Does anyone even shoot .40 S&W anymore?
With the FBI going back to 9mm there has been a slew of other agencies across the nation following along and dumping the .40 S&W.
The military never touched the .40 S&W, so there was never any support there. Since it only came to be because of the FBI, will we see the .40 S&W wither and die without their support?
Even without the FBI, this cartridge will still have legs for years, even decades maybe, to come. If for no other reason than that police trade in Glock 22s are FLOODING the market right now – and they’re going for CHEAP.
While the .40 caliber is being phased out among government agencies, it still has a following of people loyal to it because of its powerful punch (and often superior magazine capacity to the .45 ACP).
But how does it stand against the faithful 9mm?
Today we’re going to look at the two cartridges and see which one is better.
Table of Contents
.40 S&W Background
First developed in 1990, the .40 S&W is one of the newer cartridges on the block. It was developed as a joint effort between Smith & Wesson and Winchester, who were tasked by the FBI to come up with an effective round to replace their 9mm and .38 Special cartridges.
Unfortunately, the .40 S&W was a round that came out of necessity – primarily the need to find a suitable replacement following the aftermath of the infamous FBI Miami Shootout in 1986 which took the life of two agents and injured five more.
Side note, the Miami shootout is worth learning more about as it is one of the events that sparked radical change in firearms and tactics.
What makes the debate between the 9mm and the .40 S&W more interesting than other cartridge debates is that both rounds have technically been declared the winner by the FBI.
The .40 S&W cartridge enjoyed two-and-a-half decades of field use, developing a nice little following in the process.
But in 2014, the FBI announced that they’re returning to the 9mm thanks to better technology and ballistics that have made the once-shunned round more effective.
What does the FBI’s change of heart really mean for America’s most misunderstood cartridge, also known as the .40 S&W?
The US Army entertained the idea of switching their sidearm over to the .40 S&W, but ultimately stuck with the trusty ol’ 9mm.
Comparing the 9mm and the .40 S&W
The biggest advantage the 9mm has over the .40 S&W is handling. One of the main criticisms of the .40 caliber is its kick. In fact, some people downright dislike the .40 S&W because they feel it’s underpowered for the amount of recoil the cartridge produces.
Here is a G19 in 9mm.
While most marksmen shouldn’t have any problem handling a .40 S&W, inexperienced shooters will undoubtedly have a harder time shooting the .40 S&W than the 9mm.
This may not seem like a big deal for your average hobbyist squeezing off a few rounds at the range, but handling is extremely important for anyone in a self-defense or tactical situation where accuracy makes the difference between life and death.
Another thing to keep in mind when shopping around for a 9mm or a .40 S&W is how much you’re going to be paying for ammunition. Because it’s such a popular round, you’d think 9mm cartridges tend to be cheaper and more widely available than .40 S&W rounds. Not necessarily.
The folks over at Lucky Gunner did a comprehensive ballistics test on all of the popular handgun cartridges, including the 9mm and the .40 S&W. Here are the prices of three top-performing rounds in both calibers.
- Remington +P 115 Grain JHP – $0.62 per round
- Speer Gold Dot +p 124 Grain JHP– $1.19 per round
- Federal Premium 124 Grain HST JHP – $1.29 per round
.40 S&W Cartridges
- Federal Premium 165 Grain JHP Tactical Bonded – $0.78 per round
- Remington Ultimate Defense 180 Grain BJHP – $0.86 per round
- Winchester Supreme Elite 165 Grain JHP – $1.25 per round
The truth is that premium 9mm ammo can do everything that a .40 S&W can. But as you can see, shooting with the best 9mm ammo isn’t going to make that big of a financial difference.
Of course, if you’re just looking for run-of-the-mill cartridges to shoot at targets, you can easily find 9mm ammo for $0.15 a round – about $0.10 cheaper than your bottom-line .40 S&W rounds.
Another thing to consider is availability. Because it’s not a commonly-used caliber, you might not always find the .40 S&W ammo that you’re looking for. This can be a massive pain in the neck if you’re like me and expect instant gratification.
One area where the .40 S&W does trump the 9mm is power. It’s a bigger, heavier cartridge that hits a little bit harder than the 9mm.
Moreover, one of the most common complaints that people have about the 9mm is that it’s a lighter bullet. Folks will throw around controversial terms like “stopping power” and remark how the 9mm offers little protection against attackers wearing thick layers of clothes. And that may be true, but in my experience, that’s a very outdated opinion of the 9mm.
Advancements in ammunition technology have helped to make the 9mm one of the most balanced cartridges on the market. You could even argue that the 9mm has evolved to become the cartridge that the .40 S&W was designed to be – a viable replacement for the .45 ACP.
With that said, there’s no denying that the .40 S&W isn’t a powerful cartridge. Just take a look at this ballistics tests using Winchester Train & Defend 180 Grain JHP, a popular .40 caliber cartridge for self-defense.
As you can see, the .40 S&W is more than capable of stopping an incoming threat and should have no problem going through clothes.
But a bigger diameter and greater power don’t necessarily give the .40 S&W a clear-cut win over the 9mm. The issue with the .40 caliber has always been its recoil and how much more difficult the gun is to control than the 9mm for beginners and even average shooters in some cases.
New and Used Glocks
From the FBI to farm towns across the nation, when a police department looks to adopt a service firearm for their officers – the number one choice by far is a Glock of some flavor.
Caliber barely mattered, 9mm Glock or .40 S&W Glocks, Glock is the standard go to and for great reasons – Glocks just work.
We’ve already looked at the price of ammo between these two veteran cartridges, but what about the guns themselves? Well, if you’re looking to buy new – the price difference is almost non-existent.
Brownells has the Gen 4 Glock 22 for $499.
They also have the Gen 4 Glock 17 for $499.
So if you’re looking for a new Glock, the price won’t impact that choice much when it comes to 9mm Vs. .40 S&W.
But used Glocks…
As mentioned before, since the FBI is dumping the .40 S&W, most other departments across the United States are doing the same. That has caused a flood of Glocks hitting the used market.
Stores, pawn shops, online sites such as GunBroker and ArmsList, just about everywhere right now you can find a barely used police trade-in Glock 22 or 23 for around $300. Buy in bulk or wait for a killer sale and you’ll find them for as low as $225!
On the other hand, I rarely see even older models like the Gen 2 Glock 17 or 19 police trade-ins for less than $400.
Love it or hate it, the .40 S&W isn’t going anywhere anytime soon due to this fact alone: police trade-in .40 S&W Glocks are cheap.
Last Word on the 9mm vs the .40 S&W
In regards to which gun is better, that depends on the needs and expectations of the shooter.
If you happen to be in the market for a new handgun and you’re torn between picking a .40 S&W or 9mm, here are some key facts to consider:
- The .40 S&W is a powerful cartridge that offers deep penetration and good expansion. The downside is that the cartridge also packs a significant amount of recoil that can dramatically affect your aim when shooting follow-up shots, especially if you have a lightweight gun.
- While the 9mm can achieve similar effects as the .40 S&W, it’s with premium ammo that costs significantly more than your baseline 9mm ammunition.
- With regards to baseline prices, 9mm ammo is quite cheaper than run-of-the-mill .40 S&W ammo. The difference in price is less profound when looking at premium ammunition.
Overall, the truth is that the .40 S&W was a great cartridge during its time – even with the recoil. But thanks to improvements in ballistics technology, the 9mm can now perform the same way as the .40 S&W has for nearly three decades.
For this reason, I find the 9mm to be the superior choice when it comes to choosing a service pistol or home-defense weapon.
If you’ve got any strong feelings about 9mm or .40 S&W rounds, or you’re still on team .40 cal, be sure to let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!
255 Leave a Reply
How far does a bullet casings travel once shooting the gun a 40calibur and a 9 mm
Would have been nice to use same brand ammo to compare .40 to 9mm penetration and expansion. Lucky gunner shows both using federal HST.... 9mm 124 gr and .40 180 gr had the SAME penetration, but the 9mm expanded to .61 inches and the .40 expanded to .72 inches.
I love my Glock 22. I love the recoil. The recoil assist with learning more control of the weapon. I’m not that bad. I had the gun for about a year now and it really a fun gun to shoot. Bullet cost are steep but I can live with that.
So if the 9 mm has improved because of technology wouldn't the 40 S&W also improve? You make it sound like ammunition manufacturers improve the 9 mm and just forgot about the 40. Not the case.
As far as recoil, I shoot 40 and prefer the recoil of the 40 to that of a 9 mm. The recoil from a 9 mm is a sharp recoil where the recoil of the 40 is more of a push. Regardless if they shooter practices proper grip neither one of these firearms is difficult to control. For me to get rid of my 4 .40 handguns you'd have to come up with something better than recoil being the main difference. And when you use the 9 mm 147 grain or plus PM munition I would argue that the 9 mm recoil is worse than the 40 with 180 grain ammo. The 165 grain 40 has a sharper recoil than 180.
Either way I don't see a downside to either round. I do believe the 40 will incapacitate quicker with less rounds because of its size but that is my belief and I have yet to test it in the real world.
Of course the bottom line is shot placement and either round properly placed will stop any attacker instantaneously.
The hand gun was never intended to act like a semi auto rifle shooting several rounds almost instantly. Whatever the caliber a hand gun bullet takes time to aim accurately especially if one is shooting in public. Any adult male can via exercise grips and light 5 pound weights increase muscle mass and finger strength so that recoil is not a problem. Also, when you are engaged in a gun fight the adrenaline enables your body to fight with greater strength. After all, who starts thinking about how bad the recoil will be when you draw your weapon to save your life??
People seem to forget that advances in 9mm technology have also impacted the .40 S&W and basically all pistol and rifle cartridges (even .45-70 GOV’T of 1873 and .38-55 Ballard of the 1880’s has improved drastically! Go study up on those cartridges and see what I mean.). So if 9mm has improved, so has the .40 S&W, .45 ACP, and all other pistol and rifle cartridges. Powder and bullet technological advances affect all ammunition, not just 9mm. That means that .40 S&W is still more powerful than 9mm (although, admittedly, not by much). It still throws a bigger, wider, heavier bullet at the same speed or faster than 9mm so that equates to a more powerful round (again, the differences are small but they are still there).
I can see the .40 S&W sticking around for many decades to come, even if it becomes strictly a civilian pistol and no longer used in law enforcement. It will probably be like the .38 Special and .357 magnum revolver cartridges. Law enforcement no longer use revolvers, but the .38 Special and .357 magnum are still very popular, people are always buying new revolvers chambered in those rounds daily, and won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
Doesn't +p 9mm sort of end up at .40 power? If one cannot handle a .40 acp, he/she will not do any better with +p ammo. And a +p .40 is off the scale for muzzle energy. Master the beast!
The 9mm is for inexperience shooters ! If you want power, go with the 40! Remember why the 40 came about. Because the little German panzy round couldn't get done.
The ending statement, “ But thanks to improvements in ballistics technology, the 9mm can now perform the same way as the .40 S&W has for nearly three decades.”, so, why don’t you think that same technology that improved the 9 was applied to the .40 and have it still be superior to the 9mm?
I would love to see a discussion of the 40 S&W vs 9 mm in a 16 inch barreled carbine. Recoil is not as much a factor, and it's undeniable that the 40 hits harder than the 9mm. Especially if using FMJ ammo as the large metplat has got to displace more tissue than the pointed nose of the 9 mm.
Love my G22 Gen 5. I also have a G43X and the G22 is the winner, imho.
40 sucks get a 10 but the 9mm will always rule.
I was shot 14 times with a 40 just for loafin in front of the quickie mart, stopping power is a myth.
I actually don’t find a big difference between the recoil of the 9 and the .40. I had a good way to compare them in the same gun which is the Walther Gen 1 PPS. I had no problem with rapid fire of the .40. That said, I am 6 feet tall and 215 pounds of muscle. I was trained by a retired Delta Operator who was about to retire from a SWAT team. I have no problem with small, light weight .45 ACPs. i.e. the Springfield Armory XDS .45 Gen 1. I have a Ruger Alaskan in .44 mag and it’s okay until I load the 300 grain bear loads. They sting and only one or two loads of six rounds is enough.
Bullet technology is better but that also improves the 40, to come close to 40 power you have to shoot +p+ then the 9 is snappy too. I shoot a wide range of hand guns. I prefer the 40 for CCW but do sometimes carry a 9. I like both but 40 is big stronger. If you can’t shoot a 40 that’s fine but that’s your fault not the gun.
I like the 40 cause the holes in the target are easier to see. But seriously the 40 is a great round. I shoot at this tumble target that looks like a grenade and its pretty solid. The 9 will knock it off the table and back about 5 feet but the 40 tosses it clear back on the berm 10 feet behind the stand. As for self defense this means nothing but for the enjoyment of shooting sports its a hoot.
"The military never touched the .40 S&W, so there was never any support there."
Coast Guard has used it for a long time. But they have stopped making purchases and are switching to 9mm when current supply runs out.
If you meant only "DOD military branches," it is mostly true, but some special forces units have used it.
Screw all of you- I'm going with the .357 sig
LOL, that's what I'm saying. Especially since most mid to high-end .40's have .357 SIG drop in barrels. IMO, not much recoil difference, so you can train more with the .40 and have similar defensive ammo for home defense. But pay the premium for that round.
I'm 6 foot 200 lbs......nephew shoots 40 and I shoot 9mm
My arthritis makes 9mm better but I'd shoot 40 if I was younger..
40 kicks ass but I'll just have to empty the 9mm mag for fun and practice into the perps chest
Retired LEO 26yrs. bored, now a trauma surgery NP. I have not been impressed with the 9s since starting in 1978. I have seen a neck shot, multiple instances of chest shots where the victim lived, was transported to the ER in functional condition. Many of these folks were functional enough to pull at trigger. A couple bangers were even bragging & chit chatty. Albeit, fewer total .45 victims out there, not seen any functional with a neck or chest wounds. As for .40, I've only had one guy functional and he was completely incapacitated on his right side, but alert and could move his left side. Opening up folks to stop bleeding, excise damaged tissue, lung resection etc., it is a night and day scenario. Once in trauma, I clearly will shun the 9 unless I get too old and feeble to rack a slide of a .40/.45 . This is my experience, maybe not yours, but I am very comfortable justifying my position after seeing first hand the wound channels in humans after suffering shots from multiple weapons. I think it is important to stick with police level weapons, to use as a standard in court. 10mm is out for this reason. For a carry gun, like the Performance Shield .45 2.0 the best. I also have a M&P .40c 2.0 as it is nearly identical to the same firearm I carried for 1. 5 decades and I can sleep through LEOSA qualifications with it. Carry it checking cattle as poachers are on my property periodically and well . . . like having more than 8 rnds. when out by myself there and not fond of the ported .45 at night.
