.40 S&W ammo for those who think the .40 is too "snappy"


October 22, 2011, 10:11 PM
I read posts all the time discussing the fact that .40 S&W recoil is uncomfortable for some folks to shoot. Hornady is now making the perfect practice ammo for people who are new to the .40S&W, or need a lower-recoil round to practice with. Its also great for anyone who wants some quality range ammo to have fun with that does not cost an arm and a leg.

Hornady's 180 grain Steel Match traveling at 950fps is some very soft shooting ammo, and accurate to boot. Handguns magazine just had an article on it which prompted me to buy some to try out. I have never run across any .40S&W (that I didn't load myself) that shot any easier in my GLOCK 23. It was very accurate and well manufactured. The cases aren't re-loadable, but then if you reload, you can already load up any velocity you want.

Note: I shoot full power ammo in my .40 and have no real problem with the recoil level. I also own a Glock 20 in 10mm, and shoot full power loads in it. So, please save any macho lectures that are bubbling up inside some of you for another time. Soft shooting ammo can be fun for the shooting public as well. :)

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October 22, 2011, 10:14 PM
I handload 40 with 180g moly and 3.4gr tg - very soft shooting for steel or simple minor.

October 22, 2011, 10:19 PM

October 22, 2011, 10:20 PM
According to Hornady's website these .40's (and the .45's) should make major power factor.

The Lone Haranguer
October 22, 2011, 11:27 PM
Hornady's 180 grain Steel Match traveling at 950fps is some very soft shooting ammo ...
Is this not the original spec and loading for the cartridge? How would it recoil less?

October 22, 2011, 11:44 PM

October 22, 2011, 11:47 PM
I think most companies now load 180 grain .40S&W to at least 980fps, if not much more. The article in Handguns Magazine chrono'd this same round at 911fps, so it may be a bit slower than Hornady advertises. This is definitely the softest shooting factory .40S&W I have ever used. Try it for yourself. It certainly won't break the bank price-wise.

October 22, 2011, 11:49 PM
right under 20 dollars a box.

October 22, 2011, 11:51 PM
A bargain! *cough*

October 22, 2011, 11:52 PM
Is this not the original spec and loading for the cartridge? How would it recoil less?
The heavier bullet at lower velocity gives the recoil a feel that is perceived as more of a slow push than the fast snap of the lighter bullets at higher velocities. This is the same reason that most folks perceive standard pressure 230gr .45 ACP recoil to be less than the recoil from most (if not all) .40 S&W loads. Basically, using the slower loading spreads the recoil force across a longer amount of time, which makes it feel like less recoil.

October 23, 2011, 12:02 AM
That's because it IS less recoil.... because it is going slower.....

October 23, 2011, 12:07 AM
Yeah, I know its not the cheapest ammo on the market, but keep in mind it is loaded with Hornady's accurate HAP competition hollowpoints. These are not basic round nose ball ammo like all the bargain-basement rounds. I'm not suggesting them for their price, but for soft recoil and accuracy.

October 23, 2011, 12:09 AM
right under 20 dollars a box.

Of 50?

October 23, 2011, 01:28 AM
180 gr TCFP with 3.8-4.1 gr of W231/HP-38 will produce mild softer recoil than 9mm loads that are very accurate.

I used this load to transition many 9mm shooters to 40S&W. Once they get over the initial shock at the "lack of snappy recoil", I incrementally increase the powder charge to max.

Cost? About $7 for 50. :D

October 23, 2011, 04:47 PM
Yeah, I reload my own too, using Berry's plated bullets most of the time. For the shooter that does not handload, though, low recoiling rounds for the .40 are sometimes hard to find.

The American Eagle line from Federal use to have a very low recoil 165 grain practice round, but they recently bumped the velocity up 50 fps or more on that load as well, and it lost its previous recoil characteristics. I use to buy that one a lot when a new shooter wanted to try a .40S&W

October 23, 2011, 05:11 PM
I don't get thinking the .40 is too snappy... Is that for people who only shoot .22s?

October 23, 2011, 05:15 PM
I have never owned or shot .40SW but have used .45ACP quite a bit. I bought Remington subsonic HPs to try out. The difference in velocity between that and standard load is about same as we have here. I could not detect any difference in felt recoil. The only way I would try this Hornady ammo is if it was cheaper then brass cased fmjs places like Walmart sell.

October 23, 2011, 05:44 PM
I don't get thinking the .40 is too snappy... Is that for people who only shoot .22s?

It's people that aren't used to it yet.

October 23, 2011, 09:28 PM
GOOGLED ".40S&W + Snappy Recoil" 129,000 results containing those combined words.

