new ones. It does.

        I also disagree that 40 enjoys a unparalleled monopoly on the law enforcement market. There are no facts to substantiate this. A lot of agencies also use 9mm and 45 (with the odd department using 357 SIG). If 40 really was groundbreaking, it would replace everything. It isn’t and nothing is particularly ground breaking with pistol cartridges.

        • Sid said that the 40 never achieved the goal of a compromise between the 9 and 45. A great many say it has and view it as such. Most people (myself included) believe that it has gained more than it has lost, especially for those who are not affected by the snap in some of the rounds and the (I think minor) wear increase in certain guns like the Glock (especially 4Gen). Many still ignore the great versatility of the round (135-200 grain weight and 300-700ftlbs energy) which make it somewhat effective against certain dangerous animals (not Grizz, of course, though better than a sharp stick). The energy diff compared to 9 is more than marginal though 357 is tops in revolver. I cant say unparalleled monopoly though I know most in law enforcement carry the 40 (versatility gives them, and us, the ability of choice to use light rounds in the summer and heavier in the winter while still enjoying great affect in performance). In the end it is just choices of plus and minus with the indavidual choosing what works best as many have all three of the calibers for different environments (or moods….if women have different shoes and purses). While some may prefer greater versatility and a moderate ballistic performance increase (I agree that it aint ground breaking), others may choose to take advantage of the lower recoil impulse, less expensive ammo, and lower wear rate (which some view more importantly than others but still exists). The only people who would be completely wronge on the subject are those that would say one of these fine calibers dont belong in the ‘big three’ or that there can be only one that does it all. Only a fool would feel inadequate while rocking any of these three.

  24. I’ve never had any of the issues described with my 40 S&W and I probably have over 4000 rounds through it. It’s a Springfield XDM that I bought when they first came out. As for the recoil and everything, if that’s true (I’m not saying it’s not but I don’t own a full length 9mm or 45 to compare it to) then I’m glad because I shoot it very accurately so when I get a conversion barrel or a full length 9mm, I should have a much easier time.

  25. Is his nickname Tiger or Pussy? Hey, whatever kind of cat he is, if he can’t handle the recoil of a .40, he’d probably be better off with an Airsoft or maybe a rubber band and a paper clip. Or maybe he can just slap a BG with his murse.

    Sheesh.

  26. I’m on the record as being a 40 shooter. I’m not a fanboy, but I certainly haven’t had cause to question my decision to standardize on 40 for my personal defense handguns.

    That said, there are elements of truth in this article that I can corroborate through personal experience. In particular, guns chambered in 40 that have lightweight polymer lowers and heavy steel uppers are absolutely prone to stovepipes if you don’t firmly control the gun while the slide cycles. This is true for my USP 40 (with thousands of rounds fired) and I’ve also found it to be true on other polymer-frame 40s that I’ve borrowed or rented. The problem definitely gets a lot worse when I’m near empty on a magazine, as there’s a lot less mass left below the centerline of the gun to balance out the slide.

    Less forgiving of a weak grip or bad shooting posture? Yep, polymer/steel semi-autos in 40 are guilty as charged. Solution: train to hold the gun right in all the ways you’ll need to shoot it. I’m currently working on weak-hand injury drills, and the first ~200 rounds shooting unsupported with my left hand saw my USP stovepipe the ejected casing 4 times. After adjusting my grip and arm/shoulder alignment, I have pretty much eliminated the issue, at least for the shooting positions I’m allowed to use at my indoor range.

    • Less forgiving of a careless grip is I think a problem with all polymer framed guns regardless of caliber. I stay with the 9 because of logistics, I’m already set up to support the 9/.38.

      But my current 9 is a polymer frame, a first for me. I had to relearn the proper grip. If i relaxed in my hold I got FTF on the last round in the mag, a sure sign of bad grip.

      In my limited experiemce with the plastic guns I’ve found that the heavier loads, 124 grain +p tend to be less unforegiving of my grip. Maybe the little xtra oompah powers the slide all the way thru in spite of my occasional limp wristing.

      I’m right handed and have a touch of arthritis in my right hand and shoulder. Working on my grip and lifting weights has helped a lot and I no longer experience this problem with my plastic gun except when I’m overly tired.

      • +1
        When I got my XD/m 9mm I had a problem with FTF, FTE and the slide lock back failures when I first started shooting it. As a life long 1911 shooter I got lazy with my grip. It took me about 6 months to get it right. That and a lot fo rem oil in the grooves.

