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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello,

What are your feelings, good or bad, reguarding the .40S&W Cartridge?

Thanks For Your Replys,
The Sockman
 

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"Love" & "hate" sound so emotional. While there are certainly some aspects of firearms that I really get personally involved with (for instance I really like to fool with old guns that connect me with times past), when it comes to some tasks I like to try to be fairly objective about and so try not to allow emotions to enter into the equation (I am not claiming that I succeed in that 100% of the time ;) ).

When it comes to self defense - which seems to be the niche most of the .40 S&Ws are trying to fill - I see a few things that I would put on the decision making matrix.

Of prime importance would be effectiveness given a good hit (nothing short of artillery is effective with a bad hit). I don't want to confuse the issue with numbers at this point but I would put the .40 as being almsot dead center between the 9mm and the .45 ACP (naturally there are rounds on the upper and lower side of each of those so they are not the extremes of the scale).

That is not too bad a place to be. From time to time I even carry a .40 as a backup gun so that should indicate that I don't think it is a waste of time.

My .40s are accurate, reliable and controllable...not a bad set of characteristics. But I still carry a .45 As my primary, though my new circumstances may move that to a .45 Super or a 10mm with full power loads.

Press on,
Jim H.
 

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Hello Sockman,

I think it's a solution in search of a problem.

I've not seen it do anything the 9mm or .45 cannot do as well. Cutting down a 10mm doesn't make much sense to me either. It's kinda' like cutting down a .41 mag to make a .41 special. It can and has been done, but to what end?

I've never warmed up to it.

Josh <><
 
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Sockman,

The .40 S&W, is at it's best, when used in 9mm sized platforms. In some cases that's the largest round you can get in certain pistols. The BHP being a prime example...

Is it better than the 9mm or .45? I consider it an equal to those cartridges and just another option. Your choice, go with what you shoot best.

Wes
 

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I like the .40. But I would just use it in certain guns...say like a HiPower. I think the HiPower is at the zenith of it's evolution with a .40 barrel in it. That said I love the 9x19mm. I would just use a .40 for IPSC and self-defense. For IPSC because of that minor-vs.-major BS and for self-defense because if I was carrying a full-size pistol I would rather have a .40 than the 9mm...of course the same thing could be said for the .45(which I am not that enamored of) and the 10mm..which is a perfect cartridge with the right load. But I carry my favorite carry gun...my Glock 19. And as far as solution seeking a problem...well let's not start that little brushfire again. Give me a good Hollowpoint in .32/.380/.38/9x19mm, .40/10mm and .45/etc. and thats all I need. Well,occasional training maybe.
 

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Everything I wanted to say as my opinion of the 40 S&W cartridge has already been stated in previous posts in this thread. So, I'll just agree with what's already been posted here.
 

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Hi there Sockman,

I currently own a Glock Model 23 in .40 S&W and I am very confident that the cartridge and the gun will do what it was designed to do.

For self defense, shot placement is the key and I can place controllable and accurate shots with the Glock and the .40 S & W cartridge.

Chris
 
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I didn't used to like the .40 S&W, or as I disparagingly referred to it, the "10mm Short".

I've revised my opinion, since then. I now own a couple of .40 S&W handguns, and I like them a lot. The Glock 23 in particular is an outstanding compact firearm. There is nothing wrong with the S&W 4006, and the Sig 226 in this caliber, either. And the Kahr 40 cal guns, the K40, MK40, and P40, are wonders of compact power.

Most of my motivation to change has come from street data from LEA's in Wisconsin. The .40 S&W, particularly the Speer Gold Dot 180 gr load, has done real well hereabouts. Much better than 9mm or 38/357, historically speaking.
 
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I bought a G23 thinking it would be my ultimate carry gun, but did not know how bulky glocks were at the time and went back to my 5" 1911 for CCW because it concealed better.

I've now gone to a BHP 9mm to replace the 1911.