October 23, 2011, 10:29 PM
Yeah...my wife shoots a .22 and anything bigger than that has too much recoil. I think their are a lot of shooters who need laser pistols with zero recoil. Hey it is a frigging weapon and it ought to "bark" a little. I think powerful handguns are a lot less messy than swords and clubs.

October 24, 2011, 03:51 AM
pmc bronze is probably one of the lightest recoiling 40cals fmj's out there.

180gr HST is very soft recoiling jhp ammo as well.

Seven For Sure
October 24, 2011, 07:49 AM
Federal EFMJ is the softest shooting factory .40 ammo I've come across. The bullets are full of plastic and very long for 165's. They were a steal online about a year ago.

October 24, 2011, 08:36 AM
I guess I wouldn't recommend someone starting off with .40. Let them shoot the S&W .460, then a .22, and show them that 9mm, .40, and .45 aren't so bad. LOL

October 24, 2011, 09:13 AM
A few years back, my then 22yo son announced he wanted to shoot every one of my guns. As expected the .22s were gentle, the 9mm was good, the .357 mag was stout with full power loads in a 4" barrel and the .40 was just too uncomfortable. Then he fired my Super Blackhawk a few times (245 grain cast SWC/24 grains H110) and got his first taste of what handgun recoil was all about. After a dozen or so .44 Mag rounds, he decided the .40 S&W was not so bad after all.

It's all about perspective. Those of us who cut our teeth on magnum revolvers have a totally different take on what's "snappy" and what's not. So, my take on the gentlest .40 S&W round is exposure to a few large caliber magnum revolver loads. Certain cartridges are just not meant for certain people.

October 24, 2011, 09:18 AM
First, I stick to .40s that are full steel framed so there is more weight to the gun itself, which reduces perceived snap.

But the big difference for me is in bullet weight. I bought a lot of the 135 grain Winchester Ranger and it seems to be more tame. Try ammo with lower bullet weights and see if it helps.

October 24, 2011, 09:22 AM
I have found I prefer the recoil of a 40 and shoot it better than a 9. Why? I don't know but I do. For that reason I am considering a .40 as my next purchase.

October 24, 2011, 09:26 AM
I guess I wouldn't recommend someone starting off with .40
I suggest to people to get 40 caliber Glocks (http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/468867/lone-wolf-conversion-barrel-glock-22-40-s-and-w-to-9mm-luger-1-in-16-twist-449-stainless-steel) / M&Ps (http://www.midwayusa.com/Product/646127/storm-lake-conversion-barrel-smith-and-wesson-m-and-p-40-s-and-w-to-9mm-luger-1-in-16-twist-425-stainless-steel) and a 9mm conversion barrel along with 9mm magazines. This way, you can practice with lower recoiling/cheaper 9mm ammo while you work towards full-power 40S&W loads.

Another benefit is after the range session, you simply swap out the conversion barrel with factory barrel and you are ready for SD/HD!

October 24, 2011, 08:03 PM
Again, nobody in this thread was saying that they could not handle .40S&W. However, I have seen in the past, several people who had just purchased .40's who were intimidated to the point of selling the gun. Tame ammo would go a long way toward mitigating their dislike of the caliber until they developed the skills to shoot it well. I don't think telling them to get a more expensive all steel gun, or making them shoot a .500S&W magnum before they fire their .40 cal would endear them to the shooting sports either.

October 24, 2011, 10:47 PM
180 grain Bear Creek Moly bullets over 2.8g Red Dot. 715 fps, cases land on the bill of your hat and recoil similar to a light .38 special. This works 100% in my FS M&P40 with the stock recoil spring. I like alternating between these and mags full of full-house loads. That way I can make sure I am not flinching when shooting either.

October 24, 2011, 11:34 PM
Wow... 2.8gr Red Dot? That is a pussycat. Does the slide lock back?

October 25, 2011, 12:17 AM
I didn't think my Taurus 740 Slim or my Ruger SR40c were hard recoiling. The Slim had a bit more muzzle flip than my SR40c but not bad. On my Ruger I removed the pinky extension on the 10 round magazine and put on the flat floor plate. The recoil wasn't bad enough to need the extra grip length. Not to mention it make it easier to conceal. I will admit if I had to fire more than 100 rounds in a session I'd prefer to do it with my P345 because the .45 does feel very mild in recoil. But the .40 isn't bad at all. It might be a bit much for someone who's never fired a pistol before, but those kind of folks would find a .38 pretty tough to handle until they got used to it too.

October 25, 2011, 12:27 AM
Wow... 2.8gr Red Dot? That is a pussycat. Does the slide lock back?

Yes it does. Hapily, everything functioned perfectly. I've made and shot about 200 of these and the only annoyance is that the brass pops out only a couple of feet and can land on your head. That's why I wear a baseball cap while shooting these loads (as well as shooting glasses that won't allow brass to get trapped between it and my forehead). For the shear fun of it, the little annoyance is worth it. I even tried 2.5g, but it didn't feel any softer than 2.8, so I just keep it at 2.8.

