Why was the 40s&w invented?


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Praxidike
July 14, 2014, 06:34 AM
After the 1986 FBI Miami shootout (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1986_FBI_Miami_shootout), why was there a need for the creation of the 40s&w? I ask because I recently purchased a 40cal handgun, so I've been researching and looking over old YouTube vids and forum threads pertaining to handgun calibers. Almost everyone is stating that the 9mm and 45acp is the way to go. The consensus is also that the 40 is very similar performance wise to the 9mm, and that the recoil is more manageable with the 9mm and 45acp.

From my reading, the 40sw was created because it was later found that at least 1 of the 2 men in the Miami shootout was shot in the chest (almost hit the heart), but the bullet did not penetrate enough to put him down. If, as everyone says, the 9mm and 45 are almost identical or better than the 40s&w recoil and performance wise, then why did the FBI need to ask Smith & Wesson to create the 40s&w?

Anyone have any links to what the performance of the 9mm ammo that the FBI carried back in the late 80s early 90s, so I can compare the stats to todays 9mm ammo?

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max popenker
July 14, 2014, 06:59 AM
Long story short, .40SW was invented as a Soft&Weak ;) version of the 10mm Auto round, originally adopted by FBI after Miami'86
the original 10mm was too strong for many agents, so it was downloaded, and so it became possible to shorten a 10x25 Auto case to 22mm, so resulting shorter round would fit into 9mm parent frame instead of original, larger and heavier .45cal pistol frame

Ryanxia
July 14, 2014, 09:50 AM
What max said.

jmr40
July 14, 2014, 10:40 AM
A few more details

The real blame for the 1986 fiasco in Miami was poor tactics. The 9mm and 38 handguns used by the FBI at the time took the blame. The FBI started looking at replacements and settled on the 10mm.

Once the guns got into agents hands 2 problems arose. Some agents found recoil to be excessive and did not shoot the guns well. Other agents with smaller hands had problems gripping the large framed 1006 S&W pistols.

A slightly reduced load solved the first problem, but not the second. S&W engineers figured out that they did not need a case as big as the original 10mm case for the reduced loads. They shortened the case down to what we now call the 40 S&W and fit it into smaller 9mm sized guns. This solved both problems.

If, as everyone says, the 9mm and 45 are almost identical or better than the 40s&w recoil and performance wise, then why did the FBI need to ask Smith & Wesson to create the 40s&w?

At the time 40 S&W was a much more effective round than 9mm or 45, not a compromise as is often claimed on the internet. But bullet technology has come a long way since 1986. With today's bullets there just isn't much difference between the actual performance of 9mm, 40 or 45. Since 9mm will always be cheaper, always have less recoil and hold more rounds in comparable size guns it is making a comeback.

I still believe the 40 offers advantages over both 9mm and 45. It is just that those differences are not as dramatic as they were 20 years ago. If I were employed in LE, it would be my preferred choice I currently don't own one, but only because I do own a 10mm. Which does offer significantly better performance than any of them.

Jim Watson
July 14, 2014, 10:49 AM
FBI 9mm ammo in 1986 was Winchester 115 gr Silvertip.
Still in production, but superceded in law enforcement by better designed hollowpoints.

ATLDave
July 14, 2014, 10:55 AM
Fundamentally, the .40 is just an attempt to get a goldilocks cartridge - not too big, not too small, not too powerful, not too weak, etc. And it came from dialing back the 10mm, which was found by the FBI to be too powerful (powerful = recoil = difficulty for some shooters & slower time between shots). There's nothing magically good or bad about it. It's a fine cartridge.

scaatylobo
July 14, 2014, 10:57 AM
I was "on the job" when that went down [ the Miami shootout ] ,and I was VERY,VERY interested as I was fearful that I could be involved in such a cluster puck.

I read and followed ALL that was ever given or released about that "shootout".

I saw much bravery ,and MUCH foolishishness.

The real problem was NOT the failure of a single pistol round to stop a madman,it was the tactics AND failure to use the proper tools [ rifles / shotguns / submachine guns ] that were in other vehicles or not at hand when the "stop" went down.

2 men died for lack of expectation of the true violent nature of the perp's.

I see no problem with any PISTOL rounds that were used,Tactics and MUCH more preparation to handle VIOLENT men was missing.

buck460XVR
July 14, 2014, 11:03 AM
While the 1986 fiasco was poor tactics, the .40S&W came around because many municipal police departments and other LEO agencies were looking for something more effective against soft body armor that the 9mm. As been said, most jumped on the 10mm. Problem was, many of these departments had female officers and other slight male officers that could not handle the weapons or the recoil. Many of those found the same true with the .40 and is why so many have gone back to 9mm. Same has been true in the civilian market.

MistWolf
July 14, 2014, 11:23 AM
The Miami Shootout is what drove the FBI to start doing serious research into handgun terminal performance and to set the minimum and maximum penetration requirement, along with other parameters, for handgun ammo sold to the FBI today. This resulted in all defensive handgun ammo having very similar terminal performance, negating the advantage the 357 Magnum, 40 S&W and 45 ACP had over 9mm.

The 40 S&W was introduced before the FBI study was completed and implemented. Initially, terminal performance was better than the 9mm but not quite as good as the 45. Being a new caliber it required a whole new line of bullets to be developed. Because development was taking place as the FBI was releasing data from their tests, it was one of the first to really benefit from the new research, giving the 40 S&W an edge. It's popularity took off and it began replacing the 9mm.
Not long after, the feds limited magazine capacity. Shooters reasoned that ten large diameter bullets were better than ten small bullets and the 9mm began to fade into obscurity.

The 9mm began to gain traction again when the mag ban sunsetted and serious effort was made to improve terminal performance of 9mm bullets. Then the cost of copper and brass (along with other metals) rose dramatically due to demand to feed China's industrial revolution. Ammo prices rose and calibers needing more raw materials rose higher than smaller calibers. The 9mm having a clear capacity and economical advantage over the larger calibers, along with nearly identical terminal performance, it has come to dominate the market like never before. It has nearly killed the 40 S&W and has pundits claiming it now makes the 45 ACP obsolete.

The 40 S&W is a good caliber and very important step in the development of modern self defense ammunition. But greater ammunition cost, reduced capacity and accelerated wear in the 9mm framed handguns it was developed to be shot in handicaps it. The 9mm is simply a more practical choice and we may see the 40 S&W fade into obscurity

ATLDave
July 14, 2014, 11:35 AM
It has nearly killed the 40 S&W

What is the empirical basis for this claim?

CoalTrain49
July 14, 2014, 11:40 AM
It was invented because we didn't have any effective pistol cartridges at the time.

Soon after it was determined that the 40 could be improved by necking it down to 9mm. So now we have the ultimate cartridge in the 357 Sig.

But the real winner seems to be the 9x19mm developed in 1902. :D

Ain't that a hoot?

murf
July 14, 2014, 12:01 PM
law enforcement was exempt from the hi-cap ban.

murf

Praxidike
July 14, 2014, 12:01 PM
FBI 9mm ammo in 1986 was Winchester 115 gr Silvertip.
Still in production, but superceded in law enforcement by better designed hollowpoints.

That does not make much sense to me. The 9mm was developed ages ago. Other than the shape of the bullet head, what else could have possible changed that much? I keep hearing people say that the 9mm of today is so much more potent than the 9mm of 20 years ago. Is it that they did not have p+ 9mm at the time that the 40s&w was created? Can someone point to supporting documentation?

Also logically, if a change in the bullet head design made the 9mm of today preform better than the the 9mm of yesterday, couldn't that same design be applied to the 40s&w bullet thus keeping the performance gap between the 9mm and 40s&w that existed 20-25 years ago the same even though they BOTH were improved?

I can understand the higher complicity, lower cost, and less recoil argument for the 9mm and against the 40s&w, but the performance argument doesn't make any sense and it seems like it's just a claim is being loosely regurgitated and thrown around without much thought, logic, or data to back it up.

krimmie
July 14, 2014, 12:37 PM
It seems the 9mm needs to be loaded to +P or +P+ to get close to the .40 energy levels, while generally spitting out a smaller grained bullet. I don't have a 9mm and prefer .40 and .45, so I wonder if what I always hear about the 9's faster follow up shots is valid when +P or +P+ ammo is used(?).

MistWolf
July 14, 2014, 12:56 PM
More and more agencies are trading in their 40 S&Ws, 40 S&W pistols aren't selling as well, ammo is generally not as available.

