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Hating the .40 S&W?
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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 21, 2014 7:51 pm    Post subject: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

While reading through various forums I see a trend among some folks to “hate” the .40 S&W cartridge. Personally I find that sorta confusing. I know folks tend to pick, and defend, a favorite cartridge, team, automobile, etc. but I really don’t understand the dislike for the .40 S&W. With that in mind I decided to compare the .40 with three other cartridges that usually get mentioned in the discussions; the 9 x 19mm, the 10mm Auto and the .45 Auto. I took the basic information for this comparison from the 7th Edition of the Hornady Handbook of Cartridge Reloading. For each cartridge I picked an XTP bullet with approximately the same Sectional Density, 0.14. I also calculated the recoil energy for each cartridge using the same gun weight (39 ounces, as in a 1911). Note that the velocities used for the 9mm and .40 were from 4" barrels while the 10mm and .45 were from 5" barrels. Now I know that people can hunt around and find different loads that will change the results some but I just wanted a fairly simple comparison, not a doctoral dissertation.

A 9 x 19mm with a 124 grain bullet at 1150 ft/sec has 364 ftlbs of muzzle energy and 4.1 ftlbs of recoil energy.
A .40 S&W with a 155 grain bullet at 1200 ft/sec has 496 ftlbs of muzzle energy and 6.6 ftlbs of recoil energy.
A 10mm Auto with a 155 grain bullet at 1450 ft/sec has 723 ftlbs of muzzle energy and 10.4 ftlbs of recoil energy.
A .45 Auto with a 200 grain bullet at 1000 ft/sec has 444 ftlbs of muzzle energy and 7.4 ftlbs of recoil energy.

If we use the 9mm as a baseline then the .40 has 1.4 times as much energy, the 10mm has twice the energy and the .45 has 1.2 times the energy. The .40 has 1.6 times the recoil, the 10mm has 2.5 times the recoil and the .45 has 1.8 times the recoil.

Ranked by energy the .40 comes in second to the 10mm, but with only 64% of the recoil. Ranked by least recoil the .40 is second to the 9mm, but with 40% more energy. Compared to the .45 the .40 has 117% of the energy and 89% of the recoil.

Before somebody “pooh, poohs” energy remember that energy is the ability to do work. In our case that means making a hole in a three dimensional target. All else being equal, more energy means a bigger hole. Recoil numbers indicate “shootability”, the ability to place accurate and quick shots on target. That said, the .40 S&W seems to snuggle right into the same approximate notch as the vaunted .45 Auto. So why all the “hate”?

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Grumulkin
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:35 am    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Who are the haters? I didn't know there were 40 S&W haters. It's currenty the darling of law enforcement and for good reason.

Now I did know there were 380 Auto and 9mm Parabellum haters.
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lesterg3
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:56 am    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Great comparison PSlinger.

I like my 40 just fine.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Very good "dissertation" Pumpkinslinger...

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Vince
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 8:33 am    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Never fired the 40 or 10mm, but I have fired the 9mm and 45 ACP...I'll take the 45 thanks.

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Tremblay
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 9:56 am    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

If you are going to shoot some thing it is all in the shot placement down to the 22...

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 10:08 am    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Great concept Tremblay. But if I just miss slightly atleast the .45 will do a lot more damage.

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Bushmaster wrote:
Great concept Tremblay. But if I just miss slightly atleast the .45 will do a lot more damage.

That's where practice comes in.

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slimjim
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

I have read that because of the 40s energy advantage and smaller diameter, it goes through a car door better than a 45 does.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:44 pm    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

I practice a lot. I have my own pistol range in my back yard. But...I can still "oops" once in a while.

Not sure how many car doors I'm going to be shooting at.

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Tremblay
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 2:49 pm    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Bushmaster wrote:
I practice a lot. I have my own pistol range in my back yard. But...I can still "oops" once in a while.

Not sure how many car doors I'm going to be shooting at.

Yup we all do but if it me or him I'm going to pull the trigger until it goes click, so chances are of 5 t0 14 are going to hit it mark.

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

I frequently see folks refering to the .40 as the "Short & Weak". I never have understood that but guess it comes from the 10mm fans.

Personally I've carried the 9mm and .40 (along with .357 Mag) and could be happy with the .45. I do lean toward the .40 due to energy and round count but I'm carrying a CZ P01 9mm most of the time these days. The 10mm, IMO, seeems more a woods/hunting round.

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Loke
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 3:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

The FBI has determined that an acceptable law enforcement load should penetrate somewhere between 12 and 16 inches of ballistic gelatin after penetrating various barriers. All of the ammo manufacturers are getting that from all of their defensive loads in all of the four popular defensive calibers. Those would be the 380, 9mm, 40, and 45. Since the 9mm costs up to 40% less for practice ammo than the others, it is a no-brainer why folks are choosing the 9mm over the others.
As well, the 40 S&W operates at what is considered +P pressures for the others. This contributes to higher slide velocities and more perceived recoil.
This is why there are many police agencies that are switching from the 40 to the 9mm. The 9mm is easier to shoot, and therefor easier to qualify with. Plus you get an extra round or two or three in the magazine.
This said, I own one 9mm, and two 40s.

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Bushmaster
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

Let's see. Before I left Lodi/Stockton, CA an eighty year old lady standing on her porch received 15 rounds of 9MM X 19 from a police officer who misstook her broom for a rifle. She lived. Yes I know. A lady shot her husband in the shower 6 times with a .357 magnum and he lived long enough to take the revolver from her and beat her to death with it. Then he died.

I have nothing against the .40 S&W because I don't own one. I do have two 9mm X 19s. Three .357 magnums. Three .38 Specials and two .45 ACPs. I still carry the 45 ACP more often then any of the others. I do, on ocassion, carry one of the .357 magnums (appendix). But mostly the Kimber UCC II in .45 ACP. If I was to carry my wife's .380 ACP I still would not feel underdressed.

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Pumpkinslinger
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PostPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2014 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Hating the .40 S&W? Reply with quote

I've heard the argument that the .40 operates at higher pressures but the SAAMI pressure specs for the 9x19mm and the .40 S&W are the same, 35000 psi.

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