Why Is the .40 S&W So Beat Up On These Days?

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; My SIG P229 in .40 is my nightstand gun. I like the cartridge quite a bit....

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Thread: Why Is the .40 S&W So Beat Up On These Days?

  1. #61
    VIP Member Array peckman28's Avatar
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    My SIG P229 in .40 is my nightstand gun. I like the cartridge quite a bit.

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  3. #62
    VIP Member Array BugDude's Avatar
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    I like my XD40sc. I shoot it well. Recoil between it and my 9mms (3 of them, small, medium, and large) is negligible, and so is the cost difference. Capacity is 9+1, so with several mags, capacity isn't a concern. I've had several 45s, and currently have a G36. I can't shoot it or the other 45s I've had worth squat. To me, it is a good tweener round...that said, I have no concerns or issues with 9mm either. I wanted to like 45, I just couldn't get my performance where I felt it needed to be with it. All things considered, if I didn't already have one I wouldn't feel the need to go out and get one. But since I bought one out of curiosity and found I am very proficient with it, I guess I'll hang on to it.
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  4. #63
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DefConGun View Post
    Who are you and what have you done with glockman10mm?
    I am still here. I think that as I get a little older, and learn more, I have began to realize that we dont need certain things to accomplish the same task. The 10 is a versatile and wonderful round, but a 150 weight or so chunk of lead driven at between 800 and 1000 fps will end social hostilities quite handily. Any thing else is just for show and feel good.

    I think a heavy 9mm, or 38spl is dandy. and a 40 is fine, but I feel most problems of kbooms associated with this cartridge are a combination of loose chambers in Glocks, and , the 180 weight bullet loaded in used brass. The 180 weight bullet takes up alot of case capacity. I think the 150-165 is a safer bet for the handloader, giving some room for error, and is more efficient.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  5. #64
    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    I don't see where the .40 is really getting "beat up on". It just isn't the be-all and end-all cartridge that some made it out to be.

    Performance-wise, it doesn't have that much of an edge over a 9mm, but it is harder to manage, particularly in a small-frame gun. I think it's a great round for a service weapon, but for CC, not so much. In a compact gun, the recoil is noticeably worse than either a 9 or a .45, and for a given size gun, you're going to give up a round or 2 in capacity compared to a 9mm, for an only marginally more effective bullet. If the 9 is not adequate for the job at hand, most people would probably be better off with a .45.

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  6. #65
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    "The 180 weight bullet takes up alot of case capacity. I think the 150-165 is a safer bet for the handloader, giving some room for error, and is more efficient."


    See, I would have bought a box of 180 grain component bullets first thing after acquisition of a .40 S&W pistol and some loading dies. Cautionary stuff like this is good for filing away in the brain for future use. I'd still probably dabble with 180 grain bullets too but would do so carefully.
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  7. #66
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    "The 180 weight bullet takes up alot of case capacity. I think the 150-165 is a safer bet for the handloader, giving some room for error, and is more efficient."


    See, I would have bought a box of 180 grain component bullets first thing after acquisition of a .40 S&W pistol and some loading dies. Cautionary stuff like this is good for filing away in the brain for future use. I'd still probably dabble with 180 grain bullets too but would do so carefully.
    Bryon, I dont have any proof of this, its just my opinion based on the operating pressure of the cartridge. It is very possible that if one reloaded 180 weights from a gun such as the BH, or other with tighter dimensions that the brass weakening would not be such an issue. The 40 brass fired from a Glock leaves a well known and documented bulge at the bottom, that regular dies do not remove. This concerns me.
    They do make special sizing dies that will remove this, but its just an added expense. Additionally, the 180 weight bullet, that might be seated too deeply, and combined with the bulge, in already weakened brass is in my opinion, just more risk than I want. Of course, if you used virgin brass, in another gun, and watched your seating depth, you may be ok.
    It just seems like every kaboom reported is with the 180 weight bullet. I could be wrong here, but I think its worth looking into.
    Ignorance is a long way from stupid, but left unchecked, can get there real fast.

  8. #67
    Member Array ScottieG59's Avatar
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    It is sort of like politics; if you are middle of the road, you get beaten on from both sides.

    I like the 40 S&W as a carry option. I normally carry a Glock 27. When I do not need to conceal as much I switch to my Glock 20.

    The thing that makes the 9mm look good is that it is available all over. Also, it is good enough. The evidence seems to show that premium defense ammo gets roughly the same results whether it us 9mm, 40 S&W, or 45 ACP. In those cases, personal preference is the major factor.

    If premium ammo is not available, I think the larger bullets look better. It may not be true, but it seems to be logical.

    I think we have learned that pistol rounds do not hit hard and blood pressure loss is the key element. No caliber will make up for bad bullet placement and multiple may be needed. The ability to lay down effective fire is easy to measure. The stopwatch seems to make the 9mm look good despite our liking something bigger.

  9. #68
    Member Array flydoc's Avatar
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    I love the .40 S&W. I carry a Glock 27 daily. It may be a little snappier than the 9mm but I don't have any problems with it.

  10. #69
    Senior Member Array Chief1297's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldrwizr View Post
    But hey, if you're looking for a girl's gun, the 9 is probably the way to go!
    LOL..you just made me laugh,,,thanks!!
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  11. #70
    Senior Member Array Chesafreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Bryon, I dont have any proof of this, its just my opinion based on the operating pressure of the cartridge. It is very possible that if one reloaded 180 weights from a gun such as the BH, or other with tighter dimensions that the brass weakening would not be such an issue. The 40 brass fired from a Glock leaves a well known and documented bulge at the bottom, that regular dies do not remove. This concerns me.
    They do make special sizing dies that will remove this, but its just an added expense. Additionally, the 180 weight bullet, that might be seated too deeply, and combined with the bulge, in already weakened brass is in my opinion, just more risk than I want. Of course, if you used virgin brass, in another gun, and watched your seating depth, you may be ok.
    It just seems like every kaboom reported is with the 180 weight bullet. I could be wrong here, but I think its worth looking into.
    This may be a good explanation. I can't attest to its accuracy. Read post #15.

