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A few interesting side notes to this recent "fad".
The birth of the .40 caliber and the rise to popularity came after the Miami shoot out. That single event led the way the birth of the .40. The second event that cemented the .40 was the shootout between LAPD and the North Hollywood bank robbers.
Now, what do both events have in common? Both events have poor planning in common, and the need to find a scape goat. I am very vocal about my opinion of Miami, and I was in high school when it happened. I have studied it a bunch through out my career. Gordon McNeill killed those agents. Yeah, I know Platt and Matix pulled the trigger. But, for months the Feeb was aware that they (Platt and Matix) were bad dudes. The Feeb had serious firepower at their disposal. They had access to SWAT. They had access to rifles and subguns. They had access to hard armor of the time. And McNeill decided against all of that despite they were tracking two guys that had committed murder with rifles and had a propensity for violence. Once the smoke cleared, Dove and Grogan were dead, and five agents wounded. What did the F.B.I. do? They promoted McNeill and blamed the whole thing on a cartridge failure. Anyone with half a fucking brain sees it for a tactics and planning failure on the part of the supervisor, Gordon McNeill. The Feeb was pretty desperate to find a hardware fix to blame for a software problem. The 9mm was offered up to the alter for sacrifice. Civilian LE often use the FBI's research, and follow their lead. Gun companies market often market off of what local and state LE use, all the way down to the LGS.
The 10mm was born. It was way too much for some of the agents, so they downloaded it. And this lead to the development of the .40. Same ballistics as the 10mm lite, in a double stack gun.
The 9mm has been killing people for years, with little or no issues. Much of the public is ignorant to terminal ballistics. They see and believe on Walker, Texas Ranger to where someone takes a hit from a handgun (any caliber) and flies through the air across the living room, through a plate glass window, across the porch, and dies in the front yard in a loud, grotesque military manner.
Aaaaaaannnnnnnnddddddd cue up the stories of "But...but...but...but...my sisters, brothers, gardeners, uncle's next door neighbor knows a guy who got hit 1,241 times with a 9mm and lived." Yeah, ok. Lots of documented cases of even the 10mm not being fatal after numerous quality hits. The Kentucky State Police shot a guy 7 times with a 10mm 1076 off of Exit 42 on I-24 back in the late 90s. All through and through center mass hits. Guy is still in prison today. Look at the Trooper Mark Coates murder. He hit Blackburn 6 times with a .357 magnum. Shot placement was good. Blackburn survived the shooting. Coates didn't.
What does this tell us? It tells us that all pistols suck at killing people. Message ends. Rifles do a much better job.
I know people want to claim "but..but..but...if the 9mm technology has improved, so has the .40". Ok, whatever. The .40 has improved. The .40 still is harder to shoot at speed for the experienced shooter, and much harder to shoot for the inexperienced. I am talking shooting full power, ass kicking duty loads, not powder puff shooting .40 because it barely makes major in USPSA loads.
All gunfights happen at 1-3 feet, in 1-3 seconds, and you fire 1-3 rounds, that is what the internet loves to tout, right? So, fast follow up shots really don't matter, and there is never a timer in a gun fight, right? Last time I got shot at, it was in a residential neighborhood, and the distance between me and the shooter was 61 yards. Can I sue the internet for being full of shit as it told me he would be 60 yards closer? Well, I guess average goes out the window, doesn't it?
And lastly, after Sandy Hook, this "fad" caliber jumped to around $300-$400 per case of junk training ammo. .40 could still be found on the shelves at Wal-Mart after the initial run on ammo. Yep, totally a fad these days.
How to boil it down? All pistols suck at shooting people. Pick a caliber that you can shoot fast. "Average" is for suckers. Train a lot, shoot as much as you can.
