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I outta be shot with both calibers for making a thread like this, but here goes...

1905 Views 13 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  Free American
You know, gunnies are funny people.

I'm finding the XD40 to be something I appreciate not like I would appreciate a classic car, but rather something I appreciate like I appreciate my truck. I like it because it just makes my life easier. I respect it enough to keep it in top shape, but I won't sweat the occassional ding or wear and tear because it's my "user".

I say that to preface this discussion. Bear that sentiment in mind as you read on.

Now inevitably any sensible person with functional knowledge of firearms will ask my what caliber it's chambered in. And as you can probably guess from the name, .40 Smith and Wesson. I get one of three reactions.

First, there's the very rare "There's a good man. You chose correctly." reactions. Not too many of these.

The most common reaction is "Why? You get higher capacity with a 9mm Luger chambering." That's normally what the Glock guys tell me. These guys all have .40's too but only because they already own all the 9mm chambered Glocks ever made and had to start buying them in other calibers.

A close second is the predictable "*snort* Why didn't you just get a .45 instead of an oversized peashooter?" Well actually that's a good question. I was actually looking to get a .45 ACP chambered pistol when I first started looking.

The truth is, I knew I liked the XD series. I knew what I wanted to get insofar as what I wanted to launch it from. The perfect pistol would have been the XD chambered in .45 ACP. Yes I know they make one in .45 GAP but one of my unbendable criteria was the ammunition had to be very common. The choice was either 9mm, .40S&W or abandon the platform and I really didn't want to do the last one after going through so much work to find it.

I'd never really wanted a .40 caliber pistol for anything to be honest. But then I thought, you know, let's just divorce my own personal fascination with the never ending caliber wars and look at it objectively. So I did. I looked around the 'net and rifled through various tomes on the caliber comparison subject and I found something interesting.

For the sake of brevity, check this out.

And then this.

Now some people may protest that's not fair because it's only one brand of ammunition etc., but my point is to make an easy referenced apples to apples comparison of some sort. I made many "paper" comparisons. The standard old silly stuff... will it expand, how deep does it penetrate a block of super Jello, etc. I take all such things with a grain of salt because these the meaning of these things in the real world isn't exactly clear, but a consistent trend does have meaning to me. I didn't see where the bigger bore catridge really had an edge at all on the .40 S&W. They were in fact about the same.

I says to myself, would I be comfortable using a 9mm pistol for self defense? And the answer was yes. I consider it to be the minimum I would feel comfortable with for a non BUG.

And then I says to myself, do I care about the extra capacity? And the answer was no. 12 rounds or 15, to me those are both big numbers. I've never a chosen a firearm based on its capacity. It's really not that important to me. I will of course use the maximum capacity of any firearm so long as I do not sacrifice any reliability or function. I know that blows some people's minds but I'm just indifferent to 15 rounds vs. 12 rounds.

And then I says to myself, does it look like the .40 is up to the job? I had to say yes. What was the .40 really missing? Sure it's a smaller bore size but it almost always compares favorably to the .45 when it comes to penetration and velocity and whatnot. If I were a more ignorant person I'd have thought they were almost ballistic clones of each other.

Hence I picked this caliber for convenience. It was a notch above the bare minimum I was comfortable with and I didn't feel the 9mm chambering's extra capacity was meaningfully advantageous. I don't particularly enjoy it but I don't hate it by any means. I think for pure fun 9mm has it beat, and for pure visceral satisfaction and a sense of legacy .45 ACP is better, but when you take the emotion out of it, .40 Smith and Wesson doesn't seem to deserve all the slams it gets.

An older gentleman of a certain maturity (whose only pistol is the same 1911 he's had for 25 years) stroked his beard and said "Hell, close enough." He then berated my for having a sissy plastic gun but that's a matter of course.

I have to agree with him though. It's a caliber that starts with "4", close enough. It's more confidence inspiring than the 9mm cartridge, and honestly the real reason I wanted to try to for a .45 was as a consideration for future purchases.

Thus I am coming to appreciate the caliber and the loads it offers for what they are. I figure if I want to get all gun nerdy I should stick to the revolver catridges anyway because they are far more interesting. Service calibers are boring by comparison. It is acceptable for my everyday utility gun to use a boring and practical round. My truck may not be a classic car, but I like it all the same because it makes my life easier.

The whole Big 3 service caliber debate will rage on, and I sit here with the most unfairly criticized of the three in my hand. I suppose I should be smug and agree to disagree because after all my side is obviously right. :tongue:
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Glad you happy with your 40 Short and Weak .. Just not for me ill still take a 45 or a 9mm or the run right to the edge pressure wise 40 short and weak but thats just my opinion
Happy is too strong a word. I consider myself "surprisingly satisfied" after initially feeling like I was shoe horned into the caliber.
Hehe - Judge Justice Euc" - you make a fine argument! :smile:

One of the guys at my IDPA club on the last course we ran was using his still pretty new XD-40 - I was I must say impressed, in many respects. If I were gonna go the 40 route I would consider it - along with I admit a SIG also in that cal.

