.40 Smith & Wesson S&W ammunition
Josh Wayner for TTAG
Previous Post
Next Post

David Tong [via ammoland.com] writes:

There’ve long been questions regarding the reason the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge has been losing popularity, even though as of as late as 2011, some 65 percent of American law enforcement was carrying a pistol chambered in the round.

Its gestation has been so oft-repeated (Miami 1986 FBI shootout, insufficient penetration of one 9X19 Winchester Silvertip, and so on) that I won’t add anything to that discussion.

American LE agencies are looking for several things in a duty handgun. Accuracy, economy of both ammunition and handgun, adequate light-barrier penetration for ISO 1 wood framed buildings or automotive sheet metal and glass, reasonable recoil levels for non-shooting recruits that are not firearm saavy, and consideration to magazine capacity.

Several things happened in 2016 that some pundits suggest are the death knell of the . 40 S&W.

– First, during the Army handgun trials, it was determined (mostly) that the new Modular Handgun should retain 9mm NATO (9X19) caliber.

– Second, the US Army Delta Force and Navy SEALs both adopted the GLOCK Model 19 as their official service pistol.

– Finally, the FBI, whose reticence about the 9mm in 1986 ultimately led to their advocacy of the .40 S&W, had an about-face and returned to 9mm thirty years later.

Their reasoning, which has a marked impact on LE agencies who typically follow the FBI’s logic in terms of both forensic review as well as logistical concerns, was that none of the main three defensive pistol rounds, 9mm, .40 S&W, or .45 ACP, had substantially different wound profiles or “stopping power,” the latter they termed a “myth.”

Smith and Wesson M&P40 pistol in . 40 Smith & Wesson

They additionally stated that the softer recoiling 9P was going to be easier to train personnel with, cheaper to offer cash-poor departments to practice with and issue duty ammunition to the troopers, and overall made more financial sense with what might be perhaps greater round count longevity with whatever pistol was issued.

What was once GLOCK’s primary advantage, being able to purchase one of three main grip frame and slide sizes for detectives or uniformed exterior carried patrolmen while being able to use the longer magazines in the smaller pistols is no longer something they have alone. Indeed, most manufacturers including Smith and Wesson have essentially produced substantially similar handguns of different lengths and weights as well.

How this boils down, to me, is this. Most people consider the .45 “too large” a pistol with a large magazine of 12+ rounds, and the raison d’etre of the .40 was to offer a 9mm sized pistol carrying 12-15 rounds of ammo, rather than 17-20 9mms.

Why take the reduction in capacity? The perception that a . 40 Smith & Wesson still has advantages in expansion and penetration, the two key points agencies look for in actual performance.

. 40 Smith & Wesson Ammo Testing

The website, www.luckygunner.com/labs has what is currently the most detailed exposition and testing of these three rounds capability with the FBI heavy clothing test model over synthetic ballistic gelatin. When one compares the best possible 9mm rounds versus the best .40s, the . 40 Smith & Wessons provide a shade better of each, while the best .45s are a tick better than the best .40s.

In short, a pretty “linear” result, given like-for-like levels of cutting-edge development and technology exerted for all three rounds.

Despite some folks stating that 9mm having a reputation for class leading penetration, the .40 Smith & Wesson and .45 demonstrated yet more in the Lucky Gunner tests. There is however a balancing act – those rounds that penetrate greater generally expand less, and vice-versa.

Note expanded diameters favor larger calibers with equal penetration.
Note expanded diameters favor larger calibers with equal penetration. While the 40 Smith & Wesson  (. 40 S&W ) is in the middle of the pack.

An urban officer might not have quite the same needs to put bullets into a vehicle, compared to a Forest Service Ranger who might have to put down an aggressive bear or cougar, for example.

Another recent You Tube video on that discussed .40 S&W and did a pretty good job was Army veteran Paul Harrell’s comparison of two GLOCKs, a Model 17 9mm and Model 22 .40, of the same size and profile.

His informal solo test showcased a variety of current ammunition, and while the time elapsed for accurate rounds on target for 9mm was a bit shorter, he advised the viewer to make up his or her own mind when the .40 Smith & Wesson showed superior penetration and expansion and whether the extra second to fire six to eight rounds was that big a deal.

