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9mm is cheaper & performs well, 45 is more proven, why all the agencies going 40S&W??

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by JLStorm, Aug 23, 2007.

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  1. JLStorm

    JLStorm Member

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    I know the 9mm vs 40 vs 45 debate has gone on again and again. I have searched and I have read the internet reports, the FBI reports, and quite a few articles. Basically I have found that if you want a reason one round is better than another there is some "expert" out there that has published something that will agree with you. However, the majority of what I read is:

    1. 9mm is cheaper to shoot than 40 and 40 is cheaper than 45
    2. The wound ballistics of 9mm +P in JHP are almost identical to 40 in JHP given adequate expansion and VERY close to 45
    3. 45 trumps 9mm in battle because NATO allows only FMJ which does not apply to LE or private citizen use of weapons since they both generally carry JHP in most states.
    4. If you can control the recoil of 40, you can probably control the recoil of 45, however it seems that it doesnt always work the other way around.
    5. 9mm has less recoil than 40 or 45 in factory ammunition even +p+
    6. 9mm offers more rounds than 40 or 45, 40 offers more rounds than 45 in the same size magazines.
    So given the above information I can say with some confidence that most agencies didnt move to 40 from 9mm because it was cheaper, or because it offers more expansion under optimal conditions. 40 doesnt offer substantially less recoil than 45, but it is always cheaper. The only reason I can figure the huge switch from 9mm to 40S&W is because if conditions are not optimal, and material gets in the way between the shooter and the target, it will achieve optimal expansion more often than 9mm, how much more often I am not sure. 45 offers more consistent expansion and if there is no expansion makes bigger holes than 40 and 9mm, but at a sacrifice of round count and higher expense.

    Given all that info, is the only reason LE agencies are going to 40 from 9mm to achieve more consistent expansion, and the only reason they are not going to 45 is because of expense and less rounds per magazine?
     
  2. steveracer

    steveracer Member

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    I have been asking this question for years.
     
  3. Soybomb

    Soybomb Member

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    What makes you think the person making the decision is doing it based on something logical like expansion and penetration? :) Not everyone is knowledable about such things. Last I looked the 5 largest police departments in the US issue 9mm weapons and account for 10% of all police in the US. Don't think 9mm is gone by any means.
     
  4. gtmtnbiker98

    gtmtnbiker98 Member

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    What makes you think that smaller agencies aren't just following a marketing trend? The 80's it was the .38 and .357 Mag, the 90's mostly 9mm, the early 00's it's the .40, and now, you can witness the .357 Sig and .45 ACP making enrodes into the market (yes, the .45 ACP is coming back into favor). It varies based upon marketing hype if you ask me. My agency fell for the hype and purchased the Sig P229 in .357 Sig and now finds themselves in a situation where they can no longer provide monthly practice ammuntion based upon ammunition cost.

    I've gotten to the point of recommending the purchase of the .40 S&W barrel and convert the pistols to a cheaper caliber - after all, it's a factory supported transition so no liability will occur.

    You can turn this into a caliber war quite easily with this thread, but I'm sure we can all agree that modern ammunition is quite lethal and a well placed .22 shot to the head will kill you quicker then a .500 S&W Mag to the leg... Let the debate begin.
     
  5. JLStorm

    JLStorm Member

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    I really dont want to turn it into a caliber war, we have a TON of those. I just find that so many people carry what the big agencies carry, which must be a HUGE selling point for the gun manufacturers. I also find that many carry what the big agencies use assuming its the latest and greatest, which it may or may not be. I am only interested in why the agencies themselves are making the switch.
     
  6. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    simple Marketing
    40 S&W is the answer to a non existant question.

    for every reason you can come up with that the 40 is better than the 9mm the same is true why the 45 is better than th 40
    likewise for every reason you can say the 40 is better than the 45 the same can be said about the 9mm being better than the 40.
    and a 10mm is better than a 40 just cause it is.
    so the only reason an agency would go to a 40, when three better rounds exist, is marketing.
     
  7. Mad Magyar

    Mad Magyar Member

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    Let's call a "spade a spade". The real reason is that many of these LEO's CANNOT qualify with a .45acp. Many sources for this if you need proof, M. Ayoob for one...A .40SW is about the limit, but the 9mm really makes it easier...If you cannot control a weapon, forget about it......
    Cost, penetration; just incidentals to the underlying problem....:rolleyes:To use Ayoob again, most LEO's are not gun aficionados like you find on the forum. They fire their weapons as about often for requalification and that's about it....:eek:
     
  8. gtmtnbiker98

    gtmtnbiker98 Member

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    I agree Mad Magyar! You have to fit the weapon to a wide array of hand sizes and shooting abilities. The .45 ACP can be a hand full to the inexperienced but should not be a deciding factor but it often times is.
     
