I have one 40, my Glock 22 Gen4.
I'm not a huge fan of the round, but every department around here (including the one I've signed the conditional hire for) use it, so I picked it up about two years ago to practice with.
Once the department pays for the ammo, I'll be golden. I may even sell my personal one. My friend has been trying to get me to sell it to her once she graduates from the Border Patrol academy...no idea why, since she'll be issued an HK, but to each their own.
As is your right.
You did leave out .357 Magnum, which I carried for 13 consecutive years, well into the wondernine era. I switched to 9mm - then added 45 ACP. .357 Magnum is a cartridge that still overshadows pretty much every commonly available .40 S&W load.
Never saw a need for .40 S&W - and regardless of the FBI 'desire' and resultant arrival of it - developments in bullet technology, especially in 9mm, are having the .40 S&W obsolesce notably. Even at the FBI.
Which is the topic of this thread, correct? Lessened interest?
Lot's of LE .40 S&W turn-ins showing up as of late. Great prices. Not saying it's going away, but the popularity - and contracts for platforms in the caliber - are diminishing.
Walks down memory lane are refreshing, but the 'answer' they received - is not quite the 'answer' today. Some of us noted that, even back then. Now others are.
The SIG P226 in .40 S&W was my last duty pistol before I retired and faded off into the sunset. I like the .40 S&W, reload for it, find it fun and accurate to shoot and was comfortable with it for self defense. The .40 S&W is still the most often carried duty round by law enforcement in my area, including the state police.
"Don't Tread On Me"
I found that reloading for the .40S&W was less than stellar. 9mm and .45acp is easy.....you could load up soft, heavy bullet weights or ultra light fast bullets and accuracy was always exceptional even with mediocre powders. With the .40S&W....not so much. I attribute the accuracy problems to the tight case space which causes pressure spikes in heavier bullet weights. Even with using the ideal medium burn rate match grade powders like Vihtavuori, longer and heavier bullets were very finicky about accuracy. 180gr FMJs would run well at standard velocities due to the harder jacket, but soft copper plated 180gr bullets needed to be slowed down otherwise the rifling would strip the jacket off causing keyholes. Hard cast 180gr bullets running a brinnell hardness of around 21 did fine. It was pretty difficult to get 180gr Speer Gold Dots to shoot reasonably accurately, due to the longer length of the bullet which played havoc with operating pressures. It took a lot of tweaking just to keep those 180gr Gold Dots from keyholing. Even then seasonal temperature changes effected the pressures and accuracies of the loads.
I prefer running heavier bullet weights in my calibers, so for the reloading annoyances alone I don't like shooting .40S&W anymore. 9mm and .45acp are much more enjoyable for me to shoot and reload. I can run 9mm and .45acp with soft cast wheel weights if I want, or ultra hard bismuth alloys. Just so much more versatility in those calibers, and their shooting characteristics are much better in my opinion. My woods load for my P239 9mm is my own hardcast 150gr+P flat-nose bullet at 1025fps from a 3.6" barrel.
I never print the exact loads that I use personally but for target shooting, I prefer the lighter, Berry's or Rainier, plated bullets in 155 or 165 grain FN and fast burning powders, usually at starting loads or just above, according to the data listed in whatever reloading manual I am using. Accuracy with my own loads have been as good or better than some of the factory stuff I have shot. I use factory only ammo for carry or anything serious.
I too, have gravitated to the 9mm for most of my centerfire pistol shooting, just because it is less expensive and my EDC pistol is a SIG P938.
"Don't Tread On Me"
I also have a P229 in 9mm, and a P227. But it's the P229 in .40S&W that's my EDC.
I like the 40 too, though I have others. Back in October my H&K 40 was with me as a CC gun then in the bush while Elk hunting.
Bought my first handgun in 2006 when I joined the forum. Decided on a P239 in .40. Picked up a P226 in .40 off GB a few years ago...Some LE trade in...looked great and was $390. I picked up reloading almost 3 years ago and I now have several thousand rounds of .40 brass and .40 projectiles. Don't see a real big reason to switch.
Now, I may add a 9 at some point, but I doubt I'd give up .40.
Plus, when someone asks me what caliber I shoot I say, fo-tay. Nein just doesn't have the same ghetto ring to it.
