Tell me why the .40 is not the best all around defensive round?


Waxed Canvas
March 27, 2004, 11:23 AM
Aside from poorly designed handguns that fire out of battery( and they know who they are ), why would the .40 not be the most effective round ever devised for applications inside of 15 yards?

'Small enough to be in a compact weapon yet large enough to have the power to put someone on their arse end. What is not to like?

PS: I do not own a .40 right now and I am thinking " out loud ".

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March 27, 2004, 11:41 AM
I do have a 40 and with woodchucks and feral dogs I find no difference in performance between the 40 and 45. Both are better than the 9mm. The 40 also comes in the same size package as the 9mm. It hasn't been around very long but has been very widely accepted by law enforcement.It's a winner and you won't regret getting one.

March 27, 2004, 11:45 AM
Because it's not a 45. LOL Just kidding, I think it's a great round. I don't think there is one "best" round. I like the 45acp but I sure as hell wouldn't stand in front of someone shooting at me with even a 25. Go with what you can shoot well and practise.

Black Snowman
March 27, 2004, 12:07 PM
Downsides? Slower follow-ups and slightly lower capacity than a 9mm. Smaller and lighter round than a .45 ACP but with about equal recoil (feel can be quite differant). Bad rap for Ka-Booms caused by hot-rodding an already maxed-out cartridge. Not a 10mm ;)

I'm a bigger is better kinda guy and the .40 is the biggest you can get in a "little" gun. It's the largest round in a little gun that I can shoot rapidly while retaining some sembalance of accuracy. Over-all it's pretty good all right, as it's popularity would suggest.

If I have the room and weight I'd go with a rifle as my primary defensive weapon. But for CCW or folks who don't want to hump too much weight the .40 makes for a good size and potent gun.

The 1st centerfire pistol I shot was a Super Blackhawk in .44 Mag so when I was shopping for my own handgun I was leaning tward an automatic but the 9mm guns were so diminutive in comparison I couldn't take them seriously. 9mm is a good round but after lighting off a long string of .44 Mag it just doesn't inspire confidence ;)

At the time none of the guns I tried in .45 ACP fit me well and they were all single stacks. I just didn't want to have to buy and stuff so many magazines at the range. Plus .40 was the latest craze at the time and everyone was doing it ;) On paper the .40 S&W just seemed plain better than the .45 ACP. Nearly as big a bullet, about the same energy, but I could pack almost twice as many into a magazine.

I'm going to get some flavor of CZ 75 in .40 S&W for a carry gun. Right now I'm leaning tward an SA. I have a Glock 24P in it which I used in informal competitions for years, like local bowling pin shoots, and it has served me well but if I'm going to be saddled with single action style handling I want a single action trigger pull. For a BUG and pocket gun for when there won't be room to carry a holster I'll be getting a CZ RAMI in .40 S&W. For open carry I'll tote my Delta Elite, because it's bigger, badder, and prettier ;)

Both guns will be loaded with home grown 135 gr Noslers loaded fairly hot as these are the cheapest 135 grain JHPs I've found and I'll be using the same recipie for my practice loads as for my defensive loads. They also happen to be very accurate from all the .40s I've tried them in so far.

Sean Smith
March 27, 2004, 12:10 PM
-The .45 makes a bigger hole and has less recoil.
-The 10mm is more powerful and versatile.
-9x19 has less recoil and matches .40 S&W power levels with hotter +P/+P+ loads anyway.
-.357 Sig is somewhat more powerful.
-All of the above seem more accurate, on average, from most guns.

The .40 S&W advantages can be summed up pretty easily:

-Bigger bullet than 9x19
-More power than most (if not all) 9x19 loads
-Fits in a frame designed for 9x19
-Ammunition is pretty cheap

Personally, I would prefer .45 ACP or 10mm for a bigger gun, and 9x19 for a smaller gun.

Gary H
March 27, 2004, 12:14 PM
There is no "best." The best is a person that knows when to shoot and can quickly hit exactly what they are aiming at.

I have a P7M10 and G35 in .40. I don't shoot them much because I prefer to reload a low pressure load, the .45ACP. More shooting.. better shooting. At least that is my operational theory. Of course, if you don't reload that makes the 9mm queen. Too puny to be king.

