Jump to content
Ray Ray

Is 40S&W on life support?

Recommended Posts

I like debating, so let's debate.

Seems the 40S&W cartridge is dropping in popularity in the LEO market along with the civilian market.  Police agencies are selling off 40S&W guns and replacing them with either the wonder 9 or 45acp.  And any new hand gun released today is in 9mm, with a 45acp version in the works.  I understand things come full circle in regards to popularity but IT'S MY OPINION that the 40S&W would become the 357Sig or 45gap of the caliber world.

Now, don't get me wrong, it's a good round.  It will serve you well, but the other calibers (9mm, 357 magnum, 45acp, 38 special) have more options in regards to firearms and ammo choices. 

I own no guns in 40S&W for the reasons mentioned above.  But there are a few other reasons too.  Cost, recoil, durability are big issues that need to be discussed.

What say you NJGF?

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I own only one hand gun in .40 Short and Weak:  A 2011 Para P-16 that was gifted to me from my sister in-law upon my brother's passing.  My brother used it for USPSA Limited Division, and loaded for it on his Dillon 1050 so he could make a PF of 170 to make "Major" PF.  The metal gun handles the recoil quite well, and the 2011 chassis is well suited to the task.  180 grain Ball FP factory ammo also runs it fine, and the single-action 2011 (double-stack) tames it well.  

That all being said, I have LOTS of friends that buy Tupperware striker-fired hand guns and bitch about the snappiness and always shooting low and left (classic striker group location).  Compact models chambered in this round are even more susceptible to "snappiness", making follow-up shots that much harder, especially for the inexperienced shooter.

Will the .40 Short and Weak disappear?  No!  There's still a great market for it in carbines that use pistol mags, especially in knockdown steel matches where the extra weight and mass of the round enables a wider target area on the plates (low hits still knock the steel plates over) :)   I do think that the Tupperware makers have already figured-out that the used market is flooded with .40's that are "too snappy", so they aren't in a rush to tool-up every new offering in that caliber...

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

.45 and 9mm cover all the bases now in terms of a weapon. Thanks to advances in the world of polymer and alloys we have (depending on application) ultra compact/ lightweight/ thinner (think grip) guns firing 9mm.

 

On the other end of the spectrum, while there are concealable .45's, I feel that they shine in the "duty" size gun. We now have capacities that close the gap with 9mm counterparts (13+1 Glock 21, 15+1 FNX45). Also, the .45s benefit from a weight reduction, loaded 1911 = ~44 oz and a loaded G21 is about 38 oz. You definitely feel that on a duty rig or belt.

 

In regards to both calibers, I feel that firearm manufacturers have taken such a focus on ergonomics that weather recoil is actually reduced or not, shooters perceive less recoil and more positive control.

 

The .40 was, and is, a compromise round. I think we have seen in recent years that the 9mm JHP loadings have proven themselves virtually equal in REAL WORLD performance.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll start with saying I never had any love for the 40 S&W.

Most on this forum are too young to know the story how the 40 S&W came about.

The FBI was using the 10mm a few years before it was officially adopted.  I remember going on jobs with the FBI and some guys had 10mm S&Ws and 10mm MP5s in the mid 80s.

The FBI started looking for a new standard handgun in the early 80s.  They conducted their tests.  The winner? Ready?  45 ACP!

The FBI knew they couldn't go to Capitol Hill asking for money for new guns in a caliber another bigger part of government was abandoning.  How could they justify going to a 45 when DOD was going for a 9mm.  Reasons don't mean anything to Congress, most of which don't know anything about firearms.

So the FBI went to adopt the #2 in their tests the 10mm.  It didn't take them long to realize full power 10mm was too much.  Not only for agents but for the guns. The full size S&Ws were having frame cracking problems.  To alleviate this, plus buy time to pick a new gun and caliber,  the FBI adopted a downloaded 10mm ammo that would reliably function the gun they had.  They also started buying 3" Model 13 S&W 357s.  They actually started doing this earlier as an option for agents who preferred a revolver.  Agents were armed with them at the Miami Shootout in 86.  It was actually one of these revolvers that ended the fight.  9mm Silvertip performed as it was supposed to and was not a failure IMO. That's another discussion though.

