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“On July 25, 2014, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a pre-solicitation notice for a family of pistols chambered in 9mm — and in so doing, fanned the embers of ‘the great debate’ over pistol calibers,” Mike Wood reports at Hey! Why didn’t anyone tell me about this? Of course, it was pretty much a foregone conclusion anyway. The .40 caliber round adopted by the FBI and thousands of police departments after the infamous FBI Miami shootout (a cluster-you-know-what of epic proportions) was a panic-induced compromise that didn’t provide 9mm capacity or controllability, or .45 caliber controllability and terminal performance. But don’t take my word for it. Wood rings the death knell for .40 . . .

The FBI is not alone in this respect. Executives at all the major ammunition companies have confirmed that law enforcement orders for 9mm ammunition have spiked in recent years, and the cartridge is making a serious comeback. Many agencies throughout the United States have recently adopted — or readopted — 9mm pistols, dropping the .40 S&W in the process.

It’s not that the .40 S&W failed to deliver the terminal performance they wanted. It’s just that the new breed of 9mm ammunition can deliver similar performance without the generally snappier recoil and the accelerated wear (on both pistol and shooter), at a more affordable price. The fact that the new pistols can house more of the cartridges in the same sized gun is an added bonus.

These agencies have also taken an honest look at the demographics of their personnel, and have accepted the fact that law enforcement officers no longer come in just one size—Large. Instead, there are many officers with smaller hands and shorter fingers who find it difficult to reach the controls on larger caliber pistols with their corresponding larger frames.

Despite all the ergonomic advances in pistol design of the last three decades, there is no way of getting around the fact that a .45 ACP pistol (and particularly a wide-body .45) is just going to be bigger in the hand and a .40 S&W in a smaller frame is going to recoil more.

A smaller-frame pistol in a milder shooting caliber allows more officers to achieve the control necessary for good shooting, and makes sense for diverse agencies that want to standardize on a single gun and caliber.

You heard it here first. Well, less than a month later. .40 is dead. 9mm rules. Deal with it.

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  1. Gee I wonder why the military is dropping the M9????

    Lots of inmates in prisons across the country “downright proud” to show off their 9mm scars.


    • Never assume that the military knows what it is doing. Politics rather than reason guide many military acquisitions, the original adoption of the 9mm round being one of them. Nonetheless, don’t evaluate the effectiveness of a particular caliber or weapon system based on the military’s use or non-use of that item.

      Oh, and 124 gr 9mm NATO round that the military uses is vastly inferior to what the FBI and other Law Enforcement agencies can use.

      • Maybe if our military adopts 9mm +P+ like the Russians have… I’ve seen ball-nose smash through a 1/4inch steel plate.

        • The Russians also run exposed steel-core armor-piercing ball (7N21 & 7N31) as their duty standard.

        • Bull$h!+. A 9mm +P+ handgun round (not AP) will NOT penetrate through 1/4″ steel. A big “MAYBE” through 1/8″, but not 1/4″.

          Ive been designing, testing and manufacturing both targets and armor systems using both cold rold (1018) mild steel to alloys to AR500. 9mm handgun will not penetrate through. Unless you’re using some secret depleted uranium bullets.

      • We have had this discussion. The military is restricted to ball ammo. Complain all you want but out here in the real world we know that JAG, the DoD and the DoS GCs are not going ignore the customary international restrictions on hollow point ammunition. Getting stuck with ball means 45 ACP is the prefered choice.

        • The US never signed The Hague convention, we need to start issuing gold dots in our military guns, that would solve the problem.

        • Some people are just dense. Whether we signed it or not we have agreed to abide by it and we will be held to international standards.

        • The military reason for ball ammo is not to stop but to wound. Effective killing rounds remove one soldier from the fight — but wounding rounds remove three. Overpenetration is a plus in that environment because three may become six. There are two entirely different strategic problems in self-defense and military mass engagements — so don’t mix them up.

        • Considering that the US military has already cleared the use of expanding or hollowpoint ammunition when it is a military necessity, might want to consider who you are calling dense.

        • Neminem, can you please stop repeating that bullshit. Its nothing but urban legend. It actually goes against the whole point of the Hague Conventions reasoning.

        • tdiinva:

          The Hague Convention explicitly only applies to signatories and it allows signatories to disregard it when fighting non signatories.

          “The Contracting Parties agree to abstain from the use of bullets which expand or flatten easily in the human body, such as bullets with a hard envelope which does not entirely cover the core, or is pierced with incisions.

          The present Declaration is only binding for the Contracting Powers in the case of a war between two or more of them.

          It shall cease to be binding from the time when, in a war between the Contracting Parties, one of the belligerents is joined by a non-Contracting Power. “

        • Don’t you think I know that it doesn’t apply to non-state actors? It doesn’t apply to US forces operating in US territory either which is why MPs and AF SPs use JHP when they are on US territory. The military procures for its missions. The main mission of the US forces is engaging and fighting other similar forces where the munitions are governed by the Hague convention. SOCOM gets to use JHP in handguns and modern bonded hunting ammunition when go after non state actors. They also get to buy and use all sort of weapons not available to regular forces. The conventional combat misson sets the overall standard.

          Yes, modern JHP is as good or even better than 45 ball. JHP makes the effective caliber larger by expansion. Of course it is at least as good.

        • I am not sure of what the issue is. Are they saying that cops and military persons can’t hold a 45? I am well aware of the fact that 9mm ammunition is cheaper, a lot cheaper than my 45 ammunition, but to shoot with the best, and to conserve spending more money than needed, practice is with FMJ, and the shoot once ask questions later ammunition is in the magazine with one in the hole.
          Remington 1911 R1 .45 all the way,

      • 9mm Para Bellum = “9mm For War”

        Look it up.

        You do not want to be shot. You do not want to be shot with a .22. You do not want to be shot with a .45. But you SPECIFICALLY do not want to be shot with anything that was designed to kill either a man, or a deer (which is about the same size as a man).

        All handguns are underpowered compared to a rifle, but a 9mm is completely capable of achieving total armor penetration on your denim wearing carcass, exiting the other side, and hitting the person standing behind you. That’s plenty.

        A 9mm to the heart, liver or brain is every bit as lethal as anything else, and a 9mm has more than enough mass and velocity to reach all your “important parts”. Plus, the guy with the 9mm can carry about 2x the ammo as the guy with the .44 magnum or .45 ACP.

        • Oh god… Not the “parabelum” fantasy… That’s like saying that anything you slap a SOCOM sticker on is automatically awesome.

          Couple of little details.

          1. Pistols are not intended to be primary combat weapons, the amount of ammunition carried is irrelevant. The old adage is that the pistol is the weapon that you have to fight your way back to the rifle you should not have put down in the first place.

          2. The problem with military 9mm ammo is that .mil is restricted to ball ammo. Also known as “target ammo” in civilian circuits. It makes a 9mm sized hole and passes clean through. Given that restriction, isn’t it better to make a 11.43mm hole?

          In short, given the realities of military operations, .45ACP will always win for .mil. However, given that several important variables (primary weapon and availability of non-shitty ammunition) change going to the civilian and LE side, 9mm has a very significant edge.

        • pwrserge, ammo capacity is a very important part of a military handgun that is for defensive use. .45s are fine for offensive use, which is why the MK23 and Mk24 are around, and the 1911 thrived for so long with CAG before the advent of truly reliable SBRs. But 99 percent of pistol use is always going to be defensive and ease of use shooting when wounded and large ammo capacity or going to be far more vital than some small percentage points worth of terminal ballistics gain. Its why when CAG started switching over to a high capacity(22rounds) Glock after having a insanely high casualty rate in Iraq.

        • Hilarious.
          Its as if you 40 and 45 fetishers really believe that the 9mm WONT blow completely thru a human body and come blazing out the other side.
          I’ll let you in on a secret…if your big gun isnt burning 2000+fps it AINT going to do much more than a 9mm is….sorry to break your heart.
          Shot placement and penetration are the ONLY factors that matter.
          My uncle was shot 40+ years ago point blank with a 20g shotgun and hes alive and kicking today.
          A woman I knew was shot once with a 22lr and they didnt keep her alive long enough to get the the hospital.