In a CCW the trade off the .40 gives doesn't work for me, neither does it in a duty gun. A lot of Deputies are packing the G35 with 15rnds of .40 but I personally would rather (and do) carry a G21 with 13rnds of .45 than give up the performance of the .45 for an extra 2 rnds, especially since ona duty belt you are packing a lot more ammo anyway and concealment is not an issue.

Now for the CCW concealed gun I go with the 9mm BHP because I get 15rnds of 9mm verses 10rnds of .40 or 8 rnds of .45 (1911) in a compatible size gun.

It's all about trade offs, and I rather skip the .40 in every case I have come across. The caliber itself is fine although the .45's kick is much easier for me.
 
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The .40 seems a very good compromise between the 9mm in which I have NO faith, and the 45 in which I probably have too much faith. Many people cannot or will not learn to shoot a 45 well, and the 40 will actually allow them to defend themselves. I don't own one, and I won't buy one because I already have my 45s. Just follow the manufacturer's instructions, like DO NOT shoot lead bullets in Glocks, DO NOT shoot someone else's handloads, and you should be fine.
 

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I have great confidence in my Sig 229 in .40. It's a reliable pistol and is reasonably compact; the round is effective; and I shoot the 229 as well as I do my Sig 9mm pistols. When the lights go out in the evening, it is comforting to know that it is in my night table.
 
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I'm not a fan of the .40, but it's okay as long as it used in pistols with fully supported chambers. My issue gun is a .40, but I prefer 9mm or .45.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Hello & Thanks for all the replys,

While I'm not the .40 fan that I once was, I have no plans of getting rid of my .40's either.

Thanks Again for your replys, and more replys are certainly welcome.

Take Care,
The Sockman
 
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I really don't know why there is so much hostility towards the .40. It is at least an equal to the 9mm, in everything but price and magazine capacity. There is a vast array of loads, from light and fast to heavy and slow. If the issue is cost, then I don't think that should be the determining factor in what you carry. After all, you should practice with loads that shoot similar to what you will carry, and since that generally means mostly famous maker "generic" ammo (UMC, American Eagle, etc.) then the price differential is not that significant.

If it is a question of launching platform (I love my BHP, therefore I love what is shoots, therefore I love the 9mm), I can understand that, but let's be honest.

If it is a question of availability (I might have to take my pistol to the jungles of South America, therefore I want to be able to find ammunition for it nearly everywhere, therefore 9mm is universally available), then that is reasonable, if it is a true possibility. In the United States, however, it is 9mm that is falling by the wayside in comparison to .40 S&W, like it or not.

Given an equal number of shots, bigger holes are usually better than smaller holes. Given an equal velocity, bigger holes are usually better than smaller holes. Given an equal bullet weight, bigger diameter holes are usually better than smaller diameter holes. The heaviest 9mm loads are just below the mid-range weights of the .40. It seems to me that smaller bullets rely more on terminal performance than larger ones, so in general it would be preferable to go with the largest diameter rounds possible, to minimize the need for some specific bullet action (perfect mushrooming, petals peeling back uniformly, etc.) which may or may not occur.

Cor-Bon makes an assortment of +P loads for the .40 S&W, that, for me, make it more than equal to comparable loads in 9mm in terms of stopping power, by sheer size (diameter), if nothing else.

I like the .40 S&W, but I do not delude myself into thinking that it is the equal of .45 ACP. It is not. Neither is 9mm, for that matter. The .40 S&W is a pretty good self-defense round. The 9mm is a good self-defense round, and quite possibly the "floor" (along with .38 Special), below which rounds might not be ideally suited for self-defense. That is a subject of much debate, and any gun is better than no gun which it hits the fan at the local 7-11.

The almost visceral hatred of the .40 on this board is amusing, to say the least. It is not shared by the law enforcement community or the general public. I will continue to own guns in both calibers, but will continue to carry my .40 into harm's way. I do need another good 9mm or two in my collection, beside my HP. Everyone should own a couple, just because they're fun to shoot!
 

