Why did police switch to 40 S&W

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Thread: Why did police switch to 40 S&W

  1. #76
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    I understand exactly how it works. In the interest of making it accurate it should be rewritten so that it is.

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  3. #77
    Senior Member Array TheGreatGonzo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    I understand exactly how it works. In the interest of making it accurate it should be rewritten so that it is.
    Roger. I misunderstood what you wrote. I thought you were implying that the information must be correct because it was on Wiki.
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  4. #78
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ispcapt View Post
    Not at all factual and definitely not "a little more history". That story is nothing but internet forklore. The FBI never issued full power 10mm ammo nor intended to issue full power 10mm ammo therefore the old internet story of it being "too powerful for small agents" could in no way be true.
    I personally talked to John Hall in 1995 about the FBI and the 10 mm. After Miami the FBI during their testing set their performance standards. The 10mm bullet at 950 fps met their requirements. A full power 10mm did nothing to improve on what the FBI set as their penetration limits. Therefore they went with the 10mm loaded to 950 fps. The .45 also met their standards. Both rounds were given to Louie Freeh for him to decide which rd to go with. It was decided the .45 had been around for nealry 80 yrs and it had been developed as far as it could be developed. The 10mm was relatively a new rd and they felt there was a wider range of development available for the 10mm. Therefore the 10mm at 950 was selected for issue.


    Originally Posted by cmdrdredd
    It's a well known fact that the ammo selection during the Miami incident was to blame, no doubt about it. I'm sure a design similar to something we carry today would have fared better. Second, I do not believe the NYPD is a good indicator of anything. They have an unusually high number of stray rounds hitting various structures and people. Just because it's deemed "good enough" for the NYPD doesn't in any way indicate top performance. The Gold Dot itself is a good round, but I do not think this based on how the NYPD deploys it

    Here is a part of history...
    My agency started issuing the 9mm in S&W 39 in 1968 and we'd had alot more shootings and actual street experience with the 9mm the the FBI ever did. In 1980 we issued the W-W 115 Silvertip, the same rd later used in the FBI's Miami shooting. In a shooting with a DC Eagle MC member near Joliet we learned that the Silvertip was rapid expansion which limited penetration. We immediately pulled the Silvertip from our issued ammo.
    Now move to 1985. At that time the FBI preached RII and their computerman. At that time the FBI's push was rapid expansion/limited penetration. When the FBI decided they were going to the 9mm and autos they selected the 115 Silvertip as their duty ammo. Why? Because RII and their computerman told them rapid expansion/limited penetration was the best on the street. A couple of our main range guys packed up our shooting case files and headed to Quantico to show the FBI that RII and their computer theory didn't hold water on actual street shootings. The FBI sent our guys packing. They were told the FBI knew better and they had a computer program to back up their theory. They didn't want to hear about actual street performance. So in 1985 the FBI learned what we learned in 1980. The only difference was in 1980 we didn't lose any of our Troops. At Miami (and Joliet) the Silvertip performed exactly as it was designed. Remember, at the time it was all about RII formula and the FBI's computerman model.
    As with many things involving the FBI the pendulum then swung to the opposite side. They went from rapid expansion/limited penetration to deep penetration/expansion secondary. That brought about the development of the 10mm at 950 fps and ultimately the .40 at 950 fps. Since then the FBI pendulum has mellowed a bit.

    My dept issued the 9mm for 32 yrs. We had a very good track record with it. So why did we change to .40? Because the director at the time was a die-hard worshiper of everything FBI (his son was an FBI agent) and to him if the FBI did it then it had to be right. So when the FBI went .40 he did the lemming thing and followed along.
    cite?