Retired FF here from a really big fire dept in So Cal. Worked in some really crummy neighborhoods over a 34-year career with 19 of those years being a paramedic. Responded to way too many shootings and stabbings and suicides by firearm.
In my experience there is little doubt that the .40 has it over the 9mm, but that's just my experience. Victims of the .40 were almost always shot by LEOS and the victims of 9mm rounds were usually gang vs gang shootings. Don't know if that makes a difference but that what we saw in my neck of the woods. I don't recall any of the .40 victims surviving if they were hit in the upper torso. On the other hand, a few of the gang bangers hit with a 9mm made it out of the hospital although some were wheelchair bound for life. You get to know the players when you work in a particular barrio or ghetto for a while.
Also saw an individual hit by a security guard's 9mm run 100's of yards and finally walk into a Winchel's donut shop and call for help. Never saw a victim of a .40 run, much less walk away from the immediate area which they took the hit/hits.
Had a patient die in the ambulance who was shot in the chest with a .22 short from a derringer. Hit him in the aorta. Talk about some bad luck.
As a CCW permit holder I personally carry a 9mm and feel safe. Modern bullet design is a game changer. Carry a 9mm or carry a .40, your choice, just train-train-train.
BTW, the deadliest handgun wounds I've seen were from the .357 mag. That round really causes massive and ugly damage.
Be safe out there.
Yeah it seems your observations are consistent with mine. I understand that there is a lot of talk about new projectiles and powders, but when you look at the holy (bonded) projectiles, they don't expand as efficiently across every single test I've seen, as regular jacketed hollow points. In fact, the best I've seen performance wise in .40 is the Golden Saber non-bonded, but you can't find them any longer. All the GS projectiles now seem to be bonded. I don't think that performance wise, the new ammo performs that much better. Paul Harrell tests this all out in a real world matrix target made of; bone in ham/ arm, Oranges/lungs, Pork Ribs/chest walls, beef heart in plastic wrap/heart with pericardium. He does a really good job. The regular white box Remington / Federal / Winchester performs as good and in many instances better than Golden Saber, HST, or Winchester talon hollow points. So I don't buy the story that is being pumped out that the FBI reports on testing. They have been dismantled in 2005 and found to have falsified criminal test results and their experts skewed so much data, that entire cases were ordered to be reexamined on murder convictions.
One thing I will say, is that trauma data NIH collected on gun shot fatalities weighed against all GSWounds, outlines that less than .32 caliber results in -24% chance of mortality, .356-.357 calibers which includes .38/9mm/.357 results in +9% chance of mortality and .40 and higher results in +45% chance of mortality.
What has the most 1 shot kills? .357 magnum, but you have to bring in data to capture the 1970s-1980s to show this. After that, the .357 mag performance data drops and I think that is because overall, police shot much better before the 1990s than later and certainly much better than is seen today.
40 smith and wesson for me. More powerful than 9mm. As for weapon of choice it's the SD40ve. Cheaper than glock, american made and just as good! By the way so is 40 smith and wesson.
Anyone who thinks .40S&W kicks, is a wimp. .40 S&W was developed for police use as a higher powered upgrade from .38 Special, which was increasingly proving to be inadequate. It was developed from the 10mm round, with a smaller case and a smaller powder charge specifically to avoid the kick that 10mm packs.
I’ll not change my mind on two points. Sig Sauer P320 over any Glock. And 40 S&W over 9mm.
Just me, of course, but I don’t believe anyone could argue otherwise convincingly.
We live in Alaska, where the Glock 20 in 10mm rules, but the 22 is the crown prince because it does everything the 20 does for $200 less. The 9 is ok for two legged varmints, but brownies and moose live in the same neighborhood!
Wouldn't follow suite that the improvements in bullet technology hit the 40 and 45 markets as well ? My prefered carry round is a underwood lehigh xtreme defence for example ?
Admittedly, I was drawn to the .40 S&W due to ballistics. Recoil is certainly an issue for general use, hence FBI and others dropping it; I would assume a big consideration was female agents and officers. I have no regret that I own a .40 over a 9mm; but It’s a shame they will be ostracized forever.
"But thanks to improvements in ballistics technology, the 9mm can now perform the same way as the .40 S&W has for nearly three decades. For this reason, I find the 9mm to be the superior choice when it comes to choosing a service pistol or home-defense weapon." -- this is a flawed argument. According to it, the 9mm has been evolving and the .40 has been frozen in time, standing still. Not so. They have been evolving in parallel, and the advantage .40 has had over 9mm is remaining proportionally. Stop justifying some people's poor ability to handle the .40's recoil.
I found that while the .40 does have more recoil in a Glock 22 over the Glock 19. It boils down to how often you train with a particular cartridge. I'm with the .40 and found shooting easier our of my Beretta 96A1 due to the weight of a metal gun over Polymer Glock. My two cents.
I’ve spoken with many Ex LEO and a few Ex FBI agents and every one of them said the same thing the only reason the 9mm was chosen by the FBI and LEO was not because the 9mm was a better choice because they even said it wasn’t, it was because there agents and officers were only hitting their targets less than 30 percent or less of the time that’s right (look up the FBI report) which they the LEO and agents blamed on recoil of 40SW and 357Sig and with the 9mm you got less recoil for faster follow up shots and 2 extra rounds yet know the standard FBI and LEO 9mm round is now a 9+p or a +p+ round which know that so called recoil that they blamed on the 40sw and 357sig is worse with the 9MM then it was with the 40SW and 357SIG.
Well, I'm currently a 23 year LEO and we switched from .40 to 9mm about 2 years ago. And politics played a big role. Female shooters just shoot the 9 better. Translation: It is easier for the firearms instructors to get them qualified.
I believe that the 9mm is better for newbies and some small people. Otherwise it doesnt matter. .45 is about same as the .40 and .357 is worse.
You won't think the .45 and .40 are the same when you have an empty magazine in your .45, and the guy shooting at you with a .40 doesn't have to stop to reload.
gun control is being able to hit your target, round count does not matter in civi life. use what works best for you.
It’s funny, many things I read or watch, all have a common answer to the matter. 9 wins, due to more capacity. Unfortunately these answers do not live in my state of California. With having a mag limit of 10, you can literally have any of the main players across the board.
As far as which one you shoot better? That is really irrelevant also. Any caliber you purchase, you’ll shoot better over time, because in theory you should practice with what you have. I have 16 different handguns, that vary between 5 different brands, ranging in 4 different calibers (9’s, 40’s, 45’s, & 10mm). I practice religiously, and shoot all brands as well as the other. As far as calibers, I learned from the 40, and have the most time spent with it. As strange as it sounds, I can place it on target better than any of my 9mm handguns. Many of which are from the same brand, and resemble the same dimensions. It’s almost as if I am anticipating a recoil with the 9 that is not there.
But the key words mentioned, was the caliber I have spent the most time with.
I would say this about the caliber war. Has the 9 improved over the years? Yes. But did the same ammunition brands only focus on 9mm? No.
So although all can agree 9mm has improved, it would be tough to find someone who disagrees that the 40 & 45 hasn’t improved at the same rate. Powders will always continue improving, and each caliber takes the same powder (at different measurements) to compliment the improvements.
So is the 9mm (.335”) affective? Yes, without a doubt..
is the 40 s&w (.400”) better? Yes, it’s bigger, and has just as much speed behind the punch.
Is 45acp (.451”) better than the other two? Well, it still penetrates, hollow points still expand, and it’s a little bigger. So again, I’d say yes.
There is a saying people like to mention. “When seconds count, the Police are minutes away”. In comparison, one would think that experienced surgeon would likely agree, that a life could be saved or lost, by a shot placement of as little as a fraction of an inch.
So based off of the sizes above, I’d say the edge goes towards 45, to 40, and then to the 9mm....
Which would I rather be shot by? Well, neither. But if I was going to get hit one solid time, and I could choose between a broomstick (9mm), a 2” by 2” 3ft oak strip (40s&w), or a solid wood Louisville slugger baseball Bat (45acp), I’d probably take the broom♂️
After reading the article, my opinion is that I would rather take less shots with a round that had more stopping power than blaze away with a round and a pistol that was, maybe, easier to shoot. I do not understand why a little recoil would cause a problem with the FBI or the police. My opinion, and shared with others that I have spoken, if you cannot stop a person with the first few rounds, then you need another occupation. Am I to understand that after reading articles on the stopping power of each round, that the only way you can stop an assailant is with ten or twenty rounds. One could think this just gives law enforcement the liberty to shoot many rounds at an individual because they have been told that they need to shoot ten, twenty, or thirty rounds to stop someone? What about the rounds that miss the target, where do they go?
These are absolutely the silliest arguments! The best caliber is whatever you have in your hand when you need it!! Use the 9 for greater penetration but less cavitation. Use the 40 for greater cavitation but slightly less penetration. I personally prefer, own and carry the 40 but could use the 9 just fine. The ammo price is the only reason for government agencies changing calibers, don't think otherwise. If you need 30'ish rounds vs 25'ish rounds to end the fight, then you need to be withdrawing and letting the professionals handle the situation anyway. If the 40 kicks a little hard for you, step down to the 9. If you can deal with the bigger punch step up to the 40. The argument for higher energy 9's is voided by the availability of higher energy 40's (I carried 40 +p's for 5 years as LEO). Price and punchiness are the only arguments left on the table and the 40 is the bigger of both, no argument there. Either round will kill the bad guy when properly placed, and if misplaced, either will kill the good guy who happened to be passing by when some knucklehead (who spent too much time arguing about calibers when he should have been training) pulled the trigger at the wrong time!!!
My apologies, Aldon. I meant to reply to the article at large, not specifically to your comment.
When we lived in Duluth, Ga (early 2000s) the police unloaded on our neighbor who shot 2 officers. We were home at the time and I'll tell you where those rounds go. They go all over the neighborhood. By the time they unleashed on our neighbor and the assessment of where all those bullets had gone in our neighborhood was done. Let's just say the police dept. was reprimanded and punished for being so careless. You can look up this incident on the internet. Duluth, Ga early 2000s I believe it may have been around 2001 or 2002.
I own both and they are both great guns. I fell very secure with either of them. You can't go wrong with the 9 or the 40.
I believe that for the most part, 9mm is the better choice, but like you said, only when you're using those expensive $1pr nickel plated rounds or +P ammo. I'd argue that +P 9mm kicks as much as a 140-155gr .40 caliber.
9mm clearly offers more penetration and less expansion. So I would say that makes .40 better for urban carry, where over-penetration is a concern. It's design is conducive to more expansion and less clogging than 9mm is.
One of the most important points I feel that you did not fully address is the difference between standard 115-147gr 9mm and 165-180gr .40 ball ammo. This is where the rounds performance differential is much higher. The .40, being simply a larger bullet with more momentum will simply make bigger holes, and especially with it's flat nose design, as opposed to the round nosed 9mm, i would say it's more prone to tumbling on impact. In a scenario where you don't have access to premium ammunition, .40 is the clear winner. Ball 9mm ammo is notoriously..."inadequate" for SD purposes compared to alternatives.
I think the better choice of gun is the Glock 22 because you can always buy a 9mm barrel and drop it in a G22, even a 357SIG barrel too. You can't do that with a 9mm Glock. I wish Glock would sell frame/slide combos without specific caliber markings where you buy the different caliber barrels that you want that fit with them, like a swiss army knife. But I digress.
9mm is best for new and smaller shooters because of its lighter recoil. But if you can handle a .40 well enough to put 3 or 4 shots in a tight group at 10m in less than 3 seconds. I would say that it's a better choice for you. Go with whatever you shoot the best in the end. I have just done extensive research into the .40 and 10mm cartridges as I'm a big fan. I would actually contend that .40 is not a replacement for 9mm. It's a replacement for 45acp. At standard pressures, .40 caliber 165gr loads have the same amount of momentum and sectional density as a 230gr 45acp. At least according to remington. They also shoot straighter, and expand more reliably as they have a higher muzzle velocity. +p 45acp is very powerful stuff though and is significantly more powerful than .40. However, at that point, at that level of recoil, 10mm is superior to 45 +P in power factor and magazine capacity.
.45 is still a great cartridge though but i think it's best use is for suppressed guns.
Street Stoppers is the most authoritative reference on handgun stopping power. It finds the 40 tied with 357 as having the most stopping power. I find the recoil to be unnoticeable.
Get a weapon that is reliable and comfortable to handle. Doesn't matter what it is. Get used to it, get comfortable with it. Carry it around the house. Practice holster draws empty in front of your mirror. Practice mag changes empty and full. Load and unload mags to get used to it. When you buy your first carry weapon, spend an equal amount on ammo for it right off the bat. Take your butt to the range and practice. Dominant hand, non-dominant hand, single hand. Work that steel like your life depends on it, because it may.
I'll take my .40's over any 9mm, because thats what I've put time and effort into. Its what I am comfortable with. I trust my life to my G22 and Baby Eagle.
I know I'm way late to the ball but here's my 2 cents. I have and carry both 40cal and 9mm. I have a Glock 27 gen 3(my first handgun) and a Glock 26 gen 5USA. Yes I love the little Glocks. Nothing beats magazine options in these two guns. I have had my 27(40) for over 15 years and can draw smiley faces on silhouette targets at 20 ft. The recoil doesn't bother me a bit. I bought the 9mm simply because it's cheaper to shoot and my wife and son are starting to go shooting with me more often. My wife and son shoot my 40 just fine. They'd rather shoot the 40 than the 9. As for ballistics and velocity and whatever else you want to compare... What I know is the 9 is more pointed and therefore more likely to go straight through your intended target possibly hurting innocent bystanders in the background. The 40 has more of a flat point that will more likely stop the target in his tracks while leaving bystanders alone. I have seen many horror stories about police and others unloading their gun causing property damage and unintended injuries. Choose your caliber and train with it. If a 40 is too much then get a 9mm. If the 9mm is too much then get a 380 or hire a bodyguard lol. A gun is a gun and with proper training and practice any gun will do the trick. I like my 9mm. I love my 40 cal. I'll do me. You do you.
Was thinking about switching over to a 9mm from my Glock 22 .40, but nowadays, with .40 cal ammo being cheaper and more available than 9mm, the balance has now shifted back to keeping my .40 cal. I'm glad too. I really love my Glock 22.
Hell, i'd say that price was all the 9mm ever really had over the .40 anyway. Everything else was just noise because people want to be able to afford more range time.
Good thing i never sold my xdm .40, that thing is a tack driver and theres always plenty of ammo around. I had some young arrogant pimply faced LGS employee scoff at me the other week at the range as he was inspecting my ammo. He gave me a look like i was a total idiot and said "dude .40 is dead, get with it". Just to prove a point i asked how much .40 ammo they had in stock compared to 9mm?? Yeah, thats what i thought. My ccw is a 365xl and i have multiple 9's but that and 5.56 is the first to fly off the shelves.