          Shot placement is what matters..and ability to penetrate deep enough to hit what needs to be hit…and the 9mm is entirely capable of both….hence the FBI report.

          You can have your favorite round…its ok. Mine is the 357 magnum. But lets quite playing this idiot game that because it is your favorite that it will explode the human body on contact….we ALL know it wont.

        • I agree with you. i’m ex FBI, and those new trainees are afraid to shoot anything with any recoil until they’re done training. every once in awhile, I would get one that would want to shoot my sig sauer p220, (a 35 ounce .45 acp) and they’d about cry. i have no problem shooting it, but they would almost cry.

        • I agree with you. i’m ex FBI, and those new trainees are afraid to shoot anything with any recoil until they’re done training. every once in awhile, I would get one that would want to shoot my sig sauer p220, (a 35 ounce .45 acp). i have no problem shooting it, but they would almost cry.

    • The Army hasn’t dropped anything and aren’t likely to.
      1.) libtards keep control of the Senate not going to be $ going to the military to do diddly in fielding new equipment. or
      2.) RINOs take control of the Senate there are higher priorities than a new handgun and in any case nothing will happened on any rebuild of DOD while Buma is in the Whitehouse.
      3.) Pigs fly and Conservatives are able take control of Congress (if only) and there are higher priorities…………….

    • They may be dropping the M9 but they’ll replace it with a better 9mm.

      Their main concern is a pistol that is more reliable. They’ve stated this SEVERAL times.

      The M9 actually has a lot of design flaws that have caused a lot of issues.

      • The current M9s that get fielded are very reliable. The design flaws have been worked since the nineties, but people love to complain about stuff that used to be true. The only problem with the guns getting fielded today is that most of those frames and slides are 20+ years old and are completely worn out and need to be replaced. The Army is looking into whether buying more of them is a good idea compared to replacing them entirely.

      • Akshully it seems they need the higher capacity magazines to increase hit probability against non-canine miscreants.

    • So? Everyone I know who was shot (a surprisingly high number) are pretty proud/happy of the fact that they survived. Also, they didn’t survive wimpy pistol rounds like .45 ACP or 9×19, they survived 8mm Mauser, 7.62×39 (the M67 version in some cases), 308 SP/”dum-dum” from sniper rifles.

      So saying that 9mm is weak because some people are proud of the fact that they survived it is pretty… silly (I would say stupid but I am trying to be polite). Also, have you seen the size difference between 9mm and .45 ACP? those two millimetres don’t really matter that much in regards to killing, just check out .32 ACP and .380 ACP. Both will kill you just fine (though there are better choices).

    • Lots of would-be inmates are also 6 feet under because of 9mm. Rightfully so, ill add.

      9mm has also killed countless soldiers around the world in the myriad of conflicts since the first world war.

    • I dunno, maybe because NATO 9mm ball isn’t terribly effective.

      If the military used 124gr Federal HST, they might have a different opinion.

    • The military is dropping the M9 because the frames are at the end of their service life. The are likely to go to a .45 ACP platform due to the technological advances that allow .45’s to fit multiple shooters hands as well as 9mm frames do.

      Weapons like the HK45, FNX45, Glock21SF, etc., allow for a much better pistol.

    • The Army hasn’t dropped the M9 yet, and in fact ordered a couple thousand more to replace the aging stock. So far the Army has solicited bids to replace the M9 in the future, with possible changes in caliber. However, knowing how the torturous bidding process goes, particularly with small arms, I doubt it’s going to happen in the near future (if at all).

    • The military is dropping the M9 because ala geneva convention they can only shoot FMJ ball. 9mm can compete readily with .40 and .45 using modern hollow points or like someone said earlier +P+ like the Russkies. So for police departments who can use hollow points 9mm makes complete sense. For the military who are stuck with FMJ’s a fat .45 round is going to be the better option.

      • Andrew the fact that you don’t know it is the Hague Convention not the Geneva that prevents expanding bullets doesn’t help your opinion. As for .45 being better in ball, the extremely small gain you get in terminal ballistics is offset by the many advantages of 9mm. Which is why neither SMU uses .45s as their defensive pistol of choice.

      • The Hauge Convention only bans certain munitions in conflicts between people who signed the convention. it specifically allows usage of banned ammo against non-signors.

      • Andrew Carnagie, back in the late eighties or early nineties, there was a retired police sergeant who wrote a book about the stopping power of different handgun calibers and particular loads within each caliber. He said that real world statistics showed that there was only a one percent difference in one shot stops between 9mm FMJ and .45ACP FMJ. I believe that it was sixty-percent one-shot stops for the 9mm and sixty-one percent one shot stops for the .45. In my lowly opinion, I honestly think that as long as you are using a caliber with enough energy, that any of them will do the job if a person is hit in the right area. I was shot four times by a guy using a Ruger Super Blackhawk, that was using .44 Magnum JHP ammo. And I ended up driving myself and my wife to the hospital. That was in the late eighties. My first handgun (I did not own any guns at all when I was shot) was a Colt Government Model in .45ACP. And that was a fine handgun and a very good choice. But there is no magic caliber. It is always the man or woman who is using the gun, not the gun itself, that stops the bad guys. Just my honest opinion.

    • The problem the armed forces have is that they cannot use hollow point rounds. That is why they want a bigger caliber.

    • @tom sure there are inmates that love to show off their “9mm” scars, as I’m sure there are inmates that love showing off their .45, .40, .44, .357 and their 7.62 scars.

      But, the important bit is WHERE are the 9mm scars at on their bodies? I mean, we talking lower left quad of the abdomen? Right side of the chest? Left gut under the liver? Arms? Legs?

      Or are they showing off double tap scars to the heart (like where a “better” round would have killed them “more better”?), 9mm scars in the center of their foreheads?

      A baldy placed shot on anyone is survivable, regardless of caliber.

      Unless you take an arrow to the knee, cuz we all know that shits instantly lethal.

    • Your comment proves their theory that most “knowledge” about firearms is complete myth, its SHOT PLACEMENT, stopping power is a complete myth.

    • I have also seen inmates who are proud to show off their 357, 45, 40 , and 12 gage scars.

  2. The phraseology is very artistic, even though everyone knows what is being said. But we are so SLY!

  3. Great, now it’ll probably be even more of a PITA to find 9mm range fodder. Back to the reloading bench.

    • Alarmist much? Any website I go to right now has bricks upon bricks of the stuff for 25-27cents per round 115-147gr. It is the only ammo other than 5.56/223 that has returned to quantities and prices remotely close to what we saw pre-Newtown.

      The only thing I can’t find are bulk quantities of 124 and 147grain fed hst ever since shootingthebull far em the thumbs up for use in pocket rocket 9’s

    • Why worry? That gun isn’t an investment. You’ll still be able to get .40S&W. You liked the gun enough to buy it; the gun hasn’t changed.

    • Usually the .40SW and 9mm versions of a gun share the same frame and slide, so you might be able to change calibers with nothing more than a new barrel and magazine in. (Possibly a new recoil spring).

      • I have tested this theory at a gun store with Smith and Wesson full size M&P series … sure enough you can put an M&P 9mm barrel and magazine in an M&P 40. The barrel seems to be a perfect fit and is snug in the slide when in battery.

        I don’t believe there would be any reason to install the softer M&P 9mm recoil spring in an M&P 40 which would have a stiffer recoil spring. Any gunsmiths care to chime in?

        • The frames are the same. The slides, springs, and barrels are different. You do need to switch recoil springs to achieve proper (reliable) cycling. Glocks are the same way, as I believe are the Springfield XD series.

        • That may cause Failure to extract & stove pipes as it could keep the slide from cycling all the way to the rear if it’s too stiff.

      • I installed a storm Lake 9mm barrel onto my XD40 last night. I keep a small stock of .40 and SD ammo in .40. I stockpile 9mm and it’s getting cheap so now I can shoot my XD a lot more. I’m glad I have the 40 because even during firearmageddon I was able to still find .40.

  4. The caliber wars continue You have to keep all of this in the perspective that most popular pistol rounds are more similar when fired into gel blocks than really different as compared to rifle and shotgun rounds. I think police and military tend to go in trends and fashion as anything else. Everything old is new again.

  5. Price the difference lately between 9mm and 40 S&W? With modern hollow points the 9 does just fine, with ball ammo like .mil has to use, not so much.

