Previous Post
Next Post

The above video is an excerpt from Colion Noir’s NRA show Noir. It’s his long-awaited rant on .40 caliber – which doesn’t really go into capacity. Which is OK with me; I only have so much capacity for worrying about caliber. Call me a fatalist, but I reckon you load your gun, you take your chances. Caliber is only one variable in the armed self-defense equation; including the size and weight of your gun, its magazine capacity, your level of age, fitness and training; your genetic reaction to stress and combat experience, shot placement, number and position of assailants, time of day and so on. That said, when I carry a smaller gun (9mm or .38) I mentally adjust my possible tactics. Anyway, .40 sucks. Too snappy. Your take?

Previous Post
Next Post


  1. It’s got to go bang reliably and put enough of a hole in a bad guy to drop his blood pressure to 0/0.

    That said, I don’t really care if it is .45/.40/9MM. The pistol and trigger are more important to shot placement and getting back on target. I’ve shot bad and good guns in all of these calibers.

    • Amen! I carry 9mm 95% of the time, .45 ACP 4% and .380 as a primary the remaining time.
      It’s up to me to make sure they work.

    • I agree with one huge caveat… Over the years I’ve come to allow my instinct as well as those factors to sway my choice of EDC. I carry a 1911 whenever possible because I prefer to shoot a 1911 on a regular basis and am most comfortable with it’s manual of arms. When things go south and the adrenalin starts pumping I KNOW exactly how to handle the firearm, I KNOW how to fire(or not fire) the firearm and I don’t need to actually think about either. Caliber had no place in my decision.

      • I have carried a .40 1911 for 15 years and have no problem with its snappy nature. Muzzle energy is similar to a .45 and the HST ammunition I use has extremely reliable expansion. I hardly think you are going to notice the difference if you are shot with a .45 or a .40 if the rounds are in the right place.

        If my wife puts a couple of 9mm rounds into you, you aren’t going to be happy either (the fairer caliber?).

        Get enough real training that you can put accurate rounds downrange in whatever circumstance you are in – unless you have a shotty or a “modern rifle” handy, that is the best you can do.

    • Thread-winning first comment.

      Carrying a firearm is nothing more than having the /option/ to be in a gunfight, if no other options are available. Beyond that, there are long guns and everything else. Everything from .22LR to .454 Casull is everything else. There isn’t a bit of difference physiologically speaking in terms of the energy deposition from a 9mm to a .45 ACP or anything in between. I’m with Clint Smith on this one — your handgun is what you use to get to your long gun.

      Carry what you can practice with, and practice until you can reliably get hits. The rest is clickbait.

  2. I carry a .40 subcompact and havent ever carried anything else, possibly because I just finished grad school, but I REALLY want a Sig P238 or P938 with those rubber hogue grips after getting my mitts on one, my wife likes it as well and she HATES my .40

    At some point, its all about how easy can you shoot it vs. how well it carries(size, trigger, etc.) vs. how effective it is , for me at least.

    • I have a P238 with the Hogue grips and extended (8 rnd total) mags. It’s everything you’d want in a small, fun-to-shoot handgun. Every now and again they come up for sale at decent prices. I bought mine for a little over $500 Palmetto State Armory. Now that the gun rush is apparently over, prices may get even better.

  3. I don’t think .40 sucks per say. But it is definitely snappy and a biatch in cold weather. But my smallest handgun is a Glock 23 and would be my edc if RI wasn’t so lame.

    • I shoot .40 and I find it to be about the same in cold weather. Then again, where I live it’s almost always cool to cold and usually wet as hell.

    • My full size pistol is a 40 but I only carry 9 now. I used to carry 40 but I found it was just that much slower for follow up shots. That and I lost 3 to 4 bullets in capacity. Capacity is less important in a full size, and the higher weight keeps the muzzle down.

  4. I carry a.40 or a.45acp, or a 10mm auto,for back country. There are many variables, trying to pretend that there is a one size fits all answer is foolish, and common.

  5. It is very snappy, I find it too abusive to warrent using over 9mm. I opt for 9mm in plastic fantastic or 45acp in a 1911, which has the weight to control it. At the end of the day, it is the man that gets the job done, not the caliber in the gun. Carry any service caliber and train correctly, end of discussion. They can all fail at times.

  6. Love my .40. 185gr keeps my Taurus pt 101 quite happy. I chose it because I used an m9 in the army and back then it carried more rounds than a .45. I’ve also thought about getting a barrel for a .357 sig. Just to have more caliber options in the same package. All my weapons were purchased along the lines of my military service. They are what I know inside out and blindfolded. I’ve upgraded the calibers for mor generalized uses, but the format remains the same.

  7. 22LR will drop a man with enough shots. Pack what you can carry everyday, whatever that may be. If we wanted to be positive that we had enough gun, we’d OC a 12 gauge. Have a gun you shoot best, and have it on you. Practice and aim center. Just cuz you’re out of bullets and he’s full of lead doesn’t stop the fight. 6 .22 sized holes in a BG should give you an advantage in the ensuing ground fight or getaway.
    Obviously 22LR wouldn’t be my first choice, but you get the point.

    • As I heard a guy say, “A .22 in the head beats a .45 in the door jamb every time.”

  8. Since my first pistol was a Sig P229 in .40, I have a soft spot in my heart for it. I have small hands, so the first shot in DA is a struggle, but I still shoot fairly well with it (an RO at IDPA smiled when he asked me if I was cocking the hammer on the draw, which I was).

    Of course, the P229 is fairly heavy, which tames recoil, but it also has a fairly high bore height, which exacerbates recoil. All I know is, I’ve shot Glock 23, Springfield XD, and Smith M&P in .40, and they were quite a bit snappier.

    Conclusion? If you don’t like it, don’t shoot it or carry it. If you like it, and practice with it, feel free to carry it.

    • I love my P229 in .40S&W. There’s no need to cock the hammer for the first round for defensive use. Take a class that offers charging targets or other ways to simulate a stress fire situation. If you’re like me, you’ll find that you don’t even notice the difference between the first and subsequent shots. They’re all good and all CM, with some practice. I’ve taken that course with my P229 and my much smaller HK P200SK and done equally well. Let’s base the chit chat about calibers on actual experience instead of on pickle barrel nattering.