Now we're in the late 80s.  S&W have been selling 39s and 59s to a variety of LE agencies for almost 10 years.  They flocked to the 9mm and American made (S&W) in the 80s.  45 was considered "too powerful".  Few agencies wanted a caliber with "magnum" in the name.  Ammo manufacturers catered to that by calling what they sold as "high velocity" as +P and created +P+ first for Treasury and now for everyone else.  Again that's another story.

S&W executed a brilliant engineering and marketing ploy.  They realized they could duplicate the ballistics of the FBI 10mm load in a shorter case.  More importantly  the shorter case fit in the 9mm frames and slides. 

LE agencies sucked up the 40 as not only was it marginally more powerful than the 9mm but new S&W 40s fit the same holsters and mag pouches as the 9mms they had.

IMO the 40 is not a great improvement over the 9mm.  If I want something bigger I'll take a 45 thank you.  I was sold on the 45 20 years before the 40 came out.

It won't become as rare as the 357 SIG or 45 GAP.  The 357 SIG is a 9mm magnum.  If I need those ballistics I'll use a 357 magnum and be more versatile. The 45 GAP was a solution to a problem that didn't exist.  The 40 S&W was more an effective marketing exercise for S&W.  Never owned one, never will.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not necessarily "Pro .40" but I'm issued .40 and ergo almost all of my pistols are .40

I don't have any problem with it. It's reliable out of a series of guns that fit my hand and I shoot it well. I don't think it does anything better than 9mm or .45, but it's not terrible.

If we switched over to 9mm tomorrow I would have no issue. I'd just buy a bunch of 9mm conversion barrels and mags and drive on.

I have shot the full power 10mm Norma loads and the current commercial stuff. I could not replicate the speed and accuracy I achieved with .40 or 9mm with the 10mm. I was significantly slower and my group was significantly larger with both the full power 10mm and the neutered 10mm compared to my .40

Personally, when comparing what I see as acceptable self defense rounds (defined for my use as one that has adequate energy and penetration to be commonly accepted as able to incapacitate a human) I'd take a smaller and faster bullet that allows me to get more hits closer together in less time than a bigger slower bullet with longer split times and a larger grouping.

To me 6 rounds in 4 seconds in a 4" circle at 10 yards from a holster is better than 6 rounds in 8 seconds in an 8" circle at ten yards.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've got 9mm, .40 and .45 cal.  I probably shoot 9mm the most as it is both cheaper and for most competitions makes the most sense.  Lately I have been shooting quite a bit of .40 cal for USPSA L10 or limited major.  Thanks to the police moving away from .40 the prices have dropped so low that the last batch of .40 cal I bought was only a penny a round more than 9mm.  Forty has an advantage for those that want to compete shooting minor power factor if they load themselves as often times you will be shooting out of a bigger heavier gun than you would shoot 9mm.  

As for why police are abandoning .40 cal I'll add something that I don't think has been addressed.  They went to .40 because of its ability to pierce car doors and windshields much more effectively than 9mm.  That was needed a few years ago when cops carried a handgun and perhaps had a shotgun in the trunk of the car.  Today with the almost full militarization of law enforcement in this country it is common place for cops to also have long guns, some fully automatic which mitigates the need for their side arm to be higher power than 9mm.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Pump the brakes there for a second Howard. Your second paragraph is complete BS on many levels. "Militirization" comment aside, there is a lot of either supposition due to  inexperience or deliberate misinformation there.

I have shot in to, and out from, a lot of cars in training - through windows and door panels with a lot of different ammo. All things being equal, .40 pierced auto glass and doors no better, and no worse, than 9mm. There is no advantage there. 

