1911Forum banner
1 - 20 of 272 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,922 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I honestly never fooled with it much. I bought a Glock model 23 when they first came out because it was all the rage. I shot it for a while but I could never warm to the pistol. The round I was fine with, just not the Glock. Today you rarely see a .40 S&W made by anyone. I suppose Glock still makes them, maybe some others. But none of the semi custom gun makers make them. Nothing wrong with the round ballistics wise. Properly applied it should make an excellent show stopper.
Just out of curiosity one day, I was loading up some .38 Super ammo and compared the ballistics of the two rounds. I was somewhat surprised at how much more power the .40 S&W had.
So what gives?
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
79,852 Posts
Sharper recoil than a 9mm and lower magazine capacity in a gun the same size or slightly larger. The .40 made sense 30 years ago, but not since technology finally gave us decent bullets that significantly improved the 9mm's terminal performance.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,561 Posts
I was late for the 40 S&W Bandwagon. I was a LEO and we had already approved the 9mm and we had just approved 45 ACP when the 40 S&W came out in 1990.

I was the advocate for 45 ACP so the 40 Short & Weak did not make sense.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
Sharper recoil than a 9mm and lower magazine capacity in a gun the same size or slightly larger. The .40 made sense 30 years ago, but not since technology finally gave us decent bullets that significantly improved the 9mm's terminal performance.
The 40 and 45 have benefited from the same technological improvements.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
79,852 Posts
The 40 and 45 have benefited from the same technological improvements.
Not to the degree the 9mm has.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,344 Posts
Sharper recoil than a 9mm and lower magazine capacity in a gun the same size or slightly larger. The .40 made sense 30 years ago, but not since technology finally gave us decent bullets that significantly improved the 9mm's terminal performance.
Pretty much this. The general theory is the .40 S&W doesn't do anything 9mm doesn't. Except maybe cost more.

I don't necessarily agree. I'm still of the opinion that a bigger bullet making a bigger hole is preferential. It is a snappy round, but not by such a wide margin that one can't get good splits with it.

The magazine capacity difference is 1-2 rounds. In my mind that's not make-or-break. One of my .40 S&W's has 16 round mags, the other has 15 round mags. My 9mm M&P has 17 round mags. Most self defense gun fights are over in 4 rounds or fewer. I wouldn't say I feel under-gunned with the .40 S&Ws.

Really the only place I see 9mm meaningfully edging .40 S&W out is the price tag for the ammo. Technically they're close enough in terminal performance it's hard to justify paying so much more for .40 S&W if you just want a self defense gun. 9mm is adequate and roughly %30 cheaper. I would say .40 S&W probably has better terminal performance, but not by a %30 margin. It's kinda hard to justify the price gap unless, like me, you just enjoy shooting it more than 9mm and are willing to pay the difference.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
79,852 Posts
Source? A 180 gr HST is as improved as the 147 gr HST. I use both. Why would an ammo manufacturer skimp on applying improvements across the board?
My source is the FBI who has mentioned that with modern ammo there is so little difference in wound channels between a 9mm, .40, and .45 that trauma surgeons generally have no idea which one created a given wound until they actually recover the bullet. Prior to the latest iteration of defense ammo there was a noticeable difference in how a 9mm performed in human tissue versus a .45, but not now. The advantage the 9mm has is velocity, which gives the designers more room to improve a bullet's performance in tissue. The .45 has always lumbered along at a velocity that makes reliable bullet expansion difficult to achieve.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Che and Boge

·
Registered
Joined
·
20 Posts
My source is the FBI who has mentioned that with modern ammo there is so little difference in wound channels between a 9mm, .40, and .45 that trauma surgeons generally have no idea which one created a given wound until they actually recover the bullet. Prior to the latest iteration of defense ammo there was a noticeable difference in how a 9mm performed in human tissue versus a .45, but not now. The advantage the 9mm has is velocity, which gives the designers more room to improve a bullet's performance in tissue. The .45 has always lumbered along at a velocity that makes reliable bullet expansion difficult to achieve.
Is there a link to that FBI source document?
 

·
Super Moderator
EDC: SIG P938.
Joined
·
23,252 Posts
The focus of high performance ammo development has been on the 9mm for fifty years.
I remember reading a review of a new 9mm round that literally said, "Even if it expands to only .45 inch, it will be as effective as a .45", ignoring the obvious.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,985 Posts
Just out of curiosity one day, I was loading up some .38 Super ammo and compared the ballistics of the two rounds. I was somewhat surprised at how much more power the .40 S&W had.
So what gives?
I believe there are several factors at play that has resulted in the .40's decline in popularity.
(1) Recoil/shoot-ability many just can't handle the snapper recoil of the .40 vs the 9mm.
(2) Affordability/ primarily LE driven.
Both of these factors have made the 9MM with it's ballistic improvements too much for the .40 to overcome. The public follows LE in choosing firearms and cartridges for self defense. As a result both the private and public sector have flipped back to the 9mm.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
988 Posts
Personally I never cared for the 40. I have never cared for the 9mm either, so it has nothing to do with 9mm improving for me. With me it was because I was an early fan and user of the 10mm. By the time the 40 came around, I already had everything that I needed to make 10mm. So, if I ever wanted the ballistic equivalent of a 40 (I never would) I just had to load weak 10mm. This is almost certainly not a main reason, or even a common reason for the unpopularity of the 40. But, it is a reason. I probably am not alone.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
79,852 Posts

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,479 Posts
The FBI: Had 9mm, dumped those for 10mm, dumped those for .40, dumped those for 9mm…
I like the .40 better than the 9mm because it starts with a “4” instead of a “3”. I’m not counting on anything expanding.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
28,922 Posts
Discussion Starter · #19 ·
@USMM guy, don't get me wrong. I would not turn one down if it was left on my doorstep. I just have no urge to buy one.

Grumpy
I pretty much feel the same way. If Colt made one I would probably want to have one just because. I still have three or four hundred rounds of .40 S&W ammo up in the shop. I think that Colt actually did make a few of them before they figured out that making a gun chambered for ammo with another gun manufacturer's name on it was not a good marketing idea.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
29 Posts
I honestly never fooled with it much. I bought a Glock model 23 when they first came out because it was all the rage. I shot it for a while but I could never warm to the pistol. The round I was fine with, just not the Glock. Today you rarely see a .40 S&W made by anyone. I suppose Glock still makes them, maybe some others. But none of the semi custom gun makers make them. Nothing wrong with the round ballistics wise. Properly applied it should make an excellent show stopper.
Just out of curiosity one day, I was loading up some .38 Super ammo and compared the ballistics of the two rounds. I was somewhat surprised at how much more power the .40 S&W had.
So what gives?
 
1 - 20 of 272 Posts
Top