    • This is exactly right.

      Colion got big on youtube by just being himself.

      I get that NRA News is paying him now and they get to have a say on production, but these videos feel too rehearsed and awkward. This .40 cal one is the best example.
      If you compare it to the 9 and .45 ones, it’s so obvious that they should have let him run w/ what he was doing rather than trying to fix what wasn’t broken.

  9. Unless my finances improve drastically I will stick to my .45 1911, my 9mm Beretta and Glock, and my .22 Ruger. I see no need for additional calibers (unless I get a revolver and I add .357/.38 to the list, haha).

  10. .40 S&W is the perfect caliber, and the best way to carry it is in a Springfield Armory XDm. Thus endeth the lesson.

    (I carry a SIG P238 every day. For me, the ability to carry it, concealed, regardless of situation trumps caliber.)

    • I’m not sure if it’s perfect, but it’s one of my faves. I can shoot my G23 just about the same as my G19 and CZ 75D PCR in 9 mm. But I do remember renting an HK P30 in 9 mm and an M&P in .40 and couldn’t hit much with either. Similar with .45. I used to have a full size 1911 and it shot like a dream, but a 4 inch Kimber wasn’t very accurate in my hands. So I’d say it’s more than just the caliber. It’s a combination of gun that fits you best and the caliber that works for you. Also, since .40 is not the most popular one out there, it’s easier to find when demand surges in a crisis. So it’s good as a backup if nothing else.

      • +1 on ammunition availability.

        I bought my first handgun, and SD40 VE at the height of the gun scare. My father and brother bought their first Semi-autos at the same time too, both .40’s and since I was the only one who was available to go ammo shopping when the stores were open, I had to shop for ammo for 3 people. I’d wait out front of 2 to 3 stores every morning for them to open. 9mm was rare, .45acp was virtually non-existent. I’d only ever see a few boxes a couple times a month, and those were usually bought up by 9mm and 22lr poachers who would arrive that much earlier than everyone else. If I had bought a 9mm, I never would have been able to shoot it. During that same time, my local ranges saw an explosion in .40S&W popularity, at a glance you could see every casing on the ground was .40S&W, and .40S&W is still quite plentiful on the floors of the gun range even now. During the shortage 9mm and .22lr were hoarded for dear life, .40S&W was used. A gun-enthusiast friend of mine in the panhandle had a gun in almost every caliber except .40SW because he thought it was pointless. During the scare, he couldn’t find ANY ammo in his area except .40S&W. He recently went out and bought a Glock 23 for this reason alone.

        For all those people who believed it was a dying round, I believe this this recent scare has given new life to the round. Especially for people that were new to guns buying for the first time that believed that the .40 was an intrinsically superior round to 9mm purely because of bullet size, like me.

        And if that was enough, add to that the fact that most .40’s can be easily converted to 9mm and .357sig with just a simple barrel swap without the need to buy a whole new gun, and you’ve got a winner IMHO.

    • 40 is anything BUT perfect.

      You have the same lethality as 9mm BUT
      -snappier and heavier recoil
      -less capacity
      -more muzzle flash
      -faster slide cycle rate (which means faster wear out time)
      -more expensive ammunition

      All for an the “additional advantage” (and I do use that term lightly, if not disparangingly) of 1-200 extra foot lbs of energy (which ins’t a guarantee of added lethality ill add).

  11. A quote from a well-established trainer and industry expert with more than a little combat experience:


    Some people want to make up for their training short falls with a gun that recoils less.

    OK, but at least call a spade a fucking spade.

    Ask yourself which bullet you would rather get shot with.

    You can show up with ANY 9mm platform you want, and I will bring .40 and if you are not master class bad ass, I will burn you down on a shot timer with full power duty ammo.

    Recoil management is a nice skill to learn. Other wise I would have just taken up eye socket shooting with a .22 magnum.”

    • Actually, I would rather not get shot with ANY bullet, even the lowly .22. And given their druthers, I expect most bad guys feel the same. And with all due respect, “recoil management” on the range may not mean, ahhh, caca out on the street when you’re surprised by an assailant and don’t necessarily have the best grip on your gat. But I’m not a well-established trainer and industry expert with more than a little combat experience, so what do I know?

    • Does the 9mm or the 40 recoil more?

      Its not a matter of your proficiency, its a matter of physics. Id challenge you any day with my 9mms.

  12. ’40’ is fine. If I were starting over with firearms, I might structrue my collection around a more powerful caliber, but it’s not worth re-inventing the wheel over.

  13. With FMJ bullets, .45 reigns supreme where as it leaves the biggest hole in the bad guy. With JHP, the differences between the calibers is negligible, so 9mm is the best because it has the lowest recoil, highest capacity, and warrants for the smallest gun. .40 S&W would be an excellent caliber, but it’s launching a big bullet at big speeds, which translates into unneeded snappiness. I carry a 9mm JHP +P. The +P gives it more firepower with just a little more recoil.

    • Amen… I feel by no means underpowered concealed carrying a 9mm Buffalo-Bore Barnes +P+ 115 grain copper bullet cartridge at 1400 fps… But the “legendary stopping power” of the .45 ACP’s reputation was built on FMJ round nose bullets in two World Wars and two conflicts… and I do feel somewhat nervous carrying my M9 with 124 grain NATO FMJ. Due to it not being adapted by any major army in a war/conflict I’m not sure about the .40 caliber effectiveness with FMJ round nose.

    • Not quite right. Using a good JHP in a 9mm turns a marginal round into an effective round. A 45 JHP makes a huge hole, I have seen test result where some rounds expand to 0.8″ or 20mm. It you start out bigger and use same technology then you end up bigger. From the stand point of the three common calibers 45 damage mechanism will always rule supreme when using the same technology. It’s simple physics.

      • “It’s simple physics.”

        Except is most assuredly, unequivocally, absolutely beyond all question and doubt….not that simple.

        Geez, I wish this meme would die already.