March 27, 2004, 12:59 PM
I'd think it's misleading to list "disadvantages" like:

slower than .9
smaller than .45

as those aren't really two seperate things but symptoms of the size of the round. If you want to work like that things can get pretty ridiculous. A list of greater than, less than statements isn't a good place to look for cartridge comparisons. It's about finding that "sweet spot" on all those sliding scales, personally I think .40 does it pretty well. But not signifigantly better than any other major cartridge.

March 27, 2004, 01:27 PM
With modern bullet technology and quality factory ammunition there really isn't a whole lot of difference in the 9mm +P/+P+, 40 and 45 to the target. It is going to be a REALLY bad day for anything shot with any of them, I doubt Mr. Badguy is going to be much if any better or worse from one compared to the other. They are all going to work very well with good placement, but opinions abound and choices exist for all of us.

Personally I am a 40 and 45 guy. I like light fast bullets in the 40 and heavy slow bullets in the 45. Each has merits, and detractors. Find what suits you and go with it.

I, like a lot of people here, tried very hard to not like the 40 but objective thinking brought me around. It won't work for everyone, but it did for me:rolleyes: .

I think that the 40 is right out there with the very best defensive rounds ever devised. The only downside I have seen is recoil is stout and sharp in most guns, and it is more than most people can handle. It is my opinion that the majority of people would be best equipped with a service pistol sized 9mm or a K-frame sized 38 with +P ammunition.

March 27, 2004, 01:59 PM
I have owned several 40's and just did not find a platform I enjoyed shooting well enough to keep. I just prefer shooting 9mm & 45 acp more...for me it's purely a subjective decision.

March 27, 2004, 03:33 PM
I've never found any .40S&W to match the accuracy of a comparable 9mm or .45acp. It truly is a compromise between the 2 cartridges and handguns.

March 27, 2004, 04:19 PM
I've got nothing against the .40, I just don't see a need for it my collection. Personally, in a small gun, Kahr K series size and smaller, I'd rather have a 9, more rounds, better follow up shots, slightly smaller and lighter weapon. In a mid size and full size gun, make mine a .45. Recoil in LW commander size guns is no problem for me. Oh, and I like to keep my number of different calibers to a minimum. Those Dillon SDB caliber conversions are expensive! I don't like .40 recoil either, a little too "snappy" for my tastes.

P.S. My thinking that I only like small 9mms went out the window when I saw that like new BHP Mk III for $450 w/ 2 standard cap mags awhile back! Old school "Wonder 9"


March 27, 2004, 04:23 PM
Because nobody argues with a 12 gauge

March 27, 2004, 04:46 PM
Depends on the ammo. I flimited to ball, I like the .45. If HP ammo then I like the .45 and the .40.

The 40 SW seems to have amassed a pretty good record of performance in the LE community...if that ain't so let me know. As for the stout recoil, well different folks have different tolerance levels. I say shoot the biggest you can shoot accurately and quickly. I have fired the Glock 23, and HKUSP in .40 and the Glock definately had more recoil than the HK. I now favor the CZ 75B .40. All steel and deals with the .40 recoil well, plus in the beginning the .40 guns were known to be less than stellar in the accuracy department...not so with the CZ. I have been pleasantly surprised with it's capabilities.

Waxed Canvas
March 27, 2004, 05:32 PM
Yes the .40 is not super accurate in many weapons although in a Sig 239 it is very much so for the record. The thing I see is in a weapon like the SA XD 40 sub compact or a SW99 sub compact, the .40 looks like the logical choice to me.

I am leaning towards a SW99 compact in .40.

March 27, 2004, 05:58 PM
I like it, in the right gun. It's faster than a 9mm, has more energy than a 9mm, blasts a bigger hole than a 9mm all in a heavier bullet than a 9mm.

Some reasons not to get:

Heavier recoil
Heavier gun in many identical models
Heavier loaded magazine, ie, 10 on 10
Heavier on the wallet in ammo

Jerry the Geek
March 28, 2004, 05:48 AM
<< Tell me why the .40 is not the best all around defensive round?
Aside from poorly designed handguns that fire out of battery( and they know who they are ), why would the .40 not be the most effective round ever devised for applications inside of 15 yards? >>

It depends.