I own and have carried .40 S&W caliber HK USPs (full sized and Compact models), Glocks (Model 27, 23 (my favorite), and 22/34 (Conversion kit upper)), and a Sig P239. They are all straightforward, accurate, and serviceable pistols for defensive purposes. A few weeks ago, I acquired my first 1911 in .40 S&W, this Springfield Armory EMP4. Its the best shooting of any of my .40s and I've got to admit that the grip (designed specifically for 9mm/.40 caliber magazines) is probably more comfortable than those on my .45 caliber 1911s. I carry this loaded up with Federal 165 grain HSTs. Its a great combination.
"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
is that 1911 off roster? She's pretty.
Yes, it is. Fortunately, I've got a parent living out of state who plays Santa to me every Christmas time. One of the few exceptions to our stupid firearms restrictions in CA.
"I'm not fluent in the language of violence, but I know enough to get around in places where it's spoken."
Seems like too much violence of recoil for the balistic output. That said, I do like it for plinking in my S&W 610.
"The days are stacked against what we think we are." Jim Harrison
A LGS here gave me a similar response when I was looking for a Glock 23. That said, I like my 9mm's, they're soft shooting and accurate. I also like my .45's, comfortable to shoot and very accurate. Then there's the .40. I find if there's a .40 in the stable, I tend to drift in it's direction when grabbing something to carry, whether for all day or a quick trip to the store. It's just a caliber I've come to be very comfortable with and shoot well.
So, you're far from alone.
The best defense is a good offense, and I'm really offensive.
Just traded for my first Glock and it is in .40 (my first in that caliber).
A very lightly used Gen 3 Glock 23.
|Purveyor of Death |
I got a barsto 9mm conversion barrel for my P229 and P226. Cheaper than buying a new gun.
I've got a Sig P226 steel frame in .40. The heft of the gun soaks up the .40 recoil. I really like .40 as a cartridge, but it seems everybody hates it now as if somehow it became obsolete.
All calibers have their place.
New to the forum, but a .40 fan. I have lots of other calibers too, but like the versatility of converting to .357 SIG ( my favorite carry caliber).
I'm not sure of all the talk about recoil. I'm not nearly an expert, but have taught my daughters (now 18&20) on a .40. With good fundamentals, they have turned into pretty decent shots. One likes my Sig 229, the other my Glock 22
This prompted some musing on the matter and got me to wondering when recoil in common defensive handguns became the overriding issue in cartridge selection.
Over 50 years ago when I was still in my teens, I started closely following the debates about the only two reasonably common autoloading defensive cartridges of the era, the 9mm Luger and 45 ACP. Those discussions ultimately led me to buy a Browning Hi Power just before I left for Vietnam and as the clouds of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets [and gun rights infringement] Act were forming on the horizon.
Although I’ve always been a bit of a contrarian and attracted to the things the herds avoid and that was part of the reason for my preference of the 9mm over the 45, what really struck me about the Hi Power was its amazing magazine capacity: 13(!) rounds, or nearly twice the 1911’s seven (if 1911 mags that held more than seven were available in those days I was unaware of the fact), and far more than even the P38’s eight.
There were of course the conflicting claims about ballistic effectiveness: 0.451" was so much larger than 0.355", but the latter had a major velocity advantage (I became a high velocity fan at an early age thanks to my father, a WWII veteran and life-long hunter). What no one ever talked about in comparing the two cartridges, though, was the difference in recoil and split speeds. The lack of discussion about split times was of course understandable because no one tracked such things back then, or even had the ability to do so. The lack of concern about differences in felt recoil, however, was somewhat stranger because there is an obvious difference.
Was that lack of concern about recoil due to the differences in how people used their pistols in those days or was it because manly men (it was also mostly men in those days) didn’t complain about such things?
As time went on and the 9mm finally entered the mainstream some years later, the 45/9 debates intensified, but they were usually centered on their supposed differences as man-stoppers and pistol magazine capacity differences. I don’t recall reading or hearing much if anything about recoil differences. Recoil evidently become an issue only after the FBI’s adoption of the 10mm Auto cartridge following the 1986 Miami disaster. At the time the 10mm was a very stout load even when fired from large all-steel pistols, and that led to first the reduced-load 10mm and then to the 40 S&W.