        There has been no body of research to date of real shootings that has definitively shown the .45 ACP superior for self defense. Think about it…if there had been, there would not be a “need” for caliber wars on the Internet and everyone WOULD be carrying .45’s.

        ALL research points to successes and failures in each common caliber with no statistically discernible difference between them in the general case.

        But hey, believe what you want if it keeps you warm at night.

        First Rule: Have a Gun.

        • I will give you a layman’s explanation of military lethality measures of effectiveness. Lethality is not “stopping power” it is the probability that an untreated wound in location x is lethal in time t. Let’s take the case of shot to the identical place on the abdomen by a 50 S&W, 45 ACP, 40, 9mm, 38 special and 22LR. Untreated you will die from any of these rounds 100% of the time. The larger rounds puts a bigger hole in the body, damages more tissue and causes a higher rate of blood loss. So the bigger the projectile, the faster you will reach the end point. You are more likely to die from septicemia with a 22LR than from tissue damage or blood loss. Much of the data used to make lethality claims is anecdotal. It is often the case that the gunshot victim gets medical treatment in enough time to save his life making it appear that one round is no more lethal than the other. However, if it takes time to get medical attention then you would see how much more lethal the larger rounds are. In other words a 45 ACP JHP making a 0.8” hole in your body is going to kill you a lot faster than a similarly designed 9mm making a 0.6” hole

      • “It’s simple physics.”

        Surprise, surprise, you’re as wrong as ever as usual…

        The difference between 9mm and 45 is the width of two fingernails and 1-200 joules of energy. IN other words, negligible differences.

        Carrying twice the ammunition as the other though, IS a measurable advantage. But dont let those silly facts get in the way. Because if you have a 45, why shoot em twice when you can shoot em only once? LOL

  14. I carry 9×18 Makarov–because the guns that I load with it were incredibly inexpensive and reliable and available at the time. As it turns out, the ammo is the same (cheap and reliable, that is). And as luck would have it I shoot the 9×18 a lot better than I do with a 9mm Parabellum. So that worked out.

    • I’ve never been much of a great pistol shot, but a few years back I bought two CZ-82 pistols. Turns out, I shoot them incredibly well. I brought one to my cousin’s farm a few weeks back and was ringing the 100-yd “bad guy” steel target about every other shot.

      To add to that, just about all of the 9×18 designs are incredibly overbuilt for the round they fire, making them double as a hammer when necessary.

      • With the possible exception of the P-64 (what I carry now)–just wish it had a steel backstrap. I do like that all-steel heft myself–and the P-64 is also pretty darn accurate for a pocket-sized handgun. Glad to see another member of the 9×18 fraternity hereabouts.

        • I am *this* close to giving up finding an acceptable 9MM sub compact and going back to the Makarov-model Makarov for small gun concealment situations. But that initial DA pull is hideous.

  15. Agree, don’t like the .40 due to snappyness. Like the 9mm. Like the .45. Don’t like the big thick grips on double-stack 45s. Each to their own.

    • Sorry to pick on you Ben, but I’ve seen this said too many times, “the.40S&W is too snappy.”
      What you’re saying is that the 9 is not snappy because it is lower power. The .45ACP is not snappy because it comes in guns that are heavy and less concealable.
      The .40S&W is snappy because is is more powerful than the 9mm and it comes in light weight, small, concealable guns. If you shoot it out of a 1911 platform, it is not snappy.
      If you want to carry a plank of steel (the 1911) all day, go for it.
      I can shoot the .40S&W just fine, and I can carry it so comfortably and concealably that for me, it’s the perfect carry gun (I carry the HK P2000SK).

  16. If it puts a hole in them it is ok.

    So long as a projectile and a trigger is involved it is all right IMO.

  17. The .40 too snappy? Ridiculous. And the ironic thing? I hear this the most who like to tout how badass the 10mm is…

    But whatever.

  18. Handguns suck.

    There, I said it. The differences between calibers right next to each other are usually minimal. Carry something that is .380 ACP or bigger (or MUCH bigger if you’re in bear country) and call it good.

    Nothing against people who carry .40 S&W or anything else. However, a handgun is rarely your ideal firearm but something you have because it’s easiest to keep with you at all times.

    • Hate to start a caliber war but .32 acp is better than .380. Think about it, they weigh the same (bullets) and they have the same velocity.

      Back on topic: pistol calibers generally suck, except for stuff like .44 mag or .454 casull.

      • Honest question here–if the projectiles weigh the same and travel at the same velocity, what makes one better than the other? Also–.32 FMJ is typically @71 grains, no? and .380 @90. Not exactly the same weight.

        • Not quite the same weight but from personal experience the .32 penetrates more + has more rounds per mag.

        • Yes, I gathered that. Used to carry a .32 occasionally, a Zastava Mod. 70. Had some rim-lock issues with HPs, but not so much with FMJ. Decided it was superfluous, tho, and made the mistake of selling it. Now that I’ve passed my Makarov on to my son I wish I had the Zastava back.

  19. Very much dislike 40 but love my 45 (xds) and my 9mm. Who knows. My xds has less felt recoil to me than my pf9. Its all relative i think.

  20. I’m not a 40 fan, a 10mm fan yes but not a 40 which is probably why I pack 9’s these days 🙂

  21. I love my USP40c. .40 is Very controllable in that gun, and I feel good knowing 13 180gr pdx1’s are on tap.

  22. I usually use .45 ACP for home defense and I carry it in my car’s glovebox. I use my FNX-45 Tactical because the extra heft soaks up the recoi, and the amazing capacity. I use the .45 where I don’t have to conceal it, because it’s good to carry bigger bullets where they can be used to be comforting, not comfortable.

  23. I carry a .38 snubby or a .40 compact or a 9mm compact. Any one of them will do the business if I do what I need to do, so I’m not all that concerned about caliber.

    When I teach ladies to shoot, I train them with a 9mm. It’s a very good caliber for small women, children and people with arthritis who can’t handle something more powerful.

  24. .40 by the pallet, says no one ever, except DHS, Post Office, IRS, FDA, EPA, Dept. of Education, Nameless Faceless Big Government Secret Squirrel League of Justice, etc., etc.