Pointing out someone has a pimply face doesn't help prove your point or do anything for your story other than looking like a dick. Did his pimples make him arrogant? Would he be smarter if he didn't have pimples? The answer is no. Would you be less of a dick if you didn't point out unimportant things like that? The answer is yes. I saw a total dipshit talking to a LGS employee at the range the other week but enough about that. Your how much 40 compared to 9mm ammo they have in stock question proves no point whatsoever. There could be less due to manufacturing, ordering or even quality or price but hardly proves which one is more popular or used more. If you drive down the street to another store and it's the opposite then what conclusion do you come to then? Would it have to do with bullets or would it have to do with you ripping on someone's physical appearance because they scoffed at you? Either way I'm sure we would be better off if you kept the thoughts to yourself.
With the current craziness, 9mm ammo is a lot harder to find. I see some decently priced 40sw ammo however. That's also a big factor. It has become clear to me that 9mm and .223/5.56mm ammo is what will first disappear from the shelves during any panic, and things aren't going back to "normal" anytime soon. 10mm is also something to consider imo.
Went to my local range that still had ammo in stock and .40 was $21/50rds and 9mm was $25/50rds for range ammo. For that difference, I loaded up on the .40. .40 is still decently priced which now tips the scales in favor of .40 for me. Plus stopping power...
Nice article! Weird thing: I noticed less recoil shooting the g19, but have always been more accurate w/ the g27. Can't figure that one out.
I started off with a g27. I've gotten pretty good with it. I agree I shoot my 27 better than most full size simply because I know my gun.
The 10mm cartridge, and by proxy the .40 are both actually very accurate rounds. .40 is a very popular round among competition shooters. It's more consistently accurate than 9mm because it has more momentum so wind and other factors affect it's trajectory less. At least that's what i'm guessing the reason might be.
Well, I am one of the Fed LEOs that carried a Glock 22 for over 10 years. I now carry a Glock 19M.
It doesn't really matter to me but, I always hate all these "experts" talking ballistics. Saying the 9mm can be as powerful as a .40 is just goofy to me. Of course you may buy a premium 9mm ammo that is as powerful as a .40. But, if the guy with the .40 also buys a premium ammo than the .40 is more powerful.
I know you "regular" people don't know a lot about how the Federal Government works...but changing back to 9mm from .40 wasn't some kind of thing based on ballistics. Having been around for decades I can tell you why the switch back was probably really made. Female agents shoot the 9mm better. Believe me that is the real reason. And bean counters in offices in Washington DC liked the idea because of cost. But trust me...ballistics and stopping power had nothing to do with the switch. EVERYTHING the FedGov does takes gender, race, optics, and a lot of things into consideration. But, believe me, ballistic science was at the bottom of the list.
Most "regular" people were already aware of the reasons you stated.
This i believe 100%. I also still believe the stopping power of the 40 is the most important factor and the reason why it was developed in the first place. Maybe in 86-90 there was less politics and cost factor involved, not sure.
I heard that was a reason they didn't use the 10mm because the females weren't really able to handle the size of the gun, mainly the grip being the size it was
My opinion I’m 61 and bred shooting with dad since 9-10 years. The .40S&W with good placement is pretty much one and done. With cheap target 9mm you would double tap just because. My 11 shot 10+1, takes out 12 targets. The 9mm, with double taps is 15+1 is only 8 targets. Any comments.
22lr in the head would also most likely be one and done. I am going to carry something chambered in .22lr for SD then...
100%. The situation that led to the development of the 40 is still relevant today. When you see police shootings where they shoot 5-10 rounds of 9mm and the suspect keeps coming or going that’s when I want to see 40 come back
It’s really hard for me to believe that so called knowledgable people, let their bias get in the way of truth and accuracy. How is it for one to not realize that every single improvement and technology the weak little 9mm has enjoyed, has also happened to the 40 S&W. Read ammo data from highly trusted and respected ammo MFG, Underwood. Thats all you have to do. Nearly 600 ft pounds of energy for a 40 S&W 155 and 165 grain load. . Now, you can’t accuse me of using vague terminology to make a factual clame. i have learned 20 years ago that weak white box ammo with a 180 grain boolit was not a great combination, yielding just over 1k fps, creating recoil. when I started handloading my own 40 S&W ammo, I always used 155 0r at most 165 grain boolits. put those 180’s in the bigger 10mm brass. The 40 S&W has a bit more recoil, thats why my sister shoots her S&W 629 6 inch 44 magnum at the range a few times a month. She loves it. Guys are afraid of recoil nowadays. When they see my little sister shoot her 629, they can’t believe she is grinning the whole time. She carries a Glock 23, and it seems like a pussycat in comparason to a 44 mag. Recoil fear and complaining weak male and female agents at the FBI is what killed the 10mm for its time. You can learn to shoot high recoiling handguns with technique and some practice. Sorry Brandon, but the 9mm will never equal a 40 S&W and it is here to stay. It is still the number one caliber used by professionals. I am a range manager and when L.E. come to our range, they leave behind mostly 40 S&W fired brass by an overwhelming number over 9mm and 45.
I love this Comment took the Words right out of my mouth
Yeah but that's because you use boolits, most of us use bullets I think. The G23 feels like a "pussycat" compared to a 44 magnum? No kidding! What kind of comparison is that anyway, how many people carry a 44 mag revolver for SD?
Yeah a lot of guns feel like a pussycat compared to a 44 mag. You do realize where a 44 mag sits on the list in terms of power compared to the rest don't you? Maybe you can load me some of these boolits you speak of. They sound special and I've never heard anything about them before. They must be new.
I currently have a M&P 9mm and have been told by several very proficient shooter friends. That tough they might own .40 they would never carry it for self defense. I’ve had a couple .40’s in the past and sold one and traded the other for the 9mm I have now. That .40 was the Glock 22 which I didn’t like at all. But for some unknown reason I do like the .40. So with everything that’s out about both the 9 and 40 I’m very much on the fence about which to carry for SD. I’ve heard and read that M&P.40 is softer shooting due to the fact that I was built to a .40 from the start.
I have shot G17, 19, 21, 20, 43, and 22. I honestly didn't feel a difference between the 9mm and the 40 cal. Only pain in the neck was loading the last 40 cal round in the Glock mag (no speed loader) after doing it a dozen times, it was very unpleasant. I also hated the feel I got with the G21, it really felt like holding a brick, definitely not my first choice in .45acp. Glock are okay imo, but I much prefer FN Herstal.
I'm sure most gun owners who surf Youtube videos have seen the one that shows a police car pursuit and shoot out with bad guys, the cops and "perps" trade gunfire while speeding along neighborhood streets. The cop empties his service pistol into the bad guy's vehicle. It's a pretty intense encounter, but the point is that the cops were using 40 cal to not only shoot through their own windshield, but also into the other vehicle. It appears they disabled the the bad guy driving but the other passenger escapes on foot after coming to a stop. Anyway, I wonder if the cops would've been as effective had they used a 9mm round? I'm thinking not, due to less mass on the 9MM.
Kentucky police records say yes they do.
The exact same technology that improved the 9mm also improved the 40, 10mm and 45 ACP. The same bullet technology in a 357 magnum relegates all but the 10mm to also-rans. Bottom line is that all of the rounds are deadly effective, so it comes down to which platform you like best. Unless you are shooting zombies on a video game with infinite reloads available, anything from 8 to 15 rounds is likely to be more than enough with plenty to spare. Plus fewer rounds might encourage some shot discipline, rather than 'spray and pray'.
I agree 100% with you Tim. I do not see why the facts in your first sentence are ignored by the masses.
Good point SIR!
Well, no it didn't. There was improvement in the .40 and the .45, but not to the level that 9mm was improved. One can't automatically do the "same" thing to one piece of matter as to another and get the same result. The fact is the 9mm, for whatever reason, has more suitable physical attributes for the technological advances made with regard to bullet improvement. For the record, the senior ballistician for Hornady, Dave Emory, gives the "edge" to 9mm. Attrib: Guns & Ammo Magazine; June 2017.
I’ve never been impressed with hornady’s ammo or bullets. I do use their XTP bullets in my reloads for practice tho, but only because it’s cheap and reliable. Not impressed with expansion or accuracy. Their factory loads are watered down when it comes to 40. I believe they are one of the companies that purposely loads all 9,40, and 45 to be very close in terms of energy levels. Look into underwood or buffalo bore for a better representation of what the calibers can do. There’s an obvious power level gap in the above mentioned calibers when loaded properly. I own all three and reload for all three. The 40 is the clear winner in terms of power. and recoil is only slightly sharper than 9mm when you compare performance loads. I’ve loaded my 9mm to +p++ and it still can’t match the energy of the 40 which is at or usually below max pressure(35K). Only if you load 45 to 45 super levels will it out power the 40. Don’t fall for the big ammo companies marketing. The 40 is a powerhouse of a round and fits in small framed handguns with relatively high capacity. Just buy gun designed for the round, not the rebarreled 9mm converted to 40 trash. Some companies engineers are lazy. Sig, HK, Walther, and many others build them correctly to account for the 40’s higher pressure. I only carry 40 for self defense. The difference may only be 100-200 fpe from the other 2, but I like the odds stacked in my favor. I hunt with my defense load (135 gr at 1450 fps) and I fully trust its capabilities. I’ve killed deer and wild pigs with that load and I’ve seen the damage it can do. I use 135 gr to prevent too much over penetration for defense purposes. It still exits after plowing through a 200 lbs pig, but with barely enough energy left over to burry itself in a tree trunk. A perfect balance of power, expansion, and penetration and low recoil with good capacity as a bonus. I like 9mm and consider it a good choice for self defense as long as quality performance ammo is used. But I personally feel better equipped when wearing my 40. My 45’s are just toys for the range, unless you load to 45 super levels then my USP becomes a true performer, but not for those who are recoil sensitive.
I'm with you, sort of. I ditched Hornaday's Criticial Defense loads for Federal HST.
I think where Hornaday shines is in rifle ammo though. They are probably the top manufacturer for 30-30 bullet performance.
Actual round is more important than the two calibers. a 147 gr. jhp 9mm cannot touch a 165 gr jhp. 40 cal.
I like both rounds and I have guns chambered in both rounds. If the .40’s recoil is too much while firing it from a lightweight pistol (ex. Kahr PM40, Glock 27, Glock 23), then try it with a heavier gun (Sig P226, 1911 gov’t, CZ75 full size, Beretta 96).
I agree with you Cole. I have a Springfield EMP and an XD both in .40 S&W. The EMP is easy to carry but snappy to shoot where the XD is a pussycat to shoot and very accurate but tough to conceal and carry. I am a .40 S&W fan but I do have one 9mm.......a Browning hi power.
You make a valid point. I have both calibers in Glock and notice a difference between the G17 and G22. However it is much more noticed when shooting my G26 and G27. So a lighter gun does make a difference. I do not have an all steel pistil in .40 cal, but I'm thinking that could be my next purchase. Maybe a used Beretta 96, Tanfoglio witness or Jericho 941. Anyone else have a suggestion?
Tupac got shot with a .40 4 times, 1 in the arm, 1 in the thigh, and 2 in the chest. The 2 in the chest are what did him in. He did die 6 days later, even with prompt medical treatment. It is always interesting reading and hearing about shootings with 9mm and . 40. The former New England Patriot Aaron Hernandez shot Alexander Bradley point blank in the forehead. Hernandez was shocked when Bradley called him from the hospital the next day. 9mm are too prone to not penetrating bone well, as where the .40 (and .357 sig) is a bone crusher.
I'm a big .40 guy, it's better than the 9mm all the way around. It pokes bigger holes, expands larger, destroys more tissue and simply hits harder, all things which are desirable when you're trying to stop an aggressor.
Another point to consider, most 9mm shooters practice with 115gr or 124gr standard pressure but carry either 124 +P or 115 +P+, which does what? Increases recoil and it won't have the same recoil characteristic as what they practice with, which also flies in the face of their "9mm is better because it recoils less" mentality because what they carry recoils more than what they practice with. The .40, speaking of typical factory ammo, doesn't suffer from this. Practice with 180's or 165's or 155's and carry the JHP equivalent and it's the same. Yes the 147gr 9mm is the exception but most 9mm users don't carry 147gr JHP.
As a handloader, it's easy to see the .40 has much more potential. I've ran anywhere from a 135gr JHP @ 1800 fps up to a 200gr JHP @ almost 1300 fps from a 6" KKM barrel in a Glock 35. Those are 10mm numbers. Granted I probably wouldn't carry those for social use, but they add to the versatility of the .40 by making it quite the capable woods companion and a solid choice for deer and hogs and even black bear. Imagine something the size of a Glock 19 that can throw a 180gr JHP to over 1200 fps or a 200gr hardcast to over 1150 fps, that's what you can do with a Glock 23!
I would like to see more bullet weight offerings from the major manufacturers, like a 135gr Gold Dot @ 1400 fps and a 200gr HST @ 950 fps, not "full potential" .40 but more options for those who use the .40 socially. It's just plain sad the .40 gets so much hatred, it's a wonderful cartridge that really does offer the best size to power ratio out there.
I couldn’t agree more. I’m shocked you were able to get 1800 FPS from your 6” barrel! The fastest I’ve pushed a 135 was around 1550 from a 5.25” barrel. I was using 12 grains of longshot. I’m curious to know what powder and charge you are using. I know my load was “safe” because it was the published max from hodgdon back in the day. I believe it was under 34k psi. I’m not calling you a liar btw, just generally curious. I know the 40 cal brass is strong thanks in part to its small pistol primer(something 10mm should do). But I’ve never been brave enough to experiment with one of my guns past max pressure(not true for my 9mm’s). If I had a contender barrel in .40 I would try pushing past max and feel more comfortable, but even with upgraded components in my guns there’s just too much a stake. My safety and the fact that I’ve put a lot of money into my guns makes me think twice before trying anything like that. I’ve always wanted an MP5 in 40, I have the MP5K in 9mm with an SBR stamp but wish I had a big brother for it. That’s a platform I trust to run over max pressure with. Just change the locking piece and rollers to compensate for the added pressure and you should be good. That would be a great home defense gun.
I am a range officer. I see more improper technique, and limp wristing when people shoot low recoil ammo. It promotes bad shooting habits. My sister can easily shoot my 629 44 magnum with 240 grain loads clocking 1175 FPS. She empties the cylinder every time with a smile. She knows how to shoot. Now when she shoots her 9mm, 938 Sig, she can shoot accurately 10 yards with one hand. My point is recoil is more feared than a problem. Learn how to shoot.