With the development and widespread adoption of the 40 S&W, again it seemed as if all concerns about handgun recoil faded from the gun community’s consciousness. Debates about ballistic effectiveness and the “wonder nines” with their ever-increasing magazine capacities held center stage. Many shooters and law enforcement agencies were, however, taken by what seemed to be an attractive compromise. The 40 S&W’s effectiveness (at least in theory) was praised by many gun gurus due to its velocity and larger bullet than the 9mm’s, but also because it fit into wonder nine-sized guns without much loss of magazine capacity. But again I never saw much discussion of recoil.
And magazine capacity became an even more important factor at the start of the Dark Decade (DD) in 1994 when magazines for the lower classes were limited by Federal law to holding 10 rounds. At the stroke of a pen the wonder nines became less wonderful overnight. Throughout the DD it was often noted by gun periodical commentators that with all magazines limited to 10 rounds, defensive handguns were more likely to be purchased in 40 S&W or even 45 ACP because the larger, more powerful rounds didn’t impose any capacity handicaps. You could buy a handgun that held 10+1 9mm cartridges or the same number of a more powerful (and presumably more effective) round. There still wasn’t much if any discussion of recoil differences.
In recent years the 9mm has of course made a popularity comeback. Some say it’s because we supposedly have better 0.355" bullets that make the cartridge’s wound ballistics as effective as those of its more powerful contemporaries in the defensive pistol lineup. There is, unfortunately, no way to judge the validity of such claims because no one to my knowledge has put the question to any sort of scientifically valid research and analysis in recent times. Anecdotes of the, “The XYZ department uses the ABC round and is happy with it,” sort are nothing more than just-so stories to comfort the ignorant.
What isn’t just a claim, though, is that most 9mm loads produce less recoil than its more powerful rivals (that is, after all, part of what “more powerful” means), and that brings me back to the start of all this. When I decided to equip certain shooters with 9mm P226s rather than P220s that they were originally issued, I did factor recoil into the process, but not as a very important consideration. The many new shooters (often women) I’ve trained generally have not had problems coping with the recoil of the 45 ACP. They don’t, of course, compete in contests whose outcomes are decided by fractions of seconds, so by “coping” I mean that they can fire guns like the P220 accurately and as fast as they need to for defensive purposes. What many such shooters can’t do well, however, is cope with the stiff recoil spring of the 220 when cycling the slide for disassembly or for reloads or clearing malfunctions.
I am a much more experienced shooter and can fire a 9mm SIG faster than one chambered for 357, 40, or 45, but only slightly, and certainly not enough faster for me to choose one as a defensive weapon over my P226s, P229s, and P320 chambered for 357 SIG. And because 357 is scarce and expensive, virtually all of my handgun training is with the 40 S&W. Whether a shot split is 0.33 second or 0.28 second (or even 0.35 v. 0.25) matters in long gun game strings, but not in a defensive shooting.
And welcome to the forum, DitchDoctor911.
(I am curious about your user name.)
“Most men … can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it … would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions … which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their lives.”
— Leo Tolstoy
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I've typed a reply three times, and deleted it each time at the risk of sounding snarky, because it just did not come off right. That is not my intention.
The idea that the difference in splits do not matter in defensive shooting is a red herring at best. It does matter. We tend to cling to metrics that prove our point, despite the truth being otherwise. There is a difference in the calibers.
Square range capabilities carry little metric in real life defensive encounters. To say that "in a gunfight" this or that gives us a major disservice.
A skilled practitioner can say that there is very little difference in the calibers. That is what makes us skilled. We understand the fine detail in technique, understand the difference in results oriented shooting and process oriented shooting. But, to say that somehow that negates the fact there is a difference between the calibers is wrong.
Is there a practical difference in splits between a .25 and .35? Yes, one is faster. I keep hearing really good instructors say "I have never seen a timer in a gunfight", to which I counter "I have yet to hear a single gunfight survivor say "You know, I wish I could have scored hits slower and drug out that fight". Using the metric of "theres very little difference" is hugely misleading and has little to do with value. Performance based evaluations are good. However, we can't get wrapped around the axle about them. And I am a big splits guy.
If you believe that there is no practical difference in calibers, follow up shots, etc do this one simple thing for me.
Stay up 24 hours. Lay on the ground on your side. Place the gun in your weak hand. Have another shooter step on your sack. Fire five rounds for time and accuracy at a head box at 12 yards. Now, repeat that with a 9mm and report back on how huge he difference is.
