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.