Bunk. Ever notice the guys and gals that can only handle a 9mm, want to destroy and get rid of the 40S&W. They can’t stand that the windshield penetration test proves without a doubt reveals that even premium 9mm can be trusted to do anything but bounce off. The 40S&W doesn’t. They just can’t let it go. Truth be known, if you want a true honest, unbiased test. and not like this guy tried to pull using Federal Premium 9mm and Winchester training ammo 40S&W, test out Underwood 9mm in any grain weight against the underwood 155 and 165 grain loads. Not even close. Those of us that know better, know the 40 S&W is much more effective in 155 and 165 grain loads. But be very careful you 9mm lovers, It does go boom!!!. Recoil is minimum and very manageable. If you can't shoot a 40S&W round, Go get training please. Quit bashing a great round. This is a bandwagon many are getting on. Most of what the author claims is bias driven bunk. My prediction is: In a year or so, after all the Koolaid drinkers have had theit fill, and there are reported case after case of how ineffective the 9mm actually is, there will be a ‘new savior. The gun writers and the gun and ammo companies will love this. There will be a big push for the 40 S&W so you koolaid drinkers can give them more of your money. I do not trust the FBI and what they say. They were wrong before, and change their minds almost yearly. Here is my test to prove what I say. I test with layers of Baltic burch plywood squares that I have left over from projects. 12”x 12” squares back to back. Use about 5 layers. Shoot the two mentioned Underwood rounds in 9mm and 40 S&W. You will no longer have any doubt. The 40 S&W wins by two more layers every time.
You make a good argument, intelligently explained about the 9mm versus 40 S.W. Improvements are across the board however and all cartridges have benefited, including the 40. For those looking for a couple of extra rounds in their magazines and less recoil, The nine makes sense. It also makes sense at the range shooting bulk ammo since it's simply cheaper. For general effectiveness, the 40 has more than a hair more power than the 9. It is substantially more powerful. You make an excellent point about premium ammo for both being on par price wise. The nine has its undeniable advantages, but I feel better armed with the 40. Your point and that of many writers about recoil and recovery for second shots with the 40 are very valid. It does require a bit more practice but in my view it is well worth it.
The point of military was considering the 40 S&W is false. Our military traded out of the (life cycle)1911 to beretta M9 for the purpose of a “standard” NATO round, 9mm. The pistol is a side arm, not the primary weapon for the grunts.
As all of NATO members use 9mm and for argument sake, NATO 7.62, (machineguns) President Reagan and military followed thru by completing our military upgrades with NATO ammo.
So the argument really boils down to personal preference, I have many 40s, my wife can barely handle a 9mm. I’ll keep reloading 40!
Mike, I agree. I like the 40 a lot. The nine is ok but isn't quite comparable in terms of general effectiveness. We did get the worst of both world didn't we ? 9mm and 0.223. Adopting the nine to please NATO or to conform so to speak and pushing the 5.56. No argument about ease of carry but power is lacking.
I hope not to receive hate comments but could their be any claim that certain bodies of government are converting back to 9MM weapons over the 40 because of increased number of females in that body of government and maybe how that relates to recoil?
The ammunition improvement argument is simply not logical. The .40 has benefited from the same advances in technology the 9mm has and is still a bigger heavier bullet. "Stopping power" is accomplished overwhelmingly by blood loss and a larger bullet has the potential to destroy more tissue, sever more arteries, veins and capillaries and cause faster blood loss which is what stops a fight. It's simple physics and physiology: The more damage to the human body and more blood lost from the circulatory system in any given period of time, the faster incapacitation and cessation of threat will occur. A bigger bullet has the potential to create more blood loss in X seconds time than a smaller one all other things being equal.
I don't understand the recoil argument either. The .40's recoil is just not that significant and it was in fact created as an alternative to the recoil of the 10mm, so reduced recoil was the very reason the cartridge was created in the first place and it's creation succeeded in that goal.
Perfect points, well stated.
Great points. Spoken by someone that thinks for himself and not a Koolaid drinker.
The caliber technology excuse is really a sad excuse. So where is the technology difference between Calibers 9mm and 40? I would have to say the 40 cal advancements are just as high. They are putting the same powders in the same brands in 9 vs 40. You think golden saber 40 is different than golden saber 9mm. It's a garbage argument
It's as though the people making this argument think the .40 is somehow, someway magically stuck in time and derives no benefit from the same technological advances they credit with making the 9mm more effective. Obviously a better expanding HP design will cause greater expansion in the .40 just like the 9mm, and the .40 has more kinetic energy driving it forward and greater diameter to start with, so how the .40 doesn't improve at the same rate as the 9mm and stay one rung on the ladder above it is known only to the people making that argument.
I think you're right, I had a guy tell me on the internet that the .40 peaked in the early 1990's, just a few years after its introduction, obviously ignoring that bullet technology has helped out all cartridges.
It would be cool if you actually used the same brand and model of ammunition..
Gel tests are null and void due to this.
Check out Lucky Gunner’s tests for Federal HST. Using ~3.5” barrels for each, the 40 has better expansion with the same or slightly better penetration, even compared to 9+P. Now of course you get more rounds of 9 in the same size gun, so YMMV.
If anyone has shot steel with 180 grain 40sw rounds and then with any 9mm round it is very evident that there is a difference.
If I lived in a state where magazine sizes were limited to 10 rounds I certainly would rather carry 10 rounds of 40sw than 10 of 9mm.
Even in standard capacity states the mag capacity is just not that big a deal. A couple rounds difference. If one gets oneself into a spray and pray situation where they are depending on 17 vs 15 or 15 vs 13 to close the deal, the odds aren't looking good no matter what. The capacity advantage of 9mm can also be almost completely mitigated by carrying an extra mag and practicing mag changes.
*Physics don't lie, the 40 S&W is more powerful than the 9mm, hands down.
*The 40 S&W enjoys the same new bullet technology as the 9mm, but can handle bullets up to 200 grains. Underwood 135gr has a velocity of 1400fps
*I barely notice the recoil difference and neither does my 16 year old 105lb daughter.
* The FBI switched to 9mm to account for snowflakes and poor training...and cheaper ammo.
Ditto. It's as though some people think there was some regulation passed mandating that the .40 only use the projectile and propellant technology that was available at it's inception and they forget that the very reason the .40 was developed was to solve the perceived recoil problem with the 10mm, so recoil concern, specifically on the part of the FBI, was already addressed, and addressed successfully when the cartridge was created. There are just some people that will complain about the recoil of anything that exceeds that of a .177 air rifle.
.40cal is capable of producing much higher KE.
For years I primarily carried a Glock 19 with 124gr+P Speer Gold Dots. Then I picked up a used 23 at a gun show for cheap. I took both to my range within a week and shot both at a swinging steel plate. The 9 hit the plate and swung it back to parallel with the ground. The 180gr GD hollow point .40 smacked it so hard it knocked it vertical so that I had to walk down range and swing it back down. Dang!! The 23 became my EDC after that. I'll take that hard smack to a perp's chest anytime.
.40 S&w is Merica! Designed in Merica by Mericans! Not a stolen idea from Germany. That’s why .40 cal is better. Besides it’s bigger, slower and packs more punch dollar for dollar, not comparing the highest price 9mm round to junk .40 round and saying its equivalent. Let’s quit talkin about pistols and pistol rounds and talk about pistol rounds in a carbine. Then recoil is no debate. Then what do you want? A bigger more powerful round obviously. If a .40 round in a pistol is harder to control then a 9mm its pretty obvious. It is more powerful.
9mm is not more powerful than 40 s&w period! However, recent 9mm +P ammo has certainly bridged the gap between the two cartridges. I have and will trust my life with both cartridges and we are all splitting hairs when comparing the two caridges side by side. Although 40 s&w is slowly loosing it’s popularity, it will be around for a long long time and is certanly not dead. Very good article and I enjoyed the read.
even 9mm +p does not even approach the power of what standard 40. the problem is none of the major manufacturers produce anything more than middle of the road loads for the 40. underwood and bb come the closest but there's still a little left in the tank. wound track of a 165gr going thru at 1250+fps ends any intelligent discussion.
Make no mistake, there was only one reason the FBI went back to 9mm. Cost. The bean counters decided they did not want to pay for .40S&W. Hardly a reason to give agents an inferior cartridge. My daughter shoots the .40 without problem. Time to sack up boys.
The pros and cons you cite indeed valid. However to say the 9mm is "superior" to the .40 is quite a stretch. Now, the .45 ACP compared to .22LR...that would definitely be superior. The 9mm and .40 cal really aren't THAT far apart.
I have a Ruger SR40, and a Glock 26. My favorite target is a 12" gong plate that I use at various ranges. I use 200 gr RN High Tech Coat in the 40, and 124 gr High Tech Coat in the Glock (or the new Speer 115 plated) The difference of the impacts and ring-report between the 40 and the 9 is fairly dramatic, and more often than not, I have to go re-pound the standing stake with the AR plate hinged to it back in the ground when I hit it with the 40. I love the Ruger SR40. It is very easy to hit the gong out to 50 paces and it has a better trigger, ergonomics, safety, and chamber indicator than the Glock...my deep woods gun for sure.
I have a few Ruger 9’s. I bought a Baretta xp4 compact, .40 caliber, double action. Baretta wins hand down. Excellent groups on a B-27 target. A tad heavier gun, and recoil is minimal. I hate my Rugers, The Baretta is super easy cleaning too. A favorable difference in cleaning, the spring w the Ruger wants to pop out almost every time. Not so w the Baretta.
I like both rounds and feel for me personally serve different purposes. I carry a 9mm for ccw and 40s&w for home defense if not practical to use an ar. Also 40 to 9 conversion barrels are cool so you really have 2 different calibers in one gun
I have always liked the 40 s&w . I have a glock 21, glock 31 . I don't mind using a full size frame for everyday carry . I recently purchased a glock 35 .I have friends who tell me it to big for edc . the size and recoil doesn't bother me . It fits me and is comfortable in my hands . its all about personal preference. I know people who have 22lr pistols as edc. that would be my last choice . if there comfortable and confident with it that's there choice. there isn't a perfect caliber for every situation.
I would think that any new technology that has been applied to the 9mm would also carry over to the .40 cal. I assume that the technology mentioned is bullet design and new powder technology. Wouldn't that carry over to the .40, and any other cartridge?
Interesting, well presented article. I am 62, and am moving from 40 to 9mm, mainly due to felt recoil, recent improvements in projectile technology, and costs of practice ammunition. The day may come when my arthritic hands will require me to move to a 380ACP (S&W shield EZ), but not yet.
I, too, am in the plus-60 years age range, with sever arthritis. I can shoot my nine for longer session, and more sessions per week. For this reason, I am able to place my shots pretty well. Also, even though 9mm premium defense ammo is pricier, I practice with the cheap stuff and load my own cases for really inexpensive practice ammo. The niner gets my vote.
Buy a trade in .40, and get an aftermarket 9mm conversion barrel and a couple of 9 mags for about $130-$150 total..and you have 2 to test and decide for yourself!
If you want a range toy then take your pick of calibers, and choose what best fits your needs and budget. For self defense however, I’m not too concerned with ammo costs or slightly more recoil. For me it’s finding the balance of power, capacity, conceal-ability, and handling. The last two of that list are mostly in reference to the firearm’s design not the caliber. My caliber of choice for self defense is hand down the .40 s&w. I’ll explain why in detail. First, it offers an incredible amount off power in a small framed handgun even in short barrel lengths. All of those advancements in bullet and propellant technology in 9mm also apply to 40 s&w and many other calibers. I hand load and can safely load a 135 gr hollow point to well over 1,400 fps from a 3” barrel. Recoil is completely manageable. The exact velocity is 1450 fps from my Walther PPS. That’s over 600 fpe and it’s under max pressure. I use an even hotter load in my full size guns like my USP, VP40, P226, XD tac, and Steyr M40-A1. With the hotter load(still within max pressure) the same bullet is reaching over 1500 fps from 4.25-5.25” barrels. My XD has the longest barrel and achieved a velocity of 1535 fps. That’s over 700 fpe. And once again the recoil is very mild. So power is important to me, the more energy on target the better your chances of stopping that threat. I’ve used this round to hunt both deer and wild pigs. They were my cadavers so to speak, and the test results were outstanding. The second reason I use this caliber is because it offers all that power in a very compact package. My PPS is less that 1” thick and is very concealable. Even my VP40 and Steyr M40-A1 are concealable if your dress accordingly. The third reason is capacity. I know it generally holds 1-3 rounds less than 9mm, but my walther holds 7 Rounds of 40 vs 8 rounds of 9mm. I’ll sacrifice one round for the advantages of power. 7 rounds is plenty for a self defense pocket gun. If I need more than that I’ll just reload. My USP hold 16 rounds and my 226 holds 15. The others are between 12-14. My point is that’s plenty of firepower. I own and reload dozens of calibers, but none can do what the 40 does. Which is offer the level of power that is able to be used in small framed handguns effectively and with good ammo capacity. If you don’t reload look into Underwood Ammo. It’s one of the few companies who loads the .40 along with many other calibers to their full potential. Safely I might add.
Cost savings of getting a leo trade in 40 are quickly eaten up by higher cost of range ammo.
Pretty good accurate assessment of what the 9mm can do and what the 40 did and still can. It really becomes a matter of personal choice. Great article. The price comparison is also very accurate. Excellent article.
Great report on the two calibers. I am a shooter and often carry the sane rounds in my ccw as I use in practice sessions, which is not premium ammo. I have recently decided to give the 40 a try. I handload everything, and my 38 special lswchp loads are very effective on armidillo test media. Some other loads are not as dramatic. The bigger is better is a major advantage in 40S&W, for me. My first loading will be a cast lead tcfp at around 1000 fps. I expect it to be adequate in all my needs. If one shot doesn't "stop", I imagine 2 and three will get it done. I wonder if the high priced 9 mm is any more effective at barrier penetration than the old stuff, which was lacking, even compared to 38 special?
What a lively discussion! I own both a 9 and a 40. I don’t want to be shot with either. The performance of the 9’s has improved significantly in the last few years, bullets and +P loadings and has become a very popular
caliber. As one of you correctly pointed out, shot placement is everything. The 40 is still a very viable cartridge and remains the
most popular caliber in IPSC limited class competition. The 9 in limited class must shoot minor power factor for a reduced score.
Recently USPSA allowed 9’s to be loaded to major power in Open class but the shooters I know don’t reload the cases because of safety concerns of their integrity.
Feelings of superiority because you have one caliber or another
are really kind of silly.
So, practice with what you have,
shoot well, be safe and have fun.
Support our firearm rights if you need to have a scrappy attitude.