Prax, bullet technology is constantly evolving with the demand for better hunting and defense ammo. Better bullet designs to give more consistent expansion and penetration under a wider variety of conditions and having to meet FBI specifications in order to sell ammo to LE agencies.

FBI specifications tell manufacturers how their bullets must perform and they apply their improved tech to achieve that performance regardless of caliber. New tech does improve the performance of the 40 caliber bullet, but the specifications also ensure that all handgun caliber perform the same. All must meet the requirements for defeating various barriers such as windshield glass, sheetmetal and heavy clothing and still meet the minimum penetration requirement without exceeding the maximum.

These specifications mean there has been an overall improvement in handgun terminal performance but it also means that all defensive ammo, regardless of caliber, are almost equally effective

TestPilot
July 14, 2014, 01:05 PM
People wanted something more powerful than 9mm, but not as big as 45ACP.

Bignames like Jeff Cooper, Chuck Taylor, etc. worked on it.

They did not get it right the first time, the 10mm. Even Chuck Taylor admitted that the 10mm was something very different from the original project goal.

S&W with collaboration with few others fixed it, and got a 40S&W.

mavracer
July 14, 2014, 01:06 PM
Other than the shape of the bullet head, what else could have possible changed that much?

Bonded jackets eliminating core seperation and reverse tapered jackets that allow for more consistant expansion at a lower velocity while limiting over expansion and fragmentation.

Also logically, if a change in the bullet head design made the 9mm of today preform better than the the 9mm of yesterday, couldn't that same design be applied to the 40s&w bullet thus keeping the performance gap between the 9mm and 40s&w that existed 20-25 years ago the same even though they BOTH were improved?
If bullets don't expand the 40 cal bullet is going to leave a larger hole if they expand to the same diameter they'll leave the same diameter hole. Not saying this is always the case.
Modern 9mm ammo does a good job of expanding and exceding the FBI's minimum penatration requirement and recoils less.
More holes vs larger holes, run what'cha brung and hope it's enough.

TestPilot
July 14, 2014, 01:07 PM
If bullets don't expand the 40 cal bullet is going to leave a larger hole if they expand to the same diameter they'll leave the same diameter hole. Not saying this is always the case.
Modern 9mm ammo does a good job of expanding and exceding the FBI's minimum penatration requirement and recoils less.
As if only 9mm expands better.

TestPilot
July 14, 2014, 01:12 PM
The migration to 9mm has more to do with logistics and shooting skills than anyting else.

The "9mm is just as good as 40S&W" claim is used to justify that, but it is based on limited data. It's based on Jello testing, but human body is not jello. More powerful bullets have less deflection from barrier and bones. Kinetic energy and temporary cavity certainly affects, non-elastic tissues, such as brain and liver,etc., which counts since there are cases where shot to the brain failed to stop.

beeb173
July 14, 2014, 01:15 PM
Since the OP's question has been answered, I'd add that one advantage to the .40 S&W is that in many pistols you can change caliber to .357 sig w/ only a barrel swap.

kokapelli
July 14, 2014, 02:35 PM
Pistol rounds will never be reliable one shot stops regardless of the caliber.

I just read about the Baby Face Nelson FBI shootout where Nelson received seven obove the belt line hits to his torso from the FBI agents Thompson sub machine-gun and was not even slowed down, until he was hit in the legs with two shotgun blasts from another agent.

The shotgun blasts knocked Nelson down, but he quickly got backup and killed both FBI agents with his 351 rifle.

So seven rounds of 45 ACP from the longer barrel of the Thompson hardly slowed him down!

Nelson was able to take the FBI agents car and drive to his girlfriend's house where he did expire, but the point is these caliber debates are a waste of time, it's all about shot placement with pistol calibers.

fastbolt
July 14, 2014, 02:40 PM
The development of a .40 caliber pistol cartridge was going to happen at one time or another, as interest in it had been simmering for a while.

Cooper's interest & involvement with the development of the 10mm Auto introduced in '83 probably helped quite a bit.

Then there was the .41 AE in '86.

The interest in the .41 Magnum revolver cartridge, and its slightly reduced power Police loadings were always simmering in the background, too.

Let's not forget the much earlier American revolver cartridges, the .41 Short Colt and the .41 Long Colt. The .41LC certainly seemed to have earned some respect.

The stimulus of the FBI's search for something different in a pistol service caliber, and the willingness of S&W and Winchester to work with them, just seemed to be the final impetus to give the .40/10mm cartridge enough of a push into bring it to fruition in a modern incarnation. Something less punishing and magnum-like, and yet still effective. Something probably more akin to what was originally envisioned for the 10mm Auto.

It simply came along at the right time.

It's not without its detractors, though. It's harder on guns than the 9mm & .45 ACP, but that's prompted the gun makers to make improvements to some of the guns, too.

After some time was spent trying to - (probably inevitably & understandably, looking at American shooters) - "Magnum-ize" the .40 S&W with lighter & hotter loads, interest in the original 180gr bullet weight and velocity has seemingly returned quite strongly. Not surprising, really, as it seems to have demonstrated itself to have been satisfactory at what it was originally envisioned and designed to do.

Nowadays we also have some better bullet designs that have been tweaked to satisfy some different perceived requirements and preferences.

Unlike the 10mm Auto and the .41 Magnum, it eventually gained wide acceptance, and even preeminence, as a service cartridge for American LE.

Praxidike
July 14, 2014, 02:43 PM
Pistol rounds will never be reliable one shot stops regardless of the caliber.

I just read about the Baby Face Nelson FBI shootout where Nelson received seven obove the belt line hits to his torso from the FBI agents Thompson sub machine-gun and was not even slowed down, until he was hit in the legs with two shotgun blasts from another agent.

The shotgun blasts knocked Nelson down, but he quickly got backup and killed both FBI agents with his 351 rifle.

So seven rounds of 45 ACP from the longer barrel of the Thompson hardly slowed him down!

Nelson was able to take the FBI agents car and drive to his girlfriend's house where he did expire, but the point is these caliber debates are a waste of time, it's all about shot placement with pistol calibers.
Were was he shot? In the Miami shooting, it was later found that one of the shooters was hit in the chest early on in the gun fight, but the bullet failed to penetrate.

I'm more concerned about if I have to shoot through barriers, will there be enough energy left to penetrate through flesh, tendons, and bone to the point to stop the attacker from shooting or advancing.

jmr40
July 14, 2014, 02:48 PM
I can understand the higher complicity, lower cost, and less recoil argument for the 9mm and against the 40s&w, but the performance argument doesn't make any sense and it seems like it's just a claim is being loosely regurgitated and thrown around without much thought, logic, or data to back it up.

Bullet design has come a long way. In the 1980's you had basically 2 choices. Some ammo penetrated very deep, but expanded very little. Hollow point bullets of that era tended to expand too much and give very little penetration. This is what happened in Miami. The 115 gr bullets did not penetrate enough to reach vital organs.

Today's technology will let us make bullets that do both. You can get deep penetration AND get good expansion with the same bullet today.

Mainsail
July 14, 2014, 02:58 PM
The 10mm round was the most public of the corrective actions taken by the FBI, but by no means the only.

Amid all the data and findings gathered after the Miami Shootout was a single minor tidbit about the 9mm bullet fired from an agent across the street- the 9mm round that traveled through the arm and into the chest of the primary antagonist stopped just short of his heart. Much more was made of that than was appropriate (in my opinion) and a similarly inappropriate conclusion was made- that if that one 9mm round had just gone a *little* deeper and done a *little* more damage the event would have ended right there and two agents would still be alive. While it was a valid observation, it was given more credit than it was due.

They later discovered that the money they poured into the over-credited solution created other problems as mentioned previously. So an agent with some mad reloading skilz down-loaded the full-house 10mm and they went with that. Someone with their head on straight at S&W realized that there was a lot of leftover space in the 10mm cartridge and proposed shortening the case, creating the .40 S&W as a way to jam the cartridge into a smaller gun.

The Speculation: There has been some suggestion that the .45acp round would have been found sufficient if someone important in the Bureau hadn’t recently shot down the requests to start using it. So with the 9mm too weak to go deep, and adoption of the .45acp out of the equation (so as to avoid embarrassment) that left going back to the .38, adopting the .357, or trying something altogether new. Budgets back then allowed the something altogether new, so the altogether new 10mm round was developed along with an altogether new handgun and sub-gun from which to shoot it. After all, when you’re the FBI and you want a new gun and cartridge, then you get a new gun and cartridge; funding is (or was anyway) of little relevance.

bds
July 14, 2014, 02:58 PM
The creation of 40S&W story by bds:

In the beginning, God created the 45ACP and it was good. John Browning built the 1911 pistol to shoot the 45ACP and it was also good.