    I don’t vouch for those clowns, but I like .40

  25. I like shooting .40 S&W. Is it too snappy? I honestly don’t know. I have never shot a 9mm handgun. Maybe I would shoot a 9mm faster. Maybe not. I know that I can counter strike and move to the side then draw from concealment under a heavy winter coat and put three rounds center-of-mass in less than 2.5 seconds from a random starting time.

    I imagine most people can dump the magazine faster on a 9mm than a .40 S&W semi-auto pistol. As far as I can tell, I can dump mine fast enough. Then again, I like shooting full power .357 Magnum and .44 Magnum loads from full size revolvers as well. So maybe recoil isn’t a big factor for me.

  26. Drink lots of fluids. (What caliber is sweet tea?) Keep your bladder full so you can pee on your attacker. If all else fails, dial 911 or cower in place.

  27. The gun I shoot the best is my Sig Sauer p226 MK25, so that’s what lives with me 24/7 (except where prohibited by federal, state, and local laws). I know it can be absolutely relied upon to put shots where I tell it to and will go bang every time. Also, it happens to be a 9mm.

  28. I used to be a .40 s&w hater but I like it now for carry in a medium sized handgun. It’s snappier than a 9mm with defense loads, but not nearly snappy much as my J-frame in .357 mag or even specials +p in an alloy frame. For target/sport shooting, loaded with 175 grain bullets and 3.8gr of hp38, it’s got the pleasant slow “thunk” recoil of a .45 acp, no snappiness at all.

    I think if you reload then a lot of good possibilities open up for the .40 s&w. For self defense, I don’t think 9mm vs .40 s&w vs .45 acp vs. .44 special vs. .357 magnum makes a lick of difference.

  29. Had a Taurus Millennium Pro pt140( wish I still have it). I had no problem with recoil or being accurate. Maybe I don’t get it but how are all these adult males unable to handle .40 caliber? I can understand a shotgun…

  30. I don’t notice the .40 being snappy, but maybe I just don’t pay attention to it, and it has been awhile since shooting a .45, or 9mm.
    I chose the .40 for one reason………FREE “surplus” ammo…..

  31. For me, choosing a caliber for the day is like choosing neckties. If I feel like an FBI agent, I go with .40. If I feel like Secret Service, FN 5.7. If I feel like an Air Marshall, .357 SIG. When I pretend to be Dirty Harry, I go with .44 Magnum.

  32. .40 in a medium frame is OK to handle, but in a sub-subcompact frame it kicks like a bee-atch. 9mm is manageable, and it packs more of a punch than a puny little .380.

  33. I got this far in life not being concerned about size so I’ll stick with my 9 all the time.

      • If there is a Sox/ Yankees joke in there, then he is justifying the size of their WS ring collection verses the Yankees collection.

  34. Shot placement is really all that matters. I figure I’ll carry a Glock 19 when I move to a state that values firearm freedom. (MD gun laws suck)

  35. When it comes to caliber, all I have to say is less QQ, more PEW PEW!

    Translated, less crying about the size of your bullets, and more focusing on putting them where they need to go as quickly as you can.

  36. I heard a saying once, “The right gun (and caliber) is whichever one you’re most likely to carry every day”.

    If you can conceal a full-sized pistol, obviously that’s the way to go. The snappy-ness of a round like the .40 is mitigated by the extra weight. A great many of us can’t do that, though, especially year-round. We have to accept a few trade-offs to be able to conceal under light clothing, most notably caliber size and accuracy. The single stack 9MM’s seem to be a reasonable compromise to me between effectiveness and concealability. I’ll carry my XD-s 9 during the summer here in Texas, but might switch to a Commander-sized 1911 during the cooler months.

  37. Basically the person who could care the less what caliber it is, is the person who is getting shot by it.

  38. I’ve recently graduated from 9mm to .357 magnum, mostly because my .44 mag Blackhawk is freakishly accurate. A little big for carry though. I do think that if you’re going to limit yourself to 6 rounds it would be best to make sure they count, both in terms of accuracy and that elusive thing popularly known as ‘stopping power’.

    As far as autos go, you can throw a Kleenex over all 3, 9mm, .40, and .45. 9mm gets my nod for the fact it’s cheaper to practice with, but if money is no object take your pick.

  39. Yeah I’m with you. Adjust tactics to cailber. I like the power and bigger bullet in the .40, it’s dang snappy, though. I wonder how much the adrenaline would mitigate that in “OH CRAP GONNA DIE” Situations.

    • I’m sure recoil wouldn’t be an issue with an adrenaline dump going. For me, I just enjoy shooting a .38 or 9mm more, so I tend to put in more range time. I figure that’s what I need more than a few more foot-pounds of energy on target. Again, each to their own.

  40. It may be a bit dated with improvements in bullet technology but a fantastic read ( related to caliber ) is “Terminal ballistics as viewed in a morgue”. Real world experience by a former cop & morgue examiner. That said carry whatever you want.

  41. If you want a good automatic, try a Barett M82A1. It has lots of stopping power, and is accurate to boot. Tends to print without a good holster, though…

  42. As a slave to ca, my favorite thing to hear among 9mm ca gun owners is the capacity part of the debate. Like most 9mm owners the capacity is one of their favorite parts of the 9mm. When it comes to full sized guns in ca, the 9, .40, and .45 all hold 10 rounds. Lol. (Outside of slave states, the capacity argument is totally true for the 9mm.)

  43. The gun chose the caliber in my case. I like the baby Glocks for the size and shape and Glockiness and reliability and all that. 357 SIG is too damn expensive, so I ignore the G33. As between the G26 and G27, I pick the latter – I’m losing only one round, but I get a nice power boost from the 40SW. And I’ve never felt it was too “snappy” to shoot well. It’s still just a semi-auto pistol cartridge.

    I’m not a 40 partisan, though. If I were losing more rounds, I’d probably go with the 9mm. And I enjoy shooting 45ACP the most. So…whatever.

    Caliber nerds are like beer nerds. As long as it’s not O’Doul’s just pick one and be happy. You’ll get drunk eventually, regardless.

