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Best .40 cal Bullet Weight?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by .45&TKD, Oct 1, 2007.


Best .40 cal Bullet Weight?

  1. 135 grain

    3 vote(s)
  2. 155 grain

    29 vote(s)
  3. 165 grain

    62 vote(s)
  4. 180 grain

    70 vote(s)
  1. .45&TKD

    .45&TKD Well-Known Member

    Just bought my first .40 caliber (Glock 22) and was wondering what the best bullet weight is for self defense and practice?

    My first thought would be the larger 180 grain, (since I'm used to 1911 .45's and 230 grains), but I thought I'd ask before spending time and money.
  2. .45&TKD

    .45&TKD Well-Known Member

    And why?
  3. I find 165s shoots the best out of my guns. Best groups and you get a bit more muzzle energy with it than the 180s.
  4. .357 magnum

    .357 magnum Well-Known Member

    Confession to make!

    I voted 165gr because it really is the killer weight on the streets and I have shot the 165gr a lot. But the past four months it is much less expensive to shoot 180gr for practice. Since I like to shoot what I practice with, I switched to 180gr. If you use the Winchester 180gr Ranger T that is really the best out there for this caliber. Winchester upgraded their Ranger T line in May of this year and they expand beyond belief! I have to get them through the internet though. Here in Omaha nobody sells the Ranger T just because it is Law Enforcement ammo. The .40 caliber was actually made for 180gr, so they function quite well with them. Previous to switching I was shooting Winchester 165gr SXT, and Corbon 165gr JHP. Both are Great loads!

    The Best to You and Yours!


  5. .40S&W loads....

    I've used and shot a Beretta model 96D .40S&W since 02/1997. I would use either Rem Golden Saber 165gr JHP or Triton 135gr JHPs. I lived in west PA at the time so I'd use the lighter faster 135gr JHP in warm weather and a 165 JHP round when the weather was colder(SEPT-MAR). It was a good system for me. ;)
    Now in 10/2007 I would suggest the DoubleTap 135gr or 165gr JHP or maybe the Speer Gold Dot 165/155 gr JHP. The Remington model Golden Saber 165gr load is still a solid bet but for CC/protection I think better loads are for sale.

    PS: For home protection/business security look into the Glaser Safety Slugs(silver) or Magsafe rounds. Also use the Federal EFMJ .40 load or CorBon PowRball .40S&W for your spare pistol magazines/reloads. If your shooting your spare mags you'll need to drop someone in a hurry and not wonder about feeding or malfunctions. ;)
  6. 1man

    1man Well-Known Member

  7. Jimmy Newman

    Jimmy Newman Well-Known Member

    My opinion, founded on no data other than that I've shot a fair bit of it and killed a couple of hogs with it, is that I like the 165gr.

    (Yes, I jumped out of a pickup truck and shot a wild hog with a Walther P99)
  8. philbo

    philbo Well-Known Member

    I started reloading 40 for my first XD40 a while back. Tried 135, 155, 165 & 180 and the pistol showed a definite preference for 165. Traded for a second XD40 and discovered it preferred the 155... shot a Sigma 40 this weekend and it worked best with 180 and about as well with 155, but there was a noticeably larger group w/165. Same powder, same loads in all. Go figure. In the end I guess you should try them all and determine which your pistol likes best. If everything else is equal though, I prefer the 155/165 myself.
  9. shadowalker

    shadowalker Well-Known Member

    It depends, the 155 and 165 typically have both more energy and momentum than the 180 grain in 40 S&W. The 155 grain 40 S&W has roughly the sectional density of a 200 grain 45 ACP and the 180 grain 40 S&W has about the same as the 230 grain 45 ACP.

    Most name brand JHP 155-180 will work well for defense, make sure they feed and function reliably in your firearm. I'd recommend against any of the the specialty super ultra advanced this will stop a BG but not go through drywall ammunition, they are expensive and drywall is incredibly easy to penetrate, something that will penetrate a threat enough to stop a threat and not go through drywall is hard to achieve.

    There are some factors that can make a difference, the bullet construction / shape, the same weight bullet at the same velocity from different manufacturers can sometimes have significant penetration differences, and barrel length, also how closely claimed velocity of the bullet matches your firearm.

    Two things to look at are energy and momentum, energy is published on the boxes but momentum isn't. Unfortunately energy doesn't really tell you that much, bird shot leaves the barrel at a high rate of speed but because it is low in mass it has very little momentum and doesn't penetrate well.

    Momentum is easy to calculate though, (weight of bullet / 7000) * velocity and can be a better predictor of penetration, it also shows why heavier bullets of an acceptable velocity tend to penetrate better.