  5. #79
    Member Array ispcapt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    cite?
    I talked to John Hall personally. Saw him and worked with him everyday for 4 months. I think John would know what the truth is. You do know who John Hall is correct?
    You do know the FBI's history on RII and their computerman? Do you even know what RII was and have you ever heard of their computerman model? Were you personally involved in street performance statistics during the 1970s-80s when all of this development was going on?
    As far as the info concerning the FBI going to the 115 Silvertip, again that is from direct personal experience.
    As far as Wikipedia - it is nothing at all reliable nor accurate. It's just whatever information anyone who is ill-informed wants to keep repeating as if it were true.
    As far as Chuck Hawks - Oh please! Another "who is he?" and why do you think he's reliable? What research has he done? He sure hasn't talked to John Hall or anyone else at Q or he would know what is true. He's just another internet junkie who got a website that puts whatever he wants and continues repeating the same erroneous internet rumors.
    Chuck Hawks or John Hall? Which is more reliable? It sure as heck isn't some internet junkie. I'll take the word of the guy who was in charge of the FBI's program when they went to the 10mm.
    A bit of research will show the truth. The FBI never issued the full power 10mm loading. Never did, never intended to.
    If you want to believe wikipedia and some unknown internet website Chuck Hawks and keep repeating and believing some internet forklore as the truth then have at it. But if you want more confirmation just go over to www.smith-wessonforum.com and do a search on the topic. There's a retired FBI agent on that site who worked with John during the development who also gave the same story.
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  6. #80
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    Let us keep in mind that the .40 was not the FBI's pick - the FBI's pick was the 10mm. The .40 was a definite compromise and a fall-back choice because the round they thought they needed was too powerful for a lot of their agents to handle proficiently. It is my opinion that if the FBI had stuck with the 10mm, most of our LE agencies would be carrying 10mm. It is also my opinion that even if the personel could handle the power of the 10mm that it would still have been discontinued because of too much power in the street. I.e. it is unlikely the human body would stop the round or absorb all the energy and we'd see more through shots.

    I don't see that the FBI shootout proved the 9mm to be inadequate - the particular round - the 115 gn SilverTip may not have been the best choice in light of todays ammo offerings, but then today's offerings were not available at the time of the shootout. Had the FBI been using 124 gn Gold Dots, or equivalent, the 10mm and .40 might not have happened.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ispcapt View Post
    ...But if you want more confirmation just go over to www.smith-wessonforum.com and do a search on the topic. There's a retired FBI agent on that site who worked with John during the development who also gave the same story.
    Can you suggest some search words that would help find what you're referring to? I'd like to read it. Thanks!
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  8. #82
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    Did some more reading. I stand corrected. The FTU decide the standard load was to hot and so asked for a lower velocity 180g bullet. Apologies

    Moving on
    Last edited by swinokur; January 4th, 2011 at 12:37 PM.

  9. #83
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    Tangle, we have been involved in this discussion before. I think we both agree that the 9mm silvertip did not fail to work as designed. I believe, if that round had been 147 grain, the ending that day might have been different. Perhaps even if that bullet had been a 158 gr +p swchp, we would not have seen the 40 s&w today.

    When I look back at the evolution of LE cartridges down thru history, It is noticable that with the exception of Hickock and his 36 cal Navy Colts, all chose the the most powerful cartridge they could of the day. Without the new advances in smokeless powder, this was generally narrowed down to choosing the biggest caliber. And they all served well with no complaints, from the 38-40, 44-40,45LC.
    Smokeless powder began to change the definition of power, as greater velocity could be attained, and creating a market for faster and more powerful in a more compact package. Look no further than the development og the 357 magnum and its claim to fame as being able to penetrate the metal on the heavy built cars of the day that provided the gangsters with so much protection. Now, this may have been a much over rated concern, but it was a factor in cartridge development of that era, for LEs specific need at the time.
    It seems like with the adoption of the 40, we have stepped back into time when the 38-40, an almost ballistically twin of the 40 was considered the way to go, along with the 45LC and the 44-40, as they are all fairly close in power.

    It seems that all we do is repeat history. There could arise at anytime a set of circumstances that would make any cartidge, caliber, or projectile either perfectly suited to or inadequate to the task at hand. Ah if only we had that crystal ball!

    I have reached some conclusions over the years, derrived from different tests and experiences using a wide variety of calibers and bullets on everything from game animals to battlefield observations. While my preference has always been, and will always be heavy bullets and large calibers, I have found the 9mm, in its heavier loadings to be very adequate on game that is close in weight to humans. Like wise, the 40, and 45acp work just as well, with very little ,at least to my eyes difference in their terminal performance in this area on animals of similar weight given good shot placement.

    Actually, here in the last few months, I have carried the 9mm more than any other gun at my disposal. This is due in part to that I am convinced that the story in the Miami shootout would have been decidedly different if the bullet that struck Platt would have had the benifit of todays modern design, even with the same weight, a more controlled expansion would have probably given a different outcome, although I prefer to hedge my bet and carry a 147 grn +p for the added penetration qualities.