Then God created the 9mm for carbines and it was good.

Then God created the 10mm and it was good and people were awed by its power.

Then God's people sinned by shooting 9mm out of short barreled pistols and tried to meet major power factor by shooting dangerously loaded cartridges and God was not happy.

So God created the 40S&W from 10mm to:

- Have better terminal ballistics when shot from short barreled pistols
- Better meet major power factor
- Shoot 9mm/357Sig with conversion barrels
- Maintain high capacity count in double stack magazines
- Maintain similar pistol frame/grip size as 9mm pistols

And God saw that it was good and His people rejoiced.

And I am sticking to this story. :D

Praxidike
July 14, 2014, 03:09 PM
The creation of 40S&W story by bds:

In the beginning, God created the 45ACP and it was good. John Browning built the 1911 pistol to shoot the 45ACP and it was also good.

Then God created the 9mm for carbines and it was good.

Then God created the 10mm and it was good and people were awed by its power.

Then God's people sinned by shooting 9mm out of short barreled pistols and tried to meet major power factor by shooting dangerously loaded cartridges and God was not happy.

So God created the 40S&W from 10mm to:

- Have better terminal ballistics when shot from short barreled pistols
- Better meet major power factor
- Shoot 9mm/357Sig with conversion barrels
- Maintain high capacity count in double stack magazines
- Maintain similar pistol frame/grip size as 9mm pistols

And God saw that it was good and His people rejoiced.

And I am sticking to this story. :D
LOL Nice story

Dave T
July 14, 2014, 03:09 PM
Apparently, despite being told for the last 35 years there is no "magic bullet", folks today seem to believe technology has now given us a "magic bullet". The 9mm is just as good as the 40 S&W and the 45 ACP they say.

Sorry boys and girls but I'm too old to by the magic bullet claims. 45ACPs have been stopping bad guys (the exceptional examples aside) since 1911. I going to fade into the sunset still carrying and shooting 45 ACPs.

Dave

hammerklavier
July 14, 2014, 04:01 PM
Wow! A 40 S&W thread which has gone over 25 posts, with all fairly informative discourse and no malice. What gives? I'm proud of you guys :-)

Arizona_Mike
July 14, 2014, 04:14 PM
The real blame for the 1986 fiasco in Miami was poor tactics. The 9mm and 38 handguns used by the FBI at the time took the blame.
This book (http://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/1581604904/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) makes an excellent defense of the tactics and especially the marksmanship of the FBI and blames poor terminal performance (particularly with respect to penetration) of the ammunition. It is very persuasive.

The 158gr .38 +P load has a poor reputation for expansion but penetrates quite well. I would not lump it in with the light weight 9mm used in the shootout.

When Platt was hit in the leg with the 158gr load it missed bone and vessels and had very little effect, the torso hits at the end of the gunfight were much more effective. The conclusions were that a compromise between expansion and penetration (>12" but no more than 18") was needed. The FBI recently reviewed this standard based on the most recent field data and chose not to change it.

Platt was shot through the arm and lung with a 9mm round that touched but did not penetrate his heart at the beginning of the shootout. 1.3L of blood was found in the lung. Platt has always been considered one tough bastard but Anderson's book lays out the case that Matix's ability to regain consciousness, understand the situation, and change cars after his massive head wound was even more remarkable.

Mike

PS. Handguns are marginal weapons anyway. In this real-life gunfight both the cops and the bad guy take multiple .45 hits: http://gunfreezone.net/wordpress/index.php/2013/05/10/real-life-shooting-it-aint-dancing-with-the-stars-graphic-content/

Praxidike
July 14, 2014, 04:17 PM
I didn't know that the 40 s&w round was normally such a heated topic? I only ever never owned the more powerful rounds (40, 45, 10mm), but I just brought a 40s&w m&p shield for a good price BEFORE doing my homework about the caliber. Some of what I was reading about the 40mm didn't make much logical sense to me though.

kokapelli
July 14, 2014, 04:20 PM
Were was he shot? In the Miami shooting, it was later found that one of the shooters was hit in the chest early on in the gun fight, but the bullet failed to penetrate.

I'm more concerned about if I have to shoot through barriers, will there be enough energy left to penetrate through flesh, tendons, and bone to the point to stop the attacker from shooting or advancing.
The article was not specific on the shot placement other than seven rounds were above the belt line and I'm sure the rounds were all fmj and since all were fired from a Thompson with a longer barrel than any pistol penetration must have been more than adaquet.

mavracer
July 14, 2014, 04:29 PM
I didn't know that the 40 s&w round was normally such a heated topic?
A vs B always get heated some people beleive that there is a right answer, whitch leads them to think anyone who chooses something else is saying their wrong.
Defensive handguns will always be a compramise, as such there is no one answer.

RustyShackelford
July 14, 2014, 04:39 PM
I agree that part of the problem with the "FBI Shoot-Out" also called the Platt Matix Shootout, was poor tactics/bad plans.
The FBI unit had a "rolling surveillance" on the 2 subjects & made the wrong decision to conduct a felony traffic stop on them in a residential neighborhood. :uhoh:
The reason for the stop was that they knew both men were armed with multiple weapons & they wanted to stop them before they could pull an armed robbery. Both Platt and Matix were US Army veterans(Airborne Ranger & MP). They each had extended training in firearms & tactics. ME reports also said neither subject had any drugs, medications or alcohol in their systems. :uhoh:

The FBI & it's Firearms Training Unit later T&Eed the 10mm round as a replacement for the .38spl revolvers & 9x19mm S&W pistols. Agents & sworn personnel had problems with the full power 10mm loads so the FBI developed the "10mm lite", a 180gr 10mm bullet with less blast & recoil.
This request by the FBI & DoJ/NIJ led Winchester and S&W to produce the .40S&W round. In tests, the .40 did well. It had power but didn't wear out the firearms or cause recoil like a 10mm. The CA Highway Patrol in 1990 picked the new S&W 4006 as a duty sidearm. This made 100s of LE agencies take notice of the .40S&W. Soon the .40S&W gained popularity as new rounds like the 165gr & 155gr JHPs came online. PDs had member of service/use of force events with these .40S&W loads that looked like the old .357magnum, 94-96% "one shot stops". :D
As the 1990s went on, the .40S&W grew. SIG's P229, the Beretta 96D/96F/96G & the S&W 4046/4043/4006 models increased in use by sworn LE and the general public.

If you can, I suggest watching the NBC TV film The FBI Murders. See www.imdb.com or www.imfdb.org . ;)
It's on basic cable networks a few times too.

gun_with_a_view
July 14, 2014, 04:43 PM
Law enforcement back in that day was completely satisfied with terminal performance of the popular 158 grain lead semi-wad cutter revolver round. When agencies went to semi-autos, 9mm bullet technology simply wasn't there, hence the quest for something else. It was not long, however, before the Remington Golden Saber bullet emerged from the lab in 9mm, setting a new standard. Despite all hoopla since the Miami shootout, both the 158 grain FBI/Chicago wad cutter revo load and the 9mm Golden Saber semi auto round in P and +P remain viable options for serious work. The only serious rivals to date of the 9mm GS round have been the 10 mm (impractical for many shooters), the 357 SIG (too loud) and the FN-5.7(possibly heir to the throne).

JTQ
July 14, 2014, 05:03 PM
Jim Watson wrote,
FBI 9mm ammo in 1986 was Winchester 115 gr Silvertip.
Still in production, but superceded in law enforcement by better designed hollowpoints.
Jim is correct.

The 9MM rounds popular at the time followed the "energy dump" theory. High speed, light weight, rapid expansion, shallow penetrators. There were even the SuperVel 9MM rounds with a 90gr bullet that were popular at the time. In the ensuing years there became a desire for more penetration. If you notice over the years, the 124gr bullet came back in fashion.