    By the way congrats on finding the silliest Glock pic going!

  6. Yawn, handgun caliber selection.
    The real story here is “We have caliber choices and availability!”.

    Pick the caliber that makes you happiest. Nobody is personally forcing you into a caliber.
    Yet another reason I love me some ‘MURICA!

  7. I’m a fan of 9x19mm myself but I was always curious why you never saw .40s&w priced the same as 9mm, given that for a long time that was THE cartridge every LE and Fed agency used.

    During the depths of the panic I could always find .40s&w on the shelf but 9mm was a ghost. I’ve been contemplating picking up a pistol in that cartridge but with the FBI an others hopping back to 9mm, what’s going tot happen to .40sw availability and prices?

    During the scare .270 Winchester, 12 gauge and .40sw were what you could find in my area, with 7.62*39 appearing intermittently.

    • There is still more material and volume in 40SW. If it costs an extra $1 in Raw materials, and you can only fit 950 boxes in a crate rather than 1000, it simply costs more.

      People choosing a self defense round based on a ratio of cost per performance is making a bad decision.

      • “People choosing a self defense round based on a ratio of cost per performance is making a bad decision.”

        Sorry to disappoint but not all of us are made of money. Given that the differences in terminal performance are negligible in the scheme of things the cost of practicing with our self defense arm is a big factor in our choices.

        • Practice with cheap ball ammo. Carry a good JHP with a proven track record (HST, Gold Dot etc), price be damned. A single box is all you need for that, and it won’t bankrupt you.

  8. Well now the fbi can officially spray and pray like the regular leo’s all over the country. Not saying they don’t do it now, however with the 9mm adoption, it will be a lot easier for them to do it.

  9. Well, they’re public employees spending taxpayer dollars. Their choice doesn’t have to be smart or correct.

    It just has to cost money.

  10. Because Matt In Fl hasn’t said it I will say it.

    .40S&W is why double column magazine fed handguns exist. /unchannels Matt In Fl

    No…the tragedy! Caliber wars again? I…don’t believe it! /sarcasm

      • It’s a Glock clone.

        I own one, but – it’s a Glock clone. And slapping an “M” on the designation < an extra 2 inches of barrel.

        In fact, I own one because it's one of my "newbie guns" that I use to show beginners who might want to buy a Glock-type handgun (Springfield, Glock, M&P – any of the striker fired polymer wunderguns).

        • Actually the M in XD(M) stands for Match as in terms of Match Grade. Also, if it was a Glock Clone then why doesn’t Glock have a Beaver-Grip safety like a 1911 does?

        • Its not.

          The glock actually works, whereas the XDM? heh…they’re questionable. Certainly not adequate by my standards.

          (and STFU with the glock fanboy bullshit before some of you even begin. M&Ps, Beretta, HK, and SIGs work too)

    • I’m not sure I get the joke. There were ‘double column’ magazine 9mm pistols available for 55 years before the .40 S&W caliber was even invented.

      • First isn’t always best. He’s simply saying that the .40 S&W is the best and highest iteration of the double-stack magazine cartridge, an observation reinforced by the fact that nothing better has come along in the 24 years since the .40’s introduction. Could it be that it’s because cartridge developers realized the pinnacle had been reached, and further development was pointless?

        • I think because you can only fit 5 pounds of “stuff” in a 5 pound bag realistically. All magazines are constrained by a semi auto’s ability to house a magazine in it’s grip. I think the double stack pretty well is optimized for the average human hand. Unless we change the way hand guns are fed and how semi-autos operate I don’t think we’re going to see a radical improvement in handgun magazines in the next 24 years.

          It’s kind of like how all modern automobiles are adopting more same-y characterless designs as the push for more efficient and aerodynamic cars are desired.

  11. Government procurement of arms is always boondoggle

    When most of the local PD went from 9mm to 40S&W or 45 the excuse was because they were outgunned in the street. Now is the excuse is that 9mm is good enough again so they are going to sell all their 40’s and 45’s to go back where they started? In a few years this will change again just like some PDs that adopted 45 GAP with the excuse was because the bad guys did not have that caliber.

    If the excuse is that one size does not fit all, then simply size to what is appropriate for that officer. In the end, when you have the NYC PD that does not get enough range time to hit the side of a building, does the caliber really matter. I am going to bet this is more of an excuse for not training officers well enough.

    If newbies in my pistol class, many of whom are women, can properly shoot in the 8 and 9 ring 30ft with 40 M&P and XDm, I do not see why trained professionals cannot.

    All this back forth is a complete waste of money, at least there will be a good used market.

    • “I do not see why trained professionals cannot” –

      Because many (in my experience most) of us
      dirty unwashed peasants *ahem* civilians
      actually have more trigger time.

    • the police struggle with pistol caliber was a complete waste of time. They should have been talking about getting AR15s in the hands of police officers and they eventually did. The Miami FBI shootout? local and state PD should have been conducting the arrest for one, and those FBI agents should have been armed with CAR15s or M16s.

      Im glad to see agencies starting to realize that
      1.) they have patrol rifles available now
      2.) they have patrol rifle ammunition widely available that is purpose designed for urban areas.
      3.) 40, 45, 357 SIG, and 45 GAP are ballistically similar to 9mm, yet have a multitude of drawbacks that 9mm doesn’t have
      4.) shot placement and training is more important than a measly additional 15-50 foot lbs of kinetic energy per cartridge in their service PISTOL (which is fundamentally inferior to their patrol carbine).

    • Shooters in a controlled environment where nobody is shooting back are more accurate than a street cop shooting under stress and fear? How is this possible??? Lies!

      • No one said that. The closest anyone said was that “trained professionals” should be able to shoot as well as civilians in the same type of situation (non life-threatening).

  12. I have 2 semi auto pistols. A 9×18 Mak and a 9×19 Smith. Practice ammo is what decided me for the 9×19. For a time(before barry and company) 9×19 ball was the cheapest centerfire pistol ammo on the market. Price was the deciding factor, not terminal ballistics. Pistols are dead last in effectiveness amongst firearms. .45,.40. 9mm. All have their failures in the real world.

    Personally, I prefer a revolver. Taking a newb shooting this weekend. Will have revolver and semi auto(borrowed .22 semi). He, like all of us will have to decide what’s right for him.

    If ever I know I’m going into a shitstorm again, the handgun will be my third weapon. Behind my long gun and my knife.

      • Shitstorms don’t mean constant combat. A knife is a very handy tool to have for the other 99% of the time when you’re waiting for the bad times to start again.

        We didn’t have multy tools back in the day but I’d take one now if I knew I was headed off for the troubles.

        • Yep. Leatherman skeletool knife is just the right size for skinning chores, and big enough in a pinch for a knife fight, IMHO.

        • How useful are the pliers? I always prefered Swiss Army Knives (or I did until it was confiscated) because I find the multi-tools with the pliers to be uncomfortable to hold. Also I find them to be very complicated what with all the locking mechanisms and such.

        • lolinski, I have the needle nose pliers on mine. I find them usefull. The multy tool is a compromise. It’s a tool box in a pocket. It’s not perfect but it’s handy and you can do a 100 different jobs with it. A swiss army knife on steroids.

          If I had to return to service(pray that it never gets that bad) I would carry a multy tool and my SRK.

    • I just hate the ergonomics of a revolver. They’re reliable, but they don’t point well (at least for me).

      • That’s why we have choice. One size does not fit all. If I was a cop or soldier I would carry a semi and make it work for me.

        But as a civvy I find a revolver to be my preferred choice.

        • Don’t forget that revolvers together with automatics with exposed hammers can make that cool cocking the hammer back sound.

          Yes, that is the reason I stick to pistols with exposed hammers. Also the reason why most rimfire pistols will never be truly satisfying for me (well, integral suppression is kinda cool I guess).

  13. If I lived in a state that limited magazine capacity (CA), I would load up on the mostest, biggest bullets I could get. Doubly so if hollow points aren’t allowed (NJ).

    • Just FYI: NJ does allow HPs, just not in carry guns, which themselves are not allowed.

      Basically the only people affected by the hollow point restriction are retired cops.

      • New Jersey and New York both seem to suck big time on pistol restrictions. Move away from those hellholes people.