Square range theatrics have little bearing on real world encounters. People talk about the "average" gunfight with great pride. 1-3 feet, 1-3 rounds, 1-3 seconds as if it is the holy grail. If that is the fight they are training for, all of this is academic. Any monkey can stare at the target at that distance and slap off four or five shots with NO skill. So easy a caveman can do it. If you want to get "average", the "average" gunfight never happens. So, if you truly want to be "average" there is no reason to carry a gun at all. Because that is truly "average" in the US. But, somehow, that "average" fight seeming becomes the bedrock of so much discussion. And it is flawed. Average is no fight at all. Beyond that nothing is average.
Gunfights rarely occur when we are expecting them. Rarely, if ever, do we get out of bed in morning and say "you know, I think I'm going to smoke check a motherfucker today". Rarely, if ever, can we directly relate out square range performance under stress. We can get close, but that .10 difference in calibers is probably going to be double that when you start taking rounds. That eight inch group into that circle we are used to shooting at probably just because sixteen inches. Rarely, do fights come when we are fresh. Rarely, do they come when the weather, lighting, or background is perfect. Rarely do we get to put the gun in both hands and stand flat footed.
So, yes, there is a difference. And the difference can be felt in skilled shooters. So, if a skilled shooter can feel it, what do you think it is like for a lesser skilled employee?
I carry a Glock 35 at work, and I love it. On the square range, I can bang out .19 splits all day long. I do not feel undergunned strong hand, or weak hand. I hated the gun for years, but have gotten to the point I can shoot the crap out of it. That comes at the expense that I get quite a bit of training time, and have a near endless supply of .40 at my disposal. But, I can't deny that my performance changes as the conditions go to crap. I can't deny that my splits are faster on the square range with the 9mm. I can't deny I am faster with a 9mm when the gun goes into one hand. I can't deny that I am faster on transitions with a 9mm. All things that can have a bearing on an outcome of whether I live or not. There is a practical difference.
Yes, there is a practical difference in the guns in real world defensive shooting. Faster is better. Even up close. If we want to trade off a little speed for a bigger caliber, hey, drive on. Nothing wrong with that.
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"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011
"There are only two reasons why a proven technique doesn't work under stress: the shooter isn't adequately trained in it's application, or he/she doesn't really believe it will work because he/she is programmed for failure to begin with." BG
"Not every shooting competition is a gunfight, but every gunfight is a shooting competition." -Massad Ayoob
My experiences mirror yours. Yes, I am very skilled using .40 or .45......but every aspect of my shooting capabilities is better using 9mm. This is particularly easy to measure when conditions are not as you mention "on a square range". The heavier the recoiling caliber, the more perfect your grip, stance, and focus needs to be to maintain good accuracy and control. Each shot you fire breaks down your grip, your focus, and your mental control as you start to fatigue. With a 9mm there is less felt recoil.....so less grip breakdown, less dependence on a solid grip, less likely to suffer mental breakdown and trigger jerk, and of course less physical fatigue which also contributes to the previous breakdowns. Every shooter that I have trained suffers considerable speed and accuracy penalties as shot strings on .40 or .45 go beyond 3 rounds. Most shooters that I have worked with can more accurately fire 5 rounds of 9mm in 2 seconds that they can fire 3 rounds of .40 or .45 in that time window. Precision shooting at longer ranges is also much more accurate and consistent in 9mm than the heavier recoiling calibers due to the less need for mental control over the grip and trigger.
I used to be a .40 and .45acp shooter.....back when I was benching 400lbs, and thought that I was invincible. After several hands on encounters, one OIS, and a couple of injuries my experiences dictated a change. "Go big or go home" did not always guarantee victory, particularly when you realize that so much of the sh*t that you encounter cannot be controlled......even your own body.
My opinion now days is that the weak link in a handgun system is not the effectiveness of the caliber. All the service calibers are very similar in their capabilities, and there isn't any credible data out there to show one being a game changer over another. The force multiplier in a handgun is how accurately and quickly the operator can use it under the widest range of difficult conditions without stopping(malfunction/reloading). For me, a high capacity 9mm best fits that role......with the .40S&W being a secondary choice simply because it still manages to keep shooting longer before a reload, and I find it a tad easier to control than .45acp.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Fuego220,
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