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Hello. I voted that I neither loved nor hated it. After an instances in which I personally spoke with a man who was hit in the heart with a .38 but was sitting up and talking to me, and calling the ambulance for a girl who outran her boyfriend after he shot her twice through the chest with his .45 and having a man under my command shot in the lower abdomen with a forty and having to be told to sit down while an ambulance was called, I sort of lost faith in any handgun caliber commonly used for protection as being a death ray.

In the case with the .38, the man did die a few minutes later, never making it to the operating table.

The gal shot with the forty-five was hit only in one lung and no bone was hit.

The officer nearly died and lost one kidney to the 180-gr. JHP but none of these folks had anything hit that caused instant incapacitation.

Being a police firearm instructor when the forty was making its initial big inroads into law enforcement, I personally witnessed three KB's with Glocks, and one with a Beretta M96. No one was hurt and the gun makers took care of replacing the guns. I do not know if the problem was the ammunition, the individual examples of the guns, or a combination of both.

I strongly believe that the forty is likely more "potent" than 9mm for the reasons mentioned previously. Heavier & wider bullets of similar construction/design at similar/higher speeds must be more powerful. Whether or not that difference shows up enough to notice, I cannot say. Good hits with any of the calibers mentioned seems to do the trick. The problem seems to be that we don't have X-ray vision and cannot see the heart or are doing good to get "just" a chest hit.

So I pretty much quit worrying about what load/caliber is the very, very best and began focusing on being able to get hits. The felon (stone sober but psychotic) hit at about 1.5 feet distance with a load of No. 4 buckshot through the sternum sort of drove this home. His heart looked like jiblets but he was able to actually say something like, "I didn't think you'd really shoot me" or something very similar before sitting down, leaning back against a wall and dying. Oh yes, I forgot to mention that he was hit through the neck with a 125-gr. JHP .357 magnum from a four-inch revolver. How the bullet managed to miss anything of importance is still a "miracle" in my opinion.

I think the forty is a viable caliber for protection and has been mentioned, a wide selection of loads is available and users can certainly find the firearms. If that's the one that seems "right" to a person, that's the one he or she should go for.

My forty Hi Power worked fine and grouped well enough, spectacularly so with a couple of handloads and one factory load. The CZ-75B seemed to group better with a wide variety of loads but I've just never been able to warm up to the cartridge. Others feel just the opposite.

Best.
 

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fortyofforty,

I don't think it's so much hatred as it is simple disinterest. I was trained on a G22 by the local Sheriff's Dept and a friend owned a S&W99 in .40. I would use it if I had to, but I think I mainly got turned off because of the launch platforms. The G22 tried to torque out of my hand (I'm a lefty) and the 99 had something wrong with it that made the trigger sting my finger numb whenever the slide came back under power.

I've not had any of these problems with a service sized 9mm or .45 (though I do have a problem with the 1911 grip safety).

The .40 is here because of downloaded 9mm and too-large-for-small-hands calibers such as the .45 and 10mm (which I have great respect for).

I just feel that it came about more because of myths than fact. But, that's just my opinion and you are, of course, allowed to disagree.

Respectfully,

Josh <><
 
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Mr. Camp:

First, thank you so much for your enlightening discourses on the Browning Hi-Power. I learned more in twenty days from reading your work than I did in the past twenty years! And, thank you for this board, which is also a part of my "continuing education".

As for the .40, I agree with your assessment that it is a marginal fight stopper. But so is every other handgun round, some being only slightly better than others (in decent loads). Your stories of the badguys shot and continuing to interact are typical of the luck that badguys always seem to have. A cop can be hit peripherally with a .25 and it will somehow find his heart, while a badguy can be hit seven or eight times with a .45 and live to tell the tale. Sheesh!

