Thinking about a .40 -- opinions?


August 9, 2003, 10:17 AM
I've never thought about this caliber before because I'm so recoil shy. But with the permit upgrade soon, I'm considering all kinds of guns and I don't have anything but 9mm and my .357 686 (I use only .38). The Glocks I want are all 9mm -- 17, 19, 26, but I've noticed the 19 and 23 are the same gun, just a different caliber. Also considering the Brig 96 Beretta but before I was worry about how unpleasant it might be to shoot and the ammo cost. I'm told the .40 is now available in a Winchester white box value pack -- but I've never seen it. Any thoughts on the forty?

If you enjoyed reading about "Thinking about a .40 -- opinions?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
August 9, 2003, 10:25 AM
I really like the .40/.357 Sig round and would HIGHLY recommend trying out a Sig in either a P229 or P239 in that caliber. My son at 12 put several rounds through my Sig with surprising accuracy for a kid. The recoil didn't bother him at all. Of course he liked shooting my old Kimber Ultra carry too. You can't go wrong with a quality gun like a Sig. The Beretta 96 I shot was OK but it just reminded me of my old SS 92F and was just too big and awkward and not as balanced to me as the Sigs.

August 9, 2003, 10:37 AM
IMO the 40 has a sharp recoil, it seems to have the intensity of the 9mm recoil with about 30% more recoil force than 45 acp. Recoil seems to be about double the 9mm, and certainly higher than 45 acp. The 40 is sharper than other mainstream auto calibers to me, but it should since energy levels are significantly higher than 9mm and 45 in most loadings.

If you are recoil shy the 40 is not the way to go unless in a BIG heavy STEEL gun, possibly a government length steel framed 1911?. The Glocks and the Berettas are quite light for the caliber, but either should be pretty easy to rent before buying.

I shoot a G22, Baby Eagle, and a P16 in 40 pretty regularly. I own the G22 and friends own the others. The G22/23 is a great package, but something to work into if recoil shy. A gun that is abusive to the shooter will undo MONTHS and YEARS of training, and each of us has a different level that we consider abusive. If you want a more powerful gun work into it slowly.

August 9, 2003, 11:17 AM
I've avoided .40 so far. I'm trying to keep my calibers to a reasonable number. I have yet to understand what .40 offers that you can't get in a hot 9mm or normal .45acp. A 9mm with Powr'Ball isn't enough?

Have you tried the Glock 30? If it fits your hand, you'll find a great all-around firearm.

August 9, 2003, 11:45 AM
Get the Glock 23! Light enough for carry, accurate, reliable and the recoil really isn't that bad.


August 9, 2003, 02:01 PM
Books can (and have) been written on the birth of the .40, but in a nutshell, it's a 10mm Auto case that was shortened until it would fit in a 9mm pistol.

With good loads, they seem to be a little more effective at stopping bad guys than a 9mm. A little more power, a little more recoil. Magazine capacity not much less than a 9mm. Of course, the .45 is a better choice for defense. The 10mm with full tilt loads is an even more better boom - a 10 shot .357 magnum.

For you I think a 9mm is probably a better choice. Good ammo accurately fired in a 9 is more than adequate for defense, and will kick less.

August 9, 2003, 02:01 PM
If you've already got the 686, why not just upgrade ammo? 38's in a +P or 357 magnums would surely do the trick & the 686 is a nice gun to shoot hotter loads from.

Peter Gun
August 9, 2003, 06:48 PM
I like .40 cal but it is a lot of recoil. I had a G22 which I thought was a good gun, but i found it too light for .40 and I was developing a flinch. I switched to a sig 229 and shoot much better. The sig is still somewhat light, but the extra weight and metal frame seem to do a better job of taming the recoil.
BTW, I'm not generally recoil shy, I shoot .357 and .44 all day long, but I feel a heavier gun will help you shoot .40 much better.

August 10, 2003, 02:37 AM
In a full-sized pistol (like my Daewoo DP-40) the .40 doesn't produce significantly more recoil than the 9mm. In lighter weapons, though, (like my Kel-Tec P-40) the recoil can be punishing. A lot will depend on the weapon you choose. If at all possible, try before you buy.

