My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

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gigag04
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My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#1

Post by gigag04 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:09 am

A-R wrote:
gigag04 wrote:Thats because the .40 is the worst round ever.
Requesting expanded explanation in separate thread (honestly curious your thoughts/reasons).
Disclaimer: this discussion is only limited in scope to the .40 S&W round compared against 9mm and .45ACP for defensive use, and store bought, manufactured ammo.

The .40 has more perceived recoil, less capacity, and only a marginal improvement of ballistics vs 9mm. 45 has less felt recoil IMO, than a .40 and is thus easier to shoot, and makes a bigger hole in the target. The litmus test for this opinion was when my 130+ ish department switched from the Gen 3 G22 to the Gen 3 G21SF (.40 to .45). Qualification scores improved for those who struggled with qualifying with the G22. Even one of my partners who is 5-00 100lbs shot the 21SF better, and she said it was "easier and more comfortable" to shoot. I, like many others, find the .40 to be quite snappy, leading to slower follow up shots.

9mm is the cheapest of these three, and allows an average shooter to practice more frequently, which is more important that the slight increase in "ballistics" (all those fancy numbers that we have discussed in other threads), in my opinion. I find the recoil of the 9mm, the wound ballistics it can cause (w/ good defensive ammo), and the price of training ammo, to be a great combination for a newer, or smaller shooter.

The widespread usage of the .40 in the LE world was as much of a financial decision as it was a tactical one. Where the 9mm used to dominate, the .40 took over, but now we are seeing trends of more and more departments returning to .45acps, though as striker fired polymers instead of 1911s (which...I can understand, but I love me some 1911).

I've owned and shot numerous .40S&W pistols, and have since liquidated them all for something that is either more preferable to me in a fight (a .45acp), or more shootable (since 9mm is cheaper). I feel like the .40 is a compromise in cost/ballistics which is great, but the step up in recoil, I find silly, and off putting to smaller, and even newer shooters.
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#2

Post by Medic218 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 12:22 am

I mostly own 40's and I can't find anything to disagree with you about.
You have given me some food for thought for sure.
While it is definitely more "snappy", I still like the 40. Not saying I like it over any other caliber or anything like that. I just like what I've got.
I've got a good pistol for my carry piece and at realistic SD distances I have no doubt I could probably get most rounds on target. Quickly, maybe not because I completely agree with your comment about slightly slower followup shot but still. It serves me well and I'm confident in it and its capabilities to made a decent size perforation in any bad guy that decides to make a bad decision.
All this maybe because I just haven't bout my first 1911 yet...or any 45 for that matter.
Guess we'll see at some point later down the road.
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#3

Post by speedsix » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:28 am

...I share the OP's opinions on the .40...I owned/shot a Glock 22...didn't like it at all, either with light or heavy bullets...went back to the .45...it's the most comfortable, easy to learn with round I've found...have had "little women" pick up my P90 and enjoy it as the first handgun they'd ever shot...and shoot quite well...I also believe that with the right ammo, the 9mm is effective, and each of us should have one good 9mm...that's the most likely "donated" round we'll be able to pick up when things get nasty...I just don't see another .40 in my future...

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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#4

Post by Purplehood » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:47 am

I shot the M1911 and the M9 for years and now carry/use the XD-40.

I shoot better now than I ever did (though that isn't really saying much). I suspect that it has to really do with the ergonomics of the grip.
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#5

Post by fannypacker » Tue Sep 13, 2011 6:57 am

Dittoes on the .40 S & W. I have a Smith Model 27 and it has become a safe queen as it is no fun to shoot or to take down.

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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#6

Post by A-R » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:45 am

I've made similar decisions on .40, which is why I was interested in hearing GigAg's reasoning from an LEO perspective (especially because the push for .40 as a defensive caliber was driven largely by its use in so many LE departments). And I agree with his assessment. Now that I've shot numerous rounds with all three "big" cartridges, .40 is my least favorite. But that's not to say .40 is a "bad" round. Learn to control that snappy recoil, and it's as good as or better than a 9mm +P, and much more potent than a regular pressure 9mm. But for MOST of us, 9mm or .45 is probably a better choice because 9mm factory ammo is cheaper and .45 reloads are easier and more forgiving.