ARs suck as well. Especially with the soft point rounds most agencies issue to help reduce penetration in typical CONUS construction materials. Additionally, full auto capability has jack and squat to do with penetration abilities either.

If you want to skin a car, you grab the 12 gauge. The same gun Cops have being carrying in their cars for ages. Hell, the potential to be in a gun fight around cars is the only reason I still put one in my patrol car every night.

Cops are moving to 9mm because bullet technology has made the terminal effects of 9mm and .40 almost indistinguishable. While the 9mm gives a higher capacity and has less felt recoil (yes it's a subjective measurement, but it is almost universally accepted) in a similar sized pistol.

There is just a very slight advantage on the terminal effect end with modern .45. Some argue that slight ballistic advantage isn't worth the disadvantages of the lower capacity and the increase in felt recoil (again subjective but almost universally accepted) all in a larger gun.

If I told you I could give you a gun that is easier to shoot/train with, easier to teach new shooters on, that holds more rounds, has less recoil, and will give your faster split times all in a gun the same size as the one you are holding and still guarantee that the terminal ballistics would not decrease, would you say no thanks? Neither are the cops.

  • Like 6

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Ray Ray said:

Thank you gentlemen, but I would like to hear from the pro 40S&W crowd as well.  Although they are few and far between.

No it's just that some idiot posts this stuff on a regular basis and it's not worth the time. 

I don't think .40 will go away. It's an easy case to produce, there are a lot of guns out there chambered for it, it is incredibly flexible if you reload, and it doesn't have inherent problems to be avoided in any of the areas it is popular in. Inherently, one thing it has going for vs. 9mm is the extractor groove design.  When panic buying and 24-7 manufacturing was going on, you started seeing a lot of 9mm hitting the market with problems. A lot of them had problems due to the extractor groove being out of spec just a little bit. But it doesn't leave a lot of room for errors. Additionally, you will see more new guns in 9 have their extractors go through revisions to work properly. Same reason. .40 has a giant ass groove like .45. It works, it holds up well to reloading, you can screw up manufacturing a bit more, etc. 

I do think .40 will get a bit pricier to shoot in the future because large purchasers in the LEO field will move to 9mm for budgetary reasons. Savings won't be huge, but they buy a lot so it adds up. Smaller departments will switch to whatever the cool kids are using, and thus used brass will become less plentiful. Factroy new likely won't change much. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, GRIZ said:

The FBI was using the 10mm a few years before it was officially adopted.  I remember going on jobs with the FBI and some guys had 10mm S&Ws and 10mm MP5s in the mid 80s.

The FBI started looking for a new standard handgun in the early 80s.  They conducted their tests.  The winner? Ready?  45 ACP!

So the FBI went to adopt the #2 in their tests the 10mm.  It didn't take them long to realize full power 10mm was too much.  Not only for agents but for the guns. The full size S&Ws were having frame cracking problems.  To alleviate this, plus buy time to pick a new gun and caliber,  the FBI adopted a downloaded 10mm ammo that would reliably function the gun they had.  They also started buying 3" Model 13 S&W 357s.  They actually started doing this earlier as an option for agents who preferred a revolver.  Agents were armed with them at the Miami Shootout in 86.  It was actually one of these revolvers that ended the fight.  9mm Silvertip performed as it was supposed to and was not a failure IMO. That's another discussion though.

GRIZ, sorry... but some of your information is wrong.

The FBI officially adopted the 10mm in late 1989. S&W 10mms did not start being produced until 1990. H&K didn't produce a MP5 in 10mm or .40 until 1991. So, hard to work with guys in the 1980s using guns that weren't produced until the 1990s.

In regards to testing, if .45 was so applauded prior to 1986, how come it wasn't issued (even Thompsons were declared obsolete by that time)? Some agents were carrying semi-autos up through 1986, but after the shootout, the FBI allowed all agents to carry them (9mm SIGs) until their transition was complete (and also between the 1076 and Glock). It is weird, being 1911s were allowed for a lot of the early FBI years, in both .38 Super and .45.

