.40 S&W: Dead Duck or Best Buy?


I’m late to the 40 S&W table. I gravitate towards the 10mm, but don’t like the “compact” options. I’ve recently experimented with some single stack 40 compacts. So far, I’m finding I prefer the .45 and .45 +P, and the 9mm +p as an overall system of size, weight, and relative recoil relative to overall handling (again, in the sub compacts and compacts size range). However, I like the stats of the 40 out of the compacts, even with really inexpensive ammo, e.g. WWB JHP, where the 9 and 45 really drop in power.

Unfortunately, I fear that since govt agencies are dropping the 40 like hot cakes, that the price will go up, and options go down (both in ammo and firearm models)… like with the 10mm, or more recently the 357 Sig. Either way, I like options, and hope that it finds a steady customer base.


My hubby is a .40 guy… not likely to be changing his opinion on it because the police forces do. If ammo goes up, he’ll just reload. :woman_shrugging:


There was a short segment on Tom Gresham’s radio show the other week about this and the low low cost of 9mm ammo driving it.

Personally I hope not as that’s what I us as my carry pistol. Maybe I need to start stocking up on my .40 ammo while it’s still relatively inexpensive :thinking:

Also, remember…change brings opportunity…might be an “opportunity” for me to get into the market for an 9mm carry pistol :grinning:


I know at least with a Glock 23, just a barrel swap and some mags and you can shoot 9mm out of it. Then a simple swap and you are back to .40…

I got out of the .40 game myself, just too ‘snappy’ for me, but nothing wrong with a .40.


I agree. I had a Springfield XDM 40 cal a couple years back. I like your word “snappy.” I liked the gun & still am a Springfield guy, but I sold the .40 and got a XDs 9mm. :v:t5:


After carrying both 9mm and .40 duty weapons, after I retired, I went back to the 9mm. I was proficient with both, but when it came time to start providing my own ammo, I decided on 9mm. The biggest reasons are the price and availability.


I also carry the Glock 23 and have for years. I chose the 40 cal back then because it was better than the 9mm for ballistic performance. I wanted high capacity and 45 cal at the time did not give me that option. So if you get the Glock 22, 23 and 27 then they all use the same ammo and high capacity mags. 9mm ammo has come a very long way since then and if I had to start over again or if I was a new buyer starting out I would go with the 9mm. One reason…cheap ammo that is everywhere.


I bet in a few years the departments will be switching back to .40 S&W from 9mm. The advances in 9mm bullets will apply to the .40 and .45 as well.


It’s ironic I bought my 40 in 2009 because of the shortage and price of 9mm and 45ACP :grinning:


Interesting because the Bureau in the mid Atlantic region is going back to 40cal and most of the law enforcement agencies. Some of that decision was on the military switch to Sig ,some ,if you follow the bouncing ball first it was.
Then sig ( but some found the firing pins broke after x thousands of rounds

Then to Glock usually in 9

Now with the firing pin solution fixed and the military purchase ,they are back to sig. And the hand size adjustability,and modularity

This is obviously not all depts just a sampling of some in the mid Atlantic/ DC VA PA/DE corridor.

Since the ammunition for the bureau has very specific characteristics(about lethality) with over penetration being an issue,it is a curious subject. However the information seems to be a bit behind the curve?(obviously I don’t speak for the country)

The other issue is the old stopping power vs load vs type of bullet. (Hollow,frangible,fmj, silicon ,hard core,soft core,etc) it seems all will do the job if given distance. The issue is,close in what makes you pay attention vs how many bee stings do you feel. Both will get the job done,but one may give you an extra second of space.

Obviously a 45 is a whole other matter,given recoil,speed(or slowness) but I have yet to meet anyone who can outrun a bullet .

It generally rest with the decisions of the shooter.
If none of these work you can always carry a laws rocket,they are somewhat portable but I don’t think they are covered by our CCW.:exploding_head:(please laugh)

On the more serious side I use all three 9,40,and 45. However my EDC is a 40,my backup is a 45. The 9 is around in the mpx configuration,but from a feel perspective,I prefer the 40,and 45. Terminal velocity is a bit trickey on the 40 and 45 if at any distance but with the right loads is achievable without going +p. Motor skills wise if I happen to find myself in a gross motor skills situation,based on my hand size ,I prefer a larger cartridge to a smaller one in terms of reloading a magazine(obviously that would not be a good situation to be in)

I’m just waiting till everything changes on the military and Leo side to the new caseless cartridges. I wonder what the gun will look like firing lipstick tube style cartridges.
3 to 5 times stopping power minimum and all that goes with that , at distance
The 9,40,and 45 may be dead at that point


My old hands liked the .40 les & less, so I converted my G27. It had been a great solution. Even my wallet is happier, and new ammo ballistics are similar.


The 40 is a good self-defense round for those who can handle it. That said, the best self-defense round is the one you can shoot consistently and hit your target with.


^^^ 100% of that right there.


I’m just curious… For those that prefer the 40 S&W, would you be so kind as to answer a few questions?

  1. What bullet weight do you prefer, e.g. HST 155gr vs HST 180gr? Or are you more concerned with design, e.g. HST vs GS? I’m using those types of ammo as an example, not endorsing or opposing them.

  2. Is there a point, size/weight wise, where you decided that the combo of 40 and small gun just didn’t work for you?

  3. What is your second preferred caliber and why?

  1. 180gr for practice (Winchester white box or Freedom Ammo etc), no reason in particular what seems to be most available. For carry, 165gr Hornaday Critical Defense…I like the FTX bullets that are supposed to help ensure expansion even with barriers (like clothing), and Critical Defense vs Critical Duty because I have a 3.5in barrel and Defense is supposed to be designed for shorter barrels (vs Duty being designed for full sized duty guns).

  2. Yes, whatever point the physics no longer work in favor of the .40S&W (weight and velocity) and instead favor some other caliber. (check youtube and google for various demonstrations/explanations)

  3. Tough question…I’m going to say .45ACP because the two guns have for that caliber I’m just so dead on accurate with them it’s crazy. But one is a 1911 and the other is a full size (keep in the nightstand) so not practical for ME to carry (I know others that do). Honestly I’d have to try out a couple compact guns in both .45 and 9mm and figure out which one I like better and am more accurate with.

That’s just me though.


This is my hubby’s defense ammo

He says “the 40 is the best of all worlds. Never thought of the 40 as being inadequate in any way.”


9mm, it is also a good defense load and offers the capacity when I have to conceal a small single stack.


40 is great stuff!


A little off topic, but @Zee reply made me look at the Lucky Gunner testing on that cartridge. It looked odd that 1 bullet penetrated a lot deeper into the test gel. The photo below shows what I have suspected about gel testing, which is some of the bullets follow the path opened up by a previous shot and therefore penetrate deeper than their peers. Notice how 1 barely expanded, and 2 others only on 1 side. Really changes the average expansion numbers!

BTW, I use 165 grain JHP in both Remington Golden Saber and Sig Sauer V-Crown for my 40.