    The 40 is a child born of circumstances in the cartridge world. It is a reincarnation. Against the bare human threat, it will be just as effective today, and probably more so than it was over a hundred years ago.
    Having said that, we really dont have anything new, save for the 357 sig, or the 45Gap, and they are just new takes on an older already established idea. The more things change, the more they really stay the same.

  10. #84
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    Glockman10mm,
    Indeed we have had this discussion before - agreed then and now as well. Very nice post BTW.

    You bring up an interesting point, and I alluded to the same thing in an earlier post, i.e. the .40 may have been 'lucky'. If that 9mm SilverTip had been a 'today's' 9mm round, the .40 may not be around. If the aftermath search was for a deeper penetrating 9mm round, the .40 might not be around.
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  11. #85
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    Quote Originally Posted by swinokur View Post
    Did some more reading. I stand corrected. The FTU decide the standard load was to hot and so asked for a lower velocity 180g bullet. Apologies

    Moving on
    Impressive swinokur! Not everyone would be so candid. Nicely done!
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  12. #86
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
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    As Jerry Reed sang "when you're hot you're hot. And when you're not you're not"



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  13. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tangle View Post
    Let us keep in mind that the .40 was not the FBI's pick - the FBI's pick was the 10mm. The .40 was a definite compromise and a fall-back choice because the round they thought they needed was too powerful for a lot of their agents to handle proficiently. .
    Once again, since you apparently haven't been reading this thread - this is not at all true. The FBI never issued and never intended to issue the full power 10mm load. That's nothing more than an internet rumor that refuses to die simply because people who don't know keep repeating the BS.
    The FBI set their performance parameters for their testing. Minimum of 12", maximum of 18" penetration. The full power 10mm load did nothing that the downloaded 10mm Lite loading did except it far exceeded what they had established as their desired maximum penetration. They set their performance criteria for testing and they developed loadings that met those criteria. When they bought their 10mm guns they were specked to fire the 10mm Lite ammo

    Some wanted proof and would rather believe the internet. Since I had a bit of extra time I dug out my references. It shows there was never any intention to issue the full power 10mm load and it disproves the old internet rumor that the 10mm Lite load was developed because "females and small agents couldn't handle the recoil". BTW, if you ever met John Hall who was in charge of the FTU at the time he's anything but a big guy and would fall into the "small agent" classification.
    Here's a recap. Follow the timeline.
    Note that the FBI did not first field test the 10mm with some of their agents until 05/90 and it was not standard issue until 08/90. No 10mm guns to their SAs until the earliest 05/90. The FBI developed the 10mm Lite in 12/88 during their ammo testing which is 18 months prior to any 10mm gun being purchased/issued. The RFP went out a year prior to the FBI getting their first 10mm to test, ergo, 1 year before the 10mm was even purchased or field tested by an FBI SA the FBI already had decided on which loading they were wanting which was the 10mm Lite loading. So the old internet rumor of "females and small agents not handling the recoil" could in no way be true.
    In the RFP they specified the firearm was to function with the following specked out ammo:
    Quoted directly from the RFP:
    "(a) The pistol shall be of caliber 10mm. Specifically, the loading to be used shall consist of SAAMI specification 10mm cartridge cases, 180 grain hollowpoint bullets, and 5.2 grains of Bullseye powder or powder sufficiently similar as to give the same pressure peak and average pressure as 5.2 grains of Bullseye. The overall length of the loaded cartridge shall be 1.250 inches."

    Now go to your reloading manual. What's the velocity for 5.2 gr of Bullseye in a 10mm with a 180 gr bullet? Well, I'll be, it's 950 fps. Definitely not a full power 10mm loading. What other rd that came along later that had a 180 gr bullet at 950 fps? Could it be the .40?
    What's that mean in plain simple English? 1 year prior to purchasing any 10mm guns or any SA carrying a 10mm the FBI asked manufacturers to provide guns that would function with a 180 gr bullet at 950 fps. Not a full power 10mm load, the reduced load.

