Probably a dumb question, but...

This is a discussion on Probably a dumb question, but... within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Why do so many LE Agencies choose .40S&W as their service caliber? In my research, which has been limited to comparing loads on le.atk.com (for ...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 18

Thread: Probably a dumb question, but...

  1. #1
    Ex Member Array MP9NewMexico's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Location
    New Mexico/Colorado/Texas
    Posts
    318

    Probably a dumb question, but...

    Why do so many LE Agencies choose .40S&W as their service caliber? In my research, which has been limited to comparing loads on le.atk.com (for Gold Dot and HST) and winchesterle.com, it looks like the 9mm loads penetrate about as well as the .40 loads, with slightly less expansion. So what exactly is the advantage the .40 has over 9mm, or is it simply all related back to the 1980's Miami shootout and the creation of the 10mm and then the .40?

    Reason I'm asking is because I have both a .40 and a 9mm (per my signature). I'm pretty accurate with both, and both are easy to conceal.

    Any input?

  2. Remove Ads

  3. #2
    Senior Member Array Sig35seven's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    1,115
    Many agencies are also using 357Sig.
    "Confidence is food for the wise man but liquor for the fool"

  4. #3
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Ky Backwoods
    Posts
    3,809
    It not a dumb question. It's SO interesting in fact that the discussion started 22 hours before your OP over in Ballistics & Calibers. If I was more techno-savvy i could link you, but I'm not. Click the "Active Topics" at the top of the pages & look for "Why is the 40 S&W so beat up on these days?". There's already about 50 replies and a lively discussion.
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  5. #4
    VIP Member Array Crowman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    West Allis WI
    Posts
    2,761
    Quote Originally Posted by ghost tracker View Post
    It's SO interesting in fact that the discussion started 22 hours before your OP over in Ballistics & Calibers. If I was more techno-savvy i could link you, but I'm not. Click the "Active Topics" at the top of the pages & look for "Why is the 40 S&W so beat up on these days?". There's already about 50 replies and a lively discussion.
    Here it is:
    Why Is the .40 S&W So Beat Up On These Days?
    "One of the greatest delusions in the world is the hope that the evils in this world are to be cured by legislation."
    --Thomas B. Reed, American Attorney

    Second Amendment -- Established December 15, 1791 and slowly eroded ever since What happened to "..... shall not be infringed."

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array ghost tracker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Ky Backwoods
    Posts
    3,809
    Thanks Crowman, you're a linkin' whiz!
    There are only TWO kinds of people in this world; those who describe the world as filled with two kinds of people...and those who don't.

  7. #6
    Member Array azretired's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Arizona, USA
    Posts
    160
    IMHO Police Departments tend to be "trendy" and right now the 40 is popular. The 9mm has a bad rep. due to the Miami shootout which occurred when most of today's cops were in diapers! I noticed I my old department that if you carried a 9 it was because you couldn't handle the 40 and if you were a real "operator' (as in Swat dude) you carried a 1911 in .45.

  8. #7
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Kansas
    Posts
    7,411
    Many are now CHANGING ... over to 9mm. The largest city in Kansas just did. The rational is ... officer can make follow on shoots quicker, and shoot more accurately, and with today's ammo the 9mm is being found just as effective as the .40 caliber. And, they like that the typical 9mm has more capacity.

    I've been seeing a lot of cities doing that.
    I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. --- Will Rogers ---
    Chief Justice John Roberts : "I don't see how you can read Heller and not take away from it the notion that the Second Amendment...was extremely important to the framers in their view of what liberty meant."

  9. #8
    Member Array ampre's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Indiana
    Posts
    37
    Quote Originally Posted by Eagleks View Post
    Many are now CHANGING ... over to 9mm. The largest city in Kansas just did. The rational is ... officer can make follow on shoots quicker, and shoot more accurately, and with today's ammo the 9mm is being found just as effective as the .40 caliber. And, they like that the typical 9mm has more capacity.

    I've been seeing a lot of cities doing that.
    My step-dad, who's a LEO in CA, just told me that his Dept recently changed back to 9mm from .40.

  10. #9
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    1,645
    It is to my understanding that a lot of agencies use the .40 S&W because they have ample anecdotal evidence taken from real world experiences/encounters that suggest its an effective round. Lab tests and results have a contribution to make but you can't discount real world experience. The FBI kicked the trend off and alot of different agencies followed in their footsteps. I'm not saying that is a bad thing, its just a report on on how we got to where we are today.

