Why the .40 is Dead, Long Live .40

We tested the .40 S&W Winchester Train and Defend in several different guns including this suppressed Glock.

We recently tested the .40 S&W Winchester Train and Defend in several different guns including this suppressed Glock.  For a review of this ammo, check out this article by Tom McHale.

(Editor’s note: This column was submitted by freelance writer Max Slowik. The opinions expressed reflect Mr. Slowik’s own thoughts on the .40 and do not necessarily represent the opinions of GunsAmerica. If you like what he has to say, you can praise him in the comment section below. If you don’t like what he has to say, you can politely tell him why in the comment section below.)

.40 is Dead. Long Live the .40!

If there was only one handgun cartridge, it would be 9mm Luger. Today 9mm is the go-to cartridge for the majority of shooters worldwide for almost all shooting roles, from personal protection to law enforcement to military service to competitions everywhere.

It’s obvious to see why the cartridge has been so successful. It’s easy to handle even for novices. The low recoil and report are less likely to teach new shooters bad habits and on top of that 9mm is one of the most affordable centerfire cartridges out there, taking some of the sting out of paying to practice shooting skills.

In experienced hands, 9mm can be shot at near-subgun speeds with surprising accuracy. And years of projectile development have turned out better, more reliable alloys and bullet designs that make 9mm self-defense loads perform as well as larger cartridges with heavier bullets.

Owing to its 10mm Auto lineage, .40 S&W can be as hard on guns as it is on shooters, and pistols chambered for .40 can have a shorter service life than their 9mm counterparts. To compensate for this many commercial . 40 S&W loads are on the light side, to reduce recoil and wear, which is partly why they perform so similarly to 9mm +P loads.

The case against .40 is established. To many it would appear open and closed, especially following the FBI’s ground-breaking announcement that 9mm performed as well or better than other popular handgun cartridges, including specifically .40 S&W and .45 ACP, while offering the shooter more shots per magazine and greater hit rates on target.

Hit rates are key, especially with shooters who don’t have the time or the means to practice regularly. According to the FBI the average law enforcement officer misses up to 4 out of 5 shots taken in real-world shootings, and in that respect, the use of 9mm may very well save lives through increased capacity alone.

Furthermore there is a cost difference between the two cartridges, again with 9mm coming out on top. So with modern over-pressure ammunition, 9mm Luger performs about as well as .40 S&W, and it offers higher capacities and costs less. So what’s preventing .40 from total obsolescence?

Counter to the FBI’s recommendation, .40 S&W will be in use with law enforcement and private shooters for many years to come. Between agencies that are heavily invested in .40, gun owners who prefer it over other prominent handgun cartridges and race gunners who compete in .40-caliber competitions it will always be in production.

The cartridge’s greatest strength today is that it is not 9mm Luger. It’s a wholly-proven alternative to 9mm with a huge amount of support. Nearly every major handgun manufacturer offers pistols chambered for the cartridge–from full-size steel-framed service pistols to polymer subcompacts for concealed-carry.

During the last ammo panic it was made abundantly clear how popular 9mm Luger has become, with shelves stripped bare of the cartridge across the country for months. Other cartridges, including .40 S&W, were a lot easier to find. And with the price hikes on 9mm, it lost a lot of its cost advantage overnight.

Now that things have calmed down .40 is once again more expensive than 9mm, but the price difference isn’t so dramatic. For a major law enforcement agency with thousands of guns to feed and care for, the cost in terms of ammo alone can justify 9mm, but for the private shooter it may not matter as much, especially when the alternative is no ammo at all.

Another ammo crunch isn’t out of the question. The 2016 elections are just around the corner and gun control is already a central issue–it’s safe to say that ammo and gun sales are expected to rise in the coming months.

Basically, it’s good to have options, and .40 S&W is an appealing option. It’s capable as a handgun round, it’s mainstream and compared to other popular 9mm alternatives, it’s relatively affordable. On top of that, many .40 S&W pistols can be used to shoot .357 SIG with a drop-in conversion barrel for even more options.

It’s also an important cartridge for anyone who lives in a jurisdiction with magazine capacity limits. Depending on those restrictions, .40 S&W can open up doors to standard guns without artificially limiting their capacity, or only limiting them by a small number of rounds. Without the advantage of more ammo per mag, the arguments in favor of 9mm are less compelling to people capped at 10 or 15 rounds per mag, especially for anyone who shoots 9mm and .40 S&W equally well.

And there’s one area where nearly all the arguments against .40 fall apart, and only the benefits of the cartridge stand out: pistol-caliber carbines. The recoil that makes handguns flip and shooter flinch is nothing out of a carbine and the gains can be substantial.

Over the years, there’s been a push to make 9mm perform more like .40 S&W and .40 S&W handle more like 9mm, and thanks to today’s +P ammo 9mm is quickly taking over the .40-cal market. It’s easy to say that there is a siren calling out to the .40-caliber cartridge, but that would be short-sighted.

Cartridges that have achieved the level success that .40 S&W has never truly fade out completely. Right now .40 is in a good position to be reinvented.

Low-recoil .40 will always be around, but there’s a huge market for full-house .40. There are a few independent ammunition manufacturers, like Buffalo Bore, Double Tap Ammunition and Underwood Ammo that are loading .40 S&W all the way to the top, to levels that no 9mm can ever expect to achieve.

It no longer has to be the snappy round that doesn’t do anything better than 9mm; .40 S&W can be remade as the next step up for shooters who can handle it–even if it’s mostly just for guns that go to the range when 9mm is hard to find. And for casual shooting, there’s quite a bit of low-recoil .40 ammunition out there as well.

None of this is in condemnation of 9mm Luger. If anything, it’s .40 S&W that needs to be readdressed. If you only have one handgun, it’s probably best if it’s a 9mm. But if you’re looking to expand your handgun collection and don’t have a .40, maybe now’s a good time to rethink it.

About the author: S.H. Blannelberry is the News Editor of GunsAmerica.

{ 243 comments… add one }
  • Kevin Long November 1, 2017, 10:29 pm

    I take the 40sw or 45acp over a 9mm any day, bigger hole, better penetration. Heavier bullet equals more momentum. 9mm works, it is a good round, if you like it, shoot it, no reason to be insecure about it. However don’t tell me, “It is all shot placement anyway.” If it was you would shoot a .380, no?

  • Jerry October 23, 2017, 9:13 pm

    I love my Glock 23, the recoil is irrelevant compared to the .9mm, I’m 62 yrs old, 5’6″ 200Lbs. not snappy and I just purchased a lone wolf .9mm barrel if I want to shoot. But on my nightstand, I wouldn’t have anything but my .40 Glock or my Mod.8 S&W .38 Special +P.

  • Mastro May 21, 2017, 8:35 pm

    Just bought an FN FNS 40 online- to be delivered soon. Been wanting to add a .40 for a while. When the deal on the FN came up I decided to rent a .40 Glock 23 to see if the .40 was too much for me- specifically follow up shots. Well- that Glock 23 shot real well. Maybe I should buy one, but the FN is a good $150 more expensive. Not a huge surprise- since I’ve shot .357 s for years.

    Hey- 9mm is probably fine for a department that wants to save money- but I don’t buy that a good 9 mm is basically the same as a good .40- just doesn’t add up.

    • Mastro May 22, 2017, 11:16 am

      Oops- I meant the Glock is more expensive than the FN- probably understood.

    • William Stuart June 9, 2017, 2:38 pm

      I only carry two pistols with regularity. My Smith & Wesson model 686 .357 Magnum when concealability is not an issue, not often, since I live in Liberal though Fascist NJ…an oxymoron, I know. When I have to conceal from local LEO’s and others, I carry my old, reliable Glock 23 Generation I. The .40 S&W round has more punch than the 9mm, of which I am also a fan, and I have to say, with 1000’s of rounds (quality ammunition, not that Russian Wolf crap) put through my Glock, it has never stove-piped/jammed or misfired. There’s enough range of ammunition out there to make the Glock 23 and other .40 caliber weapons worth their salt.

      • Kevlar1911a1 January 7, 2018, 6:09 pm

        There is no Gen 1 Glock 23 they started .40 S@W in the Gen 2 series.

    • Pat Slevin October 16, 2017, 10:55 am

      I don’t know when or why it happened just several years ago I noticed I wasn’t interested in buying any more 40 cal handguns instead getting the gun I wanted either in 9mm or .357 SIG. Most of them were 9mm as I’m a loader and can get the performance I want out of the .355″ bullet better, make that with less recoil, than the 40…….then again the gun writers have been really running up the score on 9mm with all the “new and improved” ammo. I’m sure the same improvements could make the 40 even better but you don’t hear as much about it…..so, I’ll probably stick with 9mm. You know, I wonder who will shoot the billions of rounds of 40 cal ammo Obama bought when he was in office?

    • Jerry October 23, 2017, 9:13 pm

      Agree brother, keep the .40 S&W

  • 444 February 2, 2017, 11:06 am

    It all really boils down to the decline levels of testosterone in American men. Our great-grandfathers shot 30-06’s and 45acp’s. Our grandfathers .308’s and 9mm and our fathers 223’s and .380’s. The limp-wristed, left-leaning, freedom hating, crybaby momma’s boys of today shoot .17’s and 5.7…very sad.
    I love seeing my 130lb wife call-out the wussyboys then out shoot them with her purple Tanfoglio Pavona glittergun in .40 S&W! However, she does shoot a .243 and a 20ga shotgun because she doesn’t have the strength to hold larger guns on target.
    Leave the “hard kicking” .40 to the girls that can handle it!

    • Robert Johnston March 6, 2017, 2:09 pm

      Right on.

    • Daniel March 23, 2017, 6:21 pm

      Awesome post.

    • Al July 17, 2017, 2:13 pm

      Atta Girl!

  • John January 30, 2017, 11:46 am

    If I recall correctly, the original tests (1904) by the US Army which lead to the .45 ACP involved shooting steers. Only one steer was killed instantly. The miracle cartridge was the .30 Luger. There is too much variability in killing a animal or human, so there will never be a ” best” cartridge. Practice with what you have and hope you don’t ever have to shoot a real person.

    Personally, I never went to the .40 for logistical reasons. I already had too many ammo types. I’ve shot .40 many times, and it does seem more “snappy” than a 9 mm, but not too bad.

  • Danny Peck January 26, 2017, 5:59 pm

    The 9mm is ok for practice or shooting human beings. But for hunting, a more powerful cartridge is called for.

  • John January 17, 2017, 1:01 am

    Please show me someone that “wore out” a .40 that was built for the cartridge and not a shoehorned 9mm. Modern .40 cal guns like the USP, P30, M&P or even a newer Glock will fire thousands of dollars or ammunition before having any issues. Stop drinking the magic internet water boys.

    Buy a quality firearm in any of the big three auto calibers (9mm, .40 or .45) and it will last a lot longer than 99% of folks will ever shoot in a lifetime.

    • Mastro May 22, 2017, 11:20 am

      I believe some of the early .40’s made in the early 1990’s on 9mm frames had cracking problems. But I doubt they wear out too fast.

      I will say I just looked at a SIG 226 DAK at a gun store- $400- BUT the barrel looked bad- maybe it wore out- maybe the owner never cleaned it- If it had looked good- I’d have bought it–

  • daniel January 16, 2017, 2:35 pm

    i have both the s&w 9 and the 40 cal . i fine i can shoot better with my left hand holding the 40 cal and i’m right handed so when i go to the range i now use both hands with both guns it was hard at first it gets better over time.

  • John Hope August 28, 2016, 2:51 pm

    9mm, 40, 45……id still take a 686+ with 7 rounds of 357 mag and a speed loader with 7 more all day, every day, over all 3 of these. Especially considering also that 4inch-6 inch barrel 357 mag revolvers are much more accurate than semi auto pistols and your accuracy rate will go way up with them. Especially once you master how to properly shoot a double action revolver trigger. Call me old school. Or call me naive for choosing a pistol that holds less rounds. But no one can debate that the 357 mag is the gold standard, king of the mountain, when it comes to most effective pistol cartridge for self defense or having the most kinetic energy and “stopping power” for a pistol round.

    • duke944 October 26, 2016, 11:34 pm

      You are naive and old school, semi’s are more accurate and offer far more fire power than revovlvers.

      • JerseyCasull454 November 17, 2016, 11:31 am

        Duke, that is one of the most idiotic statements i’ve come across on the net so far, and I’ve come across a lot of them, Please tell us how a handgun that weighs the same as a slimjim (snap into a 9mm! with Steve Urkel as the spokes person, Macho Man Randy Savage wouldn’t carry a 9mm) and has no sight radius is more accurate than a revolver? your plastic guns have such a harsh muzzle rise from even a 9mm which has no powder it takes you considerably more time to get back on target, one cartridge from a 357magnum,if the correct one is chosen,has more stopping power that 4 rounds from your 9mm combined, times that by 6 or 8. Trust me, you wont stop someone like me with your 9mm, you need at least a 357 magnum. You’ll just piss me off even more if you hit me with a 9mm, just saying

        • Kyser December 2, 2016, 3:32 pm

          Not if I they put one in your dome, I don’t care if you are the world’s biggest meatiest person, a round from a 9mm to the forehead will most likely incapacitate anyone just like its bigger caliber counterparts.

        • Fallen 234 December 28, 2016, 2:25 pm

          Dude you know youre stuff thas sooo cool

        • 444 February 2, 2017, 1:19 pm

          John & Jersey, I’m not sure what kind of tainted tea you have been drinking… I think you boys have never shot a wheelgun or a 9mm.
          I am a 357 fan, I think the 9mm is good round for plinking, but I would never say 357 is faster on target, more accurate or has 4 time the stopped power. None of that is true!
          If you have ever shot in competition or taken a, searous, self-defense course you will soon learn no revolver has any advantage over a semiautomatic in speed, accuracy or shots on target. “Muzzle rise”? Seriously?? Do you even know how a semiauto works???
          A 357 does have an advantage in energy, NOT 4 times! In same length barrels of 4″, you may only get half again as much energy; DoubleTap’s 9mm 124gr 473ft/lb vs 357 125gr 710ft/lb. Despite the 1.5 power advantage of a single round of 357, my 18 round (2.5:1 advantage in round capacity) FNX9 gives me 1.7 times the “fire power” (total weight down range) of your 686! Duke is right. Do the math.
          You are correct, I wont be stopping someone like you with a 9mm, my wife may, she sometimes carries a LC9. I’d be using my short, week and obsolete .40s&w. Just saying.

          • Mastro May 22, 2017, 11:24 am

            I’ve had a few .357 ‘s – the first shot is often accurate- but I had trouble getting follow up shots with a 4″ barrel .

            Not so with a .40 I recently rented.

          • Kevlar1911a1 January 7, 2018, 6:36 pm

            At a very young age my friends brother snuck us into a bar back then 18 was legal to drink anyway my friends brother started playing pool with another guy I would later find out he was a staff Sgt in th USAF long story short he lost didn’t want to pay and a fun night turned into a nightmare Sgt pulled a 1911 still can see it in my head and from across a pool table he shot my friends brother 3 times in the chest which caused him to look down and with profanity exclaimed you shot me not the exact wording we were in sock as my friends brother walked out the door Sgt went to the bar and ordered a beer right next to us I guess he didn’t know we were together anyway my friends brother came back inside and standing at the doorway shot Sgt once in the forehead with a Marlin model 60 .22lr and killed him instantly feet away from me. That was the first person I saw murdered. I would go on later to join the USMC and would see many more deaths. Handguns are not powerful or reliable to stop a human being 100% of the time. A handgun is what you use to fight your way to your primary weapon or escape the situation. 9, 40, 357 sig, 357 mag , 45acp none have the capability of a rifle or shotgun these handgun caliber wars are usuall fought by the haven’t been there haven’t done it crowd. Just my 2 cents of real life.

        • Robert Johnston March 6, 2017, 2:12 pm

          Apperantly, you’ve never been shot.

    • Al July 17, 2017, 2:21 pm

      Try a 10mm pistol with a 6″ barrel, then tell me the same story you just told the world!

  • DS June 6, 2016, 1:14 am

    It’s really interesting to see the 9mm renaissance after everything that happened to bring about the 40’s popularity. My own lifelong interest in guns and their rise/fall through the years. Before I delve into my own observations, let me be clear. I have absolutely nothing agains the 9mm at all when it comes to the round as a popular choice for self defense. It can be as deadly as they come whenever used by someone who’s comfortable with it as a sidearm. My military experience has; however, taught me many lessons that I hopefully won’t encounter on the street in front of my house. Is it a good cartridge? Yes. Is it a good combat round? My gut and my experience tells me not so much. If you’re the occasional concealed carry guy, the 9mm is a great choice for concealment, user friendliness, and accuracy. It should get you out of just about any bad scenario you will find yourself in going to the mall or the mailbox. If it doesn’t kill your assailant, it’ll definitely give him one hell of a titty twister and make him think twice before making you shoot him again.

    If you’re planning on jumping into the middle of a gunfight with a carload of bank robbers or gang members, I’d prefer to have something that can penetrate a little better for those shots that have to go through obstacles like car doors, windshields, walls, etc. Now, that being said, the 40 doesn’t do one thing that the 45 acp hasn’t already done for a century. It’s appeal was the ability to stack 13-15 rounds into a magazine before we realized we could double stack 45 acp too. Now, once enough high profile incidents happen such as the one the FBI found itself in that brought about all this noise about needing a bigger round such as the 10 mm and 40 S&W, will the 40 see its own renaissance? Will the 45 acp regain favor because it’s a lower pressure American staple cartridge that can do everything the 40 can do? I can’t peer into my crystal ball and answer that one. I can say; however, as a gun dealer, I do get a very strong number of inquiries about the 45 acp and the 40. I’d say that they’re definitely second and third on my list of inquiries from men with the 9mm still on top because most of my customers are looking for a mild round that isn’t intimidating to first time shooters and older folks.

    Is the 40 dead? I swore I’d never have one in the house until I actually fired my first Sig Legion in 40 S&W. It’s not a bad round by any means and I think it’ll be around (despite the wise counsel from the teenager stocking the shelves at Academy about how the round is dead and the funeral will be next week) for a while, if for no other reason than the fact that there are still a lot of guns out there that chamber the round. Will it be as popular as it once was? The 357 magnum is a perfect example of what it could turn into. It’s a good cartridge and still used by a lot of us old die hards, but it’s not as sleek and sexy as the latest greatest solution in search of a problem.

    • Pat Slevin November 16, 2016, 11:36 am

      I keep hearing about the soft shooting 9mm?? Shooting +P ammo out of a SIG P938 is not a really pleasant experience and I can’t imagine a 40 cal in that small size let alone a 45. Concealed Carry is why the 9 is so popular in the civilian market. I’ve talked to CCW holders who say, “I don’t carry anything but a 45.” When asked to see it they don’t have it on them…..too big to carry but it’s in the glove box???? The FBI has a lot of woman working for them and I think 9mm is more suitable to people who have no experience with handguns but must carry one for the job. That being said ammo has made huge strides in the last 10 years or so. So, once again, you pick what you like and use that. It won’t matter if it’s 9mm 40 S&W of 45acp

  • James Fleming May 23, 2016, 1:45 pm

    My first .40 was Colt Delta Elite, loved it. Loned it to my Dad, never got it back. Loved the old man more.
    Few years back bought a Taurus PT-101 S&W .40
    I need to turn to the dark side and may be consider (dare I say) a 9mm. Ammo availability not a problem.

  • Ralph February 20, 2016, 11:23 am

    Come on! First compare apples to apples here. When you start factoring in you have to buy +P ammo to be competitive, you blow the whole theory of cheaper prices out the door as well as the longevity of the firearm and the recoil. Lower capacity mags is a legit reason to go with the larger caliber.

    • Mike Edwards January 13, 2017, 12:04 am

      however in a 9mm with +P you only shoot maybe a mag or so a year to function test reliability and then you shoot low power 9mm range ammo till the cows come home. with .40 you’re running those .40 cal “higher” pressues every time.

