First Time with .40 S&W

This is a discussion on First Time with .40 S&W within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; I few days ago I shot 50 rounds of .40 S&W (Glock 22) for the first time. Previously I've only shot 9mm from a Glock ...

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    Member Array atcs2152's Avatar
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    First Time with .40 S&W

    I few days ago I shot 50 rounds of .40 S&W (Glock 22) for the first time. Previously I've only shot 9mm from a Glock 17 or 19. While my accuracy wasn't horrible, it wasn't as good as it's been with 9mm. Although I understand this is to be expected, I don't understand why. Assuming the firearm doesn't recoil until the bullet has left the barrel, why would one's accuracy be less (until proficiency is gained) with a more powerful cartridge? Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the speed of followup shots. My range doesn't allow shots faster than once per second anyway and I was definitely taking my time between shots. Is it simply because I'm expecting a bigger bang and I'm flinching more or was I just less steady for some unrelated reason?

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    Quote Originally Posted by atcs2152 View Post
    I few days ago I shot 50 rounds of .40 S&W (Glock 22) for the first time. Previously I've only shot 9mm from a Glock 17 or 19. While my accuracy wasn't horrible, it wasn't as good as it's been with 9mm. Although I understand this is to be expected, I don't understand why. Assuming the firearm doesn't recoil until the bullet has left the barrel, why would one's accuracy be less (until proficiency is gained) with a more powerful cartridge? Just to clarify, I'm not talking about the speed of followup shots. My range doesn't allow shots faster than once per second anyway and I was definitely taking my time between shots. Is it simply because I'm expecting a bigger bang and I'm flinching more or was I just less steady for some unrelated reason?

    That would be my guess.

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    VIP Member Array multistage's Avatar
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    Agreed. A bit more than a 9, but some of the guys I shoot with can double a 40 faster and with better accuracy than I can with a 9.

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    Self-diagnosis can be tough. If you can, have a seasoned shooter watch and maybe video record you shooting. I caught myself anticipating the shot (which disturbs sight alignment) by watching recordings of me in some local matches.

    But a couple of things come to mind, the first of which is the grip. The .40 is a stouter round than the 9mm, so while you don't need a death grip on your gun, the grip needs to be firm. Tighter than a handshake, maybe bordering on turning fingers white. Another aspect of the grip is that the gun doesn't just move up and down from recoil, it also twists in your hand from the much greater torque imposed on the barrel (via rifling) from the hotter .40 round. With a confirmed empty gun (no mag, either), grip the gun as you usually do, then have an assistant grab the top of the slide and try to rotate the gun about it's long axis one way and then the other. Does your grip adequately resist that rotation? Look up the Doug Koenig videos on line - there's at least one on grip.

    The other suggestion I'll make is to fire one round, and after the round lets off, leave your finger all the way back on the trigger. Then deliberately ease your trigger finger forward until you feel/hear the trigger reset, all the while keeping your gun on the target. With the trigger now in the "reset" position, confirm your sight picture and squeeze off the next round. If you do this enough, you'll recover your sight picture at the same time as you're moving the finger to trigger reset - but do it a step at a time at first. Think of this as "slow controlled pairs" - and work on getting those pairs close together on the target.

    Lastly, when you're practicing, slow it down! Try loading just 5 rounds in each mag. That helps you resist the temptation to bang off a full magazine in one string, which serves little practical training purpose. It also gets you used to reloading, and lately I've seen some people at the range who have horrible reloading skills. And usually it's the folks with 15 or more rounds in the magazine, not us old fuddy-duddies with our single-stack 1911s.

    Good luck - hope this helps.
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    The .40cal bullet is heavier the the 9mm , thus a faster drop rate than the 9mm .

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    All guns begin recoiling while the bullet is still in the barrel. Sometimes a heavier bullet spends more time going down the tube during recoil, and its group's point of impact ends up higher. A consistent hold and trigger management help shrink the groups. To avoid anticipating or flinching, I focus intently on the top center of the front sight. Watch videos of the hold by other good shooters. Dry fire to master the trigger. Every shooter finds his own mental and physical routine to make each shot count.
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    That would be my guess.
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    This is exactly what I thought when I read the post.
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    Maybe the target is nervous and moves about when having a .40 thrown at it.

