A subjective question on the S&W 40

A subjective question on the S&W 40

This is a discussion on A subjective question on the S&W 40 within the Defensive Ammunition & Ballistics forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So a friend of mine is considering a .40 cal handgun. We talked a little on the history of the 40 and some of its ...

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Thread: A subjective question on the S&W 40

  1. #1
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    A subjective question on the S&W 40

    So a friend of mine is considering a .40 cal handgun. We talked a little on the history of the 40 and some of its pros and cons. I made the comment that (purely subjective) that I thought the "kick" of the .40 was substantially stronger than the 9mm and actually close to the .45. He then sent me a photo of a .38, .40, and .45 and asked me why the .40 kicked that much, in comparison. On that I was scratching my head. More grains?

    Any help would be appreciated. Again, it might just be my "felt" response. Thanks!
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    I figure there are a lot of variables in the bullet weight, powder charge, and the weight of the gun/ length of barrel. I guess you could argue either way on the "kick". I go with the 9mm or the 45. I do have a 40 but seldom shoot it. However I hunt with a S&W model 57. it is a 41 mag. The 41 mag was made for LE who wanted more punch than the 38 and less recoil then a 44. It did not become popular with LE. It has a great following with hunters. Funny thing is lots of LE now use the 40. Same idea more punch than a 38 or 9mm less recoil than 45. Funny how things change but don't really ever change.
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    VIP Member Array BigJon10125's Avatar
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    I believe, and DO NOT KNOW, that the .40 operates at a much higher pressure than the .45. Those with more info will chime in, but I think this has a bit to do with it.
    BigJon


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    VIP Member Array Taurahe's Avatar
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    The 40 caliber is very close in performance to a .45........ heres why. The .40 caliber packs its powder into a smaller area ( it has a shorter case) than the .45, causing an increase in pressure which results in more recoil. The .40 cal does not have much room for experimentation because of this. I personally think the recoil of the .40 is more of a "snap" ( increased muzzle lift) than a "push" like the .45 (IMO). Hence why some say the .40 has "snappy" recoil. It is a proven catridge and is used by many LEO agencies, both federal and state. Some guns handle it better than others. My glock 22 and my ruger SR40C shoot it great, but I did not like it in a Kahr CM40 Subcompact. I will say that it is not for everyone. I shoot it just fine, but some do not like the "snap" of it preferring a 9mm instead. The best thing your friend can to is to shoot a .40 cal and see how it feels to him personally, and then go from their.
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    I personally do not notice my XD40sc having any more recoil than my similar sized 9mm pistols. I shoot it better too.

    My buddy has a PT740 I've shot a lot and I have a PT709. I don't notice a difference in recoil between those two either and they are essentially the same gun in both calibers.
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    VIP Member Array glockman10mm's Avatar
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    It is a high pressure cartridge, since it was developed by shortening the 10mm, which reduced case capacity.
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    Yes, it is a High Pressure Cartridge and the heavier the bullet you shoot the less the kick it has. You won't see a 40S&W +P Cartridge. I reload it for my Glock 35 and Para 16-40 using a 200 GR bullet that is really nice to shoot. YMMV
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    I don't notice a difference when I shoot my glock 35 in .40 s&w or my 9mm conversion setup. I noticed a huge difference when I shot my friends Smith and Wesson Sigma in .40 s&w compared to the glock in .40 s&w. the Sigma snapped and has a hard muzzle flip and a very heavy trigger. Not accurate. Polymer framed glock has flex which reduces recoil.

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    VIP Member Array Kilowatt3's Avatar
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    Subjective Answer

    I have one .40 S&W pistol - a (full-size) XDm (or rather, I DID have one, before the boating accident), but I can't get too excited over the caliber. I don't think it offers enough of a performance increase over a 9mm to be worth the increased recoil and expense (at pre-insanity ammo prices). If I need more oomph than a 9mm, I'd prefer a .45.