    155 grain bullet traveling at 1175 FPS (Gold Dot) has:

    Energy: 475 ft/lb
    Momentum: 26.01

    A 165 grain bullet traveling at 1150 FPS (Gold Dot claimed) has:

    Energy: 484
    Momentum: 27.107

    A 180 grain bullet traveling at 985 FPS (Gold Dot claimed) has:

    Energy: 387 ft/lb
    Momentum: 25.3

    In this case assuming the above velocities are true the 165 has both an energy and momentum advantage.
  10. Ala Dan

    Ala Dan Member in memoriam

    Good Stuff

    155 grain Hornady TAP JHP's :scrutiny:;):D
  11. Lonestar49

    Lonestar49 Well-Known Member

    Heavier the better


    180gr 40cal is the bullet of choice, for my Px4 40. Just a sweet launch and hit, on-target, over and over.

  12. cookekdjr

    cookekdjr Well-Known Member

    Well, I've seen the results of many shootings in my job, and I've never seen .40 fail to stop an attacker. I'm sure it has failed, I've just never seen it in a review of more shootings than I can count. All of these shootings involved bullet weights of 155gr-180gr. Ball and JHP were used. Based on that I call .40 the "pin the tail on the donkey" round, because you can't go wrong with whatever you choose.
    I would be wary, however, of the under 155gr loads. I have heard of penetration problems (read, "lack thereof") with the really light stuff.
    Just my experience. YMMV.
  13. mpmarty

    mpmarty Well-Known Member

    My 40 cal pistols are all 10mm and I use 200gr jhp bullets for sd exclusively. They have the sectional density and at over 1200fps they definitely fill the bill.:D
  14. novaDAK

    novaDAK Well-Known Member

    I use WWB .40 JHPs which are 180gr. mainly because I've seen some testing done (no actual shootings, just the wetpack stuff) where it's worked as well as some of the fancier stuff, but it's much cheaper, so I can practice with the ACTUAL load I carry. Shooting enough of it for practice ensures it's reliable in the gun. This is out of my Ruger P94 which is also a great gun :)
    I've never noticed this gun shooting any better with different weights, I've shot 165 and 180gr FMJs through it at the range, no difference for me.

    YMMV :)

    yeah no one can argue with 10mm (unless you happen to have a G20, capacity isn't an issue), except for my Ruger KP90, with Buffalo Bore
    .45 Super:

    185 gr. JHP @1300 fps (694 ft. lbs.)
    200 gr. JHP @ 1200 fps (639 ft. lbs.)
    230 gr. JHP @1100 fps (618 ft. lbs.)

    and I can "plink" with .45acp at the range and use any .45acp JHP (I still use WWB 230gr JHP for the same reasons I stated above, and I use 147gr 9mm WWB as well, and UMC 115gr for bulk JHP in the safe at home :) )
  15. .357 magnum

    .357 magnum Well-Known Member

    +1 for David.

    I really agree with David! There are so many great loads in the .40 caliber range, it is hard to come up with a bad one.:) He is very correct, most LE report Excellent results with the .40, especially in the 155-165 and 180gr ammo. I also have always been very cautious not to use ammo that is lower then 150gr in .40 cal, because of lack of penetration. [the DPX 150gr I have heard from many a person is a very fine load] I am one of those people that sticks with 230gr ammo in my .45's, even the 4 inch barrels. I just trust it more. I think if you stick with the really reputable makers you cannot go wrong with today's bullet technology. When I was in LE, I was in some situations that I think if I were armed with a 16 round .40 or a 14 Rd .45 auto and spare Mags. I hopefully could have saved a couple of peoples lives [fellow detectives] Only the good Lord knows for sure. I keep those people in my Heart, you just never forget! I have all the praise in the world for todays LE and what they have to face.:) The technology that has come down the road is very good! Back then The .40 did not even exist yet and we were still issued revolvers.

    The Best to All!

  16. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Well-Known Member

    I practice 70% with the 180gr FMJ, the other 30% with 155gr Win. SilverTip HP's, which I top off my carry mag with 3 HP's....:)
  17. RyanM

    RyanM Well-Known Member

    I'm partial to 180 gr bullets. Slow and heavy for the win.

    Also, my G23 and MK40 both seem to shoot low with 165 gr ammo, but are dead on with 180s.
  18. CountGlockula

    CountGlockula Well-Known Member

  19. .45&TKD

    .45&TKD Well-Known Member

    Thanks. It looks like the 165 grain and 180 grain are running about even in the poll. I'll just have to try both and see what works best.
  20. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator


    The 180 gr. bullets are also more pleasent to shoot than the hot 155 & 165 Gr loads.

    I keep Winchester Ranger 180 Gr. JHP's in my XD SC. :)

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