Of course, with ballistic gel and all the testing available to modern ammo builders, practically all rounds (9MM, .357SIG, 40S&W, and .45Auto) have pretty much the same penetration with the high end bullets.

mavracer
July 14, 2014, 05:28 PM
The FBI & it's Firearms Training Unit later T&Eed the 10mm round as a replacement for the .38spl revolvers & 9x19mm S&W pistols. Agents & sworn personnel had problems with the full power 10mm loads so the FBI developed the "10mm lite", a 180gr 10mm bullet with less blast & recoil.
The FBI tested and adopted the 10mm in the "FBI lite" form they never concidered the full power ammo.

jjones45
July 14, 2014, 06:00 PM
40's have more capacity than 45's and more power than 9mm's. The only thing most people hate about the 40 is the snappier recoil which mostly gives more muzzle flip. I think the 40 just scares them when they shoot it :neener:

But seriously it does have more muzzle flip and perceived recoil than 9's and 45's of similar size. I bought the hype years ago about the 40 being the best of both worlds, but now I carry 9, 40, and 45 with no discretion. 40 is a good round just like 9 and 45. What I would like to know is what led to the development of the 357 sig cartridge

Tcruse
July 14, 2014, 06:13 PM
I agree with most of what has been said, however, if there is one thing that sticks out is that now the FBI has published a standard. We can agree or dis-agree with the standard, but there is a standard the when met will make your caliber/gun/ammo combination considered OK. So, the ammo companies when out and did what was necessary to meet the specification.

Fishbed77
July 14, 2014, 06:19 PM
From my reading, the 40sw was created because it was later found that at least 1 of the 2 men in the Miami shootout was shot in the chest (almost hit the heart), but the bullet did not penetrate enough to put him down

Modern 9mm defensive ammo has come a long way since the early 1980s.

RustyShackelford
July 14, 2014, 06:34 PM
I disagree with the notion that US law enforcement had no problem with the "FBI load" or "Chicago load", 158gr lead SWC-HP +P. The round(bullet) was better than other common .38spl loads US law enforcement used in the 1900s but it didn't replace a semi auto pistol round. Drug gangs & "cocaine cowboys" were flush with full auto & semi auto weapons.
US police unions & officers pled to get better weapons(sidearms). No US law enforcement agency was pushing for new .38spl loads or magnum revolvers. They all requested & got(in some progressive places) semi auto pistols in different calibers.
My large county sheriff's office went from the S&W 686 .357magnum(with Winchester Silvertips, .357magnum) to the Beretta 92F 9mm(Speer Gold Dot 124gr +P JHP) to the current Glock 21 .45acp(2002, duty round; Speer Gold Dot 230gr JHP).
In the post Platt-Matix era(late 1980s/early 1990s), many cops & federal agents switched to the heavy 147gr JHP 9x19mm. :uhoh:
The "Hush Puppy" sub-sonic loads were vogue because they offered improved ballistics over the 115gr JHPs & Silvertips.
I liked & would have used a 124gr JHP +P as a duty round & used 124gr milspec FMJs for practice.
It's important to keep in mind that ballistics & engineering has improved greatly since the 1986 Platt-Matix incident. Don't confuse or distort the handgun rounds or designs available in 2014 with those used in 1986 or the early 1990s.
An argument could be made for using a 9x19mm sidearm today. Top instructors like Hamilton Yam & Pat Rodgers(retired NYPD & USMCR veteran) say they use M&P full size 9x19mm pistols as carry guns.

Rusty

wlewisiii
July 14, 2014, 07:04 PM
I've found the best way to understand the .40 is to think of it as the 10mm Special to the original 10mm Magnum... :evil:

Perhaps someday they'll find a problem it's the solution to.

Deanimator
July 14, 2014, 07:38 PM
There's really no way to put a full sized 10mm into a double-action, double column magazine semi-auto that somebody who can't palm a regulation basketball can comfortably shoot, especially one handed.

Absent a 10mm double-action Broomhandle Mauser or Bergmann-Bayard, it's .40S&W or nothing.

Deanimator
July 14, 2014, 07:42 PM
Perhaps someday they'll find a problem it's the solution to.
How about the problem of not having hands like an orangutan?

I can comfortably shoot an M1911.

I can comfortably shoot a Glock 22.

There's NO double-action 10mm auto ever made that I can comfortably shoot, especially one handed.

ATLDave
July 14, 2014, 08:28 PM
Have you ever shot a Tanfoglio in 10mm? The one I have is SAO, but many small-handed people (including women) have pronounced it comfortable to hold (and shoot, with downloaded rounds).

agtman
July 14, 2014, 08:37 PM
Why was the 40s&w invented?

'Cause, you know, certain folk at the FBI couldn't handle even a downloaded 10mm around qualification time, and, well, Mulder & Scully b*tched a lot about their hands hurting during range training :eek: (in between running here & there on X-file investigations), and many of Scully's female counterparts threatened to sue over "excessive recoil" and "male-imposed" firearms training standards, :eek: ... and, well, dumbing down an effective cartridge so that your people can qualify always makes for a more harmonious working environment than actually holding them accountable to said training standands, :rolleyes: ... and then, most importantly, there's not having to hear:

WAH! WAH! WAH!
Where's that frickin' WHAAAMMM-bulance!?
My hands really hurt!
Okay, can we go back to a 9mm now!?
Seriously ... my frickin' hands are stinging!
http://i372.photobucket.com/albums/oo166/agtman/RSimmons.jpg (http://s372.photobucket.com/user/agtman/media/RSimmons.jpg.html)

:rolleyes:

gun_with_a_view
July 14, 2014, 08:52 PM
I should clarify that while law enforcement in general had no reservations about the FBI/Chicago 158 grain load, it did need to move on from revolvers to semi automatic pistols to increase available handgun firepower. Unfortunately there was nothing on the market for semi autos at the time which could duplicate the efficacy of the FBI round. I apologize for the confusion.

Knowing that some will jump to defend the .45 ACP, note that Ed Lovette writing in "The Snubby Revolver" contended the FBI load with its semi-wad cutter hollowpoint bullet exhibited approximately the same terminal ballistics as round ball .45 ammo.

And finally, wasn't it a final FBI load fired from a revolver into one of the perps in the Miami shootout that ended the fight?

RustyShackelford
July 14, 2014, 09:21 PM
Post #46 is true. But I don't recall any scenes of the Fox hit series; The X Files where either Fox or Scully complained about the 10mm sidearms. :uhoh:
FWIW; they never used S&W 10mm pistols. Both FBI characters packed stainless 5906 9x19mm guns because they worked better with blanks/SFX. ;)
See www.IMFDb.org .

As for the civil actions, the AG; Janet Reno allowed the DoJ/FBI to switch. She wanted to promote the EEO & open SOPs of the federal employment programs.

EDIT; To clarify, the 1986 Miami FBI gunfight ended when SA Mireles(check spelling) used a 12ga pump shotgun to kill the remaining subject still alive. The brave agent racked the shotgun one-handed & made a "last stand" run at the violent felon.

MistWolf
July 14, 2014, 09:21 PM
It was a 158 gr semi-wadcutter hollow point fired from a 38 Special snub nosed revolver that ended the fight. The shot was well placed. I believe the agent was shooting left handed because his right hand was shot up

bds
July 14, 2014, 09:46 PM
The only thing most people hate about the 40 is the snappier recoil which mostly gives more muzzle flip. I think the 40 just scares them when they shoot it
That's where pistol selection, training and trigger time come into play. If you haven't replaced your recoil spring and your pistol recoil is snappier than new, consider replacing the worn out spring with a new one. Glock recoil spring is about $7 and a new unit will soften the recoil significantly and should be changed after several thousand rounds of full-power loads.

My wife shoots G22 and travels with G27 (with +1 Pearce mag base) and my sister shoots M&P40 comfortably and accurately enough to think about shooting matches.

There's really no way to put a full sized 10mm into a double-action, double column magazine semi-auto that somebody who can't palm a regulation basketball can comfortably shoot
I can't palm a regulation basketball but can comfortably grip a Glock 20SF, which has grip slightly longer than G22.

browningguy
July 14, 2014, 10:07 PM
It was just invented to give people something to gripe about. The 9mm fans can complain that the recoil is too much, and the .45 fans can complain it isn't a .45.

KenW.
July 14, 2014, 11:05 PM
I have been qualified on the XD9, XD40, and XD45 by my agency. In uniform I carried the 40, now in plain clothes I carry the subcompact 9mm. My qualification scores are always higher with the 9mm. That could all change later this month when I qualify with my new FNX-40. Our duty ammo is Gold Dot. I do not feel at all undergunned with a good 9mm, but my agency will only issue 40SW and 45ACP. My BUG and off duty guns are both .38 snubbies. One's a J-Frame and the other an LCR.

bds
July 14, 2014, 11:53 PM
Ken, just what part of your post answers OP's question?