  27. I have found the .40 cal to be a very versatile round. You can buy cheaper .40’s like Tulammo that are about 300 ft-lbs of energy. The Federal and Winchester come in closer to 400 ft-lbs and then you have the high end personal protection ones that start to approach 500 ft-lbs.

  28. I’ve never seen so many “experts” in the shooting field than in the past few years. They call themselves “operators”…that used to be someone who made your long distance call connection…and probably still is. Now here’s one who says the .40 is difficult to shoot and wears out guns. Cheese and Crackers Charley Brown…and he gets paid to spread this crap.

    • *facepalm

      jesus christ. im amazed how many on here have actually gradumacated high school. you do realize that in the real world that reading comprehension is a big factor….

      undoubtedly you are another caliber zealot that likes to twist things around and throw another cheap jab at a critic of your wunder caliber.

      try reading the article again. that goes for EVERYBODY that is ASSYOUMEing about this “giant jab” at 40 cal.

  29. I like the forty. But I regularly go to the rage and shoot 200 full power .357 magnums through a 3 inch sp101 at a time.

    Some people can handle certain cartridges and some can not. That is why they make .22s, 32s and 9mm.
    Most autoloader malfunctions I see come from 1911s.

  30. Memphis PD carries the Sig P226 in .40 and Germantown (neighbor to Memphis) PD carries the HK USP .40. I have never heard complaints from any officer in either department.

    I also have spent plenty of time shooting both of thoes guns and the Glock 22 (gen 3 and 4) as well as my Glock 23 (gen 4). I have NO complaints about the .40 and as an amatuer shooter am quite accurate with no fomal training.

    • Here in Seattle, you can shoot what you qualify with (which some see as a problem because of the potential of your partner running out of ammo or losing their mag and needing your assistance). Shoot what you qualify with is the best answer.

  31. When I began shooting handguns about 4 years ago, it was going to be the 9mm and possibly a 357/38 revolver. Kept hearing about the nasty 40S&W, so when I wanted a larger caliber I went for the 1911 in 45. You want your 45 1911 to shoot consistently and not jam, you’d better focus on your grip and not limp wrist it. Not sure why, but I decided the 9mm was not enough and having a 45 w/3″ barrel was nice, but I wanted something smaller, but still powerful. So I looked into the micro & compact 40’s (not having ever shot a 40 at this point). I decided to buy an S&W M&P40C, since I liked my M&P9C a lot (flawless operation). I bought the M&P40C and it was actually nicer shooting than the 9 in my opinion. A few months later I bought a Micro 40, the Kahr MK40. This is a very small gun (all steel), as small or smaller than many of the 9mm micro guns out there. I absolutely love shooting my MK40, it is the most accurate shooter I have. Have had zero malfunctions with it, nor with either of my S&W M&P compacts. Not sure why the author experienced issues or speaks of them in the article, but I vouch for the 40 as being a wonderful round in any size handgun; I now have a full size M&P40 as well, it is also very accurate and malfunction free. I find the 40 to be a very nice CCW round. The Springfield EMP40 is pretty nice to shoot too, but I like my Kahr MK40 the most, it’s my daily carry weapon (it’s smaller). The MK40 for comparison, is about the size of the Sig P290, that’s where any comparison ends; the Kahr wins hands down. Personally, I’d rather shoot 40S&W rounds than 9mm rounds.

    • It is a versatile round with light to heavy loads going from low to high velocity. Durability has increased as the round is less than a quarter of a century old (witness 4gen Glock). It is an established member of the ‘big three’ with 45 and 9 offering their own virtues.

  32. Wait a minute here. After shooting a 10 all day with my G-20, then switching the barrel to a .40, it feels like shooting a .22 ! To each, their own.
    Have the proper recoil spring, the right trigger, and the balls. You will shoot to have a fun day. What is this guy talking about ?

  33. I think it’s awesome how we can be so damned passionate about calibers. The wheel turns – things fall in and out of fashion for different reasons at different times. Calibers resurge in popularity, supporting the ubiquitous ‘shootout’ articles in gun mags, the ‘homage to the maligned or forgotten caliber’ article, and the ‘new life through new loads’ articles. Remember how the .380 sucked, then was all the rage, and now it sucks again?
    But somehow I never grow tired of reading this stuff. 😀 As someone above said – read it with an open mind and put the opinion in your toolbox.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *