Caliber Wars: Cop Weighs In On Department’s 9mm vs. .40 Duty Gun Decision

Two police departments in Indiana are trading in their duty guns for new ones of a different caliber. The Valparaiso Police Department is swapping their .40 caliber GLOCKs that are only a few years old for newer 9mm pistols. For better or worse, much of the gun-buying public takes queues from what law enforcement agencies choose to carry.

Here’s now Valparaiso Sgt. Michael Grennes justified the caliber change. From nwitimes.com:

“We had originally switched to the .40 because of a perceived ‘stopping power’ need,” Grennes said. “The thought was that a bigger, faster bullet would incapacitate faster and thus end officer-involved shooting more rapidly.”

“This is not the case,” he emphasized.

“It’s a balance of shoot ability and shot placement added to officer’s confidence in their own ability that ends the aggressor’s assault on the officer (or innocents), not a particular cartridge,” Grennes said.

Fair enough. Sgt. Grennes reportedly then got into more detail regarding his department’s decision . . .

The difference between the 9mm and the .40-caliber guns, he explained, is one of cartridge ignition pressures. The 9mm has a long, low, smooth ignition impulse, while the .40 has a short, sharp, abrupt ignition impulse.

That recoil caused cracking of the frame in the .40-caliber guns, especially ones that had been used often over four to five years, he said.

Unfortunately, the Sergeant got his facts wrong. There is no difference in pressure levels 9mm and .40 S&W ammunition. SAMMI pressure limits for both are exactly the same at 35,000 psi.

Of course, given the general ignorance of most reporters about all things having to do with firearms, it’s possible that officer was misinterpreted. Sgt. Grennes may have confused internal pressures with external mechanics.

But the Sergeant’s information carries a grain of truth. Early GLOCK .40s used the same recoil spring as 9mm pistols, which resulted in more felt recoil. The .40 caliber has more energy, so there’s more energy in the recoil impulse. With high round counts, a small number of frames suffered hairline cracks.

Early Gen 3 GLOCKs had reinforced frames with an extra pin in the locking block/trigger mechanism, that also offered a stress relief hole to stop the rare cracking of the .40 caliber pistols. As the pistols the Sergeant is referring to are only four to five years old, they’re not subject to the earlier guns’ cracking problem.

Moving from .40 caliber GLOCKs to 9mm pistols seems to be a growing trend among police departments. That may offer gun buyers the opportunity to pick up some inexpensive, but excellent GLOCK .40 caliber police trade-ins.

Reinforced frames have two pins instead of one above the trigger, so they are easy to spot. Gen 5 GLOCKs have gone back to one pin, but are only chambered in 9mm.

 

©2018 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar Andy Buckmichael says:

    Terrible waste of money.

    1. avatar Jack says:

      Yeah. They should have just stayed with 9mm in the first place

      1. avatar Madcapp says:

        No kidding, I wouldn’t waste free money on .40 caliber anything. 9MM has long since won the pistol caliber wars. Butthurt from dullards in denial begins here ↓↓↓

        1. avatar Cpt. Obvious says:

          I’ll have a go:

          “Hmm, we need something to replace the anemic 9mm that can’t stop a charging hamster and is getting us killed. / How about a 10mm? / Nah, too recoiley. / How about a slightly smaller 10mm? we’ll call it the .40. / Perfect. Superior at all of our tests but not too recoiley. / Time passes. / Wowsers, now .. thanks to scientific advancements .. our old weak sister 9mm can actually put people down ..for a change .. and manage to usually pass our requirement tests!! / Yay! We are saved from being trembly-scared of medium recoiley!! / Plus, no other manner or size of cartridge would ever manage to ALSO benefit from these advancements in technology! / Indeed! Only 9mm can receive upgraded performance from scientific advancements in bullet design and powder rates! / 9mm is settled consensus. Let all others be flayed alive. Amen / Now we sing our holy song: Ommmmmm, Ommmmmmm, Ommmmmmm.”

        2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          Not to mention that most people who shoot 9mm have to use +P+++ ammo. So it’s good enough, if you use +P+.

        3. avatar Theresa K. Beachamp says:

          I’m not sure how serious that reply was meant to be taken, but all the sarcasm in the world cannot overcome the fact that the 9mm cartridge has been proven, in ballistic gel testing and in real-life scenarios, to be just as effective as any other common service caliber. And that’s true with standard pressure rounds, not just +P and/or +P+ loadings. Keep religion where it belongs.

  2. avatar ColoradoKid says:

    Popcorn…check.
    Beer…check.
    Recliner….check.

    GO! Caliber war!

    1. avatar Roy Johnson says:

      forty smorty………

      .44 Magnum for the win…..

      1. avatar Leighton Cavendish says:

        .500 magnum for the slam dunk

        1. avatar MyName says:

          pfft. .88 magnum, it shoots through schools.

        2. avatar Nj2az says:

          I never feel safe with anything less than .950 jdj

        3. avatar Laserbeam says:

          I’ve got it! 9 Creedmore!

  3. avatar what would spock say says:

    enough of this insanity. folks talk about .40 S&W recoil as if it is the equivalent of 45-70 in a handgun. I have no idea what this is about. interestingly (and hypocritically) 10mm gets non stop verbal ball-washing, yet has more recoil than .40. Yes, .40 recoils more than 9mm. Yes, 10mm recoils more than .40. Sorry but yes, .40 has more stopping power than 9mm just as 10mm has more than .40. how can folks simultaneously love 9mm and 10mm but despise .40? Logic folks. I like em all for the record.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Like always its all about the girlycops able to hold/shoot.

      1. avatar Hunter427 says:

        We have our winner ladies and gentlemen, the fact that police departments have lowered their standards since 1983 when I started police work. I have seen dworfs in uniforms, men and women so small I could carry them on my hip. That is the problem little people with little hand and no mass to suck up a little recoil, all to be PC. 40 all the way. You can’t proform at the range you can’t be a police officer.

        1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          Re girlycops and dwarves, I’ve got a story I’m going to tell even though it has nothing to do with .40 S&W. This happened about 30 years ago, not recently, so this tells you how long this stuff has been going on.

          My friend, who is in a wheelchair (Vietnam survivor), was in is front yard when a Harley came roaring down his street. A little while later a Lansing, MI police car followed, then stopped in front of his house. The HD was at the end of the block. Everyone there (lots of Harley riders) was giving the cop (male, 150 lbs soaking wet) the finger. The cop saw a father washing his Honda 750 in his driveway near him and proceeded to give him a ticket.

          My friend (who is a liberal and police supporter) rolled across the street and told the cop that the Honda owner was not the one who was evading him, it was a HD rider at the end of the block, many of which were still in the street taunting the cop. My friend pointed out that the Honda motorcycle’s engine was cold so it couldn’t have been him.

          You get one guess what the cop did. Yep, you guessed right, he still wrote up the Honda owner, and threatened my friend for interfering.

        2. avatar Andy Buckmichael says:

          Typical, useless, scum cops, then and now.

        3. avatar Hunter427 says:

          Danny l Griffin, most horrible injustice I have ever heard. Move to better town with good police

        4. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          @Hunter427 LOL, you have no idea. Local cops have been sanctioned for targeting people. But all in all it’s not too bad. I was born and raised in Hammond, IN. You want to see corruption? See Gary, or even Chicago. How many readers here can say they’ve paid off cops to get out of a serious charge (not traffic). I have.

        5. avatar truckman says:

          I have never paid off a cop in my life but I also stay away from big cities and as far as a carry gun I prefer a good 38 revolver with a couple of speed loaders I have 380,9mm and don,t like them to carry would carry my 45 but to dang heavy

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      The same way people love the .357 and .44 magnums but, well maybe they don’t hate the .41 but they do their best to ignore it.

      1. avatar MyName says:

        Gotta say, don’t hate it and don’t ignore it but, don’t own it either. It seems to me that the .41 is a completely reasonable cartridge and if it had been the ‘first’ magnum round then it might hold the hill that .357 sits on. Also, since I’ve had .357 and .44 mag available to me for a while now, exploring the point in between has never seemed worth the time/effort/money. If, on the other hand, someone gives me a S&W Mod. 57 and a set of dies, I’ll certainly give it a whirl.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          My biggest beef with the .41 is that (being a S,R&Co fan-boy) a Redhawk with a 2-3/4″ barrel weighs more than my 6″ GP 100. Given full pressure am mo, the lighter 6″ GP makes as much or more ME than the 2-3/4″ Redhawk. Perhaps if S,R&Co were to make a 4.2″ 5 shot GP in .41 I’d jump on that. But somebody’s got to make a compelling revolver for the car tridge before I’d buy it.

          Cheap a mmo wouldn’t hurt either.

    3. avatar Marc says:

      “Verbal ball washing”
      I’m totally stealing that dude.

      1. avatar yolo says:

        i thought the same. “ball-washing” I foresee in my forum and game chat future.

    4. avatar New Continental Army says:

      I really don’t get it either. Online forums put off the idea that .40, .45, or anything bigger as some kind of hit with a baseball bat level recoil. Maybe I’m just some kind of huge billy badass, but, I honestly can’t even tell the difference between 9/40/45 in recoil. To me the size of the gun is more of a factor then the size of cartridge. I really don’t even see the recoil problem with even larger calibers. .30-06, .44 mag, 2 3/4 12 gauge, none of those really bother me either. But once you get bigger than that like .454, .338, or 3in mag, that’s when I start to notice some pain.

      1. avatar Ed says:

        . “The thought was that a bigger, faster bullet would incapacitate….”

        .40 is bigger but usually a touch slower than 9mm.

        “That recoil caused cracking of theframe in the .40-caliber guns, especially ones that had been used often over four to five years, he said.”
        This is nothing short of a bold faced LIE…or the cops were carrying Hi-Points and shooting +P ammo at the range….also, we all know that MOST cops shoot once or twice a year…usually less than 500 rounds.
        Yet, this assholes reputatuon is most likey that of a coragous honorable hero cop…shitbag. If you will lie to the people about something, you will lie to them about ANYTHING. I wonder how many liberties hes taken filling out arrest reports?

      2. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

        Yeah, I can’t tell couldn’t tell you if the gun I was firing was a 9mm or .40 if there was no external clue or I got to fire them one after another. My only .45acp is a Snake Slayer so that one is easy to tell that it is not a 9mm, but it still is quite manageable in my not so manly hands.

      3. avatar TheUnspoken says:

        People are fleeing the hard to handle, wild recoiling .40s&w while also buying crazy amounts of those 12 gauge non-nfa shockwave grip firearm things while converting everything to run .45 super, .460 Rowland, or other “magnum”ish rounds.

        I think the police bought into .40 because they FBI used it and it was hyped as the next greatest thing, and are ditching it for the same reason. Marketing and sales. And everyone else is following suit.

        And the justifications based on old Glocks breaking sounds like a lot of old firearm mythology – AKs are reliable tanks for the muddiest environment, direct impingment ARs will jam all the time and non chrome lined barrels aren’t good for anything, piston ARs are always the best, .45 acp, especially fired from a 1911 will stop anything and remove its soul, etc etc.

        Though it does sound like at first, maybe scaling Glocks up to .40 resulted in some issues.

      4. avatar MyName says:

        I’ve thought along similar lines. I don’t think I have the world’s toughest hands, (though, I do work with them for a living) but I find the whole handgun recoil concern a bit silly. Sure, an air-weight j-frame in .357 stings a bit more than a model 29 with big boy loads but, still, who really cares. I understand that something with some significant muzzle flip is harder to get back on target than something more tame but, generally, this isn’t much of an issue for me. (for context, my handguns range in caliber from .22 to .45, like nearly everyone else) I don’t know, maybe the fact that swinging a hammer is a daily occurrence for me makes my hand tougher than the average Joe but, I kinda doubt it.

    5. avatar No one of consequence says:

      “how can folks simultaneously love 9mm and 10mm but despise .40?”

      English vs metric?

      1. avatar what would spock say says:

        touche sir. well played.

        the irony of THAT theory is also that for the most part, we are the last holdouts of the Imperial system yet when it comes to gats, we can’t get enough of the metric calibers. Now I am starting to think all this .40 hate is a Russian Bot thing.

      2. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        Best response so far!!

      3. avatar burley says:

        There are 2 types of countries in the world: Those that use the metric system and those that have been to The Moon.

        1. avatar dlj95118 says:

          …nice!

        2. avatar jwm says:

          Now we going to have the caliber wars and the ‘flat earthers’ arguing here.

          Thanks, dude.

        3. avatar MyName says:

          Actual LOL. Well played!

      4. The police need to chamber their pistols in 6.5 mm Creedmoor.
        Everyone knows that 6.5 mm Creedmoor is a magic bullet that can shoot the wings off a mosquito at 1,000,000 yards and has lower recoil than a 22. Right?

    6. avatar Neil Hightower iii says:

      I shoot 9mm and 10mm far better than 40. But I think the 10mm>40 for me and most people is say the 9 and 40 will be a same or similar size gun but the 10mm is a larger heavier gun soaking up some of felt recoil.

    7. avatar whoopie says:

      I favor the 9mm but I’ve fired the .40 and .45 as well and honestly, I can’t detect any difference in recoil in any of the calibers. They all feel about the same to me.

    8. avatar Jean-Claude says:

      The only time .40 recoil is unpleasant is in subcompact pistols. The Kahr CM40 is a bear with defensive loads. But in a G23? Nothing to it.

    9. avatar Zhang says:

      “how can folks simultaneously love 9mm and 10mm but despise .40?”

      Because compromise SUCKS.

      Yes, we know that all pistol calibers are weak. But the .40 is the only major pistol caliber that was designed to be a compromise from ITS VERY BEGINNING, and that fact alone makes me grind my teeth just thinking about it.

      1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        That’s a stupid comment. All pistol calibers are a compromise.

        1. avatar Daniel L Michlig says:

          9mm isn’t a compromise 10mm isn’t either. 40 short and wimpy is a compromise.

  4. avatar Joel IV says:

    Valparaiso and Michigan City are both in Indiana.

    1. avatar Andy Buckmichael says:

      Do not tell the cops.

    2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

      Where did you see Michigan City? I read the post twice looking for the second department and missed it.

    3. avatar James says:

      Correct.

  5. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    which one hurts less?
    glad to see cpd the other day with a well worn leather pancake holster. his partner was glokking, but he had some form of four number stainless smith da thing that starts with a 3, or a 5 or 6. i like those- not the slide safety part that goes the wrong way, but maybe a dao.

  6. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    “For better or worse, much of the gun-buying public takes queues from what law enforcement agencies choose to carry.”

    “…takes queues…”

    “…queues…”

    /facepalm

    1. avatar L says:

      That’s TTAG writers for you. It’s still not fixed too.

      1. avatar Stereodude says:

        You’ll have to forgive them. They’re out working on their pool queue for a game later. There’s no time for proofreading.

        1. avatar MyName says:

          I have a pretty strong optimization background and a pretty good pool game. If I ever open a pool hall it is going to be called “cueing theory”.

    2. avatar NM says:

      Sounds about right… 😉

    3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      one of the most important things to know is which line to stand in.

    4. avatar Chris Sullivan says:

      Easy-peasey way to remember queue vs cue-

      ‘Queue’ means line, think of the line down a Chinese man’s back formed by his queue braided hairstyle back in the day. The lowercase ‘q’ even looks like a Chinese queue.

      ‘Cue’ means guide or signal, like a cue ball guides the other billiard balls.

      Thus endeth the lesson.

  7. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    They should go back to .357 magnum.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      From TC

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        One cart ridge that they have to keep in their pocket.

        1. avatar MyName says:

          Got my cart stuck on a ridge once. Had to walk back to the house and get the truck.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Brow nells still owes me a check.

  8. avatar joehbro says:

    “Unfortunately, the Sergeant got his facts wrong. There is no difference in pressure levels 9mm and .40 S&W ammunition. SAMMI pressure limits for both are exactly the same at 35,000 psi.”

    He wasn’t talking about max pressure, but the pressure curve…

    1. avatar Andy Buckmichael says:

      Typical cop.

      1. avatar Neil Davis says:

        There is a difference in the rate of pressure rise or jerk (it is an engineering term). I find 40 very snappy.

        Also 9mm ammo is cheap. My Sheriff friends laugh at some of the debates as the gun costs a department less than the cost of a thousand rounds of ammo. Rumor is Glock bid contracts at their cost (~$82 per gun). So if a department actually practices, it will not take long to save money on practice ammo.

        1. avatar C says:

          The government doesn’t spend its own money. it spends yours, so it doesn’t really give a damn how much money it is spending. Always something to keep in mind

      2. avatar Neil Davis says:

        My Sheriff friends do care as while the spend our money, they receive so much per year for guns, parts, holsters, and ammo. Police are underfunded, at least here in Cali. It is why there vehicles are being driven past 200,000 miles and the replacement vehicles are smaller.

        So yes, they care. In particular as their prior holster had to be replaced (a few instances of Gock leg); it turns out a side button to release is a really bad idea when in line with the trigger.

  9. avatar MLee says:

    Took a buddy into Sharp Shooters in Spokane a few days ago who fancies the new Springfield XDE in 9mm.
    We rented it and put a box through it. My daily carry is a Sig P229 Elite in .40
    That XDE in 9mm had more felt recoil than my P229, a lot more. I was very surprised at the amount of recoil that weapon had with range ammo, I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t like it either. Nothing wrong with the XDE, I shot it well and and it functioned adequately, but I much preferred my P229 in .40 No big surprise there however as one is a thousand dollar heavier metal weapon and one is a lighter plastic framed weapon at less than half the price, which goes to show there is much more to the equation that pure ballistics.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      The Sig is the heavier pistol so it absorbs the recoil. As we move to smaller, lighter pistols recoil becomes a bigger factor. Shoot a 39 oz 1911 chambered in 9mm and it feels like you are shooting a 22 WMR. Shoot 9mm out of a pocket gun and feels like you are shooting a 357.

      1. avatar FedUp says:

        I can shoot a little 16oz gun in 9mm (Colt Mustang copy, slightly enlarged to handle 9×19) and not find the recoil bothersome, but I can’t keep it on target between shots. I regularly shoot 147gr in it, figuring it loses less energy in a short barrel than the lighter stuff does.

        Anyway, one of the police administrators was hailing it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to sell guns back to Glock for a whopping $200 each. Is the wholesale value of a used LE G23 more or less than $200? Seems like they could have dumped the whole pile of them on CDNN for $200 anytime they wanted to.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          You may want to drop down to 115 or 124 gr bullets. With that short barrel, you lose velocity. And with that heavy bullet, you lose velocity. Lose too much and your HPs will not blossom on impact. Higher velocity will mean greater reliability for SD ammo. The other alternative are the copper solids that are nonexpansive but have excellent penetration compared to low velocity HP rounds.

  10. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    That police department failed to account for barrier penetration — something which law enforcement officers have a higher probability of encountering than the average public. And when it comes to barrier penetration, the .40 S&W cartridge is hands-down superior to 9mm Luger.

    I will stick with .40 S&W. While it does generate slightly more recoil than 9mm Luger, I am able to shoot just as fast and accurate as with 9mm Luger.

    1. avatar Steve says:

      Thank you for typing this so I don’t have to. If the bad guy is behind a car door, or a windshield the .40 is undeniably a better caliber.

      1. avatar Ton E says:

        I’ll take your .40 and raise you .357 SIG!

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          The problem with .357 Sig: its relatively high muzzle velocity doesn’t change the fact that the bullet will deflect significantly when striking windshields at oblique angles. All the higher muzzle velocity means is that the bullet travels faster down its still deflected path.

  11. avatar raptor jesus says:

    9mm
    cheaper to shoot = more practice
    more capacity = more chances of a hit
    easier to shoot = more chances of a hit
    less stress on the pistol = less downtime repairing/replacing

    Like the chief said (like the experts also say) : shot placement > *

    1. avatar Marcus says:

      Unless they’re shooting through car doors or windows but that almost never happens in real life right??????

    2. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      raptor jesus – If those are the reasons, then why not go to a .22mag with 30 round magazines. It would be superior to the 9mm on all of those points.

      1. avatar Old Guy in Montana says:

        Now, there’s a thought…I’m imagining ALL Police Agencies in the USA issued PMR-30’s and three magazines…maybe I should buy stock in Kel-Tec?

        1. avatar burley says:

          FN five seven anyone?

        2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          burley,

          While I do not think handguns chambered in .22 WMR make sense for law enforcement personnel, I think FN Five-seveN would be an excellent choice.

        3. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          @Burley — yes, me! That’s my EDC.

        4. avatar duroSIG556R says:

          The problem with the keltec and rim fire in general; it’s not reliable.

      2. avatar Timothy says:

        In truth, the biggest basic requirement for a viable caliber is the ability to break past the ribs into vital organs. .22LR just doesn’t do so reliably.

        9MM, .40S&W, and .45ACP are all perfectly capable. .380 is capable, but a person needs to be picky with their defensive ammo. You sticking with .40S&W is a fine choice.

        This is why people talk about bullet tech making 9MM a more viable round. Yes, bullet tech helps every caliber improve. But the weakest of the calibers have the most to gain.

  12. avatar Marcus says:

    Really they should switch out their Glock’s for any other handgun that was chambered for 40, which is most modern handguns, and then down chambered to 9mm unlike Glock which is up chambered 17s and 19s. At least they could get caliber conversion barrels for their Glock’s or go back to Beretta’s or down chambered Glock 20s for better recoil control with less wear and tear.

  13. avatar Ken says:

    9 blah blah blah 40 blah blah 45 blah blah blah blah knock down blah blah blah blah . . . .

    1. avatar Army of Northern Creedmoria says:

      CREEEEDMOOORRRR!!!!!!!

      1. avatar MyName says:

        Waiting for the creedmor handgun. The one gun to rule them all.

  14. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    I have 1911s in 9mm, 40,45, and 10mm. 9mm is the cheapest to shoot. 10mm the most fun with full power loads. I shoot all equally well
    I carry the 45. To me they are all basically the same.

  15. avatar DapperGunsmith says:

    Meh. If you shoot .40 out of a gun, you probably drink it in a can! (Oh no i didnt!!!)

  16. avatar Free Texas says:

    Who cares.

    Boys just get out there in public with your guns.

    .45, .40, 9mm, .38. Whatever.

    The end.