  • Tony February 20, 2016, 10:08 am

    As long as I have a Sidearm and enough ammo . I don’t care what cal. End of story .

    • Kyser December 2, 2016, 3:35 pm

      I concur sir, always have someone coming in comments with the “my caliber is best blah blah blah.” When they forget the purpose of a pistol or handgun, to fight up to the rifle.

  • Matt February 19, 2016, 5:19 pm

    I love my 40 caliber Bretta Storm full size. I understand how some people cant handle the recoil. I have 2 9mm and my first 40 caliber was a sig and i coudn’t shoot the thing right to save my life. Yes i was hitting the target but follow up shots were hard. Now i traded it in for a Storm and i love the damm thing. Its not snappy at all it almost feels like my 9mm. I guess its personal preference but i really like my new storm. My 9mm are the springfeild competition 5.25 barrel with the 20rd mag and i own a S@W M@P 9mm with the full Apex kit installed with night sites and that gun shoots like a champ! The original trigger in the m@p was gritty to me but after the change it was a whole new ballgame.

  • Shane Tippett February 1, 2016, 9:38 pm

    Man loved the article death to the 40 and the 357 sig they are about to be fazed out gun sale sites are loaded with them for sale it’s crazy any way thanks

  • Irv Stark December 8, 2015, 3:10 pm

    I am 78 years old, in relatively good shape. I began shooting just four years ago and began with a Smith & Wesson .40 S&W. I have always had difficulty with the recoil on the .40 trying to realign the sights after firing for a second shot. I have recently changed over to the 9mm and experience a greater comfort factor when firing the 9mm.and a faster sight acquisition. I kind of go by what an instructor told me when discussing choice of calibers…”Better to have two good hits with a .22LR than two misses with a .45 cal.” I feel the 9mm is a good compromise for the senior citizen.

  • Thang Nguyen December 8, 2015, 9:28 am

    Thank you for the information Mak. I am new to this gun thinggy and have this question since i bought my first .40 handgun but do not see many article talk about it. All i see in every magazine is .45 and 1911, seems like that is still current fashion for still a long time in the near future. Personally, i have a Berretta 380 and a .840 brazillian thinggy and feel they are both more superior than 9mm caliber in term of stop thing power.

  • petru sova December 7, 2015, 11:06 am

    Everyone is an expert on stopping power but how many have actually shot something live? eh? I have. The 45 acp with the 180 grain bullets was an absolute failure when shooting deer. The 45acp even with 225 grain bullets lacked penetration especially as the distance increased. The 9mm with the 125 grain bullet killed deer with no problem with one shot, I repeat with one shot and its kill range as the distance increased far exceeded that of the 45acp. So much for the so called gun writers like Cooper who obviously never shot anything live with the 9mm or the 45 acp.

    Agnes Herbert proved as far back as the year 1900 bullet diameter was irrelevant, rather it was bullet penetration and placement that were the key to 1 shot kills. Pistolero magazine in the 1980’s shot live hogs at point blank range and found that the 45acp was no better than the 38 special, 357 mag or the 9mm. So much for the myth that bigger is better.

    The U.S. Military found in 1945 the 45 acp was an absolute failure when it bounced off a helmet at a scant 35 yards while the 9mm penetrated the helmet at an astonishing 125 yards. So much for the 45 acp myth.

    • Hector July 28, 2016, 7:11 pm

      I like your comment on this matter. Is so very truth. I kill a giant crock with one shot from 30 feet right on the side of the head. AM with you 100% and more people shooed buy the gun by testing the gun that some friend my have and shoot live animal wen they going to hunt. And i want to make it clear that do not kill all just for fun or to see what gun is better if is not going to ea-tit do not take a life. I just want to say that is truth what you are saying, my gun of choosing is the .9 mm,.38 SPL, .357 MAG. .223,30/06 .17 HMR, 22 LR, .22MAG, you have a good night. I do look of good opinions that help me be a better sports man. a fiend from Orlando FL thank for your comment.

    • RSic November 1, 2016, 11:45 pm

      Well I’ve shot hogs with 9mm at 20-30 meters with complete failure, 9mm is a weak round, sure it penetrated but didn’t stop the hog, tried 40s&w and worked every time, both pistols 4.25 inch barrels, shot placement is every thing right.

    • Pat Slevin November 16, 2016, 11:43 am

      I killed a Deer with a speer 100 grain 9mm bullet with a hot load of Blue Dot Powder. Deer weighted in over 200 lbs. one shot at 40 yds, ran 25 yds and fell dead. Yes, the 9mm is a good round. I loaded these 100 grain bullets because our State Troopers were carrying a 100 grain round loaded by Winchester at the time and I wanted to see for myself how effective a bullet 100 grains would be.

    • Wazup480 November 30, 2016, 11:11 am

      Just like everyone else, you have fallen into a trap of conditions. Yeah there are conditions that don’t suit any gun. A .45 is not a penetrating round and no one ever said it was. It’s a low pressure round. The Army had zero problem with the .45 in terms of shooting the enemy. The helmet is supposed to deflect a round if it didn’t then why the hell wear one? The 9mm was chosen by the army because of the emergence of the double stack 9mm pistols. It made more sense at that time to have a back-up pistol that could fire 17 rounds (Whether or not the 9mm was a good choice is speculative). Secondly, know your round. If you want to go hunt a deer with a low pressure round at 100+ yards then that’s your fault for thinking a bullet would do something it wasn’t designed to do. A .45 is a good short range, knock down round. Obviously if you’re wanting to shoot at a greater distance you want a faster flatter shooting round. A good marksman, and responsible handgun owner will choose a round and firearm to meet their needs.

  • Alan December 7, 2015, 9:11 am

    I seem to recall a very similar article as this one pronouncing the same fate for the .45 ACP, and the .38Special.
    Gunnies can be such silly people at times, can’t we?

  • john December 6, 2015, 4:05 pm

    i have a glock mod 36 .45, i do not understand the references to the recoil. i am a 71 yr old veitnam vet, 101st airborne. the noise is the problem, not the recoil. i consistently hit a 3′ target at 50 yrds. if you cannot handle the recoil of a .40, you need to go to a gym. this glock has a very short barrel. good carry weapon. i am not going to ” shoot out the barrel”. we are not going to engage in fire fights every day, hopefully.

    • rich p July 16, 2016, 4:41 pm

      Hi John,
      I’m the guy who puts the air in airborne!!! A C130 crew chief. In the Bam 69&70. No airborne jumping then. Stand Up, Hook Up, Green Lite…

  • Don December 6, 2015, 2:31 pm

    Just buy a .40 Glock, a 9mm drop-in barrel and mag. A drop-in .357Sig barrel just adds to the fun. No worries all around!

    • Dan December 6, 2016, 8:03 am


  • J. Smith December 6, 2015, 10:20 am

    Read article below about FBI tests, going back to 9mm first.

    So here is the BLUFF (bottomline up front). The FBI and certain police forces creating a buzz about going back to 9mms with the argument is that 9mm are better is nonsense. They are not better, they are a better compromise.

    Its about 3 things: 1. big money contracts for pistols, ammo, ammo supply chain, training and new equipment for said choice. 2. Lack of training, and the inability for men and women to properly handle the .40 round, or other more effective cartridges. 3. The shooting industry wanting to create a stir and debate to sell you more, new stuff. No different than the magnum rifle craze decades ago for deer cartridges. When it comes to a tool, I need in that rare instance to save lives or take lives, I am going to err on the side of caution and go with a proven manstopper. Sure, a .22 can be a manstopper, i know its all about shot placement, right?

    Read article below first.
    Answer me one question. What is the gain, significant or small that would require such a change? I love how they skip over the specific, quantifiable, common sense or cost-benefit analysis data. Its simply a waste of tax dollars.

    Dont disregard the civilian market that will revolve around this narrative that now 9mm is better…better than what? Which started about a year ago in all the gun rags hawking there benefactor’s new 9mm pistols. They all want to jump on the band wagon to increase sales and profits, so instead of the need driving the industry, the industry converts perception to create to drive the need.

    If the premise is new ballistic advances make the 9mm a better round, couldn’t that same logic be extrapolated to ALL suitable defense ammo options? Yes, but theres an agenda here and it’s more graft, sell you a new popsicle, garbage! And the shooting industry is more than glad to go along with it.

    Why not go with .357 sig with 125jhp? Wait, isnt that like a 9mm but with near .357 mag ballistics, you mean the same .357 mag that historically in police shootings produced the highest one shot stops of “any” suitable defense round. .357 mag achieves 98-99% one shot stops with 125 jhp. The next best was the .40 s&w with 135jhp speer gold dot, ranking in the mid 90s. A 9mm in 147jhp only at best achies mid 80s one shot stops. (Read on way on and ill eventually do the math there). Ive been using and carrying my .40s in the 135jhp speer round since the early 1990s. Now, for LEO work, I use the Hornady TAP 175g for its all around ability, especially on barriers. Quit lumping all .40 rounds in together, a 135g is not the same as a 180g they are almost two different rounds. All cartridges typically shine with one or two loads, in the .40 the apex of velocity, ft lbs of energy, bullet design and terminal effects all reach an apex with the 135jhp as does the .357 mag with a 125jhp. Quit comparing apples and oranges.

    I want to see the data From the FBI tests, that clearly delineates a cost benefit analysis for the change and expenditure. Im sending this to my congressmen. Its fraud, waste and abuse. It wont stop with one federal agency, it will spread to all of them coating 100s of millions of dollars in the decades to come. Im surprised they didn’t cite the anemic enthusiasm in which the military keeps the 9mm as just cause. Im kidding. The military hates it, its the generals and lobbyist, getting graft from the contracts and that the supply chains are established that keep it. The military hates the 9mm. Real shooters rarely use 9mm unless constrained to do so. Let me just stop you right there: my bonafides to make that statement are very deep and broad. Former SOF operator, Former LEO, Former SOF weapons and tactics developer, etc…ad nauseaum. Funny, same with HRT comments using HK 416’s over standard M-4s and .45s over 9mms. Same as special mission units. Why? Cause when you need to kill a bad dude, not just wound him, but take him out of the equation, this stuff works. Its that simple.

    Conspiracy alert: Maybe they want all law enforcement to be UN/NATO 9mm compatible so when the blue helmets show up on rodeo dr, the supply chain will be 9mm only.

    Another point of waste. So, what about the billions of . 40 ammo the fed bought two years ago? Conspiracy number two. Or, just fraud, waste and abuse. Maybe, well start supplying freedom fighters with our unwanted .40 cal pistols and surplus ammo. It damn sure wont be sold to the public.

    I say give LEOs the option of of a few selected, different firearms in different calibers. Give a list and a firearms and ammo allowance. Decentralize the issue, get ride of the problem and debate. I hate being constrained by some “Mary” that cant handle his whiskey so to speak and needs milk.

    -friendly tinfoil hat wearer

    Advances push FBI back to its former 9mm bullet choice
    Saturday – Oct. 31, 2015
    By The Washington Post

    The FBI is returning to the ammunition caliber it labeled ineffective and blamed for the deaths of two of its agents during a 1986 shootout in Miami: the 9mm jacketed hollow-point luger.
    In addition to the new bullet, the FBI has decided to purchase a new pistol to fire it, something that could be in the hands of the bureau’s approximately 13,000 agents by 2016, according to bureau officials. The decision could have far-ranging implications for local law enforcement agencies because they often model their procurement decisions on those made by the FBI.
    The bureau dumped the 9mm bullet after the Miami incident because it failed to penetrate far enough into the gunman’s torso.
    The shooter, former Army Ranger Michael Platt, went on to kill two agents and wound a third. Though Platt was shot multiple times, an autopsy revealed that he died from the first shot — one that penetrated his chest cavity but stopped just short of his heart.
    In response, the FBI fielded a new pistol round, one it hoped would have better penetration: the 10mm. In the following years, the 10mm was ditched in favor of the .40 S&W, a stubbier round that could fit into pistols designed for small calibers.
    The .40 S&W is a law enforcement favorite, but after recent studies on new 9mm rounds by the FBI’s Ballistic Research Facility, the 9mm is slowly finding its way back into the hands of police officers across the country.
    According to FBI Special Agent Ray Cook, the unit chief of the FBI’s Defensive Systems Unit, the bureau, which continuously tests various types of ammunition, began considering a return to the 9mm round in 2007, in part because of advances in ballistic technology.
    “During our testing, we found that the (9mm) rounds used in the Miami shootout tested the lowest on our scale,” Cook said in a recent interview at the FBI Academy, referring to the bureau’s ballistic standards and testing methods put in place following the shooting. The new 9mm round — known to gun aficionados as the 147 grain Speer Gold Dot G2 — is significantly more effective than what FBI agents carried into the field in 1986. According to Cook, the bullet has been rigorously tested and has received high marks in the FBI’s most important category for bullet selection: penetration.
    Cook says that the lighter the bullet, the faster the gun can “drive” the round into the target. For the FBI, that translates into 12 to 18 inches of penetration into the human body. The 9mm’s weight, Cook added, also increases an agent’s accuracy in a gunfight, according to the findings of a 2014 FBI report that was leaked online last year.
    According to Cook,the bureau’s ability to research and test weapons in ways that other law enforcement agencies cannot gives it great sway over many police departments.
    “When we do something, local departments take note,” Cook said. “They see that if it works for us, it’ll work for them, too.”
    For Jorge Rodriguez, a police officer in the Houston suburb of Baytown, Texas, his department is testing the idea of going back to the 9mm for many of the same reasons the FBI is leaving the .40 S&W.
    “The 9mm has changed,” Rodriguez said. “The FBI report came out and basically affirmed that the 9mm isn’t a weak round anymore.”
    The Los Angeles Police Department recently transitioned from a Glock .40 to a Smith & Wesson chambered in 9mm, while the New York Police Department issues a hollow-point 9mm round to its duty officers.
    In early October, the FBI issued a request for proposal for a new pistol, a contract worth up to $85 million. Cook would neither speculate nor comment on what firearm manufacturer the FBI might select.
    In 1996, the FBI adopted a Glock pistol chambered in .40 S&W and since then has fielded a number of variants.
    The FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team (HRT), however, uses other weapons.
    “We are on a completely different program,” one senior HRT operator said, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the team’s arsenal.
    It includes using Heckler & Koch 416 carbines — a favorite of top-tier Special Operations forces around the globe — as well as an array of different pistols. The HRT’s armorers, however, are among the 11 technicians who maintain the rest of the bureau’s weapons in a building basement adjacent to the FBI Academy’s Jefferson Dormitory — known as the Gun Vault.
    The vault is half safe and half armory, a place where the bureau stores approximately 7,000 firearms and a place where the bureau’s 60,000 firearms — from pistols to sniper rifles — are maintained and repaired, according to Kenneth Fennema, the FBI’s lead gunsmith.
    “These are imperfect machines though,” Fennema said. “They break.”
    The armorers who work on the bureau’s weapons are a mixed bag of prior military and old hands who have been with bureau’s weapon program for decades. For Al Neff, 61, an armorer who has been with the bureau for more than 40 years, he sees the FBI’s change to a new but older caliber bullet and the adoption of a new service pistol as a mandatory evolution to stay up with technology.
    “We want to see what’s out there,” he said. “We want to make sure that gun goes ‘bang’ every time.”

    Read more:http://triblive.com/usworld/nation/9358453-74/fbi-bureau-bullet#

    Another thread about the 9mm debate.

    Subject: A rather dubious story: Full of holes!


    1. Yes, all premium ammo has improved every caliber.

    2. If the argument is less 9mm rounds are needed now, why do we still need higher capacities akin to 9mm. Which isn’t true anyway. So for example a G17 vs a G22 round difference is + 2. Really! If i need 2- 9mms for every forty round I’m actually at a deficit of -2. I guess this argument may be answered best by the now deceased jeff cooper: ” a pistol is there to shoot your way to your rifle”.

    3. Velocity is what delivers kinetic energy and hydrostatic shock. Their argument, not mine. Ok, so then why isnt the 357 mag with king shooting a 125jhp at 1,500fps its a well documented one shot stopper at over 550 ft lbs of energy. one shot stops in actual shootings stopped the subject 98/99% of the time with 1 shot. The .40 cal with 135 jhp at 1,350 does it 96+%. At its highest, the 9mm 147jhp leo ammo does it at 86% but typically most 9mm rounds barely break the 80% mark at all. Im confused! Why should i stop using a .40 with 135jhp ammo? Or 155/165jhps at low 90% That closely mirrors the venerable 357 mag in one shot stops and energy, penetration, wound channel cavitation and hydrostatic shock for a 9mm?

    4. Funny, 25 years ago or so, the FBI said the 10mm was the best after the Miami shootout debacle but females couldn’t handle the recoil. So, hence the .40. Which on paper is a compromise. In reality its about as much a compromise as the difference between poison ivy vs poison oak. Semantics! Unless you want a 6″ barrel 10mm to hunt hogs. Again, .357 mag with 158 jhps at 1550 from a 6″ beat it in velocity and energy. So yeah. Good for hogs also and black bear with 180 or 200g cast core. Whats my point. I digress.

    Wouldn’t a 454 casull even be even better? That would penetrate some auto glass barriers! 40 is the best compromise capacity, velocity, energy wound diameter, accuracy, recoil, platform selection between the ends of 9mm and 40. It doesnt denote compromise in effectiveness. If a 45 is better cause its 1/2 diameter why not shoot a .75 argument? Well they dont make one. But weight 14rds of 45 vs 14 rds of .40 adds almost a 1/2 pound. And yes recoil. I can shoot a .45 fairly well but definitely shoot a 40 better and faster on 2nd, 3rd follow ups. Not necessarily the same 40 and 9mm. Yes, more practice and training with a 45 would yield better results i have no issue with 40 or a 45. No argument.

    No, the issue is again crappy, insufficient training, wimpy shooters in a PC environment where we just want to stop the threat not kill the threat. If you allow it lunatics come full circle as they are left chasing their tails.

    With training almost anyone can shoot a .40 as well if not better and faster than a 9. Evidenced by my 67 year old mother not being able to shoot a 380 but given training was able to one-hole my .40 cal browning hi-power like any relative professional. BTW, the .40 Browning hi power was originally designed for the 10mm auto.

    Im not debating 40s and .45s. Personally they both have their merits and i don’t consider either one better or worse they are different and i defer their selection to personal choice and the myriad roles each can fill depending on mission and environmental factors, shooter ability, size, platform etc….

    But, 9mm is king….pure b.s!

    Debate over.

    Ill be keeping my .40 thanks.

    • petru sova December 10, 2015, 12:33 pm

      Everyone is an expert on stopping power but how many have actually shot something live? eh? I have. The 45 acp with the 180 grain bullets was an absolute failure when shooting deer. The 45acp even with 225 grain bullets lacked penetration especially as the distance increased. The 9mm with the 125 grain bullet killed deer with no problem with one shot, I repeat with one shot and its kill range as the distance increased far exceeded that of the 45acp. So much for the so called gun writers like Cooper who obviously never shot anything live with the 9mm or the 45 acp.

      Agnes Herbert proved as far back as the year 1900 bullet diameter was irrelevant, rather it was bullet penetration and placement that were the key to 1 shot kills. Pistolero magazine in the 1980’s shot live hogs at point blank range and found that the 45acp was no better than the 38 special, 357 mag or the 9mm. So much for the myth that bigger is better.

      The U.S. Military found in 1945 the 45 acp was an absolute failure when it bounced off a helmet at a scant 35 yards while the 9mm penetrated the helmet at an astonishing 125 yards. So much for the 45 acp myth.

