I know a number of people scoff at the .40 S&W these days but in reality, right now we’re living in amazing times. The .40 S&W is a great cartridge and is nothing to be sneezed at. Especially when it comes to some of the amazing deals out as a result of law enforcement agencies swapping back to 9mm.
There are some top quality guns floating around out there right now at very attractive prices. So let’s take a peek at three of the many deals that exist at the moment.
GLOCK 22 Gen4
Weight: 650 g / 22.92 oz (unloaded)
Length: 186 mm / 7.32 in
Caliber: .40 S&W (10×22mm)
Barrel Length: 114 mm / 4.49 in
Width: 30.0 mm / 1.18 in
Height: 138 mm / 5.43 in (with magazine)
Deal: $319.95 @ Aim Surplus
Heckler & Koch USP
Weight: 748 g / 26.39 oz (unloaded)
Length: 194 mm / 7.64 in
Caliber: .40 S&W (10×22mm)
Barrel Length: 108 mm / 4.25 in
Width: 32.0 mm / 1.26 in
Height: 136 mm / 5.35 in (with magazine)
Deal: $395.00 @ Summit Gun Broker
Sig Sauer SP2022
Weight: 775 g / 27.3 oz (unloaded)
Length: 187 mm / 7.4 in
Caliber: .40 S&W (10×22mm)
Barrel Length: 98 mm / 3.9 in
Width: 34.0 mm / 1.3 in
Height: 144 mm / 5.7 in (with magazine)
Deal: $420.24 @ Bud’s Gun Shop
All three duty guns are polymer framed pistols. The GLOCK is a striker fired handgun while the SIG and HK are traditional double/single action pistols.
The GLOCK’s design allows it to have a constant trigger pull while the SIG and HK have a long trigger pull for the first shot and then a shorter, crisper pull after the slide cycles the first time.
The HK can be carried cocked and locked like a 1911, meaning that the safety is engaged with the hammer cocked. The SIG is the same except the safety is simply a decocker. You can manual cock the hammer or the pistol itself will after the first shot, but you cannot safely carry it cocked.
The GLOCK, as a striker fired pistol, is different. The gun is “semi-cocked” and there’s a firing pin block preventing the firing pin from going forward, This is removed by simply pulling the trigger. The GLOCK actually has three different safeties built into it.
All three pistols are safe to carry with a loaded chamber. They also have accessories rails to mount a weapon’s light. On these pistols I have mounted a HK-UTL MkII, a Surefire X200, and a Streamlight TLR-1.
The G22 has what’s called a “universal weapon mount” which was designed by GLOCK. It’s pretty much universal for the most part. The HK-UTL won’t fit but the Surefire X200 and Streamlight TLR-1 will. They come with the required parts to adapt to the GLOCK mount.
The SIG has a M1913 Picatinny rail and is truly universal. Just about every weapon light and accessory can fit.
The HK USP is a bit different. It has its own awkward proprietary rail that only allows its light to be mounted. HK designed their gun back in the late 1980s when weapon-mounted lights weren’t a standard yet.
The USP can take other lights if an adapter is used. Such adapters are made by Surefire, GG&G, and NcSTAR. The HK-UTL MkII fits the USP and USP Compact but nothing else. I’m not even sure if it fits the older S&W Sigma which had a similar rail to the HKs.
All three pistols have a rough textured grip surface. The GLOCK and SIG have interchangeable back straps while the HK doesn’t. GLOCK’s back straps come in three different sizes and the pistol can be used without it. The SIG comes with two and you must use one.
As the HK is the oldest design of the three it makes sense that the USP never got that upgrade. HK later released the P2000 and P30 series with interchangeable back straps. GLOCK simply updated their pistols to the Gen4 frame while SIG updated the SIG Pro series with the SP2022.
The SIG and GLOCK have traditional magazine releases while the HK uses a paddle/flipper mag release design. Walther also uses this design for the P99/PPQ/PPS series of handguns. HK’s design is ambidextrous without any change while GLOCK’s and SIG’s can be reversed to either side with a tool.
There’s also some variation among the magazines the three pistols use. HK and GLOCK make their own magazines while SIG contracts out to Mec-Gar of Italy. Mec-Gar makes great mags for different companies as an OEM provider and also as a after market company.
The SIG magazine is a traditional metal body with a polymer follower and polymer floor plate (and no witness holes). The HK and GLOCK magazines are a metal lined design with a polymer mag body, follower, and floor plate.
Surplus mags are easy to find and very affordable at the moment. On average I’m paying under $20.00 for mags for any of the three guns.
The GLOCK and HK have a dual spring captive guide rod design while the SIG has a traditional two-piece single spring design. Both GLOCK’s and HK’s guide rod are metal while SIG’s is plastic.
All three have metal inserts in the frame to act as anchor point for the slide to mate with the frame. HK’s is the smallest while SIG’s is the largest with GLOCK right in between.
The finishes are different. HK and GLOCK used a Tenifer finish while SIG uses a parkerized finish. Tenifer is a salt bath nitrocarburizing process that seeps into the metal and then a cosmetic finish is applied over it. GLOCK’s finish, in my opinion, is the strongest with SIG’s the lowest in terms of quality.
Field stripping and cleaning all three are a breeze.
The barrels are all well made designs with good feed ramps that make shooting all three a breeze. The rifling in the GLOCK and HK is polygonal and not friendly for reloaders who like to cast their own lead projectiles. Polygonal rifling is safe only with jacketed ammo.
The SIG barrel has the traditional lands and grooves rifling pattern and can be safely shot with either jacketed or lead cast projectiles.
The HK USP was designed from the ground up to be a .40 S&W pistol and, as such, was made with a fully supported chamber. The SIG Sauer SP2022 was a reworked SIG Pro series pistol for the French Police and was designed as a 9x19mm gun. SIG, however, made sure that the chamber, frame, and slide can fully support and handle the .40 S&W cartridge since the original SIG Pro series was originally built and designed as a .40 S&W chambered gun.
GLOCK went the easier route and shoved the .40 S&W chambering into a 9x19mm frame. They did so to beat Smith & Wesson at their own game. That’s right, GLOCK beat Smith & Wesson to releasing a pistol in the .40 S&W. But they did so at a price.
The original .40 S&W GLOCKs had frame cracking issues. They fixed that by adding a third frame pin, strengthening the design. But what they didn’t solve was the unsupported chamber.
The GLOCK has a small area on the bottom rear where the cartridge sits that’s open. Why is this a problem? Because if the cartridge ruptures then there’s a path that the explosive pressure can escape causing damage to the pistol and possibly the shooter.
This is resolved by shooting good quality ammunition. While it’s a known problem, GLOCKs are very safe pistols and most of the issues result from shooters using questionable reloads or a bad factory load. Word is that GLOCK over the years has re-contoured the chamber and barrel hood to make the pistol safer.
I’ve never had a single issue with GLOCK pistols in .40 S&W and the majority of my career in law enforcement has been spent carrying and qualifying with a .40 S&W chambered GLOCK in one form or another.
All three of these pistols are great options. If you’re going for price, the GLOCK right now is the lowest and the highest is the SIG. If you’re looking at capacity then it’s GLOCK followed by HK then Sig. If you’re looking for a compact gun for concealed carry then it’s SIG followed by GLOCK then HK. If you’re looking for a duty gun then it’s GLOCK by far with SIG and HK tied in my opinion.
Once again all three are excellent guns and make good affordable options for home defense or concealed carry. You can’t go wrong with any of the three. And because everyone seems to be clamoring for 9mm, .40 S&W is relatively cheap and easy to find. Even during the occasional panics.
All photos taken by A. Valdes