I originally purchased in .40 S&W for the same reasons as most - it was the ultimate compromise caliber. Better than 9, almost as good as .45 and more rounds in the gun than .45. I still think that applies for the most part, but with quality +P 9mm loads the difference is negligible. What surprised me the most - after more than a decade of shooting .40-cal almost exclusively - is how much easier .45 is to shoot. Not just in a 1911 platform, but in a comparable platform (as GigAg mentions Glock 22 vs. 21SF, or in my case M&P in both calibers). I never understood folks who complained about .40-cal - after all, it was the only caliber I shot and I shot it well enough ... until I tried .45

I still think there's a good use for .40-cal, likely as a 180-grain FMJ military round in the near future (much better ballistics than 9mm NATO ball ammo). If I was forced to use ball ammo for self defense, I'd carry a .40 or .45 exclusively. But for my personal CC needs, with quality JHP rounds available, I too will be sticking with 9mm and .45.

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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#7

Post by Jumping Frog » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:47 am

gigag04 wrote:Where the 9mm used to dominate, the .40 took over, but now we are seeing trends of more and more departments returning to .45acps, though as striker fired polymers instead of 1911s (which...I can understand, but I love me some 1911).
Well, I am not a department, I am a single Armed Citizen.

But I used to carry a .40 S&W (S&W M&P) because I liked the idea of 16 rounds in the gun instead of 9, and it was a lot lighter than my Para 14-45.

I have since switched back to a good ol' standard 1911 .45.

From a reloading perspective, I also prefer loading a .45 ACP. It is a much easier round to reload with a huge flexibility in available powders and bullet styles, and it is a low pressure round so it has a greater margin for error and is much less likely to have a small error go "Ka-Boom". The .40 S&W is a high pressure round in a small case with a much smaller "safety zone" of forgivable error. Get a little bit of bullet setback, and you could have a surprise. I have friends that quit reloading .40 S&W after they got a "Ka-Boom".
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#8

Post by OldCannon » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:58 am

Carry what gives you confidence.

If you look at Glock compact models in 9mm, 40, and 45, you'll see that (given standard magazine loads and using defensive bullet weights - 147gr, 185, and 200gr), the amount of mass you put toward the BG is about the same (2205, 2145, and 2000, respectively) if you empty the magazine (and presumptively get hits :mrgreen: ). Felt and perceived recoil seem to have a huge effect on caliber preference, as well as a person's individual ability to get sights back on target. Recoil, however, it not a function of the cartridge alone. Barrel axis height has a VERY big effect on felt recoil as well. Given the same cartridge, recoil with an M&P 40 will feel very different from Steyr S40.

Carry what gives you confidence ;-)
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#9

Post by Chris » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:59 am

The .40 has always been a solution looking for a problem. I've had .40s, but got rid of them all in favor of 9mm and .45.


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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#10

Post by stash » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:13 am

I wonder if the standard issue for the FBI is still the Glock in .40, I think the 23 and 27? I think their SWAT and HRT guys have some type of 1911.
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#11

Post by OldCannon » Tue Sep 13, 2011 8:56 am

stash wrote:I wonder if the standard issue for the FBI is still the Glock in .40, I think the 23 and 27? I think their SWAT and HRT guys have some type of 1911.
SWAT and HRT are SMG/Rifle-response type teams. What sidearm they carry is far less important than their main weapon. Field officers, however, only have one weapon on their body.

I think these "caliber wars" never play out well. The 40S&W has a LONG record now of being an effective defensive caliber. So does the 9mm and the 45ACP. You don't have to like any or all of them, but if you want to say one is statistically less effective than the other, you better be willing to drag up a LOT of empirical evidence. Agencies all over the US use a variety of calibers, from the 5.7mm to the 45ACP. It's true the .40S&W is popular, and economies of scale will certainly have an effect on caliber selection with a lot of agencies. Ballistics-wise though, the difference isn't very much between it and the 9mm or 45ACP in defensive loads.
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#12

Post by gigag04 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:30 am

lkd wrote:
stash wrote:I wonder if the standard issue for the FBI is still the Glock in .40, I think the 23 and 27? I think their SWAT and HRT guys have some type of 1911.
SWAT and HRT are SMG/Rifle-response type teams. What sidearm they carry is far less important than their main weapon. Field officers, however, only have one weapon on their body.