    • You get what you pay for. I have two Sig Sauer P239’s. One chambered in 9mm (that I bought at a pawn shop for $300 some years ago) and another chambered in 357Sig. I purchased the 357Sig one new and it included an interchangeable barrel and extra mag in .40 S&W.

      I practice primarily with the 9mm one and had carried the other loaded with 357Sig rounds for about ten years. Until I recently purchased a Springfield XDS 45……

      I really liked the P239’s SA/DA arrangement and I already miss it on the XDS, but its so much lighter.

    • I drink O’Doul’s and love it! Only the dark Amber though. I take a medication that prevents me from consuming any alcohol. Being old sucks!

  44. I don’t get the .40 is snappy thing at all, and I don’t like recoil. A Glock 22 is perfectly comfortable to shoot. My wife, who has barely shot at all, likes shooting a Glock 22. In fact, I chose a Glock 22 because to me a .40 is the stoutest round available without significant recoil. If you’re talking about snappy in a tiny gun, that’s hardly the round’s fault.

  45. The ballistics between 9mm, .40 and .45 ACP is so close; it doesn’t make a whole lot of difference. That’s why I carry the .460 Rowland. It’s .44 magnum ballistics in a semi-auto hand gun.

    So whatever your flavor of .45 ACP handgun, with a simple barrel conversion; you can carry the equivalent of what was once the most powerful hand gun in the world.

    As close as a one shot stop as your going to get with out carrying a shot gun loaded with slugs.

  46. I keep hearing/reading that the .40 is snappy. I heard Hickok45 say it first. Before I bought my first handgun last year, I took the M&P40c for a test drive. I had no reference to determine the recoil but it did not strike me as unweildy, or snappy if you will. A week later I shot the Glock 26 (9mm if you don’t know). The Glock 26 was definitely what I would call snappy.

  47. Depending on my mood and scale of laziness, I carry a g26, or a pocket 380. In the winter time, I bring out the FNX45, which among everything I’ve ever owned, I shoot the best with. I don’t get the whole snappy, “too much recoil” bit with 45, or anything else for that matter. It’s a firearm. There is a small explosion in front of you. It’s going to move. Physics is what it is. Find what works for you and use it.

  48. A lot of people who use the word ‘snappy’ in relation to the .40, jump at the chance to shoot .44 mags. .454’s and 500 S&W’s. Snubby .357? You are there dude.

    It’s all about the followup shot?

    The followup shot is BS. The emphasis on it is breathless nonsense. In caliber choices it seems to be deemed as a vastly more important factor than first round shot placement. People actually choose a caliber/handgun for it’s supposed ability to provide the magic followup shot.

    This is my primary reason for dismissing .40 critics. .40 critics who dismiss a full sized combat handgun in forty as “too snappy” yet heartily recommend a lightweight, single stack 9mm with 124 +P’s. Or an LCR , 38+p’s

    You seldom hear the same crowd bagging on the 10mm, instead opting to remain is awe of it’s magnum level power.

    The same mob scoffs at revolver carriers and the .357, but in a different way. ”“How quaint” they might say with a smirk, but with the forty, they lose their minds entirely.

    The followup is BS for defensive shooters, and it’s only real usefulness is for shooting games with timers running. And many of them seem to manage the .40 ok anyway.

    You want snappy? Try an M-40 Firestar. Not only the snap, but the thing torques 30 degrees when you shoot it.

    Doesn’t bother me one bit.

    Your esoteric range snob and gun-store cowboy complaints about the .40 are tiresome.

    .40 haters need to switch to airsoft.

    I gonna get a compact 1911 in .40, just for you James Yeager.

    • Are you under the belief that most defensive gun fights that involve gun fire at all only involve one shot?

      If so, I respectfully suggest you do some research on the subject and study some real gun fights. You might be shaken from that belief by some real world data.

      “Follow-up shot” is not BS…and even if it happened to be so in the fantasy land of “one shot stop” self defense, if people believe it is important their shooting, than it is important to their shooting.

        • Been in many real live fire, close quarters gun fights?

          Hit rates, even among the highly trained, trend around 20%.

          Sorry you think the ability to follow-up your shots is over rated. Tool for the tool box, in my opinion. No tactic or skill is off the table or deemed unnecessary.

          Which reminds me, I’m overdue for some weak hand only practice…

    • Yes, true. However most who call .40 snappy and jump at the chance to shoot .44 magnum or 10mm are not planning on carrying or practicing with the heavier rounds, they are shooting them as a novelty.

      I may consider the suspension on a sports car to be too ‘stiff’ but I still jump at the chance to ride a roller coaster. But I’m not taking the roller coaster to work every morning.

    • You need to check your mindset dude

      Since handguns are generally known to suck at stopping bad guys determined to kill you, it is only conducive to your own survival to train for follow up shots. You are reciting some of the most egotistical bulls–t ive ever seen in my life.

      Your 40 is not any more “powerfu” and “lethal” than a 9mm. End of story. Anything that allows you to place a first shot with equal accuracy, then faster follow up shots IF they are needed (due to the lighter recoil), is obviously the more superior choice. You can argue all you want but that doesn’t change reality.

      Myself and other 9mm shooters I know dont recommend overpressure for a reason: you are “40-izing” the 9mm.

      Or 10mm, because those are measurably more powerful when loaded, as is 357. 40 possesses no such gap in energy leveles to its direct competitors.

      So go buy your 40 1911. Its your life anyways…my S&W shield is working just fine.

  49. I’d like to know how your tactics might change depending on the size gun you carry? Certainly, if I were carrying a single shot Derringer my tactics would change. But, I don’t see how 8 rounds vs 19 rounds, 9 mm vs 40 vs 45 ACP and small frame vs large frame gun makes any difference in ones tactics.

  50. Oh boy, 9 vs 40 vs 45 again huh?

    Kinda like arguing small vs medium vs large. Makes no sense.

      • Not ignored by me. I’ve been to the autopsy of the recipient of 5 or 6 (been a while) .357 Sig rounds.

        And, it performed consistent with pistol rounds in general. 5 hits mortal wounds to the head and body, but the bad guy stayed on his feet long enough to keep pointing HIS gun at the good guy. Each time he pointed, he got shot again.