    • Since bullet accountability is very important and even more so in anti-gun states, you probably should go with something that is the most controllable within the realm of respectable effectiveness (ill give you a hint: 9mm).

  14. Unless and until the 9x19MM can match the .40 S&W’s external and terminal ballistics (sorry but “similar” doesn’t count), and physics says it can’t, it ain’t won a damn thing yet. 😉

    .40 S&W is typically less than four cents-per-round more than 9MM in price, regardless of bullet type.

    .40 S&W is typically as if not more available at any given time than 9MM — especially during a panic.

    This is not to say that I think less of the people who use the lesser caliber. I don’t. I see why they chose it, and I generally agree with their reasons as to why. It’s just that the .40 S&W is ballistically superior and I have coupled that with the acceptance that my pistol will be snappier in the hand, and that I’ll likely have to replace components a little more often. Plus, I can always buy a conversion barrel and shoot 9MM (or .357 SIG) if I ever need to.

    • “Unless and until the 9x19MM can match the .40 S&W’s external and terminal ballistics (sorry but “similar” doesn’t count), and physics says it can’t, it ain’t won a damn thing yet.”

      Uhhh sorry to break it to you, but it can. 147gr Federal HST beats 100% of .40 fmj ammo and a good percentage of .40 defensive loads.

      • Uh, according to whom, exactly? And comparing hollow-points to FMJs is apples-to-oranges anyway.

    • Excedrine,

      You covered almost all the reasons that I chose .40 S&W over 9x19mm. The additional important reason that I chose .40 S&W over 9x19mm is barrier penetration — specifically car windshield glass at oblique angles. I have seen ultra slow-motion video of bullets hitting a car windshield at an oblique angle. The only two bullets that went through without deflecting were the .40 S&W 180 grain and .45 ACP 230 grain bullets.

      I know the odds that I would ever have to shoot through an automobile windshield in a defensive situation are low. Nevertheless, I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

      • It’s a given that barrier penetration would be better, too, being that the .40 S&W tosses heavier slugs at often times greater velocity while typically possessing equal or greater sectional density than the 9MM as well.

        Doubeltap makes a pretty stout 200-grain load that clocks in at 1,100 FPS from a 4.5″ barrel — 1,050 from a Glock 23. I defy even the 9MM “Major” to match that. Better than the .45 ACP, with double the capacity.

        • Im glad you brought up doubletap.

          40 S&W doubletap nosler JHP 200 grain, produces 490 foot lbs traveling at about 1,050 feet per second (1100 is close enough).

          9mm doubletap +P in 115 grains? it produces 511 foot lbs traveling at 1415 feet per second. With a middle of the ground in terms of grains, 124, 473 foot lbs is produced traveling at 1310 feet per second.

          In other words, basically the same. 17 foot lbs of difference is NOT a measurable improvement by any stretch of the imagination. 150 foot lbs is NOT a difference by any stretch of the imagination.

          So, no, call me unconvinced that the 40 is measurably better in any way because i dont see that it is when comparing numbers to numbers. The additional peanuts in foot lbs of extra energy (within the realm of less than 100 foot lbs in difference) doesn’t justify the expense in ammunition, faster wear, heavier recoil, higher muzzle flash, and larger grip. Sorry.

          ( is the source)

        • I’m also glad you brought up some of the lighter loadings available in 9MM, so let me introduce you to some lighter offerings in .40 S&W.

          180-gr. Nosler JHP @ 1,140 FPS — 520 FPE
          165-gr. Speer Bonded @ 1,200 FPS — 528 FPE
          155-gr. Hornady XTP @ 1,300 FPS — 582 FPE
          150-gr. Nosler JHP @ 1,317 FPS — 580 FPE
          135-gr. Nosler JHP @ 1,420 FPS — 605 FPE

          The very hottest commercial 9MM starts at the low end of .40 S&W in terms of energy. The .40 S&W pushes heavier projectiles with the same or greater sectional density than the 9MM, and it doesn’t deflect nearly as much when going though things — which it will do better than the 9MM, also.

          Not to mention that 9MM and .40 S&W models of pistols within the same product line are often built on the some exact frame, so there’s no “larger” grip to worry about. 9MM and .40 S&W ammo are in the same ball park cost-wise, and the latter will actually still be available during a panic. Muzzle flash can be corrected with the right powder, which most modern factory ammo already does. Heavier recoil can be managed.

          Be unconvinced. If 9MM works for you, stick with it.

        • “I’m also glad you brought up some of the lighter loadings available in 9MM, so let me introduce you to some lighter offerings in .40 S&W.”

          You dont want to go there. I was actually arguing in *defense* of your argument, and trying to compare apples to apples. Since you want to go light. Lets go light.

          Buffalo Bore 9mm +P+ JHP 115gr, 500 ft lbs, 1400 ft/s
          Buffalo Bore 9mm +P+ TAC XP 115gr, 500 ft lbs, 1400 ft/s
          Double Tap 9mm +P JHP 115gr, 511 ft lbs, 1415 ft/s
          Grizzly Ammunition 9mm +P JHP 90gr, 528 ft lbs, 1625 ft/s
          Magsafe 9mm +P Max 64gr, 540 ft lbs, 1950 ft/s
          RBCD 9mm TFSP 60gr, 539 ft lbs, 2010 ft/s
          ad nauseum

          In other words, within the realm of 100 ft lbs of difference, which is NOT A MEASURABLE IMPROVEMENT!

          “The very hottest commercial 9MM starts at the low end of .40 S&W in terms of energy”

          No it doesn’t. Compare apples to apples. low end 9mm performs similarly to low end 40. hot 40 performs similarly to hot 9mm. Why? because theyre pistol cartridges sherlock holmes.

          “The .40 S&W pushes heavier projectiles with the same or greater sectional density than the 9MM, and it doesn’t deflect nearly as much when going though things — which it will do better than the 9MM, also.”

          Thats subjective at best, and nonsense, at worst, when actually faced with reality.

          “Not to mention that 9MM and .40 S&W models of pistols within the same product line are often built on the some exact frame, so there’s no “larger” grip to worry about”

          Youre wrong for one, and two, the faster slide cycle rate exclusively designed for a 9mm has many unintended adverse consequences.

          “9MM and .40 S&W ammo are in the same ball park cost-wise, and the latter will actually still be available during a panic.”

          No they’re not. the cheapest 9mm is anywhere from 18-20 cents a cartridge. 40? about 23-25 cents. Thats not “in the same ballpark”.

          “Muzzle flash can be corrected with the right powder, which most modern factory ammo already does.”

          Cop out. That doesn’t change chemistry.

          ” Heavier recoil can be managed.”

          Another cop out. You cannot change physics.

          “If 9MM works for you, stick with it.”

          I will while idiots pander to their supposed wunderwaffe that doesn’t outpace my “anemic 9” that performs similarly, but is cheaper, has lighter recoil, a larger magazine, less muzzle flash, and longer service life.

        • When Excedrine says “hottest” commercial 9mm loads start at bottom of .40 in terms of energy, it means that the fastest available 9mm loads in ft/sec will have energy that is around the bottom of available energy in .40 loads. So 540 ft/lbs in 9mm to 520 ft/lbs in .40 as an example. Eh, too tired to address the rest. Someone may be convinced one way or the other but if we didn’t have the numbers, it would only then not be measurable. The fact you can say 540 or 520 means it is measurable.

          • I still prefer a 45 or 10mm. The reason I do so is wounding potential. Although you can argue about penetration as much as you want, nobody can argue that a .454″ hole is smaller than a .355″. I also have large hands, so I can shoot a p14 without a problem, and my gun has more than enough ammo. But, just because I can shoot a 45 well, doesn’t mean that’s the best out there. What’s important is that everybody uses what best for them and their needs.

        • When Excedrine says “hottest” commercial 9mm loads start at bottom of .40 in terms of energy, it means that the fastest available 9mm loads in ft/sec will have energy that is around the bottom of available energy in .40 loads. So 540 ft/lbs in 9mm to 520 ft/lbs in .40 as an example. Eh, too tired to address the rest. Someone may be convinced one way or the other but if we didn’t have the numbers, it would only then not be measurable. The fact you can say 540 or 520 means it is measurable.