"Make it a shooting, and not a gunfight" LSP552 02/19/2011
If money wasn’t a factor, or pistol availability, the only rounds I would use would be 357sig and 357 mag. I’m not a “mainstream” type of person so what others use or buy means almost nothing to me. But cost is a factor these days and the platforms I’m using aren’t offered in 357sig so I am forced to deal with it. 357sig was my main caliber for the better part of 20 years and I never thought and still don’t think it’s a “fad” nor 40sw. I have listened to a lot of bitching and moaning about these calibers for 25 years. Incessant complaining that they even exist. 357sig is the best semi-auto caliber ever made for a pistol imo. Combination of velocity, energy, capacity and a bottle neck design for reliable feeding. A fad it ain’t. In 20 years of use I never had a failure to feed in anything chambered in the caliber. Reliable as hell and extremely flat shooting. Hard hits and extremely accurate, nothing but praise here. Downsides are cost and pistol availability in the caliber.
I’ve never been interested in 45 at all. Shot it plenty but when I was old enough to buy my first pistols 40 and 357sig were fresh and shooting side by side I immediately gravitated towards 357sig. I like the FPS and flat shooting of a 9mm 124gr bullet or a 125gr 357sig. And 40sw works great for a training round to 357sig, and saves a few bucks. The most utilitarian pistols are chambered in 40 or 357sig. They allow you to shoot 3 calibers out of them. 40sw has a lot of different loadings. 180gr, 165gr, 155gr, 135gr, and 125gr. The lighter loadings could mimic 357sig. Great versatility and certainly not a fad. You see 40sw getting dropped for one thing only, money/cost. LE going back to 9mm for cost reasons but also bullet development in 9mm.
The HST in 124gr +p got me to finally switch to 9mm. So it took all this time in bullet development, R&D, what have you, to get me to switch. I ran Sigs in 357, with 40sw and 9mm barrels to swap at the range. I’d regularly buy 9mm 124gr +p fmj’s in December/January when the le contract overruns would happen. Was a decent training round and $100 cheaper a case than my 357 fmj’s. When that +p 124gr HST 9mm came out I grabbed a few boxes along with a few cases of the +p fmj’s and was very surprised. Very solid round and close enough to my 357sig to switch. Like the departments, I switched for cost reasons and cost alone.
All the modern calibers are effective. 9mm, 40sw, 357sig, 45, 10mm. And I still use and carry 38+p at times. I find the caliber bitching hilarious as I’ve been listening to this shit for 25 years. Some just can’t stand that 40sw or 357sig, or both, were ever made and like to bitch about either or both. Like trigger types, there is no winner, just preference. The day where I have money and more importantly, time, to roll my own, I’ll buy a particular set of 357sigs for cheap, and sell my 9mm’s off. Enjoying $200 cases of 124gr fmj’s currently though.
Does Barry Manilow know that you raid his wardrobe?
Ok... I'm beginning to regain my composure ...
Mr. Jones is correct in each part of his above post. I have carried the .40 for over 25 years. The 9mm does work well with newer ammo but, what happens if the hollow point does not open? I have always considered the .40 SW as a .45 acp light. Practice practice practice when my agency shifted to the 9mm March of last year officer scores were pretty much the same as with the .40 SW. If you sucked you still sucked because with a high speed 9MM you still had muzzle blast and pretty much the same recoil pulse. I like to think along the lines of this what will my bullet do if the hollow point fails...The .40 and the .45 acp still makes holes. This is just one idiot's opinion...VI
.38supersig mentioned a caliber I haven't fired for awhile - .440 CorBon. When you have the very practical Desert Eagle, in .357 Magnum, .44 Magnum and .50 AE, you just have to pick up that long barrel .440 CorBon for some purpose that made sense at the time that couldn't be satisfied by those other cartridges.
There is the practical side of the caliber wars -- availability, cost, firearms chambered for the cartridge, etc. Then there are the specialized and fun sides. Is there a caliber that meets a specific, narrow need? Reduced ricochet risk for varmints, .17 or .14 instead of .22. Or the fun side, a caliber you just want to have because it is different or classic -- .32 ACP in a Walther PPK.
The level of innovation in the US market is incredible and we all benefit from it. Want polymer coated .22's in green and red for Christmas? Done. Want ammo for the Zombie Apocalypse? Done. Want high-performing self-defense ammo in a variety of calibers? Done.