You know, I thought this was the "High Road" forum.

When the OP asked, "Why was the 40s&w invented?", could we have the decency to just answer the OP?

Talking about why 9mm is adequate or why you shot better with it has NOTHING to do with the OP's question.

Personally, I agree that 9mm+P is a round that I would be comfortable with and I have shot many more accurate 45ACP loads, but this thread is about 40S&W and why it was invented.

Weevil
July 15, 2014, 12:22 AM
Well one thing the 10mm and it's offspring the .40 S&W had going for them is they weren't a military round.


Police agencies were transitioning from revolvers in the old cop calibers like .38spl and .357 magnum to pistols and 9mm Luger and .45acp are both military ammo.

.40 S&W gave them a "civilian" or police caliber rather than using the same calibers as the military was using.

KenW.
July 15, 2014, 12:58 AM
It seems I was not clear in me response. I am not an ammunition or firearm designer. So I do not have the real answer. I am a simple user, like many if not all those who posted a response. It seems many of the posts in this thread have listed opinions. So I added mine. I was not disrespectful of anyone or any post. That is The High Road, threating everyone with decency and respect.

As I mentioned earlier, I may become one who likes the 40 more once I qualify with my FNX.

If I am out of line; Mods, go ahead and suspend me. Just be certain to read all these posts. I'm sure many also failed to completely answer the OP's question.

bds
July 15, 2014, 02:42 AM
Ken, many come to THR forum as it is a public forum for us enthusiasts to share our excitement, passion and information with others.

The OP just bought a 40S&W M&P Shield and is concerned whether it will work effectively to stop real threats, including being able to stop the threat when shot through barriers.

These are OP's questions and perhaps you can answer some of them more directly.
After the 1986 FBI Miami shootout, why was there a need for the creation of the 40s&w?

If ... as everyone says, the 9mm and 45 are almost identical or better than the 40s&w recoil and performance wise, then why did the FBI need to ask Smith & Wesson to create the 40s&w?

Anyone have any links to what the performance of the 9mm ammo that the FBI carried back in the late 80s early 90s, so I can compare the stats to todays 9mm ammo?

The 9mm was developed ages ago. Other than the shape of the bullet head, what else could have possible changed that much? I keep hearing people say that the 9mm of today is so much more potent than the 9mm of 20 years ago. Is it that they did not have p+ 9mm at the time that the 40s&w was created? Can someone point to supporting documentation?

Also logically, if a change in the bullet head design made the 9mm of today preform better than the the 9mm of yesterday, couldn't that same design be applied to the 40s&w bullet thus keeping the performance gap between the 9mm and 40s&w that existed 20-25 years ago the same even though they BOTH were improved?

I can understand the higher complicity, lower cost, and less recoil argument for the 9mm and against the 40s&w, but the performance argument doesn't make any sense and it seems like it's just a claim is being loosely regurgitated and thrown around without much thought, logic, or data to back it up.

Were was he shot? In the Miami shooting, it was later found that one of the shooters was hit in the chest early on in the gun fight, but the bullet failed to penetrate.

I'm more concerned about if I have to shoot through barriers, will there be enough energy left to penetrate through flesh, tendons, and bone to the point to stop the attacker from shooting or advancing?

chrisTx
July 15, 2014, 05:16 AM
10 or 15 years ago this argument would have been different. With the AWB in '94, all the hi-cap 9mms were obsolete, as their capacities were cut by 1/3. With the advent of the .40, they were viable options again. The big wonder-nines could be had in .40 with almost full capacity magazines. Since the .40 had higher pressures and needed larger guns then, the 9mm variants were perfect conversion candidates. I think the popularity of it started with civilians and wandered over to police departments. When I started in police work, it was a major PITA to get a hi-cap 9mm. I ended up at my first police job with a Beretta 96 with 10 round magazines. Until you got a job, you were under the same rules as the rest of the populace, and working for a big agency and trying to get a letter from the top dog at the department was impractical. When I bought my Beretta 92 during the ban, I remember what a huge headache it was to get the 15 rounders that came with the 92FS police special. .40 seemed like the perfect compromise.

I have a friend who was involved in a shooting with a Beretta 96. His bullets were fragmenting hitting walls inside the house he was in, and failed to hit the bad guy. Here's an example of a guy getting lit up with 13 rounds of .45 rounds. He only stopped after THREE shots to the head.

http://www.policeone.com/patrol-issues/articles/6199620-Why-one-cop-carries-145-rounds-of-ammo-on-the-job/

That whole hocus pocus about 'dropping' someone is relegated to the imagination of Hollywood directors.

Scarpia
July 15, 2014, 08:33 AM
Ken, just what part of your post answers OP's question?

You know, I thought this was the "High Road" forum.

When the OP asked, "Why was the 40s&w invented?", could we have the decency to just answer the OP?


You are trying to shovel the beach into the ocean...good luck...next up are the Taurus/Glock/Bersa bashers.

Big Shrek
July 15, 2014, 10:46 AM
.40 Short & Wimpy ain't going to die out, as some poster seems to think...
if anything, its highly probable to be the next US military caliber...

the 1986 Miami shootout is far from the last to show the downside of the 9mm/.38spl loading.
Why do I lump those two together? That's what the 9mm was intended to be,
a simple replacement for the .38special...ballistically similar, but with semi-auto/hi-cap use.
Almost any idiot can use a 9mm, its the perfect training weapon,
and a great way to start inexperienced gun handlers/tiny officers off.
Once one becomes a more experienced pistoleer, can always move to a different caliber.
10mm is way too much to give a new shooter, all they'll do is blow holes in everything but the perp ;)
.40S&W strikes the balance of leaving a bigger wound hole to bleed from, lighter recoil than a 10mm,
and being small enough to allow a decent capacity.
The Newer .40S&W are NOT on 9mm frames, as most MFR's figured out they'd not last,
and lawsuits from busted slide stops are Expensive ;)

When I was getting my 1st Criminal Justice Management degree in the early 90's,
one of the dashcam vids shown in a class was of a shootout on a front porch
of a large (300+ pounds) B/M who had a 9mm...he & the police traded shots,
19 of the officer's 9mm rounds struck him, including TWO head shots.
when his weapon ran out, he threw it at police and charged them with a machete...
he was finally brought down by two shotgun blasts...
Moral of the story, sometimes you need a lot more than 9mm to drop a crackhead.

9mm, .40S&W, .45ACP & 10mm all have a solid place in my arsenal.
The smartest departments have at least those four, so they can give their officers Options...
IMHO, The Best departments let their officers choose their own weapons & reimburse.

Combat Engineer
July 15, 2014, 11:14 AM
Re: post #57: Sergeant Gramins fired 33 shots (45ACP) with 14 hits, the final three shots hitting accurately, (the head) thus saving his life. He was up against a very tough dude. Some bad guys take more lead before they drop, that's why the FBI wanted a more effective stopper, and the 10mm and 40 S&W cartridges came to be.

As for the 40 S&W cartridge, if I get tagged by a 180 gr fmjfp in the eye, or the spine, I will drop like a stone... every time.

And yes I have two 40 cal guns that make it into the carry rotation: a Sig 229, and a moon-clip Taurus 405, both soft shooters.

A good cartridge, but given the choice in a showdown, I'll take a 44. Bigger bullet.

If the opponent won't drop, you need a bigger weapon.*


*Sign over ancient Roman gladiator school.

MistWolf
July 15, 2014, 11:46 AM
.40 Short & Wimpy ain't going to die out, as some poster seems to think...

"There's a big difference between 'mostly dead' and 'all dead'" -Miracle Max

That's what the 9mm was intended to be, a simple replacement for the .38special...ballistically similar, but with semi-auto/hi-cap use.

The 9mm was developed for the Luger pistol which has an 8 round magazine- hardly "high capacity". The 9mm didn't find it's way into a staggered column magazine until the advent of the HiPower

tarosean
July 15, 2014, 12:13 PM
"There's a big difference between 'mostly dead' and 'all dead'" -Miracle Max

In the civilian world, 40S&W is probably the number one USPSA, IDPA, IPSC, and 3 gun round. Literally millions of rounds fired every weekend across our nation and worldwide.

