This is a discussion on Confused by 40 vs .45 ballistcs within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Im under the impression many of our LEO are getting away from the 9mm and going to the 40&45 because of the velocity of the ...
Im under the impression many of our LEO are getting away from the 9mm and going to the 40&45 because of the velocity of the round. I shoot a person 12ft away with my 9mm going upwards ofm1200ft/sec, I risk the bullet going through that person and hitting the person behind them.(not hitting bone). The same goes for shooting through walls etc. the bigger slower rounds are safer and more lethal to the intended individual. The Law wants rounds that hit a target and stay in that target not rounds that go through or shoot shrapnel out the other side, possibly injuring others. But at the time, the 9mm was the cartridge of choice over the lousy .38's that just pissed people off. I have also,read many articles relating to the shockwave effect that takes place in the human body when hit by one of these rounds. A round with 975 ftlbs enters andnsimcemthe majority of your body is water, a shockwave forms which actually can short circuit brain function for a short period of time. Just like you have seen shots in ballistic gel..the human body acts much the same way. Blood vessels can become damaged from it and there is even arguable,proof of these waves causing bleeds in the head when the subject was shot in the stomach. Where do you think all these ammo manufactures came up with these new names like , shockwave, hydrashock etc. because of these tests. Getting hit with that much force releases a tremendous amount of energy into a body that has to go somewhere. The .40 was supposed to minimize the shoot through but come with the bang of a 45. Many many LEA are going to the .40 for this very reason and cost as well. I claim to be no expert, I'm just repeating what I have been reading the past few nights.. It's something to think about. Energy is neither made or destroyed, so when it is released into a body, all that massive energy lets loose a firestorm, not just from the direct wound, but from the energy. Just something to think about. The FBI is using .40cal. Local units are switching to,.40cal. There has to be a really good reason. Just something more to noodle on.
Tursiops1: First, welcome to the forum! Personally, I think the old saying about a T-N-T (Thru AND Thru) gunshot wound killing an innocent bystander is an "old wives tale." I've never heard of anything like this happening in a civilian or even police involved shooting. Probably happens in military combat because of the legal requirements that all forces use FMJ ammo which brings me to the salient point. The lousy 38's that made everybody mad were typically police loads and the standard police department revolver loads back in the day were 158gr RNL (Round Nose Lead) aka "The Widow Maker." The 9mm has the same problem in the FMJ which is why our armed services have been howling for a return to the 45acp. The USMC finally got wise for it's Special Ops folks and just put in a 22 million dollar order for Colt 45's. You can find that thread elsewhere on this board. FBI (HRT) used first the Browning Hi-Power for years then they went to a custom (IIRC) Les Baer 45acp but I don't know what they're currently using. Bullet technology has come such a long way that when using hollow point ammo, there's not that much difference between the various loads in 9mm, 40 and 45acp. At least as far as so called "wounding power." The bigger differences in those calibers are found in the capacity of the launching platforms and the recoil associated with the loads. You get way more rounds per mag with the 9mm and lower recoil with standard loads but that's not so much an advantage with +P+ ammo. Less rounds available with both the 40 and 45 but I personally think the 40 has way worse muzzle jump than either the 9mm or the 45. Supposedly the 40 came about as a direct result of the 10mm being unacceptable to the FBI because of recoil (female recruits) and slide issues in their S&W 1076 models (not sure of the number there) but there were some cracked and LOCKED slides so the FBI, not wanting to admit the old, tried and true 45 was their answer had to go hi-tech and they necked down the 10mm. Thus the 40 S&W (some say this stands for "Short & Weak) was born. I personally have owned two of them, both Glocks (M23 and M27) and didn't really like either but I liked the 27 more than the 23. Still that was my ONLY 40 and back then the ammo was more expensive so I sold it and stuck with the 9mm and the 45. Just for the sake of logistics.
Former Army Infantry Captain; 25 yrs as an NRA Certified Instructor; NRA Endowment Life; Avid practitioner of the martial art: KLIK-PAO.
Just an aside here which probably means absolutely nothing in the real world. Back when I used to compete in pistol matches, I tried using a 1911 full-size .45 and later a Glock 22 .40. With the Glock, at first I liked using 165 grain ammo in matches because it was close to the weight of the 155 gr. ammo I wanted to carry in the gun. The only problem was that I had to use 180 grain ball to "make major" in the matches, so I did and I noticed something.
Again, this may or may not matter much to anyone reading this, and that's fine. Anyway, what I noticed when I went from 230 grain .45 to 180 grain .40 in matches was that when I shot at steel plates in matches with the .40/180s, there was more of a "whomp" than with the 45/230s.