    • Please link us to any and all proof of killing of a person completed by a 40 would not have resulted in the same outcome had a 9mm been used.

      9mm, 40, 45 when it comes to their intended purpose (stopping someone by blowing holes through vital organs) there really is no performance difference. That being the case why would any not opt for the gun (9mm) that could hold the most rounds, cost less, wore out slower and recoiled less????????

      At the end of the day pistols poke holes and rifles tear shit up.

    • “Unless and until the 9x19MM can match the .40 S&W’s external and terminal ballistics (sorry but “similar” doesn’t count), and physics says it can’t, it ain’t won a damn thing yet. ”

      It DOES match…and then some…you can be entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts. ballistics101 debunks this.

      cartridge versus cartridge, gold dot vs gold dot, the differences between the two are minimal. an extra 30-50 foot lbs is NOT ENOUGH to be a measurable improvement, especially when considering all of the drawbacks to 40.

  15. The US Army wants to go to .40, and the cops and the FBI want to go to 9 mm. So instead of spending millions of tax dollars, why don’t they just swap guns? We can trash all the worn out M9s because the Army just bought a bunch of new ones. Still save millions.

    • It’s a good thought, but the army has the same problem the FBI has. They’re trying to accommodate smaller, recoil-sensitive personnel. I hope our adversaries (and violent criminal) are considerate enough to not abuse our petite warriors.

      • I’d like to meet these people they’re catering to.

        Because I know of plenty of women who can handle a 1911 in .45 ACP quite competently. I know more than a couple of women how handle a S&W 629 in .44 Mag quite nicely too.

        Which begs a question: Just who are these agencies recruiting?

        • College graduates who have never handled a gun until the agency gets them. They meet minimum firearms requirements during training and then only have minimal quals required during their careers.

          I was in a gun store when a 22 yo came in with a list of approved firearms from the county sheriffs dept. He was starting the academy and had never shot a gun in his life. What do you want to bet that during his career he will only own what the department requires and will view the gun as just another tool like his ticket book or radio?

        • I’ve met them. I’m not sure why you’re doubting that they exist. There are some I’ve seen who had trouble passing in part because they simply couldn’t pull the trigger more than a handful of times.

        • But neither of those use double stack magazines.
          I can shoot 45 ACP in a 1911 and 357 from the S&W 686 fairly well, but I can’t shoot 9mm from say a Beretta M9 or a Sig 226 with any consistancy beyond the first round without having to adjust my grip.
          For someone with smaller hands that may already be having difficulty maintaining a good grip on a 9mm, increasing the recoil to that of the 40 could make a world of difference in their shooting ability.
          I think folks tend to focus to much on caliber and forget theres a gun around that bullet.

    • Who says the Army wants to go to 40. They want something that is more effective than 9mm ball. They never wanted to give up the 45 ACP in the first place and that’s what they are going to get if they go through with a procurement.

  16. Meh. I want any handgun 9 or above. Nearly put a 9mm on layaway yesterday. For home defense a 12gauge is my choice. If I ever get CC it’ll be anything over 380…and why does anyone care what LE carry?

    • I care what they’re carrying because I’m paying for it.

      The FBI used to carry .357 Mag in wheelguns.

      Then they got all hot and bothered for the 10mm. Then they realized that the grip size and recoil were issues for some of their people. So they invented (with S&W) the .40.

      And now they’re going back to a 9×19.

      How about we make it easy for them? Give them all .22LR in revolvers. That’s all they can carry from now until the end of time. Recoil problem? Gone. Magazine problems? Gone. East of concealment? Pretty much gone as well. Barrel life? Practically forever.

      If we taxpayers can get 60 years out of the B-52, is it so unreasonable that I demand the FBI be able to stick with a handgun choice for at least 30 years?

      • Just remember when you talk about handgun effectiveness based on FBI studies you are getting analysis that was tailored to give them the justification for buying a particular round that they had already preselected. If they were moving up to 45 ACP they would be talking about secondary damage from the stretch cavity and the benefits of higher mass.

      • The national debt is almost 18TRILLION. I doubt any of us are paying fior much of anything. Isn’t the fed still pouring 75 billion into the economy? Of worthless federal reserve notes? Military sidearms are the least of this country’s worries. For the record I like 40cal and shoot it very well…but then I’m over 60 and still do 90pound hammer curls. I never got the snappy thing or any lack of control…

  17. I encourage every noobie to start with a 9mm and, once they’ve developed the requisite skills, to move up to a real handgun. Of course, some shooters never develop the skill necessary to shoot a better caliber. For them the 9mm is ideal.

    • I don’t know what’s “better” than a 9mm. From a min/max standpoint it’s ideal. There’s nothing that offers better damage and accuracy with similar magazine capacity and cost per round at a given weight and concealability (form factor). 9mm is clearly the best round available for a variety of applications. If you need more than a 9, you need a carbine.

      • Ask and you shall receive.

        The .460. Rowland. 185g bullet moving at 1500 ft/sec with 1000 ft/lbs of energy at the muzzle. .44 magnum ballistics in a modern semi- auto pistol design.

        Of course; it’s in a .45ACP size pistol with conversion barrels that can fit the different major brands with the same magazine and you can still shoot regular .45 ACP cartridges.

        The caliber wars are moot. There really is no major difference in the performance of these other cartridges. But if you want a better shot at the mythical one shot stop, this is it.

        • If we’re going to delve into Special Snowflake ammo in specialty firearms, ( the .460 conversions for 1911 and Glock require a two inch muzzle break to keep the guns from shredding themselves ) then we might as well mention the Desert Eagle in .50AE. Hard to beat a 300 grain Hornady XTP motoring along at 1475 fps that generates 1450 ftlbs of energy.

          In all seriousness while most commercially loaded .357 and .44 Magnum is a downloaded considerably, some manufacturers load the Magnum cartridges to their original specs.
          .357 Magnum 158 grn jacketed hollow point, 1650 fps, 955 ft lbs.
          .44 Magnum 240 grn jacketed hollow point, 1541 fps, 1265 ft lbs
          Both loads are available from Privi Partizan in 50 round boxes at prices that are competitive with the other commercial manufacturers.

  18. “These agencies have also taken an honest look at the demographics of their personnel…”

    Lemme tran-sul8 that fer ya: chicks.

    We’re gonna need smaller criminals.

      • Red hair fallacy; here is how the conversation goes:

        ME: “People with red hair, i.e., “red heads”, compose 2% of the population.”

        MY DRUMMER (real life job: history prof.): “What! No way, my barber is a red head and my third grade English teacher. And my dry cleaner! Liar, Liar, pants on fire.”

        ME: “No, really, red heads compose 1-2% of the population; you are conflating your individual experience with how that particular trait is distributed in the general population.”

        DRUMMER: “Raaaayyyyyycciiiisssstt!!!”

        ME: “Sigh, progressive.”

        DRUMMER: “Howd’ya know?”

        ME: “Statistics.”

        DRUMMER: “I’m calling Eric Holder; bet you think that men and women are different!!! “

        • Best “red hair discrimination” joke I’ve ever heard (and I’m sorry, but I forget the comedian).

          Red heads are unnatural. If you got on a subway car in New York City, and it was full of any other minority, there would be no problem. If it was full of red heads, you’d get freaked out, turn around, and get off.

        • Redheaded chics are hot!

          A redheaded chics with a gun on her hip is hotter!!

          It doesn’t matter what caliber she’s packing.

  19. I’m no expert but what bothers me is they left out the important part. . . . .training.

    If enough police departments trained enough (which most do not), [well okay, in California there have been some instances of real life training – with civilians being wounded or killed], this might not be the problem it has been made out to be.

    While I accept the difference between firearms training and practice with a firearm, it appears the FBI qualifies their agents with 50 or 60 rounds, three times per year.

    We try to shoot 200-300 rounds per month (but we always miss several months), IDPA and IPSC. I am not very good at hitting a moving target or moving and hitting a stationary target.

    The FBI must train very well for such less shooting. Do you think lack of pistol practice has anything to do with the way police in California shoot?

    I don’t think anyone will argue 40 caliber is better than 9mm if your looking for damage. If they had more training with 40 caliber they might get better. . . . just sayin’.

    • Being retired I can’t speak for current practice, however …

      Qualification is 4x/yr.