ATLDave
July 15, 2014, 12:39 PM
Agreed, tarosean. And when I go to an indoor range, I see more .40 brass on the ground than anything else. Only 9mm is close, but there's usually more .40. .45 ACP, .38spl, .223/5.56 and .380 are next most common. Anything else is a comparative rarity. There used to be lots of .22lr, but not so much these days. :(

gun_with_a_view
July 15, 2014, 01:27 PM
I would have thought that after the Miami shootout, the cops would have gone to some type of fully automatic long gun like the Uzi as a main duty weapon. All these pistols and revolvers are really just so many handheld pop guns better left to guys like Jack Bauer and Dirty Harry. It's questionable if the development of the 10mm and .40 caliber rounds and handguns wasn't in the end simply a colossal waste of time and government money.

mavracer
July 15, 2014, 02:06 PM
In the civilian world, 40S&W is probably the number one USPSA, IDPA, IPSC, and 3 gun round.
I seriously doubt that since only uspsa "limited" is really dominated by the .40. IPSC/USPSA open and production classes are dominated by the various .355 caliber rounds and IDPA ESP and SSP are both 9mm dominated, For IDPA CDP 40 is illegal

Praxidike
July 15, 2014, 02:35 PM
You all have me really regretting the fact that I purchased a 40mm instead of the 9mm lol. Lots of helpful information in this thread regardless.

RustyShackelford
July 15, 2014, 02:35 PM
Id hardly call the R&D or issue of a .40S&W round a waste. :confused:
The US Border Patrol which is the largest federal LE agency gets in the most documented gunfights(lethal force) every FY. They've used .40 Beretta 96Ds & later the HK P2000s for many years with good results. To my knowledge the USBP let special agents buy & carry DA only SIG P229Rs as a alternative.
The Pittsburgh PA Bureau of Police had a incident where the .40S&W duty loads were questioned but many LE insiders & tactics trainers said it was a issue of shot placement or marksmanship not the .40S&W duty round. :rolleyes:

The VA state troopers & Richmond VA police converted to the .357sig pistol in the late 1990s. They felt it worked better than the .40 for their needs.

george burns
July 15, 2014, 03:00 PM
357 magnum is looking better to me after reading that article about the 45 rounds he shot that guy with. I have seen people shot with multiple 45's who survived, but have no idea of what kind of ammo it was other than ball.
We need a bullet that explodes on impact, like they tried with the Super Vels 30+ years ago. for special circumstances. Or one that opens up at a certain speed or distance from the muzzle to a much larger diameter.
I can't believe that cop shot that perp that many time with clean hit's and the guy was still alive, even with 3 in the face.
I may pick up a 10 just after that article.

gun_with_a_view
July 15, 2014, 03:09 PM
It confounds me that the Border Patrol does not gun up with the 357 SIG, which closely approximates the terminal ballistics of the agency's former revolver caliber held so near and dear, the 357 MAG.

Perhaps the OP should not pine his purchase of a .40 Short and Weak in lieu of a 9mm, but should loose sleep instead over not having bought a +9mm+, aka, 357 SIG.

Geo Burns: We may not have an exploding bullet in the arsenal, but the Gold Dot bullet in various calibers has been extolled as the next best thing, being able to grab onto and cut through things like bone and windshield glass.

mavracer
July 15, 2014, 03:23 PM
You all have me really regretting the fact that I purchased a 40mm instead of the 9mm lol.
Don't worry the 40 S&W is a fine compramise, as far as one being the best compramise thats an oxymoron.

jjones45
July 15, 2014, 03:33 PM
Well the bottom line is since s&w created the 40s&w there have been countless guns made chambered in that round which means more 40s&w sales,also countless American LE agencies issued 40s which mean more sales. So I would say a big part of it is was also $$$$$$$$. Genius

Captains1911
July 15, 2014, 03:35 PM
I can't help but think of this...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QuiePszwaho&list=UU193r5YXcpQJV34N99ZbhzQ

In all fairness he has similar videos for both 9mm and .45....

Deltaboy
July 15, 2014, 05:37 PM
I got a 40 and I like it. It reminds me of the 357 Magnums I have owned and shot over the years. Strong but not overpowering recoil. I got 15 rounds vs 6. So I'm a happy man.

tipoc
July 16, 2014, 04:36 PM
On the original question and I'll try to stick to the facts: Why was the 40 S&W invented?

Miami shootout. The FBI were armed with S&W revolvers and firing 38 Spl+P LSWCHP and the S&W model 459 in 9mm JHP with 20 round mags available to it.

At the same time the U.S. Army had just adopted the M9 in 9mm as the standard service sidearm. It replaced the 1911 in 45acp. This was a controversial move.

Law enforcement across the U.S. the transition from wheelguns to pistols and 9mm was in full swing. Overwhelmingly the go to round was the 9mm. It was viewed as an effective round in higher capacity pistols. This was the era of the "Wonder nines". 13, 14, 16 round 9mm handguns were the "smart thing" to have.

The FBI concluded after Miami that they needed a more powerful round and that the 9mm did not cut it for them as it lacked penetration. This sent shockwaves throughout the firearms industry and in law enforcement. Seminars were held, labs went to work, field tests conducted. Over the next couple of years things rolled out.

At first the FBI recommend law enforcement switch to the 147 gr. bullet for the 9mm. Many agencies did that. A problem quickly developed. the 147 gr. bullets and loads had been developed for sub guns and did not always cycle reliably in guns that had been built for the standard velocity 9mm guns with 115 gr. and 124 gr. bullets. The springs and slide weight of the guns were set for the lighter bullets. The hot 147 gr. loads also accelerated wear. Across the country law enforcement agencies were experiencing problems.

The FBI concluded that 12-16" of penetration with expansion, after penetrating some barriers (4 layers of denim, sheetrock, autoglass, etc. each in their turn) was needed for their jhp bullets to be reliable.

This launched a search for the round that could do this.

It also set ammo manufacturers internationally into a unprecedented rush to upgrade the 9mm bullet, the most popular defensive handgun round on earth. Other rounds also benefited but the 9mm got the most attention. They were tasked with developing jhp bullets that met the new FBI criteria. This took some time.

The FBI settled on the 10mm round. This sent a 200 gr. bullet down range at about 1200 fps. A 180 gr. could do more.

The FBI announced they wanted a gun for it in 1987-88 and in 1989 S&W gave them the 1006 with a 5" barrel. Empty the gun weighed 39 oz. It carried 9+1 rounds.

In 1990 S&W produced the 1076 in response to an order from the FBI for 10,000 guns in 10mm. The 1076 weighed empty 39.5 oz. It had a 4 1/4" barrel. It also used 9 round mags with 11 and 15 round mags available to it only to the FBI. The initial order of guns sent to the FBI were rejected and sent back to S&W for rework. The contract stalled. In 1993 about 2400 of the 10,000 guns ordered were delivered. Some were returned for rework. Some sold off. Some went back to S&W or destroyed. The order was cancelled. The 10mm had a short life with the FBI.

There were problems with the guns and the ammo. Many of the guns delivered were not reliable.

Agents were slow to give up the 30oz 459 which held 14 rounds of 9mm or the BHP which some had or their revolvers which they were used to in exchange for a gun that weighed a good deal more and was bigger. The grips were fatter. There were objections to the recoil and slower follow up shots. Accuracy for some dropped off. The FBI tried to develop a load with a 180 gr. bullet at just under 1000 fps to answer some of the problems.

Meanwhile ammo manufacturers were working as was S&W to meet the FBIs penetration requirements.

An IPSC shooter from South Africa, Paul Liebenberg had developed a cartridge based on the 10mm case. He took the idea to S&W. S&W figured that they did not need the case capacity of the 10mm to get a 180 gr. bullet moving at 980 fps. A shorter case could do it and be more efficient. The IPSC shooter's case did the trick. The new case was strong and could withstand high pressures. It could work well with a lighter bullet as well. If a 115 gr. +P or 124 gr. +P 9mm bullet did well than a 135gr., 155gr. or 165gr. pill going faster with a bigger, heavier bullet was even better, they figured. A 135 gr. pill at more than 1300 fps from a 4" barrel was near .357 Magnum territory. A 155 gr bullet at an honest 1200 fps was no slouch. It was 9mm+p velocities without the increased wear on the gun. Without breaking a sweat.