    As for recoil - in my experience the .40 is definitely 'snappier' than either a 9 or a .45, due to the very high pressure of the cartridge, and the shape of the pressure curve. I think the .40 is an OK round for a large, heavy service weapon OC'd, but I would have no use for it in a compact or sub-compact pistol. Funny, 'cause when the PM40 came out, I wanted one so badly I couldn't stand it. Just as I was about to buy one, the CM9 came out, and I got the 9 instead. I'm VERY glad I made that choice. BTW - I am not particularly recoil-sensitive; I'll shoot a hot .44 Mag all day. I just don't think the recoil from a .40 buys you much in performance, and the felt recoil from a .45 is milder.

    Guess I'm just one of those guys who considers that the .40 is the answer to a question that no one asked.
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    I honestly can't tell much difference between the 9 and the 40.I shoot pp ammo once in a while practicing,not often thou..I had a 147 gr in the 9 and 180 gr in the 40,and not much difference to me.

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    Member Array Backwoodz's Avatar
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    I have a full size M&P in 40 and it only has slightly more muzzle flip compared to my Glock 19. I enjoy shooting both....and right now I find the 40 ammo priced at about the same as the 9 so I shoot which ever I find more of that day of the range trip.

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    In my opinion, the .40 is an excellent round across the board, and I think you are justified in giving it top consideration, regardless of recoil. But then, if you can't shoot it well enough, what is the point?? Whatever works for you....

    .40 is "snappier" than 9mm or .45. I notice a mild difference. Gun size and weight, along with the load you are shooting, makes as big a difference as anything I think.... For example, my 5 inch M and P in .40 has close to the same recoil as my M and P 9mm compact. But then again, I don't seem to be too terribly sensitive to recoil.....

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    There are so many potential variables that it's difficult to draw too many distinctions.

    The .40 has a much higher SAAMI pressure rating than the .45. Pressure does not necessarily indicate 'felt' recoil though. Bullet weight and powder speed are both going to be factors that play heavily into how you perceive the recoil of any given caliber, along with the design of the firearm. So basically you could easily have a 9mm round that had more kick than a .40 round or a .45. A full metal frame is going to absorb more recoil than a subcompact polymer frame. A larger bullet weight is generally going to produce less recoil than a lighter bullet in the same caliber, so a 115g 9mm round could very well feel just as snappy as 180g .40 round. As someone else mentioned, you can take two pistols in the same caliber and they'll feel differently, so it's very difficult to make too many comparisons, especially when you start crossing calibers and pistol types/designs/sizes. Is it safe to say that 'generally' the .40 has more recoil than a 9mm or .45? I'd say yes, that's a fair statement. Once you get into the nitpicking of X caliber and Y pistol, then all bets are off.

    If he's considering something in .40 then I would suggest that he rent or borrow that type of pistol, or something as close as possible, then maybe check out something in 9mm or .45. All of them are solid defensive handgun calibers so it should really boil down to what he is most comfortable shooting.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wreckr View Post
    I don't notice a difference when I shoot my glock 35 in .40 s&w or my 9mm conversion setup. I noticed a huge difference when I shot my friends Smith and Wesson Sigma in .40 s&w compared to the glock in .40 s&w. the Sigma snapped and has a hard muzzle flip and a very heavy trigger. Not accurate. Polymer framed glock has flex which reduces recoil.
    Pretty sure a sigma is as accurate as any good shooter can shoot anything else, and BTW the sigma is a glock copy, with a polymer frame just like your "flexing" glock. BTW, the polymer is NOT flexing. The sigma is more compareable to a G19/23 = smaller frame, grip, + slide than your G35, hence you probably felt more recoil.

    I also don't notice enough difference in recoil between the 9mm and 40 to be worried about it. I do notice the larger holes in my targets though . But in all seriousness, you should shoot both to see what its like, maybe especially before giving advice to someone else. I have found I enjoy all three, for different reasons. I carry a 40, but have and wouldn't have any prob with carrying a 9 either. I haven't gotten into the 45 caliber yet, mostly cause it's most expensive per round and I'd have to get one of those 1911's
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    The .40 has its merits, just as the 9 and .45 have them.

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