      Qualification run is 50 rounds.

      Various warmup and other handgun training courses (movement, etc.) bring the typical rounds fired at each of those 4 sessions to around 300. In addition, there is training on shotgun and MP5 10mm. That may be dated, but not by too much.

      I lived through those caliber wars: .38 to 10mm to .40. I recently acquired a 9mm.

    • Shooting is a tiny, tiny part of policing. Many police will never fire in anger at a person. Training on the law is much more important.

  20. Great!

    Now, let’s legislate the controllability out of the handguns by adding extra heavy triggers and longer trigger pulls. Because, y’know, it’s safer for people that way.

  21. Wait…didn’t the FBI and DHS just buy 1.4 Billion rounds -a big chunk of which was .40 JHP?

    • Well, not really. The 9mm may be the caliber of choice for small women, the old and infirm and first time shooters, but men still buy ammo and they will always want a real caliber.

      • So you’ve finally stepped up to 10 mm Ralph, or are you still shooting that sissy .45 stuff?

        • I have just moved up to 10mm for a back country gun. I don’t see the big deal. I can shoot mine one handed. I must be Rambo.

        • What Nagurski said, but I’ll add “real men” and women. .460 rules. There is still truth, even when being sarcastic.

      • Ralph, if you like I can run a Mozambique drill on you with my 9 and we’ll see if it’s still a sissy round. Like the .22 fans, I never get any takers.

      • “small women, the old and infirm and first time shooters”

        and USSOCOM operators, Commonwealth SAS commandoes, and other US allies like South Korean 707 Battalion, and others…

        Dont even go there with the egotistical nonsense. 40 fans will lose on user resumes every time.

    • Logic created a huge loss for 40 before it was even conceived. Arguably, the huge loss began with the adoption of the 10mm and law enforcement’s utter ingnorance about long guns.

  22. The old addage, a pistol in your hand (regardless of caliber) is better than your .44 Magnum in the safe applies.

    9mm is an international rd. not like the venerable .41 magnum or 10mm, or .357 Sig. Good rds, but they are the Dodo birds in large commercial contracts. Period.

    the .Gov does one thing well ;
    Waste and spend taxpayer money .

    We are once agained surprised,,,,,

  23. I didn’t see anything in the FBI report declaring the 40 dead. Seems they cited many of known cons of the 40 anyway. I seem to find better incite in the comment sections of this blog than the articles themselves……..

  24. “Terminal velocity” is meaningless if you can’t hit what you’re shooting at. I have 9 mm and .40 in Glocks and a .45 1911 and I shoot them all reasonably well, but I shoot a lot. That said, the .40 in a plastic gun is a stout round and I weigh 190 and lift weights. I see many less experienced shooters at the range struggle with the .40. For them, in a self-defense situation, it’s probably better to hit their target with a 9 mm then miss with a .40. For the rest of us, both rounds will be readily available for a long time to come.

  25. There have been piles.of servicable 40s and 357Sig automatics listed o the Fed Govt surplus website ( in the last year. Some Beretta 9mm but not a lot. This may be a continuous ongoing thing I don’t know. I’m pretty sure the Feds are not downsizing their pool of armed thugs.

  26. Easy solution, heavier recoil spring in my Glock 23 for shooting 40 s&w. Also, a drop in 9 mm barrel. Later manufactured 40 mags feed 9 mm fine. It is funny how all the current writers hate the 40 and love the 9. 15 years ago everyone was saying the opposite. If it makes people buy more guns, I’m for it.

  27. Ironic that they sing praises of larger magazine capacity when they are trying to restrict how much a civilian can have.

    ^see what I did there?

  28. I wouldn’t base my personal carry on what the police use. Their needs are different than my own, they are mostly concerned with cost and capacity. The reason is they don’t spend much time on the range actually training to be able to hit anything so they need larger capacity magazines so they can keep shooting and they need less recoil to keep collateral damage down.

    This is more of an admission of ineptitude in the firearm department by PDs than proof 9mm is any better than .40.

  29. “…at a more affordable price…”

    When you’re buying ammo for a thousand officers that has to be a major concern.

    IMHO there just isn’t much difference between a decent 9mm+p load and .40 or .45. They’ll all hit with between 400 and 500lbs/ft. Actually you’ll almost need a +p in .45 to crack 400lbs/ft. The differences between individual loadings are more than the differences in caliber.

    • The differences between those calibers in BALL ammo are far less obvious too…

      as IF an extra 150-200 foot lbs of energy is enough to measurably improve lethality (it isn’t)…

      • Well all handguns are relatively weak, but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that an extra 200 lbs/ft. of energy is insignificant even in ball ammo. For decades the two most common defense handguns in this country were the .38 special and the .357 magnum shooting non-expanding lead bullets and the .357 had a much better reputation for stopping a fight. When you’re comparing 9mm to .45 military ball loadings, the two have nearly identical muzzle energy and it comes down to slow and heavy vs. not quite as slow and light. I don’t think you can discount the extra 300+ fps from the 9mm. The more velocity the more damage outside the direct path of the bullet.

        For me it comes down to rather having the extra rounds in the magazine and the extra money in my pocket. That said my EDC is a .357 magnum so I’m probably full of sh!t.

        • “but I wouldn’t go so far as to say that an extra 200 lbs/ft. of energy is insignificant even in ball ammo”

          Well believe it.

          I can have a bad day, hungover after a previous night of being blackout drunk, and throw a punch with 200 ft lbs of energy. a professional boxer? 1000 foot lbs of energy.

          A bb gun has 150 foot lbs of energy.

          But keep fighting over 50-200 foot lbs of energy, as IF that will make any fvcking difference whatsoever versus proper shot placement or, better yet, grabbing a long gun.

        • Hmmm…. BB guns are more powerful than .22LR. I guess you learn something every day.

        • and the :edit function didn’t work (no thanks for the new layout shitbirds)

          My revised comment said bb and pellet guns have 15-20 ft lbs and 22 less than 150.

          so there: you are arguing over 22 lr levels of energy differences LOL.

        • Ha! That makes more sense.

          Energy isn’t everything. As an example a Major League fastball has about the same energy as a .22LR fired from a handgun. (5oz @ 90mph = 2187.5gr @ 132fps, 132x132x2187.5/450400=84.6lbs/ft energy). I don’t think there’s too many people out there who would prefer a .22 shot in the ribs to a MLB fastball. Especially considering what happened to Robert Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, James Brady, etc.

          Shot location is everything, which is the performance part of why I favor the 9mm. It’s low recoil and low cost (more practice) make it easier to hit the target and it’s high capacity gives you more chances to. But if you’re going to limit yourself to 6 rounds, you need a bit more. I find revolvers to be more accurate, especially at long distances, and since you rarely need more than 6 rounds in any self defense situation I like the .357. But I don’t think I’d carry a .38 special because you’re sacrificing too much. To put it in perspective; a .38 special/.380 auto @ 200lbs/ft = 203mph fastball, a 9mm @ 365lbs/ft = 274mph fastball, a .357 @ 550lbs/ft = 337mph fastball, a .44 mag @ 900lbs/ft = 430mph fastball, and a .308 @ 2600lbs/ft = 732mph fastball. Sure, I’d rather take a 337mph fastball in the ribs than a 732mph fastball, but a 274mph fastball would still better than either.

          Actually I don’t think you’d survive a fastball traveling at the speed of sound.

  30. I like the motto, “Go big or stay home.”

    While I happen to carry a handgun in .40 S&W, I am getting ready to move up to .45 ACP. And when I am out in nature, it’s .44 Magnum all the way.

    And no, I am not a hulking body builder or an NFL linebacker. For whatever reason I have no trouble shooting any of them accurately and comfortably. Apparently I instinctively know how to handle the recoil of larger calibers.

    • If you’re talking about .40 and .45 your motto should be ‘if you’re going to go puny you might as well stay home’. I wouldn’t consider either to be anything close to ‘big’.

      When it comes to the ‘big’ handguns, (of which I have no experience with anything larger than .44 mag) I’ve found that the key is to avoid trying to control the recoil. Let the gun flip up, and just concentrate on keeping the sights on target while squeezing the trigger. With a 9mm you can fight the recoil in order to get fast follow up shots, but if you try that with a .44 mag all it will do is make your shots wildly inaccurate.