August 10, 2003, 06:06 AM
You might try the HK USP. The recoil system is designed reduce recoil and wear and tear on the gun. And they are noted for accuracy too. The best thing is to shoot a number of them and pick the one that is best for you.

August 10, 2003, 09:33 AM
How could you be recoil shy when you are shooting a .357 magnum already

August 10, 2003, 03:10 PM
I'v got an XD40,I don't think the recoil is that bad,kind of sharp but certainly not punishing.A guy makes a guide rod/recoil spring setup that reportably reduces the recoil and muzzle flip. I ran a few hundreds of the white box stuff thru it before I got my dies and was pleasantly surprised to get ESs of around 5-6 fps. Amazed actually.

August 10, 2003, 04:26 PM
Recoil Shy?
How could you be recoil shy when you are shooting a .357 magnum already

Zero, he said he only shoots .38's. I would second the Glock 23 or the Springfield XD 40 both guns are accurate and the felt recoil is not all that bad.

August 10, 2003, 04:28 PM
The CZ 75B in .40 caliber handles the .40 snap very well. Feels more like a stout 9mm.


August 10, 2003, 05:09 PM
40s don't recoil half as much as some folks would have you believe.

I've seen plently of folks new to firearms learn on 40s, and not knowing they were supposed to fear its recoil, did not.

August 10, 2003, 06:58 PM
I've owned a number of HKs (USP .40 Compact, USP Tactical, USC, and USP .45 Commemorative) and I can report excellent things about all of them. Well, maybe not the Commemorative...I don't shoot that one.

My USP .40 Compact was my carry pistol for some time. I put many, many rounds through it and had only a single jam with some really shoddy surplus ammunition. The recoil is fast and sharp, and for that reason my rapid fire accuracy is better with a .45 (my 1911 and USP Tactical, specifically). Still, the .40's excellent hybrid capabilities make it a solid defensive round, so it may be worth it if you're willing to spend some range time getting a feel for it.

I still recommend the .45 for defense due to personal preference, but that really what it's all about, anyway. Shoot some pistols and see what works for you.

Also, the basic USP variant has a safety/decocking lever that will allow you to carry cocked and locked with as much safety as any 1911 -- a major bonus for me.

Marko Kloos
August 10, 2003, 07:08 PM
I favor 9mm over .40S&W.

The marginal increase in terminal performance of .40 over 9mm Luger is bought at higher ammo cost, reduced capacity, and more wear on the gun.

August 10, 2003, 07:29 PM
Thanks guys. I'm a female shooter by the way...;) I appreciate all the advice about the .40. I'm still building my 9mm collection so I won't be making a purchase right away. Just curious about this caliber because I hear so much about it. I can't get the H&K in my state so it's the Glock and Beretta for me. Appreciate the feedback. :D

August 10, 2003, 07:38 PM
Personally, I would stick with the 9mm. Costs less to shoot than the .40 (10.96/100 versus 14.97/100 at Wal-Mart, value paks), less recoil, higher capacity with standard capacity magazines, and did I mention it costs less to shoot?

With the right defensive loads (Cor-Bon 115 grain +P or equivalent), the 9mm is just as good a stopper as any of the others, especially with good shot placement. Lots of people tell me that the 9mm is a wimp cartridge, but nobody will volunteer to get shot with one either :). For the best 9mm handgun, read the signature.

Just my .02,

August 11, 2003, 02:29 PM
The CZ 75B in .40 caliber handles the .40 snap very well. Feels more like a stout 9mm.
Agree 100% with this statement; my .40 cal 75B fits my hand and balances well, and is very accurate. I think the large steel frame also might help to counteract the recoil of the .40 cal, although I was never really bothered by the recoil in any of the other .40 S&W guns I've tried.