In my own hands, I do tend to agree that even in a full-sized pistol that the .40 Smith & Wesson does have a recoil pulse that feels “sharper,” though I would hesitate to label it “harsh.” I have also fired the .40 in the SIG SAUER P229 and the S&W M4006, both all metal hammer fired pistols, and I did not find the recoil bad at all, certainly not enough to bother me.

What continues to draw me to the .40 S&W is the variety of bullet weights and velocities that you can fire in it. The 135gr at 1250fps, the 155 at 1150, the 165 at 1050, and the 180 at 950. Each has its place, as the lighter bullets generally offer greater dynamic expansion and reduced penetration, while the heavier offers the opposite.

Thus, the .40 Smith & Wesson remains a good choice and will be around for decades, as all American LE or military rounds do. The FBI may think it’s a great idea to return to the 9X19, but that doesn’t mean we do, especially if prices on clean used pistols and ammo for the .40 S&W remain momentarily somewhat depressed.


[This article was originally published in 2017.]

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. Great article, I dont have a dog in the race of caliber but do have a solution for less amo for training and easier to master for new recruits and experienced officers, either .40 or 9, The Gas Pedal® CG for Sig or XD.

    • Well, I decided to take a chance and try a few services, and I’m glad I took that step. It’s a great service that I recommend to anyone who has a desire to write new-essays. They are absolutely worth it. It’s exactly what you’ve been looking for.

  2. Good morning! My name is Jack Linkoln and I’m working as a pro essay writer for many years of my life. Pupils, do not have to worry about writing companies anymore because our professionals from this agency are here to provide any studying help with your hometasks for you or for your friends. So, you can click on this https://expert-writers.net/ weblink and browse this site if you need help in writing various types of tasks!

  3. Outstanding article…!! Crowd Content offers you a casual to take a pause. Our assignment writing services have worked with a team of assignment writers in uk who can take care of your academic needs. Tell the writers what you want and provide us with thorough instructions for the project. Our teams will provide exactly what you basic! Place an order today!

  4. Finally, our support staff is there for you 24/7 to provide essay help with all of your inquiries! Do not hesitate to order essays at the lowest prices! We offer cheap college essays of the highest quality.

  5. That means you can “play your favorite betting games” without leaving your home. This becomes a convenient way to have fun and win money! To learn further about online casino games, you must read further information below.

  6. Yes Please! But we’re getting here, folks — it’s actually a good thing to have guns around in this country because if the police aren’t going after them with violence and fear, people are killing each other over what is ostensibly an innocuous possession.

  7. No thank you for asking, or more in the USA and I’ll send it to uk!! Just ask if i won’t be able go near my home city so here is a chance that this can get shipped around us.. no problems please let me know what state your reside in before ordering.

  8. If you are a beginner and learning Java, it needs a lot of practice, and you have to go a lot of ways to achieve your goal. When you want to become a programmer, it takes a lot of practice, and you cannot become a developer within a fortnight. So, when the assignments are at your doorstep, and you finish them off within a particular time frame, you have to take help from a Java assignment helper. These people are exceptionally talented, and they know how to finish the assignments on time. So, without wasting time, you should find a good programming developer for your assignment. Programming Assignment Help

  9. Hey! I am Patricia living and working in New York. I work as an operator in an online service. Popular Free Slots to Play For Fun In Canada https://gamblerschoice.net/free-slots offer a great dose of entertainment, with luck added to I, this makes them quite attractive. Apart from winning money, some casinos offer you a gift to take home if you are lucky. There are many exiting games available to play and spend leisure time on. The themes are different giving you a variety and excitement, it does not matter what games one is playing they are all attractive. These games can be addictive, once started you want to play more and more. The icing on the cake is that you do not have to travel to Las Vegas to enjoy a casino game. You can enjoy casino slots games from the comfort of your home with family and friend by playing online.

  10. Academic Writers Pro is based solely on the fulfillment of promises. The promise to cater to all academic needs of students and to make sure that they leave satisfied with our services is our ultimate vision. In case of any dissatisfaction, we provide multiple revisions until you accept our delivered task. We also promise to keep your information and personal details confidential. In addition to this, we assure you that there are no hidden costs besides the original payment plan.

  11. I have splendid abilities to compose an eye irresistible, remarkable and well-informed substance. I have insight in exposition composing, content composition, and thesis altering administrations UK. I ceaselessly really like to make customers work impeccably. I have 6 years of information recorded as a hard Dissertations Helper Review articles.