My prime reason for ''avoidance'' has very simply been - ''oh heck - another caliber!! I reload for most cals I shoot, tho not so much these days with 9mm. I did not wanna face getting more new dies and stuff!

From a ballistics POV I would be more than happy using it - it has much to recommend it. As ever - your choice and you could do much much worse!


Why didn't you just get a .45 instead of an oversized sissified, plastic, peashooter?"
I have my preference with caliber but would not want to be on the receiving end of a 9mm, .40, or a .45acp.
Nothing wrong with an XD or a .40.

With modern bullet technology, I think that all of the major calibers are pretty efficent killers. Ive been playing with the 40 since it came out. One of my good friends that I shoot with likes XD's so much that he now has 3 of them in all calibers and soon to buy a 4th in the .45 GAP....just because.

The .40 makes good sized holes and had a fair capacity. Nothing to argue about there...
I like the XD, and agree that in that particular gun I would go for the XD-40. Actually I did and really liked the gun and the caliber. I just prefer the .45acp. Personal preferences is what gives us so many choices. And the more choices available, the better. My son is wanting an XD-40 when he turns 21 next month and gets his permit. I will probably buy it for him, which is a good endorsement for it. I don't want him carrying anything that I don't trust alot....
Well I'll play the advocate and comment on why I choose 9mm over .40 and .45. I'll start by undermining my own choice by saying I think they all are good choices and nothing I am about to say can change that. But...

Starting with ballistics, 9mm, .40, .357 sig, .45 ACP, and .45 GAP are all gel and street proven. Modern bullet designs have closed the gap dramatically in terminal performance, although one may need to be a bit more selective with 9mm ammo for self-defense, but that's easy these days, Federal Hydra Shok, Remmington Golden Sabre, Speer Gold Dots, Corbon, etc.

It has been debated endlessly which caliber works the best but all have proven to work well and fail miserably - they are handgun rounds - they are anemic. Plus, all "experts" agree that shot placement is far more significant than the difference between a 9mm and .45 cal. size. I personally saw a police video of a man shooting a woman three times in the upper torso with a .45 ACP. Not only did the woman not go down, she ran around a car yelling, "He's shooting me!"

Ostensibly the 9mm has a slight capacity advantage over a .40 cal, but essentially nearly insignificant.

This will step on some toes here, I don't mean to but, I personally believe there is a signifcant advantage in capacity "in the gun". I know, I know the average gunfight and all that, but I prefer 15 to 18 9mms over 8 or even 9 .45s. This is where the "spray and pray" and the "you must plan to miss a lot" incantations usually begin. Well, if I'm in a gunfight, you can believe I'll be praying. I shoot about 200 rounds a week, so I hope I won't be spraying. And, I don't plan to miss a lot but, I do plan to shoot a lot, at least until the gunfight is over.

It seems unrealistic to think that we will always have the opportunity to do the two to the COM and one to the head when we're moving, the BG(s) is moving AND shooting, so I'd think it'd be pretty good planning to figure we may miss some. I believe I am correct in crediting P45Carry with posting the concept of suppressive fire as a tool of excape. I concur. I can do that better with more rounds.

I have changed my mind recently about speed reloading in a gunfight. I no longer think that's a good thing to count on. Oh, I still practice speed reloads, I just now believe that in a gunfight, if the rounds are not in the gun, they are very unlikely to become involved in the gunfight. In the stress of a gunfight, it will take 2 - 3 seconds to speed reload if we don't muff it. I know, we can do it in 1 second in the "match" with all that match pressure, but how many rounds are incoming at a match?

Muzzle blast:
I have had the unfortunate experience of hearing, without muffs, a .40 cal and a 9mm discharged in an enclosed room that would typify a room in a home. I can tell you the difference between a .40 and a 9mm muzzle blast is tremendous! The .40 cal. Corbon blast was painful, my ears rang and my hearing was diminished for quite a while. Many years later, this was repeated with a Gold Dot 9mm. Because I was dumb enough to do it that's why. I was surprised that I didn't experience the pain and I don't remember the ringing as prominent. Also, I could hear surprisingly well. What's this got to do with anything? Well, if you have to defend yourself in your home, you have to deal with the muzzle blast. I know, under stress we don't hear the muzzle blast anyway. The problem is, not only will we not hear the muzzle blast, if the muzzle blast is very loud, and a .40 is, we probably won't hear so good afterwards - that's not good.

I know none of us are recoil sensitive and we can handle the recoil of a 230 gn .45 just as well as a 115 - 124 gn 9mm. Well, unless you have some extenuating issues like weaker wrists, etc. the dreaded arthritis, or you're a woman with a smaller frame, or you don't want to compete with a .40 or .45 against a comparably talented guy who shoots 9mm. Or, you still believe in the laws of physics. So I guess there's no sense discussing recoil.

