For those that carry a 40S&W...


April 1, 2004, 07:37 PM
For those of you that daily carry a gun chambered in 40S&W, what bullet weight do you currently rely on? Doesn't matter if it is issue ammo or just whatever you prefer.

Feel free to post specifics... Assuming you can carry whatever ammo you'd like, did you base your decision on 'cited stopping ability', accuracy in your gun, reliability in your gun, potential problems (such as 180 gr bullet set back)...

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April 1, 2004, 07:42 PM
I'll go... I currently carry 165 Gr Gold Dots from Georgia Arms in my 229.

They have been generally reliable in other 40s I've owned and have been 100% in the SIG as well. The Gold Dots in general seem to have a pretty good track record on the street. I ordered a few Rangers in both 165 and 180 Gr. I'll admit that the set back 180 gr issue does concern more than 1% but I've shot plenty of 180 Gr Winchester ammo and have never had anything blow up just yet... :p

April 1, 2004, 08:06 PM
I prefer the Winchester Ranger-T 180gr 40S&W (in a Beretta 96). David DiFabio ( tells me the 165gr Ranger-T is supposed to be just about the same, but the 180gr works better for me. I still need to do some live fire on some human test subjects, but for some reason the local PD doesn't like that idea. :D

April 1, 2004, 08:18 PM
Heaviest bullet for the caliber, always.

Only three things count: Placement, Placement, & Penetration.

At the range, I'll shoot anything that fits the chamber, cheaper the better.


April 1, 2004, 08:57 PM
Right now I have my Steyr loaded with 180 grn Speer Golddots, the second mag is loaded with 135 grn Corbons. the only reason I have to different loads is that I shot a mag full of each to make sure they functioned. I think the 180 grn Golddots will be what I buy more of though.

Marko Kloos
April 1, 2004, 09:21 PM
I use Remington Golden Sabers in my G23, the 165 grain variety.

April 1, 2004, 09:24 PM
125gr Sinterfire frangible. Accurate, fast (nearly 1400fps) and hits hard.

April 1, 2004, 09:38 PM
I like the 165gr. Golden Saber. IMO, it's a good compromise between accuracy, velocity, recoil and reliability in my CZ40B. The 165gr. GS also has good marks for penetration, expansion, and stopping power in police shoots according to what I've read.

However, I do tend to gravitate towards middleweight rounds anyway, so it's not a huge stretch for me to do so in this caliber. I choose 124gr Gold Dots over 115gr as my SD round in 9mm and 135gr Gold Dots over 125gr as my prefered in .38 Special +P. Only in 45ACP do I wander from the middle, going with 230gr. Golden Sabers for those guns.

April 1, 2004, 09:48 PM
I use Georgia Arms' 155gr @ 1200 fps gold dot load.... it carries more momentum than 165 or 180. There is also a 155@1300fps load offered, but I've never tried it.

April 1, 2004, 09:56 PM
165 grain Remington Golden Sabers in my Glock 23.

April 1, 2004, 10:39 PM
I like the performance of 155gr./165gr. Gold Dots and Golden Sabers. That said my 4053 carry gun shoots a bit low with lighter bulleted loads and I`m too cheap to change the front night sight so it`s loaded with Winchester 180gr. JHPs right now. Marcus

Alan Fud
April 1, 2004, 11:15 PM
155/165 ... I stay away from the lite & heavy stuff when it comes to the .40S&W

April 1, 2004, 11:39 PM
Corbon, Sabers and Dots in 155-165.......about as good as they get.
Oh.......Federal Tacticals in 165 also......screamers that expand.

Shoot well.

April 2, 2004, 12:13 AM
For the longest time I carried 165gr Speer Gold Dots.

Last time I went shopping for ammo to rotate out my carry ammo (I burn it up after a while ... just to be sure), I couldn't find any so I picked up some 135gr. Corbon (which I used to use when I first started carrying).

Well I remember why I don't like it, and while its whats in my gun at the moment, I checked 155gr.

Based on everything I've read, 155 and 165gr are probably the optimum weight. And Gold Dots or Winchester Rangers are supposed to have the best balance of penetration and expansion (I've always been a fan of the Gold Dot so I'll either pick up more Speers or Georgia Arms or ProLoad's via the internet).

One thing to keep in mind, the vast majority of the .40 kB!s are with 180gr. because it already fills the case so much that even the slightest bit of setback can cause pressures to spike.