  31. I am a LEO and was in a shooting which required me to shoot through a tinted vehicle window. Two rounds between the shoulder blades. I used a .40 S&W. The suspect survived. Another officer shot a suspect 5 times including vital hits at extremely close range with a .45. The suspect survived. It has been my personal experience that handgun rounds in general do a poor job of killing. I have since switched to a 9mm. I can shoot faster and even more accurately with the 9mm and have more rounds for a SHTF scenario where I need to get to my rifle.

    Ultimately it comes down to how much you care about your skill level. There are LEOs who don’t care and there are those who do. It is easy to tell the difference at qual time. Then you know who you want beside you in a gunfight. Sometimes I would pick the CCW guy.

    Everyone stay safe and remember the first rule of a gunfight!

    • Rule 1; have gun.

      Rule zero; shot placement is king, adequate penetration is queen. Everything else is just angels dancing on the head of a pin.

  32. I have a Gen 3 glock 22. Which is a .40 cal and I love it. The reported problems with muzzle flip and control.and so forth are to me, just training issues. I’ve been able to to shoot dimes in both controlled pairs and hammer pairs (double taps) Im 5’9 and 200lbs though. I do believe still that with proper training and discipline one can shoot the .40 S&W with great accuracy and achieve superior terminal performance with it. In my experience its not just soft targets that a LEO will encounter but glass and thin metal from say an automobile that their target is behind. In this instance the .40 cal is a superior round. So to.say that it is “dead” is not a fair assessment. But ive always said that pistols are like cars in that you have to test drive it before you buy it. So the combination of caliber and pistols ergonomics is an essential part of the shooters assessment when deciding to buy. Standardizing is tough for this very reason. A .22 will kill too with the right variables in play . Needless to say that is extreme. However it again all comes down to training. This debate is endless only of people persist to claim one round is superior to another. Its kind of like arguing about which is a better engine. A 4 cylinder, a 6cylinder or a V8… again there are different manufacturers and different intended purposes for each. Just my 2 cents.

  33. I am so tired of all the 40 bashers… RF included. It’s bs editorial comments like this article that makes me want to stop coming here. If it wasn’t for the other contributors I am not sure i would continue to visit this site,

  34. You guys pass up all that .40. It just leaves more for me.

    The #1 thing I like about .40 is I can find it anywhere, anytime. It was far more common during the panic than 9mm or .45. And to this day, there is always more of it available.

    I carry 9mm sometimes, I carry .40 others. Just whatever I feel like at the moment.

    • exactly. the cost of .40 is higher BECAUSE government consumes so much of it.

      now the cost of 9mm will skyrocket as every federal agency justifies a million round stockpile.

      which reminds me, what are they gonna do with all that ammo purchased.

  35. My first gun was a Glock 23. Sold it years later for a 3″ and 5″ Springfield XD in .40. The 3″ I referred to as “that snippy little b****. However, the 5” was downright pleasant to shoot. Combined, I shot .40 for over a decade, and am a fan of the round. I currently have a Sig P229 in 9mm and am picking up my P239 SAS in 9mm later this week. I am fully aware that .40 will hit harder and make a slightly bigger hole. But the difference isn’t so big as to offset the lighter recoil, faster follow up shots, and higher magazine capacity.

    I don’t buy a gun in a particular caliber to prove how much of a man I am. I buy a gun in a particular caliber to stop a bad guy. End of story. For me, 9mm simply made more sense to accomplish that goal… and I don’t feel like any less of a man for using it 😉

  36. Lets break this down logically, shall we?

    9mm, 45, 40, 357 SIG, and 45 GAP ALL produce similar energies within the realm of 350-500 ft lbs. They also expand very similarly. Therefore, their lethality in stopping bad guys is roughly the same.


    with 45, you have the larger ammunition, which results in a smaller magazine capacity (half in many cases) and more recoil.

    With 357 SIG, 40, and 45 GAP, which are necked down from another parent cartridge, you have snappier recoil, which results in slower target acquisition and more pistol wear. The advantages of these calibers is that their magazine capacities are similar to the smaller competitors (with the exception of 45 GAP perhaps).

    With lethality being equal it makes no sense to adopt a cartridge with snappier recoil, less magazine size, more wear and tear, a larger grip, and more muzzle flash when they perform similarly to a cartridge that has a minimal amount of those drawbacks. That cartridge is 9mm.

    Compare the costs of the ammunition sometime too. 9mm clubs them in that regard in every conceivable aspect (that and 9mm can be obtained anywhere in the world, with the exception of maybe China 😛

    So logically, 9mm is the most ideal handgun caliber, hands down.

    As soon as something is better, ill jump ship. Until then…

    • As much of a ardent supporter of 9mm I am, the big three each have their own place. 9mm hands down is the defensive handgun round of choice in my opinion. High ammo capacity and ease of use when wounded give it that. 45 still reigns as the offensive king still due to its suppressed use in handguns, which generally limits it to a SOF role for extremely limited uses, and 40 or 357sig do have their place if you have a need for barrier penetration such a certain parts of law enforcement need.

  37. Spray and pray brother, spray and pray. Meanwhile my state’s HP has decided proprietary bottle neck cartridge is the way to go. Dohpe!

  38. the truth is in the article, where being government, it’s all about compromise. It’s not the best cartridge, it’s the best cartridge “for the money”. Prices of which are also dependent on popularity and what government (one of the largest consumers of ammunition) choose. 40 goes up BECAUSE government uses it, and the cost of 9mm will also increase, making it “less” of a value in a very short time.

    Plus the usual skeeviness in the shadows behind every government contract choice.

    Make no mistake – this is about compromise and NOT cartridge effectiveness.

    • This. Thisthisthisthisthis.

      It’s like people automatically assume that these agencies pick the best round for the job. They don’t. They pick the best compromise, which includes things that have nothing to do with ballistic advantage or shooter benefit. Say it with me kids: Just because your favorite government agency uses it- whether it is a gun or ammunition -doesn’t mean anything about anything. In fact, it’s probably more a function of cost, logistics and contractual obligation.

  39. A pretty pointless discussion…..

    It is speed that kills – period. Kinetic energy.

    That’s why even small space rocks are deadly – they travel a more than 20,000 MPH.

    That’s why a tiny 55 grain .22 caliber traveling at 3000 fps (5.56) is so devastating.

    The problem with handguns is not the calibers, it’s the length of the barrel.

    You need a longer barrel to burn enough propellant to accelerate a round to the needed velocity.

    Handgun rounds start to get into a marginally effective range at ~1500 FPS (.357 SIG, .357 Magnum, etc.) but because of the short barrels muzzle blast then becomes an issue.

    …Donning my fire suit now….

    • No fire suits necessary here.

      You can get the same performance out of .22tcm or 5.7×28 as you could 9mm and retain superior barrier penetration. And have a superior recoil platform. And better grip management for a myriad of shooters. Speed hurts.

  40. What’s old is new. Government agencies go through trends. 15 years from now, we’ll be reading about how all the LEOs are switching to .357 SIG or .45 GAP. Or maybe there will be a push back against police militarization and they’ll all go back to carrying large frame revolvers in .357 Magnum. Who knows?

    • I look forward to 20shot 22LR revolvers being duty issue.

      Shootings will now sound like popcorn making.

  41. Wake up,
    We can shoot plates at 150 + Meters with a tuned FN 57 in 5.7 X 28 round.
    Based on ballistic performance, punch, penetration, delivered energy, range, accuracy, Hi capacity stacking & the option of an effective armour piercing capability 5.7 X 28 is the final frontier.
    While the governments would supress superiority of the round, time would prove Period.

    • I love the 5.7×28. Just not the current price for them, but if they get popular the price should come down. That would make me happy

    • PS. I think Goverments should take the lead in acknowledging the superiority of 5.7 X 28 round, unless, first we wish to be on the receiving end of it, sooner or later.

  42. Oh God, not this BS again. Okay, I’m fine with the fact that we need to accommodate smaller shooters and more is always better in terms of capacity… Buy physics doesn’t lie.