      This was not mentioned an is shocking and most important. The 40 S&W was a shortened 10mm which ended up having no air space in the cartridge when the heavier 180 grain bullets were used. As a consequence if the cartridge suffered bullet set back the round detonated blowing up the handgun. Combat Handguns Magazine reported that 3 handguns, A Glock, a Browning High Power and a Ruger using factory ammo blew up with the 180 grain bullets . The ammo factories then stared loading down the 180 grain bullets to get more air space in the cartridge which reduced the effectiveness of this loading which by the way was the best bullet for this cartridge. It now had a slow looping trajectory and less penetration as well.

      Also many handguns chambered for this cartridge were actually reversed engineered from 9mm handguns which is another reason the 40 S&W destroyed so many handguns. In other words they were never designed to take the pounding of the 40 S&W.

      The 9mm has flatter trajectory, more penetration, less recoil, a higher magazine capacity, more accuracy due to less recoil and longer service life and it just as deadly.

      Few people know that as long ago as 1900 it was discovered that bullet diameter is meaningless but bullet penetration and placement are what actually kills. Many elephant hunters were actually killed because they used big bore guns that did not penetrate sufficiently and the excess recoil often resulted in poorly placed shots. All this was known 115 years ago. It was later re-learned in the 1980’s when Pistolero magazine shot live hogs with the 9mm and the .45acp and found that the 45acp even at point blank range was no better than the 9mm.

  • Doug December 6, 2015, 4:37 am

    The 9mm is a good plinking round, but when my life is on the line, the bigger the bloody hole, the better. I like a big bullets that makes big holes. I usually carry a 45 APC, but have been known to tote a .44 Special, .45 Colt, and when going small, a .357. Why limit yourself to just one caliber? I know the .357 isn’t much bigger than the 9mm, but it sure meets the need with power and energy the 9mm will never have. I don’t know about you guys, but I don’t want to have to shoot an intruder 3 or 4 times. I’ll keep my 9mm for fun shootin’ and my big hole makers for defense. Sorry, I don’t have a .40, but I’d take one over a 9.

    • Jay April 13, 2016, 8:41 pm

      The .40 is superior to 9mm because of several reasons not always having to do with the Stopping Power Myths that do not exist an any caliber except for the .357 Magnum 125gr JHP That has been documented to actualy kill a person in a single shot enouph times to be the only caliber that can come close to claiming the 1 shot stop myth. A .40s ballistics are comparable to a .357 Mag. Also a 9mm doesnt cause hyperstatic shock to persons body like .40 and .357 Mag can. A 9mm doesnt leave a 3 inch dialation behind a 3A Kevlar vest like a .40 shot in correct grain can. The rounds propellant burns faster and cleaner than a 9mm has no muzzle flash at night. The .40 is a compressed high pressure 10mm round if shot 165gr plus under 15ft were 99% of all gunfights occur JHP dont even have time to expand with a .40 cal its more devastating to use FMJ in that Caliber. Plus in the .40 Cal barrel length of gun has virtualy no effect on any rounds performance becuase of the fast burning propellant. So my Ruger SR40c and its 3.5 inch. barrel that is lighter, more balanced, quicker on the draw than a standard heavier 5+ inch barrell will fire the same bullet at same exact ballistics virtually as every other .40 cal gun regardless of barrell length. Plus most gunfights dont give you a chance to use both hands and sights. Would you rather get hit by a .40 Cal under 15ft away were 90% of gunfights occurr or a 9mm hmmm at ranges were anyone carrying any type of gun should not be carrying it yet if they cant put rounds on target.

  • Mike V` December 5, 2015, 11:02 pm

    I will defer to ex-FBI agent G. Gordon Liddy’s ubiquitous quote (referring to Pope John Paul II), “If the 9mm was an effective round, the Pope would be dead”. He is dead, but from old age, not the multiple rounds he absorbed. And with a wife who is a nurse, she concurs that there are plenty of gunshot wound survivors with 9mm, not so much with “bigger” calibers. Pretty much says it all.

  • rabrooks December 5, 2015, 11:01 pm

    I don’t know about leo experience, I have my own. I tried a taurus pt101 in 40sw. Simply put, it hurt. Couldn’t hit jack! Was almost ready to give up pistol shooting. When the doc said I had carpel-tunnel, I ditched the gun. I’ve stuck with 1911’s with no problem. They tell me that the 40 is a high performance round. I agree. Even in a heavy steal framed pistol it’s kinda like bare-handiing a line-drive. The performance was above that of a 9mm. More than a little. 155g Win Rngr’s flatten out like quaters. A friend let me try his XD in 40. Oh boy! That plastic gun absorbed just about all the sting, and felt more like a 38 or 9mm.. I’ve thought about another, but my 1911 Ofcr’s is a trusted package, and a plastic gun will have to offer a whole lot to get me to change.

  • petru sova December 5, 2015, 10:16 pm

    Interesting, Yes.

  • petru sova December 5, 2015, 10:14 pm

    This was not mentioned an is shocking and most important. The 40 S&W was a shortened 10mm which ended up having no air space in the cartridge when the heavier 180 grain bullets were used. As a consequence if the cartridge suffered bullet set back the round detonated blowing up the handgun. Combat Handguns Magazine reported that 3 handguns, A Glock, a Browning High Power and a Ruger using factory ammo blew up with the 180 grain bullets . The ammo factories then stared loading down the 180 grain bullets to get more air space in the cartridge which reduced the effectiveness of this loading which by the way was the best bullet for this cartridge. It now had a slow looping trajectory and less penetration as well.

    Also many handguns chambered for this cartridge were actually reversed engineered from 9mm handguns which is another reason the 40 S&W destroyed so many handguns. In other words they were never designed to take the pounding of the 40 S&W.

    The 9mm has flatter trajectory, more penetration, less recoil, a higher magazine capacity, more accuracy due to less recoil and longer service life and it just as deadly.

    Few people know that as long ago as 1900 it was discovered that bullet diameter is meaningless but bullet penetration and placement are what actually kills. Many elephant hunters were actually killed because they used big bore guns that did not penetrate sufficiently and the excess recoil often resulted in poorly placed shots. All this was known 115 years ago. It was later re-learned in the 1980’s when Pistolero magazine shot live hogs with the 9mm and the .45acp and found that the 45acp even at point blank range was no better than the 9mm.

  • PudbertSavannahGA December 5, 2015, 8:33 pm

    I have over 20 guns and one of the only ones I do NOT possess is the 9mm.

    In my opinion, the 9mm has too fast of a muzzle velocity to the point that the bullet has too much speed to spread upon impact, going through & through, thus not causing enough damage to limit discharges at target.

    Then we end up explaining why we had to shoot ‘multiple’ times to a cop or a jury, because they’ve watched too many Hollywood movies when EVERY victim goes down with one shot…

    And THAT is why I’ll never own a 9mm

  • RicMin December 5, 2015, 7:04 pm

    Lets get something clear, a 40 S&W pistol can not only accommodate a 357 Sig drop in conversion, but also the 9MM you proudly push. An example is the Taurus PT101. I can use 9MM mags and the 40 mags loaded with 40 S&W ammo and they function the same loaded with 40 S&W. Vice versa when I drop in a 9MM barrel.
    Also, who pushed for something other than a 9MM years ago?
    The FBI.
    Now they went back.
    A mistake on their part, again as the 40 DOES everything they ask. Will the 9 do what they want if they don’t feed it a special +P diet of special ammo? The facts of the past says no!

  • Nick December 5, 2015, 3:04 pm

    I can’t believe I actually read all the above comments. Some were good others not so much. I agree compared to my full size 226 tac ops and 45 1911 my slightly smaller 9 feels snappy. My 92fs on the other hand does not. I have more than one of all cal mentioned in the article and find the 45 the smoothest to shoot. I love my full size double stack 15+1 40 though. Anyone who has shoot many rounds of both will tell you the 40 just feels deadlier in your hand. I don’t know why anyone would have an issue with the recoil either. I think it’s a great round in full size frame. I understand some folks just have small hands and a 9mm 92fs is too big for them. That must suck. I would hate to miss out on comfortable shooting large cal hand guns. My favorite gun to shoot is my Colt Anaconda in 45 long colt. Smooth as silk. My home defense go to is 1911 45 loaded with black talons, car defense is 45 long colt snubby, and hunting 40. The 9’s are fun but stay in the safe most of the time. As far as wear goes, really? You get what you pay for. A good gun cost more, usually weights more, and doesn’t rattle when you shake it. As many above have said carry as big as you can. For you smaller folks I suggest carry a little bigger than you are comfortable with. You want notice if you ever have to use it and will be glad for the extra mass. The 40 is a reliable, accurate, great stopping power round. It ain’t going anywhere. If you have bug hands and can handle a big gun an have shot a 40 and didn’t smile afterward than your gun sux azz.

  • Gary December 5, 2015, 2:13 pm

    I like 9mm most of my pistols are 9mm an 22 & FiveSeven shoots a 5.7×28 , 9 mm ammo is just as deadly as 40 ,if you want a really fast 9mm try -Liberty Civil Defense 9mm+ p it’s 2,000 FPS HP has 450 FPE Nickle Plated Copper – I thinks this is the Ammo Military & Law Enforcement needs to carry ,it will also penetrate level 3 vest ,that’s what I carry it also is 1/2 the weight of a regular 9mm so with a full magazine your gun weights less. If I was a policeman I would carry the FNH FiveSeven 5.7×28 it holds 20 rds and kicks like a 22mg but very bad ass weapon ,and you can hold on target no problem, The secret service carries the FN PS90 that shoots this round,and they trust it,I really like this round,Gary Thanks

  • K. N. Koch December 5, 2015, 1:34 pm

    I realize the internet is full of bloggers who must write about something to fill their allotted space and give their followers something to read but this article just begs for dissenting comments based upon the writer’s lack of accurate or specific facts to back up his assertions. Having been a municipal and federal law enforcement officer for over thirty years and, a firearms instructor for almost all of that time, I found the article interesting, not entirely accurate mind you, but interesting. Let me comment on the high points first; The cost of 9 mm versus .40, especially in these current times of relative plenty, are not debatable. The recoil of a typical 9 mm personal defensive load versus the .40 may be more controllable, as long as you consider all other factors (handgun type, weight, barrel length, etc.). But as soon as you start factoring in compensatory aspects of the 9 mm for it to compete with .40 ballistics, such as bumping up the 9 mm load to +P or +P+, you begin to blur the lines a bit. As we all know, you can vary the components of a load (charge weight, weight/mass/type of projectile, etc.) to plus up or scale down a specific caliber’s ballistic performance and capabilities. Now, to the article’s questionable aspects; The author takes great stock in the FBI’s recent announcement that it will be returning to the 9 mm as the “standard” issue. This announcement was made after the FBI tested various caliber’s and claimed to have found “certain” 9 mm loads to have performed as efficiently as other, larger calibers. The two pertinent details here are “standard” and “certain”. Anyone who has worked closely with the FBI knows that the agency’s carry policy is quite liberal, in that, as long as the handgun fits certain criteria (action type, manufacturer, caliber, capacity) and the Special Agent carrying the weapon can qualify with it, they can carry it in the field. This policy may vary by Field Office but, by and large, if you walk through a typical F.O. you will see a variety of handguns, by manufacturer and caliber, carried by the SAs. Also, of note, the FBI HRT and the regional/FO HRT units still carry the .45. The other reference to note in the FBI’s testing is the comparison of “certain” 9 mm loads to larger caliber handgun rounds. I think most of us can recall a few years back when, in the aftermath of the Miami shootout with bank robbers Michael Platt and William Matix, the FBI proclaimed the 10 mm as the supreme law enforcement caliber and commissioned S&W to adapt their model 1076 to the FBI’s preferred “ballistically reduced” 10 mm round. The FBI adopted a modification of the designed 10 mm load which reduced of the 10 mm’s charge weight to make it more manageable to the average SA, in effect creating a round with the ballistic performance of a .40 in a 10 mm casing. The results of the modified load were predictable, unacceptable performance in a S&W pistol designed to handle full 10 mm loads, and the design was abandoned. The FBI eventually adopted the Sig Sauer P228. in 9 mm before later moving up to the .40 in Sig and Glock models. The FBI has a history of adopting and endorsing a caliber based upon the “manageability” of the round and has tried to modify the loads of the adopted caliber to meet that objective. Just a few decades ago the FBI Special Agent cadre was overwhelmingly male but, that demographic has changed dramatically over the years and we now have an effort by the Bureau to ballistically tailor the 9 mm in order to find a more “manageable” load that SA’s across the spectrum can shoot accurately. While there is nothing wrong with utilizing the wide range of loads available to derive the maximum results in ballistics and accuracy, I take exception to the declaration that there is a “one” ideal and superior law enforcement caliber. Especially when we have proven that a wide range of ballistic capabilities can be found in the varied loads available across the span of the commonly accepted LE calibers (.38, 9 mm, .40, .45). Finally, I have yet to see any scientific ballistic data which disproves the basic law of physics, that velocity (fps) x mass (caliber) = force (terminal ballistics/terminal trauma).

  • BRASS December 5, 2015, 11:05 am

    A Glock 27, G22 or G23 with 9MM conversion barrels are a great inexpensive option for those wanting the flexibility of multiple calibers without the expense of buying complete guns. Changing only barrels and maybe magazines is a quick and easy conversion.

  • Blake Myers December 5, 2015, 8:38 am

    I don’t agree with your article much at all. The 9mm is cheaper, but as for the recoil, the .40 is better in my opinion. The 9mm is a very snappy round. Also, many police agencies have moved from the 9mm to the .40, because the .40 has more stopping power. I don’t think the 9mm is bad, I just think you’re arguments concerning the round are totally accurate. I would much rather have a .40 any day. Better recoil and better stopping power.

  • Draciron December 5, 2015, 1:51 am

    Not buying the article. The recoil on a .40 is negligible. My 70 year old mother was able to easily able to fire a .40 until the last year of her life. My daughter was able to accurately able to fire a .40 before she turned 12. The recoil is about the same as a snub nose .38 firing normal factory rounds with both.

    In terms of fps the 9mm is a wimpy round. A .38 +P is moving a 158 gn bullet at the same speed a 9mm 124 gn bullet is moving. Any magnum makes a 9mm look like a pea shooter as does the 10mm. The .45 ACP and .40 both have a wider and heavier bullet. .40 is moving a 180 gn bullet at the same velocity as a 9mm moves a 124 gn bullet. This leaves a larger wound track and higher shock value. This begs the question as to the validity of the tests referenced in this article. If the 9mm is actually as effective as a .45 ACP or .40 SW, we can throw out all we know about ballistics. The basis of ballistics is the theory that mass and velocity are the factors which determine the knock down power and lethality of a round. If two bullets are moving at roughly the same speed, but one is 30% lighter, then logically only velocity matters and we should all move to the .177 round. We can push a .177 at considerably faster than a 9mm with lower recoil than a 9mm presents. Since according to this study the mass of the bullet is meaningless, why not use a lighter bullet? Why waste 124 gn of lead and copper when 70 grns will have the same effect?

    The cops take a lot of heat for firing x number of rounds. For example the Chicago cop who emptied a mag plus the round he kept in the chamber into the suspect. This “excessive force” issue is almost entirely because of semi-autos and the spray and pray training. One of the reasons 4 out of 5 rounds miss is because modern cops know they have 10-20 rounds at the ready. Little effort is made to take aim. Old West gunfights happened under no less stress, yet effective gun fighters rarely needed more than 1 or 2 rounds to accomplish the task. Nor was the gun fight in the street at noon the norm. If that EVER happened, it was exceedingly rare. Most gunfights in the old west happened under pretty much the same conditions cops face today. Often they happened in cramped conditions in the middle of a crowd with low lighting and or visibility. Yet these guys were able to bring down an opponent in about the same amount of time, with far less collateral damage and 1/15th of the rounds. These guys were using mostly black powder weapons to boot.

    In fact when someone who favors the 9mm is challenged, the automatic response is to bring up the accuracy of the round. Which is apparently not that accurate given the 4 out of 5 misses statistic stated in this article.

    This leaves a rather inescapable conclusion that there are serious flaws in tactics and weaponry used by cops today. These are guys that can often group with a semi auto at 20 yards on the range, but can fire 100 rds at times and not hit a suspect once. Personally I’d rather see cops move to the .44 Special. It pushes a nice heavy round, bigger than the .40, but with low likely hood of over penetration. Even the snub nose Bulldog is as accurate or better than a semi auto. The gun is more reliable as well. A .45 ACP would be the next best choice.

    If you haven’t hit somebody in 10 shots, you are probably dead anyway. The only reason why you see cops empty mags into suspects is the very poor knock down characteristics of the 9mm. This is why the FBI, local police forces and the military abandoned the 9mm. Study or no study, the 9mm in actual usage has been found seriously wanting.

    Every round fired increases the risks of hitting an innocent. The longer it takes to knock the fight out of an opponent the greater the risk the opponent will hit you. The more times a suspect is shot by the cops, the higher the risk that it will be seen as excessive force or even murder.

    Many attribute the saying “It is not the first one to shoot who wins a gunfight, but the last” to Wild Bill. Whomever said it, they are right. Take your time, make your shots count. Most instances where the police shoot a suspect, their weapon is either not at the ready or a firearm at all. A suspect starts to lunge at officers or raise their weapon, that is typically when the suspect is showered in lead. If officers are firing more than 1 or 2 rounds, then there is something seriously wrong with the round they are using in most cases. While a single .45 ACP or .44 Special round rarely knocks the target to the ground, it usually takes all the fight out of them. At the least it gives the officer plenty of time to take another well aimed shot before the opponent can ready their own weapon. It’s amazing how much one can do in a split second lasts when the adrenaline hits.

    Nor do I buy the bad habits cliche. Any police officer who finds the recoil of a .45 ACP uncomfortable should reconsider their career choice. If a .45 ACP which has some rather mild recoil is a problem. What happens when this same person attempts to subdue a large male suspect? There are also plenty of recoil remediation strategies that do not involve crippling one’s ammo.

    Nothing about this article makes sense. Aside from being inexpensive and lighter than moderate and heavy rounds, there are really no advantages to light rounds like the .9mm. I remain skeptical about every assertion of this article and suspect I am far from the only one. As such the .40 is probably more than alive. Especially given that the military and majority of police forces as well as the FBI have switched over to .40 over the last 10 years. It is the 9mm which to me seems more endangered, but I see no doom in the future of the 9mm. It has been a popular round for over 100 years and will probably still be popular 100 years from now.

  • GradyPhilpott December 5, 2015, 12:18 am

    The article says basically that modern loads for the 9mm are such that they perform well enough for self-defense purposes, so you can keep your “nine” and not bother with larger calibers, especially given the ease with which the “nine” can be mastered.

    On the other hand, if you’re wedded to the .40S&W, that’s cool because it ain’t going anywhere soon.

  • GBW December 4, 2015, 11:16 pm

    After reading all of these comments it seems the big argument for 9mm is capacity. So why not start using a 30 carbine. It will hold far more rounds than the 9. Seriously other than in a combat situation I can see no real reason to have over 6 rounds in ones weapon. If a person feels they might need more ammo carry a spare loaded clip. My opinion is the 9 is way over hyped. Seriously a 38 will do anything a 9 will and regardless of what a previous stated in a previous post the revolver is far and away more reliable than any semiauto. Stop the rotation of the cylinder? Seriously? How? My opinion any number of for sure beats any number of maybes any day. Also if serious power is needed the revolver is where it is. Want to stop someone in body armor, try a 44 Mag, or a 454 Casull, 480 Ruger or a 500 S&W. High capacity firearms serve a purpose in the right situation but they are not the one size fits all answer to everything.

  • Mikial December 4, 2015, 10:20 pm

    No caliber is really dead as long as someone likes it. Period. I like .45. My wife likes 9mm. No worries either way. If the .40 is what you like, then use it. Law enforcement is constrained by a lot of things besides effectiveness. Cost, availability, ammo capacity, etc. all figure into it. The average for LEO hits during shoot outs is 15%. And this includes everything from sniper shots to LEOs shooting dogs. So the FBI went back to 9mm. Big deal. If you like .40, use it. I like .45 and nothing anyone says will change that. My wife likes 9mm. Nothing anyone says will change that. So what?