To each his own, it's your choice. I'm not a caliber "fad" fanboy. I accept the .40s&w because in many platforms, a simple change of the barrel to .357sig makes a platform more versatile. I also like choices. So there...
Get over yourself. You're not that special unless you walked on the moon or received the Medal of Honor.
M11, a slight thread drift for which I apologize but you once mentioned that you carry a Sig 239 off duty with a specific type mag carrier. Can you please tell me the name of the manufacturer of that mag carrier? Thanks
That's all fine with me. Leaves me with a big selection and cheap prices on what is, arguably, one of the best carry calibers in existence.
Sig P229...and I have always carried DeSantis holsters and mag carriers. (And they are always Tan...)
Never had a P239. The Delaware State Police carry them in Sig 357 here...and love them.
I could kill 476 zombies before I have to reload.
|E tan e epi tas|
I’ve always found it funny how worked up folks get about their pistol caliber of choice. The all have minute pros and cons vs each other and they all suck basically.
Honestly I think it is worth every decent shooters time to be familiar with all major Caibers and be proficient with any of them. Actions as well.
At the end of the day who cares if you have an East German Makarov or a Webley revolver or the latest tactical Tupperware. Just have it when you need it and know how to shoot and handle it and for God sakes don’t expect a one shot stop.
As an aside I rather like 41 magnum.
I have also always chuckled at “the 9mm is kind of like .45 set to stun”
"Guns are tools. The only weapon ever created was man."
Sorry M11, I must have you confused with someone else.
Wasn't a fan, had a few in the past but just didn't like the snappy recoil. Then I shoot my buds HK USPc in 40 and fall in love. Have one now, along with a 357 sig barrel. Regardless of it falling out of favor, I would not want to be shot by one, ever
Sig P220 Elite Dark, W. German 220/226 Navy/226 Tac Ops/226R Stainless/228/229 Legion/229R/M11-A1D
Glocks, HK, Walther, XDs, etc, etc...
I tried very hard to like 40S&W. I owned a S&W Sigma 40 and when the M&P 40 came out I bought one of the first ones I could find. I never warmed up to it. It is a great round, but not for me. I feel that it was over rated for Police use and its going out of style is not a surprise to me.
Always carry. Never tell.
The best thing about 40SW caliber pistols is being able to convert them to 9mm and 357. During the ammo shortage a couple of years ago, 40SW was the only ammo I could find and I was glad to have my 40s. I’ve since converted them to 9mm and shoot mostly that caliber as it’s cheaper. However I do swap in 40SW when I’m taking them into the woods. I love having the flexibility to shoot both. Will I add any future 40SW? Probaby not but I’m glad I did in the past. I do hope that ammo companies will invest in developing new 40SW ammo that comes close to 10mm just as they’ve advanced 9mm ammo design.
I agree with Jerry's synopsis. I'm 48 and a career LEO. I lived through the post-Miami "overnight" caliber change. Officers in the late 80s/early 90s went from 686 revolvers to Beretta 92s/S&W 5906s/P226s and then to Glock 22s/4006s/Beretta 96s within just a few years. An amazingly fast transition. By 1995, the 9mm was out of favor in LE, and this was compounded by the terrible street performance of the Winchester/Olin 147-grain "subsonic" 9mm JHP that was designed to "rectify" what happened in Miami. It took the 9mm 20 years to recover in LE thanks to the awesome HST, Gold Dot, Ranger T, etc.
I do like the .40 as a self-defense bullet. I've heard it called the .40 "short and weak," but never by anyone who has been shot with it. It's hard to find a bad .40 bullet. I have a LEO friend at a nearby agency. He's shot 2 different felons with the .40 Golden Saber fired from his duty G22. Both dropped like stones, including a felon armed with a knife who attacked him in close quarters. One .40 to the chest ended the attack instantly. I'll take that from a handgun any day, because like Jerry said, handguns suck for stopping criminals.