In regards to revolvers used in the shootout, only one agent was allowed to carry .357 Magnum; McNeill (I'll have to check my books at home, but not 100% that he even loaded .357 Magnums). All other agents shooting revolvers were shooting .38 +P, including the two ankle guns and Mireles' revolver, who was the last agent to put rounds into the suspects. Mireles was carrying a 586, which is a .357 revolver, but loaded .38s per regulations. If you read Anderson's book on the shooting, there are a lot of personal accounts made by a few of the surviving agents that put it all into perspective... being "outgunned," "poor shot placement," and "calibers not doing the job." Mireles talks specifically about not carrying something that could result in his termination from the FBI.

I would also hesitate to say Mireles ended the fight... being Platt was probably bleeding out inside the car. Most doctors, looking at the 9mm wound that Dove is credited for, feel that if Platt surrendered right after that wound, and was rushed directly to the hospital... he still would have died. Mireles was probably running just on adrenaline, so nobody can fault him at emptying his revolver into the car, as he walked past his fellow agents, both injured and deceased.

In regards to the S&W 10mm series, I've yet to hear about or see cracked stainless 10mm frames, which is what all of them were built on. There were issues with the SIG style decockers, which were recalled (also were changes in the magazine followers during that time), but never was a widely accepted feature on Third Generation guns (these were most of the complaints, as well as a 9-shot stainless pistol not being the best for carrying in certain roles). I also wouldn't expect them getting the round counts of full power 10mm through them, moving to the lighter loading, and switching to SIG for a short period before going to the .40 Glocks in 1997... Owning a 1006, I'm definitely calling BS on that statement, as the S&W, while no longer supported by S&W, is known for taking true 10mm power like a champ. But if you have information that I haven't seen, by all means, share it.

The whole movement to 10mm was due to the results of 9mm in that shootout. Can't be cut any other way. When a slug stops short of a suspect's heart, even if it was a fatal shot (it was), and that person seriously injures three agents (another was slightly injured, and another was uninjured) and kills two... that is a problem.

At that time (mid-1980s), ammo technology wasn't what it is now. So a bigger bullet, with more energy (only mass and velocity are variables in that equation), was the solution. It was an identical solution back when the .38 didn't do the job against the Moros in the Philippines... which lead to the .45 ACP.

.40 works good for barricade penetration, so agencies will continue to use it. But if you look at wounds, 9mm (today) does a lot more closer to .40 or .45. All common handgun rounds are very similar with performance... stink. In actuality, the job of the handgun is to get you to a long gun. It is a compromise, you are losing cartridge effectiveness to gain the ability to carry it on your person. A .45/.40/10mm/9mm/.357/.38 isn't changing that... carry what you are comfortable with or what you are allowed/have to. The .40 discussion is always looked at using today's ammo, instead of what was available when it was originally introduced.

I like .40... because it is something different. I have two M&Ps in it (5" Pro and a Compact), as well as a SUB-2000 Gen 2 (takes the M&P magazines). If there is an ammo shortage, I'll still be able to get .40 when everyone is trying to stock up on 9mm or .45. So, yea... .40 sucks. Go get rid of those guns, and buy up .45. Try not to buy 9mm guns... those suck to, especially since I have a SIG P938 and S&W 642-1 converted for 9mm. I like carrying those, so help keep those two calibers in stock and buy .45.

Actually, I have a Glock 30S... so, the .45 now sucks, as well. Go with a .357 Magnum. Don't have any guns chambered in it. But stay away from .44 Magnum. Too little power... go .460 or .500 (seriously, .460 has a lot more versatility... as you can shoot .454 Casull and .45 Colt).

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In full disclosure I own 3 or 4 40 S&W (I don't remember without looking at the guns), but at least two Glock 22s and an SVI 2011.  I also have a 357 Sig P229, and a Springfield XD in 45 GAP. lol.

