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

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; What's the deal with the .40 S&W lately? Are shooters a fickle lot or what? The .40 S&W can't seem to get any love on ...

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

  1. #1
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    Why Is the .40 S&W So Beat Up On These Days?

    What's the deal with the .40 S&W lately? Are shooters a fickle lot or what? The .40 S&W can't seem to get any love on the forums and this after a time not so long past when all and sundry embraced it as the next great thing. It's obvious that it is currently trendy to bash the .40 S&W on several of the forums. It's: "too weak," "kicks too hard," "is too expensive," "doesn't do anything the 9mm can't do," doesn't do anything the .45 ACP can't do," and "no one apparently ever asked a question" that the .40 S&W answers, to hear hear the many detractors of late tell it.

    I don't have a .40 S&W but have long thought I'd like one. Just to play with, handload for, and learn about. One of the original .40 Smith & Wesson all-steel automatics or else a Browning Hi-Power in .40 would do for me. Even back before 10mm or .40 S&W came out I used to handload .38-40 ammunition while thinking how keen it would be to have a modern pistol chambered for a .40 bullet. I've shot other folks' .40 S&W pistols over the years and it's a great round. I'm still going to get a "round tuit" one of these days and add a .40 S&W to the handguns around here.

    With the .40, the bullet diameter looks good, the bullet weight range has appeal, and velocities across that weight range appear effective. I have several 9mm pistols and while that cartridge is fully adequate, given a good load, it is mundane and ho-hum in my opinion.


    Some answers the .40 S&W could be said to have regarding the claims made against it.


    -It'll never be weaker than the 9mm.

    -It doesn't kick too hard unless one is awfully recoil sensitive or else is a disciple of "spray&pray." .40 shot recovery time is overstressed.

    -Cost is relative. There's not much difference in the overall scheme of things, and the handloader easily circumvents the cost factor.

    -It slings heavier, larger diameter bullets than the 9mm for a start.

    -Pistols can be had with a higher ammo capacity in .40 than may be stuffed in most .45s.

    -I for one, asked the question of "why not a .40" back in the 1970s so "the answer to the question that no one asked" doesn't cut it.


    It's certain that I'm not the only one who thought it'd be just a pretty good idea. In fact, I think the 9mm ought to suffer a bit from competition with the .40 S&W in the marketplace. A .40 appears to be a thoughtful choice rather than just jumping on the bandwagon with the crowd. If I had to be shut up in a darkened room with a mad gorilla I know which one I'd pick and "9" would be conspicuous by its absence from the caliber designation.

    Anyway, the .40 S&W looks like it might just be the best pistol cartridge I never had.
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  2. #2
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    I beat it up all the time, just yesterday I beat about a hundred rounds of it downrange
    The stupidity of some people NEVER ceases to amaze me.

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    The recoils is for many shooters subjectively snappier than other rounds, IMHO even more "snappy" than 357 SIG,
    Reduced round count in magazines,
    Cost is a factor (we don't all handload).

    I guess for me it comes down to the fact that all pistol calibers are compromises anyways, so I carry the same gun I train with, and I can train 50% more with 9mm than with a .40.

    Just my 2 cents.

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    it is 40 for me. been that way for 14 years. went from the 45 acp to 9mm to 40 and never looked back. yes i still own and shoot the 45 and 9, but i carry the 40. back in the 70's it was the 45 acp and wheel guns. in the 80's it was the same with the 9mm coming into it own as a range gun for me. then in the mid 90's i was issued a 40 and i never looked back. to me the 40 is the best of 9 and 45.
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    No reason for it, unless you're already invested in it. If you have one and like it, enjoy. If you don't, I see no reason to start.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BWillis57 View Post
    The recoils is for many shooters subjectively snappier than other rounds, IMHO even more "snappy" than 357 SIG,
    Reduced round count in magazines,
    Cost is a factor (we don't all handload).

    I guess for me it comes down to the fact that all pistol calibers are compromises anyways, so I carry the same gun I train with, and I can train 50% more with 9mm than with a .40.

    Just my 2 cents.
    where do you buy 9mm that is half the price of 40s&w? or see 40s&w that is 2x the price as 9mm? I buy both every couple of weeks and the price diff in the same manufacturer and bullet is like $2-6 diff at most.
    The stupidity of some people NEVER ceases to amaze me.

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    I carry a .40 every day and I'll tell you the recoil borders on uncomfortable. My wife was having an off day with her Kahr CW9 not too terribly long ago and had me pop a few rounds downrange to make sure it wasn't the sights. I hadn't shot it in months and was amazed at just how much lighter I'd forgotten the recoil was, and how much more accurately I can shoot it. Don't get me wrong, I can put all my rounds CoM at 30 feet with my M&P .40c, but I can put them inside the skull with her 9mm.
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    I fired both my .40 (G23) and a .357 (Model 60) this past weekend and I can say, at least for me, the recoil of the .40 is more manageable and I get less muzzle creep, more shots on target. I'm a big guy and the recoil of the .40 just feels like power to me, not a deal-breaker.

    But hey, if you're looking for a girl's gun, the 9 is probably the way to go!