  • MagnumOpUS December 4, 2015, 9:05 pm

    As long as the 45ACP and 45 Colt are around, have a field day arguing who’s in 3rd, 4th, 5th… etc. place.

    America/Americans 2016-

  • Gus December 4, 2015, 7:12 pm

    The USA’s official military hand gun for umtine years was the 45, The Germans decided the 9 mm was the best. The Germans had everything right as far as technology. Only problem was we the USA stole all their great Physic’s. I personally would not use a high mag 9 over a 45 in personal protection. I used to combat shoot and those that brought 9’s were considered as PU–ys
    All the years I took my carry permit test live, I used either my series 70 colt or my Khar 45 and the instructor was amazed at how accurate I was with my Khar at 50 feet. I was very POed that the Gov gave the contract to the Italians for the Berreta over the American made Colt. It still pisses me off to this day.

  • Chris Baker December 4, 2015, 6:55 pm

    That 4 out of 5 shots missing is a stat that really bothers me. Where do those 4 bullets go since they aren’t going into the perp. Innocent bystanders maybe? How about teaching the cops to be able to shoot better so that fewer shots are required to hit the perp with enough to disable or kill him/her? I may be old fashioned in having a .357 revolver for self defense but I don’t expect I’ll ever need more than one shot to end things. I’ll still double tap though. Heart and forehead. I also hope that by carrying I’ll never need to pull it. Imagine you’re in a bank and a would be robber opens the door and comes inside and realizes that half or more of the customers are carrying. He’s probably going to change his mind about robbing the place. It really doesn’t matter what make, caliber or style of the guns, it’s that they are there. And really… Why aren’t the tellers armed? I suggested that at my old bank when I lived in California where they’d been robbed and they laughed at me. It would have been a lot cheaper than putting in the airlock entrance that was their idea of logical. Except they never could explain to me how the customers could get out in case of a fire or earthquake, and that bank was only about 10 miles from the San Andreas fault.
    So, back on track, I don’t think it makes any difference what cartridge anyone uses. It’s their preference in what works for them. In my opinion, the cops should use 22’s. CCI Stingers work great on coyotes, yes I know they aren’t the size of people but shoot someone in the chest with one and I bet they fall down. They’re a lot cheaper than 9 mm too. And less hard on the gun, with less recoil and quieter and easier to shoot accurately and all the reasons you say the 9mm is better than the .40.

  • Eli R. December 4, 2015, 6:47 pm

    Ive been law enforcement for 26 years, My duty weapon is a Glock 22, my CCW weapon is a Glock 19. This is clearly a personal preference issue. The Question being what caliber do you think you can handle comfortably to get the most shots on target? If your a .40 guy and you shoot it well, great. People take this so personal, its a tool on your tool belt. I feel that I could get more shoots on target with a 9mm, thats just me. My family also enjoys shooting My G17 over my G22. So my home defense is my G17. What ever you choose, get familiar with it, Get lessons and get shooting !!!

  • Michael Willis December 4, 2015, 6:45 pm

    One of the advantages of the .40 S&W is the barrel can be swapped for a different caliber. (I refer to the FN Herstal FNX-40 here but similar situations exist for other makes.) A 9mm barrel can be installed with the 9mm spring for less expensive practice. Over time handloaders can make 9mm ammo for about the same cost as .22LR. Then again if one is looking for more zip a .357 Sig barrel gives the pistol a whole different personality. Of course the original caliber is no slouch. The .40S&W is a good choice with a good balance between magazine capacity and hitting power.

  • Chuck Ridings December 4, 2015, 6:12 pm

    It just ain’t so.. I own several 9mm and .40s hands down I would rather and do carry a 40. Ask my detective friend what happened when he had to shoot a man with his 9 mm six times to put him down so you better have high cap mags with a nine you will need them. Thank God he hasn’t had to use his now issued .40 but I doubt and so does he that it will take 6 rounds from the .40. I know that bullet type and other factors take place in stopping power but what would you want to be shot with??? 9 mm or .40? I know my answer.. Just like the special ops group operators say never shoot a large caliber man with a small caliber weapon. I guess I would rather have a 9 mm than a 380 . Not trashing the 9 the Germans killed a lot of people with 9s just not my chose.. Aim small and shoot first what ever you carry

  • Dr.Bob December 4, 2015, 6:03 pm

    Good article. I carry a 10mm Glock or Colt. While the Glock holds fewer cartridges than a 9mm it does carry as many as a .40 S&W. The hitting power of a 10mm is so much more than a 9mm, 40 S&W or even .45. Even if only 1 in 5 shots hit the target, the hitting power more than makes up for fewer cartridges.

    While my wife can shoot a 10mm she finds a 9mm more comfortable and can hit better with it than the 10mm. I would suggest the 10mm for anyone comfortable with it and a 9mm for the other people. In my mind a .380 should not be used.

  • Gary Wilson December 4, 2015, 5:09 pm

    At one time or other during my career I carried : .45 ACP, .357 mag, 9mm, .38 Super, and .40SW. I kept a .455 as a ‘house gun’.
    I never felt at a disadvantage as any of them would do ‘the job’. I did carry a .38 spl as a back-up to the .357 and the .38 Super, though. The other calibers I just carried a smaller version of the primary weapon for a backup.
    I’ve seen folks shot with just about every handgun from a .22 and up (no .44 magnum, though).and for all of them it ruined their day.
    The only ‘instant stop’ I ever saw were two that took a 12 guage to the head at close range, one with a .357 to the head, and one with a .45 to the head.
    The guy with the .45 in his skull was still alive when he was transported to the hospital… probably a ‘veggie’ if he lived, but I wasn’t interested enough to check on him later.
    Now retired, I carry an itty-bitty Sig .40 or a P226 .40, depending on the weather. Once in a while I drag out the Sig .45, but not very often.
    Really, anything you can hit with will work, although I prefer something 9mm or larger. I still don’t feel ill prepared for whatever.
    When reading publications or listening to an arm-chair warrior, take it with a grain of salt. Deer can run off with a solid .30 hit and drop instantly with a .223. Deer don’t watch TV, so they don’t know they are supposed to curl up in a ball and give up. The FBI Miami shootout bank robbers were like wild animals in that they weren’t afraid of being shot, so they were harder to put down.

  • Blankovich December 4, 2015, 5:08 pm

    YAWN. Another “what caliber is best” article. Use whatever you want; just have a gun when you need one. I met a special weapons training type at range firing some full auto, tiny, AR looking rifles; don’t know exactly what they were. He said that when SEALs to in to take someone out, being quiet and deadly is the name of the game. They do carry 9mm / .40 / .45 pistols each SEAL chooses for themselves, but the assassination weapon of choice is a little, tiny, .22 or .223 IN THE HEAD. Subsonic, bounces around in the brain cavity I guess. I am no SEAL/SWAT expert though, so this could be bullshit.

    • F.P. ACZEWOLF December 4, 2015, 8:15 pm

      a 9mm is a very capable round, a 45 is proven a man stopper, why is it that a 40 cal sets right in the middle in size between the two, bullet capacity, bullet speed, bullet grain weight and cost, is not any good. The 40 is a more powerful round than 9mm, it does have more recoil, the 9mm +P is very close to the regular 40 in performance, but cost more. Faster bullets like the 9 +P wear out the rifling, stronger rounds like the 40 wear out the frame faster. Neither one is going to wear out in 15,000 rounds with a quality brand name, and since 15,000 rounds cost several thousand dollars, just buy a new gun. Can’t we all agree that each gun has it’s advantages and disadvantages? To a woman or small framed man, or the elderly, a 40 may not be a good choice to shoot because of recoil, a 9 mm would be more confortable. Some people complain a forty does not have enough bullet capacity compared to a 9 mm, yet say they would prefer a 45 which has less. All are good proven rounds, one may be better in certain situations than the other two, and that could be said for the other two as well. Let’s settle this once and for all. The fact that each gun has its surporters shows that each is a good caliber. The fact that each is still in production show that all are a good caliber. The fact that all have stopped a bad guys show that they each can do the job. This is a case of Ford, vs Chevrolet vs Chrysler, some prefer one to another, but they will all get the job done. We all are Americans, we fought for our freedom to choose our preference, to give our opinion, and protect ourselves. What ever weapon you choose to protect yourself and you family thank God for those freedoms, and I pity the person or persons that try to take those rights away from us.

    • Tim December 4, 2015, 9:23 pm

      FN P90 sub machine gun. FN 5 7 pistol. 5×7 x 28mm round 27 or 40 grain bullet available in armor piercing rounds will zip through body armor.

      Both very fine weapons weapons.

  • Xavier December 4, 2015, 3:53 pm

    The two primary reasons the FBI elected to migrate from the 40 to 9mm were first that the 9mm, with some of today’s premium ammo supposedly penetrated more deeply than the .40. Second, was the recoil issue. Wear was just additional justification required by the government bureaucrats to justify spending a bunch of tax payer dollars. In today’s world of limited LE budgets, I doubt too many departments are going to run out and just buy new service guns and ammo just because the FBI decided to switch. And, when they do, they’ll be selling their old guns to get money to buy the new ones The 40 is going to be around for a long time. This is a Ford/Chevy argument. Some folks just like larger and/or faster bullets. Look at deer hunters: some will hunt with 243’s and think that’s all they’ll ever need. Others think they need a 300 mag of some description. The mags of course shoot heavier bullets faster with a lot more recoil but some just want the larger, more powerful gun. Let’s not forget that before the FBI and most law enforcement agencies bought their 40’s they did “extensive” and “exhaustive” “research” on it vs what they were already using. What changed?There have always been hot and +P 9mm rounds available. There have been some advances in bullet construction and technology, but that applies to the 40 as well. If the recoil from a 180 gr 40 cal bullet is too much, why not go to a lighter bullet that oh, by the way, will be screaming out of the barrel at velocities much higher than a 9mm and give lots of penetration? I think somebody decided they just wanted new guns because the agents don’t practice enough, there are more women agents who probably don’t like the recoil and the wear issue is just another added excuse. I like, own and shoot both cartridges in various models of guns. But if I want to stop a bad guy, much as in hunting big game, a heavier, larger caliber bullet moving the same speed or faster is what I want. This 40 to 9mm move is just another example of government waste and bureaucracy in action.

  • Tim December 4, 2015, 3:10 pm

    More important than the round .45, .40 or 9mm is a good quality firearm and proficiency in the use. If you are untrained and not confident in your abilities, you shouldn’t carry anything, no matter what caliber. I own many firearms of all these calibers and am proficient will all. I as a LE officer carry a .45 in uniform, .40 or 9mm plain clothes. I really prefer the compact 9mm for better concealment while off duty. With the current times, have any of the above with you whenever possible and be prepared. I would suggest always have extra mags with you!!

  • James Mathis December 4, 2015, 2:30 pm

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Moderation. Fat chance my comments will make it through to your public, although I’m sure you will turn me into homeland security or somesuch phoney org like that. Too bad, the Secret Service has already got me on their list. God bless you. Long live Free Armed Americans! God damn the pinko, fatherless offspring! Death to oppressive government operatives!

  • Rick P December 4, 2015, 2:29 pm

    I have to disagree as the .40 S&W being dead. I agree the 9mm has come a long way in ammo with knock down power and depending on the clothes I’m wearing I carry everything from .38 Special +P to .45acp +P, but I often pick up the Model 23 Glock loaded with 165gr Polymer tipped Hornady’s that are reliable, low recoil and great knock down energy. I have heard great things about 10mm, but since I’ve invested in my current calibers its unlikely I will change. As they say and I believe everyone has a right to respect your opinion and respectfully disagree with your assessment of .40 S&W. In finishing I’d like to say I qualified earlier this week as retired law enforcement for House Bill 18 permit to carry nationwide.

  • James Mathis December 4, 2015, 2:26 pm

    The only thing I shoot in semi-auto is the .22 LR. For larger cals I like the .380 in auto and standard .38 Sp Smitty lightwieght if I’m in church and may have to gun down a militant because it won’t usually go through a head or torso and harm someone else where as the 9 and 40 will. Also the lightweight Smitty is more comfortable and doesn’t inhibit raising of hands in praise like my Ruger .357 Security Six used to do. Out and about, gimme the .357 model 19 or Ruger Security Six, even the .41 cal Smitty. They will shoot through car body and windows in road rage incidents. For shopping, I like to take the .41 because it will drop a big bad doped up, charging Huk or Rodney King in a heartbeat. One shot, one kill, double-tap not necessary, though desireable. 9 mills are okay, I guess, but if you are going to pack a semi, nothing beats the .45. Another great stopper for charging Huks and doped up Rodney King types. 9 mills are for carrying large capacities into Social Sevice Offices and gunning down goverenment employees, or for settling disputes with the county government offices, for sure, but I like that little, tiny M16 looking thing with a 30 round capacity for that when it becomes necessary. I mean, if. We are so blessed in America with the ability to gun down governmental types that overstep their bounds. If more people did that, we’d have a more circumspect civil service, and respectful legislator, wouldn’t we. And for situations like Ferguson or Watts, only Americans are equipped for that kind of action. Been waiting for decades for the queers or Mohammedans to storm a church I’m attending. Nothing like slaughtering with the joy of the Lord in your heart, eh? Nothing worse than being subjected helplessly to those scumbags. Guns are the answer to our problems in America, as the forefathers intended. Without guns, we are not free, and the primary use for guns is the maintenance of a free state. God damn the liberal man.

  • Brian December 4, 2015, 1:17 pm

    I have read allot of the posts here…. Same as always. One caliber is better than the other……..
    I own some of all of them and shoot them often…..
    I would not want to get shot with any of them…….
    As far a a favorite I like them all……
    I shoot competition with all of the calibers. Talked about Here. 9mm because of cost
    Is the most popular. The only thing I have to say about this is choose the one you can afford and shoot well
    And feed it a regular diet as often as possible.

    • Dave K December 5, 2015, 9:35 pm

      The best of the best: 9mm, 10mm, .40, .45, .38, .357, cylinder or slide? The BEST of the above for personal defense is the one you can afford to practice regularly with, they all have + & – factors. Everyone is different. I personally carry a Glock 29 10mm, it fits my hand perfect, super accurate, and has adequate stopping power for bear. I am not recoil sensitive by any means and actually have a hard time noticing the difference in recoil between the 9mm, .40, & 10mm. I use a XVR460 8 3/8″ for my main hunting firearm for deer. Anyway, if you dedicate yourself to whatever piece you choose, that is the best of the best! Your life may depend on it in the woods or the street and also the amount of quality training you put yourself and sidearm through. Train smart, live smart!

  • Pat Bryan December 4, 2015, 12:59 pm

    I love the .40. It has twice the stopping power of the limp-wristed 9mm. It has twice the effective aiming range of the .45, which decides its own path variations increasing with the square of the distance. The .40 is a fine compromise between aiming and not hitting, and hitting and not killing.

  • Ken December 4, 2015, 12:52 pm

    I have use a 1911 since I was 16, not an A1, but a 1911 and have been able to hit with every shot out to 25 yds. Yes it slows down at the long range but within 21 ft it is as fast as I can pull the trigger. What ever caliber you choose you can do the same if you practice. Security training was out to 25 yds and it was 247 out of 250. My wife uses .45ACP in a Taurus 27/7 and scored 24/7 for the concealed carry test. It all depends on what you want to use and feel comfortable with.

  • Magic Rooster December 4, 2015, 12:44 pm

    This is what people talk about when they have nothing else to talk about.
    Potato, Po-tot-oh.
    Carry on!

  • M Burger December 4, 2015, 12:42 pm

    I purchased a S&W M&P Shield in 40 S&W a few years ago. I will admit that the little gun is not “comfortable” to shoot, but I made my way through a 50rd box (necessary break-in in my opinion) with zero issues. Sure, my hand didn’t feel great, but I can promise you I feel better armed with it than the same compact pistol in a 9mm or .380.

    People have WAY too much time on their hands…

    Also, don’t forget, the sectional density of 9mm makes it more prone to over penetration than .40. ..

  • Diesel December 4, 2015, 12:23 pm

    Caliber doesn’t matter as much.
    Use what firearm / caliber you can reliably hit your target with.

    • Demscray December 4, 2015, 1:10 pm

      Col Jeff Cooper: “Any calibre is ok as long as it starts with a 4.” Or a 10.

  • Will Roan December 4, 2015, 12:22 pm

    Of COURSE 40 is harder on weapons internals than is 9mm – anyone who disputes that is either a damn fool or just outright contrary, and looking for an argument of any kind. That’s not a slight on the round though, so much as it is an indictment on firearms manufacturers, many of whom feel that it’s ok to save tooling costs by just retrofitting their existing 9mm designs to accommodate the larger cartridge. A 40 s&w round will rapidly wear a gun originally engineered for 9mm. Hell, 9mm sub gun ammo has long been known to occasionally blow apart pistols, this is why it became important to rate pistols as safe or unsafe for use with +P ammunition. At the heart of the problem also lies our never ending search for the smallest, lightest pistol that can be built around any certain cartridge, diverging I have ALWAYS found foolish. Certainly a KelTec pocket pistol will print less on one’s person and cause less wear to one’s waistband than will a CZ75 compact, but one has to be a complete fool, again, to consider them comparable weapons, both in terms of capability and longevity.

    This is how I see it – if a pistol was designed for 10mm and retrofitted for 40, you’ll probably never wear it out. If it was designed for 9mm originally, don’t expect TOO much from it and you won’t be disappointed. This goes doubly for guns with aluminum(“alloy” is an incorrect term for an aluminum frame, ALL steel frames are also alloy frames, steel being an iron based alloy) or non-reinforced polymer frames – especially with guns such as the beretta 92 and it’s clones which were already known for cracking at the locking block just from the pressures generated by 9mm. It’s all a matter of using the right tool for the right job. Don’t blame the round for manufactures shortcomings and certain pistols not meeting your lofty expectations.

    As for the great caliber debate, 9mm has always been good enough. It is the shooters who have fallen short, not the cartridge. Two center of mass shots from a 9mm well kill a man just as surely, and just as dead as a close range blast from a .50bmg. Overkill gets you nothing except style points.

  • Austin December 4, 2015, 12:22 pm

    There are a lot of untrue facts in this article and no cited proof of such untrue claims. It has been proven .40 cal Glocks are almost indestructible. It has been researched, tested, and proven that .40 cal has more one shot one kills in its short life than the .45 cal that has been in existence for over 100 years. Please get some facts right and stop spewing opinions.

  • Larry Koehn December 4, 2015, 11:56 am

    10mm long or 10mm short, I have both and have no interest in 9mm or 45acp. One set of dies reloads both. The big pistol in 10mm long is too much to conceal and carry on my small frame so it goes to the woods with me. The Glock 23 in 10mm short [40S&W] is my carry gun. 9mm and 40S&W pistols are the same size so why carry a lighter, more likely to fail, 9mm round? Too much recoil? I put a Lone Wolf ported barrel in mine as it is a drop in and shoots lead bullets fine which the stock Glock does not. A stainless guide rod with a 20 pound spring and recoil is no longer any greater than a 9mm. These are drop in parts. A Taran Tactical 3.5 pound trigger kit and a set of Advantage sights for my old eyes and my Glock is good to go for any occasion. I installed the parts and the gun is dead reliable, never ever failing to function. I have a beautiful Belgian HiPower in 9mm that lives in my safe.

  • CLIFF CHANDLER December 4, 2015, 11:49 am

    I really think this is just an opinion piece by a person that is recoil shy. I will continue using my .40 and .45s as 124gr. 9mm cannot compare to 165gr. up to 230gr. If I am going to have to shoot someone in defense of my life or my loved ones then I want them to stay shot as all too often I have read of people getting shot with 9mm’s that keep on going. And as far as accuracy, my main go to gun is a Beretta PX4 in .40cal and at 25 yards I can shoot bottle caps off of empty water bottles. My other favorite is a .45 Kimber Ultra light. My wife who is 5’5″ and 125lb. shoots both without any complaints about recoil and I have asked to which she remarks she didn’t even notice recoil with either gun. So, if you are a limp-wristed liberal then you should stay with a 9mm or maybe even go down to a .22 so you do not hurt your hand.

