Why did police switch to 40 S&W

Why did police switch to 40 S&W

This is a discussion on Why did police switch to 40 S&W within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Saw the American handgunner stating. the most popular handgun calibers used by that state police in 49 states are (HI has no state police agency, ...

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Thread: Why did police switch to 40 S&W

  1. #1
    Member Array Biggie313's Avatar
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    Why did police switch to 40 S&W

    Saw the American handgunner stating.

    the most popular handgun calibers used by that state police in 49 states are (HI has no state police agency, hence only 49 states):

    .40 S&W - AL, AK, AZ, CA, CO, CT, IL, IO, KY, LA, MD, MA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NV, ND, OH, OR, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY (26)
    .357 Sig - DE, MT, NM, NC, OK, RI, SD, TN, TX, VA (10)
    .45 ACP - AR, ID, KS, ME, NH, WV (6)
    .45 GAP - FL, GA, NY, PA, SC (5)
    9mm - IN, NJ (2)
    I told my father this (who has always been a .45 man) and his always says "I think they pick that cause the women can’t shoot 45 ACP." he said that before when I bought my XD 40 SC. I looked around and seems to me the reason they switched was because they wanted more power from the 9mm frame, and the 40 fit that


  2. #2
    Member Array Back 40's Avatar
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    You can rest assured that women can shoot a .45. My mother who is 58 can ring more steel with her .45 than most men I've seen. I believe they were looking for more capacity than the .45 and more energy than the 9mm and the .40 is a great compromise.

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    VIP Member Array Rollo's Avatar
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    I don't think it has anything to do with women not being able to shoot the .45 Several women have shot my .45 and my .40 and they both remarked something along the lines of "I figured the .45 would have more kick because it's bigger but it doesn't". Basically, I don't think the .45 has more recoil then the .40. I think it's a different kind of recoil. .45 = push, .40 = flip. I think LEO's switched to the .40 because they wanted something with more power then 9mm but didn't want to give up to much capacity. The .40 is a good middle ground. I used to hate on the .40 constantly but I have recently came to really like it as a defensive round.
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    mkh
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    Your father is right in some cases.

    Florida went with the .45 GAP partly because Glock gave them a great deal but also so that they could get a .45 on a smaller frame that the female officers could handle.

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    My agency went from the 9mm to the .40 S&W in early 2001 because a neighboring agency had two failure to stop shootings with the 9mm and the feeling was that the more powerful .40 S&W would have made the difference. In 2006 my agency switched to the Glock 21 .45 ACP because head to head range testing between the two calibers showed that the .45 ACP 230 grain Remington Golden Sabers were easier to shoot for the vast majority of officers than the .40 S&W 180 grain Golden Sabers.
    Some of the officers, myself included wanted to keep the Glock 23 because of the weapons size for on and off duty carry but the department wanted standardization to .45 ACP.
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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    9mm wasnt getting the job done reliably at the time, 10mm was a little too much recoil, and most 45s were too big in the grip for various sized officers to get any real capacity out of. .40 is essentially a 10mm short.

    .40 S&W really came about for the FBI when their experiment with 10mm didnt go as hoped. 9mm had proven itself to not be the fight stopper in some of the older ammo packages htey had as proven in the Miami Shootout, in 1986. Most common .45s of the day were single stack and only 7 or 8 rounds. .40 was a good balance and became a proven performer when all things were considered.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwhite75 View Post
    9mm wasnt getting the job done reliably at the time, 10mm was a little too much recoil, and most 45s were too big in the grip for various sized officers to get any real capacity out of. .40 is essentially a 10mm short.

    .40 S&W really came about for the FBI when their experiment with 10mm didnt go as hoped. 9mm had proven itself to not be the fight stopper in some of the older ammo packages htey had as proven in the Miami Shootout, in 1986. Most common .45s of the day were single stack and only 7 or 8 rounds. .40 was a good balance and became a proven performer when all things were considered.
    And now you have the rest of the story.
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    The problem with the Miami shootout is that there is no evidence whatsoever that a .40 or .45 with the exact same placement as the 9mm SilverTip would have done any better than the 9mm. Let's remember that the .40 was not the round selected by the FBI after the Miami shootout - it was the 10mm - a much more powerful round. The .40 was a compromise.