Chronys and ballistic gelatin are all well and good as a starting point in the discussion, but they don't always translate to real world performance. I've seen LOTS of GSW's, from .22 up to .45 ACP and shotguns. In my experience with real world shootings, the bigger the bullet, the worse the outcome. In general, the solution to being recoil averse is more training, not smaller bullets. Most of the writers in the gun comics who wax eloquent about velocity, terminal performance, and gelatin penetration have never heard a shot fired in anger or saw a human GSW.
The recoil argument does not fly with the 9mm vs 40sw. The 40sw recoils slightly stiffer than the 9mm and its mostly a slightly higher cost than 9mm. Field use is what keeps the 40sw in police service and I can vouch to that. The FBI is so full of BS it is'nt funny and some fell for it to.
Police departments in the Metro Detroit area still use the 40sw in large number with some using the 45acp and .357 sig. I have used the 40sw on vicious animals and its truly a stopper compared to a 9mm used in a like situation. I have a glock 9mm,45acp and a 40sw full size with top notch ammo they all kill just as good, if not follow up shots may be needed which is why the magazines are high capacity right?
Just wanted to throw this out there, if you're worried about stopping power in a home defense context, just get a cheap 12 gauge.
As far as EDC, there are too many scenarios to ever be fully prepared to defend oneself against an attack. Stating "I trust my life to [insert pistol and or caliber]" is arbitrary, regardless of personal anecdotes or credentials. I mean statistically, talking about "stopping power", a taser will do the trick in the majority of cases. "Dude, not if they're on pcp and meth coming at you with two ak's, cause one time I saw-" yeah, not in that case, I guess. Because life is an action movie.
I was shooting tiny little christmas ornaments and little targets with a .40 sw so i think they are great accurate cartridges. I love all 3 so it just depends on what your looking for
Just curious, but did anyone notice the ballistics for the 180gr. HST coming out of a G27? I think its worth noting. Also its worth noting that the muzzle energy is not much different from the 124 gr HST considering the velocities of the shorter barrel. Im sure the velocities that the manufacturer projected are based on a 4" barrel
I carried a 27 as my EDC for quite a while while working in a gun store. With the HSTs it shot a tighter group at 21 yds than my g23 with Speer GDs. Both rounds, out of the 27, chroned right at 990 to 1000fps, which surprised me because those velocities were usually what you got with the 23.
Those same advances in technology had the same effect on the .40 S&W. To the point that is produces more energy than 9mm or 45 ACP. Your big box stores only stock the very watered down defense ammo. And any knowledgeable 40 shooter will tell you that 180 gr projectiles are for 10mm auto. The 40 shines in the 135-155 grain bullet weights. The 40 does have more snap, but it’s still very manageable. It’s my preferred self defense caliber and my EDC caliber. I’ve seen what it can do to deer and wild pigs, so I have absolutely no doubt of its lethality. I’m using 135 gr Nosler HP going 1425fps from a walther PPS(3” barrel). That’s over 600 FPE. And the bullet doesn’t over penetrate or fragment. My woods round is the 150 grain Nosler HP going 1320 fps from a 3” barrel and 1400 from my full size guns. That’s 580 FPE from the pocket gun and over 650 FPE from full sized guns (4.5”-5”). And I have a 135 grain load just for my HK USP that clocks over 1500 FPS and it’s still under max pressure. That’s 675 FPE!! No 9mm no matter how +p++ you load it will ever compare. I own, shoot, and carry 9mm as does my wife, father, and mother. I think of it as the minimum in terms of terminal effects of bad guys. I’ve always taught people who use my range to aim high and shoot twice with the 9mm. The 40 is more forgiving with shot placement. The hydrostatic shock from a high velocity 40 hollow point is likely to drop them much faster than the 9mm equivalents. The wild pig I shot(unintentional cadaver) weighed 185 pounds and the shot entered just in front of the left shoulder and exited the right shoulder hitting ribs and the right shoulder bone. The exit hole was about 3” in diameter. The shot was taken from about 20 feet on a moving target. The pig ran about 10 yards before calling the quits. I had wildlife officer ask me what caliber rifle I used after he saw the carcass. I think the 9mm is a good choice, but if you can handle more power why not upgrade to the 40? Check out underwood ammo for the real 40 loads.
Rane, if you can share the loads, I would appreciate. I shoot more 40 SW than anything else. I enjoy shooting the 45 auto and the 9mm but I share your opinion of the 40.
Disclaimer: the load I use in my full sized guns is no longer published by Hodgdon due to poorly supported chambers on some firearms. My full power load for my USP, XD 5.25, Steyr, VP40, and 226 is as follows:
11.8 grains of Longshot
135 gr Nosler HP
I’ve gone as far as 12 gr with the USP and broke 1575 FPS!! But that’s max pressure and don’t recommend doing so without recoil spring upgrades and and very strong gun.
*For the smaller guns I use 11.5 grains. Which is what they currently publish as max. But it’s less than 32,000 psi. That’s 3k below max.
-Be safe, and enjoy
The Glock is a popular law enforcement handgun because of cost, capacity and simple operation. Reliability also. 9mm is popular because of lack of recoil and capacity. When you have a majority of new police recruits with no prior handgun experience and basic marksmanship, the above combination is ideal. Give them enough rounds and if they are in a shooting, hopefully some of those 15 rounds will hit the bad guy. Having learned to fire a Colt 1911A1 in the rain and mud in the Army and honed my skills through 30 years of law enforcement, I will keep my M&P Shield .40. I will feel safe with an S&W 686.
We heard the FBI tout the Nine as "the deadliest handgun in America" back in the early 1980s. Soon after, they had their fannies handed to them by a single, determined gunman with a rifle after absorbing a well-placed Winchester Silver Tip 9mm and a bunch of other stuff. The FBI went shopping.
My issue with the Nine is with light-weight shooters experiencing elevated stoppages because of softer recoil (slower slide velocities). In every case at the range where I have a female shooter struggling with a 9mm, merely replacing it with a .40 S&W solves the problem. Totally.
John Farnam does a demo at nearly every pistol course, where he holds a Glock 9mm with only two fingers, and from the side. He induces a stoppage with every. Single. Shot. Switching to a Forty, the pistol functions flawlessly through the entire magazine. Case closed. The pistol is a life-saving device. It MUST work. The higher slide velocities served up with the Forty assures positive function with a wide variety of shooter at the light end of the scale.
Comparing the .40 S&W 180 gr HST on Lucky Gunner's slow-mo video over any loading in the Nine clearly shows a distinctly larger and longer permanent wound cavity. It's not even close. And that's what bleeds. Temporary cavity performance is irrelevant. Only a few .45 loads compare.
None of this is to say the Forty is invincible, or the ultimate round. It isn't. But no one can tell me with a straight face that the Nine is just as good as the larger calibers with its light bullet. The same bullet advancements that got the Nine off its knees also improved the heavier hitters as well.
With ball ammo, I suspect there is little advantage either way. I'm buying ball ammo by the case in Forty that is cheaper than Nine....its not the flavor-of-the-month anymore. We even got a 1,000 round case of .45 ACP Federal HST for less money than the HST in 124 gr Nine. Nine is now the sexy caliber, and you'll pay extra for it. I don't expect Forty ball ammo to perform better than Nine. Ball is.....ball.
Any trauma surgeon will tell you there is a huge difference between damage created by a Nine and a .45, assuming duty ammo is involved. The trauma surgeon I knew carried a .45. And BTW, out of the 2500 GSWs he treated, none involved centerfire rifles, or close range buckshot wounds. They went to the ME's office.
My wife and I spent a lot of time shooting handguns. 9mm Glock is our flavor. Over 2 decades I’ve finally retires my Glock 40. 1000s of rounds latter I’ve noticed a ongoing trend at our steel plate range. The 9mm 80% will knock the plate over or reset it. The 40 did it most of the time I’d say 96% ish the 45 a friend of mine shoots did it 100% of the time.
Good article. I carry a glock 19 gen 4 FS for duty and a glock 26 gen 4 as my back up. But ironically when off duty I appendix carry a gen 4 glock 27,. I shoot it just as accurately as my Glock 19 , sometimes even better . The G27 is actually my favorite pistol.
I've gone thru several changes concerning caliber over my lifetime. I was a .45 only nut for a while, then I saw the .40 potential when I was issued one as an officer, and with the advent of new bullet technologies improving over the years (and age creeping in on me making me a tad more recoil sensitive than in my youth), I've went with the 9mm. My EDC is a Glock 26 with a KKM Match Precision Glock 19 barrel. It protrudes from the frame about .75 inches but fits very nicely in a holster for the Glock 19 and protects the barrel quite well. I did this in order to squeeze out a bit more velocity accredited to the G19, but keeping the grip length of the 26 for added ease of concealment. I also carry an off the shelf, big box store 115 grain standard pressure hollow point that gets 13-14 inches of penetration consistently and seems to expand nicely for each and every test I've personally done with it or seen online for it. I carry it all the time and have no worries it will work for it's intended purpose as long as I do my job and place them accurately in the spots they need to go.
Having said that, I do appreciate and still love the .40 caliber. Yes, it does pack a tad more thumb than the 9mm with more pounds per square inch on target. It does have a slightly larger diameter which can possibly equate to a slightly larger wound channel. I carried a G22 with confidence for a period with a Department I worked for and had no doubts of its effectiveness. The recoil produced by the .40 I would classify as "snappy". The muzzle flip is sharp, but nothing that overtly troubles me for a good follow up shot. Ammo is similarly priced for usually only a few dollars more per box than the 9mm and is still readily available on shelf just about anywhere you go. If someone offered me a .40 pistol, I wouldn't hesitate at all to use it and train with it. Good caliber, good performance, all around good to go.
The caliber wars are pretty much over thanks to mounds of shooting stats collected in the past several years and basic ballistic science. If you love the .45 acp, and I do (I own one) ... load it up and happy trails to you. If you have an affinity for the 9mm carry it all week and twice on Sunday. If you think nothing tops the .40, go buy three of them. All three of these calibers will do the trick if you do your job with them. And that's accurate shot placement to vital targets. You put the bullet where it needs to be placed, and you'll probably get the desired result. Remember that there is a myriad of factors that play into how effective each shot is, and they change from situation to situation, person to person each and every time. So there's no 100% guarantee of the same end result from any of them. A simple google search will reveal just as many failures of each caliber as success stories. I've prefaced all this, to say what the following simple piece of advice. Carry what you want, what you personally feel more comfortable with for whatever your personal reasons are, and you can consistently shoot accurate and afford to train with often. Other than that, it's really just a matter of personal choice.
The FBI and LEO Switching from the 40sw and to the 9mm was a big mistake and a lot of people think they know why the FBI switched and the FBI gives rambling answers to why they switched but please watch the following video to the end.
And you will get a better understanding on why they switched and why it was a big mistake and just maybe they need more training rather than going to a less powerful round.
I respectfully disagree. You might disagree with all of the arguments that attest to the effectiveness of the.40 but you can't argue with physics. Starting out with a larger bullet at comparable velocities gives itan advantage over the smaller 9mn. To achieve comparable ballistics from the 9mm you have to push it to+p/+p+ pressure which will result in the same recoil issues and gun wear. As a general rule I carry 9mm with the understanding that it is a medium caliber. However with all of the badmouthing of the round, I have been able to get a fantastic deal on a Walther PPS M1 in .40, which is now in my carry rotation due to it's superior construction, recoil management and accuracy. I got the gun for only 150.00 and the price allows me to invest in quite a bit of ammunition for training. I remember the same thing was said about 10mm and now it's all the rage. I realize that companies want to sell new guns but anyone who's into guns will tell you we are fickle and need no priming to buy a new one. So if you've got a quality.40 that you like keep it and if the cost of the round bothers you just cut back on the happy meals.
The PPS M1 40 is in my opinion the very best EDC gun on the market. Have Big Taco send you an updated recoil system and run underwood 135 or 150 hollow points. Controllable, accurate, 100% reliable, ergonomic, and time tested. Great gun! I own a Glock 43, XDS 9 mod 2, Sig P938, Kahr cm40 and cm9. Of all my single stacks my PPS is by far the superior weapon. I poured hundreds of dollars on upgrades for the Glock and XDS to get them up to par, and they still don’t shoot as well as the PPS. I’m glad to see someone else appreciates the combination of superior ballistics and quality firearms in a practical package.
An interesting item of concern always seems to be price per round. If one compares this concept to cars, can it be said that everyone that chooses a 9mm pistol will also be driving a Prius? I mean it just stands to reason. I can't wait for all the nice used 4x4's to show up (cheap) on the used market now.
Ok a bit more seriously, who cares. For all reasons that may be stated for 9mm or 40sw or 45acp, The same could be stated for other less popular cartridges. Such as 357Sig or 10mm.
The reality is that there is no one perfect manufacturer, model or caliber of guns or ammo. If there was everyone would be shooting (and driving) what I do.
One if the poorest excuses for purchasing a particular item (gun caliber in this case) is because my buddy, a Sales guy or an internet article said it's the Best.
I recommend trying something different than what your use to. Then you can build your own opinion. Maybe even write an article, or just buy a Prius.
I find it somewhat surprising that the folks who complain about the cost of ammo, and say that they shoot a lot, seldom seem to reload. Doesn't make any sense. If you shoot weekly or even 30 times per year.....you should learn to reload with precision. Also want to add that anyone who says there limit on recoil just happens to be slightly above normal 9mm loads, is probably not a regular shooter. I find very very little difference in practical speed of say 5 rounds, but I am not in competition with any clock. More concerned with putting the rounds where they belong.
The same technology that has made 9mm better has also made the 40 better and 9mm is no where close in stopping power of the 40.
Absolutely true, and with practice one can be every bit as accurate and comfortable shooting a 40.
Really a fan of these comment
With several penetration and ballistics gel tests 40. Is easily a superb cartride the recoil is no where near as bad as people say I actually find it quite similar to 9mm and follow up shots are so minisculey different from 9mm. With 40sw wound channels being far superior in my tests
The 40sw is very underrated and hated by those with no experience with it that have read bs on the internet by people who also aren't familiar with the round
That being said 9mm is a great round but I'd far rather trust my life with a 40
I agree 100 %.