        For emphasis…the early in the fight, he was “dead on his feet.” But, he remained a threat.

        And, for completeness since range has been mentioned…this gun fight began at about 10 ft and ended somewhere close to 30 (or a touch more) as the bad guy was trying to run away…he kept stopping and pointing his gun at the sd-er during his egress.

      • The .357 Sig is the Jap – Harley clone of the pistol world. It’s not even a .357 – they just named it that to try to make a connection with the magnum – it’s a 9mm (.355) bullet in a necked down .40 S&W case. And, like the Jap Harleys they outperform the genuine article in every way. That just doesn’t seem to matter to most people.

        • Yes, if you’re going to neck down a .40 S&W case to hold a 9mm bullet, necking it down to .355 would be the way to do it.

        • Mea culpa….read your sentence as if it had a typo…read it as “necked down TO .40.”

  51. With the .40 S&W, your launching a bullet comparable to a .45 ACP at speeds that 9mm travels at. Launching a big bullet at fast speeds translates into more felt recoil. Follow up shots don’t matter? Try one bullet against two people. Or three. Or four. What you want in a CCW is a caliber that is an effective man stopper, but doesn’t kick to the point where it takes you too long to get back on target. This is where 9mm comes in. It can be loaded into a smaller gun than .45, hold more ammo than .45 and .40. And have less recoil than .40. In a real defensive situation, recoil could end/save your life. There’s some food for thought, Steve.

    • Average engagement range. Five feet. You worry too much.

      The rest of you? Shoot what you like, or what you got, and ignore this esoteric debate on physics.

      A .380 in the hand is worth an unlimited amount of 9’s and 45’s in the safe.

      The .380 being less ‘snappy’ should get you past all the recoil shy uber pro gunexpurtz out there.

      • “Average engagement range. Five feet. You worry too much.”

        Sorry to keep jumping on this, but this is one of my pet peeves. You don’t KNOW what YOUR gun fight range might be or what it is going to be like in any way, shape or form.

        “You worry too much” makes it sound like you are saying no need to practice beyond 5 ft or that terminal ballistics don’t matter past five feet.

        Again, I intend this with respect, but beware the fight in your mind where you set rules and never miss your target. The real world gets more sloppy.

        • Everyone turn in their pocket pistols and hide-out guns. No more snubbies either. Only an uber optimal full sized, high capacity combat pistol for you.

          It has been determined.

        • Where in the HELL did I say that? Or anything even remotely like that?

          In fact, you will notice, that I am one of those people that push really hard in the OTHER direction…carry. Carry what you will carry and ignore what the caliber princesses say.

          Good grief but you so thoroughly and completely have missed the point.

    • All that I know is that whoever says “follow up shots dont matter” should be pistol whipped with their 40 and then branded with a red hot coathanger bent in the manner of “YES IT DOES”

  52. I’ve never found 40 to be “too snappy” which makes me think the whole “too snappy” gripe is a design issue with the gun it is being shot from rather than an issue with the caliber itself.

    • Well, to be fair it, I think it very subjective….each shooter has his/her own recoil tolerance.

      I’ve hunted with a guy that did not like 30-06 recoil, but did not mind that of 300 Win in a similarly weighted rifle.

      Choosing a gun/caliber/holster, etc, is very personal, and what works well for one will not for another. I try not to be too absolutist about it all…

    • The genesis of .40 hate seems to come from Glock shooters. Who would give one nut for a G-20.

    • If you shoot identical guns in both .40 and .45, most people will feel a difference. The .40 snaps back more. Whether or not that is “too much” is entirely subjective, but it’s not the fault of the gun if you’re shooting the identical gun in two different chamberings. It’s just a difference in the performance of the round.

  53. I bought a .40 as my first handgun a couple years ago, a Glock 22. I did so mainly because it made the most sense as far as energy, capacity, and size of the gun were concerned, and more importantly because back then (2012) you could snag decent 180grain practice ammo for about $.24-$.28 per round online which was with 1-2cents of comparable 9mm at the time. I even snagged some 165grain Gold Dots for a around $.55 per round at the time, so life was good. While plugging away at the range with the 180 target fodder recoil was pretty mild, but man when I loaded those 165’s in it to practice with what I carried it was almost too much. Those suckers turn the gun into a completely different animal. The web of my hand felt raw and sore after I ran the obligatory 100-150 rounds of defensive ammo that the experts recommend through the gun.

    Then as a special “Happy Birthday/congrats on the mid year bonus” present to myself I picked up a Springfield Loaded 1911 about a year ago in .45 Put short… I absolutely LOVE that pistol, and can tear single ragged holes in the target at any reasonable range. The recoil is a tad heavier than the 40 but the deep boom and linear shove of the gun is way more pleasant to shoot than the sharp POW and snap/flip of the 40. The problem though… ammo is so dang expensive especially in the post hysteria world. Brass cased ammo rarely drops below $.45/rd so my 1911 sits in the safe a lot.

    The final nail in the coffin for my .40 is now that I have shot all of the last of the cheap ammo I got in 2012, the 40 post hysteria it isn’t a whole lot cheaper than the 45 and is significantly more expensive than 9mm, at least where I have seen it. It just doesnt make as much sense anymore as it did when I bought it. My dad shoots a 9mm polymer gun and I am most likely going to trade the 40 for either a Glock 19 or maybe something nicer in 9mm. For much less money I can continue to practice with cheap soft shooting fodder to my heart’s content, and then if I really want to jackhammer the web of my hand get some +P defensive ammo and be close enough that nobody cares to the 40 for when it goes in the nightstand. For sure I’ll keep the 1911 as a conversation piece and an occasional range toy though, nothing more American than sending lead downrange 230 grains at a time from ole slab sides.