  17. avatar Moby Dick says:

    During my career in law enforcement I have been issued a Glock in .40, and when I went to work for a different agency I was issued a Glock in 9mm. I would not consider myself sensitive to recoil, and I enjoy shooting many types of firearms in diverse calibers. Imo it is hard to notice a difference between the Glock 22 and 17 (both gen 4). The 2 extra mags loaded with .40 felt heavier on my duty belt vs two mags loaded with 9mm. The only big difference, the last 2 rounds in .40 were hard to load in the mags after doing it over and over, My thumb was hurting a bit and I am not a big fan of those speed loaders. The .40 is said to cause faster wear and tear vs the 9mm, and ammo is more expensive. As far as grip, size, recoil, and performance, it is pretty close imo and should not be a major factor in making this kind of change. I was happy with a Glock chambered in .40, and I am now satisfied with my G17. The main point is do your job and they’ll both do theirs. A shot placement? Again call me crazy or clueless if you wish, the perceived recoil between the 2 full size Glocks was very minimal in my experience. So shot placement comes to how often you practice, how skilled you are, the conditions and environment, and how you react. Providing frequent quality training in active shooter scenario, defensive tactic, interview techniques, first aid/cpr, driving, etc, are imo far more important than swapping a Glock .40 for a 9mm, a carbine length AR15 vs a mid length and so on. If you don’t go shoot frequently on your own time (and usually dime as well), I cannot think of many LE agencies where firearms get used and abused as they stay in the holster most of the shift, and mandatory sessions at the range are usually few and far between. PRACTICE with what you have and keep it well maintained. 9 vs 40 it doesn’t matter! Regarding cops who got killed or stabbed to death, it’s usually not a caliber issue, a Glock vs Sig or S&W issue, etc. It is a situational issue, a training issue, an issue with being complacent, dispatch or supervisor messed up, back up was slacking and complacent, bad guy was better or more prepared…

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Moby Dick,

      I agree with everything you said … except for one quip. Your statement “9 vs 40 it doesn’t matter!” is pretty much true assuming full-size handguns and 9mm Luger ammunition with the best available terminal ballistics. And yet here is my quip: barrier penetration. As I stated above, .40 S&W is hands-down superior to 9mm Luger with respect to barrier penetration.

      Of course whether or not barrier penetration is relevant depends on your expected threat profile. Many people reject the possibility that they need to worry about barrier penetration — and rightly so. For those people, 9mm Luger versus .40 S&W basically does not matter (assuming 9mm Luger ammunition with the best available terminal ballistics). For people who figure barrier penetration is a possible factor in their expected threat profiles, then .40 S&W is better.

    2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Moby Dick,

      I also want to expound upon my caveat in my previous statement about full-size handguns chambered in 9mm Luger loaded with ammunition that has the best available terminal ballistics.

      Sub-compact handguns with 3-inch barrels chambered in 9mm Luger are extremely popular these days. Unfortunately, those sub-compact handguns with short barrels do not develop enough muzzle velocity for popular bullet weights to achieve desired expansion and penetration. If you are going with a short barrel, a handgun chambered in .40 S&W might be a better choice. Or you better choose your ammunition VERY carefully.

      1. avatar Moby Dick says:

        I agree. I use different ammo in my personal 9mm handguns as one is a full size and the other is a pocket gun. Yes you are right about ammo and barrier penetration. Some handgun calibers and type of ammo are also more efficient vs windshields than others. Hopefully when barrier penetration becomes a deciding factor you get to grab a log gun from the patrol vehicle, but that’s not guaranteed we know it.

        1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

          Hopefully when barrier penetration becomes a deciding factor you get to grab a log gun from the patrol vehicle, but that’s not guaranteed we know it.

          Unfortunately, my state has declared (via legislative fiat) that us lowly serfs are criminals if we have readily accessible long guns in our vehicles. (Long guns must be unloaded in both chamber and magazine and enclosed in the trunk — or in a case and not readily accessible to vehicle occupants if the vehicle does not have a trunk.)

          Unless I want to risk a felony conviction for having a readily accessible long gun in my vehicle, I am limited to handguns carried with my resident concealed carry license.

        2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          You could always have an AR-15 pistol in your car (with or without arm brace), and if you don’t like the buffer tube, buy an Extar EXP-556 (I have one).

          Mk 1
          https://www.newfrontierarmory.com/shop/exp-556-pistol-mk-1/
          Mk 2
          https://www.newfrontierarmory.com/shop/exp-556-pistol-mk-2/

          Or if you want a heavier caliber, there’s a number of AK style pistols like the Draco.

        3. avatar Hannibal says:

          Agree. AR ‘pistol’ is a great answer to those laws, many of which are based on hunting regulations.

  18. avatar former water walker says:

    MY first thought was “are any of these used Glocks going to end up at Blythe’s or other local NW Indiana gunshops?!?” I’d give $300 for a barely used fo-tay Valpo gat😄😎😏

    1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

      AIM was selling police trade-in M&P .40’s for $269 recently. They may still have some. I bought one.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Oh, that sounds attractive. What is AIM and how do I find it???

        1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          If you are not on their mailing list, I suggest you subscribe. Lots of good deals all the time on guns, ammo, and parts.

          https://www.aimsurplus.com/

          The M&P police trade in is sold out right now. A few months back they had brand new FN FNS-40 for $330 (3 mags, back straps, etc.). Buds is like 50% higher. I bought one of those, too. Nice trigger.

        2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          uncommon_sense, AIM now has police trade-ins on the following:

          SIG P220 .45ACP
          SIG P229 .40S&W
          SIG P226 .40S&W
          Glock 21 Gen 3 .45ACP

      2. avatar former water walker says:

        I’d use a Glock 22/23 as a house gun. I would just as soon get a new Ruger Security 9 than a used S&W old trigger…

    2. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

      FWW, there should be some shops that sell police trade-ins. They often don’t advertise too much (at least in Michigan they don’t) but they do sell to the public as well as first responders (LEO, fire, etc.). We have one shop up here that looks like it’s a Michigan State Police supply, but in fact they sell to everyone. They just don’t advertise to the public. Good prices, too! Another up here that sells a lot to cops I never even knew existed until a friend told me. They always have trade-ins.