I normally don't get into the 9 vs 40 or 45 debate because for one. Each person needs to find a weapon and round they can achieve the highest accuracy. I totally agree with what Pablo stated below and he is spot on regarding the enhancements occur on all the rounds mentioned, except in this article. This article is clearly written in bias towards the 9mm ignoring the true facts and capabilities of the .40 s&w. Personally, with so many ammo retailers available, I have never had any issue finding .40 rounds for a decent price. Another false statement is the Military does not allow procurement of the .40 s&w. I know it is not widely known to the public but if you are in Special Forces you can pretty much get anything your command deems necessary. Myself along with my teammates carried the HK USP SOCOM in .40 when the weapon and suppressor became available in the mid 90's for very good reason. I have seen a 9mm literally bounce or deflect from someones skull more times than I am going to say (not meaning to be graphic) but never the .40 round. When or if it came to using your sidearm against a vehicle, again the .40 was superior to the 9mm because the 9mm tends to change trajectory by a minimum of several inches. The .40 did not and was very effective in stopping the driver who had very bad intentions. Today my EDC is the HK P30 LE in .40 which I purchased for 499.99. The HK pistols have less recoil than any 9mm round shot from many other pistols. On another note, when giving advice on a public stage like this it is imperative to be objective because the novice or beginner shooter is reading and assuming everything stated has to be 100% true. You could be giving the advice and recommendations that in the end get's someone needlessly injured or worse...killed!
Craft said " I have seen a 9mm literally bounce or deflect from someones skull more times than I am going to say (not meaning to be graphic)". Forgive my incredulity but this statement smacks of hyperbolic bravado. Did they at least suffer from a nasty headache afterwards? Hopefully the pecker checker had plenty of ibuprofen to make it all better.
I sense a high speed, low drag pogue warrior.
In terms of simple physics, the .40 has more kinetic energy due to higher projectile mass given equal velocity. Higher energy and a wider, flatter bullet make the .40 objectively better than 9mm FMJ in most circumstances. When it comes to hollowpoints and other modern expanding bullets, the .40 still has an advantage again over 9mm. Because of the greater bullet mass (and thus lead on target) the .40 can expand more and deliver more devastating wound channels. The 9mm has a deficiency here as it can only expand so much, and in many cases the small bullets don’t have enough physical material in them to open up very wide.
However, the ultimate stopping power rests with shot placement. I have seen a .22 caliber bullet completely incapacitate someone and a .45 ACP fail to achieve that result. People shot with 10mm rounds and .357 SIG rounds have continued to run from the police. I have been on scene as a tactical medical provider when suicidal individuals have successfully killed themselves with .22, .25, and .32 .rounds, and I have seen failed suicide attempts with larger calibers (including .45 ACP). I have also seen people hit with 9mm, .40, and .45 without so much as staggering or slowing their verbal or physical activities.
Accurate hits in any reasonable caliber will "stop" a person if that person has experienced enough brain or spinal cord damage to interrupt regular neurologic impulses from reaching vital areas of the body or the person has hemorrhaged enough blood to lower his or her blood pressure where the brain no longer is able to function well. You can also stop a person if a major bone shatters after a bullet injures it, but does that stop the fight?
Stopping power is a marketing tool and should be dropped from our discussions of ballistic performance until such time as ammunition effectiveness is measured by more means than just the results of gelatin and barrier tests. When ammunition companies or regulatory agencies begin to use computer simulations, simulant tests, animal models, autopsy results, and trauma surgeon operation reports with hospital summaries to determine the effectiveness of their products, then we will know which ammunition can be labeled as having the "best stopping power." And this claim will be based on scientific data rather than incomplete ballistic testing.
I carry a .45....because they don't make a .46 (yes, I know there's .50AE, but it wasn't available when that joke was written). Bigger is better, end of debate.
If that were true than a 168 grain .308 traveling 2700fps would do less damage than a 230 gr .45 going 900fps. It’s a careful balance of velocity, diameter, and bullet design that makes the biggest difference. So to be more accurate: Bigger isn’t always better.
X-D .40 sub-compact 135 gr. Nosler max load Longshot powder avg 1400 f.p.s. more than 500 lbs. muzzle energy.
I have a 9mm, .40 S&W and .45 but my choice is a 12 gauge loaded with buckshot.
It ain't the song Its the singer.
Long Shot is the best thing that has ever happened to the 40! I load 11.5 gr for my PPS and to 12 gr for my USP, XD, Sig 226, and Steyr. 12 grains was the max several years ago from hodgdon. They changed it to 11.5 because of poorly designed chambers on some firearms. If you’re fully supported and well built try 12. I only use in my full size because the recoil system is more effective at slowing the slide down. I always run stiffer than factory recoil springs for these loads. They are still under max pressure too.
Reading the comments and than looking at the gel test makes me think the 9mm, although has less "recoil" and "Bigger is Better " - Penetrates deeper . ( 5 shot median penetration , 9mm - 18.4 " ) Brandon . Did you switcharoo the data pics ? . Anywho , Great article by the way , Im looking for a pistol cal rifle ( keltc sub 200 ) And it comes in both cartridges . . I'm not biased to either cartridge so This helped tremendously .. Thank You !
Hi Brandon I came across this article while doing some research on cartridges. You put together a good argument but I'm going to have to disagree. My EDC is 9mm and I'm a fan of the cartridge but it is not the equal of the .40. The same improvements you speak of concerning the 9mm have also been applied to both the .40 /.45. Also your comparison is flawed because you are comparing +p loads to what is a standard loading for .40. I just added a .40 Walther PPS to my EDC rotation and it is no harder to shoot than the 9mn. The rounds are not that much more expensive than the 9mn and the guns are going for phenomenal prices ,because writers have pronounced it dead. So thanks for your opinion but I have to throw a flag on it, that's a personal foul.
I agree to thanking the writers for announcing the death of the 40. Prices are lower than ever on my favorite guns (HK, Sig, Walther, Steyr, Springfield, CZ) all the 40 models are going for much cheaper than the 9mm counterparts. Especially on the used market. Let their ignorance benefit those of us who know better.
Been a fan of the .40 since '92 when the Gen1 Sigma came out. Now I have a glock 23 [Gen 3] and I swear by it. I carried the Beretta M9 in the USAF [SP] and own that also [92FS]. Just like engine oil there is no "wrong" answer just the one that fits you best...
The .40 cal is untapped. Its potential isnt fully realized. Its one of the only pistol caliber s that from the onset was available in both supersonic and sub. Walk into any walmart and its sitting there on the shelf in both options 165gr sups /180 gr subs. All .40 ammo is going to get you atleast 400 ft lbs at the muzzle. That cant be said about 9mm averaging high 200s to 300 ft lbs. Which is why everyone loves the cheap 115 gr 9mm they fire strings of fire with a lot of control. .40s loaded with the right ammo can hit 700 ft lbs of energy at the muzzle. The problem with 9mm is most people use and train with ammo that are at power levels the fbi tested when deciding to switch to 10mm eventually .40, they then argue 9mm has advanced and is on par with .40. The hottest +p+ 9mm will get you in 500 ft lbs energy levels along with the recoil of.... A .40. Since these +p+ rounds are designed for subguns I imagine the wear and tear argument wont be relevant since itll prob tear up those 9mm handguns faster than .40s that supposedly wear faster. The biggest benefit is that when you buy and shoot .40 ammo your training is actually relevant since the pressure and recoil of the rds remain fairly constant to the claimed performance. Unlike 9mm where people train with watered down 115 gr rds but claim the +p+ specs so they sleep better. When suppressed using the 200gr .40 it doesnt lose much to the .45 220gr. And it has more capacity. 9mm doesnt come close at 147gr which was an after thought not originally designed for subsonic action rd. I can go from .400 ft lbs subsonic ammo to 700 ft lbs flat shooting supers in a mag change. So .40 is a versatile rd and those that hate on it really arent experts. It has its place though, in a heavy full size duty gun. I use 9mm in my subcompact s because having it in .40 is just stupid. Youre already losing capacity and recoil management dont make it worse. Main thing is understand ing the difference roles and benefits different rds/cals have
Very well said! Except for the carry gun caliber. I use 40 in my EDC for the exact reason you stated about energy. It has a lot to offer in a small package. I’ll give up one round capacity for far superior performance. My PPS holds 8 with one in the pipe. The 9mm equivalent holds one less. A fair trade by my standards
The facts are that, all other things being equal, bigger is better. The real reason many agencies have gone to the 9mm is both the cheaper cost of ammunition and the fact that many females simply cannot tolerate the recoil of the more powerful 40 caliber round. Pundits tout the improvements in 9mm bullet design, but those same improvements affect the 40 caliber equally. As a former SWAT commander I have been involved in both shooting incidents and many shooting investigations. In every case the bigger bullet works better. For example I shot a robber one time with a 45ACP and he dropped his gun and was immediately out of the fight. In another case one of our officers shot a robber nine times in the torso with a 9mm and the robber emptied his gun shooting another person before succumbing. The reason the FBI previously went to the 10mm was the abysmal failure of the 9mm in the famous Miami FBI shootout. The army went to the 45ACP for similar reasons and only then went to the 9mm as many of their allies use it, not because it is effective. In fact, most of the special ops units reject the 9mm and use the 45ACP. So called experts who ignore the effect of hydro static shock entirely frankly have zero knowledge of what effect that has. Claiming that a bigger wound channel has no negligible effect by some is total BS and confounds logic and reality. Summarizing, just because the FBI did something do not assume they made the right choice as we have seen the results of their mistakes too many times in the past.
I myself have been shot on 2 occasions, 1st 5 shots in 2001 , and in 2006 I was shot 14 times with a 9mm , I'm alive and good 9mm is not an effective round.
Shot 14 times?! I gotta hear the story
Oh my gosh, Juan...that's awful. I hope you were still able to deliver the cocaine in a timely manner,
"1st 5 shots in 2001 , and in 2006 I was shot 14 times with a 9mm", you sir are a world class bullshitter. I salute your adacity, you definitely believe the maxim of go big or go home when you shovel it.
Bruce Davis stated "Summarizing, just because the FBI did something do not assume they made the right choice as we have seen the results of their mistakes oo many times in the past. the FBI made a bad choice in we have seen the results of their mistakes too many times in the past."
I'm confused by your statement, so was the FBI wrong in adopting the 40 S&W in 1997 or by going back to 9mm? Perhaps both? Best to keep your options open.
I have a 9mm a 40 S&W and a 1911 45 ACP. I can tell you this: a 185 grain +p Golden Sabre in the 1911 would be my choice for "knockdown power" in 45 ACP. They kick like a 357 magnum but, they are very accurate. THAT is a lot of recoil !! I can't tell the difference in recoil between my M&P 40 and my VP 9 shooting NATO rounds. I've seen demonstrations by Paul Harrel between 9mm and 40 S&W. 9mm CANNOT do what 40 S&W can despite what you have stated.
I have never seen a 9mm with 500 LB of muzzel energy. case closed.
Underwood makes a load that slightly creeps past the 500 FPE mark. But 40 goes well past the 600 FPE. I get your point.
The 180 gr .40 are the least effective option. Shoot that block with a corbon 135 +p or a 155 silvertip and see what the temp cavity looks like!
Very good article. I'm a retired L. E. O. and yes, unless the bullet hits the brain stem, then people and animals still have fight in them for quite awhile. The firearm I carried when I started was a Glock 17 with hollow point ammunition. I responded to a call where the family pet that was a 100+ pound wolf-german shepard hybrid had bitten a baby's head which crushed the skull and exposed the brain. The baby was still alive and the dog ran up the street after the incident. I showed up and the mother was standing in yard with the baby screaming to shoot the dog. The dog stuck it's head in the air, sniffed and charged towards me. I ran towards the dog to put a buffer between the mom and baby and to stop the threat. My first shot went past the head and into the neck. The dog kept charging and was trying to attack me by going into a J pattern and bite me from behind. I turned and shot two more times. Second shot was in the side right behind the front leg and third shot was right in front of the back leg. The dog took off, ran between houses and was found dead a block and a half away next to the street. I thought I had actually missed the dog the way it ran away. Nope. All three rounds were found inside the dog and it died from bleeding internally. It just took quite some time. However, I had to euthanize a bull struck by a truck with a .22 rifle into the brain and brain stem. One shot dropped the bull immediately. All this talk about this handgun caliber versus that handgun caliber is pretty moot. There isn't any of them that are the "magic" bullet. In my opinion and what I have read and researched, I think that the F. B. I. changed because they were having difficulties with their personnel having issues on qualifying. They went full circle from the 9mm, to larger calibers and back to the 9mm. So, when they changed back to the 9mm, their qualifications went up. I've seen the same thing on departments who went from a large frame.45 to a large frame 9mm. Plus, the 9mm round is less expensive and larger capacity. So, they have to justify the change. Tadah, justified. ☺
The primary reason for the FBI switch is $$$. FBI swat still used .45? Most FBI agents are investigators and not street cops. Military stayed with 9 due to nato, $, and fact is it is a hand gun and not a primary weapon or concern. .40 is better fpr all who practice and all should practice
You make very good points.
Government agencies need a one-size-fits-all firearm. The 9-millimeter is a great cartridge and perfect for the recoil sensitive.
For civilian use I prefer the bigger hole theory. A properly expanding .45 ACP makes a giant hole and is not known for over-penetration.
For civilians the 9 mm is fine but also consider carrying the largest caliber CC gun you can shoot well. That might even be something smaller then a 9 mm in some cases.
Yep 9mm's are awesome.
"The 18-year-old man who was killed in a shootout with city police last week was shot 27 times before police were able to incapacitate him, according to the Luzerne County coroner.'
It's purely a recoil issue and capacity issue for most people.. As anyone knows the higher the recoil the greater chance for missing quick follow-up shots.
As for bullet technology improving for the 9mm that's true but the same technology applies to the .40 S&W..
I prefer the 9mm because ballistics have improved and the greater capacity of the magazines. Who wouldn't want more rounds on target in a gunfight?
I'm curious - what improvements can you specify that have been applied to the modern 9mm, but not to the .40 S&W?
I believe the 9 was increased to max pressure loads while the 40 was designed around that.
the capacity difference is not really a factor. if 1 to 2 rounds is that much of an issue for you maybe you should carry a carbine. glock 19 15 rounds glock 23 13 so on that note its mote point
capacity of the magazines.??? what 1-2 rounds??? after about 12 rounds it becomes a moot issue if you cant get it done by then you need more practice or a different gun. the capacity thing just really is not what everyone makes it. they act like its 10 vs 17 when in most cases it 17 vs 15 or 15 vs 14 that is not a plus in my book for the power im giving up. and before you say the follow up shots faster. watch this video of paul harrell https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTTDgZZZFa0&t=3s
This article as some truth and also some different vision! First the FBI dumped the 40mm is not because the 9mm is better, but i's much cheaper then the 40mm for the FBI budget! Generally, an FBI agent will never used this gun in life time or maybe once! it was the statistic from the FBI itself! the 4omm was developed by the FBI and coming back to the 9mm was only the manner of used! Sure you can find some 9mm as powerful then 40mm but like you said on your article you need to pay the price and find them! I'm started with 357 mag and moved to 40mm in end of 90, and love my 40mm guns. I do have 9mm in gun competition but still using my 40mm for daily basis.