    • I usually spend about $.36 for imported brass case ammo and 50rd boxes of Federal Champion maybe Blazer too. However, if I’m lucky, I can snag 100 rd boxes of Federal Champion for $.28 each. (Also, how is it that Walmart and Federal are the only ones that seem to understand what a “value pack” is? Seems most value packs I’ve seen cost the same or even more than their 50rd kin.). The last time I saw them, I only bought two boxes hoping that the store I got them from would stock it more frequently only to be disappointed. Next time it comes in I’m going to buy them all. Even so, I’m fairly confident that I can pick up factory new .40S&W for about $.32 to $.33 each often enough as long as I buy in bulk. I’ve passed up on those deals before simply because I’ve had a taste of $.28 ammo, and it’s hard to go back. That’s still a far cry from .45 acp ammo prices I’ve seen (feel free to correct me if I’m wrong). Even so keep the .40 if you’ve still go it, buy a 9mm conversion barrel (and if you must have absolute reliability, you can pick up 9mm or aftermarket extractors). That way you can shoot and practice with the cheaper 9mm, but have the plentiful .40 ammo to fall back on in a shortage. It would depend on the trade, but I’d still think it be cheaper than getting a new gun.

  54. Caliber matters but shot placement is key, I’ll take a hot with a 38 or. 9mm over a miss with a 40 anyday, but in the end do what works for you.

    • Shot placement is important, so is the “have gun” rule, but what I am slowly beginning to realize is that it’s more important for your SD round reliably function in your gun and you’re bullet reliably expand as designed for your given barrel length. So far, Federal HST seems to be the winner in the 3″ 9mm market with 12x perfect power. Thanks ShootingTheBull410. Can’t wait for .40S&W ammo tests.

  55. didn’t have a problem carrying a 40 during the panic when 9mm was hard to find and 45 was too expensive to practice with.

    and best part is almost all my 40 cal guns have an accompanying 357 sig swap barrel

  56. I carry .45ACP. Because my dad bought be a 1911 for my 13th birthday, and I didn’t see a need reinvent the wheel when I bought a carry pistol.

  57. “No one shot with a 9mm every complained that they were cheated.”

    That said, I EDC a S&W PC1911 in .45ACP.

  58. Why is TTAG so obsessed with Colion Noir? Is there some beef we don’t know about?

    As far as calibers go, I feel perfectly safe carrying a .22LR or little Baby Browning in .25ACP, on those rare days I don’t feel like toting around a full sized 1911. There’s very little difference between .38 Special/9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP, and the other common handgun calibers.

    Now, you wanna talk about 10mm….THAT’S a man stopper. Shit, it’s a grizzly bear stopper.

  59. I consider average engagement range similar to when manufacturers make grips fit the statistically average hand. Some hands are smaller (shorter range) and some are larger (longer range). No ones hand will fit it perfectly, and no potential gun battle will always be exactly at 5 feet. That’s why your caliber needs to be adaptable to a variety of situations (I.E. 9mm)

  60. I carry both a 9mm and a .40, and while I am comfortable carrying either one, sometimes I can’t help but think of the FBI shootout in Miami in 1986, which was the reason the FBI came up with the 10mm first, then the .40. I know ammo has come a long way since then, but it does make you think about carrying a bigger caliber. And both suspects had clean toxicology reports when their autopsies were done, and they still kept getting up.

    • And autopsy / investigation showed that the very first hit on the main bad guy was fatal even though he stayed in the fight for several minutes.

      This “dead on his feet” phenomenon has happened with every single contemporary defensive pistol caliber. I myself saw the mess caused by a .357 Sig on a dude that was shot 5 or 6 times, and all (but maybe one) of the hits was fatal as shown at autopsy. I know of a another case where a bad guy was shot seven times with a .40 (with duty ammo), including three contact head shots. Only ONE of the seven shots caused a fatal injury (yes, two of the contact headshots were determined at autopsy to not have caused mortal wounds).

      I’ve seen single shot kills with pretty much instant incapacitation from .22 hand guns. The most “sure looking” devastation I’ve personally seen was a contact shot from a 12 ga with 00 buckshot to CoM. That was a mess.

      It’s good to study shootings like the Miami FBI Shootout. Take home lessons there are plenty.

      First Rule: Have a gun.

      • Absolutely! It’s not like it is in the movies where a guy drops on the first hit. That study is very good information to read. And you are correct about rule number 1.

        • “It’s not like it is in the movies where a guy drops on the first hit.”


          Statistically speaking in real gun fights, that is relatively rare.

      • Rule #2…12gauge rules. Kinda’ hard to conceal carry a shotgun though…and why ballistic gel doesn’t mean all that much.

    • I know the FBI was dead wrong when it began a debate about pistol calibers following the shootout.

      Then the LAPD following North Hollywood jumped on the same nonsense.

      Patrol rifles should have been the subject (and they were following North Hollywood more than the Miami shootout)

      I mean, christ, it wasn’t like the Colt commando wasn’t available or anything…

  61. I do not own, and in fact have never fired a .40. But I have thought about buying one for the one and only reason that every time I go looking for ammo around here, it is the only handgun caliber on the shelves.

    • Yep during the ammo famine .40 was easily the most common caliber. And it still is.

  62. My M&P .40 holds 15 rounds and my recoil insensitivity has proven that I can shoot it as well as it’s 9mm brother (had someone load and hand me the two back to back without telling me which was which) that holds only two more rounds, so I carry the .40.

  63. Alright ladies….we all know it is not about the size, but how you use it that matters.

  64. Well, it really depends on the gat. If you have a heavy, all-metal gun like a SIG P220 or a 1911, then .45 would be good, because the heft of the frame soaks up the recoil. A plastic fantastic that weighs as much as a LEGO gun would be much better in 9mm. .40 S&W? Yeah. Unless you have a gun heavier than it’s weight in gold then the recoil is gonna be a bitch.

  65. “The handgun would not be my choice of weapon if I knew I was going to a fight. …I’d choose a rifle, a shotgun, an RPG or an atomic bomb instead.”

    -Clint Smith

  66. Fresh off an internet argument with an idiot who thinks there’s nothing but a .45 and it will one-shot drop every time. I’d go with my XDs9 or my 30s depending on my mood that day.

