9mm vs .40 S&W: Is Bigger Always Better?

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?

Maybe.

This Day Meme

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).

Handgun Caliber Smallest to Largest
Handgun Caliber Smallest to Largest

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

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.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.


The short version of the end result of the shooting: the .40 S&W was created because the FBI felt their 9mm jacketed hollow point rounds were underpowered and contributed to the agents’ deaths in Miami.

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.

Not really
Sorry .380 ACP, your day still hasn’t come yet.

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?

Anybody’s guess.

The US Army entertained the idea of switching their sidearm over to the .40 S&W, but ultimately stuck with the trusty ol’ 9mm.

Glock 22 in Olive Drab
Glock 22 in Olive Drab

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.

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.

Ammo Price

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.

9mm Cartridges

.40 S&W Cartridges

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.

Knock-Down Power

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.

Shooting the popular 124 Grain HST JHP by Federal Premium
Shooting the popular 124 Grain HST JHP by Federal Premium

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.

.40 S&W 180 gr JHP Winchester Train & Defend
.40 S&W 180 gr JHP Winchester Train & Defend

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.

Pawn Stars Meme

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.

angry comments

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!

122 Leave a Reply

  • Billy Monroe

    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?

    1 second ago
  • Michael

    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.

    2 weeks ago
  • Doc1911

    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.

    2 weeks ago
  • Todd Brenner

    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.

    1 month ago
  • James Ryan

    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

    1 month ago
  • CAMERON

    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

    1 month ago
  • Rane

    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.

    1 month ago
  • Chris Canaski

    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.

    1 month ago
  • Paul

    Well Brandon, 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.

    1 month ago
  • Roger

    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.

    2 months ago
  • Oz

    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.

    3 months ago
    • CAMERON L SIMMONS

      Same here!

      1 month ago
  • Daniel Wilson

    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.

    3 months ago
  • zondo

    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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LTTDgZZZFa0

    3 months ago
  • Pablo Birriel

    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.

    3 months ago
    • Rane

      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.

      1 month ago
  • Doug Purintun

    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.

    4 months ago
    • Tom Kirkpatrick

      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. Tom

      2 months ago
  • 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.

    4 months ago
    • Rane

      Too True

      1 month ago
  • Larry

    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

    4 months ago
  • Craft

    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!

    4 months ago
    • Full Metal Sweater

      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.

      4 months ago
  • Flight Medic

    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.

    4 months ago
  • Hugh Jorgan

    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.

    4 months ago
    • Rane

      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.

      1 month ago
  • L.L. Smith

    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.

    5 months ago
    • Rane

      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.

      1 month ago
  • Vince

    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 !

    6 months ago
  • Pablo

    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.

    7 months ago
    • Rane

      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.

      1 month ago
  • NickTheEnforcer

    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...

    7 months ago
  • Mac daddy

    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

    7 months ago
    • Rane

      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

      1 month ago
  • Bruce Davis. Chief of Police (retired)

    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.

    9 months ago
    • Full Metal Sweater

      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.

      4 months ago
    • Juan duran

      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.

      7 months ago
      • Don Juan

        Bullshit

        2 months ago
      • Full Metal Sweater

        "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.

        4 months ago
      • Heywood Jablomee

        Oh my gosh, Juan...that's awful. I hope you were still able to deliver the cocaine in a timely manner,

        4 months ago
      • Shaun

        Shot 14 times?! I gotta hear the story

        7 months ago
  • Patrick

    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.

    9 months ago
  • Edge

    I have never seen a 9mm with 500 LB of muzzel energy. case closed.

    9 months ago
    • Rane

      Underwood makes a load that slightly creeps past the 500 FPE mark. But 40 goes well past the 600 FPE. I get your point.

      1 month ago
  • Edge

    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!

    9 months ago
  • Robert

    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. ☺

    9 months ago
  • Kevin

    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

    10 months ago
  • Miller

    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.

    11 months ago
  • John

    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.'

    1 year ago
  • Notpinto

    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?