"40mm".......The FBI was packing grenade launchers for sidearms?
The FBI has SWAT teams in every major city. If the Miami Shootout happened now the robbers would be confronted with a team wearing kevlar, helmets and assault rifles, not the guys in tweed suits with .38 revolvers and 9mm pistols back in '86.
So- yeah- they issue 9 mm pistols to the accountants with badges and save a few million bucks a year, while improving shooting scores across the board.
What I really don't get is the Army - 9mm ball is still mediocre to bad- I guess they will issue hollow points to Special Forces, Hague be damned?
We never ratified the article of The Hague Convention they outlawed expanding projectiles for one, and two the wars we’ve been in for almost two decades in the Middle East are against non-uniformed combatants, who are not protected under The Hague or Geneva conventions.
Hornady won the FBI contract and there isn’t a price difference between the Critical Duty 40 cal & 9mm for law enforcement.
You should say 40cal instead of 40mm
You do realize its .40 caliber...not 40mm, right!
My first handgun was a .357 Magnum revolver, so when I purchased a Sig P320 in .40 S&W, I wasn’t overwhelmed by the recoil. It’s a matter of perspective, I suppose. I’ve since purchased my pistols in 9 mm mainly for the lower cost of training ammo. The 9’s definitely have less recoil, but gun frame size and material have an effect too. With the modularity of the P320 I can quickly switch between a 9 mm subcompact and a carry size .40 S&W maintaining the confidence that either will serve me well should a defensive situation ever arise. Hopefully it will not, but better to be prepared than prey. Both seem to do equally well punching holes in paper!
Same with me- I had a few .357's and even a J-frame .357 before I ever fired a .40. I thought the .40 was going to break my wrist from reading about it- no.
The key is- can you double tap a .40? I can- but the average FBI agent might not be able to.
Bah, shoot a 10mm and school all those fools.
This ridiculous article made me Unsubscribe. The 40 sw's ballistic superiority has been well-documented. Sorry not everyone can handle a pistol, especially college students masquerading as officers.
I'm mostly just kidding you, but it's pretty funny that your userid is Musashi, when you are expressing a preference in weaponry to the point you unsubscribed in anger. Musashi preached that to the greatest extent possible you should have no weapon preference--you should learn to and embrace using all effectively. Besides, there are more and less powerful cartridges, but a bullet is a bullet, and the one that reaches its target first usually (almost always) wins. They can all kill you, and the difference between .45/9mm/.40/.357/etc in a 'typical' self-defense situation usually doesn't matter at all except whether you can hit your target or not. A bullet is a bullet. Even the shitty/underpowered ones will kill you, if they hit you..
You make some great points that are irrelevant to this article. The article did not state "a bullet is a bullet", etc., but attempted to prove the 9mm is equal or superior to 40sw ( with new loads lol). While the 9mm is a better round to train with because of less recoil, the points illustrated in the article are supported by conjecture and fallacy, not ballistic or duty evidence. Training with different weapons was not the scope of this article. Do you really think Musashi thought the oar was superior to the sword, or that he would have told his students to choose it over one? The article and comments (except yours) were not discussing how effective a lesser weapon would be in the hands of someone well trained, which is another discussion entirely. Of, course a 9mm can be effective, just not as effective as the 40sw.
Ageeed. I’ve been carrying a .40 as a full time police officer for 22 years. The street “cred” the .40 has amassed is very good & very well documented. It’s had nearly 30 years of shooting baddies from federal, state, county & numerous municipal agencies. It’s in use by many international agencies too; from Canada to Australia. Now, the FBI comes along & announces the 9x19 mm is the best thing since sliced bread?
Time will tell how this new crop of 9mm wonderammo will fare in the real world. I however will keep my .40’s since they’ve worked for me in real shootings & I have seen with my own eyes the results of OIS’ involving the .40.
My riposte to the 9mm fanboys: “The laws of physics have yet to be repealed!”
Is it possible they will refine the ballistics of the .40 as well, similar to the 9mm? If so this debate could go back and forth for years.
Actually the advancements in the 9mm are a direct result of the advancements in .40 & .45. Ammo companies have been refining the two for the past two decades now because of their use in LE. So naturally they’ve applied that to their other cartridges; 9x19, .38 Spl, .357 mag etc.
Speer Gold Dots are a good example. Their cavities are designed around the bullet weight, velocity etc. the cavities in the different .40 cal bullets are visibly different from 155-180 gr. Same for the 9mm’s 115 to 147 gr loadings. Now, not every manufacturers bullet is the same. Some just make a hollow point in the same mold it appears & weight isn’t factored in ergo crappy performance in the real world.
Granted many ammo makers will focus time and energy in the 9mm since it’s resurgence in LE circles, but the tech applies to all calibers. The 9mm really has benifjted from its larger brothers testing over the years. Make an awesome .40/.45 bullet & just shrink it down & make the same in 9mm.
With that said however, I still don’t think that the 9mm is the answer to every problem. It has had many failures in the past. Some with catastrophic results. Will the new stuff pass muster? Maybe? We just don’t have enough data yet to say definitively. Like I posted previously, the .40 has a long track record with the .45 ACP right behind it. While the .40/.45’s are racking up shooting data from PD’s all over, the 9mm is playing second chair. But, they appears to be changing. So, we shall see.
Personally, I like bigger. & heavier. Bigger holes bleed faster.
A 17 year study conducted of actual police shootings place the .40 smith and the 357 mag in a tie for first place for one shot stops. 96% efficiency. 45acp is 92% with HST's. 9mm is 91%. a reference to this study can be found on IV8888 channel on youtube, gungripes episode 66. I have watched videos where the 9mm was mag dumped into someone by a cop, they didn't stop, they kept coming, took the cops gun and beat him near to death with it. the military says they want something bigger, more powerful because it just don't have what it needs. actual troops say this. not to long ago there was a move away from the 9 because it lacked sufficient power. The 9mm did not work so well for the nazis in ww2 either. My CZ P-09 in .40 is not snappy, very flat shooting, and with two round extensions i have 18 rounds total. the truth is 9mm is not all that and a bag of chips... try it out on large hogs if you think 9mm is GTG. might want to take a 40 or a 45 with you when you learn its not everything people are claiming it is now with all these wonderful advancements in bullet tech. Next time there is a major shooting people will be back and hopefully they will learn this time not to listen to the latest greatest statistics out there, especially the stats by agencies whos wrists are to limp to handle anything but the 9mm. train, do some push ups, train some more. get something that can stop the threat. There are tons of facts out there that show which agencies are just trying not to look bad for their poor choice because of a lack of ability to handle the big boy stuff.... those springs with handles you squeeze to gain wrist strength... they can help you too.
B. stated "The 9mm did not work so well for the nazis in ww2 either". That has to be one of the most moronic statements ever uttered on the interwebs (sic).
The reason for Germany losing WWII had much more to do with overextended logistics, destruction of their manufacturing base and internal political strife between the Nazi party and the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht than pistol round selection.
It (the 9mm Parabellum) actually served the Germans and British very well during WWII thank you very much.
If you want to talk about anemic WWII pistol rounds look no further than the Japanes 8x22 Nambu. But then again a couple of atomic bombs had more to do with the capitulation of Imperial Japan than their choice of pistol round.
I would also recommend watching Paul Harrell's recent video comparing 9mm to .40 S&W, if you truly believe these two rounds share comparable ballistics. As usual, Mr. Harrell does a great job of dispelling that notion, free from any bias or a lot of the histrionics prevalent on the more "tactical" channels.
Paul Harrel is the Bob Ross of gun videos, big fan of his work!
Also I found that in the highest shortage of the ammunition times 40s always seemed available w all others were gone but maybe that’s just around here
.40 will also be around as this is the limited division USPSA caliber of choice for competition
I'm interested if that will be the case though. USPSA normally makes rule changes to keep up with the times, especially when it comes to allowing police and military to use their service weapons. I wonder how long .40 S&W will stay widespread enough in that aspect for them to keep it in the rules or if they might change it after the FBI and most departments drop it.
People often debate “heavy and slow (.45)” vs “light and fast (9mm”. I prefer “heavy AND fast (.40).
I get bored as hell shooting 9mm all day at the range. Yeah, it’s a fine caliber, but it’s truly boring to shoot. I love my .40s for the more engaging training and target practice. With practice, my split times are almost the same in rapid fire, and with some guns I’m actually more accurate in the .40 version, oddly enough.
Sig SP2022 in .40 or XDM compact in .40 (my two carry guns) are both great guns which do a fine job dampening the .40s oft-maligned “snappiness”. As I mentioned before, I actually enjoy the moderately stronger kick of .40 for spicing up range sessions. And 11+1 in the gun and a 16 round spare mag gives you 28 rounds of .40 to make an assailant’s day get very bad, very quickly.
I have a sig 226 40 I like it because it's heavy enough to tone down recoil. I plan buy a 357 sig barrel which would give a 9mm gun with greater power. Having a 40 allows you do that buy just changing the barrel. I don't care for polymer guns like a glock. When I conceal carry I take my bersa 380.
Plus, if you initially buy a gun in .40, you can often get an aftermarket barrel for 9mm to shoot the cheaper range ammo. If you buy a 9mm, you generally can’t convert it to .40 without a new slide.
You could also get a .357 sig barrel, but I’ve always found .357 Sig to be a halfass measure. If you’re going to use a boutique, unsupported cartridge, why not go with 10mm and literally double your muzzle energy with full power loads? (I love 10mm)
People seem to love to cite all these advancements to the 9mm cartridge recently, but what are these advancements exactly? And more to the point,I would love to see a comprehensive list of what exactly the supposed "advancements" have been to the 9mm cartridge that, for some odd reason, haven't been applied to other cartridges, like the .40 S&W.
As for recoil? Trying shooting .40 out of something other than a plastic gun and your eyes might be opened. My Sig 229 .40 has no more recoil than a hot 9mm load.
The .40 continues to be a superior round, and I don't see how that can be argued. If someone has challenges with shooting it accurately, that's a different issue. But the ballistic differences are clear, even in the Lucky Gunner test cited in the article.
I have a Beretta 96A1. And yes it does shoot more gentle then the 3 plastic fantastic .40’s I have for ‘work’.
But I shoot them just fine too. ;).
Walther PPS M1 40. I own and have shot practically every single stack 9/40/45 to date with only a few exceptions(Boberg, kimber) and I can tell you from experience that the PPS is the best all around. You can customize the grip width and length, it has the best trigger, it’s very thin, recoil is very mild, it’s accurate, and dead nuts reliable. These are just my feelings on the matter. The s&w shield was my least favorite and I’ve since then had to modify 2 separate guns due to feeding issues. Poor quality control. The Kahr’s are nice, I’ve owned 2 in 40 and one in 9. They just don’t hold up as well as the walthers. Their recoil spring assembly is their weakness. The XD’s are my second choice, but require upgrades to make them favorable.
I'm relatively new to concealed carry. Still in the trial and error phase. I'm currently carrying a Glock 43 9mm. I like the concealability/minimal printing and weight. I previously carried the Sig P320 in .40 cal. I don't think the recoil is an issue. Plus, I'm of the philosophy that, given that I don't have much "tactical" training, I'd better make the first shot quick and accurate. So, I'd like to pack as much "wallop" into the first punch! At this point, I feel like "MY" optimal carry gun would be a larger caliber single stack. Is my thinking skewed? Interesting article though! Gave me some things to think about. Maybe I'll stick w/ the G43 a while. On that note, could someone PLEASE recommend a reliable G43 trigger shoe?!?
I’d strongly recommend trying out the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield in .40 or .45, if you’re looking for a higher power compact single stack. The Springfield XD-S would also be a fine option. No input on Glock parts, I’m personally not a Glock fan.
I would avoid putting aftermarket parts on our G43. Just use what’s on there, especially the trigger. The Vickers slide stop is a big upgrade from OEM & won’t void warranties etc. Glock doesn’t offer an OEM extended stop yet for the 42/43’s. My agency even allows the Vickers slide stop on both guns and they’re uptight about aftermarket stuff on guns. But, it’s a safety issue with the 42/43’s since the OEM stop is SO DAMN HARD to use.
As far as CCW? The G43 is a fine platform. I wouldn’t sweat the fact that it’s a 9mm. You are far more likely not to miss with that small of a gun in a manageable caliber. Glock was wise not to make a .40 version of that. It would be a real pain to control....and that’s coming from a .40 shooter.
The .P320 is a dang fine platform that lets you do the Mr Patato Head and switch around. Pretty cool really.. Obviously it will be much more manageable in the larger calibers. So you can do the subcompact version in .40 & still hit what you’re aiming at.
Practice practice practice & shoot the biggest thing you can handle.
if you want more power in a single stack easy to conceal and a good gun with cheap price, so if its not for you won't have much spent, try out the kahr arm guns. you can get a 40 or 45 in a little bit bigger gun but still smaller than most and in single stack. i said a little bigger as the more powerful round will be easier to control but they have them just as small as your block also
I understand this article is focused on the concept of self-defense in a US setting and intends to compare the two calibers on their own merits. However, if you live in another country (as I do) there may be many more reasons to go with .40 S&W (although they are not due to actual characteristics of the two rounds but rather legal issues):
- In some countries military calibers are forbidden for civilians. So your choice is between .40 or 9x21mm. While 9x21 effectively duplicates the performance of 9x19 it costs much more and self defense ammo is much more scarce than .40. So .40 might actually be cheaper and more easily avaible.
- In some countries you are only allowed to own a certain number of handguns but are allowed to own replacement barrels or slides for any of your guns in the same or a smaller caliber than what the original gun is. So you can go from .40 to 9mm (or .357 SIG for that matter) but not the oher way around.
- If there is a legal limit on mag capacity you might as well use a more powerful round, because you don't have to trade capacity for power.
- In some countries you are limited to a certain number of handguns but can exceed that number if you can prove that you need every single one of your handguns and the one you intend to buy next for different purposes. This is much simpler to prove if the guns you own and the one you want to buy are in different calibers because you can argue with different power factors in sports shooting or the use for differently sized game in hunting. If you can't prove that you need every one of them the authorities might 'ask' you to sell one of your handguns before you are allowed to buy another one. So a 9mm and a .40 may very well be the only way to own two pistols and also get that shiny nickel plated revolver you want so much.
- In some countries there are minimum barrel lengths or minimum dimensions for handguns to be civilian-legal. In most cases this rules out any single-stack 9mm pistols and in some cases even anything smaller than a full size handgun. In a full size pistol the harsher recoil of the .40 is a lesser issue than in a compact or sub-compact handgun.
So, now you know how lucky you are to be able to just compare the actual characteristics of the rounds and not think about all the legal issues and options one round might give you over the other.