  67. The most effective caliber in a handgun? .300 Win Mag in an EAA Thor Single Shot Pistol. Anyone here ever shot it? Almost dropped the damn thing shooting it for the first time…

  68. I originally shot 9mm because I didn’t like the snappiness of the .40. Switched to shooting .40 this year for the major power factor points, now I don’t mind the Glock 23 at all. It was all in my head.

    • Kind of curious if the current Glock in .40 you are shooting is a gen 4. I didn’t find previous gen Glocks in .40 very pleasant to shoot and was never very fast with them. To a person everyone that has shot my gen gen 4 G22 back to back with my gen 3 G34 (9mm and longer barrel for those that don’t Glock) have agreed they can’t perceive a difference in the recoil. I can perceive some snappiness with the .40 still but it also snaps back on target better.

  69. The .40 is just fine. I’m also a 9mm / .357 /.40 / .45 fan. Use what works, and shoot well. Rifles and shotguns are more effective than handguns, anyways. I don’t care much that some experts don’t like the .40.

  70. .40 full size at bed side and fire side camping, sometimes weekends but in a Comp-tac kydex and leather to spread the weight.
    9mm Shield EDC

  71. I really used to like Colion, but in his NRA stuff he’s just trying way too hard and coming up short. His shtick lacks staying power and is becoming embarrassing.

    As for the caliber wars, if you’re the type to hyperventilate and pound the keyboard furiously over this topic, then you’re a pathetic person to begin with and probably shouldn’t even own a firearm, let alone carry one.

    If you’re the type to add a useful comment, acknowledging some of the rounds’ various capabilities and limitations, while accepting that there is no such thing as one caliber to rule them all because there are too many potential scenarios and variables involved, then you have my attention and appreciation for your contribution.

  72. I think barrel length is more important the caliber. I will take a full size nine or a subcompact 45 or 357. This from a 1911 fanboy.

    • I’m not saying barrel length is more, or less, important than caliber; but it is an important consideration, as greater barrel length does tend to come with a number of other benefits.

      • Not just length but girth. I say carry the biggest fattest longest barrel you can fit in your pants and who cares if you’re printing. Hell, you might even pick up a date for Saturday night.

      • The principal benefit is accuracy at longer ranges. As the Joseph Wilcox shooting demonstrates staying away as far away from the bad guy as possible is to your advantage. You have a more encompassing field of view to spot additional threats and you may also have a accuracy at range advantage if you practice at longer ranges. While it is unlikely that you will be in a legal position to shoot at 25 yards but you could find yourself in a potential mass shooting situation someday.

  73. Personally caliber choice depends on what I’ll be doing that day, if I’m instructing typically it will be a 9. But for concealed carry it’s typically a .45, .40 is typically my mountain/ out in the sticks gun. I am looking for a good .357 revolver currently.
    You mentioned switching tactics if your carrying a .38 or a 9 RF. Care to go into more detail? Just my .02 you shouldn’t change your plan if you need your firearm based off of caliber. Yeah shot placement comes into play, ie a bullet that severs the femoral artery isn’t likely to immediately stop an attacker. But even that depends on the overall situation. Always keep your plan simple for every situation

  74. Had more than enough of that guy. Unless he is banging the babe in the video. Then we might have a subject to discuss.

    • I can’t make it through even this short video. I also don’t understand why he has been embraced by the NRA. And I love black folks. I’m married to one and my sons are viewed as black. Oh well…

  75. 22, 25, 32, 380, 38, 9, 357 sig, 40, 45, etc.

    Carry what you’re comfortable shooting. One pistol round will not knock an attacker back 20 feet with a hole in their chest that you can stick your fist through. Practice, practice, practice and carry what you feel is right for you. 3 quick well placed 380 rounds to the chest is a lot better than a panic-ed winged ’em with something more powerful.

    Not all of us can conceal carry a 44 Mag…..

  76. Let’s make this short and sweet…. 10mm beats them all, in every which way. Next topic.

    • Recoil, cost, availability, general lack of options besides Glock and 1911 and some EAA thrown in for good measure

  77. I recently switched from a compact .40 to a compact .45 for my concealed carry pistol. I’m very happy with the switch so far.

  78. Shot a .40 cal for the first time 2 weeks ago. I made a flippant comment about hating 40’s at the gun range. A gentleman handed me his XD (I was shooting my XD.45) and let me try it. I could not tell the difference. I am not recoil sensitive.

  79. I carry 9mm Kahr or .38/.357 snubby during the warmer months. The Glock 23 or 27 in .40 are for cold weather use when concealed carry is much easier, though I’ve been considering a Kahr 40 to complement the 9mms. That would be a nice “all weather” carry.

    Yes, the .40 is snappier than the 9mm, but it’s not unmanageable compared to .357 in a snubby. I’ve found .357 Sig to be just as “snappy”, but it’s a .40 derivative.

    Why .40? Because it’s usually the last thing left on the shelves AND if apocalyptic fantasies bear out it will also be salvageable from local LE issue.

  80. So let me get this straight – .40 is snappy, but 9mm +P isn’t?

    In my experience, any pistol caliber in its high-pressure, self-defense variant is snappy. The .40 just isn’t letting the mass of people get away with fooling themselves, because none of the commercial loaders are selling practice ammo, aka “standard pressure”.

    The correct scale on which to measure 9mm, .40 and .45 is one with capacity on one end and stopping power on the other.

  81. Honestly, I used to think caliber mattered. In reality, it doesn’t. Accuracy matters. Reliability matters. Caliber is more of a dick measuring contest most often entered into by fat guys who can’t find theirs.

    Granted, if you’re hunting, you should probably use a caliber sufficient to kill as humanely as possible…one shot no running. In the military and law enforcement, you pretty much used what is issued. Each of those recognizes a gun is just a tool for a specific purpose.

    But when you start hearing people debating 9mm v. .45 v. .40 v. 10mm v. .357 v. .41 magnum v. the new latest and greatest, you just want to laugh. It’s a hunk of lead flying out of a hunk of pipe. That’s about it.

    A little bigger hunk of lead going a little slower or faster doesn’t matter that much. A plain jane .38 is about all the power any normal person would ever need in a firearm. Easy to forget the basics and get caught up in the nonsense.

Comments are closed.