    1 year ago
    • joe

      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

      6 months ago
    • sean

      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

      1 year ago
    • Hammer

      I'm curious - what improvements can you specify that have been applied to the modern 9mm, but not to the .40 S&W?

      1 year ago
      • George

        I believe the 9 was increased to max pressure loads while the 40 was designed around that.

        9 months ago
  • Guy Hulin

    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.

    1 year ago
    • Rodney

      You do realize its .40 caliber...not 40mm, right!

      7 months ago
    • Justin

      10mm buddy

      9 months ago
    • Lawrence Pohl

      You should say 40cal instead of 40mm

      10 months ago
    • Josh

      Hornady won the FBI contract and there isn’t a price difference between the Critical Duty 40 cal & 9mm for law enforcement.

      11 months ago
    • Mastro

      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?

      11 months ago
      • Jared

        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.

        9 months ago
    • Notpinto

      "40mm".......The FBI was packing grenade launchers for sidearms?

      1 year ago
  • Kevin

    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!

    1 year ago
    • Mastro

      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.

      11 months ago
  • For Reals?

    Bah, shoot a 10mm and school all those fools.

    1 year ago
  • Musashi

    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.

    1 year ago
    • PR24

      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!”

      1 year ago
    • Hagakure

      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..

      1 year ago
      • Musashi

        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.

        9 months ago
  • BGarrett

    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.

    1 year ago
    • PR24

      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.

      1 year ago
  • B.

    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.

    1 year ago
    • Full Metal Sweater

      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.

      4 months ago
  • Hammer

    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.

    1 year ago
    • David

      Paul Harrel is the Bob Ross of gun videos, big fan of his work!

      1 year ago
  • SJaggard

    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

    1 year ago
  • Gschroeder

    .40 will also be around as this is the limited division USPSA caliber of choice for competition

    1 year ago
    • David

      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.

      1 year ago
  • Connor H

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Sidney

    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.

    1 year ago
    • Connor H

      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)

      1 year ago
  • Hammer

    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.

    1 year ago
    • Rane

      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.

      1 month ago
    • pr24

      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. ;).

      1 year ago
  • Jim M.

    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?!?

    1 year ago
    • joe

      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

      6 months ago
    • Pr24

      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.

      1 year ago
    • Connor H

      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.

      1 year ago
  • Jul Jan

    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.

    1 year ago
    • Leon

      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.

      1 year ago
      • Notpinto

        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.

        1 year ago
  • James Dionne

    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

    1 year ago
    • Notpinto

      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.

      1 year ago
    • Connor H

      Very well said. You can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight. Training and shot placement trumps caliber.

      1 year ago
  • John Benediktson

    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.

    1 year ago
    • Connor H

      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.

      1 year ago
  • SJaggard

    Agree but major and minor power factor in competitive shooting matters!

    1 year ago
  • Steve Kelly

    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. ✌

    1 year ago
  • Joel Towle

    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

    1 year ago
  • Real deal

    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.

    1 year ago
    • Dan Boyd

      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.

      1 year ago
    • Mike Bardone

      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.

      1 year ago
  • MickeyM

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Austin Porterfield

    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.

    1 year ago
    • joe

      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

      6 months ago
  • Duke Aquaro

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Steelhead

    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?

    1 year ago
    • Brent M Berman

      You'd need a .40 slide to do it.

      5 months ago
  • George Byrns

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Vandal6

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Gregory Falzetta

    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.

    1 year ago
  • JIm B

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Big Hammer

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Dave

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Robert Mccallum

    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?

    1 year ago
  • John Cavanaugh

    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.

    1 year ago
  • John Woodward

    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.

    1 year ago
  • Bill G

    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!

    1 year ago
  • Marion

    Never matter. I just stick with the .45 ACP. No problems, no questions asked. 3.3" XDS.

    1 year ago
  • Maggot4lyf

    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...

    1 year ago
    • Robert Mccallum

      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

      1 year ago
      • Hammer

        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.

        1 year ago
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