If you like Berettas, try the 96FS Vertec; with the Langdon Tactical Level 2 Trigger Action, this is an absolutely awesome gun!

rock jock
August 11, 2003, 02:54 PM
My main carry gun is a Glock 23. Personally, I do not find the recoil to be siginificantly greater than a 9mm. In a comparable weight 1911 chambered in .45 ACP, I find the recoil from the G23 to be much less. As far as 9mm vs. .40, well, there are plenty of opinions on this. Suffice it to say that for me, the .40 is a great compromise round.

August 11, 2003, 05:01 PM
Compare factory standard ammo (9mm/115gr, .40SW/180gr, and .45/230gr) in identical 1911 guns. I did. The 9mm is the lightest recoil, .40SW is about 30% up from there, and the .45 is about 30% up from that. If you compare the ammos in different guns (especially tupperware) the recoil will seem much worse.

I think the .40SW is a great cartridge. Try it in a good 1911 and decide for yourself.

August 11, 2003, 06:07 PM
I don't know if the "pre-ban" mags are available to you or not. If so, 15 good 9X19's in a G19 is a good thing. And 13 good .40's in the G23 is a favorite of mine. The G30 seems the same size to my tired old eyes, and holds 10 rounds of good .45's in a really accurate soft shooting pistol.

If you can only have post ban mags, I'd look at the G26/27 or the G30.
All three rounds generally work fine with good ammo. All these pistols are great. Quite a few females shoot all the above without trouble.

Of course, the Hi Power, in 9X19 or .40, is a fantastic pistol ;). And even more female shooters use the Hi Power. :)

August 11, 2003, 09:08 PM
I have a Sig P229 and don't see the .40 round near as bad as what I'm reading about here. My 12 year old son didn't blink shooting .40's after learning on .22 and then 9 mm, and now shoots the Sig as well as my .45's without any troubles or complaints of excessive recoil. In fact I sold his old favorite, S&W CS9 since he said the 9mm was "kinda boring like the .22", after shooting the Sig. Now he would much rather shoot my Sig or .45's than my .22's. I guess recoil is a relative thing.

shooting a .44 Mag... now that's recoil I can't imagine one of these new S&W .500 MONSTER revolver rounds! That's got to make most anyone recoil shy.

Ky Larry
August 11, 2003, 09:39 PM
MG, do you have access to a range that rents weapons? If so, try shooting several .40 S&W load/pistol combinations. The only way to know what you like is to shoot a variety. My CZ 75 .40 is very easy (for me) to shoot well but so is my S&W model 29 .44 Mag. Since you will be trusting your life and liberty to this weapon, only you can choose.
Shoot well and shoot often!

August 11, 2003, 09:48 PM
Well, I'm not female, but I am a small guy. :uhoh:

Anyway, I just moved from a large framed 9mm (Astra A-90) to a small framed .40 (Astra A-70). Does it kick more? Sure. That's why I'm shooting the crap out of it so I can 'know' my tool and be use to it. The more I shoot it, the more control I have over it, the more confident I feel with it.

Yeah, the ammo is a little more expensive than 9mm, but I made the choice of .40 cal for carry via research (here and other places on the www) that told me, "this is the caliber for you, Darrin."

I can't see this caliber as a 'range' type of gun. What I mean is, when I think of the .40 caliber, I think of "personal protection." When I think of the 9mm or .45 caliber, I think of "range gun," "competition gun," and "personal protection."

Yeah, well, IMO, IME, YMMV, etc... :)

August 11, 2003, 11:47 PM
The .40S&W is a ok round they could of made it better. 135grain rounds will hit 1200-1300fps out of 3-4 inch barrel and has tame recoil in good gun.

My favorite guns in .40S&W is Steyr M40 and Springfield XD

glocks have unsupported chambers which isnt horribly bad but reason for some caution.

Sig's are always good also if you have money to spare.

Steyrs retail for $600+ though are availible due to special arrangement with steyr-mannlicher of austria to sell them low till the fall then the price goes up.

August 12, 2003, 08:53 AM
If you are 'recoil sensitive' and don't reload, I would stick with the 9mm.