    • Will Roan December 4, 2015, 12:25 pm

      Despite the title, the article cane across as clearly Pro 40 to me, just poorly titled.

  • Tripwire December 4, 2015, 11:45 am

    In my not so humble opinion I think the big shoot out in Florida cause the FBI to look for something better then the 9mm, they jumped too high with the 10mm, they dropped that after a while and the .40 came to be, IMO they found the 10mm too hard for the majority of their people to handle, and yes the 10mm is a hand full for most people, I think their new attitude towards the .40 is for the same reason, too many of their people can’t qualify with the .40 which with full power loads is a hand full for a lot of people and especially the females who generally are smaller with smaller hands.
    I’ve taught a lot of beginner female shooters and they all did much better with the 9mm then the .40, many who did well with the .45 didn’t do as well with the .40.
    I do believe there are a lot of 9mm rounds around today that will do the job for sure, but a lighter weight 9mm with +P loads is going to be just as hard for a person of small stature to handle as a .40 or a .45.
    I own several 9mm,.40 and .45 handguns and like them all and would never feel under gunned with any of them but at the end of the day when the Zombies arrive at my door I’ll still grab the .40 or .45 first.
    As for a LEO wearing out his duty weapon .. you need to stop smoking that shit! Most cops and I believe that number is close to 98% never shoot their duty weapons except during qualification which usually involves maybe shooting 50 to a hundred rounds maybe twice a year for some maybe once a year, they will never wear out their weapons at that rate. I’ve seen competition shooters that wore out a gun a year but that’s people shooting tens of thousands of rounds a year, no LEO does that.
    So, the whole argument is silly IMO, I remember the same crap going around that the .45 ACP was dead, it was heading for the bone pile, right… The 1911 is even more popular today then ever, they said it was dying too…

  • Ricky Kurtz K4VMS --- IT Systems Engineer December 4, 2015, 11:32 am

    Well, if you have participated in a comparison of 10mm, .40 cal (10mm short), 9mm (basically a .38 cal), and .45 cal, the 10mm and .45 cal (testing including 9mm +p+ and .45 cal +p) you would have observed that 10mm and .45 cal are the ONLY ones with enough kinetic energy (and then some) to knock down a pepper poper (a metal reactive practice target made of .5 inches tool steal mounted on a heavy base and meant to toppled over when sufficient force is applied).

    In my opinion and experience (and many others too) using standard hard ball military .45 Cal ammo with a 230 grain projectile fired from a 5 inches barreled handgun in my case a 1911 platform will SLAM this metal target to the ground very hard (you do not even need the +p ammo. Using 9mm 147 grain standard ball fired from a Glock with a 5 inches barrel, caused the target to move. To slam the target to the ground with a 9mm 5 inches barreled Glock to the ground, you need to do a double tap.

    There is much more to this discuss, but this all the time I have.


    • Will Roan December 4, 2015, 12:37 pm

      Too much practical anecdotal information in your observations, not enough ballistic gelatin. Personally, while I prefer 9mm handguns out of sheer proliferation of ammo and parts, I find 45acp more comfortable to shoot out of comparable pistols because of the sub sonic nature of the round. Neither has significant recoil out of an appropriately weighted pistol, but there’s a huge disparity between the thud of a 45 going off and the sharp crack of a 9mm. I shot a 300 aac pistol recently with only 8.5 inches of barrel, and couldn’t believe just how much quieter it was, going off in my hand, than were the 9mm guns being fired on the other side of the pistol range.

  • Larry December 4, 2015, 11:16 am

    All you big strong Alpha males talking about the abuse that the 40S&W does to your hand, wrist & psyche MUST be shooting it thru some light weight plastic gun, I guess. I have a Beretta Storm sub compact & I can shoot box after box with never a fatigue problem. Try shooting it thru a real gun & I think you will change your mind about the 40.

    • Will Roan December 4, 2015, 12:46 pm

      Exactly! Don’t blame the cartridge for lack of ability or poorly engineered weapons.

  • Tom December 4, 2015, 11:15 am

    All this bandwidth being burned up for a handgun round? Some pistol rounds have come close to the .357 mag for one shot stops. However, no single handgun round is 100% effective for one shot stops. That means multiple rounds for an effective stopping of hostilities. Rifle/shotgun rounds are better at that sort of thing. They’re just a pain to carry concealed.

    Also, which round would you rather launch from: inside a vehicle; a hallway, or outdoors… without hearing protection AND at night? Which round could you launch multiple times, in rapid succession under those circumstances?

    For the EOTWAWKI/SHTF, I don’t know if I’d want to bag a squirrel with a .40 – there might not be too much left worth eating.

    Regardless of caliber, so many factors to consider…

    The person who invented the Detonics carried a Glock 26 for his EDC. That’s what worked for him at that latter stage of his life. I know this to be true because he was my friend. He was also former UDT/SeAL. During that time of his life his EDC was a .45 and a whole bunch of C4 and det cord!

    Whatever works best for you, for whatever reason and circumstance is what works best for you.

  • Ramon December 4, 2015, 11:11 am

    .40 was always a solution to a non-existant problem. High capacity? Get a 9. Heavy hitter? Get a .45.

    • Will Roan December 4, 2015, 12:44 pm

      40 was an attempt to save face over the aborted attempt to go to 10mm. Between the sharp recoil and the Bren Tens blowing up in people’s hands, 10mm got a bad rap and s&w swooped in with their weakened alternative without the need to tool up since the 10s just needed minor retrofits to accommodate rather than a complete tooling up on the manufacturer’s part. Opportunism at it’s worst.

  • Ken Baumann December 4, 2015, 10:55 am

    Over 100 years ago the army learned that .355/358 diameter bullets at hand gun velocities don’t work as well as .45 diameter bullets. The FBI relearned this fact in the 1980s. Even today the serious shooters in the military use a .45. The same technology in bullets that has improved the 9mm has also improved the .40 and the .45. After all the discussion we come back to the fact that larger wound channels are more effective. Given the same velocity, bigger bore wins every time.

    The 9mm may b easier to shoot and thus is a better choice for less experienced shooters, but “the .40 is tough on guns”? No one seems to be having problems with their 1911 “battering apart”. Light weight 9mm guns with a .40 barrel may fail in time but guns built to shoot .45 ACP, don’t and neither do guns built to shoot the .40.. It is tough to go against the laws of physics.

  • Dave December 4, 2015, 10:46 am

    I really don’t get this whole “sharper recoil” and “uncomfortable to shoot” malarkey people spout about the .40S&W. I have one and have not noticed these issues. Yes, all my pistols recoil differently from 9mm to .40 to .357mag to .45 and .44mag. The only one that even comes close to thinking about maybe being a teensy bit uncomfortable is the .44mag. Whether I shoot factory loads or my loads, recoil comfort has never come up as a problem with any of my guns.
    I believe the problem is that people think, “It’s not much more than the 9mm, so it shouldn’t be any worse to handle.” Then they shoot it and find what a difference a little extra powder and bullet weight can make. Since it wasn’t what they were expecting, it must be bad.

    • NSDQ December 5, 2015, 1:41 am

      And it’s also been my experience that a 9mm will make a moderate to beliw average shooter think he/she is a CAG opetator!

  • akjc77 December 4, 2015, 10:41 am

    This article and all replies just proves why all 3 calibers in question are still manufactured in high qty, and reminds me how lucky we are we still as of now and as civillians have the freedom to own any of them and choice of all of them!! Whatever you prefer lets all keep our eyes wide open and support the NRA and fight tooth n nail to keep one of our most important aspects of our freedom! We have a whole new generation being pandered and brainwashed in schools and colleges as we speak to rebuke our American History , Pride and Values. If it seems like there is a mob after our 2nd amendment rite now? Just wait til this whiny, history hating , pandering brainwashed, racebaiting generation in training at the moment are filling the political offices that are already unraveling our great country as we speak! Above all be law abiding, responible and safe gun owners and lets prove that our 2nd amendment right is even more legitimate than it was upon creation! Nothing is more damning than ignorant fools like this Dear guy who shot up the planned Parenthood baby body shop and thus played us rite into the America hating left wing Liberals agenda! Im thankful for my freedoms everytime I shoot for enjoyment or look at my home defense gun just knowing I have the freedom to feel safer in day to day life! For the record I shoot well and prefer .45 in most pistols, unless its a sub compact or conceal gun and I carry 9mm and 357 sig in that case. But I have been shooting rifles and pistols since I was a kid and over 30 years so my preferance in no way is valid compared to a novice or 1st time gun owner that is prolly the biggest factor. Not even how many guns ya have owned but how many ya have shot and how much ya have shot. It is like writing it becomes second nature no matter what kinda pen your using but some write like I want them to better! God Bless the USA!!!

  • NWS December 4, 2015, 10:41 am

    I agree with DocWilcox above – I changed FROM a 9mm to .40 because I found the 9mm to have a sharp, snappy recoil, verses the .40’s push. As a competitive shooter, I could stay/return on target more quickly with the .40. Using personal defense ammunition, the .40 far exceeds the 9’s effectiveness…

  • NWS December 4, 2015, 10:41 am

    I agree with DocWilcox above – I changed FROM a 9mm to .40 because I found the 9mm to have a sharp, snappy recoil, verses the .40’s push. As a competitive shooter, I could stay/return on target more quickly with the .40. Using personal defense ammunition, the .40 far exceeds the 9’s effectiveness…

  • BK Young December 4, 2015, 10:36 am

    What Mr. Slowik stated about better 9mm rounds is true, however; What he doesn’t say, and should have broached on, is the the entire product line of pistol calibers has improved. It’s the usual redesigns & metallurgy that have advanced all calibers. I can’t see Federal, Remington et al., sitting around discussing how they will just improve the 9mm and not every other caliber with the same advances. Or am I missing something?

  • Matt Vermillion December 4, 2015, 10:36 am

    Bigger is better when it comes to stopping a threat. If you can’t handle the recoil, then who opens your pickle jar? You guys sound like a bunch of women. It’s proven in real world application. SWAT uses .45 cal and .40 cal for a reason. Carrying more ammo in a 9mm is good because your goimg to need more ammo to stop the threat.

  • Allen Benge December 4, 2015, 10:34 am

    Very interesting article, but there is much I find to disagree with. I currently own two Hi Point weapons, a pistol and a carbine, both in .40 S&W. I used to spend some time at a range/gun store in California, firing different guns. I was also a deputy sheriff in Arizona, so I had the opportunity to fire many weapons of all calibers. When firing the .40 at the range, I was quite impressed with the caliber, and decided I wanted to purchase one. As fate would have it, many others felt the same way, so Star was having trouble keeping up with demand. You had to pay your money, then wait up to eighteen months for your gun to arrive. I ended up purchasing a Star in .45 ACP. I have had a couple of 1911s, a Glock (which I despised), a .357 COP (4-barrel). Some people deride my HiPoints, but I have found few firearms that are as reliable and having a better warranty than HiPoint. Sorry, my friend, but the .40 is long from dead. Oh, BTW, I don’t believe anything the Fumbling Bunch of Idiots havee to say about anything, but especially firearms.

  • Dale December 4, 2015, 10:29 am

    After reading all, and keeping in mind everyone’s opinion, like and dislikes, and personal feelings. For a few years due to the job I had I carried a 380 cal hollow point because in a crowd I didn’t have to worry about it traveling too far. But also carried 5 mags, the reason for that is if I was out working somewhere I could fire enough rounds to at least scare the bad guy. I have a friend, who is a police officer, and who was forced to shoot his police dog with his 45. After 6 shots, knocking the dog down 6 times, and while he was loading the second mag the dog walked up to him still growling and wanting to attack then fell dead. That change my mind about the 45. The 9 is like the 380 not enough punch. Which I will mention now I went to a junk yard and out of curiosity shot at a door window, windshield, and door skin. Went through door window, failed to make it completely through windshield only stopping at interior glaze for the windshield, went through door skin denting the interior panel. This was all down from about 20 feet away. Yes the 40 does have more recoil, and with constant practice some of this can be corrected as far as aim. Police do not get enough practice which I think need to be changed. I purchased a 40 SW and right now I have 3 mags which will change. I plan on keeping more ammo too. At a later date I plan on a shotgun and a rifle. I used to own 3 380’s, a 40, and assault rifle. had to sell all due to financial problems and ain’t forgot since then and that was 15=20 years ago. I agree with others, when I shoot I want them down and dead, period. I liked the article because it caused thought and opinion.

    • Nick December 5, 2015, 2:09 pm

      You had an assault rifle? I always wanted a full auto rifle. I assume you are not calling an AR an assault rifle.

    • PudbertSavannahGA December 5, 2015, 8:47 pm

      wow, no wonder you had financial trouble,, it costs quite a bit to be legal with a FULL AUTOMATIC weapon these days..
      You DO know that’s what “Assault” means right ?

  • JR December 4, 2015, 10:22 am

    I’ve been reading for the past few months a lot gun writers sounding the death bell for the .40 riding on the FBI’s switch to the 9mm and at the same time promoting the 10mm as the latest “you have to get one of these guns” diatribe.
    The .40 is a good solid round, practice ammo is relatively inexpensive and there are to many owners of this round for it to slip into the shadows.
    I own and carry both a Sig P226 and a Springfield Armory EMP chambered in .40. Both are super accurate, recoil is not an issue and they are just plain fun to shoot.
    Maybe the .40 isn’t for everyone. Handguns are no different than a article of clothing. You have to find something comfortable and in your size, but don’t let public opinion choose for you.

    • NSDQ December 5, 2015, 1:30 am


  • Hardwater December 4, 2015, 10:11 am

    If the Secret Service had .40’s when Reagan was shot instead of 9mm. The shooter would not survived to shoot Brady. The 9mm is not enough. The .40 is a compromise back to the .45 ACP.

  • Nick Schaefer December 4, 2015, 10:10 am

    We carried .357 mags when I got into LE. After the Miami/ Dade shootout our PD wanted the Newest and biggest. The full house 10 mm is what I was looking for when I was a LEO. Then they came out with the detuned 10 (fbi load) and now the joke .40 cal. We opted for the Glocks in .45. Now that Im retired I have a 9mm glock for fun and the .380 S&W bodyguard.

  • Nick Schaefer December 4, 2015, 10:09 am

    We carried .357 mags when I got into LE. After the Miami/ Dade shootout our PD wanted the Newest and biggest. The full house 10 mm is what I was looking for when I was a LEO. Then they came out with the detuned 10 (fbi load) and now the joke .40 cal. We opted for the Glocks in .45. Now that Im retired I have a 9mm glock for fun and the .380 S&W bodyguard.

  • DrDave December 4, 2015, 10:06 am

    I truly enjoy my three .40s. My 9mm in comparison was anemic, my .45 too much for me to handle.
    The .40s are right between, on target like the 9mm but just that little bit more punch.
    I think its a matter of preference and ability to control. A bullet is useless if it isn’t on target.
    The .40 will be around for a long time.

  • ToddB December 4, 2015, 10:03 am

    This is part of a debate that has raged for years, the 9mm vs 45 crowd. I never got into it, I had both for a long time. 45 is nice but it aint fun to carry around for very long. The 40 came out as the 9mm of the time just wasn’t that effective, times change, they make some pretty effective 9mm. I try to be open minded about things ‘how do you know if you don’t try it’ my mom always said. One thing a 40 has over a 45 is the pressure. A 45 in a longer barrel really doesn’t do any better, you have to go to the higher pressure 45 super to gain any velocity in a longer barrel. The 40, will really pick up some speed in a longer barrel. I have a mechtech upper in 40S&W, and it will really fling some lead down range. Now some are just opposed to the 40 ‘slow and weak’, have a friend he won’t touch one. Hes a 45 guy, it aint a 45 he has no interest in it. But he is also a glock guy, everything else is junk. I also cannot get him to shoot a cast bullet of any kind in anything.

    I like 9mm, 40S&W, and 45, they each have their use. A little S&W shield in 9mm to carry, a full size FNS40, and the very reliable but heavy 1911 in 45. But I also have a 1911 in 7.62×25, so not exactly a traditionalist. The 40 has the advantage of ever so easily being able to run 357SIG, no need for extra mags or springs, just drop in a barrel and off you go. The 40 cal guns can also often be converted to 9mm, a 45 usually doesn’t do well going that far. And I never could get a 1911 to run in 40. 40 you can run really fast 135gr, up to 200gr, the math in the 200gr is just about the same as the 45, but easier to shoot, and more ammo.

  • Andy December 4, 2015, 9:58 am

    I have a 40/9 conversion barrel for my Glock. I could get a 357 Sig barrel also and have 3 guns. If I had no gun the 9MM would be a good choice. I’m staying with the .40 and shooting both .40 and 9MM with it.

  • Tommy December 4, 2015, 9:50 am

    ‘ve owned a 3rd Gen. S&W model 411 in .40S&W since 1999 and have shot thousands of rounds through it with no unusual wear evident. It still shoots to point of aim and recoil is NOT excessive if you ask me. Heck, my WIFE learned how to shoot a gun using this weapon and LOVES IT. I think PART of the problem people have with the recoil of the .40 S&W is because of the widespread usage of PLASTIC GUNS. Buy a pistol with a little heft to it and recoil becomes a non-issue. Also as I recall the whole reason for the existance of the .40 cal. round is the FBI shootout in Miami back in the late 80’s, where LEO carrying 9mm weapons were seriously outgunned by the bad guys. With the prospect of terrorists becoming active in this country, now would not seem to be the right time to take a step backwards as far as weaponry is concerned. Just my .02 worth of course, your mileage may vary…. One more comment regarding the shooting prowess of LEOS. It was announced by the chief of police in San Bernadino that LEOS fired 380 rounds at the suspects SUV before they were “Neutralized.” 380……HMMM

  • Mike December 4, 2015, 9:49 am

    I believe that it’s good to have options so it’s better to prepare your self with multiple calibers. The last ammo shortage I was still able to find 357 and 38 special as well as 40 cal. Remember also a 40 cal has the options of 357 sig or 9mm conversion barrels as well as 22LR. So might as well get your self a 40 cal. Just ask military what they think of the 9mm stopping power. I don’t think they are too happy with its performance.

  • Steve Warren December 4, 2015, 9:47 am

    Focus on your front sight. Shoot center of mass. Keep firing until the threat is neutralized. Stop worrying about caliber. Any caliber in any gun beats a pointy stick.

    • Kevin November 1, 2017, 11:41 pm

      I guess you shoot a .22? No? Stop worrying about caliber, get you a .22.

  • TommyG December 4, 2015, 9:44 am

    I’ve owned a 3rd Gen. S&W model 411 in .40S&W since 1999 and have shot thousands of rounds through it with no unusual wear evident. It still shoots to point of aim and recoil is NOT excessive if you ask me. Heck, my WIFE learned how to shoot a gun using this weapon and LOVES IT. I think PART of the problem people have with the recoil of the .40 S&W is because of the widespread usage of PLASTIC GUNS. Buy a pistol with a little heft to it and recoil becomes a non-issue. Also as I recall the whole reason for the existance of the .40 cal. round is the FBI shootout in Miami back in the late 80’s, where LEO carrying 9mm weapons were seriously outgunned by the bad guys. With the prospect of terrorists becoming active in this country, now would not seem to be the right time to take a step backwards as far as weaponry is concerned. Just my .02 worth of course, your mileage may vary….

    • NSDQ December 5, 2015, 1:23 am

      Agreed I had a .40 usp abd didn’t like it at all. However I love both of my sigs and one is a LE trade in that I have refurbished . The recoil is negligible.