I think there are a couple of other reasons why the .40 has fallen from favor with LE. We had a really high profile shooting here in Arkansas a few years ago. A father and 16 year old son, both "sovereign citizens," shot and killed 2 highly experienced West Memphis PD officers on a traffic stop. The 16 year old was armed with a cut-down fully auto AK-47. The officers had Glock 22s. Later, when the suspects were cornered in a nearby Wal-Mart parking lot, officers opened fire with mostly .40s during the shootout. Afterward, it was wrongly concluded that the .40 didn't penetrate the suspect vehicle good enough. So how did Arkansas LE respond? By going in large numbers to the .45, which penetrates automobiles less than .40, yet the 9mm penetrates better than both. Go figure.
Another reason for the move away from the .40 deals with PC politics and the hiring practices of today's LE agencies. Gender, stature, lack of physical strength, and unfamiliarity with firearms by the current generational hiring pools have led agencies to adopt the 9mm over the harder-kicking .40 by using the logic that issuing the milder 9mm is a less troublesome alternative than training these officers with the .40. It really is that simple in many places. Why train the aforementioned officers to properly handle the .40 when you can just give them 9mm and send them out on the street untrained, unfamiliar, and unready? It defeats the purpose, regardless of the caliber. Please forgive my candor, but that's the way it is today in entirely too many LE agencies. Shortcuts abound.
PREDICTION: In 10 years, the .40 will make a comeback. The reason? As soon as the 9mm is involved in a high-profile "failure" like Miami, the caliber will again be vilified, just as it was before. Frankly, the 9mm is held to a higher performance standard than the .40 and .45. If a felon soaks up 10 9mm rounds, it's a failure of the caliber. If a felon soaks up 10 .40 or .45 rounds, it's bad shot placement or the perp must've been on drugs. It's just the way it is. To echo what Jerry said, I like and carry the 9mm, but the .40 is a good round. Officers just need to train with with the caliber they're issued, because these days, bullet design truly is good, in all common calibers.
Another reason .40 was popular, for non Law Enforcement, was the 10 round magazine restriction during the Clinton ban. If you've only got 10 rounds might as well have .40.
"Ninja kick the damn rabbit"
Trooper Coates fired 5 rounds.
I can't tell you the rash of sh*t I've gotten over the years telling the truth about the Miami Massacre - and how it was the FBI's massive failure to take into account who they'd be dealing with - and their gung ho tactics when they ran up on them. They forced the issue in an inadequate configuration - and they had their asses handed to them. It was a sad day in Bureau history.
I carried a .357 Magnum for 13 years. Arguably the best 1 shot stop cartridge in police use, somewhere in the 90%+ percentile. But with the advent of high capacity semi-autos, even I realized a change was due.
I switched to 45 ACP and carry it almost exclusively, typically 10 rounds or less with two backup magazines. I also have higher capacity 9mms for times when the likelihood of encountering multiple assailants is increased.
Never had the itch for the .40. 10mm, almost. May still. I agree that .357 Sig is the pinnacle cartridge - but cost and availability keeps me away. I keep it logistically simple anymore. I reload for the calibers I carry and believe practice and training are key, and I get more of that in than I would with pretty much anything else.
I vote we carve jljones's post on the side of a mountain, take a picture of said mountain and post said picture every time some starts a caliber war thread. He's right.
Well I started a caliber war,that was so not my intention! Caliber wars are silly. When I said that sooner or later we always come back to 9mm or 45ACP it was because that is what I have seen happen. Not because those two calibers are better than what ever else. My thanks to jljones for his insightful post. So true! Guys please find the caliber you shoot best and practice, practice, practice with it, so you are ready if God forbid you need to defend yourself or your loved ones. I think we can all agree that all handgun calibers suck as man stoppers, and that shot placement is more important than what caliber you are using. It doesn't matter what I think, or the experts think, or the FBI thinks; you know what is best for you, so use it.
Stay safe out there!
We have a President again. Thank God.
I have lots of handguns, mostly .45 ACP and 9MM with a few .357 Mag and .44 Mags thrown in.
I own only 1 .40S&W, a Steyr M40A1 and it's my go to HD handgun. For some reason, I like the .40 S&W. It seems to straddle the middle between the .45 ACP and 9MM Luger nicely.
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