If you do reload, then you can 'tailor' almost any caliber, within reason, to a comfortable level for you.

August 13, 2003, 04:15 PM

If your choices are between Glock and Beretta I can report good experience with both the G22 & G23 from Glock in .40 S&W.

Weight shouldn't be an isssue (both are light), the G22 providing a little less recoil than the G23. The Glock trigger takes some getting used to. If the CZ-75B in .40S&W is approved in your state, I'd recommend consideration of that also. I have the CZ-75B in 9mm but have heard great reports about the .40S&W version also...CZ-75's tend to "outshoot" the shooter.

I don't have direct experience with the Beretta but you can get some hands on users feedback at the Beretta Forum

In general, the .40S&W was a moderate step up for me from the 9mm. I'd recommend starting with 180gr first based on my experiences. I'm a reasonably big guy (although vertically challenged), so I can't say how you'll react to it...if opportunity to "try before you buy" is available, by all means do so.

Good luck & safe shooting,


Sean Smith
August 13, 2003, 09:41 PM
Here is what I'd do in your situation, now that I'm smarter than I was when I was in your situation :D :

Since you are still "recoil shy," stick to 9x19 in your autoloaders for a while. More shooting more better, and it is hard to beat your practice-per-$ ability with 9x19.... except maybe with .38 Special, and you've got that covered, too.

Before you decide to get a more powerful autoloader, try hotter ammo in your 9mm or .357 Magnum. If that just seems like more fun, then get a more powerful autoloader. With practice, you can work your way up to at least .44 Magnum or so, but there is no reason to rush into more power if you don't really want to deal with the extra kick yet.

August 13, 2003, 10:05 PM
I still want to shoot a styer but i love my sw99 in .40. shooting it back to back with sheslinger's p99 in could barely tell which gun you were fireing. Only difference is the "snappiness" in a .40 round compared to the bluntness of a 9x19. .40's tend to snap back, not hard, but fast on their recoil. a .45 hits ya harder, but preceved recoil on the wrist is less, to me atleast. the .40 has a quick snap which sometimes can feel as it has more recoil than it does

Spanky McFly
August 13, 2003, 10:40 PM
I recently stepped down from a .45 to a .40. I am pleased with my improved accuracy, cost savings, and recoil. My wife shoots my USP40 and likes the recoil better than her .357 Ladysmith ( she will not shoot .38 out of her LS???). It's all what you get used to.

August 14, 2003, 11:25 AM
why do you shoot females? Aren't there any males to shoot?

I don't know where all this 'nasty .40 recoil' stuff is coming from. I mean, it's noticeable, and does seem to happen faster than .45 and all, but I don't find it bothersome and I'm no big guy (5'9" 174 lb) (oh, and blue eyes, 33 waist, good looking but no bust to speak of). In fact, I find that my Ruger P90 .45ACP kicks about the same. Both are actually PLEASANT.

I think it's a matter of gun fit, which can tame or worsen recoil. My G22 is comfy to my hands, yours may be another story. I like the fact that I can carry so many more rounds with 40 vs 45 though.

August 16, 2003, 08:08 PM
I just started m girlfriend shooting last week. First time at bat she shot a 8 shot 7" group @ 5 yds with .38's in my 608 Taurus (3-1/2 lbs and ported). Second time up she shot a 9 shot 6" group at 5 yds with a friends Baby Eagle semi-compact in .40, 6 of the 9 inside 2". That was her first two times ever firing a weapon to my knowledge.

IMO recoil is relative. She didn't know that .40 has a "bad" rep for recoil and I didn't tell her. In fact she put 60 rounds out of the .40 and 30 out of my 608 that day. The reason we left was time constraints, she wanted to shoot the .40 more. Her chief complaint about both guns was they weighed too much. I just ordered me a Baby Eagle compact poly frame in .40 and plan to rent her a 9mm next time to get her opinion.

If it would help I could get her opinion first hand on .40 recoil from a first time shooter for you.

If you enjoyed reading about "Thinking about a .40 -- opinions?" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!