.40 cal myths?

Discussion in 'Semi-Auto Handguns' started by matt_k, May 7, 2011.

  1. matt_k

    matt_k New Member

    So I am planning on purchasing a semi-auto handgun mostly for range shooting, but I would like to be an effective self defense weapon as well. I am trying to decide between 9mm, .40 SW, and .45 ACP. There are boat-loads of forums saying this round is better than that....etc. One thing I came across was a few people saying that .40 SW tends to be less accurate than 9mm/.45 (assuming they are being fired from similar firearms), and also that the recoil from a .40 caliber handgun has a particular 1 o'clock roll (as opposed to straight back). Are these just a couple peoples opinions, or has anyone else experienced these issues with .40 cal?
    Last edited: May 7, 2011
  2. jakebrake

    jakebrake Member

    not only have i heard them, i can debunk them (with my opinion/observations)
    40 cal, when it was first introduced had inconsistencies. that much is true. there were issues with accuracy as a result. those bugs have long since been worked out. as far as how and where it recoils. that's kind of like a driver blaming his car for not driving straight. it will recoil/flip wherever the shooter allows it to.

    as far as which is a better round? let's be honest. pure conjecture for the most part. the best one is the one that works for you.

    you can't get shot 112 times with a 9mm and walk away.

    a 45 acp will not drop the empire state building.

    you can hit the broad side of a barn with a 40 s&w without being inside of it.

    just my opinion and observation over the years... let the games begin.

  3. M14sRock

    M14sRock Active Member

    .40s shoot great, accuracy wise.

    The issues with the .40 are that the case head is not reinforced, causing a weakness that can lead to ruptured cases. That is most often encountered with the light, fast bullets. Stay with the 165gr to 180gr at standard velocities and you should be fine. The round was designed to work with a 180gr bullet at 950-980fps.

    Do not be seduced by the light, fast bullets.
  4. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    and don't disillusioned by super heavy, slow bullets, either.

    With the tech nowadays, most handguns will shoot better than most average shooters.
  5. M14sRock

    M14sRock Active Member

    I'm fairly sure that my post says to stick with 165gr to 180gr at standard velocities.

    The light, fast bullets have fine terminal performance, but the unsupported case head makes them unsafe.

    And any handgun is a marginal bet, at best, for self defense.
  6. WDB

    WDB New Member

    If it's going to be a range gun and home defense 9mm makes a lot of sense. Ammo is better priced for shooting a lot at the range and there are plenty of defensive rounds that will do the job.

    Based on personal experience I like the 9mm for capacity, I find the .40 to have more of a snap to it than either the 9mm or the .45, if I recall correctly the snap comes from the bullet having a flat nose instead of a round nose. This was done to slow the bullet down but adds to the recoil. I like the .45 because it's sub sonic (slower moving) and puts a good size hole in what it hits. Shoot them all and decide what fits you best for your intended use.
  7. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    Complement intended. I have heard of people taking the heavier 10mm bullets (200gr and more) and trying to put them in the .40S&W.

    Stay with the recommended by M14sRock.
  8. M14sRock

    M14sRock Active Member

    I loaded a bunch of the 200s many years ago, and you are right. Lots of fun to shoot, but they did not "feel" very lethal.
  9. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    40 isnt as common as 45 or 9mm they tend to be pricier for off the shelf. if you reload it really doesnt matter which round. 9mm is actually the round with the least ammount of inhrerent accuracy. the accuracy of the round and and gun across the board for all guns and loadings s seldom a factor for the average shooter.

    self defense comes down to putting rounds center mass fast. 9mm is the easiest centerfire round to master followed by the 45 then 40. the 40 has a snappier recoil making it a little harder for a new shooter. 45 has more recoil period making it a little harder to master.

    9mm is the cheapest range ammo as surplus is common and cheap for non-reloaders.

    it just depends on your skill level personal preferences and which negatives your willing to train around. there is no perfect SD round other than 12ga 00 buckshot but we cant carry a shotgun around :(
  10. Gojubrian

    Gojubrian New Member

    The .40S&W is an MDR or Magic Death Ray load. Everything a 9mm wants to be and much cooler than a .45.

    LOL,seriously........I sent M14SRock a pm to reply with what he posted, his post is genius. :D
  11. Dillinger

    Dillinger New Member

    Well, hell, we haven't had one of these threads in awhile. :rolleyes:

    Look, the .40 S&W was a .45 cartridge that was "downsized" by request of the FBI to make a big man's pistol capable of being controlled by smallish hands of diminutive and female recruits.

    I carried the .40 S&W for YEARS and I never felt "undergunned" with it, especially in that I could carry a double stack of it. ;)

    Having said that, it's not a .45

    It's slower than the 9mm, but hits with more "impact" and hits with less "impact" than the .45, but it's faster.

    In a 180 grain hollow point, I think it would be devastating to the human body in rapid succession. Devastating. And this round is capable of delivering that if you have smaller than average hand size.