    Urey Patrick did a synopsis of the development and process which can be found at:
    http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi_10mm_notes.pdf

    If anyone wants to read the entire RFP then I'll post it. Since it's lengthy I won't post it unless others want to read it. Boring stuff.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ispcapt View Post
    Once again, since you apparently haven't been reading this thread - this is not at all true. The FBI never issued and never intended to issue the full power 10mm load. That's nothing more than an internet rumor that refuses to die simply because people who don't know keep repeating the BS.
    The FBI set their performance parameters for their testing. Minimum of 12", maximum of 18" penetration. The full power 10mm load did nothing that the downloaded 10mm Lite loading did except it far exceeded what they had established as their desired maximum penetration. They set their performance criteria for testing and they developed loadings that met those criteria. When they bought their 10mm guns they were specked to fire the 10mm Lite ammo

    Some wanted proof and would rather believe the internet. Since I had a bit of extra time I dug out my references. It shows there was never any intention to issue the full power 10mm load and it disproves the old internet rumor that the 10mm Lite load was developed because "females and small agents couldn't handle the recoil". BTW, if you ever met John Hall who was in charge of the FTU at the time he's anything but a big guy and would fall into the "small agent" classification.
    Here's a recap. Follow the timeline.
    Note that the FBI did not first field test the 10mm with some of their agents until 05/90 and it was not standard issue until 08/90. No 10mm guns to their SAs until the earliest 05/90. The FBI developed the 10mm Lite in 12/88 during their ammo testing which is 18 months prior to any 10mm gun being purchased/issued. The RFP went out a year prior to the FBI getting their first 10mm to test, ergo, 1 year before the 10mm was even purchased or field tested by an FBI SA the FBI already had decided on which loading they were wanting which was the 10mm Lite loading. So the old internet rumor of "females and small agents not handling the recoil" could in no way be true.
    In the RFP they specified the firearm was to function with the following specked out ammo:
    Quoted directly from the RFP:
    "(a) The pistol shall be of caliber 10mm. Specifically, the loading to be used shall consist of SAAMI specification 10mm cartridge cases, 180 grain hollowpoint bullets, and 5.2 grains of Bullseye powder or powder sufficiently similar as to give the same pressure peak and average pressure as 5.2 grains of Bullseye. The overall length of the loaded cartridge shall be 1.250 inches."

    Now go to your reloading manual. What's the velocity for 5.2 gr of Bullseye in a 10mm with a 180 gr bullet? Well, I'll be, it's 950 fps. Definitely not a full power 10mm loading. What other rd that came along later that had a 180 gr bullet at 950 fps? Could it be the .40?
    What's that mean in plain simple English? 1 year prior to purchasing any 10mm guns or any SA carrying a 10mm the FBI asked manufacturers to provide guns that would function with a 180 gr bullet at 950 fps. Not a full power 10mm load, the reduced load.

    Urey Patrick did a synopsis of the development and process which can be found at:
    http://www.firearmstactical.com/pdf/fbi_10mm_notes.pdf

    If anyone wants to read the entire RFP then I'll post it. Since it's lengthy I won't post it unless others want to read it. Boring stuff.
    All you say is true, (I have it in writing) but the correct original velocity for the reduced 10mm load was a 180 grain jhp at 1050 fps, as was made by Federal upon request, this was in 1988. I was in Quantico at the time. It was a big buzz for all the gun people. The 12-18 of penetration was the crteria, but there was a caveat, that anything over 18 inches was NOT UNDESIRABLE, but less than 12 was.
    After the reduced load was tested against the 9mm, 38, and 45, it was declared the winner, and in 1989, the FBIs FTU announced at the SHOT SHOW the 10mm was selected, and the pistol was being produced by Smith.

  15. #89
    Senior Member Array Devone6's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    Having said that, we really dont have anything new, save for the 357 sig, or the 45Gap, and they are just new takes on an older already established idea. The more things change, the more they really stay the same.
    True, the 38Super from 80 years ago was ballistically similar to the 357Sig, and the 9x23 being even more identical ballistically.

    Shorter case for the Sig, but that is no differnt than the .40 S&W compared to the 38-40
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockman10mm View Post
    All you say is true, (I have it in writing) but the correct original velocity for the reduced 10mm load was a 180 grain jhp at 1050 fps, as was made by Federal upon request, this was in 1988. I was in Quantico at the time. It was a big buzz for all the gun people. The 12-18 of penetration was the crteria, but there was a caveat, that anything over 18 inches was NOT UNDESIRABLE, but less than 12 was.
    After the reduced load was tested against the 9mm, 38, and 45, it was declared the winner, and in 1989, the FBIs FTU announced at the SHOT SHOW the 10mm was selected, and the pistol was being produced by Smith.
    Thank you glockman10mm. That does confirm that the FBI selected the 10mm and intended to issue it. But you stopped short, did the FBI ever actually issue the 10mm to it's agents, and if not, why not? Oh, and what's the current ballistics for the .40 the FBI now issues?
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