If you're going for hi-cap in a small pistol, the 9x19 is hard to beat. Anything smaller is going to give you dubiously inconsistant results in a defensive situation.

The .40 is typically built on a 9x19 frame, but with performance characteristics of the 45acp.

The .45acp is usually a better performer ... depending on bullet choice ... but you have a smaller magazine capacity.

Think about the 10mm. Big Ten is built on the .4acp frame, while the 40 is built on the 9mm frame. The 40 gives you less magazine capacity than the 9mm, and the performance is dubious. If you load your own ammo, it's too easy to push the envelope too far and end up with a KaBOOM! because you loaded the round too short or used too fast a powder.

The 10m is a more robust cartridge, can handle heavy loads better Usually has a fully supported chamber, unlike the 9x19 or .40.

Better, the 10mm has the magazine capacity of the .40, the ability to handle powerful loads of the .45acp.

Downsides: few defensive handguns are built for the 10mm, the frame is heavier, you have to go to double-stack to find an advantage for either 10mm or .40 S&W over the .45acp.

Bottom line: if you can only shoot 1 to 7 rounds, go for the .45. If you need h-cap, the 9x19. If you don't know how may shots you'll need, the 10mm is a superior cartridge and allows hi-cap magazines. The .40 may KaBOOM! on the first round, if you load it wrong, but may combine the advantages of the smaller frame, similar mag capacity, higher power, and ease of finding a pistol built for that round.

I don't know. Why go for the 40 if you don't need the extra shots for the magazine? Go for the .45, you have 7 or 8 or 10 rounds to solve the problem. And they almost never blow up, if you don't doublecharge the handload. (Which is nearlyl impossible to do in the 10mm.)

March 28, 2004, 07:26 AM
I am leaning towards a SW99 compact in .40. I am too, so I'm not going to be much help talking you out of one. ( and this from someone that really doesn't like the .40S&W round-at all)

I've decided prettty much that the "perfect" *9mm +P* and/or *38spl/.357mag* - defensive round is the 165 gr .40S&W.
The performance - on paper - of the 165 gr .40S&W is,, so close,, to the better 9mm and even some of the .357 loads. There's exceptions of course, but there isn't all that much difference across the board.
Bear in mind, I'm talking about not only the round itself - but also the platforms they all come in and regarding those platforms, how well I shoot them.
Here's the poop on the Remington Golden Saber:
Golden Saberâ„¢ 165 BJHP 1150 1040 964 (muzzle - 50 yards - 100 yards)
That's based on a 4" barrel - From the 3 1/2 in compact, it should still deliver my own personal "reqirement" of an at or above .40 cal, at or above 1000 fps

Just to add fuel to the fire -
I'm looking at the S&W99 because:
- I can get exactly the same gun in 9mm in the compact, If - big IF, I so desire. That way I can shoot cheaper 9mm on the same platform.(even though I reload - I've decided for the time being not to reload for the .40S&W round)
- 9mm -part II - The Walther P99 "drives" the same as the S&W 99. From everything I've heard, the Walther is the better 9mm and the Smith is the better .40S&W. ( Make fun of me if you want, but I really like the looks of the Walther P99 w/Ti slide - I'm decided that I'm going to buy one simply beacuse I like the looks of it)
- I already bought a Walther P22, which "drives" very close to the S&W 99.Can't get much cheaper than a .22lr for trigger time
- The Walther CP99 a CO2 air pistol. :what: Yep. a *BB gun*. Now THAT'S affordable trigger time I can do in my basement, with something that again "drives" very much the same.
- The S&W99 also comes in a .45acp. To be fair though, reports on the S&W 99 .45acp are fairly hard to find. <-- right now,silly as it may seem, this lack of meaningful first hand reports is the only thing holding me back.(That and the job situation right now.)

March 28, 2004, 08:39 AM
OH I go. I think alot of "opining" is going on in this thread.

The most proven reason for KB's is bullet setback with 180 gr bullets creating higher pressures in unsupported chambers. From what Ive seen and read anyway.

I think the 40 is a great defensive round. Is it better than the 45/9mm?