    Youtube anything by Brass Fetcher to watch clear as day ballistics gelatin testing in your favorite caliber and watch for yourself. You will clearly see there is a difference. A huge difference that you can’t just pass off with buzzwords like “modern advances”. In many cases, these are apples to apples comparisons. Ball vs ball. HP vs HP. The .45acp leaves large, massive wound channels. 9mm is the superior penetrator. .40sw tries to do both. And the difference is not subtle. At all.

    But that’s ballistic gelatine! Not real life! Yep, now go use your superior interweb powers of search for tests on hog legs and the like. You might notice the same results on real flesh targets.

    Now even I admit that quantity is a quality all of its own, but 9mm has never, ever impressed me as one shot anything stopper, all things being equal. And the proponents advocating +P+ are just silly. 9mm doesn’t need more penetration or to become even more snappier. It’s value is simply this: A cheap, spammy-spammy round that you can find anywhere. It’s the least common denominator for an agency that must contend with a myriad of shooters…

    …Not because “modern advances” have some how made physics irrelevant.

        • And if you still want to argue over it– Testing on ballistic glass, steel plates and hog legs that proves the same point: The 9mm demonstrates superior penetration, while the .45 transfers its energy into the target better. The video is to showcase .22TCM, but does a good job at displaying the strength and weaknesses of each round.

          It’s all about what you’re willing to accept in tradeoffs. With the 9mm, you get more chances to ventilate your opponent with halfway decent terminal performance. But above all of this caliber war nonsense, do not doubt for a moment that cost, supply chain and shooter ability weigh in as factors as well.

  43. All this discussion about the military and LE is mote to me. They’ll do what they will. Personally, if I need to stop somebody I want the round with the most stopping power. I’ll keep my .40 and my .45, thank you.

  44. I always hate it when gun writers mistakenly claim that the FBI switched from 9mm to .40 S&W because of the Miami shootout.

    This is simply not true.

    The FBI switched to the 10mm and the Smith and Wesson 1076 was the platform.

    They had an issue with agents not being able to handle the hot 10mm, so they asked for and received a lower powered version commonly referred to as the 10mm light (or 10mm FBI).

    Smith and Wesson suggested that they could get that same power level via a shorter case and thus fit it into a 9mm sized gun. They released the 4006 in .40 Smith and Wesson but Glock (in a brilliant coup) beat them to the market with their Glock 22.

    That was the round about way the FBI adopted the .40 Smith and Wesson.

    Either way it was an interesting solution to a non-existent problem.

  45. Lets see if I can interpret the points the FBI is making.
    1) FBI agents can’t shoot well.
    2) All calibers affect the target the same.
    3) More bullets are more important than the power of the caliber especially since “stopping power” is a myth
    4) The 9mm bullets have improved over the last several years.
    5) The FBI objectives have changed from stopping a threat to just wounding the threat.

    This is obviously the work of some desk jockey crunching numbers.
    The FBI pistol qualification records suck. So, they will invest the money into an easy to shoot caliber rather than into training… “If they can’t raise the quality they can lower the standards”.
    #2 &3
    By using that same analogy they should skip the 9mm and go straight to the 22LR. After all “stopping power” is a myth. It is easier to shoot. They could carry more bullets. And, they only want to wound the target anyway.
    9mm is not the only bullets to have improved over the last several years. All bullets of today are vastly superior to ones of yester-years. They should not compare today’s 9mm with the old 40.
    It is true that if you are lucky and choose the right, premium 9mm bullet there is a slight possibility of wounding the target.

    My points:
    If your objective is to actually stop/kill the target, the 9mm is lacking. This is especially true if you do not use premium bullets. If you are a prepper or someone who mostly uses the cheap, bulk ammo then you will be much better off with the 40.

  46. Hilarious.
    Its as if you 40 and 45 fetishers really believe that the 9mm WONT blow completely thru a human body and come blazing out the other side.
    I’ll let you in on a secret…if your big gun isnt burning 2000+fps it AINT going to do much more than a 9mm is….sorry to break your heart.
    Shot placement and penetration are the ONLY factors that matter.
    My uncle was shot 40+ years ago point blank with a 20g shotgun and hes alive and kicking today.
    A woman I knew was shot once with a 22lr and they didnt keep her alive long enough to get the the hospital.

    Shot placement is what matters..and ability to penetrate deep enough to hit what needs to be hit…and the 9mm is entirely capable of both….hence the FBI report.

    You can have your favorite round…its ok. Mine is the 357 magnum. But lets quite playing this idiot game that because it is your favorite that it will explode the human body on contact….we ALL know it wont.

  47. Thank god the FBI finally came to their senses. 9mm never had a problem, .45 is good too, but .40 is just plain awful. Ever since the start.

  48. As a coastie I can comment on this a little bit. When I first joined we used the beretta 9mm just like everyone else. Later when we transitioned to DHS we started using the Sig P 229 DAK in .40cal. When we first started using them there was a significant drop off in qualification rates for the people who were already just making par with the beretta. Part of that was the gun, the DAK trigger is god awful and the sight radius on the 229 is much shorter than then beretta. A lot of it was also a recoil difference between .40 and 9mm combined with going from a full sized handgun to a smaller handgun. We have since made great strides in training and qualifications however it is still apparent that it is a difficult combination of smaller gun and snappier round. As to the JHP vs Ball for military forces I can only speak to the USCG policy which is a little different as we have a law enforcement aspect as well but, on US Flagged vessels or assimilated stateless vessels (i.e. drug smugglers who don’t claim or have conflicting claims of nationality) we are allowed and do use .40 cal JHP rounds, however we maintain a ready stock of ball on board for doing boardings on international vessels or for doing military missions like we are currently overseas. I can see where the FBI is coming, it would be easier to get more people qualified with a 9mm and modern 9mm hollow point has closed the gap with .40 cal significantly. I don’t doubt that special units like HRT will be able to pick and choose there guns but I can easily see them going with a one size fits all 9mm glock/sig/s&w that you can adjust the grip size on for there day to day special agents. Not to mention that yes magazine capacity is always important. If I can concealed carry with 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition that performs as well as .40 why would I settle for 12rnds?

  49. Now this is funny. In one paragraph speaking of 9mm vs .40 S&W he quotes” The fact that the new pistols can house more of the cartridges in the same sized gun is an added bonus.” and in the following paragraph argues “Instead, there are many officers with smaller hands and shorter fingers who find it difficult to reach the controls on larger caliber pistols with their corresponding larger frames.” Hummmm…….

  50. The FBI needs to get off their ass and do some real work, this country is in big trouble an the FBI can’t find a turd in a bowl of rice. Caliber wars? Earn your paycheck you clowns.

  51. I own and carry several handguns in different cartages and calibers. .380, 38sp, .357, 9mm (all the same caliber BTW), 22lr, 40s&w and 45acp. I don’t see much difference in recoil between the 38sp, 357 magnum, 9mm, 40s&w and 45acp. I find the worst recoil is the 380! The caliber usually comes in tiny, light pocket pistols. I do have big hands and I may not be able to get a good grip, but they torque violently in my hand so they don’t get much range time.

    Guns are like shoes; I carry a different one at different times for different reasons. I prefer the .40 over all but I only own two guns in that caliber vs 5 in 9mm. So go figure… I may own more 9mm than the others because they are a little less expensive to shoot or maybe its because my wife likes the 9mm’s better, they’re the pretty guns…

    In the limited timed/qualifying shooting I’ve done, I don’t notice any real difference in speed of my double taps or inherent accuracy in any of the calibers. There are certainly differences in guns and the operators!

    I haven’t shot anybody, but I have hunted with nearly all of them. The 357 is the best all around stopper but the 40s&w is better choice than the 9 or 45 in my opinion. 9mm ball goes right through without much damage. HP doesn’t penetrate deep enough. 45 does puts the hurt on! But the 45acp has an arching trajectory and you have to start thinking about your shot further than 35yrds. I don’t know if I will always have the time to think in a gunfight. A heavy. 40cal with a flat nose penetrates deep and does a lot of damage on it’s way.

    I call BS on more speed kills better! Try doing a belly floop from an 8” diving board vs diving from 3′! You are moving twice as fast and get a lot of noise, no penetration and not even much splash! Diving from 3′ you get lots of penetration with little splash. Now try doing a cannonball from 3′! Good penetration with lots of splash!! Splash = tissue damage!

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