  9. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Member

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    My own personal experience was that the 45 was easier to shoot than the 40 and almost as easy as the 9. Less snappy. I also shot it the best.

    I sometimes kick myself for selling my 45 but ammo is twice as expensive as 9 and I need all the practice I can get. :rolleyes:
     
  10. JLStorm

    JLStorm Member

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    I so often read from people quite experienced with both 45 and 40 that 45 is easier to control on follow up shots due to its slow rolling recoil vs 40's quick snappy recoil. More often than not it seems from what I have read 40 is a bit harder to control in multiple shot scenarios than 45, which is why I dont understand the ability to control 40 but not 45. Maybe I am wrong, please someone correct me if that is the case.
     
  11. Tom Servo

    Tom Servo Member

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    I work in a range, and I can second that.

    The plain fact is, the agents in the Miami shootout went into a fight in which they were outmatched. They rushed in like Rambo, then got boxed in by an adversary they couldn't match, and it was too late.

    Sure, ordnance had something to do with it (pistol vs. rifle: GO!), but caliber did not. Don't forget that Morales put an end to things with a snubnose.

    Rather than acknowledge poor marksmanship and tactics, the FBI pinned the blame on the "meager" 9mm. The bullet in question (the one that stopped just short of Platt's heart) did its job, and no other load available at the time would have done better. Not the .45, not the .38, not even the .40. The round hit resistance at several points (window and several bones), and it slowed and expanded, which is just what it was designed to do.

    So, they tried the 10mm (which, in Norma loads is a .41 Mag), and there were problems with recoil and wear on the weapons. No good. They tried taking out powder and shortening the case, and they ended up with a round that was controllable in untrained hands.

    That said, the .40 isn't very much fun to shoot. You've got a really highly pressurized round with a snappy recoil impulse that doesn't really shine in terms of accuracy.

    Still, folks could tell their supervisors, "it's better than a nine...it's ONE MILLIMETER bigger! And it's not as hard to shoot as that pesky .45!"

    Of course, I'm not alone in pointing out that the .45 is MUCH more comfortable than the .40 to shoot. The .40 appears to be proving itself well on the streets, but there's nothing I can do with it that I can't do just as well with any other service caliber.

    My biggest concern is with new shooters. As I've mentioned, the .40 is really snappy, especially in smaller guns (I love Magnums, but cannot shoot a G27). Everybody's heard of the .40, and that's what they want for a first gun.

    Well, it works, but if it's not pleasant to shoot, they're not going to practice as much as they should, and any advantage is lost. I spend alot of time steering them towards the 9mm or .45.
     
  12. Scorpiusdeus

    Scorpiusdeus member

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    The .40 is more fun to shoot, more accurate, and a better stopper than the .45 or 9mm.
     
  13. JLStorm

    JLStorm Member

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    Please dont try to start a caliber war out of this. I doubt the Agencies picked 40 because it was "more fun" and I havent read anything that states it is more accurate at normal distances.
     
  14. GTSteve03

    GTSteve03 Member

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    Actually wrong on all 3 counts, but we'll give you the first one since it's opinion only. ;)
     
  15. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Member

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    The .40 caliber Glock frame has the EXACT same external dimensions as the 9mm version.

    15 rounds of ammo that does 99.863% of what .45 ACP does, and without the added grip-girth that exists in .45 ACP pistols of similar capacity. What's not to like?

    The .40 caliber Glock is the finest "rack-grade" autoloader ever made for folks who want to carry a full-size, major-caliber pistol. I objected, criticized and resisted this fact for SEVENTEEN YEARS! Flame me until 2024.

    Oh, and don't shoot "reloads" or non-jacketed lead bullets in a Glock - unless you want to be this guy.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vceh44UK-8I
     
  16. cpttango30

    cpttango30 Member

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    I think in part it has to do with feel good numbers. Many older men have handled a 1911 in 45acp. But in a lighter weight pistol it could be a bear with them nice 230gr hardball loads. the 9mm is a small round that looks week which it is not esp with todays bullets. So to make some people feel better they went with a 40 because having a 4 it makes you think it is a lot bigger when it is not and it fits in a 9mm frame there for offering men with small hands and women a Big gun to rival the real men shooting a 45.

    It is all baised on fell good politics.
     