Heres my answer.....If you have a 40 and you can shoot the damn thing like you need to be able to, should you need it.......hell yes it is.

If the BG is stopped or running for his life......the gun did its job and so did the caliber.

Shoot well.

Waxed Canvas
March 28, 2004, 10:26 AM
Hal the only thing not to like on the SW99 are those dogone plastic sights. The front one was already coming off on the demo I fondled at Galyan's yesterday in the Stonebriar Mall in Frisco, TX. I love the idea of buying a handgun in one of America's premier shopping malls----------Y---E----S!!!!!!:D

The thing just carries so well. I am also looking at the 10 + 1 .40 cal. Springfield Armory XD that is $70.00 cheaper but will require an $80.00 plus freight trip to Mack's shooting iron for a dull grey rust proof coating.

Yep the .40 inspires no passion in me but it appears to be a logical choice for something small, shootable and compact with good power. The other thing is having to use a round in 9mm to get the same power level that will brutalize the weapon and lead to a reduced service life.

March 28, 2004, 01:25 PM
1) If you want a .45 ACP, go ahead. The .45 is an excellent choice. Of that there is no doubt.

2) The .40 S&W is the "cop's compromise." Frankly, It beats the hell out of the 9mm Parabelleum and provides the same-sized pistol frame with a long service life. It is NOT, however, a .45 ACP.

3) Enter the 10mm Automatic. The 10 does take the .45 ACP-size frame, but it picks up where both the.45 and .40 leave off. It beats the .40 S&W in both power and accuracy, it beats the.45 ACP in power, accuracy and penetration, (when needed. When it comes to magazine capacity, it matches the .40 in every way, save for fore and aft dimensions. (Again, it takes a .45 ACP frame :p .)

Why settle for anything short of the.45 ACP or the 10mm Auto? Let's face it. When my life, and those of my loved ones are on the line, I never, ever compromise. To the devil with THAT! I'm in this fight to live!

I'll take a 10mm Auto please! May I have another? Oops... wait... I already have four of them! :D


Black Snowman
March 28, 2004, 02:45 PM
That's right Scott, I'd like to not compromise either. I'd prefer a 2 round burst .50 Beowolf Shorty AR with a collapsing stock and a supressor. Potent enough to penetrate body armor and short enough to manuver through the house, quiet enough not to make me go deaf, and enough mass and energy to let someone know they've been hit and hit hard. Unfortunately I can't afford that. I settled on an M17S for my home defense gun because it fit in my budget much better.

By using a pistol you're compromising to begin with and if I have to compromise the .40 is a pretty good one. I, personally, can get faster follow-ups with the .40 than I can a .45 or a 10mm in full power loads and I think the .40 is "enough" to do the job. 9mm can make for a really compact gun and fast and accurate follow-up shots. I have more confidence in the .40 than I do a 9mm to perform a "stop" but if I'm using a pistol for defence I'm already compromising that ability signifigantly.

When CCW becomes an option for me I'll reach 1st for a CZ 75B SA in .40, then a CZ Compact in 9mm for better concealment, or if I'm limited to pocket carry a CZ RAMI 2075 in .40 S&W which would also double as a BUG for my 75B SA.

Hopefully I'll never need any of them. If I do hopefully the pistol I choose will be "enough". The real trick is doing my job to:
1) Be prepared.
2) Avoid threats to begin with.
3) Evade threats I can't avoid.
4) Stop threats I can't evade.

If it comes to #4 I'm sure I'll be happy to have a gun of any sort over being armed with just my knives, which is currently what I'm limited to legally outside my house.

That being said, I have a Delta Elite I'd love to use if open carry were an option but it's a bit large and heavy for comfortable concealment for me. I love the 10mm too but I wouldn't want to shoot it in any smaller of a gun than what I have. My follow-ups suffer a noticable delay with the 10mm over the 40s I've shot. If the AWB sunsets I'm seriously considering adding a Glock 20 to the collection and 3-4 normal capacity magazines. That's some serious mojo :D