April 2, 2004, 12:17 AM
I prefer the Winchester Ranger-T 180gr 40S&W (in a Beretta 96). David DiFabio ( tells me the 165gr Ranger-T is supposed to be just about the same, but the 180gr works better for me.

My HK (Which i had transfered through DiFabio's shop, come to think of it) i keep loaded with 165gr rangers. Rangers are generally sure performers no matter what you get them in though.

according to the websight, Responsible Shooter (DiFabio's shop) is changing management. Kinda sucks, he is a cool guy.

April 2, 2004, 01:10 AM
Right now I have 180gr Golden Sabers in my USP compact. Not for any particular reason. They guy behind the counter asked me if I wanted the 165s or the 180s. I thought "bigger must be better" so I got the 180s. *hehehe* :D

I would feel comfortable with any weight long as it goes bang and is accurate.

April 2, 2004, 06:09 AM
165gr SXT in my XD-40

April 2, 2004, 07:02 AM
The .40S&W barrel on my G29 prefers the 180gr bullet.

April 2, 2004, 08:56 AM
which happens to be 135gr. Practice ammo is 165gr, avoiding 180gr. as too comfy and possibly less accurate.

April 2, 2004, 10:33 AM
For my Glock 22 and SIG P229, only the best:

Remington Golden Saber 165 gr.
Runner up: Federal Premium Hydra-Shok 165 gr. (Prefer over 135 gr.)

April 2, 2004, 10:39 AM
I voted for the 155 mainly due to the gun I'd be firing it out of, a P-40. Short barrel, light gun. These are my reasons:

the heavier round (with the same charge weight) will already be going slower than the lighter one (lighter is faster), then add to that a shorter barrel which means less time to accelerate this bullet, which means even slower speeds. HP's need speed to open up, and most HP designs were not created around a short barrel, which means they were probably optimized for a longer one, and with the speed loss from a short barrel, may not consistently expand. Also adding more of a charge is not always an answer, as much of it will burn outside the barrel adding muzzle flash (not good) and not speeding up the round all that much.

Then factor in the fact that lighter rounds recoil less, which is very important for small light pistols getting accurate follow up shots, and that they may expand more reliably out of a short pistol.

Also lighter rounds tend to be shorter and sometimes feed better.

Bottom line though is to make sure what ever you choose functions well in YOUR pistol, and remember to take barrel length into account when looking at any performance data for ammo, or just use yours to do your own informal testing. If a lighter round performs similarly to the heavier one, why subject yourself to the greater recoil and slower follow up shots for the same result? If the heaver one performs better, then you have to weigh in all the factors and see what is most important to you.

April 2, 2004, 10:52 AM
yzguy, I've never been what I would call recoil shy, but I wonder how many folks out there have shot a large variety 135, 165 ad 180 gr loads and prefer the recoil characteristics of the 180... I think I tend to prefer the recoil feel of 180 and standard velocity 165 gr loads... maybe because they tend to feel a bit more of the old 45 type, push back rather than mostly muzzle flip. Of course, barrel length, bore axis and gun weight will dictate a lot of this as well.

I've shot a G23, SIG 2340 and a comped EAA quite extensively and carry a 229 that I've put several rounds through as time and funds allow and I personally didn't seem to notice as much of a difference between the weights as with, say 127 Gr +P+ vs 147s in 9mm. I have very little expereince in shooting the lightest weight guns in 40 and I admit that I've never bought a box of 135 gr 40 ammo. I know one of the Federal loads is supposed to be very light... Don't recall the details, but I think it's 150 or 155 gr at about 1,000fps whereas the 'standard' 165 gr load is supposed to be 1,150fps.

Anyone care to comment on if you've ever found a gun/load combo in 40 that was extremely uncomfortable, yet another load in the same gun was very easy to shoot? Did you find the recoil of the lighter bullet more pleasure or more of a pain to shoot that the heavy bullets?

Sean Smith
April 2, 2004, 11:22 AM
155-165gr was what I used to use when I shot .40 S&W.

April 2, 2004, 12:21 PM
Which of those weights will have the least muzzle flip?

Energy = mass * ( velocity )^2

April 2, 2004, 12:24 PM
I've shot all weights in my Witness, and it shoots POA perfectly with the 135 gr HSPD, which is a decent stopper. Rather hit with something good, than miss with something great....