@Ray Ray at first your topic title caught me off guard, but thinking about it more.... I do see less and less love for 40.    Most new gun owners are going to buy a 9mm.  Cheaper ammo and for most intents and purposes, you can get a 9mm load from anything from powder puff to +p+.  

Furthermore, considering the new "wunderguns" are all 9mm, ie Walther PPQ, HK VP9, Ruger American, the plethora of 9mm pocket guns.... it is tougher to justify buying a 40, rather than just getting a 45 if you want more oomph. 

The best part about 40 S&W is that during almost any gun scare, 40 S&W is almost always available.

For reloaders, 40 also has a few perks, being a bit wider it seems to reload a bit more smoothly than 9mm and reloading costs are nearly identical. 

Would I buy a 40 S&W on purposes?  New, likely not.... but if I ran across a good used one.... I would not be opposed.

good discussion @Ray Ray

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Howard said:

I've got 9mm, .40 and .45 cal.  I probably shoot 9mm the most as it is both cheaper and for most competitions makes the most sense.  Lately I have been shooting quite a bit of .40 cal for USPSA L10 or limited major.  Thanks to the police moving away from .40 the prices have dropped so low that the last batch of .40 cal I bought was only a penny a round more than 9mm.  Forty has an advantage for those that want to compete shooting minor power factor if they load themselves as often times you will be shooting out of a bigger heavier gun than you would shoot 9mm.  

As for why police are abandoning .40 cal I'll add something that I don't think has been addressed.  They went to .40 because of its ability to pierce car doors and windshields much more effectively than 9mm.  That was needed a few years ago when cops carried a handgun and perhaps had a shotgun in the trunk of the car.  Today with the almost full militarization of law enforcement in this country it is common place for cops to also have long guns, some fully automatic which mitigates the need for their side arm to be higher power than 9mm.

 

Okay, the militarization of police gambit. You want police to be able to respond to something like the LA bank robbers clad in body armor or a Mubai or Paris type terrorist attack.  They need rifles. No time to call out the SWAT team.

A shotgun, 9mm, 45, or even a 38 (not a std velocity lead bullet)  do well on car doors and windows.

I concur with HE's statement.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, GRIZ said:

Okay, the militarization of police gambit. You want police to be able to respond to something like the LA bank robbers clad in body armor or a Mubai or Paris type terrorist attack.  They need rifles. No time to call out the SWAT team.

A shotgun, 9mm, 45, or even a 38 (not a std velocity lead bullet)  do well on car doors and windows.

I concur with HE's statement.

I don't think anyone should have an issue with police being able to have access to AR's, and Remington 700's.... as long as they don't carry RPGs and Cannons, we are a ok. =)

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 minutes ago, Tony13 said:

 I'd like to thank everyone for they're replies. I for one am enjoying everyone's post and am learning  a lot.

This is what the forum is all about when we don't complain about crooked Democrats or discuss the situation of Pork Roll? vs Taylor Ham. =P

 

 

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, Shane45 said:

That it is a lesser round.

But it is.... =P  40 is way bigger than 9.... like more than 4 times bigger. :rofl:

Would you think part of it would be simply based on the lack of testing of modern handguns to handle +p and +p+ loads?

Ie. I think even HK now tells you to break in your new gun with +p rounds.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, Shane45 said:

I haven't heard the +P break in thing. But the availability of +P 9 is one of the reasons why I don't see any need for a .40 in my golf bag. Now Im only speaking in terms of defense/offence. Im sure there are a number of reasons for its use in competition etc etc.

Can't recall where, but widely reported on the hk forums.

HK's come with quite heavy springs, geared for 9mm nato rounds, and super stiff.  Needed at least a few boxes of +p or at least heavier weight bullets.