Simple economics:
I shoot a lot, as I mentioned, about 200 rounds a week; that's not counting about 1200 rounds at some training school nearly every summer. At Walmart, I can buy 100 rounds of 9mm for $11.34, 100 rounds of .40 cal. for $15.97, and 100 rounds of .45 ACP for $19.97. Maybe that doesn't sound so significant, but if you consider I'll shoot about 11,000 rounds a year, that's $1247 for 9mm or $1756 for the same rounds in .40 cal. That's a yearly savings of $509.70. The savings would represent potentially, buying a gun a year just on the savings.

But, if you don't shoot much, first shame on you, then there's very little economics involved. But some don't shoot much because it costs too much. To offset the costs, some practice with 9mm and carry .40 or .45, but many, myself included, tend to think that's not the best approach.

For self-defense ammo, the economics are almost insignificant - it's all expensive.

So for the 9mm, effective terminal ballistics with modern bullet designs, high round count in the gun, lower muzzle blast, less recoil, and more economical to shoot.

Euc, see what you've done, to quote a respected friend, "I outta be shot with both calibers for making a thread like this..." :bigsmile:
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Tangle said:
...9mm, .40, .357 sig, .45 ACP, and .45 GAP are all gel and street proven. Modern bullet designs have closed the gap dramatically in terminal performance...
That's the bottom line. To each his own.
Work out a few TKO's on the 40 vs. the 45. See what you get with each. --- Old Saying>>> "Everybody has to believe in something." I believe in the TKO formula(for the most part)-----------
Well don't get me wrong. I'm not here to sing the praises of this caliber.

I actually "like" the service calibers. I know it sounds weird to say I like all three of them, but I do. They don't really excite me because they're all pretty boring really. They're just too darn practical. :biggrin:

I was however one of these people that kind of shrugged off the .40 Smith and Wesson, but when I started to really look at it, it won me over somewhat. It's not my new favorite by any means, but as I said I am surpisingly satisfied. I was a little nervous about trying something new I guess but found out I chose well despite my own flaws. :tongue:

I think in my case it was a good match of matching my personal limitations and biases to a firing platform and a caliber. The user is probably 98% of the reason this turned out so well with 1% being the gun and another 1% being the caliber.

I have decided I like this platform so much I want another XD FWIW, but I'm not actually going to run out and buy one.

Edit: Tangle I disagree on one point. I think there is a point to discussing recoil. One reason I had so much trouble deciding was I thought about a subcompact, which I didn't want in .40 because I was a little worried about muzzle flip. I realize that's not really recoil per se, but it's all related to the way the user perceives the gun.

And thing is, in a true pocket pistol, I'd probably go for the 9x19. I tried a short barreled .40 and felt I just didn't want to have to work that hard.

To me what it's coming from and the relative size determines what I am willing to take. I for example refuse to seriously consider carrying .357 in a snub. Well perhaps the 3" SP101 with some full sized grips might be okay, but when I rented a little .357 I figured out super fast I did not like that recoil one little bit. Now in my 686 it's acceptable.

It's the same reason I consider .44 Special a viable carry caliber and not .44 Magnum. I don't feel comfortable trying to control certain calibers out of certain sized platforms at speed.

I realize that's my own inherent limitation, but my goal is reasonable and (within sane limits) expedient personal defense not some sort of superhuman proficiency such that I can shoot .44 Magnum snubs and grin about it.

Then again I say all that and I like that Ruger Alaskan in .454 Cassull (but I'd shoot .45LC in it anyway...)
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Euclidean said:
...Edit: Tangle I disagree on one point. I think there is a point to discussing recoil. One reason I had so much trouble deciding was I thought about a subcompact, which I didn't want in .40 because I was a little worried about muzzle flip. I realize that's not really recoil per se, but it's all related to the way the user perceives the gun...
I was kinda pokin' fun at us "gunnies". It's humorous to me that we don't like to admit that recoil is a significant factor that has to be dealt with whether we like it or not - even if we aren't sensitive to it.

I agree with you completely and apologize that my attempt at a humorous poke at us macho shooters didn't make the point that recoil is there and significant even if we don't want to admit it. Just because we aren't "sensitive" to recoil, meaning it doesn't cross our threshold of awareness or distract us, doesn't mean we aren't dealing with it. Even if we don't "sense" the gun is recoiling 20% more doesn't mean it isn't; it just means it doesn't distract us. But, we still have to recover from recoil. The more recoil, the more recovery time.
The truth of the matter is the whole point of a bullet is to make somebody bleed. Any caliber bullet will do just that. People get wrapped around the axle on "one shot stops". I am a true believer in the theory of shooting until they stop approaching, so I don't concern myself with all the hype. I even carry a little Kel-Tec .32 when I go to the beach. A gun is a gun and it satisfies the first rule of a gunfight....

Have a gun!
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