April 2, 2004, 12:45 PM
Energy = mass * ( velocity )^2

Hey... I was a chemical engingeering major and have plenty of physics background. I understand all about equations, but very often, they don't translate directly into real world things like felt recoil due to different powders, different barrel lenghts, different grip angles... stuff like that. :p

I guess I was just wanting more of a real world experience comparing different bullet weights or even specific loads. The other thing that is even harder to quantify is, I'd imagine if you looked at all the 180 gr loads and all the 135 Gr loads, many of the 180s are relatively light target loads while many of the 135s are going to be from folks wanting the hottest, zippiest loadings possible.

I was kind of wanting to hear from maybe G27 or XD SubCompact owners that were comfortable with one load, but found another particular load more than they were comfortable with... Something like that.

April 2, 2004, 12:56 PM
If anything, I would say that the mid weight 155/165 loads actually feel a little snappier to me than the 180's; all else being equal. I prefer the greater energy, greater velocity, and greater safety margin of the mid weight loads. I don't mind the recoil of any of them.

April 2, 2004, 01:28 PM
Energy = mass * ( velocity )^2

Not so simple. The energy is the same, but how it is dispersed varies and affects felt recoil. The recoil characteristics of 180gr rounds at a major power factor of 165 feel different than the same power factor using the 125gr bullets. I prefer the 125's since they return to point of aim almost immediately rather than leaving my muzzle up as the 180's do. Your gun's weight and spring ratios can affect this greatly.

This may have to do with the increased inertia of a large bullet and it's longer length (frictional loss). The smaller bullets require more powder which increases the jet effect (increasing flip) from the muzzle after the bullet has passed. (Faster powders minimize this effect) These things make the recoil curves different.

April 2, 2004, 02:17 PM
Winchester 155gr Silvertips in my Glock 22 and 23C. They feed well and hit the paper where I aim them. I haven't had a problem or jam with them in over 1000 rounds fired.

I may change out my load to the Remington 165gr Golden Sabres, one day. I've heard good things about the round. I just don't want to spend all that money, yet, to test out a new round when I have one that works well enough already.

April 2, 2004, 03:56 PM
I just shot it today, but only used one load in it... I think I have some 165's and some 180's. I'll try them back to back, and see how much of a difference I can feel. I'm pretty sure the difference will be exaggerated out of the P-40.

I really want to find a place I can do some of my own informal testing, and compare 9mm standard, +P, and different .40 weights all out of my very short barreled gun. That combined with felt recoil will tell me which one.

April 2, 2004, 04:37 PM

Try a bunch of different weights.

With each set of bullets do some quick double taps (aimed fire, not hammers) on clean targets. Whatever bullets that have the tightest two shot groups at speed should be looked at further. A timer would be nice to measure your splits.

The .40 isn't a wrist breaker and the first shot should be fairly accurate (minute of bad guy) out to at least 20 yards. All of the bullet weights listed will do the job. Recovery and ease of follow up are what you look for in a defensive round recoil curve. I'll take extra muzzle flip if it means the front sight drops neatly back into the notch in .2 seconds for trigger trip #2. On my competition gun I change the springs to get this relationship, but for a defensive gun you want to keep the standard weights and tailor a load to get this.

April 2, 2004, 11:13 PM
Oh, I'm pretty much set on the 165s... Gold Dots, Golden Sabers or Rangers. I was just reading on... ahem... another forum about different bullet weights in the 40. The mantra on the forum seems to be 'it's hard to find a bad 40 load'. I was just wondering what HighRoaders preferred. I'm certainly a big believer in using what works best for you in your gun based on actual experience.


April 3, 2004, 10:49 AM
Voted 135 because that's what's in there now. (Hydra-Shoks) I usually stick to Hydra-Shoks but have carried both 135's and 165's.

April 3, 2004, 02:58 PM
I care about how it feels at the range, in a carry gun if I need it I'll never care about how it feels only if it penetrates enough! Folks in a defensive shooting
often say they never even heard the gun go off!

The only time I ever had to put my hand on my piece made me realize that I may very well need to shoot thru my car door or window from the inside. Max penetration moved to the top of the list in a carry load for me after that!


April 4, 2004, 10:45 AM
I like the construction of the bullet. I also like the velocity of the round, but most important to me is the energy that is produced by this ammunition. At 485ft lbs of energy it is the highest producing 165gr offering on the market. By comparison, the Federal 165gr Tactical load produces 405 ft lbs of energy. That is a massive difference. Both ammunition is tested with a 4" barrel. I admit, I don't know what specific type of barrel was used, but 80 ft lbs of energy difference is pretty dramatic.

April 10, 2004, 08:58 AM
Another enthusiastic vote for Remington's 165-grain Golden Sabre.

April 10, 2004, 04:38 PM
155gr Gold Dots.


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