  17. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    WEG hit the nail on the head. The 40 can be built on the same frame size as the 9mm, the 45 cannot. The 45acp, while an outstanding round, is almost 100 years old and could be redesigned to make smaller, equivalent round a la 45 gap that would fit in a smaller package, but the reality is that with modern bullets neither the 40 or 45 offers a significant advantage over the 9mm. Studies like the ones conducted by Marshall et al have pretty much been shown to be invalid.

    With non-expanding bullets, 45acp trump all others.
     
  18. Ghost Tracker

    Ghost Tracker Member

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    It's Political Power, Not Stopping Power

    Police Departments now regularly deal with applicants (and eventually rookies) who, unlike past generations, have NEVER fired a gun, ANY gun, before their first Firearm Orientation Class during Police Training. Departments are also dealing (under legal & cultural pressure) with an ever-increasing number of female officers. Hand size, physical strength and previous firearm experience all attribute to a now-required "sensitivity" on the part of the Department to their officers who are required to CARRY guns but are unable to QUALIFY with large .45 acp autoloaders. It's the same issue the FBI had when they wanted to issue 10mm pistols. Female agents filed lawsuit after lawsuit claiming that a 10mm qualification requirement was "discriminatory" because the weight & recoil was more easily handled by a male agent!

    The .40 S&W offered a compromise. Better stopping results than the 9mm, higher mag capacity than the .45, lighter recoil than the 10mm, in frame sizes that allowed smaller hands to more easily operate. And, since Bean Counters love the idea of universal standards for $$$ saving's sake. And the Legal Department enjoys not being sued by every disgrundled, small-handed officer who fails to qualify. The .40 S&W is the current pellet of choice.

    Political power plays a much bigger role in Equipment Selection than does the Stopping Power of the caliber (OR the well-earned experience & opinions of veteran Street Cops). BUT, if statistics & ballistics are to be believed, the .40 S&W does its required job quite well.
     
  19. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    but you had 19 rounds that do 99.863% of what 40 S&W does in the same size gun.seams silly you would not prefer a 9.I can go on.
     
  20. Coronach

    Coronach Moderator Emeritus

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    PDs are going to the .40 because it is an excellent compromise between capacity, shootability (especially crucial for officers with small hands) and stopping power. Like most excellent compromises, it makes everyone mad. That's how you know it's good. ;)

    Marketing and follow-the-leader might influence some departments, especially smaller ones, but most will do ballistics testing and make up their own minds as to what they want, then the pencilnecks get to decide if the PD can get what it requests.

    FWIW, I prefer 9mm, but that's just me.

    Mike
     
  21. mavracer

    mavracer Member

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    GunTech do you work in advertizing?
    It can be built on the same size frame with no significant advantage.wow I couldn't have said it better
     
  22. Docgmt

    Docgmt Member

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    Many older men have handled a 1911 in 45acp????

    Yes I am old. I have fired a Marine issue 1911 Colt 45 and I own a .357, 9mm and a .40 and for all around CCW and shooting at the range the 40 wins.:) Tighter groups and easier to handle are the two main reasons for picking the 40 over the others, 15 round capacity is a bonus over the compact 9mm with 10.
     
  23. GunTech

    GunTech Member

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    40 over 45 because the 40 can be built on a 9mm frame size. That the reason many agencies picked the 40. The 45 has a certain following, but most agents just don't care. When the agency my wife works for looked at a replacement, the two catridges they compared were 40 and 357 sig. They wanted a new pistol that was as close to the issue P226 as possible. Because 45 would have required a larger pistol, and might have too much recoil for some shooters, it wasn't considered. 40 won the day because that's what most other federal agencies were adopting.

    My personal take is that neither 40 or 45 offer much over the 9mm. I like the 45 because I like the 1911 platform. I have a G26 because I happened to get a super good deal on 10,000 rounds of 40 S&W and I needed something to shoot it in.

    I consider any handgun a compromize and borderline effective. It's only a compormise tool with which to fight your way to a rifle.
     
  24. Scorpiusdeus

    Scorpiusdeus member

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    I got this from the same unbiased scientific study everyone else is using... ;)
     
  25. Bobo

    Bobo Member

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    I believe that part of the reason that much of law enforcement has gone with .40 is it’s ability to puncture auto glass and doors and still proceed to and damage a human target with a fairly large bullet diameter.

    The 9-mm can do similar puncturing, but has a considerably smaller bullet diameter.

    The .45 has the large diameter, but lacks the glass/door puncturing capabilities.

    The .40 is a good compromise. For law enforcement this may be quite important, but for civilians less so.
     
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