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Old 11-21-2012, 12:26 PM   #1
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Default Why the .40 S&W?

Why the .40 S&W?

When you go to the gun store and tell the man you are looking to purchase a firearm, does he sell you his favorite or does he ask what you will use it for? For years now, I have been championing the idea that a customer is more satisfied with their purchase if you simply ask how they see themselves using it. Where do you plan to keep it? When would you use it? What calibers are you comfortable shooting?

These were some of the questions I asked when a friend came to me to recommend a weapon for his first handgun purchase. His only reference up to that point was a work buddy who brought in his .40 S&W over to show him. So naturally he assumed that was the perfect place to start. Instead I asked, “Why the .40 S&W?”

Following the 1986 FBI Miami shootout, law enforcement began to reexamine not only what weapon was carried but also the round. The FBI in particular sought to replace their standard issue revolver with a semi-automatic pistol (Semi-automatic pistols provided the obvious advantages of increased ammunition capacity and was much easier to reload during a firefight). Many of the more popular calibers of the time were examined, but there were still an ‘old guard’ who loved and appreciated the .38 Special +P 158 gr. Twenty years of documented performance was a big hurdle to overcome.

To win them over, FBI testers developed a series of eight tests that simulated real world events that agent would likely encounter. And if a new cartridge was to be selected, it had to deliver performance superior to the .38 Special +P 158 gr.

The practical replacement cartridges were the 9mm and .45 ACP. However, this is where the story gets interesting, Special Agent-in-Charge John Hall of the FBI Firearms Training Unit, offered his personally owned Colt Delta Elite 10mm semi-automatic along with ammunition he had loaded himself.

The tests ended with two primary findings with regard to the 10mm: excellent ballistic performance exceeding the .38 Special +P 158 gram cartridge, but a heavy recoil that necessitated reforming the sight picture following each shot. An issue not unheard of in the .45 ACP, it took a strong hand with experience to keep the 10mm under control.

The FBI contacted Smith & Wesson to request a cartridge and handgun design that met their desired specifications on the 10mm model for a medium velocity weapon. Engineers at Smith & Wesson recognized that in downsizing the high velocity 10mm meant less powder and more airspace in the cartridge case. Reducing the airspace allowed them to shorten the cartridge to fit a medium frame 9mm handgun. Nearly identical ballistic performance was produced with far less recoil, and the .40 S&W was born. Once introduced to the law enforcement and shooting communities, the new round and handgun was an immediate success.

Law enforcement agencies in Australia, Canada and the United States have made the .40 S&W cartridge their round of choice. It possesses nearly identical accuracy, drift and drop to the 10mm, it has greater kinetic energy over the 9×19mm Parabellum all with manageable recoil most shooters will find easy to keep on target.

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Old 11-21-2012, 12:38 PM   #2
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Quote:
Nearly identical ballistic performance was produced with far less recoil,
This is of course not true.
The max velocity for the 40 with 180gr bullet is roughly 1050fps.
The Max velocity for the 10mm with 180gr bullet is roughly 1250fps.

I would hardly call this nearly "identical Ballistics".
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Old 11-22-2012, 04:00 AM   #3
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I have never found the 10mm Auto to be difficult to control. It bothers me, even with max loads, less than a 230gn milspec .45 Auto. Then, it can easily be downloaded to .40S&W performance.
If you want cheap ammo, get the 9x19. If you want accuracy, get the .45 Auto. If you want versatility, get the 10mm Auto.
Then, there is .38 Spl/.357Mag, .44Spl/.44Mag, .45 Colt/.454Casull.

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Old 11-22-2012, 04:06 AM   #4
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Bwahaha.

Accuracy 45 schmortyfive.



10mm is THE single greatest semi auto chambering ever. Anyone who compares it to 40 or 45 just needs proper education.

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Old 11-22-2012, 12:26 PM   #5
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My perfect "TEN".

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Old 11-22-2012, 12:30 PM   #6
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I'm comfortable shooting any cailber. I choose to carry a .45

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Old 11-22-2012, 01:23 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by willfully armed View Post
Bwahaha.

Accuracy 45 schmortyfive.



10mm is THE single greatest semi auto chambering ever. Anyone who compares it to 40 or 45 just needs proper education.
Everyone has one--(NOT a 10mm)
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:42 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by steve4102 View Post
This is of course not true.
The max velocity for the 40 with 180gr bullet is roughly 1050fps.
The Max velocity for the 10mm with 180gr bullet is roughly 1250fps.

I would hardly call this nearly "identical Ballistics".
OK, If you actually read the post and understood the history, you would know the .40 DOES mirror the 10mm ballistics. The load they were mirroring was called the "FBI Lite" or 10mm Subsonic. The .40 does that well in a smaller package.

What the .40 cannot do is keep up with the "high performance" loads. 180's @ 1300? .40 gets left in the dust.

IMHO the .40 S&W is an adequate defensive cartridge for most applications. The 10mm is a SUPERIOR defensive cartridge for most applications that include real man hands.
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Old 11-26-2012, 11:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willfully armed
Bwahaha.

Accuracy 45 schmortyfive.

10mm is THE single greatest semi auto chambering ever. Anyone who compares it to 40 or 45 just needs proper education.
Lmfao. I have this argument with my boss on a daily basis. His stance is his bullet is bigger. I can move that same weight hunk of lead much faster. 10mm trumps .45 all day long. Lol
Besides he has 8 shots, I have 15. I win hands down.
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Old 11-26-2012, 12:01 PM   #10
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I like the .40... in the proper pistol. Some handguns handle the recoil better than others. My SIG P229 handles it with ease. I bought it for two reasons, it's alot more gun than a 9mm (but I like 9's also) and the ammo is nearly as plentiful as 9mm and at good prices.

I don't dispute that a .45 or 10mm are better ballistically speaking, that's just a simple fact. I just find the 40 S&W a good compromise.

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