October 25, 2011, 01:31 PM
Another benefit is after the range session, you simply swap out the conversion barrel with factory barrel and you are ready for SD/HD!

Many would suggest that....

... no. Never mind. :evil:

November 3, 2011, 07:32 PM
I shot some more 2.5g Red Dot loads yesterday for the purpose of running them through the chrony and it was considerably cooler than the last time. I think about 2.8g is the limit because with the 2.5's the first shot didn't completely cycle. The next nine fired just fine, but the slide did not lock back on the 10th round. I could probably go lower with a lighter spring, but I don't like the idea of swapping parts back and forth while also swapping loads back and forth, too easy to make a mistake and batter the slide or frame.

Average MV of the 2.5g Red Dot was 662 fps on a 65F day, average for the 2.8g Red Dot was 712 fps on an 81F day.

November 10, 2011, 11:48 AM
Shot 50 rounds of .40 through my new Kahr CW40 this weekend. As far as I'm aware, it is about the 2nd smallest and 2nd lightest of all .40s made (Kahr PM40 being the only one smaller...). The recoil was very manageable and follow-up shots were fairly easy. Overall, it really wasn't much more difficult than my Glock model 22 .40 to shoot, control, manage, etc.

The main difference was that the checkering on the back of the grip was almost tattooed into my hand after those 50 rounds. On the other hand, I've shot 100-200 rounds through the Glock 22 at any given time and there has never been any discomfort at all. I wouldn't call it painful, but by 50 shots it was starting to get uncomfortable.

November 10, 2011, 02:12 PM
To some, the recoil of a .40 S&W is 'snappy'. I have shoot my Glock 22 many 1000's of rounds and I have never felt it was 'snappy'. I think the hype has many people convinced of the greater, uncontrollable recoil when they go from a 9MM to the .40 S&W. The felt recoil is more, but not what they expect when they shoot my Glock.

November 10, 2011, 08:40 PM
I don't get thinking the .40 is too snappy... Is that for people who only shoot .22s?

That's was my reaction ... :scrutiny:

A non-snappy .40 is a 9-minimeter, which is just above .22lr in the recoil department ...:rolleyes:

C'mon, let's get serious .... :evil:

November 11, 2011, 02:37 AM
I believe the first pistol I fired that was chambered in .40S&W was a Sig 228. I did indeed leave with the impression that a .40 S&W was a snappy round. The second was a G23 and compared to my G19, I also believed the recoil characteristics were snappier than the 9mm.

I then purchased a Steyr M40 when CDNN was selling them for an insanely low price. The recoil, using the same ammunition, was different entirely and not "snappy" at all.

The next .40 S&W I purchased (and my current choice for carry) was a Smith and Wesson M&P 40 compact and it too is not something I would consider snappy. I don't know if I got used to the recoil or if it really does have something to do with low bore axis as some folks like to say, but the .40S&W is not at all unpleasant to shoot IMO.

Shadow 7D
November 11, 2011, 01:11 PM
.40 come is a HUGE variety of flavors
from 220gr. slow movers to 135 lightning streaks. I personally find the 155-165gr a nice middle ground. BUT I have a but load of 180grn ammo, and it's not what I use in 'recoil sensitive' guns like the KT P40.

November 11, 2011, 01:24 PM
I can reload 1000 .45 rounds for $100 bucks. No thanks Hornady, but nice try. Maybe some people can use it.

I shot some factory .40 ammo and I didn't think it was all that snappy. Learn a good grip and you won't have a problem.

November 11, 2011, 03:03 PM
I think I stated two things clearly in the opening post;

1. If you reload, you would not be interested in these, as you can make them yourself.

2. These might be of interest to people who DO find the .40 S&W to be too snappy, especially if they are a NEW SHOOTER trying to learn good technique.

If you reload, or if you don't find the hottest factory .40 caliber loads to be objectionable, then I really don't see why you would bother responding to the thread by stating, basically, that you don't fit either of those categories. Posting that YOU don't find the .40 to be snappy does not change the fact that many people who are new to shooting do.

I like the .40 S&W round in ALL of its versions, and hate to see people abandon a perfectly good round simply because they haven't stumbled upon some of the lower recoiling .40 cal loads yet.

Some of you act like your manhood is being threatened any time someone mentions a .40S&W that is not loaded to thermonuclear pressures, are just running people away from one of the most versatile rounds out there. It is perfectly acceptable for people to use lower recoiling loads to learn with, and just to have fun with. Get over yourselves.

Those of us who reload know how much fun the .40 can be. Others deserve to too.

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