I think there's a reason for this. Yeah, there's no denying it: when you go from .40 to .45, you get 50 more grains of bullet and .05 more diameter...but what you have to bear in mind is that you get both of these in an round bullet shape which was about the only kind there was back at the turn of the century and the only shape that would feed in the semi-automatic pistols of the time. The .40, however, is by far the 'baby' of the "big three". Therefore, it has benefitted from advances in bullet design.
Look at the shape of any ball .40 round, regardless of grain weight. The bullet will always be flat. The .40 was designed from the beginning to use flat nose ammo because the .40 itself was designed from the ground up as a hollowpoint cartridge, unlike the 45 and 9 which came into being decades before hollowpoints were ever widely heard of.
As Masaad Ayoob pointed out years ago, because the meplat (striking surface) of the .40 is flat, you have a larger striking surface than with 9 or 45. I suppose you could liken it to being hit with a 2 by 4 rather than a ball bat. Mas considered the .40's larger flat surface an advantage over the .45 when it came to ball vs. ball comparisons.
To me, I think the larger striking surface of a 180/.40 would cancel out the slight 50 grain weight advantage of the 230/.45. I think that's what some would call a "wash" between the two. As others have already pointed out on here, I don't believe a BG hit by either would really be able to tell much of a difference, impact-wise.
Glockman beat me to it again. Since penetration is the single most important factor in reaching the vitals, it stands to reason that sectional density is the best way to compare effectiveness. Consider the Swedish 6.5mm x55mm round. Modest in power, yet a proven cartridge for non-dangerous game even up to Elk class. It's because of its outstanding sectional density.
The 40 is a good police round. With the hotter 155 grain JHP's it has the same energy of a 158 Grain 357 magnum JHP, just more shots. With the 180 Grain JHP's it performs very similar to a 185 grain 45 ACP JHP. Just about any gun you pick in the 40 will be smaller and hold a few more rounds than a 45. A lot of departments are also going to the 357 Sig. The 357 Sig is an impressive round that mimics the 125 grain 357 magnum load.
You can get boutique loads for both the 40 and the 45 which have more energy, which you pay for with increased recoil. I believe that hydrostatic shock does exist, but only at higher velocities than most 40 and certainly 45 loads achieve. Even the medical community does not agree on the effects of hydrostatic shock so I would not put too much into it.
You mentioned 975 FPE, that is a serious handgun load, 44 magnum levels.
My rifle and pistol are tools, I am the weapon.
"The way of the warrior does not include other ways.....But if you know the way broadly you will see it in everything"
- Miyamoto Musashi -
IMHO, they are about equal enough to call them equal. In most cases a 40 cal pistol will hold more ammo, more ammo is a good thing. I think both have their places. I own, shoot and CC both calibers.
I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do. I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do.
There is a lot said about rounds that is scientifically true. Mathematical formulas tell us a lot. Now during testing of explosive rounds and IED's it was found that a piece of shrapnell the size and weight of a 50 caliber ball round did the most damage to standing troops. Each test is controlled as best one can with these things and more times than scientists care to admit their calculations varied from physical evidence. I will tell you tests have shown for some reason certain bullet weights perform above their math formulas.
Things that can't be shown in ballistic jell is hydro shock. When an artery full of blood under pressure is hit with a explosive force as we know liquid does not compress so the shock wave is sent down that artery unless it exceeds the capabilities of the artery then it explodes.
Performance is the test that confirms your scientific formulas.
More than once a hunter has bitten on the hook of ballistics placed a good shot on a Elk and watched it trott off over the hill.
Penetrating abdominal trauma: a comparison of morbidity and mortality in gunshot wounds and stab wounds
This type of data is boring but in my opinion where you find the answer you are looking for can we substntiate the science to the known performance.
Why has the .45 and .50 caliber round survived so many years. The answer can be found in performance not in scientistic ballistics.
I carry and shoot a .40 but I needed the combination of weight size and ability to hit what I was shooting at and the .40 in a sig P239 gave me that. I own .45's and carry a glock 36 on occasion.
Good Luck with your studies the information is out there
I never get tired of reading these threads there is so much to learn.
My current 40sw load is a 155gr gd out of a 4" kahr at 1302fps. The bullet tend to expand more rapidly at the higher velocity than at a more typical 1150 to 1180fps for main stream ammo companies. It shoots well. How much more could you want or need.
I think Rollo got an answer some time ago now.
He may not even carry a 40 now.
" Blessed is that man, who when facing death, thinks only of his front sight"
Now throw the 357 sig round numbers in the mix, plus ammo capacity and bottle neck design that aids in feeding.
The police are not there to protect you from crime, they are there to arrest the guy after the crime has been committed, assuming they find him. It is your responsibility to protect yourself and your family.
-PEF, a Framer with a Steelie...
1. All guns are always loaded.
2. Never let the muzzle cover anything you are not willing to destroy.
3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your sights are on the target.
4. Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.