  19. avatar Barry O says:

    Yes, the 9mm is a compromise caliber. But it’s a good compromise with decent penetration, lighter recoil, and is more controllable than bigger bores, I carry a compact 9 and I am totally confident with that. Let’s face it. The average cop on the street is not Harry Callahan. For a firearm to be effective, you have to be able to hit what you are shooting at. If you can place more rounds on target with a 9mm than with a .40 s&w, the 9 is going to be the more effective weapon.

  20. avatar bryan1980 says:

    What a waste to retire such new pistols! If you want to do a caliber change, at least wait until the ones you have need to be retired. Also, I agree with the others with regards to felt recoil. I don’t notice much of a difference between 9MM and .40. In full-sized pistols, of course. I think 9MM is the perfect caliber for the crop of slim subcompacts out there today.

    1. avatar Andy Buckmichael says:

      It is not the cop’s money, it is the tax payer’s money and the cops do not care. It should come out of their next union contract.

      1. avatar bryan1980 says:

        I agree! After all, taxpayer money is unlimited, right?

  21. avatar Ammo Patrol says:

    Those .38 Specials, .380 Autos and 9mms are a great choice for women and small-framed sensitive men. Elderly officers should probably be equipped with .380s or .38s too. Manly men should skip over the .40 and go straight to 10mm or .357 Magnum or more. I’m a big man with man hands so I carry a Glock 20 which is chambered in 10 mm. My carry ammo of choice is Sig Sauer JHPs at about 636 ft-lbf energy, about triple the energy of a .380 Auto yet, to me, the recoil is less harsh than my Glock 23 in .40 or my Glock 26 in 9mm. That’s because the Glock 20 is a bigger gun so for non-pantywaisted men, everyday carry of a big gun is no big deal. If you are a manly man, then man up with a big gun in a big caliber.

    1. avatar Timothy says:

      If caliber size equals manliness, you should know that I carry a .460 S&W Magnum revolver. Just so you were aware that millennials out there are undeniably more manly than you. Carry the most powerful round you’re capable of handling. If you’re not manly enough to handle a .460 S&W Mag, then stick with whatever lesser round you can actually shoot.

    2. avatar Hannibal says:

      .380 auto is rarely a good choice for inexperienced or weak shooters. Nothing wrong with the cartridge, per se, except that it is regularly paired with a tiny gun that has a nasty kick due to its low weight.

      1. avatar Mark says:

        I have owned a Glock 17, two S&W Shields, and a Ruger American Compact which are all 9 mm handguns. None of them had perceived recoil (pain) like a S&W Bodyguard in .380. I could only stand to shoot a few magazines out of it before stopping. It definitely is not just the caliber that effects the recoil.

        1. avatar Dave M says:

          Not sure why, but when we did a side by side comparison shoot of a Ruger LCP Custom & a S&W .380 Bodyguard with the same ammo, the S&W had at least 50% more recoil and muzzle blast. Looking at the 2 guns, this seems explainable. At least we can see why a Ruger LCR in .357 Magnum is MUCH more controllable and pleasant to shoot than a S&W J Frame .357 Mag.

  22. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    If wear and tear is an issue, it sounds like they should have purchased something more durable than a polymer frame pistol. Or at least purchased something where the plastic isn’t the serialized part so they can obtain inexpensive replacement frames. As for the caliber, well, I’ve mentioned it before, but the first handgun I ever fired was the gun my brother carried when he was working armed security, an H&K chambered in .40 S&W. If an undersized 10 year old can handle the round in a polymer frame pistol, a grown adult should have the testicular or ovarian fortitude to do the same.

    1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

      Agree. My wife is 5’2″ and has no problem with any of my .40 S&W pistols (both steel and polymer).

  23. avatar Chocolate Moose says:

    “There is no difference in pressure levels 9mm and .40 S&W ammunition. SAMMI pressure limits for both are exactly the same at 35,000 psi.”

    While true, you’re looking at half of the data. Listed PSI is at peak, yes, but how quickly does it reach that peak? Pressure over Time Curve (P/TC) is drastically different when looking at both calibers.

    Look at metal pressure chambers, they can withstand a certain amount of PSI given the amount of time to reach it. If done too abruptly (before the molecules have a chance to realign), they burst.

    That also plays into part wear and felt-recoil on any given .40S&W pistol; considering it reaches peak pressure at roughly 1/2 to 1/3 the span of time of in a SAAMI peak pressure 9x19mm cartridge.

    So, basically you’re looking at 3-10% increase in net muzzle energy vs a +50-66% faster time to peak pressure.

    Not saying one round is better than another, just say one should consider the entirety of a noted point of data, and not just half of it.

  24. avatar Pawl from Florida says:

    I enjoyed shooting the .40 S&W in the past but don’t own one now. One day when I was at the gun range a guy offered to let me fire his 1911 chambered in 10 mm. This gun was really old and was a pleasure to shoot. I never ran into him again . I should have asked him what model pistol it was.

  25. avatar John in AK says:

    Who the HELL is this ‘Sammi’ guy? Is he some Finnish expert on firearms, or something?
    I mean, I’ve heard of SAAMI, the Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers Association, but ‘Sammi’? Who’s he, and why should we listen to him? Is he the one trying to convince innocents that the .355 Pabulum is Magically Better than the 10mm Short despite inferior ballistic numbers, because ‘feelings’?

  26. avatar billy-bob says:

    Pffft! Real answer cop didn’t give is bigger mag dumps with the 9.

  27. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

    Valparaiso is in Indiana.

    1. avatar John in AK says:

      Or Chile. Or Florida.