  • john jackson December 4, 2015, 9:44 am

    If you’re talking about self defense against thugs, I’ll take my 9mm +P. But for defense in the woods and eastern mountains, I’d rather be toting a .40 against a charging hog….or even a black bear. Any caliber smaller, would be okay for saber tooth rabbits.

    • Chris Baker December 4, 2015, 9:22 pm

      For that woods stuff I like my redhawk with 265 grain flat nosed semi wadcutters. Chrono’d at 1450. Nice big cushiony grips to protect my poor dainty hands. I’ve put about 5,000 rounds through it and it just keeps getting smoother and smoother. But it’s way to big to carry into Walmart. LOL

      • Pappy Polygrip December 7, 2015, 1:52 am

        Why I have carried mine in wally world many times.

  • Gilberto DiPiento December 4, 2015, 9:42 am

    So this isn’t surprising.
    Think about what we as instructors and dealers tell people when asked “What caliber should I carry?”
    Our answer is “The largest caliber you can shoot comfortably and consistently.”
    Personally, I don’t like 40, but admittedly it’s because I haven’t shot it to the extent that I have shot 9mm and 45.
    Could I be equally as proficient with 40? Probably, but why waste all of the time to train and become proficient with it when I’m already proficient with the perfectly viable 9mm round?

    I believe that the rise of the 40sw was fueled purely by hype and bad science. People who were hungry for something different, people who thought it made them appear above the status quo, people who could look down their noses at their fellow shooters and tisk tisk their 9mm counterparts. And they would brag and trash talk the two until others who didn’t know any better, wanted to be a part of that crowd.

    I guess you could say they are the hipsters of the gun world.

  • Stan December 4, 2015, 9:40 am

    Wow, where to start…..
    The author makes a ONE SENTENCE opinion about “wear” and people write dissertations condemning it. The statement sounds more like a hypothetical to me.

    Someone writes about how a 40 recoil is a “push” as compared to a snap—dude, I think you meant 45. I own four 40’s and NONE of them push. The Kahr CW40 I own is certainly “snappier” than the CW9 I own . BTW best shooting compact 40-excellent grip ergo and the LOWEST bore axis on the market means more “back into the hand” rather than “snap of the wrist”.

    With almost 20 years of experience as an EMS helo pilot, I’ve seen way more than my fair share of people shot in the head with handguns. I’ve seen bullets of most calibers available “bounce” off of a victims head if struck with a glancing blow. I’ve NEVER SEEN ANYONE shot square in the face with a 9mm that wasn’t dead right there because the brain was mush and generally leaking out the back of the head because the bullet completely traversed the skull (fmj bullets in particular).

    Most PDs issue 45 Glocks——————–REALLY?????????????????????????/

    Some of you are bitching about the FBI stats recommending the change to the 9. I’ll bet that some of the same folks complaining about that are ones that jumped on the 40 bandwagon BECAUSE of the FBI stats recommending the 40. Apparently there are those that would be surprised to learn that there have been fairly significant advancements in the development of bullet design that has improved the performance quite a bit. I’m also guessing that’s one of the reasons for the FBIs change of heart regarding the 9. The Feds position is based on studying ACTUAL shootings NOT opinions.

    I know this is going to upset folks but lets face facts-there are a bunch of LE folks that are lousy shots. Years ago (in another life) I was an EMS helo pilot and knew quite a few LE folks. Became friends with a Captain of our local PD SWAT. He was their primary firearms instructor and also a very accomplished competition shooter who competed at the national level. He used to invite me out to the range during quals (I’d get free ammo to shoot while I was there!) and I’d also watch the folks shoot. Sure there were some good ones, damned good ones in fact, BUT there were an awful lot of, shall we say–less than average shooters. I went to the range at LEAST once a week-he had folks that did NOT enjoy going to the range (on a rather infrequent basis) to qualify AT ALL and their scores proved that. EVERYTHING I’ve read demonstrates the fact that the scores presented by qualifying officers increases significantly when the 9mm replaces the 40. On that note, there sure are a bunch of 40 PD turn-ins available on the market right now…

    The FBI came up with the 40 recommendation TWENTY SIX YEARS AGO. I’m pretty confident that there have been some significant advancements in ammunition performance since the tests of 1990.

    The great thing is that -this IS America and you can choose to use and carry the ammo of your choice—-

    For now………………………….

    • Doyle December 15, 2016, 7:14 pm

      Great comment

  • Gilberto DiPiento December 4, 2015, 9:37 am

    So this isn’t surprising.
    Think about what we tell people when asked “What caliber should I carry?”
    Our answer is “The largest caliber you can shoot comfortably and consistently.”
    Personally, I don’t like 40. But mostly it’s because I haven’t shot it to the extent that I have shot 9mm and 45.
    Could I be equally as proficient with 40? Probably, but why waste all of the time to train and become proficient with it when I’m already proficient with the perfectly viable 9mm round?

    I believe that the rise of the 40sw was fueled purely by hype and bad science. People who were hungry for something different, people who thought it made them appear above the status quo, people who could look down their noses at their fellow shooters and tisk tisk their 9mm counterparts. And they would brag and trash talk the two until others who didn’t know any better, wanted to be a part of that crowd.

    I guess you could say they are the hipsters of the gun world.

    • NSDQ December 5, 2015, 1:15 am

      Lmao that’s ridiculous!

    • Nick December 5, 2015, 3:19 pm

      That’s a redonkeyless reason not to own a 40. Limiting yourself to 2 calibers? I have more caliber firearms than I can count and love them all for one reason or another including 9, 40, and 45. I like my 1911 as home protection because with the right ammo it wont go through (too many) walls but hunting I wouldn’t think twice about grabbing the 40 with 15+1 rounds and would not even consider my 9’s in either circumstance unless I had too. A 40 can do everything a 45 or 9 can do but better all around. Mass, distance, velocity. Your only cheating yourself not to have a least one. A good full sized double stack that is.

  • Brian December 4, 2015, 9:31 am

    Good article and I was looking at .45s the other day for a friend of my son. There were very little .45s, a few 9mm, and a load of .40s and I think it may be more price of ammunition than anything else.
    Have a great day!
    God Bless the USA and Springfield Armory!

  • David December 4, 2015, 9:17 am

    Why a 9mm, they never jam. The 40 J&R (Jam and Ram) you better have made sure you tested that exact ammo in your handgun if your counting on it!

    • NSDQ December 5, 2015, 1:13 am

      Neither my p226 not my p229 elite have EVER jammed sir! Either you can shoot or you can’t regardless of caliber. Yes I own all three of these! Funny I have always believed that if you can master the .40 s&w recoil, you will be a better shooter with the other two!!!

  • Snowy Rivers December 4, 2015, 8:59 am

    Spoken like a true “recoil woos”
    The article is well presented, but that’s where the buck stops and the drivel begins.
    The 40 is certainly not hard on guns and any shooter that has any real experience at all can handle one with ease.

    As a professional firearms trainer I have had all sorts of shooters handle the 40, from large men to very very petite women, and the only issue with most calibers is MIND SET

    If the shooter is AFRAID of a little recoil then there is going to be an issue no matter what the caliber.

  • James December 4, 2015, 8:58 am

    I have issues with this statement.. According to the FBI the average law enforcement officer misses up to 4 out of 5 shots taken in real-world shootings, and in that respect, the use of 9mm may very well save lives through increased capacity alone.

    As a former LEO I can tell you that we were responsible for EVERY round that left the weapon. My departments training left something to be desired as do all departments that I’m aware of. Budget issues limit the amount of ammo available for training. Many of us spent our own money buying ammo to stay on top of our training with the desire to first safely engage any threat and to protect the public from harm inflicted by our use of firearms in the performance of our duty. Acceptance of the statistic that 4 out of 5 shots fired in a conflict miss is OK is totally inacceptable to any right thinking person. If that is truely the statistic, we should be clamoring for more training. Modern training tries to emulate the confusion and sensory overload experienced in combat and it should. Unfortunately the resources are beyond most small departments budgetary abilities. I carried a 1911 45acp as a duty weapon and consistently scored high on department quals.

  • Erik Hansen December 4, 2015, 8:56 am

    Poorly written article , so the almighty FBI has with all their wisdom decided that now the 9mm is the best cartridge when they said this about the 40 and the whole reason they swiched to it. What is amazing is his theory that because law enforcement officers miss 80% percent of their shots is appalling and means they need to improve their markmeship programs or lack of them . So we just give them higher capacity mags in the hopes they can hit someone while spraying 15-20 bullets . Wrong answer on so many levels.

  • Dennis December 4, 2015, 8:46 am

    I totally agree with:
    1). Comments about practice, practice, practice being the key.
    2). Today’s LE shooters are more diverse and many times smaller and more easily intimidated by recoil.
    3). Bragging about newer technology making 9mm +P rounds as effective as other more powerful cartridges is ridiculous. Compare performance apples to apples! Use the same level of ammo in comparisons stupid!

  • Ditto December 4, 2015, 8:11 am

    Omg. Now I have to run out and unload my Glock 23 and .40 ammo. The case against .40 has now been made. My gun is now useless. If I ever tried to defend myself with it, the bad guys would just laugh at me.

  • Miles December 4, 2015, 8:08 am

    I have one recommendation for the FBI and law enforcement as a whole and any other folks missing 4 out of 5 shots with .40 or .45 caliber weapons:
    All of your problems can and will be solved through practice, practice, practice! What stands out to me with a statistic like the one called out by the author is that these misses are cured only through lots of practice. That practice can be at home dry firing, on the range and especially in competition of some sort……..
    More training is the cure for this disease!

  • Joe December 4, 2015, 8:06 am

    Just like the other did some people could not handle it so find some thing that they could. Doe’s not mater if it work or not. Just look good on paper or test results LONG LIVE THE 45 ACP.

  • Stephen December 4, 2015, 8:00 am

    Remember, years ago the Pope was shot (9) times with a 9mm hand gun, he lived !! Anyway, I have always shot the bigger stuff more accurately. The .45 ACP, .40 s&w, 45 LC, .41 mag is good, .44 special, etc. Just remember, the best caliber to carry is the one you have at the time You Need It. Just carry something and practice, practice, practice.

  • mark December 4, 2015, 7:56 am

    My 40cal glock doesn’t kick much at all. I’m a police officer and I prefer a 180gr bullet going 1000 fps compared to the lighter 9mms. As far as wearing out quicker I doubt I could shoot enough rounds in a life time to wear out my glock.

  • Thomas Gaffey December 4, 2015, 7:45 am

    I own and shoot all 3 cals mentioned, not as a LEO but just a shooter, most of the comments are correct but it is more likely that they are more correct for the individual saying them. But the ultimate question comes down to practice and stopping power, the 45 was developed to stop drugged up tribesmen, a 230g bullet will stop someone faster than 115g from a 9mm, but you have to hit it, and in the short distances encountered in real life confrontations, the extra FPS doesn’t matter. I live in the wonderful state of CA and mag capacity isn’t much different from a 9 to a .45, if you are looking at total lead downrange from a single mag the 9 tops out at 1150g while the .45 goes north of 1800g, that’s 60% better, and I know that that argument is pushing it, but I’m trying to show that it’s all about preference

  • Bayou Boys December 4, 2015, 7:21 am

    Living in one of the highest crime city’s in thr US, owning a body repair busniess I have seen many vhicles come in that were shot with 9mm and the bullet laying inside the door paels. When one come’s in that has been shot with a 40 or 45 they go through the complete car both sideds. I carry a 45, if I have to use it I know they wont run off and come back later, 9mm are fun to shoot during target practice when it come down to protecting me or my family you can bet It will be a 40 or 45!

    • sammy December 4, 2015, 8:34 am

      that’s not true. the only rounds that have shown to do that are rifle rounds and magnum pistol rounds. car doors have swallowed up 9,40,45.

      • Rane December 4, 2015, 9:50 am

        I have tested this theory. My uncle owns a scrap yard and my parents own a large piece of land that has a purpose built shooting range. I’ve collected several vehicle doors (mostly truck doors like chevy Silverados) and put 9mm and 40 to the test. What I found was
        that both calibers would easily penetrate if they took the path where they only encountered sheet metal. I was using premium bullets for this test. 124 gr hp fired from a 226 and 155 gr hp fired from 229. The chrono read 1080 fps for the 124 Hornady and 1130 for the 155 gr Hornady(which had a shorter barrel). If the bullets encountered the window regulator or electric motor their performance was severely altered. Just to be clear the window was in the up position for this test. The 9mm could not penetrate if it encountered the motor or if it hit an area where the doors frame was reinforced with one bullet glancing and exiting. The 40 however, seemed to have little issues barging through the reinforced sections and even had a round punch through the motor. The electric motor was completely riped from the door frame and pushed through the panel half way. I repleated this test with other bullet types with similar results. My conclusion was if it came down to what I would use for life preservation it would be the .40. But I own an SBR mp5 clone and a 226 chambered in 9mm for a reason. That reason is subsonic 147gr pills through and Octane 9 HD suppressor. There’s nothing else quite like a suppressed 9mm for well rounded performance with very little recoil and noise, but still enough energy to do the job. Just my .02.

      • Pappy Polygrip December 5, 2015, 8:24 am

        I hate to be the bearer of bad news but you are dead wrong .44 Mag, .45 LC, .45ACP .40 S&W .357 Mag will rip right through a vehicle door and go out the other side you do not need a high powered cartridge to shoot through car doors.

  • John December 4, 2015, 7:19 am

    One of the points in your article actually makes my argument in favor of the .40 caliber round. During the gun scares and runs on ammunition, I was always able to find .40 caliber ammunition. This was not the case with 9mm ammunition. Also, the FBI report was based on law enforcement needs, not civilian needs. LEOs are sometimes restricted to the type of ammunition they use on duty. Civilians are not. In other words, LEOs may be restricted to FMJ ammunition whereas civilians can use any type of ammunition they choose. In that instance, I’d much rather use something like Hornady Critical Defense ammunition for personal protection. The key for personal protection is doing a sufficient amount of damage to slow down, stop, or kill the person trying to harm you or your family. I don’t trust a FMJ bullet to do this.

    As far as magazine capacity goes, this point, again, was made in the FBI report regarding law enforcement and not civilians. Between the Glock 26 and the Glock 27, there is only one round capacity difference. In the G19 and the G23, there is a two round difference. Law enforcement are going to encounter situations with multiple shooters, thus you can make the argument that they need more rounds in their guns. The overwhelming majority of shootings in the civilian world are one on one situations where two less rounds is not going to be critical.

    You write a good article and used your research accordingly, but I think you’re way off base on your logic. Comparing law enforcement needs to civilian needs is pretty much akin to comparing apples to oranges. I do enjoy reading your writings and look forward to your next one.

  • Flep Vandergaard December 4, 2015, 7:16 am

    During the last 2 years or so, at my friend’s Massachusetts LGS, 9mm models of handguns have been selling about 3.5 to 1 versus the same model in .40 . At least anecdotally, I would suggest that in a restricted capacity People’s Republic, 9mm is cleaning up there too. Furthermore, 45 ACP is running a close second to 9mm from a popularity standpoint, typically purchased by (although not always) by more experienced shooters. Take this for what it is, just my thoughts and observations.

  • KahrdCarrier December 4, 2015, 7:14 am

    Will makes every point I considered and a couple I hadn’t. I carry a Kahr .40, an inherently low capacity arm. However, the design of the pistol makes the recoil quite manageable, even with ammunition yielding a stated 500 ft./lbs energy at the muzzle. The conventional wisdom that the second round sustained by a body causes the square of the initial round, gives credence to the high capacity argument. However, the shooters in the Colorado theater and the recent San Bernardino attack were wearing body armor. I would rather be able to deliver more initial energy to an armored opponent, to at least temporarily disable him. Note, the article doesn’t really say the .40 is dead. The underlying message to .40 shooters is we all need to get to the range and develop better muscle memory. And isn’t that really true for all of us. The most effective round in the world is pretty useless if we miss the target.

  • angel December 4, 2015, 7:08 am

    Shades of the past, this argument has been going on for decades..back in the 1960’s it was the mainstay article in all GUN magazines, except then it was ”9mm vs 45acp”. I believe when the crap hits the fan most people will go with what is handy, hence the popularity of .380 rounds and variety of .32 cal weapons on the market..I happen to favor a variant 9mm, the .357sig,now you’re talking.

  • Jim Cannady December 4, 2015, 6:57 am

    This article is entirely his opinion. Not that he is wrong, but he provides no supporting facts. It seems like he could provide examples of excessive wear on weapons chambered for .40 S&W or quotes from police officials who choose to continue to use the .40. This is just a poorly written, rambling, opinion

  • Ken Wilkinson December 4, 2015, 6:56 am

    The FBI report in which they claim the 9 mm is a better round for LEO’s is just the same report made 20 odd years ago in which they concluded the 40 was a better round. The only difference is they reversed all the conclusions made then by 180 degrees.
    Maybe the fact that they now have many agents who are small in size with little hands has something to do with this reversal.
    Absent a vital hit, bigger deeper holes make a quicker stop.

  • Jason December 4, 2015, 6:49 am

    Ok so to say that the 9mm is the go to cartridge for law enforcement is simply not true. Most police departments issue Glock .45s Although, the department will let you carry your personal gun on duty as long as its approved by the board and the department gunsmith is certified to work on said gun.

  • Dave December 4, 2015, 6:37 am

    One other thing that was forgotten in this article, is the fact that if you shoot someone once with a 9mm you will just piss him off. A 40cal will bring him down.

    • Wild Bill December 4, 2015, 12:54 pm

      You are a100% on the mark regarding the 40 cal. Although, I have four 9mm pistols. For ease of unsuspecting conceal carry, I use the compact Beretta Nano that is carried on a custom release ankle holster. The reason being,is most of the assaults on people in my locale occur in close engagements of robbery in mall parking lots, close street encounters, outside public venues while walking the distance from one’s parked car, etc. I have practiced a routine that may interest others. As I reach for my wallet to give the assailant, I fumble the wallet to the ground. As I bend to supposedly pick up my wallet, I can swiftly and most importantly provide the element of surprise/diversion to an anxious, nervous low life. The rest is history as I unload the 8 military grade hollow points through their heads with complete surprise and speed. I also have a Steyr 40 cal that is as comfortable shooting as any of my 9mm. The relatively unknown Steyr is uncanny for accuracy while quickly unloading the full mag at 30 yards, consistent 8-10″ groupings. The Steyr is considered head and shoulders above the Glocks in Europe. They are both manufactured in plants of close proximity. Europeans are baffled by the devotion of the Glock in America. I have had many Iraq/Afghanistan veteran recon snipers/ average/ newbies shoot all my firearms. They have all endorsed the Steyr 40. Home defense is handled with a pre-ban, custom SBS Kalishnikov 12 gauge that a Navy Seal once described as the most well designed killing ‘machine’ he ever saw. Enough said, perhaps too much. Bottom line is to each his own, the firearm is unique to one’s individual preference. Thank you for your time.

      • ted D December 4, 2015, 1:39 pm

        Bill, you’re a tool.
        ‘military grade’ hollow points??
        during my time in the military all we shot were fmj’s, as hollow points are banned by NATO…..

        • Wild Bill December 4, 2015, 3:59 pm

          My mistake and apology for the erroneous statement. It would be an eye opener for you to visit the politically incorrect class III FIREARMS dealer literally buried with only a tank on top of the bunker. It’s hidden in the backwoods of my State of Pennsylvania. The State where ALL the Historical Documents were written by the Fathers of our Nation. The place that put in place The Second Amendment, initiated the Revolution for our freedom, the first Capitol of Our Country Assembled the First Militia under George Washington,etc,etc…
          Our State has the highest population of white tail deer in Our Country,… an Elk, Black Bear …. Thanks for the complement, I’d rather be a tool than an arrogant fool who gets caught up in semantics; whose intelligence is arrogantly condescending. The hell with the apology, get a life.

          • GradyPhilpott December 5, 2015, 12:28 am

            IMI makes NATO grade hollow-points.

