Please help me choose a 40 cal. pistol ...


January 9, 2013, 03:12 PM

I live in NJ and purchasing handguns here is limited to only one a month and requires permit applications each time (pain in the a**) so I want to make sure I make the right choice. Renting before buying is not an option because there are no ranges near me with rentals.

I have a number of 9mm pistols which I shoot very well but want to add a 40 cal. to my collection. I did borrow a Glock 22 once and shot it well but feel that the Glock 23 is more similar in hand feel to my G19 which I like a lot.

What I am looking for is the "softest shooting" 40 that feels as close to a 9mm (muzzle flip/recoil) as possible. Below are the pistols I am considering and I am looking for opinions on which comes closest to what I'm looking for.

Glock 23
Beretta Px4 Storm
Beretta 96FS
HK USP compact
Sig P229
Sig P226
Smith & Wesson M&P

I appreciate any opinions offered, even if describing a pistol not on my list. Thank you all in advance.


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January 9, 2013, 03:20 PM
Glock 23 is probably a good choice. My personal preference would be that or the M&P. Keep in mind that unless you want one of the worst SFA triggers known to man, you're going to want to get an APEX kit on the M&P. With the kit it works pretty good.

I have a M&P 9C with the APEX kit, and I like it a lot. I don't own any Glocks, but I haven't had any problems with them. I'm half considering Glock over M&P for my next pistol.

January 9, 2013, 03:27 PM
Springfield XD!!

I have a Glock 23 now.
And it would already be traded for a XD long ago if I wasn't already upside down on Glock magazines and holsters.


January 9, 2013, 03:41 PM
I always go with "hits are better than misses," so get what you shoot best.

Go with the Glock if it feels best to you and you shoot your 19 well.

January 9, 2013, 04:01 PM
You probably already knew this, but a .40 caliber Glock can shoot .357 Sig with just a barrel swap. Also, you can buy a 9 mm conversion barrel for a G23 which would allow it to shoot 9 mm. I have a Glock 32 (compact .357 Sig) and have barrels for all three calibers.

I believe other brands also have similar options (Sig, S&W, etc.)


January 9, 2013, 04:03 PM
Edit: nevermind

January 9, 2013, 04:13 PM
Browning High Power.

January 9, 2013, 04:53 PM
I would go with either the P226 or the USP "Compact", both are very close in price.. the P226 Std. is slightly larger than the USP in length with obvious longer barrel length...the Sig for about $100 more you can add the SIGLITE Night Sights, whereas the USP as far as I know does not have that option from the factory.
I voted though for the P226.

January 9, 2013, 07:46 PM
I asked a similar question on at least one forum recently, and the S&W M&P40 received most recommendations, but the only other candidates were G22, G23, P226, and P229. The P229 has notably more muzzle flip than a G22, which I learned when switching from the G22 to P229 for police duty pistol purposes. At that time, the increase in muzzle flip did not bother me, and I shot the P229 more accurately. One of my wrists, however, with age, wear, and tear, is not tolerating the P229's cumulative muzzle flip too well these days, even if the afflicted hand is the support hand, so I posted the question, as I ponder switching to a kinder, gentler duty pistol.

I did not vote in the poll, as the only .40 pistols I have fired are the Browning Hi-Power, G22, G27, and P229. I feel I would need more experience to provide a qualified response.

Edited to add: I owned my .40 Brownings in the mid-1990s, and cannot remember how their recoil compares to the other .40 pistols I have fired.

January 9, 2013, 08:34 PM
Taurus PT140 Millennium Pro
... but I'm partial ;)

January 9, 2013, 08:38 PM
I voted m&p, but I do like the Glock23. I'd probably buy a Springfield XD40 though...

January 9, 2013, 08:42 PM
I have a G22, just sold a G23. Since you like the G22 you tried, that would be my choice. To me, the G23 will not shoot as soft as any 9mm. The 23 and 19 are similar in size, but that is where that similarity ends. With this said, the G23 is a great pistol, do your best to try one.

January 9, 2013, 09:11 PM
one vote for the Springfield EMP....AND it looks good doin' it.

January 9, 2013, 09:21 PM
Pains me to say it, but of those listed, the Glock. What can I say ... they work.

January 9, 2013, 10:10 PM
A 1911 in .40S&W is a pussy cat. I have a Kimber Classic in the .40 and it fun to shoot.

My Glock 23, on the other hand, is not so much fun to shoot.

January 9, 2013, 10:24 PM
"I have a Glock 23 now.And it would already be traded for a XD long ago if I wasn't already upside down on Glock magazines and holsters."

Now is the time to sell those GLOCK mags. Ebay auctions for 10 rd mags are getting insanely high bids. Saw 2 10 rd G21 mag sell for $130 today.

January 10, 2013, 09:55 AM
Stick to 9mm if you want a pistol that shoots like a 9mm. The .40 S&W is a solution in search of a problem.

January 10, 2013, 10:23 AM
Here is another very recent and similar thread, from the Autoloader's section, that may give you some more information.

January 10, 2013, 03:13 PM
Not on your list, but consider the CZ SP01 Tactical in 40sw. I have the same gun in 9mm and its sweet! It's a heavy gun, probably 2lbs and all steel which will soak up the snappy 40 round. I own a sr40 and thats also a good choice.

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January 10, 2013, 03:27 PM
I voted "other" and that would be for the Smith & Wesson Model 4006- now discontinued but still available in good condition as "police trade-ins" and elsewise at very affordable prices. This "third generation" Smith variant is a traditional da semi-auto with decocker and slide-mounted safety. It is relatively heavy due to its all s/s construction but this aids in controlling recoil for quick repeat shots. The Model 4006 is one of the original .40 cal. pistols, is built like a tank, plenty accurate and is as reliable as a baby's wet diaper. I recommend it highly.