      1. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

        This Valpo is in IN.

        1. avatar Grace12 says:

          And is the home of Valparaiso university

        2. avatar John in AK says:

          Is that a throbbing hotbed of state-of-the-art ballistic research? Did this particular cop stay at a Holiday Inn the night before he wrote this? Are there a huge amount of police shootings in Valparaiso, Indiana, upon which to firmly establish his credentials and conclusions via research and scientific method?
          WTF is ‘ignition impulse?’ Do 9mm primers ignite less forcefully than .40 S&W ones? Is it the powder? Is the ‘ignition impulse’ of a .40 less, or more, than that of a .45ACP? A .50-80 Webley-Vickers? How does one measure ‘ignition impulse’? Did Colonel Askins know about this phenomenon?
          Is some cop in Valparaiso, IN blowing 9mm smoke out of his ass?

        3. avatar Danny L Griffin says:

          I think he meant “our female officers have a hard time qualifying with the .40 and don’t like it.”

  28. avatar TommyJay says:

    So the peak pressure limit is the same for both calibers, but the area of the .40 is about 28% higher. If the pressure vs. time waveforms were the same, the .40 would still generate 28% more force. If the pressure comes up faster on the .40, then the energy and momentum would be boosted even further. It seems like it would be a bad idea to use the same recoil spring for both.

    The net felt recoil should be indicated by the muzzle momentum of the bullet. Comparing Winchester white box range ammo, 180 gr. .40 vs. 115 gr. 9mm, we see that the momentum is 30% higher for the .40. Not a huge deal, but something.

    It is also interesting that some pistols use steel on steel slide stops, while others (Walther) use steel on plastic slide stops. The latter might provide a little more comfort or even longevity.

  29. avatar Mike says:

    And they have shot how many people?
    In my town they have never shot anyone but the caliber war is still strong.
    In every other country they are happy with 9mm. Isreal, British SF, German SF. Even Seals use 9mm. But some US cops think they need something more powerful.
    I carry a 9mm, except when hiking in bear country, then the 10mm Glock comes out.
    I have seen lots of non fatal bullet wounds, they all look the same.

    1. avatar Neil Davis says:

      I have 5 friends who are police/sheriff from high school plus a few more I met through them.

      Only one has fired in the line of duty; one less attacking pit bull. He didn’t think and double tapped. It doesn’t matter is 9mm would do the job, he will retire before dropping caliber.

      Note:. He was off duty SWAT called in to arrest a bad guy they had been missing for months; the camera on the girlfriend’s apartment caught him walking in with the dog. So this was with his CCW G27 and plain clothes (supporting a uniformed but new to SWAT team, as in everyone else was in their first month on SWAT, hence the call in).

      I believe 9mm with good ammo is the same as circa 1995 40. I would like to see more practice. I’m sorry, but I outshoot all my cop friends on game targets, the instructors too.

      When they told me they let the armorer clean their gun once a year, I was ready to be impressed with 5,000+ round counts. More like 500.

  30. avatar Ralph says:

    With all the girly-girl cops, departments all over the country will be switching over to .25 cal duty pistols.

    1. avatar zebra dun says:

      Vasili Blokhin
      7,000 kills used a .25 acp.
      Granted his victims were a captured audience it did the job well.
      He actually turned down the TT-33 in 7.62 x 25 mm because they were less reliable, jammed and the cartridge gave too much blast and recoil for the 300 executions a night.
      I guess the job changes the perception of recoil LOL

  31. avatar James says:

    Valparaiso is in Indiana.

  32. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    9mm == good enough.

    It’s good enough in a lot of ways. Cost. Performance. Recoil. Good enough is the enemy of perfect, and good enough (9mm) is winning, in this case.

    All pistol caliber wars are arguments over tiny splinters compared to the plank of difference between pistols and rifles

  33. avatar Luke says:

    Glock didn’t do .40 any favors by crapping out subpar handguns that gave a bad reputation for things like unsupported case heads.

    There’s nothing wrong with .40 in reliability terms. The perception there is, that’s down to Glock’s business practices. Which can be admirably scurvy.

  34. avatar Mike Oregon says:

    Isn’t the 9X19mm 0 for 2 in World Wars? Isn’t the.45 A.C.P. back to back World War champion? Mic drop.

  35. avatar LJPII says:

    The 9mm vs 40 cal debate is truly only about one thing: wanna-be “operators” who can’t handle recoil. The firearm/shooting hobby is full of guys who’ve seen too many spec ops movies and played too many spec ops video games.

  36. avatar Tom says:

    The problem is LEO’s do not train enough to get good shot placement. Most LEOs only need one hour a year of shooting to stay current….I go to the Sig Sauer Academy as a civilian and train 40 hours every 4 months. Go to an outdoor range with a LEO, shoot steel at different distances. If he has been on the job 20 years see how good of a shot he is. I know LEO’s who do not even know how to disassemble a gun. They come to me!

    1. avatar Neil Davis says:

      I’m proud of the fact my career (in 40’s) police friends come to me for advice.

      I just hung up the phone with one friend on which guns they should try in 9mm and what ammo. I suggested 3 guns and 3 hollow points in 9mm. I wonder if I’ll have any real influence…

      Same friend a decade ago I taught him how to clean 4 of his guns. To be fair, he taught me Glocks and AR-15s/M4s. He is happy being an expert on those two platforms.

      Why? He likes my 9mm and his 9mm isn’t available truly ambidextrous.

  37. avatar Old Man .45 says:

    For a $119 conversion barrel (from 40 to 9), you can have twice the fun.