  9. #9
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    I love the .40, yes it is a little "snappier" than the 9 or the .45 but I think it's a great carry round for me. I actually shoot better with my .40 compact than my 9 full size, and I can carry more rounds than a .45 of comparable size. I'm very happy with it.
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    Everyone always finds a way to defend their gun or caliber of choice... truth is, there's no reason to. Everyone has their own magic combo, and that's why they make so many different variations, most of which are successful and continue on for many, many years.

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    Member Array BWillis57's Avatar
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    I shop at Fleet Farm and can usually get 9mm for 10-11, and .40 for 15-16. So I can shoot 3 boxes of 9mm for every 2 of .40 S&W. I've owned and carried them all, single stack .45, .40, .357 sig, dabbled in the wheelgun 357 magnum, and I keep returning to 9mm.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    What's the deal with the .40 S&W lately? Are shooters a fickle lot or what? The .40 S&W can't seem to get any love on the forums and this after a time not so long past when all and sundry embraced it as the next great thing. It's obvious that it is currently trendy to bash the .40 S&W on several of the forums. It's: "too weak," "kicks too hard," "is too expensive," "doesn't do anything the 9mm can't do," doesn't do anything the .45 ACP can't do," and "no one apparently ever asked a question" that the .40 S&W answers, to hear hear the many detractors of late tell it.

    I don't have a .40 S&W but have long thought I'd like one. Just to play with, handload for, and learn about. One of the original .40 Smith & Wesson all-steel automatics or else a Browning Hi-Power in .40 would do for me. Even back before 10mm or .40 S&W came out I used to handload .38-40 ammunition while thinking how keen it would be to have a modern pistol chambered for a .40 bullet. I've shot other folks' .40 S&W pistols over the years and it's a great round. I'm still going to get a "round tuit" one of these days and add a .40 S&W to the handguns around here.

    With the .40, the bullet diameter looks good, the bullet weight range has appeal, and velocities across that weight range appear effective. I have several 9mm pistols and while that cartridge is fully adequate, given a good load, it is mundane and ho-hum in my opinion.


    Some answers the .40 S&W could be said to have regarding the claims made against it.


    -It'll never be weaker than the 9mm.

    -It doesn't kick too hard unless one is awfully recoil sensitive or else is a disciple of "spray&pray." .40 shot recovery time is overstressed.

    -Cost is relative. There's not much difference in the overall scheme of things, and the handloader easily circumvents the cost factor.

    -It slings heavier, larger diameter bullets than the 9mm for a start.

    -Pistols can be had with a higher ammo capacity in .40 than may be stuffed in most .45s.

    -I for one, asked the question of "why not a .40" back in the 1970s so "the answer to the question that no one asked" doesn't cut it.


    It's certain that I'm not the only one who thought it'd be just a pretty good idea. In fact, I think the 9mm ought to suffer a bit from competition with the .40 S&W in the marketplace. A .40 appears to be a thoughtful choice rather than just jumping on the bandwagon with the crowd. If I had to be shut up in a darkened room with a mad gorilla I know which one I'd pick and "9" would be conspicuous by its absence from the caliber designation.

    Anyway, the .40 S&W looks like it might just be the best pistol cartridge I never had.
    I am going to ask a question regarding the statement above. Please give it serious consideration before answering.

    If the 40S&W is as intriguing and useful as you believe, WHY haven't you gotten around to it before this?

    Is it because of one or all of those reasons you mentioned that "bashers" use? Is it because you have other calibers that accomplish the same task without having to "suffer" any of the negative qualities of the 40S&W?

    This is not to "bash" the caliber. Like you, I do not own one either. I do not really flinch when shooting it, but, rather, I tend to BLINK. It is involuntary and I have never been able to stop myself. I still hit what I am aiming at, but my recovery time suffers. I don't have this problem with 9mm, .45ACP, .38 or even .357.
    If you have never broken your gun or bled on your gun in training, you're doing it wrong!
    Train hard, live easy.

  13. #13
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    Bryon, I like the 40. However, I believe the 180 weight bullets are too heavy for the cartridge. I believe it is most efficient with bullets ranging from 155-165.

    Unique powder works very well. I get about 950 fps with 6.5 grains under a 155 weight bullet.

    The problem with picking up 40 " range brass" is the " Glock bulge" near the bottom of the case, that will not come out with a normal sizing die.

    It is neither fish nor foul. I can understand why some have no use for it. But it is a pretty good " tweener".
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  14. #14
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    I have been shooting long enough that I don't even notice the recoil unless its from a .357 snubby. I like the .40, and think that it has the best of both worlds between the 9 and 45. The .40 S&W can be loaded to shoot light/fast, or heavy/slow. I think that if the recoil of any pistol is too much for you, then you haven't practiced enough. I don't care for the 9mm spray and pray mentality. I would rather take an extra half second to get off one shot through the heart than spray a whole mag and want my bullet back after it hits a bystander.

    I don't care too much about the .40 ammo being a little more expensive. My/familys life is worth it. I think you should shoot the most powerful handgun that you can carry regardless of cost.
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    My .02 on the .40

    It's chambered in 9mm sized platforms and beats those platforms harder than does the 9mm accelerating wear and tear, it reduces magazine capacity, increases muzzle flip and perceived recoil. All with no increase in terminal ballistics over the 9mm when using ammunition which passes the FBI protocol. The only place it out preforms the 9mm is with ball ammo which no one really uses. Again just my .02.
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