March 28, 2004, 04:42 PM
Only four, gunfan?
Just kiddin'.
.40 shall forever be called the compromise round.
Compact 9mm weapons have faster follow-up shots and the same capacity in a smaller package.
.45s are available in the bobtail commander configuration, and guns similar to the USP compact size and are the right size for the job, if you don't mind the weight. (20-25 oz. empty.) You only need capacity if you're going to miss, or if your carry load fails to perform. You gotta carry a spare mag, anyway, right?
In a full-size gun, like the G20, or 1911, you might as well carry a 10mm, because the 10 is a superior round.
Where does that leave the .40?
Well, with a full size duty weapon that you can open carry, they are great. (See above about full size weapons.)
Compact lightweight .40 weapons just don't appeal to me at all, too much bang, not enough thud. I haven't found one that I wanted to practice with at the range.
I guess I'd rather carry a 357 mag wheelgun or a 9mm that weighs the same as the compact .40, the wheels and nines just seem to be the best in that size and weight class (15-20 oz. empty.).

My two drachmas.

March 28, 2004, 05:08 PM
is you can shoot 357 SIG .love the 40 have 4 getting ready to get a 5th smith and wesson 610 in the not to far of future,thanks,keith

March 28, 2004, 05:49 PM
Tell me why the .40 is not the best all around defensive round?

Because there is no such thing as a "best all around defensive round".

(that said, my house gun and my CCW gun are both .40s so what do I know :neener: )

March 28, 2004, 05:50 PM
Other terms and phases for the .40 "compromise round".

The best of both rounds
The perfect round
The go to round....(so many are going to it).

March 28, 2004, 05:55 PM
After 4 years of carrying a .40 cal. as a carry weapon and before that 9mm and .45 I say yes the .40 is the best all around carry weapon. Why, because it has good penatration, good energy dispersment, and makes a good size hole and you don't have to look for or load hot +p+ to get good performance. what you buy off the shelf works great right out of the box. as far as guns chambered in .40, some are easy to shoot and handle and some are brutal just to hang on to when you do shoot them. not every brand or cal. is going to work for everyone, I was lucky I got a sig 229.40cal. and put houge grips on it and it has been one of the best guns i have ever shoot. my backup to it is a S&W 457 .45 compact that is also easy to shoot. good luck

:cool: :cool: :cool:

March 28, 2004, 09:04 PM
is you can shoot 357 SIG
Never thought of it before, but you can do the same with a 10mm pistol by swapping barrels also. :cool:

March 28, 2004, 09:23 PM
I've heard a couple people mention .45 being more powerful, but I'm not sure where you get that. Looking over the published data of various manufactures I see that in the weight/velocity/energy realm they are nearly equal with .40 getting a bit of penetration and velocity retention on account of better SD/BC at a given weight. .45 gets the lean on diameter. Gell and animal tests I've seen/read about bear out that there is little difference as well.

I used to be very much against .40, I don't know why, maybe I just didn't like the name. But when I couldn't deiced between 9mm and .45 I realized .40 was right up my alley. Since the difference is so small I think .40 gets boosted over the top on 2 factors, slightly better penetration potential and cheaper winchester white boxes.

March 28, 2004, 09:43 PM
I think the question is one of power vs rate of accurate fire. I have chosen 9x19 because I can put more holes in the target faster with it than I can with a .40. I am also cheap and of all the respectable defensive calibers, 9x19 allows me to shoot for less ammo cost. You cannot pick your best caliber without considering stopping power, your ability to handle recoil and ammo cost.
Mine is 9x19, most shooters at the local range seem to prefer the 40, but I don't think many people consider rate of accurate fire when selecting a caliber.

March 28, 2004, 11:46 PM
I was after a 45 in Springer or Sig. Looked at a Springer Compact (1911) side by side with the CZ Rami. Ten minutes later, the Rami followed me out the door.

My thoughts were to have .357 magnum power plus, with very good carry and accuracy. The idea of 8+1 with 8 more in the spare clip seems good if you wish to hike with bruin, or might tend to miss in defense from BGs. It's a LOT of fire power in a very small package.

Tried it a the range, and found it most accurate. I limp wristed it, and had some feed problems since I am soo use to revolvers. Heard since that Ramis like winchester ammo.