  11. #10
    VIP Member
    Array archer51's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    VA
    Posts
    20,441
    I'd be welling to bet a lot had to do with which caliber they got the best price break on.
    Freedom doesn't come free. It is bought and paid for by the lives and blood of our men and women in uniform.

    USAF Retired
    NRA Life Member

  12. #11
    Guest Array Guest1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    home-astan(FINALLY)
    Posts
    1,125
    Most started when 9mm was a stink round,and .45 did'nt have the round count back in the late 80's early 90's,now bullet tech has progressed so much that I see no difference in the 3,although the .45 still has the knock down advantage,go shoot an IDPA match,and watch how quick the poppers fall with a .45,and how some with 9&40's have to hit them several times.

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Southwest
    Posts
    3,149

    Some numbers

    The original poster referred to gelatin test numbers from the Federal and Winchester law enforcement websites. I went to the Federal site at:
    http://le.atk.com/general/irl/woundballistics.aspx

    The typical test data for Federal HST ammo in bare gelatin looks like this:

    9mm 147 grain - 13.5 inch penetration, 0.77 inch expansion
    40 cal 180 grain - 12.3 inch penetration, 0.91 inch expansion
    45 cal 230 grain = 12.5 inch penetration, 1.19 inch expansion

    So if the size of the hole is your criterion, the .45 makes the largest hole and the 9mm the smallest, with the 40 caliber somewhere in between. The .40 caliber does seem to make a significantly larger diameter hole than the 9mm when the bullet is fully expanded, but the 9mm penetrates about 10% deeper in these tests. I'd say the 9mm and the 40 are in the same general ballpark.
    Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the Peoples' Liberty's Teeth." - George Washington

  14. #13
    VIP Member Array GhostMaker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    3,057
    Having been in law enforcement, but now retired, I have been exposed to some of the aspects surrounding the adoption of calibers and guns for duty use. Some agencies look to the FBI as a benchmark of what to carry and base their decision on it. Some actually do testing independently to tailor their selection to fit their needs. Alot of departments will go with a training division recommendation which may consist of a combination of testing and federal agency use. Today the 40 auto is consider to be a "middle of the road" caliber by a great many people. Some departments I have spoken with stated they selected the 40 based on ballistics and the fact that male and female officers with smaller hands can handle it more effectively than a larger framed sidearm. The fact that the FBI, US Marshalls, and many state agencies have adopted it only reinforced their decision because of the data base of shooting results. I do find it curious that several larger departments authorize individual officer purchases of other calibers such as the 45ACP. YEARS ago when I started police work we had that type of personal choice for duty carry. Departments seemed to drift away from it for years but now more are going back to some form of officer preference it seems.
    U.S. Army Desert Storm Veteran
    Certified Police Firearms Instructor
    Former US Customs Blue Lighting Strike Force Commissioned Officer
    Advanced Highway Drug Interdiction Specialist
    Graduate Regional Counter Drug Training Academy
    Graduate of Bullet Proof Mind Course - (Dave Grossman Course)

  15. #14
    Senior Member Array swinokur's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bethesda, MD
    Posts
    919
    Agreed. IMO the FBI selection of the 40 S & W instead of the 10mm is what drove a lot of agencies towards it. It's probably marginally better than the 9mm, but better follow up shots occur with the 9mm.

    Myself, I'm a 10mm guy.

  16. #15
    Member Array XDshooter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    128
    My department likes the .40 over the 9mm because you have the availability of heavier bullets to go along with smokin' fast velocity. We use the Federal HST rounds in 165 grain because of it's ability to penetrate barriers, such as door frames and automotive windshields without too much deviation in trajectory. It's a pretty hot bullet, but its really accurate and follow-up shots are easy in the P226.
    "If it bleeds...we can kill it." -Dutch, Predator

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Links

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

Search tags for this page

.40 s&w real life test leo
,
40 s&w in real life
,
40 s&w penetration data
,
do le agency prefer hot or gold dot
,
fbi .40 s&w research
,

hst 180 grain bare gelatin

,
hst expansion inch 9 40 45
,
real guns 40 s&w
,
why did fbi choose 40 cal
,

why did the fbi choose 40 caliber pistols

,
why did the fbi choose the .40
,
why fbi choose 40 cal
Click on a term to search for related topics.