    But a lot of the "stopping power" myths have been written over time. They take into account police and FBI shootings that happened 5, 10 and even 20 years ago when ballistics were first being studied.

    Now, you take the average size of a defensive player in the NFl in say, 1985 and take a look at that exact same position today, you will see that it's grown by leaps and bounds.




    Jumps higher.

    The same is true with the human condition. We have evolved as a species into a larger, bigger, sometimes fatter, version of our parents. That extends to criminals too.

    Look, my old man was 5'-11" on a good day, and weighed less than 2 bills, my mom was 5'-9". I'm 6'-2.5" and I weigh somewhere in the neighborhood of 240 pounds after losing 25 plus pounds.

    A round that would have put my old man in the dirt in 1970, is going to be LESS EFFECTIVE against a guy my size today.

    The same is true for the human condition and the use of handgun/small arms rounds today.

    Somali. 1993. Battle of Mogadishu.

    USA ELITE forces came up against malnourished, underfed people who were high on KHAT and just plain didn't go down when hit with 5.56mm small arms fire.

    Society has changed.

    But there is nothing wrong with the .40SW IF you practice with it and get to a point where you can put multiple rounds on target in a quick fashion.

    It's a great round, but it's no longer my primary round as I was enlightened by the 1911 platform and have seen what it can do to test media.

    Good luck.

  12. M14sRock

    M14sRock Active Member

    Oh, boy...I can't wait to see how you define "genius".:D No PM came through though, bro.
  13. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    I have a .40 and a 10mm. My range guns are the .45's, 9mm, and 10mm. The .40 sits in the safe for the niece.
    I am not saying that there is anything wrong with the .40, just that it is not my caliber of choice.
  14. armsmaster270

    armsmaster270 New Member

    The Sig pistol in .40 S&W was chosen as the sidearm for the U.S. Coast Guard and is working well.
  15. opaww

    opaww New Member

    My son got a Jericho chambered in .40 S&W, and I got a XD40. I can say with all honesty that his Jericho will out shoot my XD any day of the week. But both .40's are accurate and trouble free.

    Would I use it for self-defense? Dam straight I would
  16. ki4dmh

    ki4dmh New Member

    Just about all of us have 9's, 40's, and 45's, and we have our pics out of the three along with what gun manufacturer. It boils down to what you can feel the most comfortable with while shooting. As your training and experience evolves so will the round and weapon you choose to practice with. I Love all three calibers most especially the .45. With that said I carry my good old G-22 every day. I do not feel under gunned in any way shape or form with the .40. My son is just now getting into shooting and prefers the way his 9mm feels over the .40 or .45. Personal preference. You want really know what best fits you until you rent or borrow each caliber and have a play date or two at the range. Happy shooting and be safe.
  17. Wambli

    Wambli Member

    Ammo development (bullet construction) has come such a long way and since most premiere SD ammo is designed to meet FBI standards the terminal performance between a good 9mm, .40 S&W and .45acp is so close as to making it a virtual non issue.

    I carry handguns in all of the above based on different concealed carry situations and not feel undergunned with any. My selection on .40S&W is 155gr HP because the folks that I know that actually shoot BGs for a living swear by them. I know of one particular outfit that shoots them by the 10's of thousands out of HK USP Compacts with no issues.

    Felt recoil is more a function of handgun design than ammo selection. Some guns with a higher bore axis will "flip" more than others. A lot of it has to do with the shooter controling recoil or recoil controling the shooter.
  18. utf59

    utf59 Member

    Matt, welcome to the forum! When you get a chance, please stop by Introductions and tell us a little bit about you.

    All three ammo types you listed are viable defense rounds. For the range, the 9mm is the cheapest and easiest to shoot.

    I have guns in all three calibers. I shoot best with my .45, but they all do turns as my carry gun du jour, depending on what best suits my dress conditions that day.

    As I understand it, the unsupported case issue was almost exclusively with earlier model Glocks.

    Guns chambered in .45 tend to have bigger grips than guns chambered in 9mm or .40.

    ^^^^^^ Very well put.

    The .40 is often referred to as a compromise round between the .45 and the 9mm. It's heavier, but slower, than a 9mm and faster, but lighter, than a .45.

    Happy shopping!

    HOSSFLY New Member

    No experience with the 40cal-
    Owned & carried 9mm & 45 for many-many yrs-
    9mm is much cheaper to shoot & WILL kill the adverage human being :rolleyes:
    I still have & carry both (one or the other) & never even thought about being under guned :confused:
    Besides- The 9 & 45 are availible most anywhere ammo is sold- The 40 not so much (leastwise here in East Texas)---
  20. mes227

    mes227 New Member

    The .40 S&W is the single most common LE round in the US, with 54% of police departments issuing this caliber. Ammo is abundant and reasonably priced - much less than .45 ($15 for 50 retail versus around $25/50) but more than the 9mm (as low as $10/50).