            They may be illegal, but they still make them and sell them.

            I have a case setting across the room from me now.

    • Great Caesar's Ghost December 4, 2015, 1:32 pm

      This is the dumbest comment I’ve ever read, and I am significantly dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may god have mercy upon your soul.

      • ted D December 4, 2015, 7:28 pm

        ha for real.
        yeah i think this guy’s one can short of a sixpack!
        it’s weirdos like this who give gun owners a bad name.

    • Pappy Polygrip December 5, 2015, 8:15 am

      .40 S&W because shooting twice is just silly
      but seriously my EDC is a Taurus PT 840 it fits my hand good is reliable and accurate I also like it because I am left handed and most everything Taurus makes is ambidextrous as far as recoil energy is concerned I don’t pay much attention to it I just practice enough to adapt to it and keeping my POA on target.with any caliber size any person decides to go with as their EDC practice and knowing your firearm inside and out is the key to being a marksman with it. but here is where the rubber meets the road for me an attacker is likely to surprise attack at close enough range to where they can grab me therefore making it nearly impossible to get to my .40 S&W so I carry a 2 shot derringer chambered for .45 LC or .410 shot shell in my left pocket and an automatic stiletto in my right pocket and I walk with a cane which I am very good using for SD which in all reality is my first line of defending myself in a close mugging situation. I keep my hand in my left pocket at all times when I am out just in case that sort of thing ever happens. therefore whatever you carry always be prepared to use it in split second timing.

  • woodcanoe December 4, 2015, 6:06 am

    An interesting article, and a lot to think about. However I think there are a couple of things wrong with 9mm that bear speaking about.

    As a subgun round it has lots of advantages. It allows a lot of ammo to pass through the gun in a short time and the low recoil allows better control.

    However I believe that it lacks PUNCH when it hits the bad guy. I once saw a video of a guy who had been hit by a 9mm slug on the bridge of his nose. The slug was still inside of his head while he sat up on the gurney talking to family. If that had been a 45 they would have been sweeping the back of his head up out of the street.

    9mm allows the high cap mags that fool many into thinking that because they can shoot a lot in a hurry that they will surely hit the guy with some of them. In short this encourages bad shooting. The number one rule of shooting is to take time to aim and make every shot count.

    Police officers are some of the poorest shooters in the country. Watch the dozens of dash cam videos that I have watched and you will see it. Trigger pulled as fast as possible til the slide locks back, while the perp gets away.

    9mm allows bad shooting habits, and won’t put down what it hits. The old .357 and .45 had limited capacity thus the shooter had to be better trained to put lead on the target, plus nobody who got shot in the head with it is going to walk away. 9mm is for people who don’t want to take the time to learn how to do it right!


    • Allen Alexander December 4, 2015, 7:38 am

      I agree that having ‘more bullets’ available leads to worse shooting. It is like the football joke, ‘wait till next year!’, except it is ‘wait till the next shot’. To heck with that; shooting someone is not something to be taken lightly, but if I have to shoot, they are going down for the count. A .45 or .357 magnum is my choice. I don’t know about people head shot, but I was helping a friend butcher a 300 pound hog and he head shot it twice at point blank range and the hog kept walking around! One round from my .357 and it was down and we found the expended round had traversed the skull and traveled at least nine inches of neck muscle. Sure my rounds might have a little more recoil, but one or two from mine beat six of 9mm. A doctor friend told me they don’t often see people shot with .357 or .45 in the emergency room because they are usually taken to the morgue. So if you do end up in a gunfight, how do you want it to end?

      • TSF December 4, 2015, 10:01 am

        Seen the same thing with hogs. Never shoot point blank. Give some distance to get better velocity. Assume the same with human targets.

        • Observer December 4, 2015, 11:31 am

          “Give some distance to get better velocity.”


      • Larry December 4, 2015, 2:50 pm

        Allen you hit it right on the head. the more ammo in the gun the less a person is going to make each shot count. I used to hunt with a friend of mine (rabbits), when we first started hunting together I carried a single shot, he had his Auto-loader. After one day of hunting he had went through 1.5 boxes of shells, I went through 5 and we each had 5 rabbits to show for it. about a month later we went again and again I carried a single shot he brought a double barrel, I shot 6 shots and had 6 rabbits he shot 10 rounds and had 5. I was shooting on a police range with a couple of deputies and they were shooting about 175 out of 300, I asked them why they were shooting so fast, they said well more lead down range. Well now that is true however unless you are trying to keep the bad guys heads down this makes no sense. In real combat the idea is to put them down with one shot so they don’t have a chance to do it to you.

        • Pappy Polygrip December 7, 2015, 1:45 am

          what happened to one shot one kill?

    • Sully December 4, 2015, 7:56 am

      Off topic, but the poor shooting seen in dash cam videos is the result of panic in an actual life threatening situation, not poor shooting skills. In some situations there’s only time to clear the holster and hope you can deliver a few rounds at the threat….that may be moving. Imagine the average citizen in a similar situation having no where near the level of training provided to most officers. The best paper puncher out there will be a different shooter when being shot at. Though I will acknowledge that there are some officers with horrendous shooting skills. (25 years law enforcement experience here.)

      • JP December 4, 2015, 8:36 am

        Well said. Most comments like this are made by armchair gun fighters. They have never been in that situation……..

      • Sully December 4, 2015, 8:38 am

        Forgot to mention…keep in mind too the officers seen in some of these videos may have been hit with a round or two. That might rattle you a little.

      • Chuck December 4, 2015, 12:57 pm

        re officer shooting skills, no intent to disparage ANY LE operators, but I remember back to when the D.C. P.D. first changed over from revolvers to Glocks. They were SO HAPPY to have hi-caps so they could “equal the firepower of the accused perps”. The first two shooting incidents with the Glocks were quite illuminating. The first person shot was a PD armorer who shot himself in the leg with an “unloaded” weapon. the second incident was two cops serving an arrest warrant at a perp’s house. The perp bolted out the back door, past one of the officers, and started running down the alley, firing a pistol blindly over his shoulder. Both officers emptied their magazines on him. Result: one bullet (of 34) struck the back of the perp’s shoe heel and he tripped allowing the officers to secure him. Ain’t firepower great!

      • B December 6, 2015, 2:59 pm

        I have about 30 years of LEO experience, NRA Instructor, CCW Instructor, Army MP CONUS and overseas.

        In my experience less than half of LEOs are ‘gun people’, many dread qualification day and put their guns away with their uniform after shift, not thinking about them til next shift.

        The ‘police’ .38 special, along with the 9mm were in use BEFORE 1900. I do like 9mm in my Lugers, not much else.

        Most of my LEO career we were not allowed Pistols, just revolvers. The .357 is the pre-eminent stopping round of any in this arguement.
        AND, S H O T P L A C E M E N T is more important than any bullet or caliber.
        That said I own several .45s , Glock and 1911 and like them, and carry baby .45 now most of the time.
        I also am a big fan of the .40sw. A lot of people made fun of it, as they did the plastic Glock in the 90s……But what guns are the Most prevelant now? – .40s and plastic guns – by All manufacturers …
        SAFETY is between your ears, Success is proper Placement and control.

        IMHO 🙂

    • J December 4, 2015, 10:07 am

      Let’s test your proficiency when confronted with a target that is actively trying to take your life.
      Shooting at a controlled range is a lot different than in an event with live rounds coming back at you.
      Try this, run 1/2 mile at 75/80% full speed, grab you pistol from a level 3 holster and engage a paper target at 15 yards. Shoot 18 rnds in 20 seconds. Bet they all won’t be in the black.

    • Dan December 4, 2015, 1:15 pm

      I would have to agree regarding round management. I started LE with a wheel gun (.357), with a total of 18 rounds available between the weapon and belt. When we went to semi autos, we had 15 rounds in the weapon and 28 on our belt-enough to start a war!

      Our shoots also changed-where we had strong and weak hand barricade at 50yds with a revolver, the shooting stopped at 25yds with the semi auto.

      Big change in officers too-by the time I retired, we had more than one officer come in who never fired a center fire round before going to the academy.

      Bottom line is, you need to be proficient with whatever weapon you carry.

      • BillJ357 December 6, 2015, 3:01 pm


        I have about 30 years of LEO experience, NRA Instructor, CCW Instructor, Army MP CONUS and overseas.

        In my experience less than half of LEOs are ‘gun people’, many dread qualification day and put their guns away with their uniform after shift, not thinking about them til next shift.

        The ‘police’ .38 special, along with the 9mm were in use BEFORE 1900. I do like 9mm in my Lugers, not much else.

        Most of my LEO career we were not allowed Pistols, just revolvers. The .357 is the pre-eminent stopping round of any in this arguement.
        AND, S H O T P L A C E M E N T is more important than any bullet or caliber.
        That said I own several .45s , Glock and 1911 and like them, and carry baby .45 now most of the time.
        I also am a big fan of the .40sw. A lot of people made fun of it, as they did the plastic Glock in the 90s……But what guns are the Most prevelant now? – .40s and plastic guns – by All manufacturers …
        SAFETY is between your ears, Success is proper Placement and control.

        IMHO 🙂

  • L E Henson December 4, 2015, 5:57 am

    The REAL reason the FBI is going 9MM? The anti America, pro terrorist in charge – is having pro-UN, limp wristed types – RAKE OVER OUR Government! If successful – remember, even “they” must go somewhere to eat. Stay away, “they” will be targeted for THEIR weapons! Anyone notice the CIA directors email ended with PRAYERS = Muslim references to the Koran? He, 19 Generals, the POTUS, Department of Homeland Security, etc. etc. are mostly from the “peaceful religion” (SIC).

    • JT December 4, 2015, 12:02 pm

      Don’t forget to wear your aluminum foil hat!

    • Billj357 December 6, 2015, 2:41 pm

      Exactly right. Only reason ‘we’ went to 9mm in the first place was to ‘be same’ as NATO…

  • K.C. December 4, 2015, 5:37 am

    9 MM (man’s man) v/s 40 S&W (short & wimpy) it’s all about shot placement, If the recoil is so much you can’t hit what your shooting at what good is it, I would much rather arm my wife with something she can control and hit the target with than trying to prove size matters, even with the new 380 rounds out there and the weapons for them that are more likely to fit a woman’s hands, I would rather her have something that she is comfortable with for E.D.C. than something that would be left in the safe at home….

    • Tim December 6, 2015, 10:19 am

      I assume you are arming your wife with a 40 then? Being short and wimpy it should be easier for her to control than the manly man 9mm. Oh yeah, “short and wimpy” is just a catchphrase that shouldn’t really be used by 9mm fans since in reality the 40 S&W is “longer and stronger” than the 9mm.

      Also, in my experience most women are more likely to be comfortable with a 380 than a 9mm. You seem to state (in a roundabout way) that while a 380 would more likely fit a woman’s hand she would prefer something more powerful and less controllable. Does that mean that while a 9mm is snappier than a 380 she would be more confident with it’s stopping power? If so, that is the same argument some 40 aficionados use to explain preferring the 40 over the 9. Could you please elaborate?

  • Dusty December 4, 2015, 5:20 am

    In another “x” number of years the FBI will no doubt change its position again. They do some things superlatively, but I don’t readily accept their opinion or “science” with re: to handgun rounds. They quit the 9mm because of a failure to hit well enough with what they were using, and questionable tactics. The 10mm was too much gun.. cartridge and platform- for rank and file agents. The 10mm lite followed. The .40 made its debut, and all was well… Then they found that the 40 was harder to hit with than the 9mm and someone found that when everything went perfect- the 9mm HP’s were equal to .40 and .45… Not better but “equal to” as I recall… No I don’t believe that the 9mm is a “.45 on stun”, or that any pistol round is likely to be a truly reliable fight stopper. What I do know is that if there is anything in the way that can sap energy needed for expansion, I don’t trust the 9mm to be as effective- be it heavy clothing, dry wall, light sheet metal or window glass. Maybe my real objection to 9mm and .40 over .45 is the muzzle flash of high pressure loads at night. I carry the .45 on duty mostly for that reason. Our SWAT (and others…) seem to prefer it as well. They get to pick a cartridge and platform it will fire. Why would they pick .45 if 9mm was just as good?

    • TPSnodgrass December 4, 2015, 1:14 pm

      But…but…but…the FBI IS the unassailable EXPERT in all things firearms……even with the Tactical-Failure-Miami Shootout.

      Or so I hear every time we have shot with their agents….(I should note that from my personal observations and experience, every single person in my old agency routinely outperformed every single agent that was on the line with us, every single time.
      In their defense, NOBODY does a press conference better than the BureauBoysandGirls.

      • Larry December 4, 2015, 2:12 pm

        At one time I ran the FBI range what a joke. I had my daughter at 9 years old shooting 50 yards with a .44 Mag revolver and knocking down metal targets every time. When the Feds showed up with their fancy guns they couldn’t hit a man size target at 50 yards, we moved them in to 25 yards and they were still only hitting 20% of the time, we moved them in to 15 yards and the best anyone of them shot was 80% with most at 50%, and yup you guest it with 9mm. I actually had 4 agents come to me after the FBI cleared the range and ask me how I got my daughter to shoot that cannon like that. I took them aside and explained the dynamics of the guns they carried, worked with them for about 4 hours and they actually got to the point that they could hit a target at 25 yards with some accuracy about 70% of the time, They don’t teach these guys to shoot they teach them to talk.

      • Dave Hicks December 5, 2015, 11:39 am

        You’re right on target. Beware of the one gun man. Hit your target.

  • docwilcox December 4, 2015, 4:59 am

    all things considered buy the 40. the human body closes around the .355 bullet. the wound channel remains open at .401. the sharp recoil impulse of the 9mm is similar to a 357mag for many shooters. the 40 has an entirelydifferent recoil impulse that is more pushing than sharp. learning curve is much quicker on the same handgun in .40. you either buy the caliber that works on real life targets, or you buy a caliber that has multiple hit need. I have both calibers,i shoot the 40 better. doc

    • Oliver Klozzoff December 4, 2015, 9:39 am

      Look, to each his own. There will be advocates for all the various calibers available out there. My 2 cents: I have 5 high quality (Sig, CZ, etc.) 9mm handguns, and every one performs noticeably better than the FNX 40 that I sold because I dreaded shooting it every time I took it out. Shooting a 45 is much easier in my opinion. I know many people who hate shooting 40S&W, but, like I said, I’m sure there are many folks out there who love it. Good for them. I’m sticking with 9mm.

  • Shooter Mcgavin December 4, 2015, 4:47 am

    So basically what you’re saying is that you, and a lot of other people, are too much of a limp wristed sissy to handle a little recoil? My 40 groups just fine at “near sub gun speeds” but hey, what do I know? I’m just a 5′ 11″ 160lb bean pole with kid sized wrists and hands.

    • Fake Dan Wesson December 4, 2015, 12:33 pm

      PERSONAL OPINION based anecdotal information. YMMV

      I’ve fired upward of 250 rounds of .40S&W out of a polymer framed pistol in one afternoon. There is no noticeable recoil from a .40S&W that I can discern.

      Of course, I’ve fired that many rounds from a .45ACP 1911A1 in a single afternoon and never felt recoil that produced any physical symptoms.

      The only thing I haven’t fired is a 10mm and believe I could handle it without a problem–I wouldn’t use a Glock, though. A Kimber “Eclipse” 1911 chambered in 10mm would be my first choice. My decision would factor in that I’ve used Glocks since the ’90’s and, always considered them to be inferior and outdated. I don’t like Sigs, either. (MY PERSONAL OPINION, your’s will probably differ.)

  • GARY MCLEAN December 4, 2015, 4:15 am


    • John Songer December 4, 2015, 8:49 am

      No offence, but I think you missed the point of the article. The 45 calibers are not in question, I personally never see it being so.

    • Fake Jack Colton December 4, 2015, 12:17 pm

      PLEASE read Newton’s III law of motion. Every action produces an equal and opposite reaction.

      If you really found a firearm that would “stop” or “knock down” an assailant, it would knock you down, too. Landing on your ass after each shot in a gunfight puts you at a distinct tactical disadvantage.

      • Del Holford December 4, 2015, 3:55 pm

        All things being equal Newtons law is correct. If you counter reactive force with stance and grip you won’t fall down even shooting a 50 BMG, although your shoulder would hurt badly. For defensive situations stopping power in 9mm comes from number of rounds on target and muzzle velocity. In .45ACP it comes from a larger wound channel size and influence on the body receiving the wound. I’ve shot all three and choose .45ACP for concealed carry. I enjoy shooting any caliber I get my hands on up to .44 magnum. The author is ambivalent about .40 S&W ever really going away.

  • mach37 December 4, 2015, 4:13 am

    I had several 9mm, a 40 and several 45s. To simplify my storage I decided to limit myself to two calibers. The 40 beat up my hand by the time an 8-round magazine was used up, so I eliminated that. The numbers – energy at 25′ – are also not enough better than 9mm, and not close enough to 45 to justify the discomfort. If I were to go back to three handgun calibers I would likely choose 357 SIG, as the energy is nearly as good as the 45. I have never fired the 357 SIG, so it remains to be seen if it has an uncomfortable kick like the 40. I should mention that I shot a 10mm magazine full once some years ago, and my memory puts it in the same category as the 40 – an uncomfortable hard, sharp kick that limits the practice time because it is hard on my hand.

  • sunaj December 4, 2015, 4:12 am

    What malarkey,
    I settled on the 40 several years ago,
    this is a spectacular rd,
    and easily outperforms the mild 9mm,
    yes you can kill an elephant with a 22
    but that really isn’t the issue,
    put a clip of 40 high performance rds into a target,
    a bag, an item-something that demonstrates the destructive force (other than paper),
    do the same with the 9mm,
    ask yourself afterward
    if you took a bullet,
    which rd would you rather it be?

  • ??? December 4, 2015, 3:56 am

    I don’t own a 9mm. never have and never will. I will stick with the 10mm and 45acp.

    • Ro Gal December 4, 2015, 7:49 am

      I had so many thoughts on how to respond to your post but couldn’t decide which one to use. So I’ll just say good for you, and more 9mm for me.

      • Dave December 4, 2015, 9:03 am

        The one thing you can’t argue with is that the 9 mm is a world popular cartridge. Most of the world’s military and law enforcement personnel have been using this round since WW2. When the S*^t hits the fan and you’re trying to defend your life and loved ones, more than likely any opposing force will have a weapon stoked with 9 mm rounds. When your 10mm ammo runs dry, try to pull a magazine of 10mm from your enemy’s weapon.

        • Richard December 4, 2015, 10:07 am

          Stupid thinking about pulling a magazine of anything from your enemy’s weapon, heck his S&W 9MM magazine won’t fit in your Glock, even if it is also 9MM. I say just take you enemy’s weapon if you no longer have ammunition for your weapon. I always pick the bigger hole going in an in a lot of cases fast is not your friend. Besides if all this hoopla is about performance in gel blocks without the blocks wearing clothing, it is all worthless, clothing chances many things in terminal performance, unless you think you will face naked enemies.

        • no1Hunteter December 4, 2015, 11:29 am

          “When your 10mm ammo runs dry, try to pull a magazine of 10mm from your enemy’s weapon.”

          ROFL – I don’t know about you but I would simple pickup his LOADED weapon and defend my family. Why mess around trying to reload my own!!!

    • Evan December 6, 2015, 9:24 pm

      Exactly. A 9mm is still a gun, but just barely. All pistols suck, but if I have to rely on a pistol, it will be a 10mm.

  • Mark N. December 4, 2015, 1:40 am

    As the author, the only thing on the shelves here in far Northern California during the last drought was .40, and I would have bought one if I’d had the funds. I have to admit that I have only shot one mag out of a Glock .40, and I really couldn’t tell the difference between that and my 3.5″ barrel Kahr 9mm with 124 grain pills. Whether that is a function of less powerful standard rounds (much as I’ve read was done to the .357) or not I couldn’t say. Since then I’ve bought a .357, and revolver ammo tends to stay on the shelves a bit longer, whether .357 or .38. And I’ve been stocking up, so I won’t be so unprepared next time.