The 40 S&W was introduced to law enforcement in 1990. S&W built the 4003 for it. The gun held 11+1 rounds and weighed 30oz. empty. It held as many rounds as the 10mm but in a gun the same size and weight as a 9mm handgun. Less capacity than a 9mm. More capacity than a 45. With bullets that met the FBIs penetration requirements.

In the history of handgun ammunition no round took off as well and as fast as the 40 S&W. Within a few years it became the dominant police round in the U.S. and remains so today. It was and is the most successful and important handgun round introduced in the last half of the 20th century.

Glock, which had just showed up in the U.S. in the late 1980s, beat S&W to the punch in introducing a gun into the pool. The Glock 22 was essentially the Glock 17 modified for the 40 S&W round. It weighed less than 23 oz. empty. 10, 15 and 17 round mags were available.

Glock did what so many other gunmakers did as well. They just took their 9mms and modified them for the 40S&W. Problems ensured. But after a decade or so were corrected.

The 40S&W remains today the most widely used round in law enforcement in the U.S. and for good reason.

The 357 Sig, based on the 40 was introduced 4 years later in '94, but has not seen the success of the 40 S&W.

Oh the FBI? After swinging back and forth for a bit they ended up with the 40 S&W and the 9mm. Both with much better bullets that met their criteria.

tipoc

Sunray
July 16, 2014, 05:07 PM
"...more effective against soft body armour..." Daft marketing nonsense. Most soft vests are rated to stop nearly ever pistol cartridge. A .40 would make no difference.
"...The 9mm was developed ages ago..." So was the .45 ACP.
"...could not handle the weapons or the recoil...." More about the size of the handgun. the 10mm doesn't have any more felt recoil than factory .45 ACP. Even the Norma that was the only available ammo in 1988-89 was reasonable out of a Delta Elite. Mind you, the same issue arises with any DA pistol. Fit to smaller and/or shorter hands isn't there. sniff. I really wanted a CZ75 when they first came here, too.
"...Pistol rounds will never be reliable one shot stops regardless of the caliber..." Exactly. Physics doesn't allow it.

Mainsail
July 16, 2014, 05:11 PM
Part of the FBIís rationale for not choosing the 9mm or .45ACP was that both rounds had been around a while and neither was likely to see much improvement. In other words, they were already as good as they were ever going to be. Aside from some minor tweaks, it was and is a true statement. Given the high pressure and lack of room inside the case, the .40S&W is all it will ever be (aside from some minor tweaks here and there) as well.

I donít currently own any .40s at all, nor do I have any desire to. I have a couple 9mms, a few .45s and three 10mm handguns (G20SF, G29SF, and S&W 1076). I will likely get a barrel to shoot .40 from the G29, as I have found itís a good idea to diversify calibers, especially during shortages (I remember when there was zero 9mm or .45 on the shelves, but plenty of .32 auto and .40S&W).

Praxidike
July 16, 2014, 06:44 PM
On the original question and I'll try to stick to the facts: Why was the 40 S&W invented?

Miami shootout. The FBI were armed with S&W revolvers and firing 38 Spl+P LSWCHP and the S&W model 459 in 9mm JHP with 20 round mags available to it.

At the same time the U.S. Army had just adopted the M9 in 9mm as the standard service sidearm. It replaced the 1911 in 45acp. This was a controversial move.

Law enforcement across the U.S. the transition from wheelguns to pistols and 9mm was in full swing. Overwhelmingly the go to round was the 9mm. It was viewed as an effective round in higher capacity pistols. This was the era of the "Wonder nines". 13, 14, 16 round 9mm handguns were the "smart thing" to have.

The FBI concluded after Miami that they needed a more powerful round and that the 9mm did not cut it for them as it lacked penetration. This sent shockwaves throughout the firearms industry and in law enforcement. Seminars were held, labs went to work, field tests conducted. Over the next couple of years things rolled out.

At first the FBI recommend law enforcement switch to the 147 gr. bullet for the 9mm. Many agencies did that. A problem quickly developed. the 147 gr. bullets and loads had been developed for sub guns and did not always cycle reliably in guns that had been built for the standard velocity 9mm guns with 115 gr. and 124 gr. bullets. The springs and slide weight of the guns were set for the lighter bullets. The hot 147 gr. loads also accelerated wear. Across the country law enforcement agencies were experiencing problems.

The FBI concluded that 12-16" of penetration with expansion, after penetrating some barriers (4 layers of denim, sheetrock, autoglass, etc. each in their turn) was needed for their jhp bullets to be reliable.

This launched a search for the round that could do this.

It also set ammo manufacturers internationally into a unprecedented rush to upgrade the 9mm bullet, the most popular defensive handgun round on earth. Other rounds also benefited but the 9mm got the most attention. They were tasked with developing jhp bullets that met the new FBI criteria. This took some time.

The FBI settled on the 10mm round. This sent a 200 gr. bullet down range at about 1200 fps. A 180 gr. could do more.

The FBI announced they wanted a gun for it in 1987-88 and in 1989 S&W gave them the 1006 with a 5" barrel. Empty the gun weighed 39 oz. It carried 9+1 rounds.

In 1990 S&W produced the 1076 in response to an order from the FBI for 10,000 guns in 10mm. The 1076 weighed empty 39.5 oz. It had a 4 1/4" barrel. It also used 9 round mags with 11 and 15 round mags available to it only to the FBI. The initial order of guns sent to the FBI were rejected and sent back to S&W for rework. The contract stalled. In 1993 about 2400 of the 10,000 guns ordered were delivered. Some were returned for rework. Some sold off. Some went back to S&W or destroyed. The order was cancelled. The 10mm had a short life with the FBI.

There were problems with the guns and the ammo. Many of the guns delivered were not reliable.

Agents were slow to give up the 30oz 459 which held 14 rounds of 9mm or the BHP which some had or their revolvers which they were used to in exchange for a gun that weighed a good deal more and was bigger. The grips were fatter. There were objections to the recoil and slower follow up shots. Accuracy for some dropped off. The FBI tried to develop a load with a 180 gr. bullet at just under 1000 fps to answer some of the problems.

Meanwhile ammo manufacturers were working as was S&W to meet the FBIs penetration requirements.

An IPSC shooter from South Africa, Paul Liebenberg had developed a cartridge based on the 10mm case. He took the idea to S&W. S&W figured that they did not need the case capacity of the 10mm to get a 180 gr. bullet moving at 980 fps. A shorter case could do it and be more efficient. The IPSC shooter's case did the trick. The new case was strong and could withstand high pressures. It could work well with a lighter bullet as well. If a 115 gr. +P or 124 gr. +P 9mm bullet did well than a 135gr., 155gr. or 165gr. pill going faster with a bigger, heavier bullet was even better, they figured. A 135 gr. pill at more than 1300 fps from a 4" barrel was near .357 Magnum territory. A 155 gr bullet at an honest 1200 fps was no slouch. It was 9mm+p velocities without the increased wear on the gun. Without breaking a sweat.

The 40 S&W was introduced to law enforcement in 1990. S&W built the 4003 for it. The gun held 11+1 rounds and weighed 30oz. empty. It held as many rounds as the 10mm but in a gun the same size and weight as a 9mm handgun. Less capacity than a 9mm. More capacity than a 45. With bullets that met the FBIs penetration requirements.

In the history of handgun ammunition no round took off as well and as fast as the 40 S&W. Within a few years it became the dominant police round in the U.S. and remains so today. It was and is the most successful and important handgun round introduced in the last half of the 20th century.

Glock, which had just showed up in the U.S. in the late 1980s, beat S&W to the punch in introducing a gun into the pool. The Glock 22 was essentially the Glock 17 modified for the 40 S&W round. It weighed less than 23 oz. empty. 10, 15 and 17 round mags were available.

Glock did what so many other gunmakers did as well. They just took their 9mms and modified them for the 40S&W. Problems ensured. But after a decade or so were corrected.

The 40S&W remains today the most widely used round in law enforcement in the U.S. and for good reason.

The 357 Sig, based on the 40 was introduced 4 years later in '94, but has not seen the success of the 40 S&W.

Oh the FBI? After swinging back and forth for a bit they ended up with the 40 S&W and the 9mm. Both with much better bullets that met their criteria.

tipoc

Y]ou write all thay yourself off the top of your head or copy paste? Either way, was a good read.

Deltaboy
July 16, 2014, 06:51 PM
The FBI 86 gunfight birthed it and I love it.

tipoc
July 16, 2014, 10:35 PM
Y]ou write all thay yourself off the top of your head or copy paste? Either way, was a good read.