    Seriously though, I agree with JD, your probably anticipating the stronger and different dynamic of the .40 recoil over that of the 9mm.
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    Shoot a tiny light 9mm for comparison and see...it has about the same perceived recoil as a 40. Try a Taurus PT709 or Kel Tec pf9. If you have the same issue, that would tell you it is your anticipation of perceived recoil moreso than the 40 round.

    I primarily carry a XD40sc and for whatever reason I shoot it as well if not better than even my large 9mm. It just shot dead on for me from the first time I shot it. You might try different guns. I shot a buddy's G23 and shot it well, but the G27 not so much.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunthorp View Post
    All guns begin recoiling while the bullet is still in the barrel. Sometimes a heavier bullet spends more time going down the tube during recoil, and its group's point of impact ends up higher.
    Interesting. I have wondered about that. I would love to see a slow motion animation of a semi-automatic showing the timing of the firing pin striking the primer, the slide retracting, the shell ejecting and the bullet traveling down the barrel.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Self-diagnosis can be tough. If you can, have a seasoned shooter watch and maybe video record you shooting. I caught myself anticipating the shot (which disturbs sight alignment) by watching recordings of me in some local matches.

    But a couple of things come to mind, the first of which is the grip. The .40 is a stouter round than the 9mm, so while you don't need a death grip on your gun, the grip needs to be firm. Tighter than a handshake, maybe bordering on turning fingers white. Another aspect of the grip is that the gun doesn't just move up and down from recoil, it also twists in your hand from the much greater torque imposed on the barrel (via rifling) from the hotter .40 round. With a confirmed empty gun (no mag, either), grip the gun as you usually do, then have an assistant grab the top of the slide and try to rotate the gun about it's long axis one way and then the other. Does your grip adequately resist that rotation? Look up the Doug Koenig videos on line - there's at least one on grip.

    The other suggestion I'll make is to fire one round, and after the round lets off, leave your finger all the way back on the trigger. Then deliberately ease your trigger finger forward until you feel/hear the trigger reset, all the while keeping your gun on the target. With the trigger now in the "reset" position, confirm your sight picture and squeeze off the next round. If you do this enough, you'll recover your sight picture at the same time as you're moving the finger to trigger reset - but do it a step at a time at first. Think of this as "slow controlled pairs" - and work on getting those pairs close together on the target.

    Lastly, when you're practicing, slow it down! Try loading just 5 rounds in each mag. That helps you resist the temptation to bang off a full magazine in one string, which serves little practical training purpose. It also gets you used to reloading, and lately I've seen some people at the range who have horrible reloading skills. And usually it's the folks with 15 or more rounds in the magazine, not us old fuddy-duddies with our single-stack 1911s.

    Good luck - hope this helps.
    Thanks for the suggestions. I'll definitely try the slow controller pairs next time. I have been loading only 5 rounds at a time, mostly as a way to prolong the experience as long as possible, so to speak. I've heard various people refer to the .40 as "snappy" and I was expecting the recoil to be significantly worse than the 9mm but I seemed like it was only slightly more pronounced. It was definitely louder but the kick wasn't all that bad. Now knowing that, maybe I'll be more relaxed and settle down. I can't wait to get to the range again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by shovelhead68 View Post
    The .40cal bullet is heavier the the 9mm , thus a faster drop rate than the 9mm .
    Thanks, I'd love to blame it on the heavier bullet but I'm only shooting at seven yards currently.

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    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    Maybe the target is nervous and moves about when having a .40 thrown at it.

    Seriously though, I agree with JD, your probably anticipating the stronger and different dynamic of the .40 recoil over that of the 9mm.
    Yup, that's my problem right there.
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    Sometimes my 40's are so heavy they just clear the barrel and hit the dirt with a thud. With my 45 I have to shoot downward to get the bullet out of the barrel altogether.
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    Practice squeezing the trigger slowly that you won't know when it fires. Then you can rule out flinching if there was one. Also patience is important. You'll want to pull the trigger and be done with but not yet. Practice til you can get the feel of it and you can pull it faster but only if you can keep the sights on the target. Also pay attention on how you place your finger on the trigger, you may find the best placement where you'll be consistent.

    I too bought and shot my first 40sw back in March and I needed quite a bit of practice to become consistent. It was a matter of finding a good grip, stance and finger placement.

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