  12. A trained seamstress is a great help when it comes to perfecting your bridal look, but it also helps if you are well informed about your other style decisions and coordinate a colour theme. Taking your looks from good to perfect is much more than just having a perfectly fitting dress for bride and groom

  13. I’m extremely inspired along with your writing skills as neatly as with the format in your blog. Is that a paid subject or did you customize it yourself? Anyway stay up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to look at a great blog like this one today..

  14. Article is something which mostly people read it carefully, you have to clear each and everything while writing. I always said this thing to my young writers to clear your message through writing essay or whatever so, the reader didn’t face any problem.

  15. Everything that I need to know I found in your valuable content. Thank you for sharing such an amazing piece. Keep sharing such informative content in future. I’ll be waiting for your new articles.

  16. This is a nice article and I am impressed with your writing style. Yes please, your article is all about guns and their Wesson cartridge that has been losing popularity. I find this information very helpful. I am here to find the best dissertation writing services for my final year thesis papers.

  17. A series of international treaties have been established to specify the extent to which a coastal state’s sovereignty extends, as well as the conditions under which other countries may use foreign seas for navigation and the development of economic Medical Writing Help and scientific activity. Presently, the United States seems to be the only Arctic country whose defensive goals do not include a manifested priority toward the protection of national interests in the High North. Nevertheless, in April 2011, cheap nursing assignment help UKHealth care tutors two US nuclear attack submarines participated in the Ice Exercise (ICEX) 2011, operating in the Arctic,and a camp was established 150 nautical miles (278 kilometres) north of PrudhoeBay, Alaska (Wezeman 2012).

  18. We have on board domain experts who are PhD holders from renowned universities across the globe, and we exclusively offer top notch Law Assignment Help Our experts have tremendous experience in furnishing excellent quality Business Law Assignment Help within the shortest of deadlines. Our Tort Law Assignment Help consistently furnish bespoke and non-plagiarized work that fetch excellent grades too. You save a ton of time to prepare well for your term-end exams by seeking the amazingly affordable Commercial Law Assignment Help.

  19. Too many assignment and a short deadline. It may not be possible every time to get things done in time, not till you take assignment help from an established company. Go ahead for searching How to Solve a Legal Problem in Commercial Law Assignment? to get the right service you need. Trust us once with the most important part of your academic life and see how we make it shine.

  20. I had enough of troubles doing my assignments on my own. The most hectic part was getting the thing done in time. The deadlines are choking and you feel it like a hell till you take a professional help. Now if the description conveys the grievance sufficiently, the remedy may be availed by surfing or clicking Assignment Help.

  21. I love reading your blogs. Finding a genuine nursing paper writing service was so much trouble for me. I am grateful my friend referred me to Nursing paper writing services. They did excellent work for me which helped me score an A on my nursing paper. Ever since I have always used them for all my nursing paper writing services and they have always delivered top-notch work that has always gotten me an A.

  22. Are you looking for the pet care products? Then get ready to give comfort to your pets and simplify your lifestyle. We love our pets as much as we love our children, therefore it’s necessary to look after them and keep them active, healthy, and tidy. If you take care of your pet, it will willingly give up its life for you, such is the bond between pets and their owners. We understand the value of owning a pet, thus Trendaholic is here to provide you with everything you need to demonstrate your love for your furry friend.
    Because your satisfaction is our success, we provide free delivery throughout the United States as well as package discounts. Browse our website to find out the best deals and most popular pet care items right now:PET CARE ITEMS

  23. RWacademic is the ultimate and cheap writing service provider in UK and US. We have a dedicated team of writers covering almost every disciplines and subject. We always believe in the customer satisfaction so don’t worry if you have short deadline of your assignment, dissertation, essay or any kind of academic writing.
    Check out :
    Cheap Dissertation Writing Service

  24. It is the primer help site where you will be able to get mentors who will be able to ace any assignment and exam that your instructor can throw at you. Here you will get well-qualified professionals to write exams and experts recruited from a variety of different streams. You will also provide online exam and quiz help and highly motivated staff with proper examination temperament

  25. Very good article! thank you to the author for it! In it interesting and useful information it is possible often times re-read it! I will advise to read it all friends. It will be very useful at writing of the article. Very much thankful you.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here