Standard Catalog of S&W for the guns weights and birth dates and the account of the FBI contract. Ammo and Ballistics (Forker) for the ammo. A couple of web searches, Glock weight and capacity. the rest i remember. Though I can dig up the sources.

Ammo companies eventually worked out the 147 gr. ammo problems. Part of the initial problem was the oal of the round.

tipoc

Big Shrek
July 16, 2014, 11:32 PM
You all have me really regretting the fact that I purchased a 40mm instead of the 9mm lol. Lots of helpful information in this thread regardless.
Well, if you are going to get a 9mm, get a Calico.
At least then you have enough rounds per mag to throw...
(50 or 100 round mags, btw)
Load on Sunday and shoot all month ;)

bds
July 17, 2014, 10:34 AM
You all have me really regretting the fact that I purchased a 40mm instead of the 9mm
Look into using 9mm barrel for your 40S&W Shield with 9mm magazine

-ItSsLwKQAk

Praxidike
July 17, 2014, 10:51 AM
Look into using 9mm barrel for your 40S&W Shield with 9mm magazine

Thanks but I already have. S&W no longer sells the barrels for the Shield. I was told by S&W customer service that the only way anyone can get a replacement 9mm barrel from them for now on was to send the entire firearm to them just so they can "install" the barrel themselves. They use to sell it, but now they do not.

bds
July 17, 2014, 10:58 AM
I think the popularity of people using 9mm barrel for 40M&P probably reduced the inventory of 9mm barrel to nothing and they were back-ordered for a while.

Perhaps you can locate a barrel from vendors, online sales, etc.

Praxidike
July 17, 2014, 11:11 AM
I think the popularity of people using 9mm barrel for 40M&P probably reduced the inventory of 9mm barrel to nothing and they were back-ordered for a while.

Perhaps you can locate a barrel from vendors, online sales, etc.
They said they weren't selling them by themselves point blank. They have them, but won't sell them unless the entire (9mm) firearm is sent to them. At least that is what they told me. I and others on s&w forum have been unable to locate them anywhere else. Will have to wait until someone manufactures an aftermarket barrel.

bds
July 17, 2014, 11:14 AM
I think at least one of the aftermarket barrel maker will step in and offer either 9mm replacement or 40-9 conversion barrel. So you may still be able to shoot both 9mm/40S&W with your Shield.

This shooter's range test confirmed tighter shot groups with 9mm barrel over 40S&W barrel out of his Shield

Shield 40-9 review Part 1 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flnFIzI6MIw

77sPO1i77D0

RustyShackelford
July 17, 2014, 02:21 PM
This is why I say the .40Super is a winner. :D
It feeds great(cycles), has a high KE level, is fast(1100-1200 fps), can hold several rounds like a .40S&W or .357sig, and it's very accurate(match grade).

Poor marketing & a lack of support in the 1990s kept the .40Super from really going anywhere. :(
It was lost in the .40 crowd; .400Corbon, .41AE, .40S&W, 10mm, etc.

cougar1717
July 17, 2014, 03:31 PM
Why was the 40s&w invented?

Everyone knows it was invented by an evil mastermind to:

1. Anger 9mm and 45ACP purists
2. Draw the ire of everyone who remotely likes the 10mm
3. Make Gaston Glock a bajillionaire, and...
4. impregnate as much brass as possible.
5. Sow seeds of discontent between the military and LEO's
6. Make both John Moses Browning and Elmer Keith simultaneously roll over in their graves
7. Bait the unsuspecting into asking, "Which is the best - 9/40/ or 45?"
8. Bait others who overhear the ensuing argument from #7 to yell "SHOT PLACEMENT!"
9. Trick those who see advertisements for police trade-ins to continuously ask if it is going to be extinct in 10 years.
10. Start never-ending arguments on internet forums

Smart mastermind, indeed...

mavracer
July 17, 2014, 03:34 PM
10. Start never-ending arguments on internet forums
Like there wasn't enough never ending arguments lol

zoom6zoom
July 17, 2014, 08:55 PM
I like calling the round the 10mm Kurz. Messes with peoples minds.

agtman
July 17, 2014, 09:01 PM
Yep, the 10mm AUTO is the only L.E. service round that comes with its own government-mandated warning for end-users:

http://i372.photobucket.com/albums/oo166/agtman/motivator46fdd30941de0051d087f76546.jpg (http://s372.photobucket.com/user/agtman/media/motivator46fdd30941de0051d087f76546.jpg.html)

:what:

"Oh, no, not the 10mm again.
Is my WHAAAMMM-bulance here yet?"
http://i372.photobucket.com/albums/oo166/agtman/RSimmons.jpg (http://s372.photobucket.com/user/agtman/media/RSimmons.jpg.html)

:rolleyes:

SDGlock23
July 18, 2014, 01:23 AM
The .40 is what the 10mm should have been from the start. There, that should ruffle a few feathers :)

RustyShackelford
July 18, 2014, 02:41 AM
How or when did the R&D of the 10mm/.40S&W create a riff between the US armed forces & US law enforcement? :confused:

The USCG(which is a part of the US Department of Homeland Security) uses the SIG Sauer .40S&W DAK P229R. They have great results & even the US Secret Service went to the DAK P229R format in .357sig.

I've heard mixed reports that the tier one/spec ops used Glock 23s & 22s in .40 a few times overseas with + results.
I also heard the US Army pushed the most for .45acp sidearms but no service branch was against any T&E or research. I never heard that. Not in the 1980s, the 90s, the 2000s, or present. :uhoh:

brutus51
July 19, 2014, 07:21 PM
Only problem I have with either the 40S&W or 9MM is the short powder column. In 35 years of bullseye target shooting I've never seen a 9mm that can come close to a .45ACP in terms of MOA accuracy , not to be confused with minute of bad guy, Same holds true of 10mm vs. 40S&W and while I've never owned one the same holds true for the .38 super vs. 9mm. In my opinion shot placement trumps 17 rounds any day. Guess thats why I prefer a .45 colt revolver in places where things can chew on ya. :D

Blade First
July 19, 2014, 08:51 PM
"The 9mm is just as good as the 40 S&W and the 45 ACP they say."

It's better when it's loaded as the .357SIG. After all, why not carry an autopistol loaded with 12 or more rounds of the functional equivalent of a .357Mag revolver round?

Speed kills...as even Glock acknowledged when they deigned to load the round [still refusing to give credit to SIG for development] in their high-capacity pistols.

Super fast, super flat shooting, highly accurate = proven street performance.

RustyShackelford
July 20, 2014, 01:08 AM
The .357sig has a lot of +s but it's failed to draw in as many LE agencies and military units in recent years(compared to the 9x19mm).
When major state agencies & PDs switch from .357sig to 9mm in large #s, there's a good reason. :rolleyes:

Blade First
July 20, 2014, 03:34 PM
"When major state agencies & PDs switch from .357sig to 9mm in large #s, there's a good reason."

Well, the feds don't have to worry about general availability and cost of ammo...they have plenty of .357SIG to use.

And sometimes, it's nothing more than politics. Local city PD recently switched from Glock 22s/23s to SIG P220s.

Fiv3r
July 20, 2014, 03:51 PM
Others have pointed out the origins of the round. I, for one, have been won over by the .40. I like the way it shoots, I like the energy it puts on target, I like how it was easy to find during the shortage.

krimmie
July 20, 2014, 06:33 PM
+1 Fiv3r

RustyShackelford
July 20, 2014, 06:46 PM
My state's div of licensing, which has regulatory authority over the security industry recently modified the semi auto pistol approvals. They added the .45acp & the .40 caliber(.40S&W). They had bills in recent years that included the 10mm & .357sig but in the latest security industry request, the 2014 bill only stated the .45acp & .40S&W.
Industry officials & insiders said part of the change was because few gun owners/security officers used 10mm or .357sig. It was also hard to buy ammunition in some locations. The .40S&W and .45 were a lot easier to buy for armed officers or schools/agencies. ;)

420Stainless
July 20, 2014, 07:31 PM
Its already been said, but it was because some believed 10mm was too much and 9mm was not enough. I don't believe either to be the case, but I still like the .40 S&W just fine. I think it gathers the most important characteristics from both - decent speed in medium weight bullets for use in a reasonably compact frame. The things it loses over those other two cartridges aren't very important to me.

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