I think these "caliber wars" never play out well. The 40S&W has a LONG record now of being an effective defensive caliber. So does the 9mm and the 45ACP. You don't have to like any or all of them, but if you want to say one is statistically less effective than the other, you better be willing to drag up a LOT of empirical evidence. Agencies all over the US use a variety of calibers, from the 5.7mm to the 45ACP. It's true the .40S&W is popular, and economies of scale will certainly have an effect on caliber selection with a lot of agencies. Ballistics-wise though, the difference isn't very much between it and the 9mm or 45ACP in defensive loads.
Which is exactly why issues like felt recoil and ammo cost weigh heavily in this discussion.
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#13

Post by Medic624 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 9:54 am

I can understand and respect your opinion but as far as it being difficult or slower on the subsequent shots (IMHO) I would have to respectfully disagree.

I have used the .45 exclusively while on active duty ... Nice fluid recoil big bang and big hole

I own both .40 S&W (XD .40) and a 9mm (Kel Tec) and given all three the .45 IS the smoothest to shoot BUT I have used my XD exclusively in Speed Steel competitions and have had all 5 hit in under 3 sec. without any second shot issues. Would it have been easier with a smaller caliber? I'm almost certain but I figure train/compete with what you're gonna carry. Now the 9mm the jury is still out but I think it's just the gun itself... :shock: "rlol"

I'm not a big burly guy either I'm 5'7" 190 and fit but still not someone who can manhandle this weapon... ;-)
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#14

Post by OldCannon » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:28 am

gigag04 wrote:
lkd wrote:
stash wrote:I wonder if the standard issue for the FBI is still the Glock in .40, I think the 23 and 27? I think their SWAT and HRT guys have some type of 1911.
SWAT and HRT are SMG/Rifle-response type teams. What sidearm they carry is far less important than their main weapon. Field officers, however, only have one weapon on their body.

I think these "caliber wars" never play out well. The 40S&W has a LONG record now of being an effective defensive caliber. So does the 9mm and the 45ACP. You don't have to like any or all of them, but if you want to say one is statistically less effective than the other, you better be willing to drag up a LOT of empirical evidence. Agencies all over the US use a variety of calibers, from the 5.7mm to the 45ACP. It's true the .40S&W is popular, and economies of scale will certainly have an effect on caliber selection with a lot of agencies. Ballistics-wise though, the difference isn't very much between it and the 9mm or 45ACP in defensive loads.
Which is exactly why issues like felt recoil and ammo cost weigh heavily in this discussion.
ok, but my point is that felt recoil is not exclusively determined by caliber. Sadly, there isn't enough research done yet on actual vs perceived recoil of firearms. It's easy to measure the force parallel to the bore, but nothing really measures all 4 degrees of freedom that constitutes "recoil" (barrel axis force, upward/downward force, and torsional forces along the barrel axis and perpindicular to the barrel axis on the horizontal). And if THAT isn't nerdy enough for you, I don't know what is :mrgreen:
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Re: My hatred of the .40 S&W, by request

#15

Post by CC Italian » Tue Sep 13, 2011 10:33 am

It's the worst round ever because it is a neutered 10mm LOL! In all honesty I have owned all of these calibers and I agree that the recoil of the 9 and 45 are less snappy but my Glock 27 and 20 are the most accurate semi-autos I own. The other two semi autos are a Ruger and Smith in 9mm and neither is as accurate as my 27 or 20. Yes the recoil is snappier but my brother and I both shoot my 27 better then his Glock 17 within 10 yards. We assume this is because the gun is smaller and somehow balances better in our hands.

I can shoot a .40 S&W just as fast as my 9mms so rate of fire is no big deal. Of course after 100 rounds I can start to tell my hand is a little sore from the 27 but I can shoot a 9mm all day. In a defensive situation I would never get wrist or hand fatigue, unless maybe the zombie apocalypse comes.

Personally I prefer the .45 over the 9mm and .40 but if you practice enough I think recoil is not really a problem. Either way I would take a Glock 22, 21 or 20 for that matter over a 17. Sure the 9mm will work but when I can shoot just as fast and as accurate with practice why would I not carry the heavier, bigger, faster bullet?

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