  • Will Drider December 3, 2015, 10:21 pm

    If the “New” FBI magic bullet driving the new handgun contract, why don’t they eliminate 75% of the projected cost and just buy 9mm conversion kits? The FBI new pistol solicitation is very much like the Air Force wanting to get rid of the A-10 Warthog (which has killed and destroyed more then the rest of the Air Force inventory combined). Its old and ugly BUT VERY EFFICIENT AT WHAT IT DOES.

    There are several states that have “type” bullet restrictions like NJ that bans hollow points. It only takes the stroke of a pen to add the latest and greatest magic bullet from your legal use. You might want to keep your bigger caliber handguns!

    • Matt Grace December 4, 2015, 7:47 am

      New Jersey has no ban on hollow points, just some restrictions on transport and use.

      • D Thater December 4, 2015, 8:21 am

        Still too much bullshit to contend with…all of these silly. Splitting hair, feel good, looks good on paper, gun free zones, common sense clauses haven’t done squat to stop , reduce any criminal activity … Most of those fools can’t read and don’t care in the first place….you silly people have no clue about crime control. Allow the cops to do their jobs, they know who the scumbags are…and they know just what to do. Too many pansies out there calling the shots, that’s why crime is out of control.

        • John L December 4, 2015, 9:34 am

          Spot on! The criminal justice system is exactly that, justice for criminals. Maybe if we renamed it the victims justice system? I can’t imagine being a cop and arresting bad guys with long rap sheets, only to see them back out on the street a short time later. Must really chap their hides.

      • Jay W December 4, 2015, 8:38 am

        “Some restrictions” is putting it mildly. Use of hollow point ammo is effectively banned for civilian self-defense purposes unless you’re on your own property.

        Check with handgunlaw.us for the other four conditions, none of which include self defense, that allow you to keep said ammo.

  • Aaronbern December 3, 2015, 6:59 pm

    I am living in a state which limits me to 10 rounds. At least here everyone I know it’s dropping 9mm for .40 or .45, some are even dropping semiautos all together and are going back to .38 or .357 revolvers. If the gun control crowd has their way you may too.

  • Will Drider December 3, 2015, 6:26 pm

    Good opinion article but lacking in supporting facts.
    40S&W Wear and tear is worse then 9mm handguns. So what? Search the Net and provide a link of one wearing out. Don’t we get more wear from a alloy frame and steel slide? Again so what. Have any LE Agency wore out their issued 40s? Nope. What percentage of civ users are going to shoot enough rounds that the wear will cause a failure?
    Lastly, some major handgun manufactures specify a factory inspection at 5000 rounds. The FBI never qualified their wear and tear comments. Surely the faster 9mm wears our rifling faster then the slower .40. Notice the FBI NEVER said 40S&W handgun failure or wear to the point of failure. No, just more wear then the 9mm. Anyone who has worked Gov contracting knows you need sufficient justification to make a significant purchase. They want to replace their handgun inventory, they padding the facts? Why was this wear and tear issue not a factor when they looked at the 10mm to replace their 9mm? Oh, it didn’t fit what they wanted to buy!
    If a shooter can’t handle 40 recoil in a specific handgun, they need something else (gun/cal). This is not the calibers fault. Reliance on magic technology bullets to equal or be better then .40, how about buying those bullet types in .40.
    Are you going to stockpile all that spendy magic 9mm or buy regular .40 and get more rounds per dollar. There is a lot of blogger hype being used on the .40S&W wear and issue, show me the facts. I don’t know of any lawsuits for failing .40 handguns. Blowups are predominatly user induced, find one caused by wear and tear. People badmouth .40 mag capacity compaired to the 9mm. If this was a defining issue only full size pistols would sell. The meat of the capacity issue is do you prefer ballistic performance of 9mm or .40 BALL ammo and if you prefer the .40 is it worth the capacity difference. After that you can decide on magic bullets or mag extentions if desired. Many LE Agencies will blindly follow the FBIs handgun, caliber and cartridge final choices. Same with a lot of civs that blindly follow like lemmings to the tacticool flavor of the week.

    • srsquidizen December 4, 2015, 8:38 am

      Agree with most of your article. I have one .40 and probably won’t buy another unless it’s too good a deal to pass up. But your stats about cops missing their target 4 out of 5 times is misleading with regard to civilian self-defense. Cops deal with suspects they have got to arrest one way or another (dead or alive) who very often exchange gunfire from a considerable distance. The typical civilian “must shoot” encounter will be very up close and personal–like in their bedroom or car. It just needs to be a gun that won’t fly out of the self-defender’s hand and has more than one shot in case the first doesn’t stop the threat. IMO neither 9mm nor .40 is best for many civilians–a revolver is the optimal gun due to extreme reliability and simplicity of operation.

      • FAAQ2 December 4, 2015, 12:40 pm

        A revolver maybe simple to operate – but there is a big problem with revolvers – stop the rotation of the cylinder and the revolver will not fire – and is only good as a club. That is not a problem with semi-autos regardless of caliber. 9mm or 40 ? I will take the 40 !

        • Wayne Mayes December 5, 2015, 1:15 am

          I would like to comment on the post about stopping the rotation of a revolver. That only works if the revolver isn’t cocked and then it will fire once. You have to stop the hammer from moving to stop the gun. If you grab the slide on an auto and stop it from moving it is going to only fire once also. It will jam or stove pipe the next round and become a club just like the revolver. Put on a good pair of gloves, keep your fingers away from the end of the barrel and grab the slide on any auto and don’t allow it to cycling and it is out of business. With an auto if you can grab the slide and move it back and keep it open it can’t fire at all.

      • Kif December 4, 2015, 1:24 pm

        FBI statistics show the vast majority of Officer involved shootings are 3 shots or less, from 6 feet or less and in a low light situation. The same statistics show that Officers only hit there intended target 20% of the time.

        • Larry December 4, 2015, 3:32 pm

          Hit rates are key, especially with shooters who don’t have the time or the means to practice regularly. According to the FBI the average law enforcement officer misses up to 4 out of 5 shots taken in real-world shootings, and in that respect, the use of 9mm may very well save lives through increased capacity alone.

          Face it folks this is very real even in LEO’s. why they don’t teach these people to hit what they are shooting at is beyond me. They also teach the weaver or combat stance. Think about this if someone is shooting at you then are you going to give them a full front chest view to shoot at? not me I want those trying to kill me with the smallest part of my body to shoot at as possible.

          I asked a LEO about this awhile back and he said well you can’t hold a weapon straight and steady for a long period of time (HU) in fire fights I have been in the whole thing is over in under 15 seconds. are you telling me that you can not hold a pistol at arms length for 15 seconds/ the second part of this is shooting one handed in true combat is not like shooting on a range where you are trying to put 20 rounds in a 2″ circle, your objective is to put 1 or 2 rounds if you use double tap in a 18″ chest area.

          • Blankovich December 4, 2015, 4:57 pm

            I regularly go to a firearms training facility in Pahrump NV that trains thousands of civilians every year. They don’t have the same rep as a Thunder Ranch or a GunSite, but if you go there you find an extremely professional, friendly instructors and staff. These people see EVERYTHING. One thing that they see and hear directly from LEO’s who come to train with them is that most, not all, but most LEO’s, by the LEO’s that attend own admission, are not very well trained. As anyone who is serious about self defense with a handgun knows, you need near constant training, both dry firing and live fire to maintain a decent skill level. The LEO’s that I have personally spoken to at training and in encounters on the street where I approached them and discussed their choice/assignment of a weapon say is that standard Police training (SWAT is different, a whole ‘nother world) is terrible. Only having to qualify with slow fire once or twice a year, severely limited ammo provided to each officer, and a standard doctrine that teaches a LEO that if they need to present their weapon and fire that they simply empty their magazine into the miscreant. A few years ago there was an incident in NYC where someone with a gun ran into a shop and shot up the place, the Police were called and they ran the guy down. The guy never pointed his weapon at the Police and never fired a round after leaving the scene of the shooting, when the Police caught up with him, around five or six Policemen emptied their mags in his direction; with 15 round mags that’s around ninety rounds! As others have said here, most of those rounds didn’t hit the shooter AND several bystanders WERE hit and injured. A conversation I had with a Sheriff’s officer in my home town was eye opening. He told me that in his department only he and one other Sheriff ever did any practice with live rounds more that once a year and that all the others take their weapon off, safe it and store it in a locker either in their home or at the station.

          • Kevin December 5, 2015, 9:37 am

            Larry, from what I was told by someone that was in the military is the biggest reason why they train the combat stance is that they are wearing armor plate in combat, so they are more protected in that stance, Standing the way you like exposes the side, which is not protected by the armor plate. I tell everyone use the stance you are the most comfortable in

      • Paul F December 4, 2015, 4:59 pm

        I agree with you regarding revolvers vs. semi-auto loaders for combat situations. Also worthy of discussion is the issue of “double action” handguns since many semi-auto weapons are not and most revolvers are double action. Personally, I enjoy the security of knowing my sidearm is safe; not “cocked and locked” in my holster, ready for instant deployment without concerns for whether or not the safety is off, or wondering if there’s one in the chamber, or not, I forget! I love the idea of having 13 rounds available to me, but that is really the major benefit you get with a “clip” vs. a revolver. I think that when you decide to strap on a firearm, your choice of weapon should be based on the type of encounter you are most likely to encounter. And the weapon should be the one you can handle the best under the situation you are likely to face.

        • GradyPhilpott December 5, 2015, 12:14 am

          I’m sorry to say this, Paul, but implying that “cocked and locked” is an unsafe condition and the use of the term “clip” for a handgun say to the world that you don’t know your pistols very well.

          Your last two sentences make good sense, though.

      • Evan December 6, 2015, 9:21 pm

        Cops ARE civilians, unless you’re talking about Military Police.

    • ASanders December 4, 2015, 9:57 am

      Um…, LE agencies sell off their .40 cals. often due to wear, and yes they can be rebuilt to a point before hand, but .40 wears out guns, and they are approximately the same FPS as the 9MM so barrel wear is about the same. The difference, and the truly great thing for 9mm is simply recoil, you can place more shots on target quicker, or even shoot 1 handed or with less of a strong stance with a 9mm much easier. And a smaller framed man, or a lady? 9mm is a better choice hands down for them. I reload everything I shoot and carry so price is irrelevant for the most part to me. I shoot as often as I can, I have owned both calibers and prefer 9mm, too much recoil with no real benefit from a handgun in .40 for myself. And the problem with all of these arguments is power vs. shot placement. 9mm is sufficient to do the job, if you hit your target, follow-up and hit your target again, .40 is not sufficient if you hit your target and need to follow-up and then miss your target, it is as simple as that, use what you are comfortable with, and practice, practice, practice.

      • Don December 6, 2015, 2:26 pm

        Could it be that the gun choice is being “dumbed down” to the level of the weakest officer who must qualify with it? Small hands and an inability to handle (any) recoil means that, in bureaucratic land, the strongest shooters of the group must be forced to use the weakest tools.

    • Tom December 4, 2015, 10:49 am

      You state: “Have any LE Agency wore out their issued 40s? Nope.”

      Where are your points and authorities/citations in making that claim?


      • TPSnodgrass December 4, 2015, 12:56 pm

        There are numerous law enforcement agencies in the USA who have indeed left the.40S&W “congregation” and not looked back. While one can say anything they want, it doesn’t make it true. Just because a reader has chosen (willingly) to NOT do his/her own research and instead opted for their own personal(subjective) opinion, we should never discount their “rights” to post their personal albeit erroneous opinions.
        One can perform a simple non-scientific Google/Bing/Yahoo search of their choice, on which agencies have opted OUt of the .40 S&W caliber pistols(mostly the Glocks) for accelerated wear.
        Often those who have blind allegiance to a particular caliber, do so for extremely personal reasons, and that is precise WHY, each of us are responsible for our own salvation.
        I never was a “fan” of the .40 caliber at all, and saw no good reasoning to change from a .45ACP or +P 9mm loads, both of which are proven fight stoppers, (when I was in law enforcement int he most populous state), however, even the FBI has now realized that their effort to cover the failed tactics of the infamous “Miami Shootout” and blame it on the calibers used was a huge mistake.(since the FBI never admits it makes mistakes, they publish “findings” which support their reason/justification/excuse for their decision to mitigate the .40S&W malaise)

    • Joe Striker December 4, 2015, 11:53 am

      Nothing against the .40 S&W, it is a capable cartridge, I personally just don’t like the snappy recoil that it produces. I’ve shot numerous .40 caliber handguns, and with the exception of only a few, I have shot their 9mm counterparts better. If I feel the need to go higher in cartridge then a 9mm, I will go right to the .45 ACP. It is a larger bullet but the felt recoil is less then then .40. At least to me. And with the advancements in defensive ammunition technology it really comes down to what you shoot well. Since a gun and cartridge is only as good at the person using it, if you do your job, the bullet will do it’s. A .22 to the eye is better than a .45 to the shoulder. Drastic example, I know. But if you can’t hit your target, then it doesn’t matter what cartridge you are using.

      • Larry December 4, 2015, 1:50 pm

        Again I would add one qualifier to this, depends on the gun. If you take a 9mm / 40 S&W / 45 acp in a full size 1911 model the difference is nothing. Now take your pocket pistol made of polymer and that will jump around like a mule. as for pure accuracy and this isn’t self defense but long range shooting the .40 is a flatter shooting round again this is with all calibers in the 1911 full size 5″ barrel. not by much but enough to detect.

    • Sergeant Mike December 4, 2015, 11:57 am

      Best caliber for a double tap take down? .45ACP. Period

      • Larry December 4, 2015, 1:56 pm

        Mike you have that right, lets be real clear here, the 9mm that our guys carry in combat today will not stop someone in a ballistic vest, now granted it will make them wish they were not there, but what people forget is even if you are in a ballistic vest and get hit with a 45 you are going to have damage and I am not just talking about a sore spot, that bullet is going to due real damage to your body. as for the 40 I have not had one in combat so can’t speak to what a 40 is going to do when shot into a person in a ballistic vest. And one other thing with the 45 if you are hit by this round it will physically move you away from your shooter you can bet on that.

    • William Creel December 4, 2015, 12:07 pm

      Love the 40mm S&W, a great caliber for all purposes along with the .45acp. The 9mm is the chose of gangbangers, and street criminals. If you want a caliber for stopping power, or competitions choose the .45! Next to the 9mm is the .22 LR.

      • TPSnodgrass December 4, 2015, 1:00 pm

        I appreciate your comments, but what criteria/professional experience are you basing your opinions on? Your post does not reflect my personal and professional experience in law enforcement in the western states.

      • Ted D December 4, 2015, 1:26 pm

        9mm the choice of gangbangers & street criminals?? Oh yeah, & every western nation’s military too…..

    • Matt Garrett December 4, 2015, 6:04 pm

      I was a range master at an indoor pistol for several years and we carried every Glock made both compensated and not… Suffice to say the Glock 17 took the majority of action followed by the 19. They literally shot 90% of all the Glocks. The remaining 10% was decided between up between between every other block Glock model. Read undershot in general…. That said we did have those who shot the .40s and the .357 Sigs. We had the guns on a program that monitored usage. In truth no one paid a great deal of attention to it as the guns continued to run and run. Well aside from the 92Fs which had to be to swapped out once a month as every sailor had to qual on one and they could not take the volume. In short the .40, and to a slightly greater extent the .357 Sig, DID BEGIN TO EXHIBIT PIN WALK on the locking block. Having loved the 17, 19, and 34 I considered that weapons response a FAILURE. They were tapped back in, wiped off, and put in the sales counter for the unassuming. Call that normal if you will, however, I found in two years the pistols did not stand up to moderate volume use to say NOTHING of comparing with a 9mm for any type of longevity. Talk it anyway you want to… Vickers, Hackathorn, and goodly number of other trainers, qualified and ass clowns, have skipped over the high pressure revolution of the .40/.357SIG and returned to the 9mm. Either 9mm or .45 ACP perform superbly as low pressure rounds that do not beat the host firearm to failure. And yes If you had shot the pistol long enough with the locking block pins protruding it would have failed by cracking the frame… Didn’t have to go to gunsmith school for two years to explain that..

      Regards, Matt Garrett

    • BBKK December 4, 2015, 6:16 pm

      This article is full of it. I have been a competitive shooter for 20yrs, and I used a 45 and complained about the 40 when it started showing up. I have fire tens of thousands of 45’s through the same pistol and it still can hold 2inches at 25yrds. Now in the last 5yrs I have changed over to the 40S&W and love it. I still have my 45’s but in perspective, the 40 packs the same power as the 45 with less recoil, the 9mm , I don’t care what BS somebody wants to say, can’t compare to the 45 or the 40. I have friends ( other comp. shooter and LEO ) who have the same 40 for the last 15 + yrs , 40-50 thousand rounds down range and have only replaced maybe the hammer and sear. Most LEO do not practice much, I know this because my dad was LE for over 40yrs and had to qualify officers at several depts. And several officers I shoot with say only a small percentage of officers take advantage of the dept. supplied practice ammo. Gun weight / size has as much to do with recoil as the cartridge . And I have a 9mm that recoils worse than my 45 ever did. Wear is greatly dependent on how well a firearm is maintained. How many rounds fire between cleanings,( real cleaning), lube type and how often lubed. At the range recently, the owner who was working with LEO in a training session, the glocks used by the dept. were having failure to fire issues. The cause – drum roll please – they were told they didn’t have to take the slide apart and clean the fireing pin and other small parts , not needed. These guns had been in use for 5 years. Kind of like when the army first got the M16, no cleaning kit need our troops were told. Yea, talk to some vets.
      and at the gunshows I go to, most dealers can’t keep 40, 1911’s in stock, most 1911’s are the king, the 45acp.
      And as far as shooting and hitting your target repeatedly goes back to basic shooting principles, sight alignment , grip, stance and trigger pull. Master these and it wont matter what cal. you shoot, you will hit your target every time , paper or intruder. even in a bad position, using good shooting principles will get you your hits. Two hands or one. slow or fast shots. And the key to this is practice, practice, and practice.
      The 40S&W is nowhere near dead, the 9mm is over rated, like in the 90s they said a 38 special with 125gr JHP was a stopper. Bullshit!!!!!! Tried it when hunting small angora goats, took not 1, not 2, keep going,
      but 4 good chest hits to bring them down. Went back to 158gr soft points, and 1 shot kills.
      So I find most of this article to be BS with no bases other than the 9mm is cheap again, wimps who can’t shoot and need a lot of rounds to hit a target because they don’t practice good shooting principle and BS hype about the stopping power of the 9mm. Just look back in military history for the facts, larger calibers , heavier bullets in auto loaders = stopping power. Not the number of hits.

    • Chief Roy Brown (Ret) December 4, 2015, 9:30 pm

      The phrase ‘talking through your hat’ comes to mind when I read the article.

      I don’t know what the writer’s background is, but it is obviously not in law enforcement or other profession where your survival depends on being able to defend yourself. I’ll refer to Elmer Keith who I’ll paraphrase; the 9mm is a so-so defensive round and the biggest mistake I (Keith) made was to help develop the 38special round, it got more police officers killed because of its ineffective stopping power.

      If you want a round that has killed a lot of people try the 22. The 9mm parabellum has been around a long time because of the Germans. Parabellum means “made for war”. The purpose of shooting anything during war is not to ‘kill’, but to wound. It takes about 11 soldier to care for 1 wounded soldier. At one tine the German Police tactical teams favorite hand was the S&W Mod 19, 357 mag because they felt the 9mm was underpowered.

      The 40 S&W is the little brother to the 10mm which is a cousin to the 41 mag round. The 40 is a very efficient round. That caliber bullet is the benchmark for handgun rounds, as is the 30-06 bullet for rifles, i.e. it flies through the air efficiently and is very accurate.

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