My own HK, fed a few boxes of Gold Dots +p 147s and afterwards, had no issues with any 124s, etc.  Prior to that it would fail to fully cycle with standard 124 grain loads. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, GRIZ said:

Okay, the militarization of police gambit. You want police to be able to respond to something like the LA bank robbers clad in body armor or a Mubai or Paris type terrorist attack.  They need rifles. No time to call out the SWAT team.

A shotgun, 9mm, 45, or even a 38 (not a std velocity lead bullet)  do well on car doors and windows.

I concur with HE's statement.

I'm not sure why you are having issues with the phrase militarization of police.  There was no judgement here, neither pro nor con, it is just a fact.  I actually have no issues with it.  I was just commenting if police no longer need one gun that can "do it all"  it makes more sense to have a 9mm which they can probably control better since they also have fully automatic high powered weapons for those other situations.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We usually create calibers due to under powered performance.  38 special was lacking, in comes the 357 magnum.  44 special was lacking, in comes the 44 magnum. 9mm was lacking, in comes the 10mm.  

But the 40S&W was created backwards.  10mm was tough on agents in the FBI due to recoil, so they downloaded it to 10mm light.   Smith and Wesson in turn discovered that if they shortened the case they could replicate the ballistics with the 10mm light in a 9mm sized gun.  And the 40S&W was born.  

My point is, the "fotey" is fine.  But there are better options in other calibers.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.



  • olight.jpg

    Use Promo Code "NJGF10" for 10% Off Regular Items

  • Supporting Vendors

  • Latest Topics

  • Similar Content

    • By SmartAss
      40 S&W
      Federal American Eagle 155 grn 50 rounds 
      Winchester 165 grn 40 rounds
      Sellier & Bellot 180 grn 250 rounds 
      Toms River
      $200
      Price Drop
      Now $150
      The first to post "I'll take it" wins the sale.
       

    • By SheriffOfficer1727
      Springfield XD40 for sale with (6) 10 round magazines. This pistol has never been fired despite having some scratches and abrasions from various optics I have taken on and off of the rails. Original case NOT included.
      Willing to travel to any northern or central region gun dealer for transaction.
      $450.00
      First person to write "I'll take it" will win the sale.







  • Posts

    • More primers on the way..... soon.   https://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/2022/jan/19/ammunition-plant-to-open-near-texarkana/
    • As I mentioned in another thread, we bought a condo in Florida a couple of years ago, and have started spending some time down here.  We have not become residents yet, but still are able to enjoy a taste of life in a free state with Covid sanity and everyday concealed carry. Yesterday I purchased the Zastava Arms ZPAP M70 for which I have been lusting.  Bought it online from Atlantic Firearms and had it shipped to a local dealer.  When I went over to pick it up, he asked me for my DL and Florida CCW permit (if I had one).  I filled out a 4473 and a few minutes later, he said, "You're all set."  Holy crap!  No waiting days for an "instant" background check requiring a return trip to the dealer.  In just minutes I was able to walk out with my new beauty.  While I was there, a fellow walked in and asked to look at a handgun.  He checked it out for a few minutes, then said, "OK, I'll take it."  Same deal for him:  DL, Florida CCW, 4473, and out the door in a few minutes with the gun.  I should note that with the ready availability of guns in Florida, contrary to the hysterical fears of legislators in states like New Jersey, not only do legal gun owners not run around shooting each other, one rarely (like, never) even sees a gun. All that aside, the weather here has been great, the people warm and welcoming.  On days when it's a little cooler, with temperatures in the mid-60's, when we can't sit by the pool or go to the beach, the weather is perfect for golf, pickle ball, running and working out, or just hanging out.  Unfortunately, we have to leave "The Matrix" next week to return to Jersey for six weeks in the middle of winter, for some weddings and other family events.  But we get to look forward to returning in mid-March for another 6-8 weeks.  If any of you are down this way, be sure to say hi!
    • Interested too. Been a USLS member for several years now too.
    • Save your hospitality.  Spammer from Bangladesh.
×
×
  • Create New...