    Let us not forget that there are number of very large agencies, the NYPD just to name one, that use the 124 gn 9mm and are very pleased with it's effectiveness. Another PD I know of had so much trouble with the gen 4 Glock 22s that they swapped them for 9mm G17s and are very pleased with them.

    I think the real issues with the 9mm/.40 are one, bullet design was just beginning to improve effectiveness. The 9mm was evolving while the .40 was designed around the newer technologies. I seriously doubt that the same hits with similar bullets with a 9mm and .40 would show any significant difference in stopping power. I mean is the 9mm gonna fail where the .40 would have stopped them instantly?

    Second, I think a lot of 'conclusions' were based on mistaking poor bullet placement with bullet effectiveness. It's kinda like a miss with a 9mm is just as good as a miss with a .40.

    Third, there was a lot of marketing hype about the .40 just as there was about the 5.56 when the M-16 was introduced. Everybody bought into this hype and made decisions based on little experience. Then the whole thing became a follow the leader.

    There do seem to be some trends. I've seen several reports about PDs moving from the .40 back to the 9mm and several reports that indicate PDs are moving from the .40 to the .45. Then there's the .357 Sig round? What's it supposed to do that the .40 wouldn't? So why do a number of PDs choose the .357 Sig round?
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    There was also probably some bandwagoning. Back during the last major caliber changes, from 9mm/.357/.38 to .40, I'm sure a fair number of agencies simply switched because all the other agencies were doing so.

    I wonder if we might see some agencies return to 9mm with the advent of more effective ammunition for it.
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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SIXTO View Post
    And now you have the rest of the story.
    And here I was thinking I had missed some important points, and somebody much more knowldgeable than me in the world of LEO firearms, and tactics would come along and add or subtract. Thanks for the small pat on the back.
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    Member Array jwarren's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkh View Post
    Your father is right in some cases.

    Florida went with the .45 GAP partly because Glock gave them a great deal but also so that they could get a .45 on a smaller frame that the female officers could handle.
    You mention one of the reasons for the shift to the .40 . It was economics, they got a deal on the guns from Glock when the .40 came along just as they are now getting a deal on the GAP. The other was they needed a replacement to the dismal performing 9mm.

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    Member Array Rightwing's Avatar
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    What Tangle said. Bullet design/ time warp.

    Bullets kill, not calibers.

    Correct shot placement puts bullets where they need to be to do their job.
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    I hate it when some of these threads turn towards caliber debate ,geesh . How soon we forget what caliber the madman used at Virginia tec to slay 30 + innocent people in the worst mass shooting in U.S History.

  14. #14
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    To really understand the LE adoption of the 40, you have to either go back and read, or remember the mindset of the era. Like was pointed out, there was a culmination of events that brought the FBI to search for a better stopper.

    Given the advantage of hindsight, today we know that one 9mm bullet fired into Platt did not fail, and we also know even though other agents used 357 revolvers, they were loaded with 38 spls.

    Also about that time, I believe the Illinois St Police were one of the first to adopt the 9mm in the S&W M39.
    Like was stated earlier, the 40 was found to be a good compromise of bigger bullet and capacity. Years later with bullet design technology we can see there really isn't much difference.

    One thing I like about the 9mm is it's tapered case design, which in my opinion lends itself to better feed reliability than the more squared off cases of the 45 and 40. IMO, that is why Glocks became legendary in feed reliability, as they designed the barrels to not fully support the case to allow for the 45 and 40.

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jwarren View Post
    You mention one of the reasons for the shift to the .40 . It was economics, they got a deal on the guns from Glock when the .40 came along just as they are now getting a deal on the GAP. The other was they needed a replacement to the dismal performing 9mm.
    IIRC the FHP 40s were Beretta 96s. And yes I am sure that Glock gave them a killer deal to land another "major" agency in the GAP arena. The original .40 handgun was a Smith and Wesson...".40 S&W", just like the 10mm guns they replaced in the FBI.
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