I couldn't be happier. I traded away a SW 459 9mm about a month ago, and there is NO comparison in accuracy. Hi cap of 13+1 weak rounds v.s. 8+1 well placed high energy (and in a little ERGONOMIC package).:evil:

Though I do think a p-38 will follow me home soon.:D :D :D :D

March 29, 2004, 12:35 AM
.40: more power, bigger holes than 9mm, and more capacity and better penetration than .45. Whats not to love? Absolutely, I think its the best of all worlds in a self defense handgun round, especially when used with a fully supported gun (P226, P229) and with medium weight bullets. Its hard to argue with a 155 grain .40 gold dot at 1200 or 1300 fps.

10mm is a nice cartridge, and if there were a 10mm platform in existance that I liked, I'd be all over it. But, 10mm goes well above and beyond the 9/40/45 scene in terms of top end ballistics, IMO. Its in a different power envelope entirely.

March 29, 2004, 12:51 AM
Folks like me gripe about sorting the .40 brass out to get the .45ACP and 9mm brass. :p

I never warmed up to the .40 personally. Fine for folks that do. I prefer certain platforms and have used the same platforms for a l-o-n-g time. I prefer the 1911 style in 45 and the BHP in 9mm. I prefer the SA platform. Yeah I know the BHP can be had in .40...not the same to me...for too many years that BHP was , as designed, a 9mm, and will always be that way to me.

Just a young fuddy duddy myself.

March 29, 2004, 01:59 AM
Out of 9, .40, .45, using premium JHPs, you get pretty much the same expansion, penetration, etc. between the different calibers. There is only a slight give either way. Power wise, the 9mm is good, .40 is better, .45 is best.

Andrew Wyatt
March 29, 2004, 02:10 AM
it's not the best, because everyone makes double stack horse pistols (CZ75, glock, ruger, et al) in .40 and hardly anyone makes a thin, svelte pistol of similar thickness to a 1911.

March 29, 2004, 07:50 AM
Hi, I was looking for more power than my 9X18mm Bulgy Makarov . I had already owned a Ruger KP89 and found it chunky in my hands . But damn 19 rds whewwww. Then I went with a Colt Series 80 .45 , for Me i didn't like the recoil , pretty hefty weapon. Then I started reading about the CZ40B , $249.95 from CDNN . For that price I decided to give the .40 S&W a try . Me and the CZ40B were a fit . Readily available practice ammo from Wally-world cheap .Rides nice in a JIT Hume Holster on My hip and I have the confidence in both the round and the weapon now that I fired 700 rds. thru it . Adding a 18lb Wolf spring fine tuned that fit ! I am sure this wouldn't work for everyone , but thats why they sell so many different designs in weaponry ! All that said , I wouldn't want to be on the wrong end of ANY firearm from .22lr all the way to .45acp . All this 1 shot stop and ballistics info is meaningless to Me because once you add a crackhead to the mix you throw numbers to the wind ! Good enough for my cop friends in those situations daily adds to my confidence also ! WVleo

March 29, 2004, 10:52 AM
Well, a lot of folks label the 40 as a compromise round and they intend it as an insult which I don't completely get. Handguns are a compromise so it makes no sense why a compromise cartridge would not make sense.

My personal belief is that assuming Winchester Ranger Ts or relatively hot loaded Gold Dots are gonna do some damage regardless of if they are in the form of 124-127 Gr 9mms, 125 Gr 357 SIGs, 165 Gr 40s or 10mms or 230 Gr 45ACPs. I just don't believe that most people firing several rounds directly into soft tissue are going to see much of a difference between them. I guess you should want every possible advantage on your side which makes sense. At this point, you have to ask yourself if a larger number of smaller rounds makes more sense to you than fewer rounds of a larger round. Or you could just bite the bullet and carry a Para 14/45 with 15 rounds of 45ACP.

Personally, as long as I can consistantly hit the target with it and it is completely reliable, I would feel - and have felt - very well armed with 7 rounds of 9mm.

March 29, 2004, 12:47 PM
Because it's a .40....


Rocket Man
March 29, 2004, 12:53 PM
it's not the best, because everyone makes double stack horse pistols (CZ75, glock, ruger, et al) in .40 and hardly anyone makes a thin, svelte pistol of similar thickness to a 1911.

Actually, the S&W 4003 TSW isn't bad. With the aluminum frame it weighs just 28 oz., and shoots pretty good. This is my everyday duty weapon.