One need not live in a different country to face misguided restrictions. For those of us living in rabidly anti-firearms states, we are restricted to 10 rounds. This results on a choice of which caliber you want 10 of. Since capacity is often touted as one of 9mm advantages, it is negated by the state limits. While expansion is similar, albeit not equal (the best 40s&w and 45acp will expand quite a bit more than 9mm and in HST may be cheaper), if a round does not expand as designed because of barrel length or whatever, the hole from 40 and 45 will be bigger. So if it’s all about recoil than a heavier gun firing 40s&w, e.g. Sig p229, or a p227 firing 45acp, will not be difficult to shoot.
That's probably the best argument I've heard for 40 S&W. I prefer 9mm myself but if I lived in a state that restricted magazine capacity I would definitely be carrying a .40 S&W for defense.
I appreciate the article . I have been taking classes with ITTS (www.internationaltactical.com).. The instructors are :LAPD SWAT - past and present. According to the ITTS instructors, the amount of time LAPD officers spend at the pistol range as police cadets is surprising small. In the opinion of the ITTS instructors, the amount of time allocated to firearms proficiency is not adequate for the cadets to use their firearms capably when they become full fledged officers in the field..
Our ITTS instructors stated the police (not only LAPD but officers nationwide) hit their target only 13% of the time. If the police can't hit their target with the 1st shot, the caliber of the round and the recoil it generates should be less of a concern than the fact that we have an overwhelming number of police officers who can't shoot straight.
The above is also true of the general population - their proficiency is worse than law enforcement. T
Very well said. You can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight. Training and shot placement trumps caliber.
When your target is armed and shooting back your aim is not as good. Sure, more training would be great but if you think the Police can't hit their targets look at the militaries #'s.
For me, the recoil of the 40 is very similar to that of premium 9mm and quite acceptable. I prefer .40 because the reloading process is easier and when reloading, the .40 tends to be less finicky to case length. This last point alone is enough for me to shun the 9mm.
Great point on the reloading aspect, I only reload .40 and .45 for semi auto handguns, 9mm is a bit of a pain, plus cheap ammo is everywhere. I do agree that the .40 is super easy to learn to reload, it was the first cartridge I started loading.
Agree but major and minor power factor in competitive shooting matters!
There was a lot of science left out of this article. Try doing the same test using all one type of ammunition? How about Underwood?
I might’ve missed it, but +p rounds cause more wear and tear. So if you’re not worried about longevity, then you’re good. I like both rounds myself. Odds are you’re not gonna go though more than one magazine in the a self-defense situation, in either 9mm or .40 Cal. Carriy extra mags... I use Underwood ammunition. Underwood extreme defense or extreme penetrators work better than all the ammunition you tested in this article. ✌
He showed the price of the ammo and two of the three 9mm's were +P. That might more recoil, just use a .40S&W. Lol
Only reason anyone would choose 9mm over 40 is bcuz there not strong enough to handle the recoil. There are few options to upgrade gun parts to reduce recoil but if u cant afford or not strong enough then yes go to the 9mm and good luck stopping those high drug fuled criminals trying to hurt you an your family.
Use what you have, I have carried a .45 for the majority of 39 years as deputy sheriff, during that time I have also carried a 9mm and a .40 and always felt under armed. If you practiice with a .45 you can handle it and I only three fingers on my shooting hand, so practice.
I’m really strong and cannot shoot .40 accurately at all. 6’1 285lbs and it’s kick is too much. Rubbed the skin off my thumb.
As far as 40s&w fitted Glock and Smith M&P pistols are criticized as harsh recoil when compared to 9mm:;those are light weight and are not the best choice for the cartridge. Sig Sauer's P226 on the other hand is rock solid handling and accuracy. The P226 was designed for the 40s&w (and 357Sig) whereas the Glock & Smith were slightly modified 9mm. The police and military decisions to abandon 40's and 357Sig the reasons were ecomomic and some cases poliitcal. The Texas DPS has switched to Sig P320 9mm, which is a fine pistol, from the much more powerful 357Sig P226/P229 and dosen't make sense except for budget constraints.
Honestly I don't know how I feel about the .40 mostly because the only pistols, other than my vp9, I've shot have been compact concealed carry options... For the most part. I've shot lots of CCW weapons in different formats and various calibers. In my experience 9mm has been this happy medium that just works. Follow ups are easy and the ballistic data don't lie! Besides that moving into the military and being fimiliar with the round my pistol record is perfect. 9mm is probably one of my favorite rounds to train with and it delivers down range. Plus always having more than enough ammo to get the job done is great. If we're going to be honest capacity is probably my main reason for my love affair with the round. I can shoot large cailber with ease and be an effective shooter but 9 .45 vs 17 9mm I'm going with more heat for sure.
most 9mm and 40 are 1-2 rounds different. most have 12+. if you cant get it done with 12+ you need more practice or a bigger gun. in most 9mm and 40 cal the rounds are 17 vs 15 and 15 vs 14 so the more rounds is a moot point. its not worth to me trading the power for 1 or 2 rounds. physics dont lie the 9mm will never be as good as the 40. and if those 2 rounds are so important to you, you need more practice any gun with 12+ is more than enough
It was interesting to read this article, and timely, as I just shot a Glock in 40 on Friday. I have been shooting for about 44 years.(Not counting the Army) . I had NEVER shot a Glock and never shot a 40. Not for any reason. It just never came up. A good friend was at the range with me and asked if I wanted to shoot the Glock / 40 pairing. I did. I have to tell you that I didn't like it even a little. I shot it fine. It was accurate. But, I just didn't like it! It produced a big kick. Not such a big deal. BUT, I wouldn't want to spend a pleasurable day at the range shooting that combination. I understand that its purpose is not paper punching. And I also understand what its real purpose is. But for me as a recreational shooter who carries a 9, or a .380 it was just too much.
I ended up buying the 23 and adding a conversion barrel, recoil spring and a couple of mags for under $200, $500 total and I have yet to have a failure with the 9mm setup and enjoy the option of both calibers. Not sure if you can go up to the .40 from the 9 platform though?
You'd need a .40 slide to do it.
I'm somewhat of an enthusiast but I have to be practical as well. At some point I decided that I had just too many calibers; 13 at one time. It was impractical to keep ammo for all of them. Being an early adopter of the 40 S&W it was a bit of a stretch form me to retire my three 40 S&W Glocks and replace them with four 9mm Glocks. When the 40 S&W was introduced I worked in the same building as Ed Sanow and read everything I could get my hands on regarding ballistics from folks like Ed and Evan Marshall. At the time, the 40 S&W was superior. Remember though that it was getting all the attention. My first Glock in 40 S&W was a problem (remember, I was and early adopter). I returned it to Glock with a drawing and two page description fo the problem. When I followed up with them they said 'oh, your the guy with the drawing'. Anyway, they thanked me and replaced my pistol and it was problem free from that point forward. I was invested in the 40 S&W. Fast forward to today and all the evidence points to there being little if any difference between the 9mm and 40 S&W. 9mm practice ammo is the least expensive centerfire ammo I can buy so I don't hesitate to practice. There is a huge variety of pistols available in 9mm from small pistols that fit easily in your pocket to a full sized pistol that has plenty of capacity (not to mention a variety of carbines). If you love the 40 that's ok. I like it too. Just don't bash the 9mm. If you carry one or the other and you can hit your target then you are well armed.
One of the "deciding" factors for the FBI was that in particular female agents could not deal with the recoil of .40. It is a bureaucracy that forced an answer to satisfy a political need. Agent can't qualify, agent can't do their job, can't do your job, can't compete with the male agents who are keeping you from that SAC position you deserve without a waiver. That leads to very uncomfortable discussion related to "Why does she get a waiver? We all should get waivers!"
The Army did not accept the .40 because 9mm is the NATO standard and we already pushed the 5.56 standard on our allies. That is all simply logistics.
Ballistics for the 9mm improved because the armed forces of the above countries are always looking for a better way to do with what you have. No LE Agency can compete with that kind of R&D. The .40 is still quite good now, and with further research it would again outpace the 9mm. That is unlikely to happen.
From what I’ve read about the 1986 Miami-Dade shooting, you are correct in stating that the FBI decided that the 9mm was inadequate as a a caliber for EDC for their Special Agents. The FBI did a study and performed a “shoot-off” between the 9mm, the .45 caliber, and the newly emerged 10mm. If I’m correct in my memory the only 10mm out at the time was the fine Dornus snd Dixon 10mm. The FBI really didn’t care what weapons they used as they were only studying the terminal ballistics of the 3 different rounds. There was never any serious consideration given to the Dornus and Dixon 10mm.
Once the FBI decided on the 10mm as their new duty caliber they then performed another “shoot-off” for determination of the actual weapon, which Smith and Wesson won. It was only after deploying the 10mm in the field for number of years that they determined that the 10mm was too “hot” for some Special Agents to reliably shoot with, hence another study and the development of the .40, which is the same caliber as the 10mm but a shorter cartridge case and different powder.
I like my .40 but have been switching to 9mm for reasons mentioned in article. While I could care less about recoil I cannot deny physics. A 9mm will be faster for the second shot every time. Bigger boom bigger movement off target. That said for someone purchasing a gun for home defense rather than as a hobby there is no better value than a glock .40 police trade in. Very reliable, high capacity magazines and a proven performed against human targets.
I'm an older disabled Marine living in a declining area of town and can't afford to move. I'm still mobile thankfully and when I need to head out for errands or groceries, in-transit on city streets is my main concern for my conceal carry weapon given the zombies I encounter, too common carjackings, in-vehicle robberies, etc..
I have the requirement my carry gun have the power to penetrate a car door or safety glass and retain enough energy to do it's job and get me home alive. For me - at my age and orthopedic concerns I do not carry a .45 any more. I'm a large guy so handling the recoil of the .40 doesn't seem to be much of an issue.
Everything I've seen indicates the Hornady ..40 Critical Duty (not Critical Defense) retains more energy for barrier penetration than a 124gr 9MM +P, and with my military discount can get an entire brick of the .40 Hornady Critical Duty from Buds for $219. I recall the 9MM +P was the same cost.
The Hornady Critical DUTY is made to have superior barrier penetration and great pains were taken to construct the round to do so and retain it's weight and still expand some. Their web site has an excellent explanation for you.
The Critical Duty is an acceptable blend of expansion and exceptional barrier penetration, necessary for car doors and safety glass, .
For unobstructed shots or soft barriers like drywall a 9MM is likely everything Eric suggests with the advantage of superior second shot acquisition. For extra oomph for more difficult to penetrate barriers I prefer the .40, and I do own a 9MM and .45.
It's very rare I see a professional article anywhere on barrier penetration with emphasis on vehicles, but there are some good efforts shown on YouTube. Maybe Eric could put that on his list of articles to consider.
Person to person a 9MM +P is probably the ticket, but I can't carry two guns when I'm out.
Best to all you shooters.
I like both. I spent too much time and money to just chunk my 40s out because they finally got the ballistics with the 9. I’ve shot 40 for years with no problem but I enjoy 9 too. I think everyone should get what they can handle and enjoy themselves. People complain about the kick so don’t use it. I use a S&W 460 for fun so don’t knock it if you can’t handle it just enjoy what you got.
It seems you are very knowledgeable and do a lot of research, so it puzzles me why you constantly mention lucky gunner. His prices are high and after some of the mass shootings his prices were ridiculous. There are several internet sites where Fed HST is $19 for 50 rounds and some offer free shipping if you buy a case, sgammo and targetsportsusa are just two of them... yet you never mention them, just Brownells and lucky gunner. Do they offer you kickbacks for mentioning their name?
I have owned 4 9mm pistols and sold each one. One 9 mm was an H&K P9S and was very accurate. I own 1 40 cal and it is not going anywhere. I can shoot the 40 cal very well and it is a daily carry. It is a Sig. Ammo price is not a challenge due to my liking the 40 ca. I train with it weekly.
Personal bias aside each shooter needs to honestly evaluate their own skills and abilities. As a firearm instructor I can manage the recoil of a ..40 but I shoot 3 times per week to maintain and improve my skills. I personally would be less willing to train as much because the recoil of the 40 would be more punishing than a 9mm. The cost and the capacity of my 9mm EDC are factors. in my choice. My research suggests that if I could only hit an attacker with on bullet I would prefer the 40 but the key is having the ability to hit an attacker enough times and in the right places to do enough damage to stop him/her. I believe I have as good a chance with my 9mm to stop an attacker as I would with a 40 and because I train more and shoot more with a 9mm and I have a better chance of having the skill to hit the attacker.
I would like to have seen the 40 ballistics gel results with say a 135 or 150 grain bullet with the 40. My research shows that an Underwood 135 grain 40 cal. has 675 ft.lbs of energy, at 1500 fps. The same brand 9mm in a 115 grain bullet has 501 ft.lbs of energy at 1400 fps. That is a HUGE 35% higher impact energy for the 40! Nope, sorry, there IS no comparison. I think it is a huge mistake to mandate a weapon for use force or department wide, just because a few pansies cannot handle the recoil of the 40 cal. I have a Glock 23c, and the recoil is virtually no different from a typical G-19 (same frame and slide as a 23c) with a hot +p load. The compensator on the 23c helps significantly with getting back on target quickly), and looks cool, too!
But you are pushing that 9mm to the breaking point (+P+) to get 1400 fps.
Never matter. I just stick with the .45 ACP. No problems, no questions asked. 3.3" XDS.
I've owned and carried .40 for almost 17yrs! I believe that it's better than 9mm and .45. It's bigger than 9, with more power, and it has more power and capacity than a .45! I also believe that the only reason the FBI switched is because new recruits and even veterans of shooting that didn't practice much have harder times with .40 follow up shots. It's definitely not because the 9 is better, or even equal to, the larger, more powerful .40. The power and size of .40 trumps the 9 in all respects! That being said, I agree that new shooters and those that don't practice often should go with the 9, because shot placement trumps power and size!!! Shot placement is KING! My 2 cents...
So I guess actual scientific data and FBI reasons mean nothing to you. .45 colt is an even bigger bullet, so does that make it better than the .40 in your view?. Just wondering how many actual shootings you have been involved in to support your statements
Please tell me what "scientific data' demonstrates that the two rounds are ballistically equal? I've looked at quite a few tests, and in every one of them, the .40 comes out on top.
As for the FBI choice being an indicator of anything, I would take that with a grain of salt.
That's not what he's saying. You should learn to comprehend what you're reading. He specifically says that .40 S&W is better than .45, because you can fit more in a magazine, but I guess you must have missed that part. What you're also not thinking of is that government agencies are budget driven. Facts don't always enter into their decision making process, and they have been known to fudge the numbers to justify their actions. The FBI statistics are meaningless, if they aren't true.