  38. avatar GoDHelpUS says:

    The World is suffering from severe dementia

  39. No…Civilian Police should be using modern day 6-7 shot revolvers in minimum of .38 spl with good ammo and an emphasis on Marksmanship…For shot to shot accountability…No more Paramilitarized Police Departments…Rules of engagement should be changed by We The People…Also, with an emphasis that the life of all US citizens are Paramount…As well as a need for “Full Independent Civilian Review Boards for all rank and file police officer’s including management/administration/command, for accountability to the general public…Add a Nationwide Ban on all police unions…Help further weed out the bad apples and political corruption…

  40. avatar Alfonso Alfredo Rodriguez says:

    Based on his logic, a 22lr pistol will do. I shot (and still do) 40 cal and an inspector with the USINS and later as a USCBP officer. The FBI stated that the 9mm is enough for their needs because bullet technology has rendered the 40 cal advantage but the same bullet tech applies to the 40 cal. It was not a matter of the 9mm being better than the 40 cal. it was just a matter that for the FBI the 9mm seems to be enough for their mission but they are not patrol officers in a city or the highways. Given a choice I prefer a fast bullet with higher sectional density vs a fast bullet with less sectional density. If it is a matter of 9mm being easier on shooters or more accurate, the first is training (which most cops lack) and the second is a moot argument since the 40 has proven to be a very accurate cartridge, besides it is the closest caliber that comes closest to a 356 Magnum at an average of 500 ft Lbs (155 gr at 1250 per second which is what we shot at the USCBP and the defunct INS) in a semiauto pistol. And heaven forbid that they shoot the 10mm. Changing to the 9mm is probably due to the perceived belief that the FBI is always right (monkey see monkey do) or that the officers will require less training to become better shooters which is a dangerous fallacy and therefore will save money in training and bullets. That type of thinking is a civil lawsuit waiting in the wings when the lack of training shows in the streets and a bystander gets shot. In conclusion, want to adopt a 9mm, do so but train long and hard for shooting is a very perishable skill regardless of the caliber adopted.

    1. avatar zebra dun says:

      I know a Sheriff’s Deputy who was my father’s friend, WW2 Vet. 101st Airborne jumped in on D-Day.
      Serving a warrant one day an old guy with mental issues due to age would not open the door, the Deputy banged on it again and again then the old guy shot once about ten feet away, through the door, the screen and into the deputies chest, the bullet just missed his heart and banged up against his spine to a stop.
      Dropped him on the spot. this was before militarized armored Police and deputies was normal.
      He lay there until someone came to his aid never recovered from that was crippled for life after.
      The rifle the old guy shot him with was a .22 LR which was enough that day.
      Not to say everyone should carry a .22 lr but that is what one round can do.

      1. avatar Andy Buckmichael says:

        Nice shooting.

  41. avatar Craig says:

    Guy is paid to know this stuff ahead of time.

  42. avatar Scoutino says:

    My 9 years old son can shoot .40 and did hit all poppers (on one of action shooting stages of Zombie Shoot in Waterman, Il. last Saturday). One would hope the presumably adult cops can do at least as well.

    I reload and cast my own bullets, so price difference is negligible for me. Out of full size steel framed guns, which I prefer, 9mm feels anemic, .40 nothing special and .44 magnum just right.
    OTOH my carry choice is .380 for ultimate convenience and concealment.

  43. avatar J Gibbons says:

    The ongoing caliber wars are frustrating. Pick the one that allows you to get accurate shots placed more quickly. If that’s 9, great. If it’s 40 or 45, great. Please stop shaming someone for choosing something else. If you really love .40, count it a blessing that so many agencies are moving back to 9. You can pick up a good used pistol.

  44. avatar BRUCE CLARK says:

    The problem with 40 cal is it hasen’t evolved over the last 20 years like 9mm has. Today 9mm is probably a much more effective round than a .40cal. 9mm today is almost as good as .45 cal. Plus the cost of ammo in 9mm by virtue of it’s civilan popularity is less than half the cost of 40 cal. Police don’t need 40 cal.

  45. avatar zebra dun says:

    Basic truth, there is nothing a 10 x 22 mm can do that a 9 x 19 mm cannot do just as well.
    Maybe you can load a heavier bullet, 135, 155, 200 gr. with the resulting more recoil but that is not much difference.
    It all comes down to choice and perceived lethality.
    If you feel less well armed with a 9×19 mm then by all mean go for something you perceive as better.
    If you feel well enough armed with the 9 x 19 mm then use it.
    As the article said, Target hit placement is what stops, even kills.
    The bullet weight in two cartridges that go almost the same speed there is not much difference there either.
    In the Police idea everyone has a 9 x 19 mm and that is standard for semi auto’s today it pays to be standardized.
    Besides which most Police will bang off 14 rounds of what ever and on a busy street hit the target once, I’d say training is the key factor not caliber of guns used.
    Use what you wish, I’ll use what I wish.
    Peace.

  46. avatar Alan says:

    Regarding Danny Griffin’s comment about a particular cop’s antics and motorcycles, it would be real hard to determine the difference, if any, between this cop and the garden variety armed idiot. Exactly what violation of law was the owner of the COLD ENGINED MOTORCYCLE guilty of?

  47. avatar Alan says:

    If police are concerned about “stopping power” they might try the 45 ACP, with appropriate ammunition. Of course, being able to shoot straight might help too.

  48. avatar dkp says:

    I can feel the difference between my 9mm and 40cal. The 40 kicks a little more, but I prefer it as a carry right now. I’m a woman in my sixties and thinking this preference might change as I get older.

  49. avatar Batterycap says:

    It never ceases to amaze how the same debate that has been had innumerable times before can be “triggered” once more just by mentioning 9MM v. .40. It reminds me of the synthetic v. dino wars on the oil comparison sites. Never-ending. Not complaining – if fact I rather enjoy. What else is there to talk about among guys. We most certainly have to stay away form any discussion mentioning females. Oh – sports. That is also an approved PC topic.

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