March 29, 2004, 01:46 PM
it's not the best, because everyone makes double stack horse pistols (CZ75, glock, ruger, et al) in .40 and hardly anyone makes a thin, svelte pistol of similar thickness to a 1911.

This is a problem with all calibers ... other then the 1911 there aren't many thin, svelte pistols period.

Glock, Beretta, CZ, Sig, HK ... all a bunch of bricks.

March 29, 2004, 01:57 PM
Tell me why the .40 is not the best all around defensive round? I can't tell you that because it is.

March 29, 2004, 01:58 PM
This is a problem with all calibers ... other then the 1911 there aren't many thin, svelte pistols period. The Browning HP comes in .40 and is very small and concealable.

March 29, 2004, 02:18 PM
it's not the best, because everyone makes double stack horse pistols (CZ75, glock, ruger, et al) in .40 and hardly anyone makes a thin, svelte pistol of similar thickness to a 1911.


I've tried the .40 in a SIG. And I was going to try a CZ40. (I think it was a CZ40, that an actual model?)

Anyway, too much snap on the SIG, went back to my Hi Powers. The CZ just didn't fit my hand, it.

Now I own four, 1911's in various flavers. And have held onto one of the Hi Powers for old time's sake. These seem to just "fit" me.

If I expected trouble though, and really wanted to get serious with a handgun I wouldn't grab one of my .45's. Nope, it would be my CZ52. Now let's talk thin and svelte. And if 8 rounds isn't enough for me I'm screwed already. Anyway you should be using cover when reloading.
I know, kind of eastern bloc, looking like something Ivan Drago packs. But it'll punch a hole through anything a pistol round can. Especially if they are handloads. Some of the guys out there are approaching 2000fps out of a handgun.

7.62x25, loaded hot at about 1600fps, JHP with a steel tip. That would be my compromise round.
Either way you cut it, just plain scary.

March 29, 2004, 04:59 PM
...awkward platform.

7.62x25, loaded hot at about 1600fps, JHP with a steel tip. That would be my compromise round.

I love my CZ52 (hence the screen name).

However it has some downsides:
- 12lb trigger
- over penetration in tight circumstances is a real risk
- fragile firing pin (although it can be replaced with one that is less so)
- Not a smooth shooter (although decent groups can be achieved with practice)...I've found decent follow-ups to be awkward to achieve.

Back on topic...I'm with those that say there is no "best defensive round".

I was watching a video the other day and two points that are often made were reiterated:
1) To be in a gunfight, you need a gun (avoid if you can, but make sure you have one if you must)
2) The best weapon is (or should be) the matter between your ears

Objectively/scientifically, I'm not sure there is a "best defensive round".

Subjectively, the one you can effectively use and do effectively use if needs be, that's the one you want to utilize with that matter between your ears.

My 2 shooting,


March 29, 2004, 05:10 PM
Yeah I ditto that, the CZ52 certainly does have some downsides. That firing pin has got to be the worst by far. Lower capacity, and they aren't exactly the easiest to shoot. At least not without a lot of practice. Heh, which I can't walk around the house dry firing it like my 1911's, thanks to that stupid firing pin.

As for over penetration, I see that as a feature. And the capacity has the limiting effect there.

Anyway, I'm for whatever works for YOU...if you haven't shot the .40 you better before you buy.

March 29, 2004, 05:15 PM
As for over penetration, I see that as a feature. And the capacity has the limiting effect there.

As long as the feature is applied consistently with this element of the four rules (as presented by IDPA's site):

The 3rd Law of Gun Safety - Always Be Sure Of Your Target And What Is Behind It!
Bullets can penetrate lots of things, many of which may surprise you. Identify your target before firing - even before dry-firing. If you are not sure, DON'T FIRE! Just as important, make sure there's a safe impact area behind your target. For home dry-fire practice, find and aim only at a BULLET PROOF BACKSTOP. Even though you have checked and double-checked your gun, you should still treat your gun as though it's loaded and functional. Plasterboard walls and outer walls are not bulletproof. A handgun bullet can easily travel through several rooms before stopping. Who is in these rooms? If you're not sure, and you still aimed in that direction, SHAME ON YOU!

we can agree :) .