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  12. #71
    Member Array LouisianaMan's Avatar
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    My shooting & reading on handguns tends to be focused on revolvers, but I have indeed noticed many gun forum posts referring snidely to the ".40 Short & Weak." Personally, I'm a big fan of the much smaller ".38 Short & Weak," so that moniker applied to the .40 doesn't worry me unduly. :-)

    In the 1970's the gunzines were full of plaintive cries with people wanting something bigger than a 9mm but smaller than a .45ACP, and it seems to me that the .40 S&W has done a pretty good job of filling that niche. By its nature, however, any compromise often meets a cool reception from the opponents on either side of an argument.

    I've also seen so many references to the "Glock bulge" that I think the cartridge itself has suffered guilt by association. Kinda like the .38 Long Colt's storied difficulties stopping Moros--it's easy to load the cartridge to a very wide range of power levels and bullet types, but nobody would ever do it because of its rep. Even more so for the 38 Short Colt! Similar also to the mythology that engulfed & largely discredited the old .38-200 aka .38 Super Police in British service.

    I've shot the .40 very little--just my brother's Glock 22 and 23, but liked the cartridge fine. I just wish somebody would make a ".40 Auto-Rim" in a suitable revolver :-)

  13. #72
    Senior Member Array Chesafreak's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LouisianaMan View Post
    My shooting & reading on handguns tends to be focused on revolvers, but I have indeed noticed many gun forum posts referring snidely to the ".40 Short & Weak." Personally, I'm a big fan of the much smaller ".38 Short & Weak," so that moniker applied to the .40 doesn't worry me unduly. :-)

    In the 1970's the gunzines were full of plaintive cries with people wanting something bigger than a 9mm but smaller than a .45ACP, and it seems to me that the .40 S&W has done a pretty good job of filling that niche. By its nature, however, any compromise often meets a cool reception from the opponents on either side of an argument.

    I've also seen so many references to the "Glock bulge" that I think the cartridge itself has suffered guilt by association. Kinda like the .38 Long Colt's storied difficulties stopping Moros--it's easy to load the cartridge to a very wide range of power levels and bullet types, but nobody would ever do it because of its rep. Even more so for the 38 Short Colt! Similar also to the mythology that engulfed & largely discredited the old .38-200 aka .38 Super Police in British service.

    I've shot the .40 very little--just my brother's Glock 22 and 23, but liked the cartridge fine. I just wish somebody would make a ".40 Auto-Rim" in a suitable revolver :-)
    Charter Arms makes a revolver that shoots the .40 S&W.
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  14. #73
    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chesafreak View Post
    Charter Arms makes a revolver that shoots the .40 S&W.
    Yes, but its not an Auto Rim.
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  15. #74
    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    Bryan, I just noticed your thread, and have not read any replies, but rather just your original question/post. Here are my semi-random thoughts: First, I own several .40s of various designs and makes, including Glocks and 1911-types, both carry-worthy and match-only in design. Ballistically on paper, it's a great cartridge, though valid arguments can be made that it never beats 9x19 as a practical matter when both are loaded to their optimums. I am comfortable carrying either, though my preferences run to .357 Sig, 9x23 and 10mm Norma. As to bullet diameter, the difference between .40 and 9x19 is much less than between .45 and .40, and with modern, expanding bullets, it can be reasonably argued that there are no significant differences between any of them. Those who are married to the idea that heavy bullets are always better will not be convinced, but actual shooting stats show that it is the 135-165 gr. loads in .40 that work best, and that overall, no .40s work as stoppers any better than hot 115-127gr. loads in 9x19.

    For me, the valid argument against .40 S&W is that it is a high-pressure round with low case volume, susceptible to massive pressure spikes if one chambers a round with bullet setback due to repeated rechamberings. Some folks are careless about this, and all the Glocks I've ever seen blown up, save two (one .45 and one .357 Sig), have been .40s with a history of use of reloads of unknown origin, almost certainly with bullet setback issues. While 9x19 is also a relatively high-pressure round, most .40s are built on "bored-out" 9x19 platforms, so there is much less margin of error in chamber wall thickness and other areas. I think it unlikely that we will ever see .40 S&W as a military service cartridge for this reason. A 9x19 with setback may gen up serious pressures, but the thicker walled chamber and barrel in a 9x19 is much more likely to contain the pressure without damage.

    Bottom line for me is that, while I like .40 S&W just fine, its primary function in the real world is the psychological advantage it provides those who just can't fathom anything that doesn't begin with a "4" being fit to carry. If one has that particular mental malady, and the only cure (like more cowbells) is a .40, I'd say, "Go for it!" Otherwise, I think the one or two extra rounds a 9x19 gives us in the same package has more real-world value. FWIW, at one time, I would not have dreamed of making the previous statement, but then, we were in a different world of defensive ammo quality and effectiveness.
    bmcgilvray likes this.

  16. #75
    Senior Member Array Fausty's Avatar
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    yea well i read half the thread. i carry a g23 everyday. i used to use a hk usp 45. i am more accurate with a 40. i may be even more so with a 9mm or a 380, never tried them. i can control the .40 well enough to shoot center mass if the need were ever to arise.
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