How many pistol calibers do we need?
This is a discussion on Why Is the .40 S&W So Beat Up On These Days? within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; How many pistol calibers do we need?...
How many pistol calibers do we need?
NRA Life Member
With great power comes great responsibility.-Stan Lee
When I read forums I can only think of 1 thing. Opinions are like (oh wait..can't say that here), everyone has one. Why I chose a 9mm is my preference. Cost, capacity blah, blah blah. The 40 is a fine round and will suit anybody's defensive needs. Why do you think so many LEOs use it.
Who's bashing the .40??? It has a lot of support from the law enforcement community. I'm a .45 ACP guy with no desire to obtain a firearm in .40 but I realize that a lot of people these days are using it. I happen to believe a .45 +P round will outperform a .40 loading, as I'm sure there are .40 proponents that will say I need my head examined. Whatever. Use what you want and don't worry about what others are saying. I do!
"Those are my principles, and if you don't like them...well, I have others." - Groucho Marx
they love to hate the leader
There are already handguns chambered for 19 different cartridges around here so the question of true need does rear its ugly head when considering acquisition of an additional cartridge. Still, it does look appealing for a person who is considering an effective cartridge for a handgun devoted to personal self-defense and the negative qualities attributed to the .40 S&W seem so contrived. I'll likely still get around to getting a .40 one day.
“No possible rapidity of fire can atone for habitual carelessness of aim with the first shot.”
Theodore Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter, 1893
Personally I like the .40 S&W . I own a few pistols in this caliber and a carbine. I trust this caliber will get the job done as well as any other caliber. I do own .45 and 9mm as well. My only bad experience with the .40 was firing a small compact semi poly frame pistol and the recoil just was not pleasant. I have not tried other brand compact pistols , so it may have been the design was not well thought out.
I do and will continue to use an carry my .40 daily. And reloading is a good way to help shoot more at the same price. I just loaded up 200 rounds of .40 last night.
"In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset
I guess the crux of the issue for me is that while the .40 S&W is a marginal improvement over the 9mm, it is only incremental, not an order of magnitude. If we accept that poor shot placement on mid-sized game with a .308 may not have the desired effect, then why would anyone assume that an additional 10 to 50 grains of bullet weight or few dozen foot pounds of energy make a difference? It's all about shot placement and solid center of mass hits. The light recoil of my 9mm platforms makes this easier for me than a comparable .40.
I can't seem to find it right now, but there was a comparison of Glocks once, and the Model 31, .357 SIG, turned in faster average splits than the Model 17, 9mm or the Model 22 .40 S&W. I love the 357 SIG round, but can't really afford to pay $30+ per box, to practice with it. There is no perfect carry round, so pick what you like and what makes you happy.
I reload and carry every popular straight walled pistol caliber. A heavy bullet and snappy recoil require more practice, but I think they translate to more effectiveness given the same placement. My next gun will be the Kel-Tec Sub2000 in 40 cal, because it's the lightest carbine and folds to be the most compact.
The high pressure 40 means fewer reloads per case than the low pressure 45. Still, I would feel well armed in the woods with a 40 and 175gr hard cast truncated cones. IMO 140gr DPX makes a good urban dire extinguisher.
Liberty, Property, or Death - Jonathan Gardner's powder horn inscription 1776
Tu ne cede malis, sed contra audentior ito.
("Do not give in to evil but proceed ever more boldly against it.")
-Virgil, Aeneid, vi, 95
The .40 is my favorite pistol cartridge & I use it as my EDC and my BUG. I consider myself an average-medium frame guy, and never felt a concern for the recoil on this round that many others have talked about. My opinion is that some people who struggle with the recoil, could find enjoyment on a different platform with the round. I use a SA-XD40 for EDC and SA-XD40SC for BUG, and I think that the recoil may be less because of the XD's top heavy build.
I seem to shoot just as good with a 9, 45, 357sig, but I get drawn back to the round as my most pleasant shooter....in my XD's.
Shoot whatever you are most comfortable with and can afford to feed. If you don't enjoy the practice with it, than it's time to change.
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
― Albert Einstein
Ain't nothing wrong with the .40, or 10mm for that matter, that some time with some kettlebells couldn't fix.
"People who take an Internet handle of a great warrior, are usually the first to go fetal when crunch time comes." - Me
What does it matter what others think and say on forums? Do what you're analysis leads you to believe is the right decision for you, or what you are comfortable with.
If there is no single right answer in your mind, buy more guns in differing calibers.
Another reason to buy a .40? Versatility. You can buy barrels to convert to 9mm and .357 Sig.
"Trust me, it tastes like salty jello"
I personally like the .40. I carried several different ones for quite a few years. Unfortunately due to a strong side wrist injury, it no longer likes me.
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NRA Life Member
the .40 is a all around great caliber, it will get the job done thats for sure and pennetrates very deep, I just did some testing of my .40, some Hornady rounds and was not very impressed with how they preformed in the expansion, they did how ever pennetrate very nicely, now my EDC G30SF, .45 Winchester Ranger T's and Federal HST's flowered into full blossom in the expansion dept...