Best wishes,


March 29, 2004, 09:31 PM
I'm not sure how people justify the ".45 is more powerful" comments. It's bigger sure, but a dodge caravan is bigger than a corvette too. Let's look at the numbers from some manufacturers:

Winchester Silvertip Series

.40 S&W = 155 grains at 1205 fps for 500 ft-lbs
.45 Auto = 185 grains at 1000 fps for 411 ft-lbs

I'd say that's pretty close to a toss up, I certainly wouldn't call the .45 more powerful. Also keep in mind that the .45 numbers are from a 5 inch barrel and the .40 numbers are from a 4 inch barrel. Also Winchester Silvertip:

.357 mag = 145 grains at 1290 fps for 535 ft-lbs

This is from a 4 inch vented barrel. Very similar to the .40 numbers no? nobody things .357 is a slouch.

Not a Winchester fan? How about hyrdashocks?

.40 S&W = 135 grains at 1190 fps for 420 ft-lbs
.357 mag = 130 grains at 1300 fps for 490 ft-lbs

.40 S&W = 165 grains at 980 fps for 350 ft-lbs
.45 Auto = 165 grains at 1060 for 410 ft-lbs

They're all pretty close. Keep in mind that 4" vs 5" barrel thing (still in effect here), .40's superior sectional density vs. .45 at 165 grains and that federal is a bit of a ninny when it comes to velocity.

I don't really like hydrashocks as much as Gold-Dots

.40 S&W = 155 grains at 1200 fps for 496 ft-lbs
.357 Mag = 158 grains at 1235 fps for 535 ft-lbs

.40 S&W = 180 grains at 1025 fps for 420 ft-lbs
.45 Auto = 185 grains at 1050 fps for 435 ft-lbs

Once again .40 approximates .357 performance for similar bullet weights. At around 180 grains the .45 barely edges out the .40 but keep in mind that at that weight the .40 will have better sectional density (not given) and there's still the 4" v 5" test barrel issue.

Golden Sabers anybody?

.40 S&W = 180 grains at 1015 fps for 412 ft-lbs
.45 Auto = 185 grains at 1015 fps for 423 ft-lbs
.45 Auto +P = 185 grains at 1140 fps for 534 ft-lbs

It's not until you move to +P that you start to make any gains (although that's still out of a 5" barrel vs 4" for the .40). Plus not every .45 is rated for +P's

I looked at the number for a couple other manufacturers and they're falling out in a similar fashion.

Considering the above and what can be done with the .40 and longshot powder I don't see how anyone can claim that the .45 is categorically "more powerful"

March 29, 2004, 09:49 PM
I don't know about more powerful or not. I'll take your word for it. But all I know is that snap of the .40 SIG I shot just wrenched my wrist. I've got a bad wrist, and the other one isn't in great condition. So the .40 just isn't an option for me. At least not the configs I've seen. I suppose some of it is the gun design. I don't know. I know a couple other guns I've shot do the same thing, the Bersa in .380 I absolutely can not shoot. Some of the lightweight guns, and I probably won't shoot a magnum again (okay I've got a soft spot for the .357, it's about like the 7.62x25)

Personally my take is whatever fits you, especially when it comes to handguns. It does me no good to carry a .40. If I can only get a couple shots off, and by then it probably looks like Ray Charles is shooting the gun. As it stands now I am confident I'll keep all my shots on COM at 10 yds or less as fast as I can pull the trigger. Maybe a few fliers. That's with one of my .45's I shoot frequently. My Hi-power about the same. Personally I'll stick with that. I know what you are saying though. The unreasonable self willed opinion is a hard thing to get over. It's like the old Ford vs. Chevy days.

March 29, 2004, 10:17 PM
I absolutely agree Risasi that the platform and your ability with it is far far more important than the cartdrige, I just think there is a general misconception about the "power" of the .40 and I was trying to point it out.

Of course weight and velocity are not all the factors in the equation, certainly SD, diameter and bullet shape and construction play a major role as well, it's not a simple subject.

March 29, 2004, 11:06 PM
Yuppers...more than enough to keep us amused trying new things for the rest our days. That's for sure.

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