Claude Clay
January 10, 2013, 03:33 PM
not on your list but its my carry gun and range gun and also has a 9mm & 357 Sig BBls.
the Sig P239-40

Highland Ranger
January 10, 2013, 04:04 PM
Get the original - HK 40 USP

January 10, 2013, 05:12 PM
A full-size .40 will have the recoil of a compact 9mm. A compact .40 will have the recoil of a subcompact 9mm. A subcompact .40 will have the recoil of a pocket 9mm. So, if you're used to a G19, a G22 will have similar recoil.

The Beretta 96 is a pretty light recoiler... got to shoot one once. The Sig 226 would be my guess as the lightest of the bunch.

I do think the recoil of the .40 is way overstated, though. I have never noticed a difference in performance in comparably-sized 9mm, .40sw, and .45acp.

January 10, 2013, 06:33 PM
I'll post in a few weeks after I've made a selection. Thank you again.


January 10, 2013, 08:03 PM
Sig... change the slide and you have 9mm or .357sig

Awesome pistol.

January 10, 2013, 08:26 PM
Walther PPQ.

January 10, 2013, 08:45 PM
CZ P07 Duty
Great trigger, ergonomics, decocker or safety your choice.

January 10, 2013, 10:21 PM
I have two gen3 Glock 23's, one of which is my primary carry gun. I also have an M&P 40 with the 4.25" barrel. The basic difference between these twos guns is their size. The M&P holds two more rounds and has a superb grip feel which can be altered with their supplied inserts. It is accurate and shoots with less felt recoil than the Glock 23.

The Glock is easier to clean and I give it the edge on reliability. It is a little smaller which means it is easier to conceal. With quality after market sights, it is also quite accurate.

This one's a toss up and almost completely a personal preference sort of choice. Let's put it this way. I have both and choose to carry one of my Glock 23's. I guess that says a lot in the long run.

January 10, 2013, 10:41 PM
I voted other. Steyr m40. I could ramble on and on, but all the info is out there. No need to reinvent the wheel.

My second pick is the m&p........great pistol as well, but I prefer the steyr.

Highland Ranger
January 11, 2013, 08:02 AM
What part of NJ are you in?

New range in North Jersey rents:

January 11, 2013, 02:16 PM

January 11, 2013, 02:25 PM
Glock 23 or M&P, if you own a 19 the 23 makes the most sense it will feel the same in the hand. the low bore axis of the Glock and M&P will keep the felt recoil lower than some of the others you noted.

January 11, 2013, 08:16 PM
I very much appreciate all the replies. I carefully studied all recommendations as well as the survey results. The survey winner was the M&P but I purchased the HK USP Compact in 40 cal. I was at the range and was able to to try one out from a fellow shooter who was kind enough to let me try it. I loved it and was sold! My next purchase (after 30 day waiting period) will likely be the Glock 23 as its similar to my G19.

Even the HK finished last in the survey it just felt great in my hand, shot very well and felt like a quality piece that I will keep.

Thanks again for all the kind replies,


January 12, 2013, 05:22 AM
I'd give the XD or XDM a try as your next pistol. They've got very high capacities, are very accurate, and are awesomely reliable. Plus they're comfortable and have backstraps that can be swapped out, which is a very big plus.

I've got two Springfield XDM pistols in different calibers. One in .40S&W (16+1) and one in 9mm (19+1). They've both been amazing guns.

XDM 4.5" Stainless 9mm:

XDM 4.5" Black .40S&W:

January 12, 2013, 08:21 AM
Get the original - HK 40 USP


The original was the S&W 4006,
Glock actually got the G22 on the shelves quicker but it doesn't stop the S&W from being the first.

For the OP Id go with the 96..

January 12, 2013, 06:38 PM
The original was the S&W 4006,
Glock actually got the G22 on the shelves quicker but it doesn't stop the S&W from being the first.

Yep, tarosean is exactly right. Of course, being first doesn't necessarily make you best but, in this case, I think it does.

January 12, 2013, 10:01 PM
I would buy the SIG 226 in your case...

January 12, 2013, 11:58 PM
I voted for the Glock, (I own a G23) but I would be hard pressed to pass on an M&P. They don't have the options like the Glock but they sure do shoot nice.

January 13, 2013, 12:02 AM
All I can say is that I love my G23, and if I could have only one .40 it would be the G23.

January 13, 2013, 12:17 PM
I have a Beretta 96, G27, and a Star 31. The Star is by far the softest shooting and is so heavy, once you're in a wheelchair due to a bad back from carrying it, will seem even softer.

The G27 is not at all pleasant to shoot IMO but I own it so.....yeah, I own it....hangs out in the safe a lot!

The 96 is a good compromise and is very comfortable to shoot but it's, IMO, to large to carry. I've never held one but I would bet the M&P is comfortable too.

I typically carry a 9mm, occasionally a. 45 unless dressed up and then it's a 380.....pocket holster of course.

January 13, 2013, 02:03 PM
I can reccomend the two that I currently own SIG 229 and Ruger SR40c, both are outstanding pistols

January 13, 2013, 11:17 PM
I recommend either a Ruger SR40 or a Springfield Armory XD 40.

January 14, 2013, 01:33 AM
I would recommend any of the guns you have mentioned but have to say, the Glock 23 is the logical choice. It is identical to your G19 so the only thing you have to get used to is slightly more recoil. You won't have to switch between grip angles if you stay with Glock too, making switching between guns a bit easier. I too am of the belief that the recoil of .40 has been greatly exaggerated. I may be biased though as I have been carrying a 23 for over 18 years. Comfortable, concealable, reliable.

PPQ has the best trigger of the bunch though.

January 14, 2013, 03:42 PM
Ruger SR40

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