Mr. Smith:

Thank you also for helping keep this board up and running. I suppose you are correct about the "disinterest" part, at least from judging by the poll results above. The answer for almost everyone who uses the .40 probably should be "I like it but I will only use it in certain guns". That would be my answer to any cartridge you can name! ;) I will not use a .45 or a 9mm or a .40 or a .22 in every gun, in every instance, so that really would be the "best" answer. With the .40, I don't think you are giving up anything in comparison to the 9mm. You are trading a couple of rounds per magazine, for generally more reliable stops. If you keep going, you enter the world of the .45, where you are again trading a few rounds per magazine but the sacrifice is that you have to have a larger package, which generally feels too big for my hands (at least is the guns I've held). By process of elimination, the .40 S&W is the largest commonly available round I can confortably carry on a daily basis. The fact that I can have high capacity magazines in this caliber is a plus (as opposed to seven or eight rounders in the .45). I don't plan to miss a lot, but you never know! ;0

I like the give and take on this board, and the discussion without hostility or personal insults. It is refreshing!
 

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"If you keep going, you enter the world of the .45, where you are again trading a few rounds per magazine but the sacrifice is that you have to have a larger package, which generally feels too big for my hands (at least is the guns I've held). By process of elimination, the .40 S&W is the largest commonly available round I can confortably carry on a daily basis."

Hi, fortyofforty, I'm kind of curious which single-column .45 did you handle that felt too big in your hands compared to a double-stack .40? Two years ago I had a Springfield P-9 "IPSC", their all steel version of the CZ-75, and in thinking about your observation, I went through all the Berettas, Smiths, SIGs, Glocks, and none of them are as slender or have such a short reach to the trigger as a 1911?

No personal slander intended or implied =)
 
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I am not allowed to carry a single stack .45, except the SIG P220, and I'm not a fan of SIGs. For now I am quite satisfied with my Glock 23, but will (soon, I hope) purchase a traditionally styled 1911 type weapon. There are plenty of good models to choose from, so right now I am overwhelmed a bit by the selection, and choosing which options I want. Not a bad problem by any means!
 

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I went with the neither love-nor-hate vote, because, having never fired a .40, I've got some gaps in the knowledge base. However, when has lack of knowledge ever gotten in the way of opinion!


Going strictly by what I have read about its ballistics, the kinds of gun frames it can be chambered in, the fact that a bunch of police departments have picked it up, etc, if I was to start "fresh" with picking a self-defense gun for me and my wife, I would look seriously at .40 S&W. The main criteria would be "can both my wife and I shoot this well?"

I presently have a large investment in 9mm and .38/.357 handguns and related stuff, and it does not appear to me that the .40 (or the .45 for that matter) give me such a significant advantage that it is worth going in that direction for SD purposes. (Might do it for fun, especially with the .45/1911).

9mm and .357/.38, in the right loadings, seem to be good choices for SD, the practice ammo is cheap, I can reload it even cheaper if necessary, and there are some fine handguns designed for it.

Having said all that, this past week in San Antonio, I notice the SAPD has twice fired on suspects with fatal results (for the suspect). The SAPD standard sidearm is a Glock 22, and judging by the purchase requests, they shoot .40 Speer 155gr GoldDot HollowPoints as their duty ammo.

In one case, a patrol officer chased a guy, apparently grappled with him, chasee pointed a gun at the officer and got shot "several times" for his trouble, striking him in the hand, head, and handgun (broke the gun, according to the news article). This killed the chasee.

In second case, two SAPD officers confronted a guy with a gun in a house garage. Guy pointed gun at them, got shot once in the chest, killing him.

Seems in both cases the .40 did what it was supposed to do. Two cases is by no means a guarantee across the board, but gives more confidence in the round (and the gun and the cop) than "shot several times but still got away or caused more mischief."

News accounts of the two above incidents:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA071805.1B.cop_shooting.6c75630.html
http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/metro/stories/MYSA071405.1B.officer_shooting.676f28b6.html

elb
 
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